Disqus

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Super Speaks

From an interview with 97.3 KIRO FM:

While people are buzzing about the superintendent, she says they're not talking to directly to her.

"Did they talk to their principal, did they talk to the executive director, have they emailed me? I would be very curious about how they have posed a question that they feel like hasn't been listened to," she says.

As a matter of fact, YES I DID and several times. She has never answered one e-mail or even acknowledged them. I asked her a question while she was sitting with other staff at one of the budget meetings. I asked her why she told staff there they didn't have to listen in at the table discussions (all the Board members present did). (I had asked Holly Ferguson this question and her answer was, "The Superintendent said we didn't have to.")

The Superintendent tossed her head and said, "No, Melissa, I didn't say that."

I said, "Well, are you going to ask them to?"

She just shrugged and went back to her discussion.

So seriously? Everyone here who has sent an e-mail or tried to talk to her, please state it. Because I'd like to let the Board know that she is putting out disinformation.

The article also said,

Goodloe-Johnson does hear her critics. This fall she'll get feedback from a group of high school students and will begin holding meetings with parents. She'll use the "coffee chats" to respond to parents' concerns and questions in person.

So now, after nearly 3 years, it dawns on her to talk to students and parents. That's some slow learning curve especially after all her evaluations called out her lack of engagement skills. Won't this be interesting.

I find this very off-putting and she must think we are all pretty dumb. If this is her charm offensive, good luck with that.

26 comments:

Sahila said...

I included her in quite a few of the emails I sent to the Board... no response - ever...

No Melissa - no, its not her charm offensive;

Its the usual immature passive aggressive strategy/defence - ignore people when they are asking you questions you dont like or you dont feel confident/powerful enough to stand behind your position and then, when you are called out publicly, complain that people didnt come to you with their problems... poor me, victim, I'm so misunderstood crap...

And who are the selected students she is going to engage with/get their feedback from? How are they going to be selected? Will she go to every school and have open meetings/assemblies where kids can anonymously put questions on paper and she answers them all on the spot?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Who wants to lay odds that she'll say the district staff party line when asked any question:

I don't know but I'll get back to you.

StepJ said...

What a crock.

I know of hundreds - if not thousands of e-mails submitted to her directly with zero or form letter response.

I know directly of parents that attended 'coffee' meetings last year that asked direct questions that were met with spin or zero response.

I witnessed firsthand parents giving testimony in front of the Board or Directors where she rolled her eyes, or just texted away on her Blackberry and ignored the parent completely.

If only she spent as much time or true caring for student learning - improving class size - simple school infrastructure - as she does on spin.

I truly hope local media will recognize the Pulitzer within their grasp and investigate and report the actual substance of our Superintendent.

StepJ said...

Why does she 'so suddenly' want to give the impression that she actually cares?

mirmac1 said...

I wrote to her in June 2008, criticizing the puffy special ed audit and its dubious findings that set the groundwork for the district's crappy "integrated comprehensive services." I urged her to retain the effective autism inclusion programs and, better yet, to expand them if she truly wanted to help support disabled children in the least restrictive environment.

No response back, of course.

Charlie Mas said...

I have sent her dozens of emails and cannot recall ever getting a response from her.

Josh Hayes said...

Well, see, she says, apparently:

"Did they talk to their principal, did they talk to the executive director, have they emailed me? I would be very curious about how they have posed a question that they feel like hasn't been listened to..."

She didn't say people didn't email her, or talk to their principal, or whatever, she just asked whether they had.

So it's not a lie, see. (My sister's a lawyer - a judge, actually, but not in WA state - and so I'm used to parsing out the jesuitical nature of the weasely argument. Heck, 6-year-olds do the same thing!)

uxolo said...

I have also written dozens and never received any replies. Should we all resend our emails and see what happens? Maybe we should print them out and wallpaper the lobby?

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't she talk to teachers too? Sometimes, just sometimes we "grunts" have a clue too...

Sahila said...

maybe we should inundate her with emails and telephone messages and complaint forms, an idea Chris and I and a couple of others were ready to move on a year ago...

dan dempsey said...

Hummm .... seems like I have several of these:

From Ron English, who was asked to provide responses.....
With respect to your other questions, they are currently the subject of litigation, and contact should be made to the District's outside counsel.

I did not ask the questions to Ron English but he is the designated answer guy. Apparently MG-J and Michael DeBell are unable to contact the District's outside legal counsel to get answers to my questions.

The usual response from MG-J is an Auto-Response....generated immediately upon receipt of an email and that is all I ever get from her.

Talk about an achievement Gap ... what she claims and what she actually delivers, now that is a GAP for sure.

dan dempsey said...

MG-J said in the 97.3 interview:

"I'm being held accountable by the board, the system has to be held accountable, we have to be held accountable. I expect for all kids that the teachers hold themselves accountable for growth," she says.

(1) She is NOT held responsible by the Board
(2) She is planning with her Performance Management to hold teacher's accountable with her version of accountability.
(3) What this lady says she expects and what happens are often miles apart.
(4) If you haven't read #8 and #14 here please do so. It explains a lot about how little accountability her Majesty planned for herself.

The public is "Mad as Hell and many of us DO NOT plan to take this any more."

Recall the Seattle "5".

Unknown said...

I have also asked many questions and included her on emailed questions to the Board. No responses direct from her, although there were occasional responses direct from staff when they were on the cc list. I currently have an outstanding question in to Brad Bernatek about MAP testing. I'll have to re-send it to him with another cc to the Board.

I did get an awesome form email back one time--Reading between the lines a little, it said "I get a lot of email, so don't expect an answer. If you want an answer, email one of these people instead or go to the website."

Eric

Tim said...

This may sound like I am defending her...I think it is evident that she has begun to recognize she needs to respond to feelings and perceptions. It is, after all, entirely possible that she has listened carefully to every question (even while rolling her eyes and texting - in fact, both may be evidence she was listening). She may have read many of the emails...and dismissed them as irrelevant or already being addressed, or forwarded them to somebody else to deal with. I certainly don't expect her to read them all, but I do expect someone reads them. While not getting a response may be frustrating, and dismissing ideas she doesn't find relevant may seem arrogant, it isn't evidence she isn't competent. This blog has published much evidence about actual incompetence. I get that in the face of that incompetence, arrogant replies, or passive-agressive non-replies may be infuriating, but they are beside the point. If a performance measurement is email replies, then fine...but as a teacher trying to reject measurements of my performance that don't matter, I think we should focus on the big stuff she is or isn't doing well. As angry as people feel about her "distance" there are far more tangible and objective measurements that have been brought up before. If she were perceived to have done well in those areas, I think most of these complaints about her apparent responsiveness would go away.

Sahila said...

The reason this riles me so much is that I have this kind of expectation that someone who is doing their job well has some 'right' to be a little dismissive/arrogant. Its not a trait I would welcome but it is kind of understandable/acceptable as a manifestation of the confidence that comes with knowing you can and are doing a good job and that the results/assessments demonstrate that...

However, when MGJ has only a right royal stuff up to show for her very expensive efforts, then the arrogance and dismissiveness is even more galling...

Sahila said...

There's no sense of "mea culpa" in her approach... and I guess she cant afford to go there cos then she would be justifying her own dismissal...

But I respect people who stuff up, own it, apologise for it and then go on to do what they can to correct....

On the other hand - she's working to an agenda that is not the same as ours, so maybe she feels no need to apologise for anything, she feels she's not at fault and we are in truth, to her, a bunch of nagging, annoying mosquitos, buzzing around her...

Tim said...

I hear you Sahila.

ParentofThree said...

I agree with Tim. I could careless that MGJ has piss-poor communication skills. I don't need to talk to her. I need to see postive results from all "her changes that are hard for parents."

And to date, I don't see it.

Anonymous said...

I sent this email to board members after 5 of them voted to extend M GL-J's contract:

Dear Directors,
Tonight I listened to several Directors (Director DeBell, Director Carr, Director Martin-Morris, and Director Sundquist if memory serves me well), as well as, Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson mention that the District has the right strategic plan in place. That we have the right leadership. That it will take 5 to 6 years to see the results. And, for those reasons we need to extend Dr Goodloe-Johnson's contract into 2013.

When Dr Goodloe-Johnson addressed the Board for the first time at a public meeting as Superintendent, in 2007, she stated that it would take at least 4-5 years to see the results of a new administration's efforts. After listening to her speech I was curious how long she had been Superintendent of Charleston, SC School District-- 3 1/2 years.

It begs the question, "If Dr Goodloe-Johnson's tenure as Superintendent in Charleston wasn't long enough to establish a 'track record', less than 4 years, how could the Board consider her qualified to lead Seattle Schools?"

Also, several Directors and the Superintendent mentioned that systemic changes, like the Strategic Plan, can be difficult for some to adjust to. I would respectfully disagree. I have been with Seattle Schools for 10+ years. I can assure you there has been plenty of changes, good and bad, and these same staff members, parents, and others have been anxious and openly advocating for systemic changes for many years.

What has created a growing push back to implementation of the current Strategic Plan is Dr Goodloe-Johnson's apparent disregard for the need to engage and collaborate with the most important stakeholders. Parents. Children. Teachers. 3 1/2 years ago I sent Dr Goodloe-Johnson an email welcoming her to Seattle Schools, wishing her success, and hoping that she would stay many years. Also, I said that in order to be successful with any strategic changes she needed to win "the hearts and minds of the 'troops' in the classroom"; otherwise, those attempted changes would fail.

That is what the Board is facing today. No matter how well intentioned the plan, no matter the data to back it up--the "achievement gap" will not go away without gaining the hearts and minds of the teachers in the classrooms. That should have taken 3 1/2 months, not 3 1/2 years, and counting.

Invited to be part of a team people feel empowered to look ahead. Being hit from behind by a yellow bus people will then spend their time looking through the rearview mirror.

I got responses from 4 board members:

Maier: Thanks for your message. I see that you have a different point of view, but I hope that we will be able to maintain a conversation. The needs of SPS students are too important to have battle lines drawn.
Sundquist: Ken: thank you for your feedback and continuing engagement. I appreciate seeing you at the meeting last evening, and look forward to having another conversation with you in one of my community meetings next fall.
Carr: Thank you for your feedback. I concur with your thoughts that increased engagement with parents and teachers will be vital going forward.
Smith-Blum: Thank you Ken, your perspective is a sound one. ksb

ken berry

Anonymous said...

Eric, FYI, Brad B is out on paternity leave.

ParentofThree said...

"Maier: Thanks for your message. I see that you have a different point of view, but I hope that we will be able to maintain a conversation. The needs of SPS students are too important to have battle lines drawn."

Oh my...did he not read your email. What a ninny.

Jan said...

I think Tim's point (about not arguing the less critical stuff -- no matter how annoying) is a good one, but it really does seem a shame to allow MGJ to get away with such BLATANT disinformation. I wonder if there is a way, through some sort of information request, to find out how many "emails requesting responses" she has received, and of those, how many have ever been substantively addressed. Obviously, computer generated email replies don't count -- nor would replies from other staff members who actually give a substantive reply. "I'll get back to you" replies don't count unless someone did; unfortunately, "we can't talk about X because it is the substance of litigation may, in some cases, be an appropriate substantive response -- but not always, if the question didn't involve the subject of the litigation, or there was other information that COULD be provided.

Even if this is NOT the critical issue -- mismanagement and failure to perform would be the critical ones -- nothing will stop District management from these sorts of responses if no one ever calls them on them.

Jan said...

Whoops -- I meant to say -- replies from other staff members that substantively address questions WOULD count as responses. She should be able to have other staff respond to questions.

SC Parent said...

How do I, as a parent, get a golden ticket to the MGJ coffee hour?

Charlie Mas said...

Anyone can go to the coffee hours. I went to one that she did last year as penance for the poor community engagement score on her performance evaluation. At that coffee hour I asked her for an example of accountability. That's when she told me that the accountability would come when the performance management system was built - and not before.

Anonymous said...

Though people may send emails and call, I've only known one parent to get a response back and audience with MGJ...but that was because the parent documented for three months almost daily her concerns with our principal and his supervisor about problems at our school. And because she is a professional writer her emails used "legaleeze" in the district not doing their due diligence to address her concerns. But even though she got an audience with MGJ, NOTHING CHANGED! Things just continue to get worse, with the principal blaming the student population make-up and teachers for the problems, though he sits in an office closed door with light off at least 50% of the time. In otherwords no "open door" policy. Much like his Area Director and MJG.

So, though we may be speaking IS ANYBODY REALLY LISTENING?!