Sunday, October 30, 2016

Can School Districts Use Race in Enrollment Policies?

Yes, you can.

The question is - why is Seattle Schools saying, in document after document - you can't?

From the majority opinion:

Importantly, Justice Kennedy drew a distinction between school district plans that rely on the race of individual students and plans that seek to achieve diversity or avoid racial isolation through more generalized race-conscious measures:
If school authorities are concerned that the student-body compositions of certain schools interfere with the objective of offering an equal educational opportunity to all of their students, they are free to devise race-conscious measures to address the problem in a general way and without treating each student in different fashion solely on the basis of a systematic, individual typing by race.
Id. at 788-89 (Kennedy, J., concurring in part and concurring in the judgment).
Justice Kennedy went on to state that race-conscious approaches that do not rely on individual racial classifications are “unlikely” to “demand strict scrutiny” and are likely to pass constitutional muster. In so doing, he also provided some examples of the sorts of approaches that he had in mind:
School boards may pursue the goal of bringing together students of diverse backgrounds and races through other means, including strategic site selection of new schools; drawing attendance zones with general recognition of the demographics of neighborhoods; allocating resources for special programs; recruiting students and faculty in a targeted fashion; and tracking enrollments, performance, and other statistics by race. These mechanisms are race conscious but do not lead to different treatment based on a classification that tells each student he or she is to be defined by race, so it is unlikely any of them would demand strict scrutiny to be found permissible. Executive and legislative branches, which for generations now have considered these types of policies and procedures, should be permitted to employ them with candor and with confidence that a constitutional violation does not occur whenever a decisionmaker considers the impact a given approach might have on students of different races. 
Id. at 789 (citation omitted).
Furthermore, while the Seattle and Louisville school districts failed to show the necessity of classifying individual students by race in their plans, Justice Kennedy refused to rule out approaches that in appropriate circumstances take account of the race of individual students in school assignment.  Id. at 790. He explained that a school district can employ a “more nuanced individual evaluation of school needs and student characteristics that might include race as a component.”  Id. Such an individualized approach would be informed by the narrow tailoring analysis set forth in Grutter,“though of course the criteria relevant to student placement would differ based on the age of the students, the needs of the parents, and the role of the schools.”  Id.
Basically, you cannot use only race for individual students in assignment. But can you use it as part of an overall strategy? It looks like you can.

I understand the gun-shy stance of the district but to say that you can't use race in enrollment strategies isn't quite accurate.

52 comments:

Anonymous said...

Maybe getting whiff of such public sentiment as what follows (from this blog) makes the district a little gun shy when it comes to this issue. SPS usually doesn't have a backbone when it comes to truly working on behalf of students.

Getting an earful (which you can be assured they got from at least one of these writers) like this back and forth probably doesn't help them in the spine department:


Lynn said...
From the FAQ on Garfield's website: Will the classroom makeup be a full range of student abilities or will there be grouping of a range of students and the class size set accordingly?
● All 9th grade social studies and language arts classrooms will be heterogeneous classrooms. The socio-economic, racial, and ability differences of GHS will be reflected in every classroom.

What does this mean? Will they be assigning student to classes based on their race or do they expect it to happen by coincidence?
7/18/16, 9:48 PM

Melissa replied:

Lynn, excellent catch and I'll put that on my list of questions for the Superintendent and Mr. Howard. Assigning classes to students using race is probably a big no-no.

FWIW

Anonymous said...

@ FWIW, so are you suggesting there should be racial quotas for each class? And that anyone who disagrees with that is not working on behalf of students? And that to work on behalf of students, assignments should be based on race rather than other factors, such as ability or performance? Interesting.

rb

Observer said...

While I can't speak for FWIW, I think race should factor into school and/or course assignments. Schools are currently more racially segregated than they were before Brown V. Board. Look no further than this John Oliver segment

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, I was only speaking of enrollment because that is what the court case was about. Can you use it is distributing students in classrooms? I don't know.

Carol Simmons said...

Dear Observer,

The John Oliver segment you referenced had more truth than fiction.
Thank you

Joseph Rockne said...

I doubt using race to place (or exclude) particular students from particular classrooms would pass muster.

My reading of the case is that race could be considered on a macro-level, but not at the individual student level.

A district could draw a school boundary such that it encompassed areas that would result in racially diverse student body. They would not be picking and choosing individual students.

When classrooms are filled, at the school level, I would suspect that whether a student gets in or is excluded would need to be race-blind.

It would be a very interesting case and would probably go up to the Supreme Court...which might be willing to accept review.

White Parent North said...

Here's the thing: lots and lots and lots of parents in mostly white neighborhoods whose kids go to mostly white schools have no idea about the John Oliver segment (which was excellent--thanks for the link!), the history of the civil rights movement, the inequality. Most of them are ONLY familiar with the one school their kid goes to, which may be mostly white and mostly doing pretty okay. It's only when you become aware that the caliber of schools differs dramatically from school to school in this town that you you become horrified by what's going on. And, plenty of white folks, especially in the northern half of the city, when they become aware of this, actually ONLY become aware that other neighborhood schools are BETTER than their assigned school.

So, that doesn't mesh at all with our desire to create a better world and educate all kids well. But it's actually pretty hard to see the needs that some schools have when you're sitting pretty at one of the north-end fancy-pants schools. It's mostly easier to see that some kids in even richer schools are getting even better stuff than your own upper middle class kid.

Seattle is full of very liberal-minded people who are actually completely unaware of this problem. People who might be onboard with fixing a broken system if we had some kind of leadership to inspire us to do better by all kids. Where is our moral leadership? Where is our inspiration? Where is our call to action? We're going to need some educating.

Anonymous said...

i don't think race should ever be considered. should the obama kids have an advantage over white kids to be placed in a school because of there skin color? how about cosbys? now if you really want to level the playing field (which i hope we all do) they should look at frl status and equally distribute kids into schools based on this. this is one of the reasons i applaud ell students going to neighborhood schools verses self contained programs. though the latter would allow greater efficiency all would benefit from the diversity and they are all capable of handling the material.

but look at meany's assignment area. it is like a horse shoe cutting out frl kids from the renovated building and yet busing kids from lake view homes past dilapidated washington. how that makes sense i don't know.

nc

SPS Mom said...

I do think, though, that a school while planning their master schedule, could work to set the master schedule in such a way that the structure of the schedule doesn't segregate by population any more than necessary. My guess is that there could be some best practices to make our schools more integrated without looking at the individual students.

Scott said...

Of course, the reason it is so "gun shy" is because a handful of parents who wanted their kids to go to Ballard High sued the district and took the case to the US Supreme Court:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parents_Involved_in_Community_Schools_v._Seattle_School_District_No._1

That's where you get the case law that says that individual student assignments based on race are not "narrowly tailored" to achieve diversity, which Kennedy agreed was a compelling interest. It is difficult to read this case because of how the vote came out, though, and predict what might happen to other policies.

The district might also be shy because of the millions of dollars in attorney fees that the parents' attorneys obtained afterward. There's no reason to believe that, in the future, angry white parents won't sue again if the district tries to achieve more racial balance in its schools. And, the current composition of the board doesn't lead me to believe that the courage is there to reach a majority vote on something that actually improves diversity in classrooms.

Scott

Melissa Westbrook said...

White Parent North, you think that white parents never learned about the civil rights movement? Since when?

You make a LOT of presumptions about what other people know and act on.

A lot of us have been working on this issue for a long time and I welcome Soup for Teachers as the newest group to take up this banner.

Anonymous said...

White Parent North-- Please stop generalizing about "white" people. I think you need to understand discrimination of many people in the US past, including those who may now be considered white by some of the US. It has taken generations for my own family who was discriminated against to reach the middle class. There are also lots of Asian and Indian kids in the puget sound area, also middle class & actually ALOT quite affluent. I was just at a tech meeting yesterday in Seattle where Asian-American and East Indian- Americans talked about their background as middle class/affluent, & quite a few "white looking" people (you never really know) talked about growing up in poverty and still struggling. Stop it. Why is it o.k to bash "white" people. And BTW, white is too broad a category. I personally identify with my ethnicity (mixed race), but may look "white" to you. My grandparents who are mixed and mediterranean (mixed N african, middle eastern etc) were not considered white 50 years ago in their immigration records and their DNA is actually not "white". Yet they check white now as the ethnicity box has changed and as there is no other box for them. There is diversity in income, education, ethnicity (not all are from Europe) etc. In addition, some of us might live in a north end neighborhood, but grew up elsewhere.
-RB

White Parent North said...

@Melissa

When you say "a lot of us have been working on this issue for a long time," just what percentage of the white folks in the northern half of the city would you say you're talking about? Statistically speaking.

I stand by what I said. There are lots and lots and lots of white people in this city who don't really know much about the civil rights movement. I have a lot more formal education (a couple of graduate degrees) than the average SPS parents, and it was never taught in any of the schools I attended, so—really—I would be curious to know how many of white Seattle parents studied the civil rights movement in school. I guarantee I'm not the only one who didn't.

I think it's great that you and Soup for Teachers have taken up this banner. I just think it would be a lot less lonely for you, marching under that banner, if more white people understood what the problem was or knew anything about the history of the civil rights movement.

Much of the civil rights advances in this country happened in the 1960s. The parents of most SPS kids are not old enough to remember that.

And white people don't talk about race anywhere near as often as people of color (at least according to that study Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman cited in Nurture Shock). So, if our neighborhoods are fairly segregated (many are) and we have white families who didn't talk much about race (many do) and we never learned about the civil rights movement at school (I suspect you're overestimating the number of white parents who learned about this in school) and our kids go to a mostly white Seattle public school (again, many do), well...

Melissa Westbrook said...

I couldn't even know that figure but you don't know your figure either. However, I've been out working in the community for 15 years and so that would make me ask you, how do you know what you are stating?

Anonymous said...

@ Observer, seriously? "Race should factor into...course assignments"? As in telling an A student they need to take remedial English because there are already too many whites in the honors class? Or making a few Black and Native American and Hispanic kids take a class they aren't prepared for, to help offset all the white and Asian kids who are ready for it?

The John Oliver piece could just as easily have focused on income rather than race. Actually, it probably SHOULD have focused on income, since that's the key factor. He did talk about the differences in equipment between black and white schools, which is really a difference between poor and well-off schools. He also did mention that when schools are integrated funding tends to come with the white kids--meaning their parents bring it. The improvements seen by black students when schools are integrated are largely due to the additional funding, not just having white kids around.

@ White Parent North, "north-end fancy-pants schools"? Cute. But our north end schools weren't so fancy, so I think you're distorting reality. Books? Nope. Fields? Nope. Reasonable classroom sizes? Nope. School supplies provided? Nope. Lots of field trips and art and music? Nope. I'm curious as to how you define "fancy pants"...

But to your larger point, I don't think white parents are as oblivious as you might think. Or as uncaring. The issue is that we don't know what to do. When your school is already not doing a great job for your own child, it's hard to advocate for blowing up the entire system on the slim chance that the result would better serve or all, or more equitably serve all. There ARE white people who have spoken out about the NSAP, which has increased racial segregation in some schools (while decreasing it in others, though). There ARE white people who have advocated for PTA money pooling or sharing. There ARE white people who have organized book and clothing drives for our poor schools. The inequities in our system obviously have not been fixed, but it's not because people are oblivious or don't care--they just don't know exactly what they can do to fix the problem. Do you have the answer for us?

rb

Anonymous said...

The Supreme Court made it clear that race should not be the first method of addressing issues of diversity. Seattle had race a tie-breaker and also had not had a prior issue of segregated schools, which also gave them even less grounds to use as as a go-to. Quotas are, and should be, completely off the table.

Here was my point: In the past few days, Melissa is inviting conversation on race on this blog. Great news! However, as recently as last summer, the conversation about Honors for All was full of dog whistles and not-so-dog whistles. Lynn's comment was taken up by Melissa, and she ran with it like Gladys Kravitz. "Wow, maybe the teachers would like the classrooms to reflect the student body in their composition. Hey, Lynn, maybe that's what they meant. Not quotas." No such response from our admin.

I was also stunned by how Dora Taylor was treating (what, last week?) on this blog when she, apparently, was trying to address racism. Melissa kept deleting her posts and then then told Dora to "go back to your own blog." I may not always agree with Dora's blog, but she is clearly a person with high integrity and has the best interests of the community at heart.

So, Melissa can keep having this posts given her attempt to jump on the district bandwagon of equity. Great news! But as I tell my students, it's your actions that matter.

FWIW

Anonymous said...

rb

You may have missed these links. Sometimes:

There's more to the picture than meets the eye--Neil Young


http://events.cornell.edu/event/choosing_segregation_the_importance_of_school_racial_composition_in_white_parental_neighborhood_selection


http://www.slate.com/articles/life/education/2016/07/when_white_parents_have_a_choice_they_choose_segregated_schools.html


http://www.citylab.com/housing/2015/06/its-mostly-white-people-who-prefer-to-live-in-segregated-neighborhoods/396887/

School districts that are addressing this issue (like Louisville) gerrymander boundaries and have more option/magnet schools. Other districts additionally offer choice by SES when it will increase the diversity of a school.

FWIW

White Parent North said...

@Melissa

In the 15 years you've been working in the community surely there are plenty of parents who haven't been working with you? Those are the ones I'm talking about. I bet there's a lot of them. I bet if they could be harnessed and brought on board that great things could be accomplished.

@rb

I completely agree with you that kids need classes at the right level regardless of the color of their skin. And I actually think income has way more to do with this than race. I agree that when you integrate schools the funding benefits John Oliver is talking about in terms of funding is coming from the parents. And I totally don't believe only parents should be picking up the tab for public education for the workforce of the future. The whole society should be paying for public schools.

The only thing you say that I disagree with is that I think more people are oblivious than you do. I genuinely believe there are a lot of completely oblivious parents out there. Not uncaring, but actually not aware of the scope of the problem. Not uncaring people. People who, if they understood the scope of the problem or the extent of institutional racism and the lingering effects of practices such as redlining, might be more willing to act, to agitate, to fight for all kids.

I'm not saying white people haven't helped or don't care. I'm saying we could help a lot more if we were more tuned into this than some of us are.

I don't have the answer. I think things that might help would include:
Funding McCleary
Finding a way to put more money per kid into poorer schools
Accepting that all children don't need to be great testers to deserve love and nurturing and guidance
Accepting that all the kinds of people we have as grownups also exist as children and meeting their needs on that basis, non-judgmentally
Giving kids more recess time and longer lunch periods
Allowing kids to not fit in the box, give each kid what he/she needs (SPS so often stands in the way)
An SPS-wide push for civil rights education and implicit bias training

Anonymous said...

@ FWIW, thanks for the links.

RE: the first one, I'm not sure I buy it. It's a working paper, and hard to find data, but I'd like to see how he adjusted for all those things. When I move, I look first at schools. If the test scores aren't so good, I look for a different neighborhood. I might end up in whiter neighborhood as a result, but I'm not choosing it for the sake of segregation.

RE: the second one, the title and conclusion are clearly slanted. The article itself says white parents shy away from schools that are too white, so saying they prefer "segregated" schools is a leap. Plus, when whites are only 9 percent of the district, it's a reach to blame them for segregation in that lottery system.

RE: the third, again, it's not for the sake of segregation. "Even among white and black families with similar incomes, white families are much more likely to live in good neighborhoods — with high-quality schools, day-care options, parks, playgrounds and transportation options. The study comes to this conclusion by mining census data and uncovering a striking pattern: White (and Asian-American) middle-income families tend to live in middle-income neighborhoods. Black middle-income families tend to live in distinctly lower-income ones." That's because the black families choose lower-income neighborhoods, to be with more black families: "Many Americans, of all races, prefer to live among people who are similar to them, note Mr. Reardon and his colleagues Lindsay Fox and Joseph Townsend. For African-Americans, such a choice often means living in lower-income areas, given the racial disparity in incomes." So how does that make white families more racist?

I'm not saying there might not be whites who move to white areas for racist reasons, just as can be the same for blacks. But things are not as black and white as these articles you chose suggest.

rb

NESeattleMom said...

FWIW, putting those two articles about studies done elsewhere like it is "fact" does not convince me that it is completely applicable to Seattle. Chicago and Detroit have a different history than Seattle.

White north parent,
Why don't white people talk about race? Because in the past year or two since the publicity about the police shootings of innocent black men and boys across th country, when white people say something someone tries to shame them about white privilege etc. It makes people wonder if they should say anything at all. I think many of the north end elementary schools are not fancy-pants. I have been in many of them. Many have homeless children, people from recent immigrant families, etc. Sure there are several where most of the parents seem to work at UW, but not most of the elementary schools. Go north and the less fancy pants it is. I think many parents would like to help in some way but the mechanism is not in place to do it.

Anonymous said...

The Cornell study found similar patterns when using a NATIONAL sample set:

"Using a McFadden discrete choice analysis of a 1997-2011 national sample of black and white households from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, I demonstrate that mobile white parents are more likely than mobile white non-parents to sort into neighborhoods with nearly all-white student populations."

http://events.cornell.edu/event/choosing_segregation_the_importance_of_school_racial_composition_in_white_parental_neighborhood_selection

It is precisely the attitude that "Seattle is so liberal we don't have those kinds of problems" that helps perpetuate the problems in such a striking way in this city. Arrogance about enlightenment keeps people from examining the fact that all of us have implicit biases. Isn't that what you referenced in the last posting about race?

FWIW

Melissa Westbrook said...

FWIW, that was a pretty incohorent post. As for my relationships with other writers, that's really only between two people. As for the deleted comments, when people are just trying to stir the pot rather than have a dialog (and have been warned to stop), yes, your comments will be deleted.

And, as you will see when I get to my next posts on race, I'm not jumping on the district's bandwagon.

I never endorsed the "Seattle is so liberal we don't have those kinds of problems" train of thought. Ever.

As per usual, there are those who want to make blanket assumptions about others based on where they live in Seattle.

NESeattleMom said...

Melissa, I think FWIW is responding to me not to you, not sure.

FWIW, I don't understand who said that "Seattle is so liberal we don't have those kinds of problems" And, I think your comment that "Arrogance about enlightenment keeps people from examining the fact that all of us have implicit biases." is an example of no matter what a white person says regarding race that they are told that there is something wrong with it--I don't even know what you are replying to..are you replying to me saying I don't think the two articles are necessarily applicable to Seattle? --Who is arrogant about being enlightened? In my prior post on another thread I expressed that I understand we all have implicit biases. So what are you saying about arrogance about enlightenment? Who's arrogant?

Anonymous said...

People of all races have implicit biases. It is part of being human. Anyone who targets one group only & "white" is indeed a really messy group composed of various ethnicities & classes, & states they are more biased is not correct.

In addition, people settle in neighborhoods more due to economics than race. Lots of studies on this factor. However, people may also choose to live in a neighborhood with those who have similar cultural commonalities. Language etc. This is true for people of various races & ethnicities whether Puerto Rican, Asian or Polish or Jewish.
-psychology graduate degree

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

@ Tad Pole, weren't the BLM activities scheduled for after the principal had already been suspended?

Ok, so the principal's absence came around the time "some people say" there were racially motivated attacks against the principal. Was the suspension at all related to those rumored attacks? The article doesn't say.

Why were some parents and teachers resisting the principal's rumored school improvement efforts? Were the principal's efforts seen as discriminatory, or unlikely to be effective, or ill-planned, or ??? The article doesn't say.

Did the principal do something that actually warranted suspension? Maybe. The article doesn't say.

rumor mill

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lynn said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Sounds like the problems at Emerson may have been serious: from the comments section

"Emerson Alumni
As a former staff member at Emerson I can say that from experience Dr. Drake has no moral compass and verbally abuses her staff. As a former music teacher she could never answer a single question about curriculum or education in general. I lived in fear every day I worked for her. The majority of the staff left last year and it has nothing to do with race. It has to do with the way she treats people and the show she puts on for visitors. If you interview any ex-staff member they can tell you horrible stories. I cried when I read that she was getting her job back. She is not fit to lead a school, especially a struggling one. She has not improve the school and has made students hate learning.

Dr. Drake dictated that students only get taught reading, writing, and math. When we made it clear that science was a state standard she reluctantly allowed it. Dr. Drake refused to get involved in any discipline matters no matter how serious. Emerson uses a reading intervention program that is meant only for struggling readers and small groups. It is NOT a curriculum. I had at least 5 readers that were well above grade level. They kept getting booted out of the program by the software so Dr. Drake and Tasha James frequently altered the student's scores to be lower so that they would qualify. Teachers frequently asked for permission to challenge the students that were reading above grade level and it was always denied. She frequently used large group events to put on a show. Students had to gather in the gym every morning and chant with her military style. She used an entire staff meeting to show us a Ted Talks video about strong principals to inform us that we were not showing enough respect and appreciation for her. She did not learn any kids names the whole time I was there and frequently called kids by the wrong names.

When she made schedule changes that made it so special education students weren't receiving their legally required minutes she would tell me to email her about it. She would never do anything to right the problem no matter how many times people asked. This is ILLEGAL!!! Dr. Drake and Tasha James work fewer hours than anyone at that school. If you ever needed to talk to either one of them before or after school, they were gone. The teachers that I worked with cared deeply about the children, worked endless hours and shed many tears. I think about the children I left behind every day. After reading this I hope that all Dr. Drake's unethical choices come to light. I hope that the children can get the ability to be children back and I hope that the staff can go to work without being afraid. Those children deserve so much more. They deserve to do an art project or social studies. They deserve to be challenged and they deserve the opportunity to be kids. I felt like I worked at a juvenile detention center instead of a school. I will never forget Dr. Drake and I still get sick thinking about working for her. I am grateful that since working for her I have gotten the opportunity to work for an administration that is knowledgeable, ethical, and respectful."

Momof2

Melissa Westbrook said...

I'll be having a thread about issues around race at several schools. Emerson seems to have real issues especially since they have had principal churn for several years and, seemingly for a school under OSPI designation for under-achievement, not enough attention from the district.

Anonymous said...

Tad Pole-- Do you understand how your assumptions (bias) led to an automatic assumption that "white parent and teachers" were at fault? Your quick assumption could have led to some bad rumors. This is a problem.
-question assumptions

Anonymous said...

Word of warning, pledges, chants, heavy signage throughout the buildings are not good signs. They evoke an odd militaristic bend that also evokes the school image as one school to prison pipeline; that is a common trajectory that dominates struggling schools in the South. Uniforms, dress codes, eye control are another means of management. Lots of acronyms.. SLANT, you see these also in Charter Schools.

If I did not know better I would presume Dr. Drake is Southern. In over 20 years of Teaching the South dominates in Doctorate diplomas and in turn most of them Administer schools and almost all exhibit those traits. These are the last places you want to emulate as they use strong subjugation as a means of compliance, much like the military.

And the verbal abuse for staff and students is another constant.

- Southern Man

Anonymous said...

@ Tad Pole,

Thanks for trying to further explain yourself, but you still don't seem to get it. I encourage you to step back and reread your own words and think about the assumptions you're making and the biases that underlie them. How about this from your explanation: "...it sounded like white parents and teachers were mad about something or thought something unfair."

Really? What I read was that the principal's absence came "around the time" that "some people say" there were "racially motivated attacks" against the principal. Was the suspension at all related to those rumored attacks? The article doesn't say. Were they really racially motivated attacks, if there were "attacks" at all? Or maybe there were instead "complaints," or even just a single complaint, based on educational concerns? Based on the article, that's an equally fair interpretation.

You closed with "OSPI lists Emerson at 6% white and the white parents got the teacher suspended?" Huh? It was "the white parents" that did it--all 6%? I'm not sure why the demographics of the school are an issue at all, unless you're saying that a parent of a particular race shouldn't complain unless their demographic represents at least a certain minimum threshold in a school, but that doesn't seem like it would make sense. It only takes one person to lodge a complaint that could result in a principal's suspension, and the complaint can come from someone of the same or different race and be equally valid or not.

I have zero knowledge of what actually happened here, so I'm not spouting off about who did what. You also seem to have no knowledge of what actually happened here, and yet...

rumor mill

Melissa Westbrook said...

I'm debating whether to eliminate these comments on Emerson. Naturally, any news like this does bring out people from different sides plus those who only know what they read. I do find it interesting that no one is complaining about the story because if I had broken it - and I could have - I'm sure some readers would take me to task.

Observer said...

"I do find it interesting that no one is complaining about the story because if I had broken it - and I could have - I'm sure some readers would take me to task." Why do you say that, Melissa?

Melissa Westbrook said...

I say that because the Times is reporting something - in a vague kind of way - about a school and its principal. I've gotten some people very upset when I did that in other stories and got accused of starting rumors.

Again, I have a thread to come on some other similar issues because I do believe they are news-worthy but it does feel sometimes that I get taken to task over stories that other media do end up reporting.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

The discussion around Emerson brings up so many issues. Not knowing the details, but reading the Seattle Times comment posted above, you have to think there were valid concerns. As a parent who has spoken up about school situations that don't seem quite right, I have to say I am frequently alone. Even if other parents share the same concerns, very few are willing to speak up. If no one speaks up there is little chance a situation will improve. Of course speaking up may not even improve the situation. So what's a parent to do? Schools want involved parents, but not too involved.

-involved parent

White Parent North said...

Readers question even the linked articles above because they come from other cities. I think an important step in working toward equity for all Seattle students would be:

1. Some Seattle-specific statistics about achievement gaps, funding disparities, etc. Facts that are published, like, in a broadsheet format. Disparities by Race in Seattle Schools or something.

2. Education for well-meaning but clueless parents and citizens who have not previously been involved in promoting a racially equitable society. A crash course or timeline of civil rights advances and setbacks throughout the nation's history. From a Seattle perspective (many residents have moved here from all kinds of different places, some of them not even in the U.S.)

3. A primer for Seattle residents on what Ferguson (and the eye-opening of many Americans regarding policing and justice system disparities) means in terms of schools. Are there disparities in the way kids are treated in schools based on race? If so, what are they? Don't assume people know. Explain to people.

4. Moral leadership. How can we work toward a more just and equitable society that values all children? How can we undo institutional racism. We need a movement. Is BLM the best-fit movement for this? If people want to work for change, how can we do it? Can we send someone a letter? Who? What should the letter say? Can we volunteer for an organization? Can we send someone money? Buying BLM t-shirts and wearing them to school one day is not enough to achieve societal change.

Anonymous said...

Lynn, do you have a son in 6th? The link you provided is not going to the survey, but to a login page with a child's name on it.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I'm no burying anything. I'm planning to combine this with issues with principals at other schools. I actually know more about the Emerson situation than is printed in the Times so stay tuned.

Anonymous said...

Seattle Weekly has the story. Seems to confirm the Times.
Sounds like whites exerting privilege. Rita Green is quoted in the story.

White person

Anonymous said...

here's the Weekly story:

http://www.seattleweekly.com/news/parents-protest-suspension-of-south-seattle-principal-considered-an-advocate-of-racial-equity/

"As a result, there’s also some concern that Drake is not being treated in the same way that white administrators are in the district when parents launch complaints against them. For example, another Seattle elementary administrator has been under investigation for allegations of racism from 75 families of color for some time, says Rita Green, Education Chair of the Seattle/King County NAACP. That person has not been suspended. “You tell me there’s not a problem with that. It’s part of the current and ongoing institutional racism within Seattle Public Schools: If you are parents of color, you are viewed as lesser. That’s why your complaints don’t get as much priority.”"

Wow, pretty damning stuff.

Institutional racism in SPS.

Rita is very well respected in the community and that's strong language.

Tad Pole

Anonymous said...
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Observer said...
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Anonymous said...

There seems to me to be considerable dissatisfaction with Emerson's Principal among a high proportion of parents of all colors. Also, the staff and former staff have posted some pretty significant complaints. However, claiming institutional racism does sell newspapers.

-Researching

Observer said...
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Anonymous said...

Mine was deleted too. I only quoted the articles, and questioned the assumptions made by Tad Pole, since Tad Pole continues to present biased interpretations as statement of facts. I don't see why my evidence-based rebuttals were deleted while Tad's assumption-based original posts were left, but whatever. It's Melissa's prerogative.

rumor mill

Anonymous said...

Interesting informative comments in Seattle Times and in Seattle weekly
GHSmom

Melissa Westbrook said...

Readers, I deleted a number of comments for two reasons.

One was linkage to a blog that will not be named here nor linked here. The writer of that blog speaks with little authority or research. As well, he wrote a very hurtful thread against me about my racial background and upbringing.

I'm not giving that blog any help with links or references here. Any made will be deleted.

Two, I suspect that one of the commenters was the writer of that blog. Again, those comments will be deleted.

Anonymous said...



off topic :

MW YOU ARE AMAZING! truly an asset for seattle. cm is ok too.


nc