Thursday, April 10, 2008

Everyone "Accountable"?

Probably because the PI had an editorial a couple of days ago about the whole situation at Broadview-Thompson over the teacher abusing children, there were a number of letters to the editor. All were in the vein, " Why weren't (aren't) the principals/administrators involved being held accountable?" It's a fair question; if ever there was bad judgment used, it's here.

From a letter by Dan Reeder:

" The district's response? Mandate staff training about 'reporting suspected abuse.' According to your article, at least 15 teachers and staff members made at least 30 reports to the principal and assistant principal of the school about the sexual misconduct. Sounds to me like staff members already know how to report."

There was a long letter from former SEA president, John Dunn, who said:

"And yet, the article goes on to say that two of the school administrators accused of failing to act on warnings about the perpetrator's behavior are still employed by one school district. For God's sake why were they not terminated for not taking actions that are required by state law in reporting such allegations to their supervisors and the proper state authorities?...I have witnessed investigations and hearings of termination for far less egregious behavior of school employees. The P-I should be calling for an end to the "Good Old Boys and Girls' Culture" of school administrators."

Tough talk. I didn't attend the Board meeting last night; I wonder if there was any mention of this at all? I would guess the district is waiting until after the court case involving the former principal, Terry Skjei, is settled.

But the district can't just pay out the money, say they'll do better and call it a day. Parents are trusting administrators every single day to watch over their children. The fact that this kind of thing extends up the ladder to high school administrators not calling police when assaults take place is troubling. Administrators can't be, and legally shouldn't be, making these decisions on their own.

Which leads me to wonder; was it just the principals? Did any of these principals go to their education director or to the CAO at the time and ask for direction? It's not like principals were never asked about life at B-T. When ed directors, who make regular visits to schools, came to Broadview-Thompson and asked "so how are things here?", what was the answer?

I have to wonder what the parents at View Ridge where Terry Skjei is now principal think. I'm sure Ms. Skjei can't say anything to these parents with her own lawsuit pending.

If the district waits long enough, this might go away. But they should do better than just say that there will be more staff training. If everyone in this district is "accountable", then that includes school administrators.


Charlie Mas said...

Are not the principals who failed to report subject to criminal prosecution? Doesn't state law mandate reporting?

I have seen reports, on blogs, that these reports went all the way to the superintendent's office. These reports haven't been corroborated or documented, but they would be very troubling.

dan dempsey said...


I regard to your thoughts above....
After spending time teaching in the SPS, I thought sending information to the Superintendent's office was the equivalent of sending it to the round file. I even took hard copy to Mr. Manhas' secretary and never got any response.

This never troubled the School Board or the other SPS admin.

A few examples of my attempt to communicate with the powers that be:

1... You are failing to follow the classroom disruption law -- No response

2... I've been called to the Office and in the presence of all building administrators told by one Asst. Principal that I cannot go outside the chain of command and communicate with downtown without administrative permission. I was also told that the actions I wished to follow in regard to state law RCW 28A 600.020 would not be allowed to happen by that Asst. principal. Manhas and Santorno continued their policy of no response when notified.

3... On May 8, 2007 Ms Santorno told me that she would never meet with me in regard to the Everyday Math curriculum ( Although she had invited me to meet with her 24 hours earlier ) because I was rude and impolite and treated her poorly likely because she was a black woman.

... On May 9, 2007 I wrote a letter to Mr Manhas detailing this incident ... NO Response.

This is SPS Superintendent's round file syndrome.

I have continually notified EVERYONE about the continuing failure to follow board policies D43 D44 D45 D46. I cannot get an answer from anyone after a year of trying. Super or CAO or School Board.

Kudos to those involved with the Denny Middle School closure lawsuit at least they will get a response from the district.

Mr. Chris Jackins told them that they were in defiance of State law for failing to file extensive paperwork for closing a school. The usual no response we don't care was the attitude.

Bill Hook math researcher told me in July 2007, before the Everyday Math implementation that I should require the SPS to file paper work with the FEDS in regard to the EM adoption because this was clearly an experiment on our children.

There was no data to support the likelihood of our children being successful with these materials, given the many failures of EM - Connected Math combinations in other cities with similar demographics to ours. He knows about this kind of stuff. National Research Council report of 2004 says so about EM & Connected Math. The current National Math Panel Report advises Avoiding Spiraling Curricula because they do not work. Everyday Math is famous as an ineffective Spiraling curriculum that does not work.

A true tribute to the amazing abilities of McGraw Hill sales machine is to now have EM in 30% of our Nations schools. The Everyday Math - Connected Math k-8 duo is in use in Denver. Denver had a known Math failure documented by Consultants on April 5, 2007 - reported in the Rocky Mountain News of April 6, 2007. I sent this information to the SPS. No one cared. In fact Mr Bernatek told me there was no statement by Denver administration verifying that the Failure of Math in Denver was connected to the Math Curricula.
{perhaps it is just really hard to learn math at any elevation at or above 5,000 feet}

The real reason that Ms Santorno changed her mind about meeting with me was because of the letter { linked again here} I sent her between the time she agreed to meet with me and the time she refused to meet.

Contained in the letter were just questions that I would like her to answer at our meeting and telling her that Shannon Smith a fellow member of Seattle NAACP would be accompanying me to the meeting.

Will these folks every answer anything outside of a court room?

See the last shining example of precisely what the SPS will fail to respond to, is my letter to Supt. Manhas of Nov. 5, 2006, which you can find as the last letter at the bottom of the letters page.

The Letters Page

An now you know why I keep writing that:

To Improve a System requires the intelligent application of relevant data.
-- W. Edwards Deming (1900-1993)

Relevant data this entire operation is setup to suppress relevant data.

I really doubt I am the only person in this city, tired of having these bullies abuse our children with the worst mode of operation imaginable.

Gee I wonder why the West Seattle High School faculty has not been heard from in regard to the Six-period day mandate -- If you think it is because they are all for it think again. Bullies know how to make life difficult.

I laugh at the idea of Union Protection. I contacted Wendy Kimball SEA president in regard to the Santorno incident above and the manhas failure to act.

Wendy's response was that Ms Carla Santorno did not wish to meet with me. But... But... after continued questioning by Wendy Ms Santorno had agreed to meet with me sometime after the May 30th Everyday Math adoption as she was extremely busy at this time.

If you want an answer go to court otherwise do not waste your time or the ink in your printer as hard copy hand delivered gets the same treatment as emails or phone calls.

I know this for I visited Olympia and walked into the offices of the State Attorney General.

Schools and School Boards are not even required to follow their own policies. The Superintendent is responsible to the school board and the school board is responsible only to the voters unless someone is breaking the law.

So there you have it. Want an answer go to court.

I think we should form the SPS children's defense fund and start multiple lawsuits if we want answers to why this system serves our children so poorly and has no use for relevant data to support previously made decisions (because there is none) preferring instead to present cherry-picked numbers to support their continuing defective non-data based decisions.

Given my experiences I have little difficulty believing this recent disclosure of child abuse went beyond principal's all the way to the Superintendent. I have no facts in this case but I do have my experience to draw on.

Want answers go to court:
Are not the principals who failed to report subject to criminal prosecution? Doesn't state law mandate reporting?