Disqus

Friday, January 07, 2011

Town Hall With Carr and Maier

As I previously reported, I attended the Town Hall last night on the legislative session coming up and what impacts it might have for public education. The speakers were Rep. Scott White (who becomes Senator on Monday when he gets sworn in) and Directors Sherry Carr and Peter Maier. It was hosted by Principal John Miner of Thorton Creek who told the crowd he had been had TC for 25 years. Wow. I would say there were about 50 people in attendance including Seattle Council PTSA reps, Stand for Children reps, and SEA reps.

There were several handouts. They had the letter that MGJ sent to the Seattle delegation. There were some interesting sentences that I'll put in here:

"Thus, while we began this year with a balanced budget for 2010-2011, we must now find an additional $5.24 million to end the year balanced."

Now initially I thought, "How did this happen?" but I know that at least $2M of that is because of the Auditor's finding over the Small Business works program for which the district had to pay back the Capital Fund $2M from the General Fund. Please remember, this happened entirely on her watch.

"Already not enough students are graduating from high schools ready to complete in college,..."

No, she didn't used the 17% figure.

There was another sheet about SPS and their legislative priorities for 2011. Number one is "fully funding the new definition of 'basic education' included in HB 2261." Another is funding to "support innovative ideas like extended day or extended year". I pick these two out to ask what they are thinking.

Look, you can't get blood from a stone. Yes, the state should be fully funding education but now? Tell me how? They've taken 65,000 people off basic healthcare. Is education important? Yes, but where is there money to fund extended day or extended year? Heck, one of the questions last night was about shortening the school year to save money.

Highlights:
  • Senator White brought up the Governor's proposal on public education. Like many in the room (maybe more so), he seemed enthused about it but naturally cautioned that there were many details. He pointed out that while the Tim Eyman (insert hissing) measure passed, that a referendum from the people could pass with a simple majority. He also said that many cuts were coming that nearly everyone in Washington state would see if not feel.
  • A teacher from Ingraham asked if the district might consider some ways to save money like suspending the mid-year MAP testing (big applause) and suspend some of the Strategic Plan elements (also applause).
  • I made the comment that I know that some legislator is likely to introduce charter legislation this session. I said that I didn't want to debate whether charters are worth it or not but that (1) I hope that our state as one of the few states without charters would learn something from other states' mistakes and (2) that legislators need to realize that there would be state costs to starting a charter system and that money would start to drain out out of already struggling public schools. I said it certainly is no short-term solution to education issues and probably should be shelved until we can get our economic footing.
  • The PTA president from Lafayette Elementary rose to express concern over capacity issues in West Seattle. She said a couple of schools were bursting at the seams. She also said there was worry over losing the Spectrum program because of budget cuts. Senator White said that he would be working to restore some of the funding cut for Highly Capable programs.
  • Another person asked about allowing state universities to set their own tuition rates. Senator White said that he would vote to allow them to raise their tuition rates but would want predictability (and likely a cap) on those rates. As well he said he wants to see people who can pay to pay full price with the lower costs/scholarships for those who are truly needy. (I know that UW has one of the lowest costs for a public university in the country and regularly gets called a best value by U.S. News & World Report because of their excellence for the cost. I support the raise in tuition but I fear the middle class is going to get squeezed out.)
  • A TC teacher (and SPS parent) asked why the district management never asks teachers their opinion about what works and what doesn't and what they would suggest. She said there's never a forum for feedback. She said it felt like there was a growing adversarial position between teachers and district leadership. (big applause)
  • Another teacher suggested that cuts should be made to those areas where once our footing is back, we can easily backtrack and bring back what was cut.
  • Another parent said that central administration cuts should be going directly to schools to help them. She asked about shortening the school year and Senator White said no to that on his part.
  • Peter said he was intrigued by the Governor's proposal (Sherry called it bold) but he asked where School Boards and districts would fit in. He also made a strong point that if the State makes cuts to education that the the districts could then stop funding any unfunded state-requirements. (I think this is a valid point but it would depend on what it was.)
  • Olga Addae, SEA president, made the point that cuts aren't just about teachers but the support staff as well. She said that a schoolhouse is NOT just teachers and principals and that the support staff was vital to a well-run school. She said that the budget survey was not that useful and asked about the demographics of who answered. It was a good point that many seemed to support. (Someone told me later on that surveys are pretty useless and if the district really wanted to know something, they should spend the time and the money on a poll.)
  • Eric Muhs, a Ballard science teacher, said that Seattle had the most top-heavy central administration in the country. He said that as recently as this year the Superintendent said class size doesn't matter. He said the budget seems to always protect Central adm as in when the coaches got reclassified and it looked like central administration had been cut. (Unfortunately at this point, Sherry and Peter were reading a chart and Mr. Muhs felt it was disrespectful and told them so.) He said he felt there was a perception that the Board doesn't stand up to the Super and asked what they were doing about that. Sherry said that there were significant reductions and that she and Peter had been looking at a chart about that. She said staff develops a data set and the Board looks at that and central is part of it. Sherry mentioned that on Jan. 12th there would be a work session on the budget and another one on the 26th.
I just want to pause to point out here that I have a chart from Nov. 2010 that states that in 2009-2010, executive management FTE was 8.6 FTE. In 2010-2011, it is 15.5 FTE. I rest my case. (It has gone up steadily since 2006-2007.)
  • This talk about the Superintendent prompted someone else to ask how they were holding the Superintendent accountable for outcomes like MAP results and school closures.
  • One person pointed out that the Governor's idea was bold but it seemed a little odd to not get buy-in from Dorn and just kind of throw it out as a smackdown to him. She also said that parents were not happy with RIFs last time that were based solely on seniority. She also mentioned supporting Core 24 (to raise the credits to graduate from high school). White said he supported Core 24 but where's the funding? He said there are 65,000 homeless kids in Washington state and that worries him every day.
Peter answered the parent's question saying they had signed a new contract with the teachers for another 3 years with seniority for RIFs and had to abide by that. Olga was allowed to speak and said that some of what she had heard from parents about younger teachers sounded like ageism. It was as if some parents did not believe it was not possible for older teachers to still be motivated and have great passion for teaching.
  • Another parent asked us all not to forget about birth-three and Pre-K as that group seems to be forgotten about and are the key to the beginning of a good education.
  • Another SEA rep said that it was valid to want high expectations to come from all teachers but to not believe it could only come from younger teachers.
  • Peter said something interesting that I didn't quite get about spreading out the money for new textbooks over 3 years instead of spending it all in one year. He said "a job or a book" is one way to think about it.
  • A parent also asked about TFA. Things started getting a little tense by then. Sherry said people were 50/50 on TFA and that she voted yes to do what is best for kids. Then someone said something about it costing the district money and Sherry and Peter tried to say it didn't. I said that there were mentoring and overhead costs. Then the same parent challenged the two Board members to explain how they were holding the Superintendent accountable. At this point, it had been a long evening and I think there was some frustration over the avoidance of no one answering this question. Now if it had been me, I might have talked about her evaluation as some degree of accountability. But Sherry said she needed an example. There were at least 3 things shouted out but naturally the one that got her attention was "17%". She went off on quite the tangent trying to explain what had happened and it ended with "it was a goof".
I pause here to say there are always times when we don't agree with Board members as well as times when we feel very proud of them for something they stood up for or against. But I was truly disappointed in Sherry in that moment because there were so many ways to explain that issue but "a goof " is not one of them.

She also went onto say she knew about this issue (of using the stat improperly) but it didn't registered. What? Michael said he knew the stat was off but never got an answer back on it but here's Sherry saying she knew it was being used incorrectly. Geez. What was funny was that Peter then said it was getting late and looked at John Miner and said, "Don't we have to leave?" He was right, of course, but picking that exact moment when people wanted a real answer about what the Board members had ever held the Superintendent directly accountable for, was not the right time. It looked like Monty Python, "Run away!"

And that was the end of the evening. I think Senator White got quite the earful (he said his kids aren't in school yet). It's funny because we have a couple of younger legislators - Senator White and Representative Pedersen - who will have children old enough for kindergarten soon and might have a different viewpoint when that happens.

20 comments:

Eric M said...

Thanks, Meg, nice report.

Here is the email I sent this morning to directors Carr and Maier, with a link to some nice research by Meg Diaz. It's over a year old, so imagine that's it's only worse, and that'll be a better bet than the Seahawks beating the Saints...

------------------------
Here's a great report on SPS Central Administration bloat prepared by Meg Diaz. (I'm sure you know her)

This is more than a year old, but I'd bet my house that the overall situation hasn't changed.

https://docs.google.com/present/view?id=0AVRHgOkrxGL8ZGhta2I4cXJfMGZqbjZqampz&hl=en&pli=1

Can you say that you've ever received anything clearer or better documented from SPS staff? I doubt it.

This is not one of those "I'll get back to you on that" reports.
-------------------

Didn't hear back from either of them.


My other reaction: Both the directors seemed not very familiar with the 17% number, not even enough to downplay it effectively.

And I agree: I think the meeting ended about 15 minutes before "pitchforks and torches".

peonypower said...

I was burning to ask them a question on that funding of downtown and the metrics that staff give - especially given how inaccurate the school reports cards are /have been and the 17%.

Also- neither Maier or Carr seemed to understand the 17% and is Carr did know that she should make a public apology for that.

No questions answered about the superintendent- not a one. I for sure will be looking to oust both of them next election.

Charlie Mas said...

So here is ample evidence that the Board is feeling the heat.

They can't pretend to be unaware of it.

seattle citizen said...

It seems, Charlie, that the Board IS aware of it, some have been aware for some time, yet nothing changes, does it?

Yes, there was a minor kerfuffle over the 17%, calls were made, reluctant apologies given....but that was then, now when questions about it come up it's time to turn up the lights and go home.

The cynic in me thinks that the machine will just keep crawling forward: The board will not censure the superintendent because some of the board is in cahoots with the superintendent and with her handlers. There is a shadow cadre of puppeteers pulling strings, and as long as the media stays mum, and as long as no one actually burns a school down or something, all the crap we comment on here just doesn't matter to those with an agenda.

ach.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Seattle Citizen, while I still respect the Board for their service, I'm done trying to convince them.

I'm turning my efforts elsewhere. I'll let you know how it goes.

Eric M said...

Oops, thanks not Meg but Mel, nice report.

Very long week.

I agree about the Board. I'm so over them. Asking them questions was not about asking them questions, but making an effort to ensure they can't get ANY traction at public meetings when they try to run for reelection.

Sherry Carr said a couple of times that she had a background in "FINANCE". Really.

dan dempsey said...

So it would be great if Mr. White comes to the realization that he was at the usual Board propaganda session.

"Sherry said people were 50/50 on TFA and that she voted yes to do what is best for kids."

Sherry is once again trying to use the "reasonable people disagree" line of BS, which she prefers rather than dealing with facts in an objective way.

Here is exactly how she prefers to evade the truth on TfA.

Sherry delivered the only half sentence she could find that could be twisted into possible support for TfA from a report that said TfA is entirely wrong for Seattle.

Her words about TfA are the Bold ones that follow:
-----
The executive summary of the report Seattle School Director Sherry Carr referenced made some major points, which are contained in the following:
--
The evidence suggests that districts may benefit from using TFA personnel to fill teacher shortages when the available labor pool consists of temporary or substitute teachers or other novice alternatively and provisionally certified teachers likely to leave in a few years. Nevertheless, if educational leaders plan to use TFA teachers as a solution to the problem of shortages, they should be prepared for constant attrition and the associated costs of ongoing recruitment and training.

A district whose primary goal is to improve achievement should explore and fund other educational reform that may have more promise such as universal preschool, mentoring programs pairing novice and expert teachers, elimination of tracking, and reduction in early grade class size.

It is therefore recommended that policymakers and districts:

 Support TFA staffing only when the alternative hiring pool consists of uncertified and emergency teachers or substitutes.

 Consider the significant recurring costs of TFA, estimated at over $70,000 per recruit, and press for a five-year commitment to improve achievement and reduce re-staffing.

Invest strategically in evidence-based educational reform options that build long-term capacity in schools.

---

Sherry has been instructed to leave all decision-making to the District's Hired Professionals and I have rarely if ever seen her do otherwise.

The only question I have for her and each of the gang of four is this:

"Who writes the distortions of research that are twisted into fraudulently supporting proposals?
Is that the work of the Directors or the Staff?"

===========
Wonderful to know that School Director Sherry Carr participated in the ongoing two-year 17% deception of the public and state elected officials. Was that a goof or a violation of her oath of office as a School Director?

RCW 9A.76.175

Director Carr is to support the State Constitution, not violate State Laws, and supervise the Superintendent.

It appears she sees her job is to support the Superintendent "100% of the time" even when it includes helping MGJ violate the law.

"A person who knowingly makes a false or misleading material statement to a public servant is guilty of a gross misdemeanor."

The Superintendent commits a gross misdemeanor and Sherry does nothing for two years, then calls it a goof.

Next question?

dan dempsey said...

Sherry's failure to act on the gross misdemeanor is likely a goof and some reasonable people may not like RCW 9A 76.175 but what about her oath of office.

Director Carr swore to: “support the Constitution and Laws of the United States and the Constitution and Laws of the State of Washington, and will to the best of my judgment, skill and ability, truly, faithfully, diligently and impartially perform the duties of the office of Seattle School Director."

One employee to supervise MGJ and Sherry refuses to do it.

Sherry and the Board will not even act on recurring violations of RCW 28A 645.020 on which the Board continually uses their Scoff-Law approach.

MGJ likely commits a felony in regard to falsification of evidence ... but no big deal for team Scoff-Law.

dan dempsey said...

Eric M said:

"And I agree: I think the meeting ended about 15 minutes before "pitchforks and torches".

Charlie Mas in his school board testimony (min 29 to 32) mentioned the Scoff-Law mode of operation of the Directors.

I've tried to get the Governor to refer matters to the Attorney General for prosecution. Charlie has asked the Board to refer specific matters for prosecution.

Elected office holders take an oath to support the US Constitution, the State Constitution, and the laws of WA State. Those same office holders are subject to recall for a violation of oath of office.

Thus far the Court system has been equally remiss in upholding the laws of the state. Violations of RCW 28A 645.020 are routinely overlooked by the courts.

Have we reach the point where the Governor needs to be recalled?

It seems that Charlie's request for action needs to be brought to the Governor's attention. She under the law has the power along with county prosecutors to bring matters to the attention of the Attorney General. (She is a former attorney general).

I could not be more hesitant about allowing the Gov. to appoint a head of schools given her actions in regard to Education.

The state appealed the "NEWS" lawsuit decision of 2-4-2010 in regard to the full funding of education. The Gov. and legislature took $208 million that was headed to local school districts and dropped it into the General Fund. House majority leader was quoted as saying "We think it's legal, to do this."

In this state it does not matter if it's legal or not, as a lot of illegal stuff takes place in full view of everyone and nothing gets done about it.


The State Constitution article IX says:"
It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste, or sex."


We now have the AG's office presenting an Amicus Curiae, on behalf of (WASDA) the School Directors Association in regard to the District's appeal of the HS math Spector decision, which is in support of the District.

Current Black math pass rate at grade 10 on the OSPI annual test is 12.5% with a White student pass rate of 68%.

This is no accident. The Board continually makes non-evidence based decisions. In fact its decisions are often contradicted by the evidence; Math as well as NTN STEM and TfA.

We currently are clearly living in an oligarchy that the Governor would like to make even less democratic. In a republic all people are to be protected by the law. That certainly is not happening now. It appears that the Gov. would prefer "such protection" to be even less likely in the future.

No doubt about it, having a republic is messy. It is so messy that at the moment two out of three branches are opposed to the idea of having all protected by the law and the legislative appears to be leaning that way.

I do not care if all three branches do not wish to uphold the constitution because (it's good for kids or because they view it as good for citizens) of odd ball views of voter incompetence and laws that need to be neglected.

The Constitution needs to be upheld (or changed), and the laws need to be enforced (or changed).

So why Gov. Christine G. is the AG failing to require the SPS to follow the law? Why is the AG indirectly defending the District by filing an Amicus Curiae in behalf of the School Directors association?

Oh, right, because you as Gov. do not care to have the AG investigate the illegal actions of the Seattle School Board.

It appears the recall of public officials needs to start at the top.


Everyone who wants the Gov. to appoint the school czar, just stand by and watch the formation of a bigger better oligarchy.

Charlie Mas said...

It's pretty clear to me that the Superintendent violated RCW 42.23.030, 42.23.040, and 9A.76.175. I have reported these violations to the District Ethics Officer and an investigation is in progress. The Ethics Officer (in this case a special Ethics Officer) is supposeds to prepare a Preliminary Report containing the results of the investigation and a recommendation as to discipline.

I have told the Board that I think the discipline has to be real and meaningful. I told them that, at the least, they should refer the cases for prosecution. I await their decision.

If they fail to refer the cases for prosecution, then I will try to interest someone - either the City Attorney, the King County Prosecutor or the State Attorney General - in carrying them forward. I honestly don't hold out much hope for that.

If, however, the Board refuses to refer the cases then that will be one more reason to oust them.

And, of course, if Michael DeBell doesn't push hard enough for punishment then we can report him for exactly the same violations.

Now that Steve Sundquist is the President of the School Board and he will be asked to join the board of the Alliance and the Council of Great City Schools, do you think he will disclose? Do you think he will recuse himself from discussions and decisions involving those organizations?

dan dempsey said...

Charlie said:

" then I will try to interest someone - either the City Attorney, the King County Prosecutor or the State Attorney General - in carrying them forward."

Here is what I found out. K.C. Prosecutor's office is not interested unless a Police Report has been filed. The Police will not file a complaint as they say you need to contact the AG. The AG does not accept complaints from citizens, unless they are consumer protection involving a private business. To get the AG to consider this it must be referred by a County Prosecutor or the Gov. So it will not be the King County Prosecutor because the Seattle Police will not do anything. So it falls on the Gov. who under her oath of office is to support the laws of Washington, but so far she has done ZERO.

It seems that Charlie is correct in his prediction that not much would happen. Thus it seems it is about time to recall the Gov.

Mr. Edelman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris S. said...

I thought the town hall was great improvement over the usual district community outreach, where they avoid letting the situation even remotely approach uncomfortableness.

I was almost amused by Sherry's lame answer. To paraphrase, the question was "How are you going to hold the superintendent accountable?" SC: "For what?"
Crowd: "17%" SC: "Why, I'm not going to hold her accountable at all! In fact, I'm going to shoulder the blame myself!"

It gets really funny when you imagine what MGJ would do for Sherry if the situation were reversed.

Anonymous said...

Chris,

MGJ would do to Sherry as she has done to the rest of us.

Mr. Edelman said...

Forums like this one are not only an opportunity to influence policy and public discourse, but they're also an opportunity to gauge the mood of a subset of the community.

Senator-elect White did get an earful, and he may have even heard some of it. Peter Maier is already favorably disposed to suspending mid-year MAP testing, slowing down the Strategic Plan, and deferring textbook purchases, so some of the public comments helped to give him cover if he ultimately supports these measures. I don't know what to make of Sherry Carr these days.

A couple other things were interesting to me. The idea that teachers have a lot of good ideas that aren't being used resonated with the audience, as did the idea that the district's approach is too top-down. Themes that work in public discourse should be developed and repeated.

The other thing that's interesting to me is the question of strategy with regard to the superintendent and upcoming Board elections. One theory is that if we want to unseat Board directors in the coming election we should drive them into a corner with MGJ. She is their worst campaign liability, and if she leaves in the spring or summer, their election chances improve. Personally I think it's a very dangerous strategy to drive the Board to stick with MGJ. However, if that's your strategy, then I think that angry confrontations with Board directors that make them defensive is a good way to prolong MGJ's tenure and perhaps make Board directors more vulnerable in the coming election (if--big if--they have credible opponents).

On the other hand, if your priority is to hasten the departure of MGJ, then I think it would be better to drive a wedge between the Board and the superintendent. Here is the problem. Board directors don't want to believe that they've wasted the last 3+ years of their life on the Board. They want to believe that by supporting MGJ, they've accomplished something important and worthwhile. I think it would be both gracious and effective to acknowledge the hard work and long hours of public service that the directors have put into their years on the Board. They should even hear a few things that the current administration has done right. But they should also hear the kind of unremitting and pointed criticism of MGJ that lets them know that she's outlived her usefulness. They should understand that the next superintendent should end the adversarial relationship between the district and the community. They should hear repeatedly about this adversarial relationship and the need of new leadership to heal it. We all need to be working together to improve the education of our community's children--our future depends on it.

My guess is that MGJ will leave before her next review in June, but there are no guarantees. I personally think we'll accomplish the most by, first and foremost, organizing, organizing, organizing. But we also need to be smart. The ed reform opposition has been smarter and more organized than we have, but that is something we can rectify, if we have the will.

Melissa Westbrook said...

LA, that's some good analysis.

I would differ in saying ed reformers have been smarter (more organized, yes). They have a lot more power, money and a bully pulpit. That makes controlling the message much easier.

Eric M said...

Last year at this time, I too thought the smart thing was to drive a wedge between the Board and the Superintendent. But the Board has had so very many opportunities to distance themselves from the Superintendent, and they haven't taken any of them. The recent Teach for America decision reflects that. There is simply no rational basis for replacing real teachers with kids with 5 weeks training, and of course, all targeted for the south end.
That decision (and so many others) only makes sense if you're aboard the Broad Foundation bus for the entire trip, to the end of line, down with the Titanic. And most of this Board is. Seattle Education 2010 did a really interesting article on the Broad Foundation's influence here in Seattle. It's deep, and far longer standing than Dr. Goodloe-Johnson's tenure.

Here it starts: http://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/2010/12/01/the-battle-for-seattle-part-one/

an excerpt:

Don Nielson became President of the Seattle school board in 2001. He handled running the school board like running a business. As a previous board member said to me, “If you were chosen to be on the board by Don Nielsen, you would be sent back east for this corporate training.” That training was done by the Broad Foundation.

According to one board member who had gone through the “corporate training” when asked why the board was not more receptive to parent input, she said that at the Broad training they were told that as board members they would get thousands and thousands of ideas from the public but the only ideas they should pursue were those from “professionals” at national conferences and at Broad meetings.

Mr. Nielson was also part of the faculty of The Broad Center for Superintendents. One of the graduates of the inaugural class in 2002 was Don McAdams, Founder of the Center for Reform of School Systems. Mr. McAdams in 2010 led a Seattle school board retreat that was to discuss the State Auditor’s Report on Seattle Public Schools. That retreat, as well as others, had been funded by the Alliance for Education which receives the majority of its’ funding from the Broad and Gates’ Foundations.

Mr. Edelman said...

Eric, I think the situation is more subtle than that. If Board directors make it known, privately, that they are less than thrilled with her recent performance and that she can expect a less than stellar review from them in June, she may decide to leave on her own. We can expect Board directors to do this quietly, so as not to alienate what they perceive as their influential constituents.

Of course, if that doesn't happen and MGJ is still superintendent next fall, then our job of driving Board candidates from office will be made easier. They will have to run on her record. We will make them run on her record. MGJ will be the best organizing tool we will have. Nothing we say or do will turn out teachers to support opposition candidates as well as the mere continuing presence of a superintendent that the overwhelming majority of teachers dislike.

dan dempsey said...

The Bigger problem I see with all this is the complete dishonesty and failure to do anything about this by anyone in authority.

The Superintendent and the Board regularly ignore relevant data, flaunt the law, tell fairy-tales and no one holds them accountable.

I could make an extensive list. The District was not even close to providing the requested information on NWEA/MAP to satisfy RCW 28A 645.020...... but who cares its only the law.

I suspect the same lack of accountability for deception is true at most levels of government. This is just the level I've chosen to carefully examine and try to correct.

I wonder where newly elected Sen. White stands on all of this?

I loved Sen. Joe McDermott from West Seattle. He will be missed.

==========

You would think that members of the public would only need to alert those in authority to get corrections to illegal actions. I was an idiot for believing that idea. It turns out those in power have no interest in changing a corrupt system.

Jan said...

At this point, I think we(those in the community who dislike the SSD's direction, focus, and management) are "turbulence." The fasten-seatbelt sign is on at District management, and the bumpiness is "unpleasant," but I have no doubt that they hope/intend to simply "fly through this."

They assumed they would have "trouble" from the SEA -- and they had finely honed their message, and marshalled their resources, to deal with that. They must have also at least considered that there might be a "little trouble" from the community -- but they (at least, MGJ and four of the directors) are hoping to just "get past" us. Yes, they are ignoring board policies (and possibly state law). Yes, they are making terrible board decisions -- decisions with no rational basis, decisions without reading documents (which are either not there, are in early draft form, or are at odds with managmement's representation of them).

At this point, I see no reason to think that if the Board were voting on the next contract extension, the vote would not continue to be 5 to 2, because I see nothing that indicates that Carr, Meier, Sundquist, DeBell, and Martin-Morris are unhappy with her, or the District's performance since her arrival. (There is a fair amount to indicate that Smith-Blum and Patu are unhappy, but they are a minority). Millions of dollars have been spent/wasted. The NSAP was not well executed. Scores are not rising (and in some groups, like Special Ed., South-East minorities in math, etc., are actually falling. Many of the teachers are profoundly unhappy, and have voted overwhelmingly "no confidence." Central administration (already bloated) continues to grow, and grow, while school budgets are being drained (leaving aside the "costs" of coaches to impelement strict standardization and fidelity of implementation -- which are not dollars that actually reach kids or help teachers. MGJ has ignored state law (and District policy) on conflicts of interest. The changes to special ed are reported to have been a disasterous failure.

The only way we are not "turbulence" is if we either change at least four of the directors in the next election (actually, we only need to change 2 to get a majority of directors who might actually be willing to manage MGJ, and to make and enforce board policy) OR we need to get two existing directors to step up to the problems that have grown under MGJ's watch, and change their perception of her management. I keep hoping for DeBell and Carr, but hope, like talk, is cheap. Based on their unwillingness to demand any accountability from MGJ so far, I cannot credibly pretend that they are likely to act in the interests of the district, parents, and taxpayers at any time in the future.