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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Can the State Help?

I had this idea this morning. The State Auditor had an extraordinary number of findings in his audit of Seattle Public Schools. More, the findings were significant and disturbing, reflecting notable deriliction of duty.

We also have some folks in town looking to recall some Board members. The audit bolsters their cause.

The State is VERY interested in beefing up the "accountability" in our public schools. They have added even more accountability for teachers and, in the last session, passed a law that applies only to Seattle Public Schools that made it incrementally easier for the District to fire principals. I believe that accountability should be applied from the top down, instead of from the bottom up (as it has been done in Washington State public education). After all of the talk about holding schools and districts accountable, the first people who faced consequences were the students - the people with the least power in the whole system. The next people being held accountable are those with the next smallest portion of authority - the teachers.

I think the State Legislature is ready to apply some accountability to the people at the top of the districts. I wonder if the Legislature could adopt a law that would declare that certain things, if found in a State Audit of a School District, constitute misfeasance. That would facilitate a recall by removing one of the hurdles. I think it is an accountability measure that the State Legislature is ready to adopt. How could we get it in front of them? Who could help us with this?

I think this sounds like a perfect job for the League of Education Voters.

14 comments:

Sahila said...

Sounds to me like a perfect job for Charlie Mas!

Sahila said...

http://www.wssda.org/wssda/webforms/En-Us/Publications/opmaman.pdf

I was looking for the relevant RCWs about super's responsibility to keep minutes for the administrative record and found this document...

seems a lot of stuff that's been happening behind closed doors within SPS has been happening illegally...

Melissa Westbrook said...

I support this measure but I am going to go at it from a different angle (not to be disclosed at this point).

But I believe that much, much more attention should be paid to this audit and I know the State Auditor's office feels the same way. That they have no enforcement power (and I'm still checking as to what OSPI's power is) and the Board isn't really doing its oversight, what is left?

Charlie, if you draft an e-mail to legislators, I will sent it to mine who are Chopp, Murray and Petersen. I know that Murray has an interest in SPS issues and Petersen adopted twins a year or so ago so he probably has a vested interest in our schools.

Charlie Mas said...

I live in the 11th District, where the legislators are Senator Margarita Prentice, Representative Zack Hudgins, and Representative Bob Hasegawa. None of them have taken much leadership on education that I can recall, but I'll write to them about it.

I'll try to be nice about it.

Just the same, I don't think any legislation ever happens this way.

Michael said...

@Charlie: "Just the same, I don't think any legislation ever happens this way."

Shame them into doing something about it. All this touchy-feely talk by politicians of accountability and transparecy needs to be put to the test once again.

Hold rallies outside District HQ and invite state legislators and other elected officials. The names of the ones who don't respond or refuse can be publicized. Publicize trips to Olympia (if you can take the time off) to meet with legislators. The ones that won't meet with you should be exposed.

Of course, I haven't done this before myself, but that is the action that comes to mind.

dan dempsey said...

Charlie,

Write to Sharon Tamiko Santos, she is concerned about education and has a history of making things happen.

Well as much as anything ever happens in regard to improving education from Olympia.

I think Rep. Reuven Carlyle is the only legislator with children in Seattle Schools. He would be a good contact.

dan dempsey said...

Seattle 2010 Recall

is up and running here.

mirmac1 said...

We should flat out ask:

League of Education Voters
Stand for Children
Alliance for Education
Our Schools Coalition
blah blah blah

where the hell they would stand on this type of legislation. My guess is they would say it's just an attempt by "bad teachers" to avoid responsibility, and attribute the push to a plot by those fatcat teacher union reps.

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

@Sahila: "I was looking for the relevant RCWs about super's responsibility to keep minutes for the administrative record and found this document..."

The AG also has a guide available on the internet called the "Open Government Internet Manual" at http://www.atg.wa.gov/OpenGovernment/InternetManual.aspx

Michael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sahila said...

thanks Michael....

Sahila said...

some of us have a busy day today.... going downtown to file an appeal against the super's contract extension on the basis that the board ignored lots of evidence and made an arbitrary and capricious decision to keep her on until 2013 and then its off to the elections office to file recall petitions...

kinda sad its had to come to this, but when you guys dont listen to your constituents and keep breaking the rules, what's a community to do...

if you have nothing better to do, why dont you come along? 10.30am King County Superior Court House 516 3rd Avenue - up in the clerks office - King5 TV cameras will be rolling, they said..

and then on to the elections office in Tukwila at 1.30pm...9010 East Marginal Way S, Tukwila, WA 98198... again King5 says they'll be there...

the more the merrier!

Neha J said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.