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Thursday, September 09, 2010

More Sucking Up by Tim Burgess

First we had Tim Burgess sucking up to the Alliance for Education, the League of Education Voters and the Chamber of Commerce by lending his name to a guest column in the Times about Education Reform. It was all wrong and outside his authority and expertise.

Now, as if to makes amends for that offense, he writes an obsequious letter to the Editor of the Times and post on his blog sucking up to the Seattle Education Association and, by proxy, to all unions.

The guy is slimy.

Oh! And a coward.

Let's not let him become mayor.

19 comments:

seattle citizen said...

Let's not forget about Burgess sucking up to these people who promised him votes.

Our Schools Coalition, has, I note added Councilmembers Sally Clark and Mike O'Brien, as well as Cheryl Chow, to their wall of shame.

Let's not forget that this is the group that had, under their "research" tab, only one document, their own methodology for conducting that slimey push-poll about "teacher quality", a methodology they changed three times as the district negotiated with the union: First iteration said that they had recieved teachers and parents names from the district; second iteration, after people wondered if this was collusion, which would taint this ostensibly nuetral "poll," added that the names were cross-checked with a list of King County Voters; third iteration, up now, omits any mention at all of where the "Coalition" (actually Karen Water's Strategies 360 PR group) got the list of names.

And now, in addition to Burgess, three other councilmembers have signed their names to this astro-turf arm of the Alliance, Gates, and our own Broad SPS administration?

Despicable. Have these people no shame? Must they grovel so low for votes?

Melissa Westbrook said...

I think Seattle Citizen summed this up very well.

What I would say, and maybe it's too generous, is that they are somewhat lazy and ignorant (although shame on Cheryl Chow who should know better).

I think that many politicians read a couple of briefing papers, talk to a few people and voila! an education POV. They don't ask hard questions, they don't ask what came before and they don't ask parents what they think.

Meaning well is not good enough when you are an elected figure.

wsnorth said...

I think he just doesn't proof read all the stuff people "ghost write" in his name. Some of this seems so contradictory...

Central Mom said...

i would say that perhaps we shouldn't call him slimy straight out. that name-calling thing, you know...

but i would also say that someone needs to forward this blog address and thread to his aides so that he can get a bit more educated about education here in seattle.

who knows?...maybe he'll turn to this blog for info for his next (much more thoughtful) editorial.

dan dempsey said...

Hummm...

Tim chairs the Council’s Public Safety and Education Committee ....

Shouldn't he be a bit more informed about education as he chairs an education committee?

Sahila said...

why waste time speculating and commenting amongst ourselves here... why not be a bit more guerilla about it and post flyers around town exposing these people - nothing horrible - just the facts...

you'd accomplish many things with that one action

* educate the public
* undermine the deform agenda and momentum
* undermine these peoples' chances of being elected to or taking positions which will allow them to influence public education policy

Eric M said...

Interestingly, Mr. Burgess put in an appearance at Wednesday night's 36th District Democratic Party meeting, along with 2 (two!) members of our own famous School Board, Mr. DeBell and Mr. Maier.
This seems to be an excellent fishing hole for politicians, people.

An activist parent who also came to speak against the levy loaned me 20 bucks (Thanks, ma'am), and I became a Democrat, 'cuz the fishin's good!

I did not speak directly to any of them, for fear of catching the same eye disease and becoming blind to the realities of SPS.

I did speak against the levy, opening with the phrase ,"It is with a heavy heart...", and going on to note that the state audit, the > 99% no-confidence vote, the $7000 party, the NWEA conflict of interest sole-sourced contract, etc, etc. The usual tiresome litany, ending with the idea that writing this administration any check is writing them a blank check for wasteful and useless projects that don't get to students. It was, however, remarkably satisfying to say these things to a more or less receptively neutral audience, with 2 School Board members paying some attention.

Another parent spoke against, with many of my same themes, and Democrat, who asked when the Board was going to say No to ANYTHING the Supe wanted. He was particularly concerned with the anti-research-based moving up of school start times that happened a year ago.

There were 3 speakers for the Levy, including a teacher, and they definitely had the majority support in the room of perhaps 75 people.

The group then read and approved a letter to the School Board that had been set in motion earlier in the summer, expressing serious concerns over the audit findings.

After some other business (it wasn't all about schools, there were endorsements, and commendably, tables where attendees could listen while packaging food rations for a hunger relief program), the School Board members were invited to speak and respond to questions.

I recorded the whole thing, but I'll try to just paraphrase from memory here. D for DeBell, M for Maier

D: I've lost a lot of sleep over this audit. We've been meeting with other school districts and the Port of Seattle to discover and implement best practices. The previous audit wasn't taken seriously enough. NWEA situation is in litigation, and I can't comment. The small things (I'm certain he was referring to party-gate) are tiny, in regard to the overall budget (which by the way, is getting almost to the 1 billion dollar mark), but they are an important signal to the public. The no-confidence motion by teachers was a reaction to a contract they didn't like, but it indicates some problems, and I'd like to talk to some teachers and understand their thinking.

M: We get it. We really get it.

Favorite question from audience:

Why, if we're a progressive, forward thinking community, do we end up with Fascists in positions like Superintendent? What's the process?

So, progressives, Melissa, Charlie, et all. Wanna run for School Board? (Please do, by the way) Get ye to a meeting of Dems and start chattering.

This was really the main vein.

Eric M said...
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Eric M said...
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Charlie Mas said...

You know, it's a funny thing. But I went back and re-read the guest column signed by Tim Burgess and Richard Conlin and it wasn't as bad as I remember it. It was mostly about getting teachers some of the things they need to be more successful.

The problem was that they lost me with their opening sentence: "Seattle Public Schools is proposing a bold change that will tie teacher-performance evaluations to student performance. It's a controversial reform but one that can play an important role in providing an effective education for all students."

It's a shame they didn't start instead with this paragraph: "What does education reform mean for the Seattle school district? It means higher academic standards and increased accountability. It means believing that every child can learn and must be prepared for college and the career of his or her choice. It means starting early with extensive prekindergarten "school ready" services so every child begins school ready to learn. It means providing a full range of academic services in all schools, including access to advanced curricula. It means supporting teachers with extra prep time, coaches, and school leadership that values their unique abilities to instruct and motivate students to learn. And it means recognizing that some students need extra help in the form of family support and intensive academic interventions."

Pity.

Sahila said...

Charlie - we dont need more pre-K stuff to get kids ready for school... very soon now, we'll be in the place where we're told we need to put our kids in some kind of organised educational environment from birth, to maximise their brain and learning development...

we are getting too far from nature and from learning/exploring/socialising through play...

what we do need, is community, family and parenting support so that kids are surrounded by love, good food, housing, medical care and opportunities for rich, varied experiences...

www.waldorfresearchinstitute.org/pdf/BAPlayAlmon.pdf

http://www.ericdigests.org/2000-3/disputes.htm

ParentofThree said...

DeBell always makes these kind of remarks, what he doesn't do is follow up with action. Losing sleep over the audit, come on, this audit was out months ago - and he also voted to extend MGJs contract.

It is time for DeBell to show his concern with his voting power.

"We get it" they say, with their tin cup out..

If you "get it" then show us with your voting power.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Eric, thank you. Interesting, wonderful stuff.

At least DeBell was honest because yes, it doesn't seem the Board or Administration took previous audits seriously at all. Peter likes to say that the Board gets it but I wonder if he truly does. As a past president of Schools First, I think he couldn't conceive of a reason to vote against a levy.

Antio said...

On Sept 14th, Sen. Kohl-Wells will be having a re-election fundraiser at her home. Bill Gates Sr. is expected to speak about I 1098. This will be a good opportunity to discuss The State Auditor's report & concerns with our Superintendent's inability to manage public assets.

By the way, our School has a Music Booster club. Families were asked to donate $35. Checks were to be written out to the Alliance for Education (!). I asked about this.. This system was set up a couple years ago. The Alliance set up a non-profit to manage funds. Does anyone know anything about this? Do Booster Clubs need a non-profit designation? Is/was this usual? Considering my feelings towards big business in our schools...I am unwilling write "Alliance For Education" on ANY of my checks.

Eric- Thanks for the update.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Antio, in your case, the Alliance is just a filtering agent. They get none of the money. This is one good service the Alliance does do. It really helps treasurers of PTAs or booster groups not to have to do so much paperwork.

Also, thanks for the heads up on this party.

Gouda said...

The guy is slimy.

Name-call much?

Charlie Mas said...

Limes asked: "Name-call much?". It's a good question that deserves an answer.

No, Limes, not much. Only on really special occassions and in cases of distinguished merit.

seattle citizen said...

Limes,
Indeed: "Slimy" is not a pleasant word. But it is routinely used to describe politicians who do things not based on thoughtful reasoning, but on calculated furtherance of their political life.

I have not met Councilman Burgess. Perhaps, generally, he is not a slimy person. But what he is apparently doing is, in fact, slimy: He is mouthing what his voter block wants him to mouth.

Politics is often slimy, granted. Much is done by politicians that is not in the best interests of ALL their constituents, but only those few who make promises to certain interest groups, or who accept checks...Has anyone checked Burgess' contribution list?...BUt that doesn't make it right, that it is, often, the way the game is played: It is still slimy, especially so because they represent us. When a crook does something out of self-interest it is bad, it hurts some people....But we put our faith in our elected officials to be thoughtful and make decisions and pronouncements that are based on the needs of their entirely constituency, not just on the chosen few, no matter how many votes those few bring (in this case, the many minority interest groups: I know some people who are members of some of these groups who are shocked that these groups joined OSC. But the individuals might vote the way their group leader asks them to because they lack access, percieved or real, to other ways of having political power.)

It is apparent that Councilman Burgess has not done his homework. He uses the phrases he is asked to use, he is wrong about some issues when he wings it (because, it appears, he has not familiarized himself with the various aspects of these issues), he generally seems (lately) to not be informed.

Yet he is the head of the Education committee. How is this, that he is not informed by a wide range of people? Has he gone out and talked to a range of teachers? Has anyone heard of him talking to individual teachers, seeking their ideas? Individual parents? Has his office called people with various viewpoints, done some research....read some books that are COUNTER to the "reform" mantra? Doesn't seem like it.

That he says and does these things publicly, and in his capacity as chair of the Education committee, is slimy. It reeks of vote-getting, and if someone can follow the money of his campaign warchest, it might reek of being bought by interest groups who want him to do and say just what they want, as he appears to have done with Our Schools Coalition.

I'm just surprised he wasn't down at the last board meeting with his red shirt on.

Anonymous said...

These organizations provide donations to candidates who share their views.

That's what Burgess' comments were about.

He'll take the money any way he can get it.

Remember that when he's up for re-election.