Showing posts from April, 2007

Educational Philosophy

The purpose of this blog is to bring people "together across Seattle to fight for high quality public schools that educate all students to become passionate, lifelong learners." For me, education is a social justice issue. In order to create more justice in the world, we need a more just and equitable education system. But I also believe we (in Seattle, in Washington and all over the world) have a moral imperative to help every student learn to their highest potential, pushing kids to grow, set goals, and grow some more. What students should learn includes academics, social skills, and how to live and work in our world. This is my philosophy of education. My core beliefs about what education is and what it is for, shape all my other opinions about public education. The same is true for everyone else who publishes and post comments on this blog. And where our philosophies differ, our opinions are sure to clash. I don't believe there are many absolutely "right"

School Board Candidate web sites

District 1, Far north Seattle: Peter Maier Sally Soriano, incumbent District 2: Around Greenlake Darlene Flynn, incumbent (has yet to announce if she is running for re-election) Lisa Stuebing website Sherry Carr website District 3: Northeast Seattle Brita Butler-Wall, incumbent (has yet to announce if she is running for re-election) Harium Martin-Morris website District 6: West Seattle Steve Sundquist (the incumbent in District VI, Irene Stewart, has announced that she will not run for re-election) I hope to update this page as names and web sites are added.

Thoughtful column on college

This from Michael Winerip an education columnist from Sunday's NY Times. Not something necessarily to discuss but food for thought. I'm reading a book by a woman who used to be an admission's officer at Duke University. It is pretty heartbreaking. There are many wonderful colleges and universities out there and the name-brand ones are unbelievably hard to get into even for BWRKs (her name for Bright Well-Rounded Kids).

Equality versus Quality in Schools

This morning's column in the Times by Jerry Large sheds some light on my question about why Franklin was popular earlier in this decade (are we really on the downside of the decade, how? when? did that happen) and now is not quite as popular. What it points to is that too much change too quickly (in Franklin's case change in leadership and programming) can make parents uneasy. Time has gone by so fast I had forgotten about the Supreme Court case about Seattle's tie-breaker. It is time for that decision to come down. I'm pretty sure (just based on the performance of SPS's lawyer before the Court) that the District will lose its case. It will be interesting to see if a new tiebreaker, like socio-economic status, will appear in discussions about the assignment plan.

All Kids Go to College

I was reading an interview that Melinda Gates did with a journalist, Robert Siegel about education. Here's part of what she said (this is not out of context, it's a separate question from other questions she was asked): "I just want to ask you about a statement on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's Web site that I read, which is that, "All students in the United States can and must graduate from high school, and they must leave with the skills necessary for college, work, and citizenship. " I think everyone would agree that they better leave with the skills for citizenship because everyone can vote at age 18, and we urge them to. College. Can we reasonably expect 100 percent of high school students to become college students? Yes, I think we can. And, in fact, I'm here today in the Chicago school district visiting with students...huge number of Latinos and African-American populations, and guess what? I'm in schools where 95 to 98 percent of the

Teachers versus Parents; Is One More Important than the Other?

There had been an op-ed piece in the Times about what is needed for good education, namely, good teachers that are assessed regularly. Then, as a follow-up , a Federal Way administrator suggest parents aren't serious about telling their kids the realities of learning i.e. it's hard work. It's an interesting take because the WASL was originally developed to assess teachers, not students. This is not to say that teachers don't likely get feedback from WASL results but I'm not sure what is in place to help teachers whose classes score below standard. Also, I've always thought that parents are the third rail of education but, as we all know as parents (and teachers probably know really well), you can't critizize another parent's parenting. And, what I think is good parenting re;education, you might think is overkill (or lax). The Federal Way administrator thinks that the Singapore way might be better and that kids should feel obligated to do well

Every School a Good School

There’s a lot of talk about making every school a good school. According to the talk, if we do that, then almost everyone will just send their child to the neighborhood school and we will have diversity, uniformly high academic achievement, reduced transportation costs, and no more capacity or assignment issues. I write “almost everyone” because students with special needs and students seeking alternative education or special programs may or may not be enrolled at their neighborhood school. First of all, I don't believe it. Even if every school is regarded as a "good" school, there will be differences and people will have preferences which will outweigh proximity. There still won't be a high school option for families in Queen Anne and Magnolia and there still won't be enough elementary capacity in Eastlake and Capitol Hill. You can be sure that many neighborhood schools will not be diverse. Despite all of the talk, the District has not demonstrated any ability

White Privilege Conference?

This article from the Times. Not sure if many folks had heard about this, I read about it on a conservative blog. I am very disappointed the money came from the Small Learning Communities grant because I don't get the connection between this convention and SLC. The district may have misstepped here and it's one more problem for Ms Hollins and her department.

Proposed Changes to the Assignment Plan

As a follow-up to the previous post , here's a short piece from Michael DeBell with thoughts about proposed changes to the assignment plan. I've also copied the 6 proposed policy changes below for reference. This is a difficult, emotional topic, and I appreciate Michael's willingness to put a draft plan out and solicit public feedback. ************* Long waitlists and perilously under-enrolled schools indicate we are not using the best assignment policy for our city. I wrote a preliminary essay/plan that I hope will move the discussion forward, help us start talking about changes and tradeoffs. Sibling and distance tie breakers offer virtually no citywide choice for popular high schools. Equal access to the specialty programs are particularly concerning, so the set-aside seats are a starting point to address this issue. Some urban, open choice districts have adopted automatic triggers for low enrollment schools resulting in reconstitution, consolidation or closure. A

Michael deBell's Preliminary Assignment Thoughts

This document was posted at Roosevelt's Bulletin area. I briefly read through it and haven't had time to contemplate it yet so I'm not offering any opinions. He does touch on a number of issues and I give him credit for taking a stand and putting it out there. I would stress, as I suspect Michael would, this is early work. As Brita Butler-Wall has posted, this work is being done now by the staff and the Board. Michael mentioned to me at a superintendent interview forum that public discussion is likely to be scheduled for fall.

What's happened to Hale?

My son graduated from Hale last year. (He was very happy and content there; as parents we had problems with the new principal and the direction Hale was going in.) When we were looking at high schools for him, Hale was one of the most sought-after schools with a great principal. It still has very high WASL scores. I bring this up because Linda Thomas' blog at the Seattle PI was discussing private schools (it was a bit abstract and I wasn't sure if she was talking about K-12 or post). There was a complaint (again) about lack of seats at Roosevelt and I suggested Hale open up more seats (they are way under capacity by choice). Here's what one person replied: "No one, repeat no one, on the wait list for Roosevelt, Ballard or Garfield wants their kids to attend Hale. Zero. Let that sink in for a moment. Your answer to this sounds like it comes from some ex-Soviet commissar. And people wonder why so many people sacrifice so much money to send their kids to private

Education Meetups In May

This from the Washington branch of the Appleseed Foundation, a non-profit group that promotes systemic change using citizen advocates and pro bono lawyers. Host a Spring Meet-up and Take on School District Governance in May 2007 Discussions around Seattle school district governance will take center stage during Spring Meet-Ups sponsored by Washington Appleseed and CPPS in May . Using living rooms and lunch rooms, we will bring voters together to discuss current and future issues on school district leadership and governance. Want to Host? We need volunteers to bring the discussion to your corner of the city from May 9 th to 12 th . You will have everything you need for lively discussion around these important issues. We provide the training, discussion guide, feedback form and more. You supply the venue and invite 10 to 15 of your friends and colleagues over to talk. Spring Meet-Ups will be provided with background on school district governance, the roles

Ed in '08

Linda Thomas has a reader blog in the PI on education and it can be very interesting (and funny). Today she posts about an initiative from - who else?- Bill and Melinda Gates and others on the candidates for President and their education stands. It's called Ed in '08 and here's a link to their site. Here are their 3 basic starting places for what needs to happen in American education: American education standards Regardless of where they live, all students need to acquire knowledge and skills that prepare them to be successful adults. From New Hampshire to Nevada, every student deserves a strong curriculum in subjects like math and English. Learn more . Effective teachers in every classroom We need to enable teachers to improve their skills, measure teachers’ performance in the classroom, and pay them more if they produce superior results or take on challenging assignments. Learn more . More time and support for learning We need to provide successful and strug

Fun and Free to do with the Kids

FYI about Seattle Art Museum Grand Opening Weekend 35-Hour Grand Opening Marathon! May 5, 2007 10 a.m.–11:59 p.m. Simonyi Special Exhibition Gallery The Seattle Art Museum will be open for 35 hours straight as it kicks off the grand opening of the newly expanded downtown facility! Come in the wee hours of the morning to experience SAM in a completely unique way. You never know what you’ll see! Festivities will include: • Live dance and music performances featuring cultures from around the globe • A variety of art activities for kids and adults • Photos with Sammy the Camel • Limited-edition gifts designed by Olympic Sculpture Park artists for sale • Great food and refreshments available Admission is free all weekend but will require entry tickets with specific times. Tickets will be available on site only on May 5 and 6. There will be no advance tickets.

Watch what they do, not what they say

At yesterday's Student Learning Committee meeting, Ms Santorno told the Committee that the Superintendent will postpone his decision to split middle school APP. She told them that the District is very busy with a number of other tasks and that this matter can be addressed later as it is not urgent. I would like to direct the attention of the public, the Board, and any future board members to how Mr. Manhas and his staff conducted themselves throughout this affair. First of all, they refused to engage the community throughout. They refused to meet with the APP Advisory Committee. When they did meet, they refused to talk. They refused to participate in any dialog at all. For ten months, the District staff refused to answer even the most fundamental questions about the process. Staff, including Ms Santorno, promised to share their thinking with the community – they never did. They never consulted with the APP community, the Washington community, or the Hamilton community. They did n

High School Musicals

The Times had an interesting article about high school musicals in our area. I'm somewhat aware of this issue as I have a student at Roosevelt (but he's not in the drama scene). The article talks about how the average high school musical costs about $10,000 and some of them locally have cost upwards of $60,000 (this at Blanchet, a Catholic high school). The money generally comes from alums and parent boosters. The article also notes that Rainier Beach will put on The Wiz for about $1,000 (they have, what is arguably, the nicest performing arts hall in SPS). You can chalk this up to "oh well, that's just the way it is"; some schools have more resources from alums and parents than others. Roosevelt has a long history of putting on plays and musicals so this isn't some new thing. But I think high schools, at different points in their history, have always put on plays (with musicals tending to be a lot more expensive to stage). I bring this up

No Math/Science WASL grad requirement until 2013

At the end of this year's legislative session, it was voted to suspend use of the math/science portions of the WASL until 2013 according to an article in the Seattle Times. If I can get this right, no class has ever had to pass the math, reading and writing portions of the WASL to graduation. I believe that was to start in 2008. The state is up to about 85% of students passing the reading and writing WASL and so, starting with the class of 2008, all seniors will have had to take and pass the reading and writing portions of the WASL to graduate. Only 56% of sophomores had passed the math WASL and just 38% passed the science WASL. (Just to keep in mind; if you don't take and pass the WASL, you cannot be issued a diploma and graduate with your class in the state of Washington. However, very few colleges or universities require a diploma to enroll. UW doesn't.) The bill has a provision that would allow the state Board of Education to set an earlier date for either te

Coordinator of Family and Community Engagement

At long last the District is ready to hire a Coordinator of Family and Community Engagement . This person will be responsible for developing, implementing, coordinating, and aligning the District's family involvement and community engagement activities and efforts in collaboration with other District staff within programs and schools. This constitutes a quarter of the Strategic Framework released in the Fall. Since no one has been in this position, that work has not been started yet. While I don't know the reason for the delay, I'm sure that every day of it was absolutely necessary. I have contacted Lin Carlson and volunteered to serve on the hiring committee for this position. I strongly encourage others to do the same. Of course the District will want to have lots of community members serving on the hiring committee for the community engagement job. Please, please, please, offer to serve on the hiring committee for this job.

Commentary in Seattle Times

Bruce Ramsey wrote a very good editorial in today's paper about the way math is taught. As a high school math teacher, I see the failure of "fuzzy math" everyday. Students don't learn the basics, so they don't have the foundation to "discover" anything and even if they do "discover" something, they don't know what it means because they don't know the basics or have the fundamentals down. The Seattle School District is working on a district wide math adoption for all the high schools and the last I heard two of the three finals are IMP and Core Plus, both of which are "fuzzy math" curriculums. We will be doing a serious disservice to our students (especially the students below grade level), if IMP or Core Plus becomes the math curriculum for SPS. These programs don't stress the basics enough. In math, you need to know how to walk before you can run. You have to know how to divide fractions before you can work on the equatio

Mercer Island teens and the big picture

Interesting but not surprising article in today's Times about a researcher studying Mercer Island teens. I found the outcomes familiar but I worry about my son NOT doing enough to look good on a college app (with applications up and it being very competitive to get into many colleges and universities including UW). I don't want to pressure him too much but he'll need more than his good looks and soccer to get into a decent college (and here's hoping he keeps those grades up).

Are We Too Old School?

A post from the discussion about people who left for private school got me to thinking about another issue. What about kids, their dress and their behavior? Someone mentioned how on a tour of AS#1, they saw behavior they didn't like. When my older son first went to Eckstein, I was very surprised at how some kids dressed and behaved. What did I see at Eckstein? A lot of girls with pajama bottoms, midriffs or, worse, visible thongs. Baggy pants on the boys (which, of course, induced laughter in me because of the odd way the boys have to walk to keep them up). Eckstein does have a dress code which does get enforced. (Principal Campbell has a set of oversized, ugly tees for the girls who have problems covering up. Not much fun to wear one of them all day.) I also heard a lot of mouthiness from kids which really surprised me. I know now that Eckstein is pretty normal and actually not half as bad as some other schools. (And if you don't have a middle schooler, just


I may be jumping into a hornet's nest here but there's a lot of confusion and anger out there over high school assignments. (I may be repeating a few things I said elsewhere but I want to paint a full picture.) I was at a Site Council meeting at Roosevelt last night and learned that the waitlist, including all grades not just 9th, is over 400. That's a lot of disappointed people. The big issue that each and every one of us needs to get, that no enrollment plan can fairly address, is that we live in a geographically challenged city. Period. Wednesday night I was at a PTSA meeting where the changed to Metro was discussed and a scatter map of eligible students given out. I was surprised at how many students come from Magnolia/QA/SE. But that will change in the coming years. Here's why. First, a little review. When a school is overenrolled, a series of tiebreakers kick in. The first (and most obvious) is sibling. Then, it's region (except high school is

District Property Management

In today's Queen Anne News is an article concerning the district's property management: Plan to sell old QA school property triggers hearings. Last month, other articles about district property management included: Sell or rent 5 schools; hold on to the rest, land manager says (PI) District to weigh plans for closed school sites (PI) The Seattle School District's Closed Facilities Policy was last revised in November 1997, and is posted at: . I'm not sure what the district should do with the closed facilities, but I don't believe the school district staff should be spending as much time on property management as they do. I believe one of the CACIEE recommendations was to contract out property management to skilled professionals. Did that recommendation ever go anywhere?

Comeback for Seattle Schools?

This article by David Brewster was in the April 12th Crosscuts. I think he makes some valid points. Whether you believe Cheryl Chow's strong leadership is a good thing or bad thing depends on how you like her style. She gives the appearance of being willing to walk over anyone who gets in her way. He gives kudos to Board candidates Peter Meier and Sherry Carr. I agree with some of the comments following the article about Peter. Peter is a bright, qualified person but I have never heard him give one opinion of his own about the district. He has worked on Schools First for a long time which required him to parrot anything staff told him about facilities. It would be important to go to candidate forums and get him to give an opinion before believing he would be a good Board member. Brewster also says Meier wants to "stay the course" on strategy. Great and what has that non-discernable strategy been so far? He ends with this: "Would a smart, coherent boar

Super's Contract Okayed

From the Times: "The Seattle School Board on Wednesday approved a contract with Maria Goodloe-Johnson, selected last week to be the district's next superintendent. The three-year contract pays Goodloe-Johnson $240,000 a year. In addition, she will receive $20,000 per year in a retirement fund and a $700-a-month car allowance. The current superintendent, Raj Manhas, earns $178,000 a year, with no contribution to a retirement fund. Goodloe-Johnson has yet to sign the contract, but she is expected to do so. The contract vote was 6-0; board member Darlene Flynn was not present." Well, the Board managed to negotiate to the very end of the pay scale plus benefits.

Change on the School Board

According to this article in Crosscut, Irene Stewart will not be seeking re-election to the School Board. Irene Stewart says she won't seek a second term on the Seattle School Board

APP Split is Off! ...for now

In a rare victory for reason and community, the Superintendent's decision to resolve the overcrowding at Washington Middle School by dividing middle school APP between Washington and Hamilton has been put on hold. There won't be any formal announcement until the Student Learning Committee meets on April 24, but in an email today, Director Brita Butler-Wall told Stephanie Bower, the chair of the APP Advisory Committee: "I met with Carla yesterday. At SLC on the 24th she will be making a brief statement about her original recommendation to add an APP site to the effect that she is going to put it on hold given the context: new supe coming, new assignment plan in the works, program reviews not completed yet. She will also give a timeline for any further decisions and outline a process so that parents etc. will have enough notice to be able to give input in a timely fashion. I believe she is looking at tabling this concept for a year or so." For the record, the com

Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson Not Yet Hired

The hiring of Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson has apparently not yet been finalized. Makes me wonder whether there are serious roadblocks to finalizing the contract, or whether this is just the inevitable slow grind of Seattle School District bureaucracy. School superintendent talks to begin Monday (Post and Courier, Charleston) Goodbye to All That ( Dr. Goodloe-Johnson's legacy (Post and Courier, Charleston) Assuming it's the latter issue, I hope our incoming superintendent listens to the couriercritic blogger who says her advice for Dr. Goodloe-Johnson in Seattle is "..for her to try to be more down-to-earth, more receptive to criticism, and more ready to admit mistakes.

School Board Meeting Tonight

On the "Introduction Items" section of the agenda of the Seattle School Board meeting tonight is Resolution 2006/07-13, Authorization for a Reduction in Force . Apparently, the district is anticipating the need to lay off "certificated staff." Does anyone know whether the plan is to lay off teachers? or other certificated staff? or both? The "Public Testimony" section of the agenda is dominated by people testifying about military recruiters. (14 out of 20 slots). Maggie Metcalfe is going to testify about public access to the superintendent search process, Chris Jackins is going to testify about Garfield construction costs, and the three remaining slots are about the New School, student assignment, and math. The meeting is from 6 pm to 8 pm at the Stanford Center. However, as Melissa Westbrook mentioned earlier, a public hearing on the use of I-728 funds is scheduled prior to this meeting, from 5:00 pm to 5:15 pm . I'm not able to attend either meet

9th Graders taking the WASL

This article was in today's PI about 9th graders being able to take the 10th grade WASL. The number doubled this year from about 6500 last year to over 14,000 this year. My son was one of them. He took the Reading and Writing. (We decided against the math and science. He hasn't had year-round science and we decided to check out the 9th grade practice WASL in math first even though my son is in honors math.) He thought the reading and writing were easy. My husband and I just thought he might as well get it out of the way and be able to do more work on other subjects next year. It does count as one of the tries but if, on the other hand, you really wanted to see how your student was doing, taking it sooner could be an early warning system especially if your student scored 1s instead of2s or 3s.

Why Families Go from Public to Private

Some recent comments about why families who are in Seattle Public Schools move to private schools provide important insights for the district and our new superintendent as they work to increase the percentage of children who attend public school in Seattle. Several of the comments are excerpted below, and I'd like to hear from more families. If you used to have your kids in Seattle Public Schools, but don't anymore, tell us why. What could convince you to come back? And what could have prevented you from leaving? From Andrew: As far as I can tell, the district has done little or no research on why parents choose private instead of public. I've heard from a couple of different sources that next year might be particularly bad -- e.g. I was told that some private schools have claimed that private middle school applications were up over 50% this year! (I have no idea if that data is valid, but anecdotally, I know many active public schools families that have decided to go pr

WASL Testing

In honor of the first day of WASL testing, here are a few interesting facts about the WASL, along with links to resources, sample test questions, and other information. From the OSPI WASL FAQ : How do students who are English Language Learners (ELL) participate in the WASL tests? All students who are ELL must participate in all WASL tests scheduled for their grades regardless of the number of years they have been in the U.S. The only exception is students who are in their first year of enrollment in U.S. schools. These students are not required to participate in reading or writing tests, but they must take the math exam [emphasis added] . In addition to participating in WASL, ELL students must take annually the Washington Language Proficiency Test - II (WLPT-II) in reading, writing, speaking and listening. This is problematic since the math exam requires a lot of reading and writing- BAB. From the Mothers Against WASL FAQ : How do I request that my child be excused from participati


Saw that there is a 15-minute "Public Hearing" from 5:00-5:15 p.m. this Wednesday before the regular Board meeting at 6 p.m. The subject is I-728. Since it's so short, I would assume it's a legally necessary meeting for them to vote on something but it's not on the agenda so I don't know what it is about. Also, a parent, Harium Martin-Morris, has announced he is running against Brita Butler-Wall in district III. I know him slightly as he was the PTSA president at Hale for a couple of years while my son was there. He has both a teaching certificate and an MBA. I thought that he tended to side with the principal and teachers more than supporting parent concerns but he's a pretty calm and level-headed person.

Dr. Goodloe-Johnson's First 100 Days in Seattle

Dr. Goodloe-Johnson's " Entry Plan " has been posted on the Seattle Times site so you can read the full list of tasks she wants to accomplish during her first 100 days in Seattle. Comment on or add to that list. Which tasks do you think are top priorities? What would you like her to read or study? And what kind of community interaction would be most meaningful and useful? I'll collect the comments and then send them to the superintendent feedback e-mail address.

Education Policy Updates

With all the focus on the superintendent search this week, several other education-releated topics have gotten much less coverage. School levies From the PI's A simple majority for levies? It's voters' call The state Senate voted Thursday to ask voters to eliminate the state constitutional requirement of a 60 percent supermajority for school levy approval. The Senate vote was 33-16, barely enough for the two-thirds needed for passage. Since the House passed the measure on a 79-19 vote exactly a month earlier, it now goes to the voters, who can approve it by a simple majority. From the Seattle Times, Proposed amendment would make it easier for schools to pass property-tax levies In the past eight years, 170 school operating levies in Washington won more than 50 percent of the vote but failed to reach the supermajority required to pass, according to the Washington Association of School Administrators. Local property-tax levies are a major source of money for public scho

Separating the Process and the Decision

The Process: In case you didn't already get the idea, I think the superintendent recruitment and selection process fell apart during the last week. The rushed, poorly planned presentation of the offer to Dr. Goodloe-Johnson as the new superintendent during spring break, the denial that Dr. Thornton's withdrawal affected the decision, the abrupt end to an opportunity for public feedback that had been invited until April 17th, the fact that the school district web site still does not have (as of 6:24 this evening) any news of the decision, all contribute to a less than optimal way to bring in a new superintendent. The main reason given by School Board members for the rush was that they were worried they would lose both candidates to other jobs. I say, if the candidates were insufficiently committed to Seattle to take another job if offered first, then let them go elsewhere. The Decision: But, that is now all in the past. The decision has been made. The way things happened during

School Board "Public" Meeting

Cheryl Chow just came out and announced that the Executive Session is going longer than expected. Says she hopes they'll be out in 45 more minutes. Brita Butler-Wall is in the meeting via phone. Mary Bass just arrived. Will keep you posted. ***** By the way, how public is a "public" meeting when the number of media and district staff far exceeds the number of parents or other interested members of the public? *********** Dr. Gregory Thornton has withdrawn. Details on Seattle Times website . *********** Darlene Flynn moves that Seattle offer position of superintendent to Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson . Seconded. ******* Closing meeting, and opening up to press conference. ********* Chow : "The School Board's foremost responsiblity is to assure the district has excellent leadershp in the position of superintendent...any one of the six semi-finalists would have been an excellent match with the profile...because of the high caliber of candidates attracted t

Seattle School District Stumbles, Risks Falling

For everybody who wanted to know the names of the finalists for the superintendent position, we now, thanks to a school district goof, know at least one of the names: From the Seattle Times this morning, School district lets slip one candidate's name for top job , we learn: ...the packet given to reporters when Thornton came to town Thursday contained a news release that stated that Topeka Public Schools Superintendent W.L. (Tony) Sawyer was a finalist along with Thornton, not Goodloe-Johnson. ...Sawyer, who worked as head of secondary schools in a New York City borough before taking the job in Topeka, said Wednesday that he withdrew for personal reasons before the board decided on finalists. ...Patti Spencer, district spokeswoman, wouldn't comment on whether Sawyer had been the choice over Goodloe-Johnson. Because the board was moving fast, district staff members prepared more than one release, she said. Note to Seattle School Board members --- when you are moving fast, you

Superintendent but what about the Board?

This op-ed is by Joni Balter of the Times.

Superintendent Announcement Near?

According to an article in today's PI, a superintendent could be announced as early as today. The article says that they are having an executive session at 1 followed by a public meeting at 2:30 with a possible announcement. Say what? Are they out of their minds? (Apparently so.) One, Cheryl and Michael just got back from their trip. Where's the time to debrief the other Board members? Two, there hasn't even been a week since the candidate forums. That's not enough time for the public to respond, let alone the Board read and digest the feedback. Three, where is the reflection time? What is the rush? If either candidate is giving them a timetable, then forget that candidate. Four, I spoke with someone up the food chain yesterday and was given the strong impression that no decision would be made this week. (I also pointed out that this Friday is Friday the 13th. Not to be superstitious but you know.) Do they know how badly this could reflect on them? N

Lynne Varner's column in the Times

I normally don't care for Lynne Varner's writing in the Times but I think she makes some valid points in her Lost in Translation column in today's Times. I was kind of surprised to learn that the Director of Equity and Race Relations makes 6 figures.

Shotgun Wedding?

What's the hurry? Why, as reported in Linda Thomas' blog in the PI site, did the School Board change its travel plans to visit Philadelphia and Charleston a week earlier? And why, are they now saying they will make a decision about who to offer the job to by tomorrow or Friday , just about a week after the community first got a chance to hear from the two candidates? In reports in the Charleston media, we learn: Cheryl Chow said: "The visit of both candidates last week, got us pumped up. We're just very excited about the quality of candidates and we didn't want to sit around and twiddle our thumps. We wanted to get out here and meet the community and find out what's going on at each of the sites." Charleston, SC - News - Seattle School Board Site Visit "Chow said it was clear after both candidates visited Seattle last week that the district had two top candidates, and the board didn't want to lose either before completing the interview process.

Questions for Board Members to Ask

As Michael DeBell, Cheryl Chow and Brita Butler-Wall visit Charleston and Philadelphia, here are the questions I would like them to ask: Charleston What are Dr. Goodloe-Johnson's interpersonal strengths and weaknesses? Please ask people with varying levels of power and influence this question, not just School Board members or community leaders. Parents from Charleston have made the following comments on this blog: "She is rude and she does not value parental input. Maria is not big on explaining her actions or her outcomes. Be careful in your selection." "Dr. Goodloe is an excellent individual and will lead Seattle school district to many victories as she has done in CCSD." "If Seattle offers her the position as super then get used to a type of public engagement that usually starts with the phrase 'We've already decided that, so let's move on.'" How does Dr. Goodloe-Johnson deal with people who disagree with her? During the intervi