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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Wednesday, December 3rd Board Meeting

Here are the lucky winners in the sign-up for public testimony at tomorrow night's Board meeting, along with their topics. You had to be very quick and very lucky to get on this list. I know someone who e-mailed at 8:02 am Monday morning who did not.

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  • Chris Jackins, BPEL Grant
  • James Willeford, APP
  • Barbara Sherry, APP Program Integrity
  • Diane Kearin, APP/Split
  • Mary Kenny, Arbor Heights
  • Patty Iwamoto, Arbor Heights
  • Tammy Wooley, Arbor Heights
  • Victoria Hollerbach, Arbor Heights
  • Laura Grauer, AS#1 - Pinehurst
  • Kim McCormick, Capacity - North / NE Clusters
  • Nancy Speer, Capacity Mgmt. - Special Education
  • Eric Iwamoto, High School Closure
  • Jean Hoppe, Lowell
  • Tom Johnston, Lowell
  • Michael Foster, Lowell
  • Stephanie Bower, Lowell
  • Scott Meola, Meany
  • Melissa Aaron, Pathfinder
  • Karen Kosoglad, Summit K-12
  • Jane Maurer, Summit K-12

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One suggestion for schools/programs with more than one parent signed up....consider yielding spots to one of the many, many people on the waiting list who represent a school that did not get one of the 20 spots. More testimony is not necessarily better in the eyes (and ears) of the School Board members.

The full agenda is posted online.

21 comments:

Unknown said...

As a parent from TT Minor that is on the waiting list to speak I would love it if someone gave up one of their spots for us to have a turn to present our arguments against our school closing. Thanks,
robin

Unknown said...

Again, I am TT Minor parent begging anyone with some time to please let me know. My email address is bolaniss@gmail.com if anyone is willing to give up a spot please contact me.

Beth Bakeman said...

In case you don't hear back from someone who offers their spot Robin, rest assured that they often invite people from the wait list to testify.

And, there will be many more opportunities, starting with the community meeting on Thursday, to make your voice heard.

I hope someone does offer a spot...just want to present you with options in case that doesn't happen.

Unknown said...

Thanks for info! I haven't heard from anybody, I hope I get called to testify.

zb said...

We can only hope that the board is sophisticated enough that they get irritated at hearing similar messages from 7 people speaking about the APP program (assuming Lowell means APP & not the special needs program). Given the baseline antagonism against the APP program, I'd suspect that many would find it irritating to see 7/20 (35%) of the slots devoted to discussing it.

Central Mom said...

ZB...
What do you mean by "baseline antagonism"? It seems an odd usage of a term, especially among the bloggers here who truly seem eager to seek solutions for the district as a whole. Do you mean staff baseline antagonism, or community? And why do you have this perception?

I said...

Geee. Let's see. 100 comments lamenting the separation of 1 single program, everywhere you look. Close to half of the speaking slots reserved for APP. Not an ounce of reduced service for any of them, just a different bus route, and still a large group of students they all know, staying together. Only problem, a few other kids are presumed to maybe not like them at the new location. And 0 comments for lots and lots of other schools. Now why would anybody resent that? I mean isn't APP the most important thing for the whole entire district? Isn't everybody just so eager "to solve that horrible APP" injustice?

anonymous said...

I, doesn't really even deserve a response. He or she is obviously trying to pick a fight.

Whose fault is it that the other communities that you speak of are not advocating on their own behalf? Certainly, it's not the APP communities fault.

What should they do? Not advocate for what they think is best for their kids, because other communities are not advocating for theirs? Ridiculous.

Could it be that I, does not know all of the intricacies of the move? Perhaps hearing the testimony from all of those APP parents will enlighten you? Perhaps not. But at least they are speaking up for their community.

Every community should be speaking up right now. APP speaking up doesn't limit anyone else speaking up in any way. If 100 APP families post on this blog, well then 100 AS1 families, and 100 AAA families can to. They are not limited by APP's voice.

And as for speaking at the board meetings, it is first come first serve sign up. If you want to speak, dial your phone, and get those spots like APP families did. It would be a nice gesture for an APP family to give a spot to Robin, for the sake of community. But, Robin and other readers, you now know, there is a process to follow to get those spots. If you are unsure how it works pick up the phone and call customer service at SPS.

But, please, don't blame one communities powerful advocacy as the reason other communities are quiet.

Charlie Mas said...

Actually, I would expect a sophisticated Board member NOT to get irritated, to understand that individuals speak for themselves and may not be representative of their community, and to discount "baseline antagonism" towards programs by people who don't have informed opinions.

If the Board doesn't like how the speaking opportunities are distributed, then the Board can alter their rules. Given the fact that the Board has not moved to alter the rules on the distribution of spots in public testimony, I would conclude that the Board is fine with it.

I know that there are a lot of people who really don't like APP. I sure they have their reasons. Likewise, there are supporters of APP (as with a number of other programs) who continue to support the program and defend it against every perceived attack, even efforts to improve it.

I value this blog for how it allows us to hear from folks with different views and - when we are at our best - share those views and discuss our differences in a courteous and respectful venue.

seattle citizen said...

I agree that "I" was vitriolic and, given the apparent message of "lets work together and not advocate just for our own program," I helped fan the flame of that ethos by picking on APP.

That said...Ad hoc, you missed I's point, or chose to miss it. You perpetuated the idea that people should stand up for THEIR programs and no one else's. This won't help anybody, least of all the students of SPS.

If a parent/guardian merely advocates for their own child, they ar merely asking the public to supply them the services their particular child needs, not the services all the children need. Doing this is, in effects, saying "give me what I need from the public taxpayer's fund." That's like asking for your own private private school on the public dime. Frankly, it's selfish, and it defeats the whole idea of public schools.
ONLY those who advocate for ALL the students in the district should have their voices heard. Those who are only trying to get their own little slice of the public's pie are being selfish.

I know this sounds harsh: It's is the most normal thing in the world for each parent/guardian to hold their own child's interest closest to their heart. But remember that the public schools are a service (and a valuable one) and if you want to participate you have to participate on behalf of all children or you're merely trying grab tax dollars for yourself and you're defeating the very idea of "public" schools.

anonymous said...

So Seattle Citizen thinks that all families should advocate on behalf of the entire district. Of course this presumes that every family knows what is important to every school, every program, every family, and every neighborhood community in the district. That is ideal, and many who do have a broad range of knowledge such as Melissa and Charlie do this. But what about the vast amount of individuals who may only have expertise on their program? Shouldn't they be able to speak to the board and advocate on their communities behalf? Isn't that a right? Should a TT minor parent not be able to advocate on behalf of his community because he doesn't know anything about AS1's needs? It's an ideal mentality, but not always realistic.

seattle citizen said...

Of course it's an ideal. But if a stakeholder of a specific school, such as Whatsamatta U, doesn't know anything about another school in the district, Eastern Whatsamatta U, for instance, maybe she/he should learn. Couldn't a WU stakeholder do their research and advocate for what all students need, and show that WU provides those needs by doing a, b and c? If it can't be shown that WU (just to follow your example, not to pick on a specific school) supplies a necessary and specific need within the district, maybe TT Minor isn't that necessary (as an example! wait, let me go back and change all references to TT Minor to a made-up school: My alma-mater, a college but the same idea, Whatsamatta U)

Yes, anyone who deigns to tall the administration and informed stakeholders of the district what they should do should be knowledgable about the entire system. Why should anyone listen to all the uniformed voices saying, "take care of MY child!" when there is an entire district to be run efficiently? Why should taxpayers pay for YOUR child's needs and not the needs of ALL children with their limited funds?

Of COURSE it's the right of parents/guardians to try and get support for their kid. Freedom of speech, etc...But is it right to argue just for what you want for your child, and not for all the students? There are plenty of people (you cited a couple) who are very knowledgeable about many issues. There are experts. There are the district staff (including educators and others in the buildings): Let's let them have their say. They, hopefully, are arguing for the whole system to be made better, not just to rescue a small part for themselves.

This is the hard part: How do all the stakeholders speak in a united voice, and one of authority? Why SHOULD taxpayers listen to one little group saying "save our school" unless it can be shown how that is efficient, what the benefits are for the system as a whole? You can't argue for one of the pieces without evaluating the whole pie. And even if you do, unless you have a) big bucks; b) political clout; or c)...or....nope, that's it. Unless you have one of those, you won't be listened to, anyway. You're not expert in the whole system, so what authority do you have?

But...but...there IS power in numbers. If ALL stakeholders (parent/guardians, students, community etc) get together as one whole, THERE'S power. Power in numbers to do good OR bad. That's why the whole group should select their spokespeople, educated about the whole system, and let them make the arguments. Back those people up with the threat of mass demonstrations, etc, and there's power.

zb said...

I simply can't understand people's willingness to defend the "my child first" principle, but aside from that moralistic opinion, which need drive no one's choice but my own, it is simply ineffective.

I was trying to suggest to the Lowell/APP families that advocating in a way that *did not* suggest that they don't care about anything else (i.e. taking 7/20 slots, with no likelihood that the information won't just be repeated)might be more effective.

I also hope that decisions won't be made by listening to the largest number of squeaky wheels, and will include more thoughtful consideration.

(And I say it thinking that the plan to split APP and move both programs further south to be one of the more inexplicable in this plan).

zb said...

"Why should anyone listen to all the uniformed voices saying, "take care of MY child!" when there is an entire district to be run efficiently?"

When parents are perceived as behaving this way, the school districts feel justified in ignoring parents. That alone is a reason to not behave that way (or, at least, make sure you don't *look* like you're behaving that way).

James W said...

The preponderance of APP slots is an accident---it's a simple matter of the person assembling the schedule not knowing that APP and Lowell are the same topic. Look at the other slots---nobody has more than 4. I think they were trying to be equitable (which is great) but missed out that APP and Lowell are one and the same (at least for this meeting).

Beth Bakeman said...

I don't think you're right, James. I don't believe there was any attempt to be "fair" about allocating slots, otherwise you would see T.T. Minor, Meany, and other schools represented.

And I'm not saying that as a criticism of the District staff. I believe they follow very set rules about how to select the speakers, based on time of e-mail and phone message.

I agree completely that it would strenghten the APP/Lowell community position to cede some of the their speaking spots to parents from other schools.

seattle citizen said...

Having one speaker from each program would be great; what would be even better is if they met before hand, compared notes, an dorganized some common threads to speak with one voice. While they could still speak for their program, they could also speak to the greater good in a common voice.

another mom said...

While I realize that the Board has business to conduct this evening,they would be wise to let all on the waitlist speak. School closures and rearranging programs is an enormous issue. If that does not happen, the APP/Lowell group should cede at least one or two spots to others. One or two clear and concise voices is far more effective than a room full saying the same things over and over.

Ben said...

Lowell/APP familes have met and discussed these issues. And there was no concerted effort to snatch up a disproportionate number of speaking slots. We were told, "If you want speak, here's what you do."

Sheesh, people. You act like us Lowell folks are a diabolical cabal!

I agree that some Lowellers should give up their spots so each affected program has someone speaking on its behalf. But the idea that all parents should be advocating for all programs is silly. It would be a full-time job—and then some—to educate yourself on the issues going on in every school.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I agree that the Board should take at least 10 other speakers and ask if there are any schools who have not spoken. This is the biggest issue that they can face as Board members; they should listen.

As for APP, look, I specifically put up a separate thread for each school group on the idea that you would read about the ones you were most interested in and had time to read. I think the fact that so many APP parents are talking about the move says they have a pretty strong parent base.

Charlie Mas said...

It's pretty common for a number of people to all be on the list to speak on the same topic, whether it's the addition at Ingraham or the co-location of Denny and Sealth, or the high school math adoption. The Board is totally used to it.

When you call in and ask to be put on the list to give public testimony to the Baord, you don't know who else is on the list. You don't know if you are the first person to speak on your topic or the fifth.

So it's not as if there was a conscious effort to take a disproportionate number of the speaking opportunities. There is no way to do it intentionally, and there is no way to avoid it from happening if other people are also calling.

It's not as if the Lowell community is trying to make an impression in one way or another or as if they could manage how many of them get on the list. It's a goofy thing to complain about because it is unmanagable.

The people who can and should manage it are the Board - and they don't.