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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Super After Her First Year

This article appeared in today's PI. There's isn't a lot here particularly in the Q&A but I give her credit for being open about her impatience with the Seattle process and people wanting to vent. That said, if she wants to take this district in a different direction, she needs to know where we have been and what mistakes have held us back. She does say one interesting thing:

"We have 45,000 kids and 93 buildings. So we have to decide what the tradeoffs are and what's important. Do we want high-quality programming and access for all students, or do we want lots of small schools all across the city? If we consolidate and provide more resources, then everybody gets a better education."

That sounds like more school closures to me. I have to wonder how she would execute any closure and consolidation plan.

She also says something funny (and telling):

"Days when I'm frustrated, I just want to sell clothes at Nordstrom's. I love Nordstrom's, I think they have great customer service, it's always fun, and has great music. I've thought about writing a book, I've thought about being a consultant, I've thought about working at the university. I've thought about running a nonprofit. I've thought about going back to school to study public policy. I've thought about state superintendency. I don't know. I have to balance that with, I have a daughter who will be starting elementary school, and I don't want to be bouncing her around."

She's clearly an ambitious person who knows she could do a lot of things. But she's right about not bouncing her daughter all over the place.

She takes pride in having visited every school and done audits of different departments. This could be a very telling year for her because we will see what all this investigating will turn into in terms of actions.

Any thoughts on her first year?

3 comments:

rugles said...

I found this quote troubling, in a Mission Accomplished kind of way...

"And to make sure we wrote a really clear strategic plan that will build the foundation for our success. We got that done, and approved unanimously"

dan dempsey said...

And that plan said absolutely nothing productive about mathematics the plan is to continue the current fraud.

Unknown said...

She took on what I would call the messiest, most chaotic, self-centered, grimy and disorganized system I have ever seen. And I’m sure that for an urban system SPS is a gem. If she can hit the right note, the educator masses will follow the top down mandate of restructure, order and organization out of the old city proper and into a more open and energetic space. Order and structure creates energy for a system.

Seattle has suffered from unbalanced interests. Forced busing took the funds from the system for salaries, unions won them back and now facilities and supplies are near neglected. Consolidation will help the facilities issue tremendously. Liberalism and racial politics have actually swung so far out of balance that real student needs are not being met. Special Ed and gifted students are not served; students are allowed to have a career of unconstructive behavior and are passed through high school with elementary skills. There must be standards in curriculum and in testing. There is a general perception (and yes it’s been part of the training dogma) that books, content, vocabulary, grades and the English language are considered to be archaic failures. Why because minority students have difficulty with these things?

This system is in serious need of redirection, and the deeper into it you get, I’m sure the messier it is…Nordstrom’s is a veritable heaven in comparison.