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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

District In Fight Over Assignment Address

As if the district had nothing else to do (and newspapers don't have any other education issues to write about), here's a fight between a family and the district over an out-of-district enrollment. This involves one, Tony Wroten, a basketball player, who enrolled in Garfield last year as a freshman while it was at Lincoln. Garfield moved back to its new building and big surprise! was overenrolled. The district went through the list, found non-residents and Tony was one of them. His family was told he had to live in Seattle to stay.

Here's where it got sticky. Tony's dad rented a house in the Central area where his mom lives (dad lives in Renton). But the district - wait for it - sent out an investigator who found that it did not appear that the house in the Central district was his primary residence and they recinded his enrollment. They were told there was room at other Seattle high schools including RBHS, Cleveland and Sealth. Naturally, a threat of a lawsuit has followed and oddly, the parents are keeping him at home, twiddling his thumbs rather than enrolling him at another high school.

Did I mention that Tony is a nationally-ranked basketball recruit and sitting out a season wouldn't be good?

Sigh. Rumors are rife. Did someone rat him out? Was it the RBHS basketball coach who had designs on him? (I kind of doubt it because when a school is overenrolled, I think it is standard to see if there are any non-residents on the list. I'd have to ask Tracy Libros but they had a huge problem with people trying to get into JSIS using rented apartments and the district cracked down.) This is not the first case of the district making sure people live where they say they do. Is the district being heartless separating him from his friends?

Here are the articles from the PI and the Times.

12 comments:

Roy Smith said...

It sounds to me like the district did nothing that was either wrong or unusual in this case. It did what has been a fairly standard procedure, only no high profile athletes have been involved before. It is too bad that SPS will now have to pay legal costs for defending themselves against a lawsuit that doesn't appear to have much merit.

And the fact that he is not attending school at all for the interim indicates to me that education is not the family's first priority in this case.

seattle citizen said...

I agree with Roy. This appears to be a frivilous lawsuit through and through. We'll have to wait for the facts to come in, but by all appearances the family lives in Renton, paid "a family friend a block from Garfielf" some "rent" but didn't live there.
It's a shame the district has to spend money defending itself. Does the claimant have to pay legal fees if the case is thrown out?

SolvayGirl said...

I agree that out of District kids should not be attending SPS under false pretenses...but how much money does the District spend to investigate this sort of thing? How do they select whom to investigate?
There's tons of kids attending schools all over with "fake" addresses. How does this impact the assignment plan? How many kids at Roosevelt and/or Garfield actually live well outside the reference areas?

We might always have this problem with athletes as there's only so much a school can do to create a winning team. However, there should be no reason parents should have to resort to fraud to get their children a quality academic education.

reader said...

Scary to think that the district went to such lengths when, in our experience, PTA muckety mucks in some of the highly popular schools perform much the same level of vigilanteeism for free.

Ananda said...

The papers are leaving out something that dad said earlier this year when they were first trying to get non-resident admission that they used Toney's grandmother’s address last year so he didn’t have to worry about being on a waiting list. Was he living with grandma last year or was that also a lie? I applaud the district for applying the rules across the board rather than giving this family special treatment because of his sports ability. Apparently, they learned something from the Sealth debacle.

AutismMom said...

The district has been known to do this for special education students too. Follow them around to see if their listed address is really their address. Because, while the district generally welcomes out of district students... it definitely does NOT welcome students with disabilities from other districts. In the case where somebody actually has a real address (rented or bought), it's darn hard for the district to prove make the case that it isn't your residence.

Unknown said...

This article in the Seattle Times has more info on the matter. After reading this article i don't think you can say that the Wrotens lawsuit doesn't have any merit.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/highschoolsports/2008484627_wroten09.html

Jet City mom said...

since students who attended Washington middle school in the APP program- have priority seating at Garfield- over neighborhood residents- I think the districts criteria questionable.

Shouldn't it be more important to have this student attend school- than try and exit him from the SPS, considering he apparently has attended Seattle schools since his HeadStart days?

Anyone think it is IRONIC that the coach/counselor from the Sealth debacle- is currently employed at Garfield?

Jet City mom said...

Someone who could compete in high school right now -- if only he were old enough.
That is the type of talk surrounding Tony Wroten, an eighth-grader at Washington Middle School in Seattle.
"Right now, he's kind of one of a kind," Williams said. "He's got that something special that already shows itself."
Murray agreed that Wroten is the real deal.
"He's legit," said Murray, who won a state title playing at Garfield in 1986. "The game slows down for him."
Considered by scouts as a top-five player in the class of 2011, Wroten inherited his sports pedigree from his parents.
His father, Tony Sr., played tight end for the Huskies in the early 1980s. His mother, Shirley (formerly Shirley Walker), was a standout sprinter for Garfield who later competed for Washington and Arizona State. His aunt, Joyce Walker, coach of Garfield's girls program, is regarded by many as the best female basketball player in state history. A 1980 Garfield graduate who set numerous records with the Bulldogs, Walker played professionally in Italy and Germany before joining the Harlem Globetrotters.
"In terms of bloodlines, that part is a done deal," Williams said.
On the court, Wroten is a commanding presence, a 6-foot-3 lefty point guard with all the skills -- passing, shooting, dribbling with power and finesse, defending, elevating, making his teammates better.
"I can do mostly everything," said Wroten, who'll turn 14 in April and will begin playing for Garfield next season.
So evident is his talent, Wroten has played up a grade level in Seattle's Rotary Style select program since he was 8.



I see little information to suggest that Tony Wroten should not attend Garfield.
He attended Washington middle school, his mother provided the district with rent reciepts,and ya know what " last year" Garfield had more students than it should have- so why wasn't this researched last year?

Garfield has a family connection to Wroten, Joyce Walker is his aunt and he lives a block away. His mother was a standout athlete at Garfield, competing in track & field. Why should he go to another school while the district sorts this out, if he lives a block away from Garfield?

Ananda said...

I suspect that the family lied and used Grandma's address to get him into Washington. Paying someone to lie isn't living in the District. I understand the slant the Times Sports writer took, he has to preserve a relationship with Tony Sr. if he wants continued acces no matter where Tony Jr. ends up. Anyone who has ever dealt with Tracy Libros knows that she is a strait shooter. If she pulled the plug on his resident admission, it would have been after weeks of survillance and checking a lot of records.

Bloodlines doesn't give anyone a right to attend a school, there is no legacy system. People who live in Seattle should have priority access to Seattle schools. Period. Send the poor kid to school, if that is what the family cared about, he would be in school while they fought about the issue, not sitting out.

Unknown said...

"Anyone think it is IRONIC that the coach/counselor from the Sealth debacle- is currently employed at Garfield?"

The counselor your talking about has nothing to do with the basketball program at Garfield

Jet City mom said...

Bloodlines doesn't give anyone a right to attend a school, there is no legacy system

Of course not, however- family connection is a motivator to live in a neighborhood.

Women's ball at Garfield, is strong, men's is still getting there. This boy was nationally ranked when he was a freshman, and noted when he was in middle school, it is not going to matter where he plays ball, he will be noticed.

I hear that Washington has been overenrolled for years- if he didn't live in the district when he attended Washington- why wasn't anything said then?

Why wait until the middle of high school?
Since black males- historically have a tough time in the classroom in Seattle schools, I think that we should pay attention to where they feel comfortable and engaged.

We don't seem to have a problem with an APP student from Wedgwood attending Garfield,since that is where the cohort typically attends high school, even though APP ends in middle school.

The district certainly doesn't have a problem with a high school counselor, arranging for fake district addresses for five basketball players, that benefited his position as basketball coach.

It is true, he is no longer a coach, but in his position as a counselor- he serves as a " role model" for students- anyone read the latest study ?

NEW YORK — In the past year, 30 percent of U.S. high school students have stolen from a store and 64 percent have cheated on a test, according to a new, large-scale survey suggesting that Americans are too apathetic about ethical standards.

Educators reacting to the findings questioned any suggestion that today's young people are less honest than previous generations, but several agreed that intensified pressures are prompting many students to cut corners.

"The competition is greater, the pressures on kids have increased dramatically," said Mel Riddle of the National Association of Secondary School Principals. "They have opportunities their predecessors didn't have (to cheat). The temptation is greater."


I wonder where kids get their ideas that they can cheat and get away with it? @@