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Thursday, February 04, 2010

Court Finds FOR Plaintiffs in Math Adoption!!!

From the Whaaat?!? file:

"The court finds, based upon a review of the entire administrative record, that there is insufficient evidence for any reasonable Board member to approve the selection of the Discovering Series."

Conclusions of Law:

1) Court has jurisdiction under RCW 28A.645.010 to evaluate the Board's decision for whether it si arbitrary, capricious, or contrary to law;
2) The Board's selection of the Discovering Series was arbitrary;
3) The Board's selection of the Discovering Series was capricious;
4) this court has the authority to remand the Board's decision for further review;
5) any conclusion of law which is more appropriately characterized as a Finding of Fact is adopted as such, and any Finding of Fact more appropriately characterized as a Conclusion of Law is adopted as such.

It is hereby ordered:
The decision of the Board to adopt the Discovering Series is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion."

WOW!! And Boo Ya! (And thanks to Johnny Calcagno for the news!)

Link to the Seattle Math Group. To the left under "legal documents" hit, DECISION 2/4/10

Update: this statement from the district via the PI:

The district said it would likely appeal the ruling.

"This is a very surprising decision, and the District is now evaluating its next steps. Seattle Public Schools followed an extensive process in adopting these materials, which were thoroughly vetted by a diverse group including mathematicians and teaching professionals," said spokeswoman Patti Spencer.

65 comments:

ttln said...

So, does this mean bonfire?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Oh ttln, can't we just enjoy the moment (just kidding)?

Well, the district either has to start over or find more and better means to show this wasn't arbitrary or capricious.

The district might appeal (more time and more money) or just bite the bullet and if this is the math series they want, get it done legally.

What is interesting is that last night's Board meeting had a request from a North Beach parent to continue using Saxon math at North Beach. It could be the foot in the door for other schools in whatever interim there is for this decision to be figured out.

What a day for the district! Victory for funding basic education by the state and defeat for their process of textbook adoption.

ttln said...

No kidding. It is a great day. It does rekindle some hope in my heart formerly doused by the SAP among other things.

It also gives me hope for my own Kindergardener at Greenwood. The only reservation I ever had about enrolling her in SPS was the math program. Perhaps math won't be killed in her after all.

Bruce Taylor said...

WOO HOO!

Hats off to the plaintiffs!

Patrick said...

Woohoo!

Will the District appeal? Can the new board be persuaded to drop the case instead?

Meg said...

That's fan-FREAKING-tastic. Wow. I just read through the decision, and... wow.

Sue said...

My favorite part was the quote:

"one board member also considered the ability of her own child to learn math learning the Discovering Series."

What a wonderful day. Although, I hope this does not mean a return to Integrated Math....

Bruce Taylor said...

Link, please!

NE Parent said...

I agree this is fantastic! If only we hadn't already bought the darn books--not like we can return them mid-year. Oh, and the budget cuts.

I do hope this is a message to directors not to just rubber-stamp what the district presents. Probably wishful thinking, but one can dream. (And DeBell & Harium did stand up against this--DeBell in a particularly powerful speech that I loved).

I don't know how to insert links, but the PI website has a link to the decision.

Michael Rice said...

Hello

I have to say that I am pretty surprised by the decision. I testified against the adoption of Discovering at a school board meeting last year, but I thought this lawsuit had no chance of success and was a big waste of time. I stand corrected.

Congratulations to the plantiffs who truly had the courage of their convictions. I appulde you.

WallingfordMom said...

Is this only at the high school level or is it possible they will have to reconsider math for all grades.

ArchStanton said...

Wow. Just. Wow.

First the board starts asking questions, then the state funding ruling, and now this.

Did the earth shift on it's axis? Did someone put kool-aid neutralizer in the water?

Is this only at the high school level or is it possible they will have to reconsider math for all grades.

The ruling only applies to the HS math adoption. But, it's certainly a foot in the door for waivers and other challenges to EDM, et al.

wseadawg said...

I raise a toast to Dan Dempsey, Cliff Mass, and all the others who have worked tirelessly, endlessly and selflessly for the sake of children and families throughout the district.

Thank you all for fighting for what is so obviously right and beating back the corruption of a rigged process!

Waiter: I'll have two Saxons and a Singapore, please. Ta-ta!

SolvayGirl said...

I second that toast!

zb said...

I'm flabbergasted. I thought this was a looser suit indeed. I hope it doesn't signal an era of new litigiousness, and instead just means that everyone takes their responsibility to *not* be arbitrary and capricious seriously.

Charlie Mas said...

Here's a link to the P-I story.

Here's a link to the judge's ruling.

Michael Rice said...

Hello

Here is the news release from the district. I have Open House tonight, so I will leave it to others to comment.

https://www.seattleschools.org/area/news/0910/response_math_ruling.pdf

wsnorth said...

Singapore or bust!

wseadawg said...

ZB: I hope it begins an era where the school board starts representing its community, instead of acting on behalf of the district against the community. That's why they got sued, and thankfully lost. We deserve representation in our schools, as they are supposed to be OUR SCHOOLS.

wseadawg said...

Thanks Michael: From the Press Release, it looks like SPS will continue to play hardball. Big surprise. They still don't get it.

Charlie Mas said...

Here's a link to the Seattle Times story.

The Times reports:

"Judge Julie Spector on Thursday ordered the district's board to further review the choice of its math curriculum."

Stu said...

Next up, the lawsuit that says the board was arbitrary and capricious when it decided to spend a million dollars on a STEM program, thereby displacing (and ignoring) the needs of the current students and local community.

stu

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, Stu that has been suggested to me. Funny thing, I haven't written the thread about the whole NTN discussion last night by the Board (all this breaking news!). However, some of their remarks certainly might be a basis for a lawsuit. The Board may be sure the staff did due diligence. I'm not sure we're all convinced.

Unknown said...

If the Board has the ability to stop the district from appealing the decision, we should all start writing and meeting with the directors to encourage them to let the verdict stand. If they move to pick another set of texts now, what would that process be?

spedvocate said...

Not to mention "capricious" when it has decided that special education students should just be dumped into schools without any support. No more inclusion programs, those were unnecessary luxuries. They are just starting the dumping in K and 1st, so hopefully no one will notice...

ARB said...

I know this isn't an open thread, but pay attention to spedadvocate's previous comment as well as the Special ed PTSA listserv hosted by Yahoo groups. This is a real problem.

Charlie Mas said...

I just read the press release from the District and couldn't help noticing a few things.

1. "Seattle Public Schools is now evaluating the Feb. 4 decision by King County Superior Court Judge Julie A. Spector regarding the District’s adoption of the Discovering Series math curriculum."

The Discovering Series is not a curriculum, it is materials. Why do they continue to intentionally confuse these words?

2. "The judge concluded that the Seattle School Board had insufficient evidence to make its May 6, 2009 decision to adopt the math curriculum"

No, the judge concluded that the Board was arbitrary and capricious in their decision. The press release makes it seem like the Board didn't have all of the information they needed. They had the information; they just didn't use it properly.

3. "In addition to any action the School Board may take, the district expects to appeal this decision."

Well, then, it really doesn't matter what other action they take, does it?

4. "We have an adopted math curriculum, a program of professional development and instructional materials that we will continue to use as we fulfill our obligation to advance our students’ math education."

And who the hell is a King County Superior Court judge to tell us what to do? The arrogance leaps off the page.

Is this really the time to be arrogant?

wseadawg said...

Injunction time.

Central Mom said...

Just looked at the Seattle Math Group blog and learned that it was Shannon McMinimee who argued the case for the District. She just left the District, right?

With potential additional legal issues from NTN, SPED (anything else out there?) wondering if there is a 2nd-in-command at the District or whether it has to start over on in-house attorney talent.

And I, too, wonder what the cost of litigation for the District was in this case. Is there a way to find out? Would be interesting to keep a public tab.

Charlie Mas said...

I sent Patti Spencer a nice note asking her to use the correct terms to distinguish curriculum from materials and copied Cathy Thompson, Kathleen Vasquez and Anna Maria delaFuente on it.

Next I wrote to the Board and asked if the press release is accurate and they adopted a curriculum instead of just materials. Susan Enfield has re-defined curriculum yet again, this time to include materials, content, and pedagogy. I asked them if that's what they adopted with the Discovering... series.

dan dempsey said...

Here is what you need to realize.

Being devotees of reform math, the district believed they should get full credit for the process and that the answer does not count.

Marty and I had been working on this for a long time. As we gathered ideas and collected and sorted information, a lot of it came from the mounds of data I selectively sent to directors over the months of the adoption process in the hope that they would intelligently apply it. Well as usual they did not. Our case like the Funding lawsuit that was victorious today before 10:30 AM was based on applying the Preamble to article IX of the state constitution to Seattle's discriminatory math text selections that from data that I submitted to the board clearly shows the achievement gap expansion is caused by poor materials that the district adopts.

Luckily in early 2007 I saw Thomas Aherne on the tube discussing his strategy to win the "NEWS" lawsuit. I was really impressed and said in early 2007 this guy is going to win this lawsuit. When I had my short venture into politics running for school board, I stated that any action in regard to school closures was premature until we knew the outcome of the "NEWS" lawsuit. The victory in NY that Ahearne modeled his case on brought major increases in funding (on the order of around 30% - 40%). I theorized that since Seattle is generating around 25% from levies that if Ahearne could win, the entire school closure idea would not be run from a we are too poor perspective.
================
At any rate our suit was modeled after Ahearne's. The question that Judge Spector asked Attorney Keith scully was did he have president for using article IX in such a way. He said no we are on New legal ground.

Stu said...

It would be fun to know what the cost of an appeal would be as compared to the cost of switching math materials.

About the STEM thing . . . perhaps these decisions will embolden a current Cleveland parent who's going to have to move their child.

stu

gavroche said...

This is great news. Many thanks to the plaintiffs Mass, McLaren and Porter for holding the District accountable for its irrational and destructive decision that ignored facts, common sense and parents' valid concerns. So much for "data-driven" decisions.

In fact, "arbitrary and capricious" describes much of what this Superintendent and District do. Maybe it should be the new District motto.

The Seattle Weekly has a short item on the court ruling which includes a quote from plaintiff Cliff Mass (and a pretty funny graphic): Judge Rejects Seattle's "New Math" Program
By Caleb Hannan in Education
http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/dailyweekly/2010/02/judge_rejects_seattles_new_mat.php

Some more info from the Seattle Math Group: http://seattlemathgroup.blogspot.com/

On a related note, when SPS approved Everyday Math (the problematic elementary level "inquiry" math text) it also approved Singapore Math, yet it has failed to purchase resources for the latter.

It's time for the District to toss EDM, CMP, and Discovering, and instead offer our kids solid math texts like Singapore, Holt and Saxon.

gavroche said...

And many thanks to Dan Dempsey for his tireless efforts to educate the Board and Supt -- and parents like me -- about sound vs. unsound math texts.

dan dempsey said...

After the hearing I said: Keith you must be kidding me. we live in a State with a constitution and yet we can't hold people to abide by it. Keith said ... Maybe we can and maybe we can't.

Ahearne had stated that Article IX is probably the most favorable for winning cases of this type of any state. Yup, ours is the best. In NY and Wyoming this strategy had already worked. Hey, If Ahearne says our constitution is better were are going to win.

We were supposed to get a decision on or before Feb 12... Ahearne was victorious by 10:30 and I thought hot damn we have a real chance to win this thing on the 12th. I started an encouraging letter to Marty after reading the Times article. I sent my email hoping to give her some hope that things were looking better. After sending it, I opened an email from her that said:

...OMIGOD We WON!!!!

Marty had not written any press release drafts as we were expecting a decision next week.

I find it interesting that Ahearne won at 10:30 and we won around noon.

I was so disgusted and angry at that NTN decision last night ... Melissa W. and I were spitting nails together in the JSCEE lobby... discussing the ludicrous reasons given by the gang of four for their votes.

Watch the board meeting from Feb 3...

The district need not waste time on a "Discovering" appeal because they will NOT win...more on that shortly.

They need to carefully examine Judge Spector's decision and look at the NTN decision because that one will be harder to defend than the Math decision is we decide to take it to Superior court.

A new day has dawned... sorry directors you need to make decisions based on evidence. Take a look at last night. I sent them piles of evidence in the form of letters graphs and charts. Listen to Paul Dunham, and Meg Diaz and even me. Listen to KAY S-B's analysis of what she found... then listen to the gang of four explain their votes. If we take this into superior court, it is game over they ignored all the evidence choosing to buy for $800,000 assistance to copy ineffective NTN programs, while reducing funding to 31 schools that average 54% low income.

Read article IX .. this is slam dunk game over if Meg or whoever wants to take this into Superior Court.

Note: I am not* an attorney and readers should not consider my opinions legal advice or base any of their actions solely upon my opinions.

You can READ About WHY* the district will not be successful in an appeal here.

dan dempsey said...

Due diligence and NTN?

Not even close.

What did they want to accomplish and how did they expect to accomplish it?

It seems from all the obscure messages they had no idea about much of anything or how to accomplish it.

Here is what I would have done.
#1 find out what the community wants. They did not even ask the principal about STEM.

#2 If I thought I wanted Project Based Learning, I would analyze why.

Because I hear its good stuff and lots of folks do it just will not cut it.

Next I take 60 seconds to look it up in "Visible Learning" .. closest I can come is "Problem Based Learning". So I read the description... sure seems like fundamentally the same thing.

Effect size is really really low 0.15 I am now worried. But Gates Foundation says if you want PBL and STEM look at NTN. So I go to NTN and find 41 schools with 6 in CA. That is encouraging as I am really good at finding data in CA and CA has great data.

I look through the 6 schools demographics the one most like Seattle is NT Sacramento 43% Low Income and 16% ELL. Great they have been running since 2003. Then I look at scores. They really suck. Confirming Hattie's effect sizes once again. So let's try the one closest to Seattle BizTech in Portland (not a demo school) its no good either. OK lets look at that list of demonstration schools. Geezee Louise that poor NT Sacramento is a demonstration school as in a cut above. About half of the 41 are demonstration schools. So I pick the one near Denver ( for a moment I flash on Carla Santorno - help me) I recover from thought and get Data for NT Welby ... man this school must be among the worst in America and its a demonstration school.

At this point I am done.... there is no way I am wasting my time looking at any more of these.
======================

But Seattle is really serious about this. So I start compiling stuff to send to the board to convince them to make a rational decision. I send them piles of really crappy results and I don't cherry-pick if I find good stuff I send it. I want them to have all the information needed to make an intelligent decision. I do not want them worried about is this really correct am I getting the full picture. I sure as hell wish they would ask those kinds of questions of staff.

Anyway like I said... if anyone cares to take this into Superior Court it is won... game over.

Once again no evidence. 98% graduation rate. So Cleveland is planned to have 250 per class ... WOW they actually thought that graduation rate meant something.... At the Cleveland open house I pointed out that at NT Sacramento 11th grade classes were doing good if they were 70% of the 9th grade size. So 250 x .70 does not equal 250 so where is that 11th grade class of size 250 coming from?

Once MGJ and the CAO understand the question I get this:
This school will attract talented kids they will be transferring in at 11th grade..... well Peter believes about 82 kids will be coming down from Ballard so what do I know.

As usual staff did a shoddy job and the majority of directors will not hold anyone accountable.... but Judge Spector will. I suspect that most any judge will hold them accountable because this one is easy. Judge Spector did a lot of working reading and analyzing. She asked great questions at the hearing.

This one will be much easier.... because the board has hardly any evidence on which to base a positive vote and there are mountains they chose to neglect that shouted REJECT this proposal.

dan dempsey said...

gavroche,

I loved your district motto.

They need a stamp that puts a line through:

Every student achieving ; Everyone accountable

and underneath it prints
"Arbitrary & Capricious"

"and only accountable in Superior Court"

SPS stationary needs this ... how much to have one made in a rubber stamp shop.

How much additional for an "MG-J" monogrammed model?

dan dempsey said...

Three years ago a teacher testified at the Everyday Math adoption.

The board made their arbitrary and capricious choice. {not so found in court: because we had not figured out how to do this yet.}

The teacher said they will regret this as it will implode in three years.

I will raise up Singapore and bury them.

The teacher will be nameless ... hmm .. wonder what school that teacher was from and where they are teaching today.... I'll never tell.

Dana said...

Please help Martha McLaren (one of the plaintiffs) defray the costs of this court case. She has posted the following to the Seattle Math Group's website ( seattlemathgroup.blogspot.com ):

"Help with the bills?
Would you like to help defray costs for our appeal? Donations to reimburse my expenses would be deeply appreciated. So far (not including the January bill), the total cost of this lawsuit has been $11,320. Donations from 32 individuals have totaled $3796. If you would like to help, you can donate in one of three ways:

"Send a check to Seattle Math Group,

"c/o Martha Mclaren
7020 18th Ave. SW, J22
Seattle, WA 98106

"Donate directly to the Seattle Math Group Account at any branch of Washington Federal Savings and Loan

"Donate via email, through Paypal, to mmcl@pugetridge.net; donations will be transferred directly to the Seattle Math Group account."

Please consider helping out!

Mercermom said...

If the plaintiffs are successful in pursuing their claims, is there a fee-shifting provision that allows the plaintiffs to recover their costs and attorneys' fees? If yes, what happens to contributions to cover these fees now?

SolvayGirl said...

I got this via email from the CEASE Coalition:

"A message from Susan Enfield, Chief Academic Officer
Dear Seattle Public Schools staff:

Today Judge Spector of King County Superior Court ruled on a lawsuit related to the adoption of the Discovering Math series as the District’s high school basic math materials.

Judge Spector concluded that the School Board had insufficient evidence to make its decision on the high school math materials, and she has sent its decision back to the School Board for further consideration.

This is a very surprising ruling and Seattle Public Schools is now evaluating the decision and our next steps. In addition to any action the School Board may take, the district expects to appeal this decision. The district followed an extensive process in adopting these materials, which were thoroughly vetted by a diverse group including mathematicians and teaching professionals.

It is important to know that the Judge did not impose an injunction on use of the materials.

We have an adopted curriculum, a program of professional development and instructional materials that we will continue to use. Our job as professionals is to ensure that learning and teaching goes on for all of our students.

We acknowledge that this surprising decision could bring uncertainty to our students, families and staff. Our first duty is to support our students, teachers and administrators to promote learning. The decision may amplify criticism of these instruction materials. It is very important that we retain a balanced view and share the many successes our teachers and students are experiencing using the adopted math materials. While district staff work with the School Board on next steps, we know that teachers and school leaders will work to prevent this from being a distraction in the classroom.

We want students, teachers and families to be assured that the judge did not order the district to stop using these materials; she simply found that the school board had insufficient information and sent the decision back for further evaluation. This means that we will continue to use the instructional materials and continue to follow our professional development and implementation as we fulfill our obligation to advance our students’ math education.

It is important to refer any media calls to Patti Spencer, Communications Manager, 206 252 0200 or pspencer@seattleschools.org.

For questions about implementation of Discovering Math, contact Program Manager AnnaMaria delaFuente, ahdelafuente@seattleschools.org

Sincerely,
Susan Enfield, Ed.D.
Chief Academic Officer"

I especially love this part "We want students, teachers and families to be assured that the judge did not order the district to stop using these materials; she simply found that the school board had insufficient information and sent the decision back for further evaluation. This means that we will continue to use the instructional materials and continue to follow our professional development and implementation as we fulfill our obligation to advance our students’ math education."

Oh yeah...we're all assured now.

wseadawg said...

SPS Logic: "Hey, the Judge might have said we all have our heads up our arses, but she didn't tell us we had to pull them out."

Would you give yourself an "A" now, MGJ? Your math curriculum sucks, the community hates it, families suffer with it, the WASL scores are tanking, it requires tons of time, money and effort to try to teach this nonsense to your math teachers, and the state OSPI ruled it "mathematically unsound."

What Leadership!!

wseadawg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, Ms. McMinnimee (still love that name) is gone. Don't worry, the district has lawyers still and they never worry about going out of house (but maybe they should have this time).

I don't know if the plaintiffs could recover court costs; it's not that kind of case but I'm no lawyer.

Boy, if I were Judge Erlick, I'd think their press release was a big kiss-off (you can substitute another word for kiss but this is a family blog). I smell injunction. I think he was trying to be brief and to the point in his decision but didn't realize that the district wouldn't take it that way.

For the district to think, all is well, we just keep doing what we are doing and put something together to shut him up is a bad decision but such is our district.

It's like saying "we don't care what our teachers say, our parents OR this judge." In short, we don't care because we don't have to.

Judges hate that.

Central Mom said...

Just a clarification. Erlick was the state funding decision. Julie Spector was the math decision judge.

And yes, that was one of the most defensive tone-deaf releases the District has released in ages. Probably because it was as surprised as everyone else. But once again they've shown their idea of public engagement is generally a one-way street.

seattle said...

Don't forget Harium's blog. His latest link was on the math adoption.

Let him know that the families of SPS do not want Discovering. That teachers don't want it either. That schools are applying for waivers left and right. And, that a judge has directed him and the board to re-evaluate their decision.

And, while you're at it, if you're not a fan of Writers Workshop let him know that too. I have a feeling that it won't be long until that works it's way into the court system too.

It's time for Harium to get a backbone and stand up for the children of Seattle now. He's done a poor job so far. But it's not to late. Let him know that we want him to direct the Superintendent and admin away from Discovering. Let him know that we will accept nothing less from him and the rest of the board.

It is his duty.

Central Mom said...

I don't know Anna...it appears Harium has, as Melissa says, begun to Drink the Koolaid. He was strong against the Discovery Math adoption, but with many of the same datapoints on kid achivement via NTN, he voted in favor of that programming last week.

The commonality...HIS belief, vs. data.

For NTN, he schmoozed with other NTN school administrators and got thumbs up. Plus, his kids went through Thornton Creek and he liked project based learning. On Discovery, he said he didn't vote for it because he "didn't get it".

It would be nice if used a little less of his "gut" and a little more of academic data to make his decisions (in both cases!)

ArchStanton said...

SPS stationary needs this ... how much to have one made in a rubber stamp shop.

You mean something like this?

Central Mom said...

I am so captured by this ruling!

So, I was just pondering...if the District plays the game of sending Discovery back to the Board, the *current* Board, I don't think it would have the votes. Would Harium and de Bell change their votes to support it? No. Would Kay or Betty support it? Extremely doubtful. That's a 4-3 vote to forget Discovering. Maybe even a 5-2 rethink if Sherry "gets it" that the judge gave her an (amusing) smackdown for using her own child's experience as representative of what's good for the District kids as a whole.

I really think we're going to see Central Staff's true colors on public engagement here. Will they be willing to at least *consider* that their recommendation was off-base or will they circle the wagons and move forward?

They *did* give quite a bit on LA alignment, so they aren't completely tone deaf.

suep. said...

Dana said...

Please help Martha McLaren (one of the plaintiffs) defray the costs of this court case. She has posted the following to the Seattle Math Group's website ( seattlemathgroup.blogspot.com ):

"Help with the bills?
Would you like to help defray costs for our appeal? Donations to reimburse my expenses would be deeply appreciated. So far (not including the January bill), the total cost of this lawsuit has been $11,320. Donations from 32 individuals have totaled $3796. If you would like to help, you can donate in one of three ways:


Maybe we should have a celebratory fundraiser to help pay this off. For starters it sounds like a number of people on this blog would love to toast this decision.

I wonder if someone could get some Singapore Math texts at wholesale prices (in conjunction with Math N' Stuff maybe) and sell them at the event for retail, proceeds going to Marty and co. for legal costs.

Or maybe someone could sell some of those "Arbitrary & Capricious" rubber stamps Arch so archly designed...! I'd buy one!

--s.p.
http://seattle-ed.blogspot.com/
http://seattle-ed2010.blogspot.com/

Melissa Westbrook said...

Good one, Arch!

ArchStanton said...

Thanks, but I have to give gavroche and dan dempsey credit for the concept.

Here's a plain version if anyone wants to make a real rubber stamp or just print labels for your favorite textbooks or something.

stamp

wseadawg said...

It bears mentioning as well, that the court found (at Cleveland and Garfield) that:

"WASL scores overall declined using the inquiry-based math texts, and dropped significantly for English Language Learners, including a 0% pass rate at one high school"

Given that hard data, it will be hard to argue that ever selecting inquiry based texts is not Arbitrary or Capricious with regard to those students. The Board is in a serious jam on this one.

dan dempsey said...

ArchStanton said...

Thanks, but I have to give gavroche and dan dempsey credit for the concept.

Here's a plain version if anyone wants to make a real rubber stamp or just print labels for your favorite textbooks or something.


stamp
=================================

Arch,

Thank you so much for the great design. We will investigate the production of T-shirts as a fund raiser. In Superior Court Actions when you win, you retrieve the $200 filing fee but NOT the legal fees. To win this case required a lot of Self-Help. There was a lot of organizing of materials that had been submitted to the school board in letters, public testimony, and data. Submitted to the board over the 8? month adoption process.

Naturally in the 1100 pages sent to Judge Spector by the district there were ZERO pages of material from the public. {Marty made a table of contents for the 1100 pages.) I congratulate the district for their honesty as the Judge wanted materials on which the board based their decision. So sending Nothing from the public, was the honest thing to do. I deeply appreciate the district's commitment to honesty and transparency in this action.

Marty McLaren and I felt the District's decision should have included important information submitted from the public on which the decision should have been based. We thought the Seattle School Board wanted to use the relevant information from the public in making decisions. We thought those giving public testimony were thinking that they were assisting the board by providing carefully crafted three minute testimonies. Well Marty and I are pretty naive. We thank this district for clarifying that such information was NOT used and that the use of such information is likely rare.

******************
Marty & I organized our past testimonies and communications with the board (think about what I send to the board in 8 months) to see which were relevant and an applicable to making our case. We contacted numerous people to search through testimonies and letters they had sent to the board and look for any that could apply to our situation. Rick Burke an excellent writer prepared material before we submitted it to Attorney Scully. We tried to reduce cost in every conceivable way and yet still win. The Legal bill currently is slightly more than $11,000. We find Keith Scully to be an excellent attorney and he worked with us in crafting this victory.
======================
I had seen Thomas Ahearne explaining his State School funding legal strategy and Keith worked with us and used the same approach very effectively.
=======================
Unfortunately at this time Seattle's children will only be afforded the maximum protection they deserve under article IX, through expensive legal action against the school district.
=======================

The school district still doesn't get it. I mean SERIOUSLY does not get it. The Judge said: Results count. This is not all about process.

In the Math defense the SPS ignored the result: "the Discovering program", and only argued that the process met all the elements to be acceptable. Look at the news articles about the possibility of an appeal. SPS is still focused on the process NOT the result.

They just DO NOT GET IT !!!!


================
Note to District.....
Even if you find the PROCESS spectacular, when public input is ignored, the public will be less than enthusiastic about your process.

Again thanks again for not including any information from the public to Judge Spector in the 1100 pages submitted on which her decision was based. I am pretty slow but I NOW GET IT.

Looking forward to more decisions but please base future decisions on evidence. Or if we can raise enough funds we shall see you in court again.

Looking at "NTN STEM" you certainly deserve a return trip to court.

dan dempsey said...

Martha McLaren (Marty) deserves our thanks. She did an absolutely incredible job in making this happen.

Marty not only deserves our thanks but also our support. She should not get stuck with the bill.


Good intentions are not enough,
Marty makes it happen.

suep. said...

Dan Dempsey said...
Naturally in the 1100 pages sent to Judge Spector by the district there were ZERO pages of material from the public. {Marty made a table of contents for the 1100 pages.) I congratulate the district for their honesty as the Judge wanted materials on which the board based their decision. So sending Nothing from the public, was the honest thing to do. I deeply appreciate the district's commitment to honesty and transparency in this action.


Amusing irony aside, this appears to be a bad habit with the district -- and they got dinged for it by the judge in another Shannon McMinimee-represented visit to Superior Court a few months back (Nov 2009).

This was the hearing for the Chris Jackins-led appeal of the closures in which the district played a semantics game with the meaning of "school" versus "building." Thus, Summit, Cooper, Meany and AAA kids and families were given no hearing at which to make their case to save their schools from closure because their buildings were to remain open -- even though their schools were dissolved and kids scattered in all directions.

Anyway, the judge (Laura Inveen) was not impressed that the district did not include all the relevant public e-mails and testimony in its otherwise voluminous representation of the "facts."

In fact, all of our jaws dropped when SPS attorney McMinimee said that public e-mails to the board and public testimony do not necessarily get read by all the members of the board and therefore the district does not include them in its presentation of data in court.

To her credit, the judge demanded that the district provide these missing public records within 14 days.

I think I heard that the district submitted something in the end, but it still was not complete.

Others on this blog may be able to fill in the details on this. My basic point is, it appears that more and more judges are discovering that SPS treats public input dismissively.

And it sounds like Judge Spector in this latest case (re: Discovering math) was also troubled by the fact that the district apparently ignored input and data from a number of sources, including the public (whose children, by the way, are the ones most affected by the district's arbitrary and capricious decisions).

--sp.

ArchStanton said...

Been goofin' off instead of working. Here's one more for fun. sps seal of approval

/I'll stop now ;)

SolvayGirl said...

I like that one Arch! It would make a nice T-Shirt.

Dorothy Neville said...

Set up a Cafepress site for Tshirts and coffee mugs. Proceeds can go to the legal fees, maybe.

ArchStanton said...

I haven't had the need to use cafepress for myself, but it looks to be a fairly simple process to set up a store. I'll consider it.

I think the buttons and stickers would be good and inexpensive - folks could wear them to board meetings. I have no idea how many people would really be interested in this sort of thing.

Of course, I would donate the proceeds to the legal fees.

In the meantime, I've put up the stuff I've done here. I'll add anything else I do, as well.

Anyone is free to use them for their own amusement, but not profit (at least until I decide not to do cafepress myself). They're at a resolution for the web as opposed to print. If I do cafepress, I'll pretty them up for printing.

Dorothy Neville said...

Unfortunately, using the SPS logo as part of the stamp, well I suspect they'd object to that if it did go to cafepress. But maybe tweaking it some...

ArchStanton said...

Yeah, I wondered about that, too. I imagine it would be protected by laws around free speech, parody, and criticism of public officials. I mean look at all the parodies and negative materials that borrow freely from the Bush and Obama campaigns.

Of course, it wouldn't be in their interest to sue everyone who ever created such things. SPS, on the other hand, might not be above such tactics.

I know there are some lawyers around here who might weigh in...

ArchStanton said...

If the problem is about making money off something that uses the SPS logo - then I could just sell them at cost or make the images available for people to use at cafepress on their own.

Dorothy Neville said...

Does anyone remember that fake SPS website? Someone made a spectacular parody of the district website and the district was not amused. I can't remember the url or details now.

ArchStanton said...

I don't know if anyone is checking back here, but I set up a cafepress store with some images I created.

I ditched the SPS logo and created my own in a similar vein.

The link is available via my profile or here.

Let me know what you think and if it's ready for showtime!