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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Joel Connelly's take on candidates

Joel Connelly wrote in his column today about candidates who attended the Alki candidate forum (I'm sure there are more than the ones he wrote about).

Here's what he had to say about School Board candidates, Peter Maier and Sally Soriano.

"Seattle School Board candidate Peter Maier came across at the forum as crisp, able and informed. Maier is a Harvard-trained lawyer who has headed Schools First, organizing school levy campaigns. He is taking on incumbent Sally Soriano, active in anti-World Trade Organization protests and part of an insurgent school slate elected in 2003.

The race will offer clear choices.

"The WASL test has become a punitive test," declared Soriano. Maier argued, however, that the statewide test is "an appropriate means of introducing rigor and skills" that students need in college and the job market.

As to race relations, Soriano said "anti-racism, sexism and classism" belong in the curriculum of city schools. Maier stressed the importance of "individual relationships," and argued: "What really matters is that every child reach his or her potential." "

Well, when you frame one person as a Harvard-educated lawyer versus an anti-WTO activist, what can you expect? C'mon, whatever you think about Sally Soriano, her credentials to be on the Board extend much further than one piece of activism in her life. She's an educator. Also, insurgent slate? There was no slate in 2003, just 4 people running for 4 seats. Brita, Sally, Irene and Darlene would laugh if you called them a slate because really, how did that turn out? Did they vote in lockstep? Nope.

I think the last paragraph about race relations really shows the gap in thinking. There are issues of racism, classism and sexism in our society but should that be what we wrap all the thinking around as we teach students? At the other end, we have this feel-good "every child should reach his or her potential". That's great but too many platitudes without how to get there make me nervous.

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