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Saturday, February 26, 2011

What the Alliance Has to Say

Do not read this if you are drinking something as you might do a spit take. Not one word about the Superintendent (not sure if that is good or bad).

From the Alliance's website:

Seattle – February 23, 2011 – The Board of Directors of the Alliance for Education has released the following statement concerning today’s Washington State Auditor’s report:

“The findings released today by the State Auditor’s Office are deeply disturbing. The alleged actions of a small group of mid-level school district employees and their associates represent an egregious breach of public trust.

As an independent non-profit supporting all students in Seattle Public Schools, we take seriously our role as a steward of private dollars augmenting the District’s resources. We are reviewing the District’s response to the investigative report and are evaluating the set of corrective actions management has indicated it has taken or will take to address the underlying issues. Finally, we are considering what actions we may take to support greater third-party financial oversight and accountability at the district.

Let it be noted that this episode should in no way negate or tarnish the truly heroic efforts of the teachers, principals and other dedicated staff throughout the system who work each and every day on behalf of students.

Through what is sure to be an intense public conversation in the wake of these developments, we call upon all Seattleites to stay focused on our children. Our collective obligation to the 47,000 students in Seattle Public Schools is profound. Each and every one of them deserves no less than our full attention and support.”


Mid-Level school employees? I'm thinking they didn't bother to read the Board's report. The line goes:

Silas Potter>Fred Stephens>Don Kennedy>MGJ

Fred Stephens was not mid-level.

"Finally, we are considering what actions we may take to support greater third-party financial oversight and accountability at the district."

What does that mean? I have no idea. Are they talking about the funding they give the district? Are they saying they should be looking at the books?

13 comments:

ConcernedTeacher said...

So they'll continue playing music even as the ship goes down?
I think this: "The alleged actions of a small group of mid-level school district employees and their associates represent an egregious breach of public trust." says it all. They don't (or won't) believe MGJ has any culpability here.

Off topic - this is a worthwhile but depressing read:
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/02/26/950079/-I-Dont-Want-to-be-a-Teacher-Any-More
These financial issues serve to exacerbate the anti-public school rhetoric and add to the stress of being a public school teacher in this day and age.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I do agree there is an assault on teachers.The middle class income of a teacher, support workers, administration staff, maintenance workers is the target of America's new political movements.

Speaking Plainly

cascade said...

Clear Alliance attempt to position the crisis away from the super and CFO.

Also clumsy attempt to be on the 'winning' side, whatever that might turn out to be. Note the "intense public conversation" line with zero mention on where they fall.

But no dodging the fact that the current head of the alliance has been one of the most vocal supporters of this superintendent. As goes the superintendent, so goes her leadership power and hopefully her headstrong support of national ed reform.

This could be like the mideast on a local scale. First the leadership at SPS goes. Then there is revolt from within at the Alliance. Then maybe LEV replaces Korsmo. One can hope. (You all noticed, right, that Korsmo blogged about everything under the sun EXCEPT the SPS crisis yesterday. Duck and cover. Duck and cover.)

Kathy said...

"We are reviewing the District’s response to the investigative report and are evaluating the set of corrective actions management has indicated it has taken or will take to address the underlying issues. Finally, we are considering what actions we may take to support greater third-party financial oversight and accountability at the district."

Something about evaluation of "corrective actions" bothers me.

Why would the Alliance feel they should provide financial oversight?

Trapped inside said...

The "mid-level school district employees" are the ones who will get laid off and lose pay to pay off MGJ and her cronies to go away.

We resent the Alliances trying to smear us with the actions of these higher-ups.

Chris S. said...

Trapped inside,
(trying to make this a yes/no question about who we should ask the board to dump) ...Is there anyone at Stephens-level or above we worth keeping? From the outside, clearly legal and HR have some severe ethical/competence issues, but to clear the climate of fear, it sounds like major housecleaning is needed. Or was is really just a few people? Is it OK to be complicit in something like this?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, Cascade, I did notice that at LEV and I just had to say something. She talked about the bills in the Legislature, an article in the Washington Post, how it was going in Wisconsin, everything but Oh, by the way, we have a financial crisis right here in SPS.

Chris, I think a few of the best people have left but yes, there are good people at the headquarters. But there are some people who have old thinking who need to go.

About it being ok being complicit in this kind of circumstance, that is a good question to ask Ron English.

Anonymous said...

Not sure if this is the right place, but it does have to do with fiscal oversight:

Did Fred Stephens have anything to do with First AME getting the former MLK school over Bush and the Madison Valley Community group?
If so, does this invalid the sale?
(Has FAME done anything with the school? I live nearby and haven't seen anything. No signs for permits.)

Worried Mad Valley parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

That's a good question, Mad. It is known that Fred either attended the church or had an association with it. How much influence he had during the process is unknown. Given how he seems to have protected/supported Silas Potter,it would seem he goes to bat for what he believes in.

He was already gone by the final sale so I don't know what involvement he might have had after his departure.

I think you are right in questioning this issue as it is another place where things don't seem right. The district didn't take the highest bid (Bush)or the most well-organized and thought-out community bid(Madison Valley community). They took the bid from a church community group that was very low and, from what I could see from the documents, not well-thought out.

It does make you go, "Hmm."

Trapped inside said...

Chris

Stephens (now Martin) and above?

With the exception of a couple Education Directors (several are too new and Phil B. is worth saving), the answer is- "NO". Especially that Tolley guy she brought with her.

The whole General Counsels office is tainted by English and Treat has the taint of MGJ fresh on him.

The coffee group that occupies the HR department are "Hear ne evil, see no evil, speak no evil" Kool-Aid drinkers top to bottom.

Both of the ladies who answer the phone and keep calenders for Kennedy and MGJ are nice and have been here a long time but they live in the cloistered "wing" that is off limits to mere mortals.

Our community would be no worse off and we'd be better able to rebuild if they were ALL gone.

You would also be shocked at the Manager corp. who have (just following orders) served her as enforcers making sure the atmosphere of fear was rock solid. Theres a bunch of them.

CLEAN HOUSE and get some real accountability.

skeptic said...

Not sure what you do to get your comments through moderation on the LEV blog, Melissa.

LEV never seems to let mine through any more, so I'm going to post here what I posted there:

Mellisa’s right. It boggles the mind that you could post a “news roundup” that doesn’t include the scandal at Seattle public schools.

Are you waiting to see where the chips fall? Hint: it’s over for the Superintendent. She’s going to be bounced out because of this.

What does that mean for SPS students? Let’s hope we clean the slate, bring in a new school board and bring in a new set of faces for upper management of the district.

My greatest hope — we hire a new superintendent focused on the nuts and bolts of our district, not another self-serving incompetent who brings a cookbook of “reform” recipes instead of working on and with the real particulars of the district.

You want effective schools? This is the story of the day.

By and large, the failure of focus, the failure of resources, and the failure of addressing the needs failing students, is an outgrowth of the poor management of individual school districts. LEV constantly wants to lay the failure of schools at the feet of individual teachers. It’s time you took a more thoughtful look at the management of districts like SPS.

Do you care about students? Step up and call for the Maria Goodloe-Johnson’s resignation, like the Seattle Times, and SPS families.

Sarah said...

Looks like a Nancy Stephans Saunders & Frances Oxner Stephans were on the First Ame MLK Committee. Any relation to Fred Stephans?

http://www.microsoft.com/isapi/redir.dll?prd=ie&ar=windows

Anonymous said...

Rev. Fred Stephens from 1978-1982 at First AME. Anymore possible relatives? Friends and family seem to get special treatment at SPS.

Public School Parent