What Happened to Harium?

"I am really taken aback," said school board director Harium Martin-Morris. "We are looking at America's best and brightest and saying don't come here?"

This was in the most recent story at the Stranger Slog about TFA. (And just as an aside, some of the comments at the Slog make it sound like this is about the SEA. This is absolutely NOT about the SEA. They can spin it for themselves but for me and others, I don't care.)

When Harium ran for office I was really pleased to see a bright guy with a solid background who had stepped up to run. He listened and he seemed to be nuanced in his thinking.

But I have to say over the last year, I just don't see the same guy. I don't know what has changed or happened. But he seems different (and I don't mean in how we interact - he's always nice).?

But he's changed and for me, not for the better. That statement above is crap and he knows it. What is TFA's vetting process? He knows every step and he's completely sure that the people in TFA's roster are the "best and the brightest"? Is there some special list out there in the ether that has the best and the brightest who graduate from our colleges and universities every year? I'm thinking that a lot of those people are going to grad school or have started businesses. Some may have gone to TFA but I'm not taking TFA's word for it.

So what's next after "5 weeks of summer training" being enough and TFA's word that they are truly the best and the brightest?

Are we to believe that 5 weeks of training is enough to put a 21-year old college graduate in a middle school special ed class? (Because yes, that's what they did and as the parent of a special needs child, it simply would not be something my husband and I would accept.)

Are we to believe that TFA will go out of their way to protect the rights of students? Meaning, do they make sure that districts tell the parents of these students at low-performing schools the nuances of opting out so that their student's identifiable data is protected if that is their wish?

You know, there are two things that TFA could do and I would accept their presence (if we had the money and if parents were fully informed about this program). One, TFA teachers can be hired in ANY school that has an position to fill. I don't care if it's Roosevelt or Rainier Beach. Two, take out the clauses about using student identifiable data. Gone.

And, there is one thing I would want from the district - let parents pick if they want a TFA teacher. There seems to be plenty of people (at least on this blog) who say they would be fine with it. Just send out a note explaining the difference and let parents sign up.

Yeah, then TFA is welcome to come in.


Chris S. said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maureen said…
I watched that part of the meeting and he talked about how his wife works for some (science?) program at UW and that she had students recruited by TfA and he really liked them. Something like that.
Jet City mom said…
I am also disappointed with Harium- Thats how he makes decisions?
If he " likes" somebody?

From Seattleeducation2010
"" According to the contract, the TFA-ers will only be placed in certain low-income schools."

iii. In order to be considered an appropriate school (a “Partner School”) for placement of a Teacher, (i) the school’s student population must be considered high poverty relative to the student population elsewhere in the district. To the extent reasonably practicable, Seattle Public Schools will employ two or more Teachers per individual Partner School.

"There are a couple of problems with this. First off, why put the least experienced and least qualified “teachers” in the most demanding schools? Secondly, only 34 percent of TFA recruits stick around to teach for a third year, so they will be gone before they even become solid teachers. So how “effective” can they possibly be? Also, this will create unnecessary churn in the lives of kids who often already have a disproportionate amount of churn in their lives."
Charlie Mas said…
I suppose applicants for teacher jobs can apply to work at whatever schools they like. If the Teach for America folks only want to apply at select schools they are free to do that.
Charlie Mas said…
The whole discussion about Teach for America has been weird.

One side (those in favor) only tell inspiring personal stories. They offer no meaningful data.

The other side (those opposed) are all data, studies, rules, laws, and facts.

Now we will see if our Board makes decisions based on data or based on emotional stories.
GreyWatch said…
Just back from seeing Race to Nowhere.

So many interesting elements for discussion, but the one I think that relates to TFA was when one of the educators (I think) being interviewed contrasted our education system with Singapore's, a country which offers full scholarships and stipends to the top 20% of students so they will become teachers.

Not to say that these top 20%ers will make the best teachers, but it does demonstrate how much the country values it educators and what kind of status they have.

I don't know if TFA has a place here or not, but I can see the appeal from the status perspective, both from those who opt to participant in the program when presumably they could have opted for a mega-buck-making track, and from the perspective of the schools who hire them who can now presume to say they are seeking the best and brightest.
wseadawg said…
5 to 1, baby, 1 in 5, No One Here Gets Out Alive.

So the retention ratio of TFA teachers is 1 in 5 after 3 years. About 1/3 stay on for a 3rd year, but 80% are done in 3 years.

A couple TFA proponents complained about "misinformation" during their testimony last night, but I was bothered by the lack of clarity by a couple TFA alums themselves.

One testified that almost 2/3 "remain in the education field" or words to that effect, which is true: But that's in the management, advocacy, and influence ranks, not in the classroom. I want to make sure everyone understands that point, and that the "churn" issue is 100% real.

I applaud the TFA folks for the great work they do. But I don't want to hear them overselling it, or obscuring the fact that their turnover rate IN THE CLASSROOM is extremely high.

I think this is really important, because the publicly marketed face of TFA is not the administrative placements of their alums, but the young, energetic, David vs. Goliath, inspired, altruistic achievement gap warrior fighting the good fight.

The truth is, there's an insurgency of Ed Reformers throughout public education in this country, and under way in Seattle, especially outside the classroom, where the power lies and where decisions that affect us all are made.

Let's realize exactly what we're doing here, for once, before we go and "just do it."
mirmac1 said…
Gawd, last night's stream of idealistic "Superteachers" seemed to me entirely too self-absorbed. Seemed for every reference to struggling or disadvantaged students, there were at least five references to "me, myself, and I".

If Harium decides based on his intuition, can we impeach him and put someone who uses fact, reason, and analysis? Sorry, but he (and some of his counterparts) are a dime a dozen.
dan dempsey said…
WOW!!! I share the shocking change in Director Martin-Morris over the last few years. His actions in regard to the NTN contract were deceitful.

With Harium ....Data is not used but rather purposely neglected and buried beneath anecdotes of marginal validity.

Look for more of the same with TfA.

Here is the recall paper work filed on Oct 21. It should be headed into Superior court in the next day or two if the Prosecutor's Office is following the law. Look for a "Recall Sufficiency" hearing in Superior Court before the end of November.

This TfA solution is absolutely incredible.

The NO RESULTS team comes to town to correct the actions of our Superintendent and Board for the do nothing strategic plan.

I just spent a few hours running a new spreadsheet that looks at annual testing changes from 2009 to 2010 ..... but I used Seattle differential changes from state changes.

WOW what is happening to Limited English speaking students in the MGJ regime borders on criminal.

Speaking of criminal my Records Request for the email records that may confirm "evidence tampering" by MGJ in the NTN case is likely to show up around Thanksgiving or a bit later.

Hey Harium,
Do you think 25 teachers from an organization that has NEVER shown any improvement over an adequately trained teaching force like Seattle's is going to fix the mess you and MGJ have created?

I look forward to Harium's next appearance in Superior Court for he certainly deserves it.

Here is the Spreadsheet Summary of differential changes from 2009 to 2010.
If you want the entire sheet write me.


By the way if the Board or Superintendent wanted to do something about the achievement gaps in math a great place to start would be telling UW's MEC project to go home immediately.
mirmac1 said…
Placing these semi-skilled teachers into high-poverty schools is discrimination, according to the Ninth Circuit Court. The SPS DESERVES to get their pants sued off them if they proceed.

I'm in.
cascade said…
Harium is shocked! Shocked! that there is major pushback on TFA?

Gee, that would be from teachers who feel disrespected AND can't get a job in the District due to school funding cuts.

And gee, that would be from parents who are freaked out that they had no say or notification whatsoever in a deal struck behind closed doors.

So in his adoration of The Best and Brightest he failed to consider even for a moment how his two largest constituency groups, parents and teachers, would react.

I'll tell you what. I'm shocked! Shocked! at his poor prioritization of his school board duties.

Go join a think tank Harium. You'll be happier wallowing in Education policy and philanthropy. We'll be happier not having you represent us. Sheesh.
Anonymous said…
I don't understand the animosity towards TFA. The program is seeking those w/ demonstrated leadership ability, and many already have careers (real world experience & maturity). About 11% of them have math/science backgrounds, which is desperately needed in the classrooms. Some have graduate or professional degrees. Who cares if initial classroom training is only 5 weeks, when the applicants demonstrate competence & have already had "teaching" experience through other fields, though w/ peers rather than kids. I would rather have someone w/ skills outside of education (ex. engineering) supplement their current knowledge w/ short-term training in education theory/practice, than the other way around; and unfortunately, many of our teachers who teach math/science to elementary kids may have had a majority of education classes and a smattering of math/science.

I honestly don't understand why TFA has become an issue.

JA K-8 Mom
karyn king said…
JA K=8 said "I don't understand the animosity towards TFA. The program is seeking those w/ demonstrated leadership ability, and many already have careers (real world experience & maturity)."

You should have seen the testimony of one National Board Certified science teacher, who after 3 years with SSD was RIFed and is now having to work as a substitute. We already have highly qualified teachers like her in Seattle. Would you choose a 22-year old over her? I think not.

Do you have any data about this "demonstrated leadership ability, and many already have careers (real world experience & maturity)?" How many have had careers? The young people I saw at the board meeting had none of it, though they did all seem VERY convinced of their own ability to close the achievement gap.

Re: Harium's obsession over these supposed "best and brightest," this seems disingenuous. He knows that TfA'ers are only required to have a 2.5 GPA! And even if they are quite talented in their fields, DOING math/science is different than TEACHING math/science in K-12.

Harium's wife might love her college level TfA'ers, but do they know how to relate to students and communicate with those who are not unusually talented in math/science? Some of the best teachers I've seen are those who know first-hand what it is like to struggle in school.

There is plenty of room in private industry for talented people who want to work in Seattle. They just don't deserve to get here on the backs of our neediest students. They have not earned the right to be placed into classrooms ahead of those who have committed to teach as a career.
dan dempsey said…
Given Harium's comments about his wife and TfA, it seems he should recuse himself when it comes to voting on the contract. He has no objectivity left on the TfA issue.

Of course he has not taken any data seriously for about the last year.
MathTeacher42 said…
I'm 50. For decades, haven't a lot of the 'best and brightest' rose to the top of all our wonderful merit based organizations?

WHERE are we as a society, today, after decades of the bold vision and brilliant leadership from our 'best and brightest'?

IF you have a home you 'own' and it has equity, and you don't have access to millions of dollars, your home is just a bank account for the "health" insurance companies to rip off when you get older and get sick.

In the last 30 years of bubble-nomic growth, how many of us in the bottom 90% have:

- retirement security?
- health CARE access security?
- job & income replacement security?

How many of us can weather a 2 or 4 year health problem without going down the drain to penury?

How many of us can lose our job and replace our income in 3 months? 6 months? 12 months? ever?

How are things working systemically, generally, for all 300 million of us?

(pst! that means I'm not interested in your story about the upper middle class kid who created an industry with his bare hands outta the back of his Conestoga wagon, after growing his own water and planting his own road and harvesting his own shirt.)

The "Best and The Brightest" - didn't 1 of its myth makers shuffle off the mortal coil this week?

Ask NOT what you can do for your country, ask how you can get the chumps to worship you while you line your pockets!

JA Mom, okay, with my plan you can sign up for a TFA teacher. Fine.

But please tell me where we cut from in order to pay for TFA. We don't even have a public commitment for paying their fees after a year or two. Tell me what you would cut to pay that fee.

And you would be okay with them teaching special education with no special training? If you don't have a child in special ed, would you make that decision for someone's else's child?

And we have no teacher shortage and yet we will import yet more teachers?

Would you say this is in the top 5 things of what our district and Board should be focusing on?
Anonymous said…
I see Harium as a huge asset to our Board and District. He never stops thinking and never stops working. As a N end community activist I have had many conversations with him and watched him follow through-- e.g. with motions, like the NSAP ones-- to get business taken care of. Tone here: some commenters on this blog may win the battle but lose the war. I'm wondering if there is the general take that Harium and other Board members may be tired of the constant animosity directed toward them-- for their hard work at an unpaid, full-time job? Let's not drive away the Hariums of the world!

Melissa, to state something in your opening post like "that statement is crap and he knows it" is beyond disrespectful. The good news is that this blog has an effect on dialogue. The bad news is that the effect has been -- in part-- to lower morale and drive away qualified Board candidates. I have personally urged someone to run who declined in large part because they didn't want to deal with so much public venom from this blog. To say things like "that statement is crap and he knows it" (and the many other similarly uncivil comments that have appeared here) makes many people just not want to deal with the headache of it all. It's no wonder Harium simplified and went to no blog-- even his blog was misused. He kept his coffee hours and that's been a great place to talk with him.

In the blog's favor I will say there have been positive effects from this blog as well, but I am seeing the negative ones pulling more weight and affecting our local civics.

Have you ever worked at a workplace where there was someone who was frequently negative or dismissive? In addition to obvious problems, a large one is that even when the person has a good point, no-one wants to listen to them.

Melissa/Charlie/ and the owners of the blog-- can you PLEASE do an improved job of raising the dialogue, by declining to make uncivil remarks yourself? Thank you.

Tired of Incivility
seattle said…
Melissa, people have the right to their opinions. You stated yours, then JA mom stated hers. Why keep pounding her? She obviously just disagrees with you. Let it go at that.
Charlie Mas said…
I haven't seen any animosity towards Teach for America. On the contrary, I think most folks respect that organization and the young people who serve in it. Teach for America provides a much-needed service in cities across the country - cities where there are not enough certificated teachers for the classrooms full of children who need one. Cities and rural areas were students don't see anyone from outside their area or anyone with that level of ambition.

That's not Seattle.

Seattle has no teacher shortage.

Seattle has no shortage of role models.

Here in Seattle Teach for America teachers would not be replacing a series of long-term substitutes or a non-certificated teacher. They probably wouldn't even be replacing another novice teacher. Here in Seattle a Teach for America teacher would be replacing an experienced certificated teacher - and that's not a good use of Teach for America's precious resources. It probably isn't even be good for our students.

I have no animosity towards Teach for America - I would have loved to join it if I could have. I just don't think they are needed here.

This isn't about hating, animosity, pessimism or negativity. It isn't an emotional thing at all. That characterization is used to dismiss the legitimate opposition to the motion.

Funny, isn't it? Those in support of the motion are trying to dismiss opposition as emotional, but the appeal on behalf of Teach for America was entirely emotional while the opposition to it was entirely data-driven.

Let's take the emotions out of this and just rely on the data, the rules, and the facts. When we do, we will see that Teach for America has a lot to offer other communities but very little to offer Seattle.

For any director to vote to approve the motion without a single rational support does call that Board member's decision criteria and judgement into question.
Charlie Mas said…
By the way, the reference to "best and brightest" probably wasn't a good choice. It was America's "best and brightest" who put us into the Viet Nam war.
Bird said…
I honestly don't understand why TFA has become an issue.

I honestly don't see how it can't be an issue.

You say the benefits of TFA will be that it will bring in people with a math and science background and people with real world experience, ans you'd rather have that than the sort of candidates that fill teaching positions.

I look at the same data and see very few of their candidates have math and science backgrounds --nearly 90%, and the vast majority are undergraduates fresh from college. TFA says at least 81% have never held a full time professional job OR earned a graduate degree.

If what you want is to get folks with math and science backgrounds who have real world experience, we should probably be putting our efforts and money somewhere else.

I have to say that of everything I've ever seen the district do, surprisingly, this is the thing that angers me most. That's somewhat surprising because it won't probably affect me directly in the near term. My kid's not in a high poverty school.

Why does it upset me so much?

Because it makes no sense.

The district needs to be focusing on improving the achievement of kids in high poverty schools. These kids need the best teachers. Committing to putting unproven, inexperienced teachers that have a much higher likelihood of leaving after two or three years is not what we need to do for these kids (we even say in the contract we'll try to put 2 in each of our neediest schools!). And paying for the privilege is just insane.

I should say, I'm not necessarily against TFA in general. There may be a situation where TFA brings value. Maybe where there is already high turnover and very low quality and few teacher applicants. We're not that situation however.

I'm also not against the "best and the brightest". I welcome them. Let the TFA alumni come. Let them apply for jobs once they are sure they are coming to stay and have the talent to work in an actual class.

But let's put our limited resources where they will get the most for the kids. This is not the place.
Maureen said…
I agre with Charlie, TFA does great work in schools that can't hire experienced certificated teachers. We don't need them here.

For people who say, why not try it? It might do some good? I ask, why is ok to do that with our poorest students when it has become more and more difficult for even successful schools to try something new? Why, if we are told it is so important to align curriculum and standardize teachers' professional development that we spend $10,000,000 every year on professional development and data coaches to assure that all SPS teachers are in line, why would we devote even more of our limited resources (*) to bringing in uncertified teachers who fall completely outside of that system?

I am all in favor of hiring TFA alum who choose to apply for jobs in Seattle once they are certified.

(*)even if the $4000 is paid by grant for two years, some administrator will be spending time dealing with the grant and TFA organization and the principals will be dealing with the TFA program director who counsels the corps members.
First of all,, I would make that statement to Harium's face and he knows it. He's not a fragile flower. He's an elected official.

I'm not hounding JA Mom. She asked a question, I gave her an answer and then asked a question in return. I note that NO one has answer the question of long-term funding.

Again, I ask that people don't name call or hit below the belt but if tough talk is too much, this isn't the blog for you.
seattle said…
"Here in Seattle a Teach for America teacher would be replacing an experienced certificated teacher"

Experienced, yes, desirable, maybe not? Let's remember one very important detail. TFA teachers can only apply during phase III of the hiring process.

Most experienced, desirable (good), teachers are quickly snatched up by schools during Phase I. The experienced teachers that remain in the displaced pool by Phase III, are the teachers that did not get hired into any position, by any school, that they applied for or interviewed at.

Principals dread hiring teachers from the displaced pool. Worse they dread that the district sometimes just picks a teacher from the displaced pool and assigns them to their school, like it or not. I'm not saying that all of the teachers in the displaced pool are undesirable, I'm sure there are some good ones too. But the general perception of administration in the schools that my kids have attended has been to avoid the displaced pool at all costs.

So, let's look at the hiring of a TFA recruit from that perspective too, instead of just experienced VS not experienced. Given the option, I'd much much rather have an inexperienced teacher with a lot of promise, than an experienced, but undesirable teacher that no other school wanted to hire.

New certified teachers also apply during phase III and those teachers would also compete with the TFA recruits. Are the certs always a better choice than TFA? I don't think so. They would both be new teachers, so I think it would all depend on the candidates themselves. Their past performance, personal experiences, attitude, enthusiasm, and a host of other things. And you could certainly ask a TFA candidate during their interview what their long term goals were? If they say, two years, and I'm out of here, then you don't have to hire them do you?

It's true that we have no teacher shortage. But I truly believe that competition is good, and the larger a candidate pool the better. I'd much rather choose the cream of the crop (whatever candidate that may be), than settle because there wasn't much to choose from.

The only real negatives that I can see when it comes to TFA is:

cost. But that is covered for now. After two years we can try to get more funding or discontinue the contract. So cost, at least immediately, should not be an object.

The second is churn. This is the only valid concern that I see. And it is a major concern. Still, I don't know if this alone, is enough to run TFA off.
Anonymous said…
One thing that keeps coming up is the lack of committment by TFA teachers-that they somehow deserve less respect because they didn't choose a lifelong career in teaching and didn't spend their 4 years of undergrad and possibly graduate school deeply immersed in education theory, practice, etc.

I find that interesting since how many of us know at 18 what our "lifelong career" is going to be? How many of us change majors once or more? How many of us change CAREERS, even after decades of working in some other field entirely?

It seems entirely plausible that a student about to graduate college sees a TFA flyer and says, "Hey, what's this?" and ends up a member of their corps.

The best teacher my daughter had was on her third career. One of the best teachers I ever had was a former model and actress. Yes, they had to go through edcuation and certification, but teaching was sure as heck not their "lifelong career" plan when they went to college.

It's possible to wake up one day and realize you want to take a new path. Yet on this blog people keep harping on how these TFA people are not in it "for life" and never wanted to be teachers. Well, obviously some of them DO stay with it, and some of them BECOME lifers. Some leave, just like newbie teachers who "knew" at 18 or even 17 when they applied to college that teaching was their "lifelong goal".

As for the "churn" of them leaving, I guess no one has spent much time in a South Seattle school (wait, what am I saying, NO ONE hear does). There's plenty of churn down there. Some of it is because the teachers are not a good fit (like the one I mentioned a couple of weeks ago). Some of it is because they want to go elsewhere, some of it is attrition, some is even caused by a fluke, like the year a teacher i nmy daughter's school was badly hurt in the first few weeks of school and a new teacher was brought in for the rest of the year. Or classes shrink and fewer teachers are needed. There's PLENTY of churn. So I'm not convinced that even THAT's avalid complaint about TFA.

One of the snarky questions people here keep asking is "Well, would YOU allow a TFA person teaching your kid?" I would certainly take my chances with one over at least two of the teachers my daughter has had, and probably a third. There was the racist one, the clueless one and the nice but meek one who kind of got run over every day.

I'd take one over the "teacher" my older daughter had in high school for one of her classes who sat and played solitaire on his computer all through class. Yes, he got removed, replaced by a brand new teacher who brought the class up to speed in a matter of weeks-fancy that, a good newbie!

I'd take a TFA teacher over a well-meaning but over-her head teacher who couldn't control her class at all, so that kids were standing on the desks as seen in one school we looked at. So please, don't tell me that certified, lifers are always going to beat TFAers in what they do.
Anonymous said…
Tired of Incivility

I agree that we should not have personal attacks of board members, but it is essential that we discuss their effectiveness.

Case in point Harium. Nice well-meaning man. He disappoints me more than any other board member. Yes, he went to bat for NE capacity issues. But then he checked out. My direct experience with his follow through on issues other than NSAP has been consistently not good.

He does NOT daylight issues --that have been discussed at his coffee hours -to the board and administration.

He does NOT say "my constituents feel x,y,z." You know what he says? *I* think. *I* believe. *I,I,I* Well, I don't care what he thinks. I care that he's reflecting what his constituents think. Go back and look at his TFA comments at the last board meeting. It is representative of his attitude.

While he is busily studying Policy with a capital P, because he is drawn to that world of think-tank academia, he is completely neglecting the in-front-of-his-face District problems around budgeting, program placement, curriculum alignment, response to intervention and the operational failures that have directly followed from New District Policy.

He could have moved the needle for academic achievement for all kids in this District. He had the interest and possibly the ability. But he hasn't. I'll take Patu, as "rough" as she is in Board meetings, as an example of how Harium might have been different. Patu talks about her community. She talks about policy's effects on teachers. She calls b.s. when something that looks GREAT on paper is a complete failure when it hits a school. She brings most discussions about policy back to how the rubber hits the road with kids in her classrooms. I want Patu on our Board. I want Kay on our Board. Sherry, I am neutral about. For the rest, with Harium at the top of the list, I want them gone yesterday.

Charlie Mas said…
Hawk writes: "Given the option, I'd much much rather have an inexperienced teacher with a lot of promise, than an experienced, but undesirable teacher that no other school wanted to hire."

I would agree.

However, I don't think that is the choice very often. Even if it were, that choice would not be presented to us. The choice would be presented to principals and hiring committees making hiring decisions.

Hawk wrote: "It's true that we have no teacher shortage. But I truly believe that competition is good, and the larger a candidate pool the better."

There were 800 candidates - certificated teachers - for teaching jobs at West Seattle Elementary this year. Do we really need a larger candidate pool than that? Is a candidate pool larger than that really better? I don't think so.
Bird said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bird said…
One thing that keeps coming up is the lack of committment by TFA teachers-that they somehow deserve less respect because they didn't choose a lifelong career in teaching

I have plenty of respect for TFA teachers. I think it's great that they are trying teaching, and I think one really good thing about Teach for America is that it gets people in to try teaching that otherwise wouldn't.

I do worry, however, that TFA teachers will turn over faster than other new teachers. To be clear, all new teachers have a pretty high attrition rate, but TFA teachers have an even higher attrition rate, at least as seen in other districts.

Of course, there's a lot of churn in South Seattle. There's a lot of churn elsewhere too. My kid had three separate teachers in their first year of Kindergarten, and it was very bad for those kids. Churn is bad. Very bad. I want to see us try to limit churn and not add to it.

The evidence points to TFA adding to churn. Maybe that won't play out in Seattle. I'd like the district at least follow this and report back on it. I'd like to see them analyze whether TFA is a plus or a minus Sadly, they haven't made any commitment to do so, and I don't think they will.

Instead, I think it's highly likely that we'll keep paying out money for this once the funder slips away whether or not it makes sense, whether or not it does harm.
Maureen said…
I think churn is particularly awful in K-8. I think if the District tracked kids 'growth' on the MAP as a function of teacher sick days or mid year turn over they would find that the impact is much higher than any they can distinguish from whatever 'teacher quality' measure they could come up with. If they add in kid mobility they would get an even better explanation.

That was the basic point of my Board testimony this week-consistency is particularly important in closing the achievement gap. (And yes I agree that consistently locking kids in a basement with a racist adult smoking and reading a newspaper is bad, so please don't go there! :)
dan dempsey said…
Back to Harium.

Just received word that the Prosecutor's Office has forwarded the Recall to the Superior Court.

Recall Petitions (King County Superior Court No. 10-2-38755-2 SEA)

Dear Ms. Anderson and Ms. Martin,

I am sending you this email in my capacity as an attorney for the Seattle School District.

As you may be aware, the recall petitions that you filed with the Department of Elections against four members of the Seattle School District’s Board of Directors were filed yesterday in the King County Superior Court by Senior Deputy King County Prosecuting Attorney Janine Joly. That filing triggers an expedited process by which a Superior Court judge will be assigned to the case and will conduct a “sufficiency” hearing.

... ... etc. etc.


Larry Ransom

Attorney for Seattle School District
seattle said…
Where did the figure of 800 teacher applicants for one vacancy in West Seattle come from? That just doesn't sound right. I'd need to see that from some official source to believe it.
Chris S. said…
Wanted to reply to "Tired of Incivility" all day; thanks Skeptical for partly addressing that - Incivility is talking about the old Harium.

I want to talk about the "incivility" board directors sign up for. Well, you're not going to make everyone happy, so you have to have some thick skin. Beyond that, there are some choices to make. You can CHOOSE not to engage your constituents much at all or in a one-way fashion, like Peter Maier, maybe Sundquist. This will save you from the vitriol, and earn you scorn instead.

Harium has made choices to engage pretty deeply, and for this I admire him. However, he has also chosen to be less than straightforward, and has made the mistake of saying "inaccurate" things to people who knew very well they were "inaccurate." This is also "beyond disrespectful" and by golly, if you can dish it out you'd better be able to take it.

Interestingly, as I was thinking about this today, Sherry Carr does a pretty good job skating this line. She seems to listen, raises issues, knows when to answer and when to shut up (like when you can't answer truthfully..., Harium). Unfortunately, she's about as effective as a yes-voting Mary Bass.

I am appalled at the sneakiness, subterfuge, and hypocrisy that goes on down there as JSCEE underneath the veneer of politeness. I really don't think civility adds much in this situation. Better to call a spade a spade. IMHO.
hschinske said…
Eight hundred applicants for a full-time job with excellent benefits in a desirable city? That's par for the course, these days. I don't find it unbelievable at all.

Helen Schinske
seattle said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
dan dempsey said…
Anyone who finds the following statement by Chris incorrect needs to look at reasons for Yes votes provided by each of the Four and contrast their reasons with the facts.


"I am appalled at the sneakiness, subterfuge, and hypocrisy that goes on down there as JSCEE underneath the veneer of politeness. I really don't think civility adds much in this situation. Better to call a spade a spade. IMHO."
Maureen said…
Hawk, it was in Board meeting testimony. I think Jonathan Knapp (the SEA guy) first mentioned the 800 number and then it was confirmed by Chrissie Coxon, one of the TfA alums who was one of four people hired by WSE. The Meeting is onlinehere.
Central Mom said…
Chris, that is why I cannot get onboard with TFA this year. It was all sneakiness and subterfuge behind the scenes. They didn't (don't) even want to reveal the funders or the commitment for gosh sakes.

Look, the Board, Gates, the Alliance, apparently The Seattle Municipal Foundation all knew that TFA wanted to come into town. In addition, they were negotiating this side deal DURING contract negotiations with the SEA.

Who was explicitly and purposely left out of this info? The public at large and the SEA. And the only reason there was a very rare extended questioning at the board meeting is that the general public and SEA found out that they had been left out of the loop. In fact, deBell said that with the NSAP and budget/audit there is quite enough community outreach going on right now (and therefore this didn't need the same engagement level.) To that I say baloney.

I find the attitude, then, of staff and the Board (and I'm calling out deBell and Sundquist and Martin-Morris explicitly here) to be patronizing at best devious and deceptive at worst and quite surely political.

I wanted to hug Betty Patu as I watched her comments. She said she didn't know TFA, now knows and thinks they're great...but that no one had thought about the fact that our teachers are the board and Central Admin's staff and that we owe it to them to think about what such a program would mean to the teaching corps as their staff...how it would affect their morale...what the message of TFA sends to them.

deBell can be seen squirming in his seat as she says this. Sundquist is "above it all" as usual. And Harium...well Harium looks like he couldn't give a damn. And for that I fault all of them.

I don't even much care for SEA much of the time. I like much about TFA. But the staff and board backroom dealing with the major not-for-profits makes me want to throw up.

The TFA thing is going to pass. But if I had a vote I'd have sent it right back to the "waiting room" of ideas for a full year, just based on how it all went down. Have some more community discussions. See if inroads could be made to find a common meeting ground with SEA. And apologize profusely for really, really, really bad form.

And am I showing incivility here? No, the people that demonstrated it were sitting on the dais and testifying as staff.
seattle citizen said…
No matter what one thinks of SEA, they were treated like dirt at that TFA session of the Board meeting. DeBell said it was a "special" session (Agenda Item discussion) because they recognized there hadn't been much engagement. The invited SEA and TFA to come talk (Here's a question: Do you think TFA was already scheduled to talk? I'd bet so.)
So SEA gets up there. TFA, CAO and SEA answer some questions, then the whole thing becomes Board/TFA/CAO. When SEA tries to talk they're basically shushed, like children, with President DeBell chastizing them for "editorializing" instead of answering questions when they tried to interject.

SEA might not always speak for a majority of represented staff. You might disagree with SEA most of the time. But at that moment, they represented staff in the discussion, and they were blown off like they were nuisances. Like the staff is a nuisance.

Nothing gets in the way of the love fest. Except for Director Carr, who showed some independent thinking, as did Director Smith Blum. Bless 'em.
Interesting that the people who chose to man up at the Board meeting were the women.
wseadawg said…
DeBell has never liked the union, and has muttered negative comments about the union on several occasions in my presence. He clearly has animosity toward the union, protesters, people with a pulse, or anyone who doesn't buy into his Humboldt Granola, let's all be nice, easy & polite style, while MGJ sits next to him butchering people left and right.

I appreciated his no vote on the 25 million dollar math debacle, but that was clearly his pinnacle moment. He's delivered nothing since. KSB effortlessly beats him to the rack and dunks on him, repeatedly.
Sahila said…
@Melissa: The Dalai Lama and indigenous elders all say that the change that is needed in the world, will come from and be led by women...
ParentofThree said…
"I appreciated his no vote on the 25 million dollar math debacle, but that was clearly his pinnacle moment. He's delivered nothing since. KSB effortlessly beats him to the rack and dunks on him, repeatedly."

Well stated!

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