Director Martin-Morris closes his blog

Director Martin-Morris has added this message to his blog:
Due to taking on a new assignment at work I can not longer dedicate the time and effort required to maintain this blog and perform all of my other duties I am retiring this blog.

The hours that are required to do the blog by myself are not available to me any longer. Moving forward I will seek another technology that will allow for the exchange of ideas and opinions.

In the mean time email and contacting the board office are still available.


Stu said…
And so, his journey to the dark side is complete.

I had such high hopes for Director Martin-Morris when he first joined the board. While I didn't always agree with his decisions, he seemed willing to listen to facts and information that wasn't solely supplied by the district. Over the years, however, that willingness to think for himself faded but, at least, he was still willing to meet with people for coffee and, even when being unnecessarily attacked, responded to a few things on the blog.

So, no more blog . . .the one remaining piece of humanity . . . the one thing that separated him from the gang of . . . how many are we up to now?

Bet this new responsibility starts cutting into his weekends too! Say goodbye to coffee.


dan dempsey said…
Within one month of taking office Harium started his blog and from Dec 2007 to July 2008 made 23 postings.

Recently from Dec 2009 to July 2010 there were 7 postings.

So shouldn't the 7 Board members commit to a blog?

Or is all that talk about communication ... just about one way communication?
ParentofThree said…
DeBell has a blog.
dan dempsey said…
About DeBell's blog....

His last posting was June 2, 2009 .... that is not exactly reaching out to communicate.

Seems like this posting occurred around the time candidates declared to run for school board.

Director DeBell ran unopposed in 2009 and never posted again. Look for another post in June of 2013 if this pattern continues.
dan dempsey said…

Look at this from Director DeBell's other blog pages.

On The Issues
Top Priorities

* Excellence for All - Promote, evaluate and oversee the implementation of our Strategic Plan, Excellence for All.
* Fiscal Responsibility & Quality Education - Continue to balance our budget while directing all possible resources to improving the quality of classroom instruction.
* Clearly Articulated Policies & Goals - Develop and maintain a compact and understandable body of policies that incorporate a vision and concrete goals for excellence and guide the actions of staff to be fair, accountable, transparent and equitable.
* Higher Academic Standards - Move the District toward increasing our academic and graduation standards so that a diploma from Seattle Public Schools is an entry ticket to our fine colleges and universities.
* Strong Partnerships - Work closely with the Superintendent to build strong partnerships with our city government, local business, foundation and community organizations, the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), the state legislature and the Office of the Governor.
* Well Supported Alternative Schools & Advanced Learning Opportunities - Insure that Alternative Educational models continue to flourish in Seattle and that Advanced Learning Opportunities are widely available.


Given the State Auditor's report covered 2008 - 2009 school year .. a bit of the above looks like bunk.
Sahila said…
it feels like they're circling the wagons...
Sahila said…
“Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them.”
- Frederick Douglass

What are your limits?
Chris S. said…
Maybe he won't have time to run for re-election.
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
kprugman said…
Hegemony is the outcome of an absolute idea.

In this case Seattle voters consented to being subjugated, but it is clear by now, even to board members, that the present direction of the school district is not in their best interest, nor anyone else's.

We can continue this masquerading, laugh at the Seattle Times, while we expose the rest of the deception, and ask for resignations.

That's part of the Democratic process. Anon should grow up.
Eric M said…
What, are we supposed to feel sorry for Harium ???? Did we hurt his feelings? His policies (more realistically, his lack of independence and critical thinking vis-a- vis the Broad Foundation's policies) hurt our schools and kids.

Look at the guy's voting record. Look at what he said he would do, and what he became. Act as if the public doesn't matter, and maybe you're going to take some heat. He is a HUGE friggin' disappointment, maybe not to his mom, but to a lot of us.

Keep the heat on, folks. Our schools belong to us, not some national billionaire agenda.
Sahila said…
@ anonymous:
If you cant swim, dont get in the pool...

Dont offer people a place for dialogue if you're not prepared to handle what's going to come at you...

Anyone who's been around IT and social media and thinks its all going to stay meek and mild is naive and unrealistic...

And I've written often that this demand for 'civil discourse' misses the point and is more often than not a demand that people with uncomfortable things to say simply "shut up"... see here:

" There is an unfortunate tendency to assume that civil discourse has occurred whenever two or more people are nice to each other, say something, and don’t get into an argument. That is misleading on all three counts.
...civil discourse has not occurred if boundaries have not been crossed.
...civil discourse has not occurred if boundaries that define spaces of sound and spaces of silence have not been recognized and honored.
...Where there is no argument, there is no civil discourse.

We must openly disagree if we are to discover what binds us together and what we can accomplish. We must talk to each other in order to disagree. We must speak honestly as well as decently, which means that we may sometimes need to say unpleasant things about each other. And about ourselves."

kprugman said…
Board members sign things and sometimes I'll bet they regret later signing them. That's why they have lawyers. Good luck...
Luz Villasana said…
I like Harium, even though I don't agree with all the policies he has supported. I believe that being a board member is too time consuming, and I respect his decision to close the blog on the grounds of lack of time.
Sahila said…
How can being a Board member be too time consuming?

If you haven't factored into the equation that it takes time to do your job well and fulfil your responsibilities to your constituents, you ought not to put yourself forward for the job!

And yes, they could each do with an intern (say) to help with research (they have a responsibility to be well informed enough to ask meaningful questions), but can you see the District forking out the money for that?

Assistants and Broadie toadies for the Super yes, but no interns for the Board in case they develop minds of their own and begin obstructing the Super/Broad agenda....
Unknown said…
Well said Luz.
dan dempsey said…
I have no beef with Harium shutting down his blog.

My Beef will be with the entire Board if they do not open a Board Blog that can be managed by all 7.

Communication desired?

Two way communication?

dan dempsey said…
"I believe that being a board member is too time consuming,"

Does this explain why the Audits are so poor?

Perhaps instead of rubber stamping YES a slower approach is warranted, so that time consuming analysis actually happens?

That approach would likely result in fewer legal appeals of board decisions being filed.

Last Board meeting July 7, 2010
(a) Contract extension 5-2
(b) NWEA/MAP testing 7-0

Inadequate evidence presented by the Board to justify either decision, thus two legal appeals filed.

(a) on July 22
(b) on August 6

If a member does not have the time to do an adequate job, then resignation is in order.

Five members clearly did an inadequate job, thus the Recall and Discharge filing at the elections office.
kprugman said…
Prophetic words. Thorough analysis might have prevented this board from stepping too hastily into educational quicksand.

As the audits attest. What is needed is more financial reform - not perforamnce pay, not more testing, and not more school closures.

Improve the textbooks and everyone's performance will improve.

If Randy doesn't get it yet, he's next on my list of weasels.
Beth Bakeman said…
I admire Harium for starting and maintaining a blog as long as he did.

As someone who started a blog and then found I no longer had enough time to write frequent posts and respond to comments, I'm completely sympathetic.
Anonymous said…
I've noticed on this thread (and also recently, elsewhere) that the blog-keepers sometimes leave this note -

"Comment deleted
This post has been removed by a blog administrator." -

or a comment might also just disappear, as if it never happened. Dear Blog-keepers - would you mind explaining this?

dan dempsey said…

I am not the blog keeper but
(1) spam gets dropped in here on occasion .. often with oriental characters

(2) occasionally a writer will notice a mistake after commenting and delete and then re-comment.

-- Dan
Sahila said…
and there is a rule about not contributing anonymously... persistent anonymous postings get deleted... you dont need to use your real name if you dont wish, but use something as a moniker...
倪平 said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dan and Sahila are right; we don't allow anonymous posts. I let CJ off because at least he/she put it at the end but it is preferable to have it at the top.

It is mostly to keep thread comments clear because if you have 3 Anonymous posts and want to comment, it is much harder.
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dorothy Neville said…
Anonymous comments are allowed, just look and see. Comment and click the anonymous link and there you go. Aren't any of the blog administrators savvy enough to change that back to they way it was? But it sure makes the "we don't allow that" posturing to look clueless and it does mean that anonymous posts are deleted with what appears to be prejudice as to their content. Inconsistent to delete some and not others. Inconsistent to say we require a moniker and then set up the blog so that it doesn't. Confusing and unprofessional. (and it got a lot less spam when folks were required to have an identity.)

As to the topic at hand here. HMM said from the beginning that people just want to be heard. Actually doing something about citizen and parent issues? Um, not really the point. I think now that there's such a track record for promises broken, there's no reason for him to keep listening to more. Sure, we got heard but not attended to and is he finally acknowledging that that's what we really wanted -- action? Not just a place to vent. The thing I will miss about his blog is not his participation, but the discussions among participants, with different information and points of view.
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Maureen said…
I do appreciate the fact that Harium kept his blog going for as long as he did. I wish all of the Directors would band together to maintain one blog to address our questions and issues (and allow us to discuss things as Dorothy pointed out). If all seven of them contributed, the work load would be more manageable.
Dorothy Neville said…
Anonymous said...

Harium can barely read or write. Look at his blog. It's full of malapropisms, misinterpretations, errors everywhere. It must have been a tremendous effort to keep up a blog given his literacy.


Puzzling, isn't it? I could never figure out if English was his second language or what? He speaks much more fluently than he writes. It does make me wonder just what he is doing for Boeing --- could he possibly read and write so poorly there as well?
Chris S. said…
I think Harium learned the hard way that although anyone can blog, to blog well requires a lot of work. Charlie and Melissa do a great job by and large, and that is why this blog is the place to discuss. Harium's blog's demise will just save us some cross-posting - and he does have a link to this blog!

Anyway, I attribute his seeming illiteracy to not spending much time on blogging. I think he learned that blogging badly is not really good PR.
Sahila said…
Its interesting that people are commenting on Harium's literacy skills (and that's not a criticism of the commentary - it really is interesting to me)...

I have often noticed the poor expression/usage of English... for a while I put it down to him probably being a bad typist and his brain working faster than his fingers...

BUT... maybe this is a bigger problem than we know...

I had a Board member comment to me that s/he was surprised at the low level of communication skills shown by MGJ... that there was a big difference (and not a complimentary one) between anything written MGJ produced by her herself compared to anything put out in her name by the staff...
WenD said…
@Melissa or whomever deletes anony posts: Can you please delete the ad hominem from our latest anonymous, the one trashing Harium.

If that's their user name, can you please advise them to get another one, or stop posting?

Anonymous ad hominems debase the entire discussion, and I suspect that's what they're going for.

Charlie Mas said…
I always presumed that the misspellings in Director Martin-Morris' blog posts and comments were because he was doing it from a hand-held device, like a blackberry, and the typos were a result of the tiny keyboard.

I further supposed that using that technology also precluded him from editing his remarks.

I don't know if that was true, but it was plausible and it was nicer than presuming that his spelling and grammar are no better or that he just didn't care.
kprugman said…
Communication, not grammar checking, is the point of blogging.

Most of us don't have the time or desire to correct our grammar.

When I writes, I have an editor. When I blogs, I don't care.
I try to delete every anonymous comment. That I don't succeed 100% of the time, oh well.

For those who believe Charlie or I eliminate critical comments about us, you must be new because there is a lot in this blog that is critical of what we have said or written.
CJ said…
Thanks for the clarification - I am new to this blog, and found the language of the guidelines to be confusing regarding anonymous posting.

On the issue of being new . . . while I was not the anonymous person who suggested that you deleted postings that are critical, I have to tell you, one thing I have noted is the absence of a perspective that is critical. You may see it differently as a primary author and blog-keeper, but I don't see that "there is a lot in this blog that is critical of what we have said or written." It's more a kind of ornery (and entertaining) love fest.
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Josh Hayes said…
CJ writes:

"...I don't see that "there is a lot in this blog that is critical of what we have said or written." It's more a kind of ornery (and entertaining) love fest."

I see your point, CJ, but this is probably because more traditional media are patent lickspittles when it comes to whatever comes out of the SPS admistrative offices. Nobody who disagrees gets air time on local network affiliates; with few exceptions, there's even little disagreement aired on local public radio stations (perhaps that will change tomorrow on KUOW?).

And of course, our local fish wrapper, the Seattle "Nothing To See Here, Move Along" Times, is so deeply in love with Dr. G-J that there's simply no way anything remotely critical of SPS Central will ever appear there.

So where CAN criticism be heard?

Oh - I forgot The Stranger, which I love, but they're far too hip, and too busy appearing to be hip, to bother covering something like unhappiness at SPS (unless a staff member is involved, of course).

The fact is, there are a lot of unhappy parents, and this blog is, alas, the most influential place to make that unhappiness plain - because broader media do not want to talk about it.

If you'd like to hear opposing views, just visit the comments section at the Seattle Times web site on any education-related story. You'll see.
kprugman said…
If you have the will to change an injustice; then you have the right to criticize it.

There is a real sense, a perception, that schools are failing to educate our students. But far from solving problems, the board and the institutions they represent are exploiting weaknesses inherent in public education. It is dishonest to suggest otherwise.
Charlie Mas said…
I read about myself today as someone who "openly protests against any idea, good or bad".

Now I'm taking some time to consider the truth of that evaluation.

I would like a wider range of views expressed on the blog, but there are challenges to that. The biggest challenge are the folks here who will try to shout you down if you disagree with them. So it takes a strong will and a lot of persistence to stay and work in that environment.

I'm all for energetic discussion. I am happy to engage in an exchange in which I defend my perspective and highlight flaws in an opposing view. Even if that can be harsh at times, I think it all falls into the category of fair game.

Some things, however, are not fair game. Some comments range outside the discussion and run dangerously close to being personal attacks or bullying.

I'm conflicted about what role to play in those cases.

As a matter of principle I don't want to censor much. I certainly don't censor opposing views. I'm on the fence about censoring some responses which could be seen as bullying. Perhaps I should take a stronger hand.
kprugman said…
Charles we agree more than we disagree. I face personal attacks every day - some are professional, some are personal. What's personal or offensive is a relative truth. I'm exploiting a medium as a few villians have been exploiting public education.

Blogging for me is more like Edge the Teacher versus Bill the Superintendent. We might never come face to face, but he will eventually know who I am.
Maureen said…
I read about myself today as someone who "openly protests against any idea, good or bad".

I do worry sometimes that the regulars here (myself included) come across this way to the general public.

We want attention paid to south end schools, but we complain about STEM at Cleveland. We want improvement in Special Education, but we complain about ICS. We want improved access to immersion and alt schools but complain that Beacon and Concord are neighborhood schools and the K-5 Tech school on QA isn't really alt.

I can see how people might think that we let the 'best be the enemy of the good.' (Wikiquote attributes this to Voltaire!) But, you know, BEST really is better than good! I appreciate the fact that the posters here generally use their in depth knowledge to strive for the best for all Seattle kids. And, you know, a lot of what we complain about is just plain BAD!
zb said…
I disagree with the blog owners with some regularity, and have never felt censored. But, in order to be a regular participant, I need to have the blog moderated, not a free-for-all (like some of the newspaper cites tend to be). For me, that level of moderation means that I think of this as a community where I hope I try to say the same sorts of things I would say in a discussion with the participants (and hosts) in person.

I try to use the anonymous user name to protect me from having my comments obviously archived with my unique name for ever and ever (for example, I might change my mind, and I don't necessarily want my participation in this blog to my web presence). But, I try to *not* use it to allow me to say things that I wouldn't say in polite discourse.

In order for me to be comfortable here, I need the others to be following roughly similar guidelines (with the caveat that some people would say things that I might not, and that's OK). So, I appreciate, censorship, for example, of ad hominem attacks and obscenity, judged by Charlie & Melissa. I also forgive them if their volunteer service means that they don't always jump to deleting the bad comments (and only the bad comments) right away.

I think the two of them have been doing a terrific job and I try to remember to say so with some frequency (while still disagreeing with them on a number of substantive issues).
seattle citizen said…
How refreshing to come home from a long vacation and log onto saveseattleschools and read this thread.

Every few months the conversation swings around again to "how do we conduct this conversation?" and I am heartened to a) be reminded of some more useful commenting tools and avoid the disparagement and venom (so I might us the tools and NOT use the venom) and b)that while all that's good, sometimes in the desire to not offend, to not attack, I might sometimes be "too polite."

A delicate balance, but one worth working towards.

I'd echo ZB in thanking whoever happens to be at the controls of this thing in any given moment. Your hard work is appreciated.
dan dempsey said…
Charlie said:

"I read about myself today as someone who "openly protests against any idea, good or bad"."

OK so let us hear the good ideas that Mr. Mas protests against.

In the USA over the last 40 years there has been a gradual if not precipitous decline in the teaching of content. The Core Knowledge (E.D. Hirsch) movement is an attempt to reverse this content decline.

Collegiate Ed schools feature a profusion of Baloney Research(BR). The UW CoE is certainly one of the manufacturers of BR. Check Research that Matters.

I am waiting for the SPS Alt school modeled on Core Knowledge. The fact that any SPS move towards "core knowledge" is extremely remote ... leads me to believe that if Mr. Mas protests most things he is in fact correct. A great number of things the SPS brings forward need opposition.
kprugman said…
Math reform vs. core knowledge? Neither side appeals to my pragmatism. I won't drink either poison.

Standing with core knowledge would definitely place you against the math reform syndicate (aka Uri Treisman, UW LIFE Center, MSU, ...)
But its all bogus and pretentious.
kprugman said…
The math reform movement is full of zen buddhists, gurus, channelers, spiritualists, hari krishnas, etc. And they all have one idea in common, belief in capitalism.
Sahila said…

I'm not a "traditional math" advocate, but neither am I a reform fundementalist - I cant see why we cant have both...

In the same way, I'm a spiritual synthesist, appreciative of and practising various aspects of Zen buddhism, spiritualism, I'm a medium, channeller and healer AND I DONT BELIEVE IN CAPITALISM! :-)

Anonymous said…
Some teachers are afraid that they will be on MGJ's hit list and that's why we post anonymously. Maybe there can be a way of handling this?

I cannot afford to lose my job but would love to participate. I know I can create a fake alias but that feels wrong somehow. If it's the only way to do it, then I will.

Thanks for the great debates and worthwhile publication of true concerns,

Cory (not my real name, SPS teacher)
kprugman said…
Sahila :) No offense. I'm sure you wouldn't want taxpayer dollars spent furnishing the Majarishi's beehive complex either. Just as you'd not want the Dutch reform church writing units for your child's math textbooks - anyone care to read a statistics unit, using OJ Simpson as an object lesson? My kids, not my familiar, shouldn't have to go to public school. We should write a new movie - Our Man in Ann Arbor.
Maureen said…
Cory there's nothing wrong with picking an alias, it's just a nickname for this community to use. It definitely makes it much easier to follow threads if everyone has some sort of name posted on top. If you post regularly then we get to know and appreciate your voice. With anonymous posters that is impossible.
zb said…
For those of you figuring out how to post semi-anonymously, my choice was to sign up for a google account I use primarily to post at this site. It does mean that there's an un-ravelable link somewhere that connects me to this posting identity, but it prevents these posts from being archived linked to my real name (my goal in having a pseudonym).

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