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Friday, February 25, 2011

Open Thread Friday

Not a great week for the district but I hope your children enjoyed their break.

The only community meeting this week is with Director Betty Patu at Tully's (4400 Rainier Avenue South/Genesee) from 10 am to noon. It might be interesting to hear her take on the week's events. I have to wonder if the other directors feel a sense of relief not having a meeting this week with community. I note that there are none next weekend either.

Think about sending the Board an e-mail. It's easy to say "off with their heads" and then the Board can sadly smile and shake their heads. Maybe we should work out the best ideas of what we think should happen. I honestly cannot take one more press release "we will create internal controls and have training, blah, blah, blah." Not good enough.

I was talking with Dorothy yesterday and frankly, I think the real search is not for a great overall superintendent. I think we need a national search for a great COO, someone who really knows the ins and outs of operations. That's what's been missing for a long time. That person needs to come in and clean house at headquarters.

That would leave the superintendent to really be the academic leader the district needs. Then we need to have someone who is not busy following national ed reform but is looking at all options and then deciding what will work best for OUR district.

11 comments:

Josh Hayes said...

Oh, Melissa. [Shakes head sadly] That's far too sensible to be realistic.

Josh Hayes said...

And I have to assume the gang will devote at least a little time to the whole district finance mess thing during the "weekly roundup" feature at KUOW at 10 AM today. Folks may want to be prepared to call in and prompt some discussion on the matter.

(KUOW is at 94.9 FM; I am a member of the station, but otherwise not connected to it.)

Trapped inside said...

We had an idea that when MGJ goes (fingers crossed), there may be a chance that some of the truly good staff folks who have left for better environments and less of an atmosphere of fear, might return and try to restore the reputation that has become a stain on our district.

There WERE good people here and we all know (inside) that they left because of her. Several said it out loud after they had given notice.

Anonymous said...

Frankly, I'm more of a scorched earth kinda guy

grump

mirmac1 said...

(yawn)..kind of a slow week. Gosh, can't think of anything to talk about. Hmmm...

WV: gulable

Melissa Westbrook said...

Trapped Inside, I know this is true and it's heartbreaking.

Keep the faith - we are going to be a better district for all - both inside the headquarters and at our schools.

SolvayGirl said...

SInce Watergate eventually brought down Nixon, Pottergate may bring down MGJ. One can hope...

Patrick said...

Now more than ever we need good people interested in running for school board. Either the four incumbents won't run, or they will be very vulnerable. Are there people who can afford to work 50%+ time for a token payment?

Expect the reformistas to fund their candidates, whether the incumbents or different individuals.

The board elected in the fall may get the final choice of a new superintendent.

SP said...

Wow- it's still Friday night and the Open Friday thread is buried under an avalanche of 10 news threads! (Karma? didn't MJG leave Charleston under a cloud of controversy?)

The new website drives me crazy. Looking for the capacity management area for updates is like throwing darts at a moving target...

On the new site's home page, under the News section (in the middle- scroll down) titled "Capacity Planning for the Future" I did come across this, dated 2/24/11:

"At the February 17 committee meeting, staff shared and discussed three documents: Enrollment Projections; Facilities Planning Annual Report; and the Capacity Planning Management Annual Report. The next step is a work session of the full board scheduled for March 16, 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. at the Stanford Center."

Check out all 3 links in the news item- They include the 2011-2015projections (partially released earlier but never posted on the website), the long-awaited for Annual Capacity Management Report (only 8 pages) with the list of what the district considers under & over-enrolled schools (note that portables are now counted in a school's functional capacity so many schools are not even listed), and an interesting email from Facilities about Capacity timelines.

Seattle Parent

Maureen said...

Wow this is buried! So much news this week.

I just saw on the CPPS newsletter (no mention of the 'scandal' there-sort of surreal!), that the Middle School Language Arts materials will be on display at the JSCEE only until THIS FRIDAY March 4th (no idea when they were put on display-I can't find ANY mention of it on either old or new web site, but I guess they are busy cowering down there.). Hope this post makes it to someone!

Maureen said...

So I listened to Bill Gates talk before the Governors Association. It raises so many questions for me. His major point is that evaluating teachers and finding the best ones will mean that we can get better results with less money because those teachers will be able to effectively teach larger classes.

He references a bunch of graphs, one of which shows that in 1960 there were 40 'teachers' for every 1000 kids, now the corresponding number he says is 125. That sounds awful until you think about what the changes in state and federal requirements have been in that period. When I was in elementary chool, kids with Downs syndrome did not go to school. Now they do. I would like to see his cost graph displayed next to trend lines for the number of special need/ELL/poor kids who are being identified and educated, with footnotes about what the staffing requirements are for those kids. Alternatively, they could just pull out general ed kids and look at them over time. ALSO I would like to see them track the cost of private school over time (teaching is labor intensive, increased productivity throughout the economy means the return to any type of labor has increased over time and disproportionately increased the costs for labor intensive industries.)

The people at Gates are supposedly experts on education. Do they really believe these exhibits properly explain what has occured in American Education over the last sixty years?

At about 26 Minutes, he indicates that his projected cost savings are based on going from a class size of 20 to 26 or so (*), well, how many general ed kids in public school are in classes of 20 now? In effect, we have already realized whatever savings he is projecting because we are already running classes at (or above) the upper limit he thinks can be effective. The Gates Foundation is physically located about a mile south of my kid's school. I wish someday some of them would stroll up the street and see what's going on in the real world.

((*) at 27 minutes he says ...class size above thirty is clearly detrimental. He clearly does not live in our world and apparently the people who do his research don't either.)