Saturday, September 23, 2006

Arrogance, Poor Customer Service, or Both?

Here are a few examples of people interacting with Seattle Public Schools this week. Arrogance? Poor customer service? Or both? You decide.

  • A Spanish-speaking woman is signed up to be the last speaker at the School Board meeting on Wednesday. Prior to the meeting, the woman's friend had called the district asking for a Spanish interpreter to be present. The woman was told that wasn't possible unless the friend herself called and requested one. So the speaker called and requested one. The policy of not allowing someone else to call and request an interpreter is bad enough, but it gets worse! Not only was there not a Spanish interpreter present at the meeting, but nobody bothers to tell this woman that until she gets up to speak after waiting for an hour.

  • I asked Mark Green, "What chance is there of a rebuild of the Genesee Hill building getting on the BEX III Levy?" And he said "Zero." When I asked, "Why?" He said, "The decisions are already made about what is going to be on the BEX III Levy. There is no will to change that and no time to change that."

  • This Wednesday, the School Board is going to discuss redrawing reference areas, limiting choice, and restricting transportation. Those issues are completely linked to the issue of closure and consolidation. And, in preparation for the Board Work Session, you can be sure that district staff have already drawn up proposals about the changes they think should be put in place. However, no mention of these is being made to the public. The preliminary choice and transportation decisions might be driving some of the closure recommendations, but that thinking has remained hidden.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

my impression is that there are pockets of excellence in the district that exists despite the overwhelming numbers of folks who do the bare minimum that their job requires . We talk about paying the teachers more, and we did take a chunk out of district funds so that we could do that, but other jobs in the district designed to support families pay much less.

I suspect that those answering the phones figure that they are giving their $10 an hour- no benefits worth of service.

It isn't that they are singling out families who need translators, or minority or poor families, most anyone who needs help from the district is treated the same way in our experience.

Ok scratch that( just checked the employment site)
From our experience how they hire/retain teachers for summer school programs and how they are only now looking for teachers for the evening school- underlies their lack of attention to students and families who most need it.

Shouldn't we have a cadre of teachers who have been identified as having the skills to work with students on the verge of leaving the system, rather than be hiring in October from the pool of teachers that haven't been able to find a job anywhere else?

They may say they are interested in reducing disproportionality- but like my mother always said- "actions speak louder than words".