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Thursday, October 07, 2010

Optimism is a Delusion

I spent a frustrating time today in a room with some folks from Schools First!

Schools First! as you may know, is the organization that promotes the passage of school levies. As a government entity it would be inappropriate for the District to take political action, so Schools First! plays that role. Dorothy and I spent time with three folks from Schools First! at the offices of The Stranger as they prepare their endorsements for the upcoming ballot.

For the folks at Schools First!, this whole thing boils down to this: the District is going to get less money from the state in the coming years. Therefore we should take this opportunity to get more money from local taxpayers to mitigate the loss in total revenue stream to the District. Regardless of your opinion of how the District spends money, there are sure to be negative impacts on classrooms and students from the reduced state contribution, so having a bit more money from any other source could reduce those impacts.

Schools First! can't say how the District will spend the money - no one can. Moreover, since the supplemental levy money will just go into the Operating Fund for the District there can be no telling which of the dollars spent from that account were supplemental levy dollars and which came from other sources. It becomes an impossible question to answer.

So Schools First! can't say with confidence that the District will, in fact, use any of the levy money to mitigate the negative impacts on the classroom caused by the reduced state support. I could pick out the silliest things in the budget and claim that those were the projects paid for by the supplemental levy - and there is an excellent chance that I will - and they could not effectively dispute it. In fact, the sillier the spending, the more likely it could be attributed to the last dollars the District received: the supplemental levy.

The three people from Schools First! however, were optimistic that the Board and the District leadership would spend the money in classrooms to support students and instruction. They kept on saying that this is how the District would spend it, despite the fact that they could not give any assurance of it.

I say that they were optimistic because they believed it would happen (or claimed to believe it would happen) despite having no reason to believe it would happen. This is the difference between optimism and confidence. If they had a good reason to think that it would happen, then they could say that they are confident. But they only had hope, not reason, so their belief was merely optimism.

They have no reason to believe it will happen because it has not been the District's practice to protect classrooms and students from previous budget cuts. On the contrary. Over the past two years, in response the District's response to cuts in revenue from the State, the District has fully funded the Strategic Plan while making cuts in classrooms.

The folks from Schools First! acknowledged that - they had to; it's well documented fact - but repeated their optimistic contention that the District leadership has changed since then. They claimed that the District leadership has changed their budget priorities and will now put classrooms first. They claimed that the Board and the superintendent were now totally committed to a public and accountable process that will reflect the community's priorities in spending.

I have absolutely no idea where they got that nonsense.

There is absolutely no reason to believe that the District leadership has undergone any sort of transformation. There is absolutely no reason to believe that the superintendent suddenly wants the community's input reflected in her decisions. In fact, just the opposite. The Board has already discussed this very question and they have decided that the level of community engagement in the budget development process should be "Consult". This is one step above "Inform", but one step below "Involve". At the Consult level, the District leadership is supposed to allow public input, but they make no promise that they will listen to it, respond to it, or reflect it in their decision. So there you have it. They have stated that they specifically will NOT obligate themselves to have public input reflected in the budget development process.

The District leadership has already written up a list of budget priorities for the coming plan. It includes a vague reference to classrooms, but the whole rest of the list is new central administration projects. There are no new classroom projects on the list. Nothing there about providing early and effective interventions for struggling students. Nothing there about making the new special education service delivery model work.

When I think about this, it reminds me of nothing so much as an abusive relationship. The District mistreats the classrooms and the students by passing cuts along to them while spending on new projects and an expanded central administration. And after each episode, Schools First! comes out and says that the District leadership are really sorry about that and that they get it now and they will won't do that again. And then they do it again. And Schools First! comes back and, once again, tells us how sorry they are and how they really love us and want to protect us and don't mean us any harm, and how they are changed now. And then it happens again.

You might wonder how or why any of this dysfunction matters. It matters because no matter how much we may want to use a NO vote on the levy to express our dissatisfaction with the District leadership and hold them accountable, they have always hidden behind the human shield of our children. "You can't vote against the levy", they wheedle, "because it would hurt the children." Well not this time. Not this time because this time it is only 2% of the budget instead of 25%. Not this time because they have no intention of spending any of the this levy to support student learning anyway. Not this time because the need to hold these people accountable and to express our dissatisfaction with their performance has never been greater. Not this time because they have used up all of their second chances.

In the coming year, a year in which the District leadership has made a number of cuts to real spending in classrooms, the District has committed to spending $700,000 to upgrade their web site, $1,800,000 on a program to teach small contractors how to bid on government jobs, $88,000 on the Indian education program to replace funds lost in a botched grant application, $1,000,000 for brand new Dell laptop computers for every student in the STEM high school, $750,000 for a consultant to help with high school language arts curriculum alignment, $800,000 for New Technology Networks to show STEM teachers how to do what NOVA teachers have been doing for 30 years, untold sums on lawyers to appeal the math textbook decision, even more on a laundry list of non-urgent strategic plan initiatives that don't have any positive impact in classrooms (human resource transformation, school performance framework, etc.). This is how they have chosen to commit funds knowing that the revenue from the state would be reduced.

I'm not confident that the District leadership will spend the supplemental levy money to insulate classrooms from cuts in state funding. And I sure as hell ain't optimistic.

32 comments:

Dorothy Neville said...

Actually, Charlie, since you arrived late you missed some things. There were two from SchoolsFirst and one from LEV. And they all gushed over the wonderful evaluation program is part of the teachers contract. That we are finally on the right track go get an excellent teacher in every classroom.

The SchoolsFirst campaign manager said that there was solid proof that this was great new spending. First, the Federal government just gave us 12 million dollars in a TIF grant, which was HIGHLY competitive and that only 12 districts were awarded them (there are 60 awards listed on the ed.gov site). Second, he quoted that most reliable source NCTQ for saying that we are poised to be as wonderful in education reform as Washington DC.

If this had been coming from LEV, I would understand, but this aggressive reform virus has invaded the usually rational folks at SchoolsFirst.

And seriously, why the heck would he think that quoting the NCTQ would impress those Stranger Editors is beyond me.

Eric M said...

We are now using the Lords of the Rings story as a metaphor for describing our current plight here in Seattle. Please do not refer to any of the players by their real name anymore. :)

Casting:

Schools First! : a bunch of orcs.
Broad Foundation fellows at the Stanford Center : more orcs.
Teach For America: yet more orcs, led by that one orc they always put the camera on, who snarls.
KIPP (charter school profit company: more orcs, with another snarling orc who's married to that orc who leads Teach for America.
Gates Foundation: more orcs
School Board: humans held in black-magical sway by the evil eye
SEA/WEA/NEA/AFT: humans too afraid to get involved, like that Horse-king guy.
Save Seattle Schools blog: like Frodo, trying to get to Mt. Doom and overturn everything
Eli Broad, Bill Gates, Barack Obama, Arne Duncan: Nazgul riders
I like Diane Ravitch for Gandalf.

Who will play Sauron? Need you ask?

We also need casting for Saruman the evil wizard, and the nasty big spider.

Looking this over so far, I see lots of orcs. LOTS and LOTS of orcs. In fact, it looks very, very dark.

Or is that just Sauron's baleful gaze reaching its icy fingers into my heart ?

Courage, little hobbits.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Brilliant Charlie and absolutely true.

"And after each episode, Schools First! comes out and says that the District leadership are really sorry about that and that they get it now and they will won't do that again. And then they do it again. And Schools First! comes back and, once again, tells us how sorry they are and how they really love us and want to protect us and don't mean us any harm, and how they are changed now."

This, too, is true and has happened to me twice. "Melissa, please don't oppose the levy. I promise we'll (Schools First) will work on make them accountable." Nothing changes. Not a thing. I could name names but I won't but they are people in leadership. I have also had (just recently, in fact) Schools First people whisper in my ear that "you're hurting kids."

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. I will never believe them again.

Oh, and interesting thing. Schools First has a supporter, Barbara Kelley, who has been going to events and speaking for them. Interesting thing because here's what she said back in April of this year in the PI:

"I am a big levy person," said Barbara Kelley, a parent and member of the Seattle Council PTSA. But she doesn't agree with another levy in the fall elections.
"It takes $1 million to run it, and if we don't win, we're screwed," said Kelley. "Let's start pushing on Olympia to take care of funding education. … Enough of this levy crap."

What changed, I wonder?

What do you call people who enable a district to continue to NOT put funding first for classrooms?

Who don't even have a line item for textbooks (and aren't even sure when it went away, I checked), one of the most basic items in a classroom?

What do you call people who stand by while the district doesn't fund maintenance properly as our old buildings crumble more and the new ones lose their new-building smell very quickly?

The district had a line in a recent budget presentation showing PTAs help fund staffing. They backpedaled when a Board member called them on it and now they tried to say it was for custodial work but no, the Board knows PTAs are funding teachers, librarians, etc.

It's nuts.

Here's what the Mayor said at his budget proposal event:

- live within your means
- don't start unsustainable projects
- don't ask for more money

It's like the district is George Costanza - they do the opposite.

Think about it. Look at everything Charlie listed that money is being spent on. Is it sustainable? Utterly necessary? Does that look like a district running lean and mean?

Don't get fooled.

Jan said...

Great post, Eric. I espeially like all those orcs.

Anonymous said...

Reform in SPS needs to begin with consequences for and replacement of inept administrators. Without consequences, administrator claims of ‘being accountable’ and ‘taking responsibility’ will continue to be empty gestures that change nothing.
My employment experience with administrations from Stanford on shows they are concerned with self-service rather than public service. Military and business administration philosophy has replaced education administration philosophy so that administrators are busy ‘perpetuating the organization’ rather than ‘facilitating education’.
This might seem an esoteric distinction but experience applying business principles to education led universities to put Business Administration and Education Administration in separate colleges. Simply, business is primarily self-interested for material gain while education focuses on public service even at the expense of material gain.
In practice the difference translates to business administrators treating lesser employees (labor) as an adversary and limiting communication as much as possible versus education’s need for trust based on equality and open, continuous sharing of information. SPS Central Administration (CA), for example, treats teachers and classified employees as suspect when these mere laborers raise concerns about misuse of buildings, violations of fire codes, potential lawsuits or anything else that does not directly affect the employee’s pay. Other than stupidity, CA’s only explanation for such employee concern is ulterior motive – some sort of secret that might negatively impact CA’s image or income. CA simply cannot believe employees would care about protecting taxpayer interests. So employees raising concerns are brought up for questioning and made to feel suspect or foolish or guilty of stepping outside job guidelines. This undermines the public service aspect of a school employee’s job and reduces the public’s ability to know what is going on inside schools.

Anonymous said...

continuation of earlier post:
If schools were private businesses, this would be great for the owners. They, not the customers (parents) would control all info and only release what information made their businesses look good. However, since public education is not a private business, using a business model of communication leaves owners (voters) wondering why money ostensibly promised for classroom education is being used to pay avoidable lawsuits for child molestation and sexual harassment ($4 million at Broadview Thompson and $2 million at Ballard) along with tens of thousands in settlements for avoidable breaches of labor contracts.
I’d like to see voters take action via the Legislature to put inept Central administrators at risk of personal financial and career consequences. As it is, and unlike all other district employees, Central administrators are contracted in a way that forces us to pay off whatever years remain in the contract even after the administrator has proven inept and been put on “leave”.
I don’t see any ‘accountability’ or ‘taking responsibility’ in this type of contracting. Nor do I see how assuming administrators are essential to education is benefitting SPS. Teachers don’t need or use administrators in the classroom. Custodians do not need or use administrators when cleaning schools; and likewise for every other employee in a school. The fact is that teachers are already qualified to teach and administer classrooms before being hired. The same applies to all other school employees except apprentices who are specifically tested and trained on the job before permanent hiring.
At school level, administrators are a nicety useful to facilitate more teaching time by reducing the teachers’ non-teaching tasks. At district level, although it was once assumed combining schools into a district would save money and improve the quality of all schools, there are questions about both economics and quality. SPS CA, for example, seems to have become an organization largely separate from education – busying itself hiding info, sending out PR, and camouflaging non-classroom spending in order to justify increased budgets.
So, why not start education reform by questioning our assumptions about school administrators being

so important and then ask ourselves what ‘accountability’ and ‘taking responsibility’ mean versus personal ‘consequences’ for administrators?

Paul Heckel (I don't own a computer or telephone so I couldn't open a Google account for this blog. I do not wish to be anonymous, though.)

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Kathy said...

"The District leadership has already written up a list of budget priorities for the coming plan. It includes a vague reference to classrooms, but the whole rest of the list is new central administration projects"

Charlie- Have you seen this list? If so, can I get a copy?

snaffles said...

Thank you Charlie wonderful, insightful, and true review of the Seattle School District and the SchoolsFirst relationship.

I would also like to add to the long list of School District broken promises and backroom bargaining the following:

Public input is hidden under the "law abiding public notices" By posting required public notices for new buildings in Olympia or Shoreline or some other spot in Washington Residents near the actual site will not know to comment, but the District has followed the "law".

For places like Ingraham, the District had one public meeting AFTER the plans had been accepted by the Board.
Ingraham has an average population under 1000, in a school capable of holding 1200--but the District insists on putting in an addition, and not where the neighbors would accept it. Superior Court hearing is November 5.
The good news from this scenario, the neighbors who have fought this addition have saved the District millions of dollars. They stopped the District from continuing the "we must build before the Olympics in Vancouver to save money due to the contractors all being busy building in Canada"

The District has always done shuffling of money from one fund to another. Yet when asked to do it the answer is the law says we can't do that. We can't take money from a levy and use it on operations. How is this going to be applied if the Fall Levy passes? Where will the money go? And how will it be shuffled?

BEX funding is continually shuffled, to the point that an audit would reveal missing dollars.

Hiring contractors who have continually failed in product or over-ran the bid
is common. What is wrong with the Districts contract negotiations? How much money has been lost due to the District listening to the same language it gives us: I promise I won't do it again. And then they do it again and again. Same promise, same problem.

Don't be fooled, vote no.

Dorothy Neville said...

Kay, it is from the presentation at the budget workshop.

Page 11

Maier did complain that there wasn't anything addressing the backlog of maintenance. Other board members complained about missing items as well. Maria said they would "rechunk it to be transparent." I will believe that when I see it.

I think that the only way past this is a full line item budget presented to the board. They must be able to see every bit of funding so that *they* can create the board budget priorities list and not rely on staff to do it for them.

MathTeacher42 said...

Eric M at 10/7/10 5:31 PM

Your post is REALLY confusing to me.

Ever since I started at Microsoft in May of '97, I had thought of Bill Gates as Gollum, scheming and conniving to get his Precious.

ummmm.

Eric M, you are wrong.

Gates & Broad are Sauron! If they're Sauron, then a bunch of the underlings can be Gollum ...

maybe I'm wrong. This is so confusing.

I have a quote which works, unfortunately it is from some old dusty work which predates LOTR by a few centuries.

But then I sigh; and, with a piece of scripture,
Tell them that God bids us do good for evil:
And thus I clothe my naked villany
With old odd ends stolen out of holy writ;
And seem a saint, when most I play the devil.

Sahila said...

Aunty Broad ought to do something with the LOTR reference, via a vis the national scene... I have three or four national networks that would love to spread the word, and some of what I posted on the Daily Show story ideas forum was used last week...

How about it Aunty Broad????

Sahila said...

PS... someone I know referred to what's going on in Seattle with our being honoured with the presence of so many illustrious 'reform' personages this week and in the next couple of weeks, as a ground war...

Aunty Broad could add something in whatever she creates to include those characters...

I would be happy to help find their images... let me know

ParentofThree said...

This sums it up for me:

"They claimed that the District leadership has changed their budget priorities and will now put classrooms first."

NOW they will put money into the classroom? Should have been that way all along. That is what they are paid to EDUCATE CHILDREN by FUNDING CLASSROOMS.

Too little too late and I don't believe them anyway, they just want my hard earned money.

Count me in as a NO in NOVEMBER and put me down for a year-end donation to my schools.

Charlie Mas said...

The District is always the same in all of their dealing.

They want you to pay up front.
Whatever your contribution to the deal, they insist that you provide it now. So they want taxpayers to agree to the levy, or members of a community to agree to a change to make the thing happen.

They will only promise to deliver in the future.
They will never kick in their part at the begining, but will only promise to do their part later. They make promises about how they will spend the money. They make promises to provide needed supports. They promise that it will be your turn next. Whatever it is, their contribution to the deal always comes in the future.

Then they renege.
They never fulfill their commitment. They don't spend the levy money like they promised. They don't renovate your building as they promised. They don't reduce your class sizes as they promised. They don't write a curriculum as they promised. They don't institute reforms as they promised. They don't ever do anything as they promised.

Year after year, time after time, deal after deal, this pattern repeats. The District demands something up front in exchange for a promise of future action and then, once they have what they want, they renege on the promise of future action.

Why in the world would anyone accept their promises in exchange for anything? Why in the world would anyone take their check when you already have five of their checks taped to the side of your cash register?

Unknown said...

It is nice to have the opportunity to respond to the PI using my quote as I felt it was out of context when it was first published. Let me clarify what I meant when I said that I am a “big levy person.” I have supported Seattle Public Schools levies by working on the last 4 campaign cycles with Schools First. I have voted to pass school levies before my own children were in the system and will continue to even after they leave as long as our State legislators continue to underfund K-12 education in Washington Sate. But let me be clear that as a PTA leader for many years in Seattle Public Schools I have lobbied in Olympia, on more then one occasion, about how this type of funding mechanism is broken. The current system leaves many school districts that cannot pass these measures unable to make up the needed revenue locally. However I am thankful that I live in a City where 75% of voters passed the operating levy last February, but I am not happy with a State government that continually underfunds K-12 education leaving it up local districts with wildly different property values to make up the funds. So really nothing has changed for me.

Dorothy Neville said...

Barbara, neither of the 2/2010 levies got 75% of the vote and neither had any organized opposition. Melissa campaigned against the capital levy but she didn't really organize nearly as much as we are now. As you can see, the capital levy did get fewer votes than the operations levy.

We have the SEA reporting that the teachers voted to endorse the supplemental levy with only 70% of the teachers present voting yes. 30% of our teachers question the levy?

Is it for the kids? More jobs at central administration and new spending that will require operating funds to sustain them? Saying Yes on this levy HURTS kids because basic classroom spending will be more vulnerable to future state budget shortfalls.

The Strategic Plan has been almost fully funded while classroom budgets have been slashed. One item of the Strategic Plan got delayed due to lack of funding -- curriculum alignment. So that's on the levy. How much of the $5.9M slated for "textbooks" will go to consultants on alignment and coaches providing professional development in the new standardized material?

This levy supplements headquarters it does not supplement schools.

Charlie Mas said...

From King County Elections

SEATTLE SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 1
130,498 Ballots Cast
368,494 Registered Voters (35.41%)

Proposition No. 1 Capital Levy
YES 95,475 (73.45%)
NO 34,516 (26.55%)

Proposition No. 2 Operations Levy
YES 96,492 (74.09%)
NO 33,736 (26.55%)

75%? Not exactly, but not an egregious rounding error.

I notice that more than 100% of votes were recorded for the Operations Levy. I'm not sure how that happened.

Dorothy Neville said...

The percents do not add up to 100% because they were inconsistent in the denominator. All ballots vs all ballots that voted on the proposition.

Using the percent as a total of all ballots that had been returned, the operation levy got 73.9% yes.

Using same calculation, the Capital levy got 73.2% yes

No on Operations: 25.9%
Abstaining: .2%

No on Capital: 26.4%
Abstainers: .4%

Dorothy Neville said...

Here's the fellow that SchoolsFirst! is paying to run their levy campaign. The fellow who blathered on and on to the Stranger Hipsters about NCTQ and how Seattle is poised to become the next great thing in Ed Reform since Washington DC.

If your PTA gave money to SchoolsFirst!, it is going into this guy's salary. That's your PTA money going to support a levy that will add to the central administration bloat.

Jan said...

Anyone but me amused by the irony that Mr. SchoolsFirst's background is really in disaster management? Guess he knows one when he sees one, and that is why he is here -- but too bad his "help" is making things worse, not better.

Jan said...

Hmm, Eric. Steven Jones, from SchoolsFirst started out in fire fighting/management. Maybe those SchoolsFirst folks are really Balrogs, not orcs. THAT would be bad.

Dorothy Neville said...

We do not yet know if he made things worse. We will have to wait for the Stranger Election Control Board to make that call. Maybe they will be swayed by his awesomeness of confusingness.

The interview opened with one of the editors unhappy that schools in their neighborhood closed, that he walks past TT Minor daily and watched them spend $700K to put a new roof on a vacant building, and Garfield! Seems to him this new student assignment plan was a real clusterf--k.

The levy still might pass. Remember, they are spending money campaigning and we have no money or professional support. Everyone must do their part if you are serious about this. Word of mouth to your friends and neighbors, family and colleagues. As soon as the League of Women Voters briefing is available on-line, I will share the link and everyone can forward it along. It's unbiased, both sides presenting equal time. Wonder if strangers are stopping Sharon at grocery stores to thank her for an excellent presentation?

Remember, SchoolsFirst! has a one page website pleading for your vote. We have a complete website with supporting evidence galore. Any question that has been raised -- I have attempted to answer.

If this levy passes and the fear of failure passes out of the board's consciousness so they go back to business as usual, then what will happen? In 2013 will things be so bad that everyone will wake up and vote no on the regular operating levy? If we had charter schools by then, what would happen if the regular levy failed? What kind of fiscal nightmare would we be in then?

Actually.... how would charter schools look in this state with operating levies paying 25% of the district's budget? How the heck would the funding be organized?

Given how poorly the state funds public schools, why do charters want to come here? We can't get blood from a turnip, do they think they will have better success?

Melissa Westbrook said...

So Barbara in April you did not say "enough of this levy crap" to a reporter at the PI? Because of you did, then something had to change between then and now because now you are supporting this levy.

Dorothy Neville said...

Melissa, Barbara is just doing her job. She's on the Board of SchoolsFirst! so when there's a school levy she works to support it.

Do I think Sharon Rodgers loves the levy? I have no idea. But she (representing SchoolsFirst!) has changed her position on it. Remember how their literature all used to have that the levy would support BASIC EDUCATION all in bold?

Look at the Voters Guide. Our position is that the money will be used to fund new projects, including new staff at headquarters and not restore any cuts at schools. Look at their rebuttal:

"The School Board’s Resolution states what the funds will be used for: supporting our KIDS’ EDUCATION. To suggest anything else is false."

They called us liars. Sharon has called me a liar to my face for saying that it won't restore cuts. She said that it had to restore cuts by law. Now at The Stranger Election Control Board, they aren't calling me a liar for saying this is new spending, instead they wanted the conversation to justify the new spending and how awesome it will be to have this new evaluation program to put excellent teachers in every classroom. They are now calling us heartless for wanting the status quo instead of adopting these new reform plans.

So Barbara, I don't care if you think levies are crap. I want to know how you think the district is going to find money to sustain this new spending? How is it going to find funds to sustain and expand the new programs that will be started with the TIF grant. A one time grant for a pilot program where the district promises to maintain and expand it on our money ongoing.

How do you really feel about all the new jobs this will create at headquarters when it will not create one new teaching job, one new instructional aide in special ed or ELL. In fact, staffing ratios for IAs is getting worse. Read the CBA. While moving toward fully inclusion ELL, they are cutting IA staffing ratios from 28:1 to 40:1. So teachers and IAS get a 1% raise and be evaluated via MAP tests. That's going to help special ed and ELL students, yes? Please justify.

Or please just rebut ONE statement of fact or analysis on my blog about the levy. Just one!

Dorothy Neville said...

Why is it interesting or important to note that SchoolsFirst! has changed their message while we have not?

SchoolsFirst! has a job: passing school levies. When the earnest and caring parents and educators agreed to be on the board, they had no idea that there would be an economic downturn and a supplemental levy and awful audits and a district using the supplemental levy as way to further their "strategic" plan at the expense of children in classrooms.

So they started their campaign as if this were simply a campaign for any school levy. While we, who are not on any board or masthead, did pay attention and we decided to actively oppose not levies in general, but this levy in particular. We had been paying attention and we saw right away what the district wants the money for. And that it is unsustainable and continues to put kids and classrooms last on the list for funding, first on the list for cuts.

So if that Steve Jones who claims to have been on salary since July had been actually earning it he would have been paying attention. We did all our strategizing in public. Our first Talking Points paper was collaboratively developed right here in broad daylight.

If he were as talented as his linkedin profile claims, he would have kept Sharon Rodgers from saying -- in front of a camera -- that the audits were really minor and that "if only the state were adequately funding education, we wouldn't be having levies and then we wouldn't be scrutinizing the district so much. Perhaps we are trying to hold them to too high a standard!"

(Don't believe me, ask someone who belongs to the 36th DEMS to ask to see the video of the endorsement interview.)

They were counting on voters being appalled that anyone could oppose a school levy and not listen at all. Sure, early on that was more true. In the first interviews people were more likely to support them and shun us. But that's changing. Every day, word of mouth I have been convincing someone new. It doesn't take much, it just takes a one on one conversation without rhetoric or desperation. Just the facts.

So Sharon and Barbara and all the rest have to be optimistic about the district, even if internally they aren't confident. While they are optimistic that this new spending will put an excellent teacher in every classroom are they also confident that they have an excellent campaign manager for every levy?

Jones has worked for SchoolsFirst! before. Please also note what school board campaign Steve Jones ran. Wilson Chin. Who paid for that? What was the purpose of Chin's campaign? Has anyone seen Chin before or after his brief campaign do anything at all that looks like he wants to make a difference in Seattle Schools?

Sahila said...

Thanks to AuntyBroad for this:
The Nazgul of Ed-Reform/Deform

and this:
No On The Levy

and this: No On The Levy & Here's Why

I've been posting them far and wide... hope you will too...

WV= revivet.... public education - Revive It!

suep. said...

By the way, Schools First is also the operation that illegally handed over the private information of 10,700 SPS students to a political marketing firm -- Strategies 360/DMA Marketing -- earlier this year so that DMA/360 could call SPS parents for that push-poll phone "survey" that resulted in the "petition" of the so-called Astro-turf "Our Schools Coalition." (All of this at the behest of the Alliance for Education, btw.)

The survey pushed an ed-reform agenda that zeroed in on measuring "teacher effectiveness" and even randomly suggesting bring Teach for America, Inc. recruits to Seattle -- all in time to influence the teachers' contract negotiations that were underway shortly thereafter.

I testified about this before the board this past Wednesday, and posted about it here and here:"Should the School District Be Allowed to Give Our Kids' Phone Numbers, Addresses and Photos to Every Tom, Dick and Pollster?".

This has left me wondering about the motives and methods of Schools First ever since.

--sue p. (Seattle Ed 2010)

Chris S. said...

yeah Dorothy, I think you are being too nice to barbara et. al. At first I thought these were volunteer jobs, and why would a person of integrity do a volunteer job they didn't believe in? Now it sounds like they are actually paid, which is kind of pathetic in and of itself. Once upon a time one maybe 5 years ago could rely on dedicated volunteers to distribute and display yard signs. Now but now levies support politics, not textbooks, so they are too important to be left to those dirty grass-roots types. Still, I presume none of these people desparately need what SF is paying them, so the integrity argument still stands.

Anonymous said...

I love Aunty BROAD!

Anonymous said...

This whole ed reform movement is about politics and money.