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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

She Stays (but no raise and no incentive pay)

The Board has decided to extend her contract, if I'm reading it correctly, by one year but is not giving her either incentive pay or a raise because of the budget difficulties. If we are correct about her contract having two more years, the motion extends it to 2013. Here's what the motion says (and oddly is from the Board office assistant, Joan Dingfield):

I move that the Board of Directors accept the Executive Committee’s recommendations to amend the Superintendent’s employment agreement to extend the existing employment agreement between the School District and Dr. Goodloe-Johnson from July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2013.

Steve Sundquist read the entire annual performance evaluation (and that's about when I left, I just couldn't take it and I wasn't alone). And understand, the entire Board agrees with this. I have a hard believing that they won't all vote for the three motions next time if they signed off here. Key points:
  • The Superintendent’s strength as a leader comes from her knowledge of education, her decisiveness, her commitment to serving all students well, and her focus on implementing our reform priorities for the benefit of our students. The reform of an urban school district is challenging and controversial.
  • Overall, the Board believes that Seattle Public Schools is making forward progress, but that there are several areas where improvement is still needed.
  • In these situations we evaluate the Superintendent’s performance on the quality of the
    District’s restructuring and implementation.
  • The most significant thing she accomplished was the new SAP.
  • Eighty-four central office positions were eliminated effective next year, amounting to a $6 million savings. (To which I say, just like school closures - prove it.)
  • They admitted to struggling with the new special education services plan.
  • Separate from any particular program, the general and long-term academic success of our students in all of our varied programs and schools hinges upon our families, educators and communities being informed, having confidence, and being in support of the school district's reform efforts. This will call upon the Superintendent to become increasingly engaged and responsive to our communities. Community and educator feedback must inform our decision making and will increase commitment to the implementation of our strategic initiatives. We understand that we must strengthen our communications with our civic and governmental partners to increase their support for the improvement of the school district. (Memo to Board: she can't do it and she won't. We aren't being informed, we don't have confidence and we are not in support of the reform efforts.)
  • Her range of scores (with 4 being great to 1 being poor) were 3.86 for the new SAP (way high given the unhappiness) to a low of 1.86 for Stakeholder Engagement (way too high again). Whoops, she got a 1.71 for math.
This was ALL said about "relationships" and "stakeholder engagement":

Relationships. A priority going forward will be for the Superintendent to foster more effective
relationships and collaboration with the Seattle community.

Stakeholder Engagement. The Superintendent’s visibility and transparency in public interactions are keys to gaining understanding and support of our programs. Community engagement has been focused on delivering information and reports on major initiatives. More effective two-way communication is expected, particularly around budget development.

Wow. That's it, kids. All of her incredibly dismissive and disrespectful treatment of parents and that's all our Board has to say.

The Board's Performance Report is a lot of blah, blah, blah. They describe their relationship with the Superintendent as this:

The Directors’ working relationship with Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson is strong and forthright. We recognize the Superintendent as the educational leader of the school district. The Directors worked to maintain constructive and respectful discussions with each other and the Superintendent and were effective in working through complex problems at committee and full Board level. We recognize that we will need to communicate more effectively within the
governance team and with our community as we work to advance our policy agenda in the face of continued challenging financial conditions.

Not one single word about them being her boss or overseeing her work. That is scary.

Where the hell is the Kool-aid machine in that building? Or, as one speaker put it, who paid them off? Who do they work for? Because, they don't work for me. Those seven people work for somebody but they do not represent me. I just don't recognize those people who I thought at least had our backs a little.

It's a line in the sand, folks and if you don't like quicksand, then you better be ready to fight in the next Board elections. Otherwise, this district will turn into something cold and corporate and unrecognizable. Everything that we find special, innovative and interesting in our public schools will be gone.

The upside? She's an ambitious person and I doubt she'll be here much longer. And then? They'll throw her a goodbye party at our expense.

69 comments:

grousefinder said...

This was a highlight of the evening: "Whoops, she got a 1.71 for math."

Singapore math...here we come!

gavroche said...

Let's get those recall petitions rolling.

Shame on these fools.

SolvayGirl said...

Guess we're sticking with private school through high school.

Jet City mom said...

I wasn't able to make it to the rally/board meeting tonight, because I was home with my rising college sophomore daughter, trying to figure out exactly what she is missing/needs RE: math.

She needs to take calc in college- she took through precalc Seattle Schools Style- & can't test into even college algebra.

We are frustrated and to hear that the board is doing what they do every year ( extend her contract)- despite the radio show on KUOW this morning discussing the numbers of schools voting no confidence & quotes from parents who are at the end of their rope- is not what I wanted to see.

Frankly- I am shocked to hear that the board is even more spineless than advertised.

Charlie Mas said...

This is both my favorite and, to me, the most telling line of the night: "Eighty-four central office positions were eliminated effective next year, amounting to a $6 million savings."

What contorted verb tense!

They are counting as done and in the can, job cuts and savings that won't happen until next year - IF they happen.

Charlie Mas said...

Also, I noticed that they fixed the language around the disclosure of the superintendent's role on the board of NWEA. The revised board action report acknowledges that she is on their board of directors (no more nonsense about being on an advisory board).

reader said...

Anybody know how we can watch tonight's board meeting?

ArchStanton said...

I guess you have to wait for it to hit the Seattle Channel website. Sometimes they're quick, sometimes not.

Or find someone who recorded it...

Sahila said...

Maple Elementary School voted “No Confidence”, 17 yes, 1 no and 2 abstaining,

and the SEA members at John Rogers Elementary signed the Community Declaration of No Confidence in MGJ...

http://www.petitiononline.com/mod_perl/signed.cgi?S3B62010&1

The Declaration stays live online until July 7th, and I shall present it to the Board again at that date...

Pity the 338 people who had signed it by 2pm today, didnt turn up to the rally and pack the meeting... maybe that might have given the board pause to think on their outright foolishness...

Sahila said...

So, that's 10 schools now:

Maple Leaf, John Rogers, Greenlake, Sanislo, Laurelhurst, Schmitz Park, Orca, Ida B Wells, Ballard and Franklin....

dan dempsey said...

They will vote on the contract extension on July 7.

Tonight was Intro night

Action vote is July 7

dan dempsey said...

I will be there protesting the contracr extension on July 7.

Think I will have a rally of 1 at 5:30 PM.
Get those neighbors signing the petition.
=====================
Amazing that the are so happy with the NSAP ... so how is the creation of quality schools going?

Remember the plan is for every school to be a quality school.

Sahila said...

I'll be there with you Dan... this foolishness needs witnessing...

Charlie Mas said...

The Southeast Education Initiative was part of the New Student Assignment Plan.

The decision to make language immersion schools and Montessori programs attendance area schools was part of the New Student Assignment Plan.

Program Placement decisions (north-end elementary APP at Lowell and Spectrum at Hawthorne) were part of the New Student Assignment Plan.

The breakup of families was part of the New Student Assignment Plan.

The decision to make highly mobile students change schools when they change address was part of the New Student Assignment Plan.

The New Student Assignment Plan wasn't that well accomplished of a job. The big postive element of it - the decision to assure students of a pathway - was done by the previous Board.

SSDemp said...

On central office cuts, the public doesn’t know a fraction of the truth.

It would be interesting for Meg to learn how many of those “cuts” have returned (the very next business day in at least one case on the Capital side) under personal service contracts. The IRS should be interested in those, anybody have a number?

Great job in HR, huh?

Also, SAP greatest accomplishment? How many more $ 35,000 overpayments does it take? It’s gotten so bad that staff don’t know what their paychecks will look like from month to month. Years worth of missed pension payments are common. Its been a joke and very demoralizing to the employees.

Sahila said...

Well no direct answer to my question to the Board last night as to who they and the Super really work for...

But DeBell finally came out and said the word "Reform"... which makes it clear that they are implementing the national Broad/Gates 'reform'/privatisation agenda... thank you - nice to know what is really, really going on... pity they dont all have the guts to be open, honest and transparent about it...

But so sad to see they have sold us and our kids out to the Billionaire Boys Club....

I am happy for those parents and children who are finally escaping this madness and despairing for those of us still stuck in this mess, which will only get worse over the next three years...

unless we figure out how to stop this before July 7th... the Community Declaration will stay live online until then.... more action, anyone?

artemis said...

The public testimony at the board meeting was right on (but ignored as usual). I enjoyed listening to intelligent people who care about kids and have good ideas like getting a new supe asap.

But then came the board reading their evaluation crap. Made me sick. I vote no confidence in the board. I lost any smidgen or fantasy of faith that I had in them last night. My expectations of them are negative and nil. I see all of them as a bunch of criminals.

dan dempsey said...

"Eighty-four central office positions were eliminated effective next year, amounting to a $6 million savings."

I believe this the "Future Past" verb tense. Fairly emblematic of this board.

Some folks talk about things needing to be done yesterday.

This board sees that things have already been completed in about a year (and counts things that way now).
[Enron used this accounting method ... guess those former Arthur Anderson employees found work at JSCEE]

I wonder if many teachers, will care to show up on July 7. They should note how well the Times records their votes of No Confidence.

Is the SEA Central releasing voting results to the media or taking things under advisement for some future action like say after July 7?

SSDemp said...

I realize that this area is not usually a point of evaluation but has anyone else notice MGJ's boorish behavior as a person? They are very telling about ones view of those around her in my view.

I have never seen a public figure let out a huge yawn without even covering her mouth, at a table of policy discussion IN MY LIFE, on utube, crazy bloopers or anywhere.

Or manuevering to be the very FIRST person in line for food by cutting in front of over 200 people at a function.

Makes simple, humble Raj look better every time in just that category.

dan dempsey said...

Hey we are making real progress. The board has now through DeBell let us know that we are on the same "Big Reform" path as elsewhere.

About time we stopped thinking that MGJ's "Strategic Plan" was some piece of "unique" amazing planning done by her. {I must confess I never thought that.}

Sahila said...

Do the words "arbitrary and capricious" have relevance in their decision to keep her and extend her contract?

seattle said...

"But DeBell finally came out and said the word "Reform"... which makes it clear that they are implementing the national Broad/Gates 'reform'/privatisation agenda"

No Sahila it doesn't.

From the Merriem-Webster dictionary

Reform: to put or change into an improved form or condition .

That's it. No more, no less.

I think we all agree that the district needs reform, though many of us, myself included don't want "Broad" reform.

I agree with DeBell wholeheartedly when he says the district needs reform (as long as it's not "Broad" reform). Since DeBell didn't mention "Broad" you can't conclude that is the direction he wants to move in.

And remember that your petition asking the Super to be fired is "reform" too. Not all "reform" is bad.

Sahila said...

I was going to give the following as testimony last night (Meg was kind enough to put the info together), seeing we are talking about the Super's actual performance in real terms, but my need to make sense of what is going on and to know who they really answer to, was greater...

FROM OUR DATA WHIZZ MEG DIAZ, HERE'S HOW THE MONEY SMOKE AND MIRRORS GAME THE SUPERINTENDENT PLAYS STACKS UP:

• Off-hand, the Superintendent's Office has an unexplained $1.3m increase in its budget for 2010-11, and the budget office is adding $800k. 51 schools in the district had their budgets reduced from 2009-10 to 2010-11.

• Capacity management has been a debacle. Closure savings from the buildings closed in 2008-09 were estimated at $16.2m over 5 years to the general fund, and $33m in deferred maintenance (probably capital) costs - a combined total of $49.2m.

• Capital expenditure to re-open 5 buildings is estimated at $48.1 million (this does not include remodeling costs in the Jane Addams building). Operating cost in 2010-11 for Sand Point, McDonald and Queen Anne are budgeted at $1.95m. Already, at best, it's a wash, and for significant disruption. (well, its not really a wash - its a lot because there will be ongoing running costs for all those re-opened buildings)

• In addition, the district appears not to have learned from opening Jane Addams K-8 that although capacity is strained in the north end, without attractive programming in new schools, families are likely to prefer overcrowded and proven schools.

• As a result, the district is spending $29.5 million (of the $48.1 in capital funds) to re-open Sand Point, McDonald and Queen Anne.

• The three schools have a combined total of 170 students assigned (but could serve, combined, up to 970 kids), with even less expected to actually attend.

• The low enrollment figures means that the district will spend about $174k in capital expenditure per kid - and that's if every kid who has been assigned to those schools attends.

• This round of capacity management has been lead entirely by the Superintendent and her staff, and has resulted in disruption and expense without clear benefit.

• In fact, in the case of Thurgood Marshall's general ed kids, some of the most vulnerable kids in the district stand to be adversely affected by the way the district has chosen to manage capacity.

• Central administration expenses were reduced not by actually spending less, but by reclassifying over 100 central employees (coaches) as teachers. Even though coaches do not actually teach district students.

• It looks a lot, in the recent budget book, as if the district goes out of its way to point out "central" reductions, even when the position wasn't classified part of central administration.

• Financial transparency, never good in this district, has gotten worse. That the State Auditors, in a report that wasn't about the district's overall financials, went out of their way to point out that because of errors and omissions, a decent picture of the district's financial status cannot be formed from the district's own financial statements... it's grim.

Jet City mom said...

Makes simple, humble Raj look better every time in just that category.

Hell, she makes Olchefske look caring and compassionate-
He visited Summit K-12 personally to speak with the parent-teacher group about adding a class of 6th graders- how did Summit find out their school was going to be closed?

Sahila said...

Pity those 338 people who had signed the Community Declaration by 2pm yesterday (numbers still climbing) and those 10 school staffs who have also voted no confidence couldn't come to the rally and fill the meeting room last night...

then the Board's patting on the super's back for a job well done might have looked a bit silly, dontcha think?

SSDemp said...

Sahila

"...goes out of its way to point out "central" reductions, even when the position wasn't classified part of central administration."

That's an old John Stanford trick.

He "trimmed the fat in central administration" by laying off night cleaning staff and thereby impacting the environments our kids spend their days in to actually increase his own staff which set the stage for the whole "missing $35 million" that Joe O. took the fall for.

Yes Dan, double talk and yes, smoke and mirrors again. Its a regular fun house.

Jet City mom said...

Amirite? Is the executive ed director position( to be held by Phil Brockman) a NEW title?

SSDemp said...

Emeraldkity

YES!

Bet they all will be and bingo, we might have found the budget (increase) item Meg has noted.

Anonymous said...

Could we talk a bit (or open a new thread) on what realistically can be done now to fix the situation with this superintendent and this school board?

There are a couple frequent posters talking about lawsuits and recalls, but those seem radical and unlikely to bear fruit.

What else might matter? The board seems impervious to public pressure. Rallies, protests, no confidence votes, public opinion polls, none of these appear to hold any influence over them.

Does the mayor's office or city council have any power over this board and superintendent? Should we focus our efforts there?

Or is our only hope the 2011 board elections and replacing as much of the current board as possible? In that case, what should we do now to start preparing viable campaigns?

Melissa Westbrook said...

I have some ideas of what to do but frankly, I am shocked at this group of people we call the School Board. What a bunch of simpering, spineless sycophants. Dr. Goodloe-Johnson must feel quite powerful indeed.

We'll have to suss through the options (and maybe in private meetings although the staff barely shows up in the summer so they probably won't pay attention anyway) .

For tomorrow, I have no doubt that whoever shows up from the Times on KUOW at the 10 o'clock news roundup (with the possible exception of Danny Westneat) with crow/cluck with delight at those few poor misguided parents. Someone needs to call in and say something. I will try but they need lots of voices.

And then, of course, there's the Saturday community meetings. It might be a thought to express ourselves to our Board members in person.

Chris S. said...

charlestontoseattle: would love to talk about options. Maybe you can go on over to SeattleEd 2010 and send us some contact info?

At the very least, Betty Patu has said she will vote no on the contract extension and I think we should be there to give a big cheer in support of that. Although I do long to hang up my hat and go home Wednesday evenings...

Unknown said...

IMHO, what needs to happen now is a fairly comprehensive list of incontrovertible facts of things that MGJ has done wrong. We want a list of hard facts. As important as the corporatization of schools issue is, it is easily dismissed as a conspiracy theory and you don't want to give anyone an excuse to ignore the whole list. Similarly, I'd leave off the math lawsuit, since it is still under appeal. I think the District is wrong, but appealing is their legal right.

Ideally, each item on the list would either have significant financial consequences or put the District in legal jeopardy.

Here's my start:
Ignoring District demographics to close schools, only to reopen 2 years later. Cost: $48M

Failure to adequately account for Native American students, resulting in Federal sanctions. Cost: (someone help me out here)

Failure to submit the Native grant on time. Cost: $1M (again, correct me if I'm wrong)

Failure to keep adequate records in response to public info requests. Cost: legal jeopardy (this was mentioned at the meeting, I don't have all the details)

Failure to implement State Auditor findings from 2 years ago. Cost: ???

Anyway, you get the idea. My goal would be to have a list of 10-20 items that NOBODY can argue with. Where the District broke the law or was negligent to some degree. If we can get together a list of 10-20 items, then it will be much harder to make a case that her contract should be extended.

Also, I especially like legal jeopardy cases, since I don't think the evaluation said anything about her compliance with legal standards. Since the Board members didn't rate her on that, you're not expecting them to change their minds.

seattle said...

Betty may have some issues....she misses meetings, comes late, seems disheveled at times, and isn't always prepared.

BUT, and it's a big but, she fearlessly stands up to the super and the rest of the board when she feels she needs to. She's not afraid to vote NO.

We need Betty on the board - now more than ever!

Charlie Mas said...

Betty is one "no" vote. Because she utterly fails to be persuasive, she is only one "no" vote. If she were more persuasive she could be two to four "no" votes.

Unknown said...

Charlie's point should be expanded. When you can't work with people, you're not effective. It's always been the case. We had a ridiculous Board a few years back -- no one could work together, no one believed in compromise, and nothing got done.

I know I'm a voice in the wilderness on this blog, but I like that we have professional folks on our Board who (largely)come to meetings on time, have obviously dont their homework, work well together, act respectfully, don't grandstand, keep the bigger picture in mind, and often actually get things done. I suppose that makes me a "corporatist" which other posters are desperately trying to turn into a dirty word. But it's always a lot easier to have influence if you play by the rules. Gimmicks, like putting up whiteboards at meetings to create a little political theater, trying to create lists 'that nobody can disagree with' about events/issues that have already been discussed and vetted and about which people did, actually disagree with you, etc., will get you no further than you've already gotten.

Of course it's everybody's right to try. We all still love to go see Man of La Mancha. But what do we really think of those who are tilting at windmills.

zb said...

"I have some ideas of what to do but frankly, . . . "

But see, this is what I want to hear, what to do. Not what to not do, or railing against the current system. For example, let's take the antagonism against Goodloe. I'm fairly knowledgeable. I don't know if she's especially bad or if a different set of abilities would make for a better superintendent. But, what I do know is that every large city I know of complains, bitterly, about their superintendent. We've heard complaints about Chicago, Washington DC, New York city, . . . . Each of those people is different from each other, and some of them are/were supremely able people in other venues.

I think railing (tilting at windmills) can be satisfying, but that what we (and by that I mean me, a casually interested observer with no personal stake, but a deep commitment to public education) need is a set of concrete goals we can work towards. I deduce, for example, that Charlie believes in process, and wants rules of process to be laid out more clearly, and to be followed. Melissa, I think, believes in more public engagement and responsiveness.

Those are both procedural goals, and ones that I *don't* feel particularly strongly about. I do think that community engagement is important because I think that people looking at the woods can get confused about the trees. But, I also believe that parents concerned about their own particular tree can be bad advocates for the benefit of the entire wood. I am neutral to process -- I do think it gives advocates power, but it's a means to an end, not an end in itself.

I do not believe kicking out this group of administrators and replacing them would have any positive effects. I have hints of ideas people have advocated for here that I might be able to get behind (a clarification of the alternative education scheme, better communication and engagement with families, . . . .) but I'm not clear enough on what those are to be effective.

Melissa Westbrook said...

And what's the "bigger picture" Rosie? What is the good end of the road rainbow that is being aimed for by all this churn? I don't see it and as I said in my remarks last night, you could ask any parent about the Strategic Plan and how all these moving parts line up and you won't find people who understand it.

I'm fine with people who play well together, I just need to know (1) what the end game is and (2) who has my back as a parent? Who speaks for the trees?

Charlie Mas said...

Activists have a role and there are actions which are appropriate for activists to take in the conduct of that role.

Board members also have a role and there are actions which are appropriate for Board members to take in the conduct of that role.

Brita Butler-Wall was an activist before she was a Board member. As an activist, she staged the "arrest" of a Coca-cola machine. It was a brilliant bit of theater and it was effective. It, and the subsequent media attention, motivated the superintendent to enforce the non-commercialism Policy.

She didn't arrest any vending machines as a Board member; she acted like a Director. Let's not confuse the expected behavior of activists with that of Directors.

I don't think anyone questions the futility of public school activism. I certainly don't. I have absolutely no expectation that any action of ours will be effective. There's scant evidence that anyone in authority gives a damn about what we think or our priorities. In the end, they have all of the authority and we have none, so they will decide whatever they decide and we get to decide whether we will like it or lump it.

That said, I must do what I can. I have to stand up and say "You promised that you would do this, but you haven't done it. What's up with that?"

I may not be able to do much more, but neither am I able to do any less.

dan dempsey said...

Charlie,

To correct you. You said:
"I don't think anyone questions the futility of public school activism. I certainly don't. I have absolutely no expectation that any action of ours will be effective. There's scant evidence that anyone in authority gives a damn about what we think or our priorities. In the end, they have all of the authority and we have none,"

Yes as things currently operate ... but if "Separation of Powers" was enforced, we would have some power.

We have the right to be free from Arbitrary and Capricious decision-making. That as near as I can figure is the only right we have.

Unless we can force the court to do their job we are up sh** creek without our only paddle.

Legislature makes laws.
RCW 28A 645.020

Courts are to enforce laws but in K.C. do not in regard to
requiring "Certified correct Transcript of evidence relating to decision.

No "Certified Correct" transcript = impossible to show "A&C"
unless both parties agree to a new supplemented transcript.

Who is responsible here? Not the District.

Who is accountable here?
#1 Not the District
#2 Not the Superior Court


Washington Supreme Court has yet to weigh in.

Sahila said...

Rosie - the Board does not do its homework... half the time they have no idea what they are voting on - see the NTN contract... and they keep asking staff for info and data and the staff doesnt provide it and the board votes on whatever anyway, without having the spine to say... sorry, cant vote on that tonight because i dont have the info to make an informed decision...

its crap, absolutely, utterly crap...

and all those other cities that are having trouble with their superintendents - funny that - they're all Broad Academy superintendents, pushing through the Broad reform agenda the community doesnt want....

Unknown said...

The "bigger picture," to me, starts with being willing to avoid the temptation to assume at first that everything is part of a big conspiracy, or to rush to snap judgments. Most recent example #1 -- the flurry of assumptions on this blog that the Ballard principal was forcibly removed -- or that all the old directors will be rehired. No one ever posts, sheepishly, "I was wrong, I jumped to an incorrect conclusion." THey just go onto the next presumed conspiracy.

The bigger picture also recognizes that changes need to be given time to demonstrate whether or not they work. Like the new SAP. It was built in part on an assumption that it will lower costs, which, in turn, will make more money available to do what this District (and every other urban district) has not yet succeeded in doing -- reaching the students who are historically not succeeding in our schools.

Because that, to me, is the biggest picture of them all. People who advocate doing more of the same, endlessly, are dooming those kids to continued failure. And by trying to get in the way of every significant change that has been proposed since MGJ arrived, that's basically what many on this blog have been doing.

With those ideas in mind, even if a proposed change may hurt my happy little lifestyle, I work hard not to have a kneejerk negative reaction. I trust that educators and committed public school administrators are more likely to have good ideas about improvements than I do, as a caring, smart, well educated parent, but whose expertise lies elsewhere.

suep. said...

blumhagn said...

IMHO, what needs to happen now is a fairly comprehensive list of incontrovertible facts of things that MGJ has done wrong. We want a list of hard facts. As important as the corporatization of schools issue is, it is easily dismissed as a conspiracy theory and you don't want to give anyone an excuse to ignore the whole list.


Good idea, Eric. We started a list here that might be helpful: http://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/2010/05/17/can-seattles-schools-afford-many-more-years-of-supt-goodloe-johnson/

I would also add MGJ's decision to raise the threshhold for Title I funding qualifications which has caused some needy schools to lose crucial funding. I would guess that Meg Diaz has some solid stats and numbers about the shady shellgames the superintendent and district plays with various pots of money, Title I, AP, even SPED funding included.

--sue p.

Sahila said...

Rosie - this stuff has been playing out in other districts for several years - and it's been obvious for some time that it doesnt work... people in other parts of the country are reclaiming their school districts from the corporatisers in long, harsh and expensive battles... seriously, do yourself (and me) a favour - go check out the facts at
http://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/ - scroll down the sidebar and see what's happening all over the country...

and we already know what works... Everett knows what works... see minute 35 here,
http://www.seattlechannel.org/videos/video.asp?ID=4581
where Melissa in her testimony refers to processes - that cost time, not money - Everett has been using for several years to improve academic outcomes...

We dont need to waste more time and money in Seattle going down this street - which is a dead end for our kids and communities, and a goldmine for privatisers...

seattle said...

You know what, I kinda agree with Rosie.

A poster in this very thread heard DeBell say the word reform and automatically jumped to the conclusion that he was aligning himself with the Broad corporatist agenda. Maybe he is, maybe he isn't. I don't know. The point is the poster doesn't know either. She just jumped to a negative conclusion, which she does quite often.

Maybe that poster should ask DeBell for a meeting and find out what he meant by reform. Because the definition of reform is to put or change into an improved form or condition. No mention of Broad in the Merriam Webster dictionary definition. So we don't know what he meant. Saying the district needs reform could be a really good thing, right?

This blog has changed drastically over the few years I've been following it. I've watched the blog moderators try to call people out for posting their opinions as fact, snipping at each other, and hijacking threads, but in spite of their efforts the blog has a very negative tone, and constant talk of corporatist takeover. Not that anyone cars, but I for one am growing very weary of it.

Sahila said...

Go listen to the public testimony and you'll see what reform in this district means... not improvement....

seattle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
seattle said...

Why not ask DeBell for a meeting and find out what he meant by reform? That's what a reasonable person would do. Seriously, why not meet with him?

Unknown said...

Rosie, I do agree with you, to a point. I don't think it's particularly effective to be the wild-eyed person in the room. I've watched a lot of Board testimony and seen them turn off when some people get up to speak. It doesn't mean that those people are wrong, it means that the Board has already decided what they're going to hear and that they don't need to hear it again. It's unfortunate, but it's human nature.

My opinion is that people can be effective in making change if they give reasoned arguments for what they want. You saw it in the NSAP--thousands of comments were thrown out because they said "I live on X street and I want the boundary to be at X+1 street."

My point above is that we're not going to get anywhere at all by screaming about the Broad people or charter schools. It's just not on the radar. We MAY be able to make a difference by citing many specific instances of failures.

I get that running an urban district is a thankless job and many people will hate any superintendent. I don't expect MGJ to care personally about my children or even to know that they exist. I do expect her to do her job competently, and I don't think she's done that, because I think that effective engagement with the community is part of her job. That's why I'm asking for the Board not to extend the contract.

Anyway, that's enough time on the soapbox. Your mileage may vary.

Sahila said...

Actually - I listened to his comments again and he was talking about the "challenges of reforming a large urban school district".... and that phrase is word for word what the Broad apologists and plants in other districts use to justify the implementation of their agenda... seriously, I am not making this up or suffering from a paranoid delusion...

Its interesting what comes up when one googles "challenges of reforming a large urban school district"...

see here:

http://www.urbanedjournal.org/archive/Issue%201/FeatureArticles/article0004.pdf

http://www.cgcs.org/images/Publications/Expectations.pdf

I dont see any of these thoughts coming out of Broad and I dont see much of this happening in Seattle... do you?

But this here: http://www.ecs.org/html/educationIssues/Urban/urbanpdf/UrbanChapter2.pdf is what I do see happening... all the Broad/Gates/Rand/Brookings "business-led education" jargon...

udubgrad said...

Does anyone else see the 1.71 GPA in math as being a severe liability? What district would hire a supe with these marks? All the high paying jobs in the world are dependent on math. Isn't it kind of like saying someone is very well dressed except for the spaghetti sauce running down the front?

seattle said...

More speculation from Sahila stated as fact.

I'll ask again since I've yet to get an answer:

If you think DeBell has a Broad, corporatist, agenda why not ask him for a meeting or go to one of his coffee hours and ask him about it? Or at the very least email him? See what he has to say. Then post back here with fact instead of opinion and speculation.

Sahila said...

I have asked them... all Board members, including Harium... I have asked them to state openly who they are affiliated with and they do not answer...

Harium came to a meeting at my house last summer (or was it the summer before?) about Broad influence in the District - there were about 10 SPS community members there... he acknowledged the Board had all been given Broad reformist school governance literature to read (literature used at the Broad Academy)... he promised a "White Paper" on Broad influence in the District - said he and Sherry Carr would work on it and he would have it in a month for us... that was a year ago... I've asked him for that report three times... first two times he said it was being worked on and apologised for the delay... third time no acknowledgement...

You make of that what you will... I say they've been bought and they're helping the Superintendent implement the privatising reform agenda here in Seattle...

Randy Dorn didnt want to sign onto the last education 'reform' bill because it didnt go far enough and allow for charters... some of us predict that new legislation will come forward in the new legislative session that will allow charters in this state... I'd be willing to bet on it...

seattle said...

Why not go to DeBell's coffee hour and instead of "demanding that he state openly who he is affiliated with", You simply ask him what he meant when he said "reform path"? I doubt he'd refuse to answer you unless your approach was antagonistic or accusatory.

Sahila said...

I dont go to saturday morning coffee hours with Directors cos I'm a single mother of a 7 year old and our weekends are about his life and home, not SPS...

so I have directors coming to my house, and I ask them in public forums because we all are entitled to a clear answer to a simple, clear question...

Who do you work for? Us or Broad/Gates and the reform agenda?

I personally dont see anything complicated in that, nor is it antagonistic - its simply a question based on a need to know what we are really dealing with here...

dan dempsey said...

{Rosie is right on with meeting with DeBell}

I've been to a couple of Michael DeBell's Saturday meetings. I find them to be very informative. I find Michael to be very thoughtful and respectful and ready to engage on all topics (unless under current litigation).

That said as far as the Seattle School Board goes things have not changed that much from: "We trust our hired Professionals" (as in "to hell with the evidence").... It has been quite apparent on several votes that certain directors are voting "FOR" "only because the Superintendent wants it done that way" ... the reasons for those "FOR" votes from certain directors are preposterous as in "Arbitrary and Capricious".

Unfortunately the actions of Superior Court judges that believe that litigation should proceed in spite of the absence of "Certified Correct Transcripts" is the BIG violation of separation of powers.

RCW 28A 645.020 needs to be enforced by the judiciary .... but it just is not happening.

Again this is the big difference between a republic and an oligarchy.

dan dempsey said...

Board meeting of 6-16-2010 is now online HERE.

seattle said...
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seattle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
seattle said...

I'll ask one more time:

Why not sit down with DeBell (on a weekday if you must) or email him and just ask him what he meant by reform? I've met with him on several occasions and find him to be reasonable, intelligent, and willing to engage.

Can you do that Sahila? Then, instead of jumping to conclusions and making assumptions, you can post what DeBell actually says about his views on reform. That would be helpful to us all.

Give civility and tact a try.

Sahila said...

Well Rabbit, since you seem to have such a firm need to know definitively, why dont you ask De Bell personally and report back to us?

But, just to please you and make a point (though I doubt he'll admit to me in private what he wont acknowledge in public) I shall see what I can do, Rabbit...

I shall email him - I'll post a copy of the email here, and I shall post his reply, if there is any...

Though I'm getting a bit 'p***ed of at your continued suggestions that I am uncivil, aggressive, and tactless...

I dont know if you know this, but I was a radio journalist in New Zealand and used to have an excellent working relationship with public figures in local government... I got the truth from them and they sent complimentary messages to my bosses about my 'style'... maybe its the fact that they dont duck and dodge so much in the antipodes...

Its funny, I used to help on media training courses for senior govt officials, including the police, where we taught them that truthful, respectful, direct communication with the public would engender much more acceptance, co-operation and approval than their usual evasive, jargon-filled 'party line' statements...

Seems to me the Board could do with some of that training... but that would come under the "communications" heading and we know the District is appallingly bad in that area of expertise...

Melissa Westbrook said...

"People who advocate doing more of the same, endlessly, are dooming those kids to continued failure. And by trying to get in the way of every significant change that has been proposed since MGJ arrived, that's basically what many on this blog have been doing"

Rosie, you are absolutely wrong on this point. There is virtually no one here who advocating "more of the same". We do indeed want change. Early on I thought that MGJ's audits might be a good idea. Let's see what we're doing, what works and what does. A fine idea.

However, what did she do? A complete audit of the Advanced Learning programs? Nope, just APP. And did she do what that audit said? Nope, she did virtually everything they said not to do.

That's just one example.

When they were working on the new SAP, some people were very unhappy about an assigned school and asked who asked for this? I had to gently remind them that years before they were here other parents advocated for neighborhood schools.

However, a cornerstone of the old SAP was keeping sibs together. That the district did not keep this promise and made it so confusing did not help the process. They promised all would be revealed with the transition plan and it wasn't.

The problem with all the changes is not change itself. The problem is the lack of listening to parents and community on virtually any subject.

I reject the idea that people here want to go along with the same old stuff.

Charlie Mas said...

I certainly don't want the same old stuff. I have advocated for a lot of change, but real change in lessons for students, not in organizational charts.

I have advocated for a comprehensive program that will provide students working below grade level with the early and effective interventions that they need. The Response to Intervention appeared promising but the promises have not been kept. They said the right things, but didn't take the actions that would bring real change.

I have advocated for ALOs and self-selected Spectrum, but the District doesn't monitor the programs to assure their quality and efficacy, so we have advanced learning programs in name only. They applied the label but didn't make the real change.

I have advocated for language immersion programs and Montessori programs to be Option programs - that would be a change - a real change - that would provide more equitable access.

I have advocated for the relocation of north-end elementary APP to the north-end. That would be a real change.

We don't fear change or oppose it. We want change. We want real change. If anything, my biggest complaint about the superintendent is that all of her projects are overdue. I want the change faster. I also want it realer. I want real curriculum alignment, not Standardization, the cheap imitation that she is pushing.

wsnorth said...

RE: Her range of scores (with 4 being great to 1 being poor) were 3.86 for the new SAP ... 1.71 for math.

Can anyone find the complete list posted anywhere? I looked on the district website, but can't find a link.

wsnorth said...

RE: Her range of scores (with 4 being great to 1 being poor) were 3.86 for the new SAP ... 1.71 for math.

Can anyone find the complete list posted anywhere? I looked on the district website, but can't find a link.

dan dempsey said...

Here is the definition of the transitive verb "implement":

: carry out, accomplish; especially : to give practical effect to and ensure of actual fulfillment by concrete measures


So now consider this from the Evaluation on 6-16-2010:

"The most significant accomplishment in the 2009-10 school year was the adoption and implementation of the New Student Assignment Plan (NSAP).

Clearly the Superintendent's incompetence is matched by the school board. [I seem to have missed the "implementation" please someone point it out to me. The Evaluation report saw it ... where is it?]

Get ready for the next legal appeal of a school board decision in Superior Court.

Decision to be appealed will be made on 7-7-2010 by a vote of directors approving (my guess is 5-2)

Appeal must be filed by August 6th.

Please begin writing the board all the reasons that you find the Evaluation inadequate and/or incorrect. Specifically ask to have your letter placed in the administrative record of evidence that must be used in making the coming decision on July 7 in regard to extending the superintendent's contract.

Please cc: your letters to:
dempsey_dan@yahoo.com
{I need to decide if it is worth my time and money to go after these incompetent people, if no one writes why should I spend another $300 or so dollars and a huge number of hours writing an initial appeal document?}

This ain't over yet baby.
The WA Supreme Court has not ruled on a variety of cases.


To get a school board decision ruled "Arbitrary & Capricious" it must be shown that based on the evidence available to the board at the time of the decision, the decision arrived at was "A&C".

In the appeals of School Closures of which there are two, NSAP of which there are two, the HS Math instructional materials decision of 5-6-2009, the NTN contract approval of 2-3-10, the NTN contract approval of 4-7-10, "The SPS Board of Directors" never provided the required "Certified Correct Transcript" of evidence even once.

Now really who in their right mind would allow this to continue?

We will soon find out if the Supreme Court commissioner is in his right mind and if he is then we shall get to see if the Supreme Court Judges are in their right minds.

Check it out RCW 28A 645.020:
.. Within twenty days of service of the notice of appeal, the school board, at its expense, or the school official, at such official's expense, shall file the complete transcript of the evidence and the papers and exhibits relating to the decision for which a complaint has been filed. Such filings shall be certified to be correct.

Key words ... Complete & Correct

The SPS Board does not even know the definition for the transitive verb Implement

We can add Complete and Correct to the board's list of common words that are misunderstood.

WOW!!! these folks are just begging to be recalled. They need to resign .. this is beyond absurd.

When the Board cannot tell that implementation of the NSAP has not yet occurred and thus give its implementation a score of 3.86 out of 4.00, we are in ==> "TwiLight Zone Seattle" complete with Three Superior Court Judges to match.

Little wonder I am no longer attending community meetings of directors.

dan dempsey said...

Certified correct here is how NOT to do it.

Look at page 3 from CAO Susan Enfield here.
==========
I, Susan Enfield, certify that the attached documents constitute the "transcript of the evidence and papers and exhibits relating to the decision[s]" the Seattle School Board made for the NTN contract and Cleveland STEM.

Dated this 20th day of April, 2010 at Seattle, Washington.
signed S. Enfield
==============

This transcript contained 16,854 pages including a verbatim transcript of a board meeting that occurred one month after the 2-3-2010 decision.
==============

Here is what Susan Enfield should have written if the district was actually providing the correct information, else she would be guilty of perjury if she attached this to the 16,854 pages submitted.

--------
I, Susan Enfield, certify that the attached documents constitute the "transcript of the evidence and papers and exhibits relating to the decision" the Seattle School Board made for the NTN contract on February 3rd 2010. I certify this transcript to be correct.

Dated this 20th day of April, 2010 at Seattle, Washington.
------------

But the district cannot say that because they never have a complete correct transcript to submit.

When a party cannot follow the law in an appeal proceeding they lose, unless their opponents are parents, teachers, and/or children.

We need a certified correct transcript on which to base a legal argument to show an "Arbitrary & Capricious" decision was made by the Board, but the Board never provides that legally required correct transcript.

This is way way way beyond absolutely crazy.

dan dempsey said...

Blogger blumhagn said...

IMHO, what needs to happen now is a fairly comprehensive list of incontrovertible facts of things that MGJ has done wrong. We want a list of hard facts.
============

Dear Eric Blumhagen,

Please be sure and send all those facts to the Board and cc: me on that.

The board sometimes has difficulty locating and using all the evidence submitted to them when involved in decision making. They seem to need a lot more guidance and assistance than the court system has given them thus far.

I'd appreciate it the cc:

Perhaps we can inspire the court system to help the Board.

It was my understanding that we are entitled to be free of arbitrary and capricious decision making ... instead we are provided with a steady diet of such decisions.

Dan

dempsey_dan@yahoo.com

dan dempsey said...

WS North,

To find that link go to the School Board agenda for 6-16-10 and there you can find the link.

On the agenda final under the testimony list you will find:

VI. Board Comments
Report on Superintendent and Board Evaluations

Click on Superintendent and you will have what you need.

dan dempsey said...

Here is my latest letter in regard to a contract extension for MGJ.