Disqus

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Educating the Mayor

Update: Linda Shaw of the Times attended. Here's what she had to say (leaving out that none of the Board got invited):

McGinn said he's open to the idea. He may have voted against them three times, as he said Friday that he thinks he did, but his questions showed a lot of interest in charters -- the publicly funded but privately run schools that exist in all but 10 states, one of which is Washington.

During the meeting he organized at City Hall, McGinn also suggested that charters might be a way to attract more students to Seattle's public schools.

It's kind of like the Microsoft Connector bus from Seattle to that company's headquarters, he said, saying he wonders why the city isn't running that as a public service instead.

"I think there's an analogy there," he said.

I have no idea what he's talking about with Microsoft. And memo to the Mayor, enrollment in SPS went up by 900-1000 this year and Peter Maier said last night that they expect it this next school year as well. Hmmm.
End of Update

I learned Mayor is having an informational briefing tomorrow morning about charter schools. It will be done by two staff from the Center for Reinventing Public Education from UW. Now this is fine but I will say that the CRPE is not exactly neutral on charters (the majority of their research is around it with them being in the pro column). Of course, it is a little odd use of time in a state that has no charter law and has turned it down three times.

When I saw the e-mail yesterday, I called and asked if I could come and listen. The staffer was very nice, said no and then said he would check. I was told today, sorry but no.

The issue isn't so much that I can't go. I'm sure there won't be any other media there but I operate on the "it doesn't hurt to ask" policy.

What is interesting is who they did (and didn't) invite. It's a lot of City Hall staff but for City Council I only see Tim Burgess on the list (which is fine because he's the head of the committee that includes education issues). They did invite the Superintendent and Holly Ferguson (who is the lead governance person at SPS). They invited people from the Gates Foundation which is okay because, of course, they work on education issues. But then they invited the head of the Chamber of Commerce and people from Microsoft itself who don't have anything to do with education.

And, they invited NO School Board members.

Now I went to the School Board Work Session on the budget yesterday and casually asked a couple of members if they had been invited. They all put on their best poker faces but admitted no, they hadn't been and knew nothing about it. (I did tell them the Superintendent had been invited.) Steve Sundquist said that it wasn't in the Board's power or the Mayor's power to create charters (you absolutely have to have a state charter law and we don't). I could tell it was a little puzzling to them.

I asked the staff why no Board members were invited and he said it was people the Mayor chose. So my thought is why didn't he invite the elected officials who do oversee education in this city? Dr. Goodloe-Johnson, even if we had charter law in the state, couldn't do it on her own either.

I also asked him why the Mayor was interested. He said lots of people are interested in charters like me. I pointed out that I do write an education blog.

Some people had been telling me that the Mayor had been asking about charters but I really thought that was a mistake on their part. Now I'm not so sure.

Something to keep on our radar.

29 comments:

Eric M said...

Fascinating. This is the Superintendent taking a break from her paid duties, and putting on the Broad Foundation "charter-schools-is-good" uniform and top hat.

I bet this would have been more fun for the powerful if it was still a secret. Oh, to be a fly on that wall.

Anonymous said...

Ay! Scandalo!

Rather an inauspicious start for Mayoral control. Thank gawd not in our lifetime (or kill me now)

Mr. Edt

Sahila said...

bet charters will be here within six months....

and they wont bother going to a referendum or whatever... it'll be done in Olympia as part of something else....

suep. said...

Well, well, well, what have we here? I wonder if this has anything to do with the fact that the Gates Foundation (which supports privatizing public ed through charters) hired/paid CRPE to do a study on charter management which is due out later this year or next?

National Research Study on Charter Management Organization Effectiveness to Be Led by Mathematica Policy Research and Center on Reinventing Public Education

March 17, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO -- NewSchools Venture Fund and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today announced the launch of an ambitious new longitudinal research study to measure the impact of nonprofit charter school management organizations (CMOs). Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., and the Center on Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington (CRPE) will serve as lead research partners for this National Study of CMO Effectiveness, which will examine the impact that CMOs are having on student achievement, as well as the internal structures, practices, and policy contexts that influence these outcomes.

I believe this expenditure was described in the Gates Foundation tax form (p. 104) that year.

TO SUPPORT A NATIONAL CHARTER SCHOOL RESEARCH CENTER

UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON
FOUNDATION
407 A GERBERDING HALL
BOX 351210
SEATTLE, WA 98195
NONE 509(A)(3) TYPE
2

TO SUPPORT A NATIONAL CHARTER SCHOOL RESEARCH CENTER
149,767


Hmm.

This secret meeting most certainly has everything to do with the fact that Seattle School Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson has been trained by the Broad Foundation which heavily pushes charters and shows every sign of pushing Broad's ed reform agenda on our district.

I respectfully disagree with you, though, Melissa that the Gates Foundation should be at this meeting. Why should they? Who elected them to make education decisions and policy that affects our kids?

And Microsoft?

And the Chamber of Commerce?

All business interests, in other words.

No parents.

As for how charters could happen in WA, watch for fake "grassroots" political entities like "Stand for Children" to draft the legislation, and then get some willing legislator to introduce it (Mr. Carlyle perhaps?), and "In League with Gates Education Voters" to push it.

Just like Stand just did for proposed SB 5399, an unnecessary and destructive piece of work which would hand over more power to the school superintendent and allow teachers to be fired based on student test scores.

Turns out Stand for Children wrote that bill.

Check out KUOW's recent interview with Shannon Campion of Stand.

Shannon Campion is executive director of Stand for Children. Stand for Children drafted legislation that would change the practice of teacher layoffs.

In other words, education policy is being determined in our city and state, behind our backs, in secret meetings, by corporate-focused foundations and ed reform Astroturf organizations that have no true ties to parents and the communities who will be most affected by their agenda.

If we let it happen, that is.

Thank you for letting us know about this meeting, Melissa.

Shame on Mayor McGinn.

--Sue p.

Anonymous said...

Hey! How 'bout if we all bike over to City Hall and protest? Remember to wear your I heart the Viaduct t-shirts!

Mr Ed

Melissa Westbrook said...

I may have put that wrong about Gates; I meant it made sense that there were education interests there (but clearly not all education interests). It was clear this was to be a presentation but they said not for advocacy or debate.

I would have preferred a neutral person, maybe an educator at UW or Seattle U Ed schools.

Not Surprised said...

No surprise here.

Charter backers want to put politicians in their back pockets.

Not convinced our entire school board has bought into reform...might explain why they weren't invited.

Sahila said...

Goodloe Johnson there because she's pretty much completed the implementation of the Broad agenda

The Board not there cos they're starting to push back and cos Broad will be pushing for mayoral control and/or an appointed board...

Microsoft there for all that lovely IT lolly there will be available when we go to virtual teaching, watched over by untrained, cheap, TFA and other 'alternatively certificated' babysitters...

see this virtual public charter school -
http://www.vlacs.org/

and I saw a report yesterday about another state, where a high school was offering almost all online classes, with high numbers of students per class, watched over by an IT person, not a teacher... if I can refind, will post link here...

Chamber of Commerce... all that lovely profit-making opportunity in running charter schools, cos education is a business, dontcha know...

of course no parents there - we're too stupid to be considered in the equation.... we dont know what's good for us and our kids and these other, wiser, people do... we'll take what we're given, like it or not....

Makes me sick to see what I predicted two years ago coming to full fruition...

Get off our arses, people.... now or never....

Sarah said...

Sarah,

Goodloe Johnson can't get out of the office for coffee etc. Yet, she has plenty of time to meet with the mayor to promote the Broad agenda.

Eric M said...

But you can probably go to this little piece of fascination:

Special Committee on Educational Achievement for Seattle SchoolChildren Friday, February 4, 2011, 12pm

http://www.seattle.gov/engage/access.htm?trumbaEmbed=eventid%3D92773670%26view%3Devent%26-childview%3D

Presumably, the "briefing" is an attempt to put one of those Star Trek brain parasites in the Mayor's ear about charter schools. That's the Broad Foundation's real agenda for Seattle Schools. Not making them better, but breaking them down and creating a market for charter companies.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
chunga said...

Besides writing to express our concern to the Mayor, perhaps we can request a meeting with the Mayor?

While I have concerns about this meeting and statements made about education by the Mayor, it's hardly clear he is in the pocket of the corporate reformers. Hopefully, he is open to parent concerns and is also open to evidence.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Chunga, he did allow an SEA rep to come (although they, too, were not originally invited). It's hard to know what to say to the Mayor if you don't know what he was told. I'd be willing to bet money that he wasn't told that charters can write a charter that doesn't include special ed or ELL services and that regular public schools have to take all comers.

I had to delete an anonymous post that expressed the desire for charters in 6 months. So if you would like to put that in, do so but sign a name/moniker. No anonymous comments; that is our stated policy.

mirmac1 said...

This reminds me of Bush-Cheney hiding the names of oil company lobbyists who came to discuss "energy reform".

Where does the Open Meetings Act come into play? Probably nowhere but, hey!

chunga said...

Thanks for the reply Melissa. I'm glad to hear that an SEA member was allowed to attend.

While we don't know what exactly will be discussed, it's concerning that this is on his agenda and it's concerning who he is inviting. If we were to request a meeting with the Mayor, I would like to hear what his thoughts/plans are, what the rationale for this meeting is, and ensure he hears our concerns.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I found out that Linda Shaw of the Times was there. She posted something in the Times' political blog but managed to leave out that none of the Board members got invited.

Anonymous said...

The Mayor is holding a brown bag lunch with parents in June, I think, to talk about SPS. The opportunity to attend the lunch has been offered to schools as an item they can include in their school auctions or award to a parent volunteer. I expect there will be several parents bidding on this one at our school auction in April.

Janis

Whitney said...

Bree Dusseault, the newly hired Ed Director for the Northwest Region, is/was a researcher for the National CHARTER SCHOOL Management Organization and the Center for Reinventing Public Education.

The bulk of her work at CRPE was focused entirely on charters.

How very interesting that Goodloe-Johnson would have hired Dusseault, who had less than ONE year of principal experience, and that in a CHARTER school, no less, in New Orleans, to supervise principals in our district!

Someone with so little experience hired into this high-paid and powerful position? Insulting and insidious.

I don't know why this hire, which was an obvious ploy to bring in pro-charter people into the inner circle of SPS administration, escaped the condemnation of this blog. Perhaps now you'll take a closer look.

From Google: Brianna Dusseault
* ABOUT CRPE * Staff Profiles * Brianna Dusseault Research Coordinator Curriculum Vitae Brianna Dusseault is a researcher at the Center on Reinventing Public Education. She is currently working on the National Charter Management Organization (CMO ...

Anonymous said...

Gawd, I met her and heard her speak of the "miracle" of New Orleans. The messianic glint in her eye scared the bejeezus outa me.

Mr. Ed

Dorothy Neville said...

Whitney,

You missed this and this. See comments for full discussions and outing of Ms Dussault's past and questions about her placement in Seattle.

Yup. We do know about her history and lack of job experience and qualifications for her current position. A good reminder though, since not everyone has read everything here or remembers everything.

Whitney said...

Dorothy,
Thanks for the links. Yeah, I saw those at the time, but I wish an expose had been done as an initial entry, rather than primarily in the comments section where sometimes things get buried under the weight of other topics. Also, one that stuck in my memory was Charlie Mas, after pointing out concerns, then said her "record was excellent" and that there was no attack, which made me so discouraged. I guess also what I'm really frustrated about is that this sort of thing gets exposed, but then it seems to just get dropped without a full-on attempt to put pressure on the School Board to undo a hire such as this one.

Charlie Mas said...

I'm actually not as suspicious of charter schools as are many of the other folks who write here. I think there are situations and cases in which they can be of value and some of them are good.

It's funny. I talk to people a lot about the district and the schools and we all kind of agree that the schools are, for the most part, pretty good, but that the district-level decisions are bad. So you would think that a charter school - which is free of the District level crap decisions - would be desirable.

I'm not looking for a big argument over this. I'm just pointing it out as something of an oddity.

Things can be done well or done poorly - district schools or charter schools. Yes, there are additional concerns around charters, but they can be addressed.

Whitney said...

Wow. I'm shocked. Charlie, I really, truly appreciate your honesty on this issue. However, I can't say this strongly enough -- it makes it clear to me who not to vote for should you run for the School Board. This is a non-negotiable for people who are really committed to public education -- to schools that educate everyone. Charter schools = Public funds going to schools that can take whoever they want, leave behind the disabled, the students who don't fit their particular school's mission, operate outside of a teachers' contract, and, like Jeffrey Canada, dismiss a whole class when they don't perform up to par. I am really disappointed, but I'm looking forward to other leaders stepping up to run.

Rooster said...

A brief history of the SSD hiring a VERY, VERY inexperienced person to supervise and evaluate principals. The only explanation here is that Ms Dusseault is a true believer in the miracle of charter schools. After teaching at a charter in Boston for a few years Dusseault began “ principal in training “ for the “New Leaders for New Schools” program in Fall 2007. Like Teach for America, this is a training program designed to create new Principals quickly.
In exchange for about $70,000 worth of free training, the candidates pledge to work in New Orleans schools for at least five years.

From their website: "New Leaders’ principals-in-training don’t sit in college classrooms taught by professors who may never have been school principals themselves, earning enough academic credit to take the state certification exam. These carefully chosen residents are mentored by principals who learned their craft from the School of Hard Knocks. In addition to an intensive five-week summer program taught by respected principals and other leaders, they work side-by-side with mentor principals for a year getting hands-on experience. WOW....

Sounds like Principal for America ! even you can “ be a Principal in 5 short weeks !”
After this training,her first Principal job is at a New Orleans charter. Four months later she is already planning to depart as they redesign the school and indeed she leaves in June 2008.

What happened to the 5 year commitment to New Orleans schools? And Mr Mas's contention that she was "excellent" is laughable. She wasn't there long enough to accomplish anything...she just cut and ran.

http://www.charterresource.org/files/Preparing_for_the_Inevitable-NewOrleans.pdf

A few months later she is in Seattle( Fall 2008) working for the Center on Reinventing Public Education. According to CPRE, Charter schools are the answer. The bulk of Dusseault’s work here was on Charter schools.

Summer 2010 she is hired as an Regional Ed Director by SSD having never worked in a public school.
A fast riser indeed.

Charlie Mas said...

Whitney, thank you for raising the issue.

"Charter schools = Public funds going to schools that can take whoever they want, leave behind the disabled"

If the Charter is written that way. There is no rule that requires it, and there are Charters that do require the school to accept and serve all students. I would certainly expect this of a "good" charter school.

Please bear in mind that there are, right now and right here in our district, public schools that don't accept and serve all students - specifically not serving students with certain disabilities.

"the students who don't fit their particular school's mission"

This is also the case with a number of our alternative schools. While The NOVA Project is a wonderful school, and I absolutely love it, it is not the right school for every student. Every year there are students who leave it after they learn that the program doesn't suit them. Every year there are students who are counseled out of APP and Spectrum as well.

"operate outside of a teachers' contract"

Again, this is not an absolute requirement and I would expect compliance with collective bargaining agreements a requisite for any "good" charter school.

"Jeffrey Canada"'s name is actually spelled Geoffrey. It's a small point, but it's the man's name and regardless of what you think of his work, you shouldn't misspell his name.

"dismiss a whole class when they don't perform up to par."

Again, I would not include such a school among my list of "good" charters.

You have pointed out some of the most egregious flaws or bad practices of a number of charter schools. I, too, disapprove of these practices. But these are not universal. There is no reason to take such a mistakenly narrow view of charters as to believe that they are all of a single kind or that they all follow any given practice.

There is every reason to believe that a charter school could operate in accordance with all of the district's standard enrollment rules and collective bargaining agreements. I can easily envision a charter school which is little different from the alternative schools we now have, but even freer of the obligation to comply with district-level mandates regarding instruction.

I disappointed that you don't see the tremendous diversity of charters or the possibility that there could be some which aren't inherently evil.

As I wrote, things can be done well or done poorly. That includes charter schools. They can be done well. Think of how YOU would design a charter school. Would you design an evil one or a good one?

Whitney said...

So Charlie, let me get this straight: You support charter schools if they: accept all students; operate under state and federal guidelines regarding providing FAPE to disabled students; and operate under teacher contracts. Sounds suspiciously like a public school to me. "Charter" means these schools can operate outside such provisions.

I believe your position is naive and dangerous, and I don't mean that as an insult, just a statement of fact. Just because SPS district is ridiculously mismanaged doesn't mean that charter schools are necessary. Rather than bailing to charter schools, take care of the real problem.

I have worked in two other districts with functioning central admin and it was fine. To say that we need charter schools because SPS is corrupt is like saying we need to get rid of democracy because it voted in George Bush as president.

And by the way, one thing on which I do agree; my misspelling of Geoffrey Canada's name is indeed "a small matter" compared to the big issues we are discussing. But I'm sure it gave you great and misplaced satisfaction to point it out.

Charlie Mas said...

This is how we miscommunicate. Here is Whitney trying to pick a fight with me when it turns out we agree.

We have different definitions of "charter". For Whitney, Charter schools, by definition:

* can take whoever they want
* leave behind the disabled
* exclude students who don't fit their mission
* operate outside of the teachers' contract
* retain the right to dismiss students who don't perform up to par

Schools which don't meet this profile are not, to Whitney, charter schools. I thought I was clear, but let me write it again: I, too, am also opposed to these types of charter schools.

Where Whitney and I differ is not in opinion, but in nomenclature. I don't believe that there is only one type of charter school. I don't believe that ALL charter schools fit this narrow definition. I believe that there are myriad types of charter schools, many of which comply with their school district's enrollment policies and labor contracts. It all depends on what is written into their charter.

In a lot of districts around the country there are charter schools which work like our alternative schools. I would have no objection to that type of charter school.

It's possible that Whitney would not object to them either, but she would not recognize them as charter schools.

Whitney wrote that such schools are not charter schools but public schools. Charter schools ARE public schools.

I see that Whitney and I have another difference, in addition to nomenclature. I don't make conjecture about the motivations or inner workings of others.

I would appreciate being extended the same courtesy and respect. For the record, I didn't take any satisfaction from correcting Whitney's misspelling of Geoffrey Canada's name. Instead, it indicated to me that Whitney is careless. If you want to be taken seriously you should get these sorts of details right. You should also pay attention to what other people write, and recognize when someone is agreeing with you.

I have done nothing to deserve Whitney's abuse or sneering disrespect, and I refuse to accept it.

Rooster said...

Sorry Charlie...Whitney is correct.
You are being very naive (in addition to thin skinned). If Charter schools are allowed in Washington they wont say..."We're only going to allow the Good Ones". They'll allow them to be run as they see fit with all the "freedom" to do as Mr Canada did and dismiss a whole class!Sadly, Sahlia is probably correct that Charters will be allowed here in the next year.
While Whitney may have made a minor spelling error, you made a much more egregious error in evaluating Ms Dusseault's record as "excellent" without looking closely at her actual lack of achievement.

Anonymous said...

Bree's husband, Chris Eide, was hired within 4 days of Bree getting hired by the district. Interesting. Nepotism? You would think the district could find someone with more than 6 months of principal experience.

Here is the document:
http://www.seattleschools.org/area/board/10-11agendas/091510agenda/personnelactivity.pdf


Signed, An interested tax payer