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Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Maria Speaks (But in a Released Written Statement)

Apparently MGJ released a statement to the press and I've seen it on the local news. Here's the link to the statement at KIRO-tv. I won't print it all here but basically:
  • thank you to the Board
  • "I regret that my tenure in Seattle ended during the time of the questions and concerns that were legitimately raised about the Regional Small Business Development Program." Elsewhere she says, "In the case of the small business program, I am angry that any school district employee would abuse a program and taxpayer funds in this way. I had absolutely no involvement in this appalling abuse of the public’s trust. Neither the state auditor’s investigation nor the independent counsel investigation authorized by the school board found that I was in any way involved in these actions."
  • She goes on to say that she is "ultimately responsible" for what happened in the district.
  • Regardless, this situation happened on my watch as superintendent. For that, I am deeply sorry, and I certainly accept and understand the school board’s decision to make a change in the leadership of the district.
  • She says she was "privileged" to work with "exemplary teachers, administrators, staff members and other public servants" in the district.
  • She claims "strong academic progress." She says the performance reports for schools gave parents more information.
  • Very funny - "We also consolidated some of the functions of the central office to make us more efficient and effective, and focused much more on serving the needs of the schools whose job it is every day to educate children."
These claims of strong academic progress really bother me because it is such a narrow claim as to virtually not exist. If it had been as "strong" as she says, people would have been a lot more supportive of her.

There's much that could be said including too little, too late. Also, no support to either Fred Stephens or Don Kennedy.

She goes out of her way to say she had nothing to do with the scandal and was completely exonerated of that thought by both the auditor and Board investigator. We know that, Maria, no one has said otherwise.

Someone commented at KIRO that this is "a gracious exit." Maybe so but it's also a coward's exit.

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

As a student of the Seattle school district, I think I can speak for a great deal of my peers when I say "Good riddance to bad rubbish".

StepJ said...

She must not have anything else lined up. Needs to have a searchable, semi-gracious exit.

Unknown said...

Word from South Shore, where her daughter was enrolled, was that she was withdrawn 2 weeks before the scandal broke.

Word from South Carolina is that her mother was not in any hospital there.

I didn't do the research myself, so it's just hearsay, but we can gossip here, can't we?

Jet City mom said...

Word from South Shore, where her daughter was enrolled, was that she was withdrawn 2 weeks before the scandal broke.

I think they were on vacation, although to encompass more than mid winter break that is a pretty nice vacation.
Her mom became ill while on vacation ( perhaps granma needed a break from her 2nd career I know caring for your grandchildren is a blessing, but grandparents should have time off too)

Northender said...

Hmmm..so why now - she could have easily done this a week ago and probably have smoothed some ruffled feathers. Very odd indeed - but I tend to agree with StepJ - perhaps someone encouraged her to more public statement than the one that went out to staff...

Chicora said...

At least she didn't call Seattle a "plantation" which is what she said of Charleston as she made her exit there in 2007. What she didn't say was that she was a very willing straw boss until something better came along.

SP said...

The District must still be following MGJ's lead. We have a consulting agency hired for public relations, and just look on the SPS home page and on the News section- NOT ONE WORD about what happened to MGJ, where she went to, or why Enfield is now our Superintendent?
That is a big "F" grade in communications!

Chris S. said...

Give. The. 246k. Back. That. Is. Gracious. U can even give it 2 the alliance.

Chris S. said...

New face on Broad's superintendent Academy page:
http://broadacademy.org/

I suppose it was just time for a "rotation," eh?

kprugman said...

Payoff... they want this business swept under the carpet, so they can go about business as usual. The entire place should have been locked down and swept clean. This entire incident is a huge embarrassment and cost your taxpayers plenty. We can only hope this story gets pursued and justice gets its day in court.

kprugman said...

SPS is not the only school district. This is something that could have been replicated all over your state and your representatives voted for it. So look who paid them. They might have been dupes, but they did so willingly.

Orca Mom said...

There are a whole lot of her cabal still here, including Tolley, that Broad guy Carter, her "strategic plan" guy, HR, the lawyers who now staff the board office, the cafeteria guy, etc. They all need cover and need the dust to settle until they can get out with straight faces.

Throw in Ikeda, English and that bunch and I'm certain her phone has been burning up to take a media action that can control damage and call off the dogs.

Don't be fooled. Between Cathy Allen and the Strategy 360 folks, every word was vetted and run by focus groups for maximum effect and we all paid for it.

Bet me.

A Teacher said...

Enfield is different! ( :
I just e-mailed Dr. Enfield with my concerns about the MAP testing and she actually e-mailed me back herself. And it was not a form e-mail but very personal and sincere. Enfield might just genuinely be the "change we can believe in". ( :

Paul said...

Hey Chicora

(hate to violate PC rules but) would Charleston be the same "Plantation" where MGJ had a baby out of an affair with a married man?

She must have had Charlie Sheen's morals clause in her contract.

mirmac1 said...

A Teacher said, let's hope so. I think we're all tired and disgusted and need a break.

Unknown said...

There's no "Wednesday open thread," so here's an article you might want to consider linking to in an independent posting about the "Dream Team" partnership between the UW and low income high school students in SPS. http://www.whatkidscando.org/featurestories/2011/03_dream_project/index.html

Patrick said...

Wow, MGJ said something nice about Seattle teachers. I guess there's a first time for everything.

Of course she's not going to give the severance payment back. She may never get a job that pays anywhere near that again, and she has a child to take care of.

Melissa Westbrook said...

While I don't have a lot of respect for Dr. Goodloe-Johnson's performance as our superintendent, I would ask that we do not speculate on her family or past personal history.

That said, given the number of times during her tenure here she has managed to not be available to face a difficult circumstance and yet again, was not here when the scandal broke, you have to wonder how many excuses she can make.

While I am not moving on from this scandal (way too many unanswered questions), I am moving on from MGJ. At this point, she's not really worthy of our time.

Anonymous said...

Given the reality of the internet, the former superintendent may try to move away from the scandal, but in future employer reference checks this episode, and her "it was too far down the foodchain for me to notice" quote will not move away from her.

That also goes for the 17 percent false stats. The close to $50 million spent on reopening some of the same schools she had closed. Her blanket, illegal layoff warning to teachers. The truth that scores did NOT rise while she was here. The 3 bad operations audits. The slap from the state for sitting on the board of the NWEA when she brought MAP in (even though the board couldn't reprimand her themselves.)

She simply never understood the value of effective communications, even when her biggest backers tried to help her. Which means her top-down leadership cracked in predictable and public ways. Now the history of her 3 years of mediocre to downright bad leadership will be sitting out there for any even half-talented hr underling to investigate. Her late in the game apology won't help her a bit.

-skeptical-

dan dempsey said...

"She (MGJ) goes out of her way to say she had nothing to do with the scandal and was completely exonerated of that thought by both the auditor and Board investigator."

Sundquist told the Editors at the Seattle Times this as well: HERE.

The difficulty is that both MGJ and Sunquist are ignoring the numerous acts of malfeasance and misfeasance in other areas. Note: Director Sunquist restricts himself to Pottergate, when he speaks about no evidence of wrong doing on the part of the Superintendent.

Sundquist has failed and is failing to act on the evidence repeatedly presented to him. He even fails to acknowledge the existence of damning evidence.

This interview was on Thursday the day after the School Board heard public testimonies. Steve needs to try listening better. How did Steve Sundquist miss this? He intentionally misses it that is how he misses it.

Apparently Steve was paying NO ATTENTION at my last testimony in February either.

Time for a lot of this crew to resign if they wish to restore "Public Trust." So says Rickie Malone HERE. Be sure to watch Eric Blumhagen at 2:10 following Rickie and Jesse. Eric explains the contract to the Board. The Superintendent is a liar in more ways than Eric explains. As Eric says examples of her lying go on and on and on.

Many members of the Director class of 2007 do a lot of stretching of the truth as well.

Anonymous said...

I did not like this Superintendent and I am very glad that she is gone. However, I think comments about her private life, especially when it involves her child, is uncalled for and makes this blog looks unprofessional; which is unfair for the main contributors who work hard to keep us all inform, and distasteful for the rest of us to read. Would you make such a comment about a male administrator? Just saying.

SPS Parent

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

Broad affiliation will be valuable in helping her find work on a corporate board (an appointed one!), or another ed job. As others have said, this happens all the time.

Top tier leaders can mess up and still move up. It doesn't matter if you anger the public or misplace a few million. Your primary goal is to stay connected to your network and satisfy conflicts of interest before tending to your public sector job.

She came to Seattle to do the job she was asked to do: close schools, bring in TFA and start breaking unions while gaining cooperation from the legislature, and above all, strengthen the link between SSD and donors.

She'll fall into other jobs, even win accolades from her network of donors and Broad peers, and just like Olchefske, she'll rewrite her history in glowing terms. It seems that in the ed field, this is how the game is played. You have a limited supply of sups or people with comparable experience. It will be almost impossible to find an experienced sup who doesn't have Broad training or ties.

Brita Butler-Wall recently posted about the process to select MGJ. BBW didn't mention that Manhas's replacement was chosen by default. It was down to two. Greg Thornton dropped out and stayed in Philly. The board had no choice, although I don't think she wanted to say it that way. The prior board paid for a national search and ended up with nothing. That's when Manhas became intermim. They couldn't embarrass themselves by paying for yet another search. Not that quickly.

I could be wrong, but I don't think Thornton had or has the same Broad ties that MGJ does. I think this made him unique at the time.

Will this board pay for another national search out of the SSD budget, or will they ask for a Gates grant, and if they do, how large will the candidate pool be, given the automatic conflict of interest over $ with strings?

@Orca: Exactly. MGJ is gone, but so many problem children remain behind at HQ.

Anonymous said...

Prediction:
MGJ will be working for either the Department of Education in W.Dc or for the Broad Foundation.
I think someone on the blog mentioned before, but, how is it the Philanthropic have so much more influence then we the taxpayer and why is it allowed to go on? i realized the Board is supposed to be our voice, but, it sure doesnt seem like that happened in the past. Lets hope the interim sup and possibly the board will get some backbone fight for our students and the taxpayer.

jpr.

I agree, keep her personal life out of the spotlight and focus on how she performed as a Sup.

Sarah said...

Let's not forget, our local billionaire and his highly paid clones will be looking for another reformist to fill the shoes of MGJ.

Bird said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bird said...

I agree with WenD. I don't think MGJ would be identified as a failure by reform backers. She was making progress on their political slate. That she was taken down by a financial scandal will likely be seen as unfortunate, but not really her fault, or perpahs more likely, not very important in the larger scheme.

I kind of wish she hadn't been brought down by Potter and all. I'd rather she'd been removed for delivering no results on student achievement. I think that that was where she was headed, although undoubtablely she would have sought a new position before that became too clear.

I know folks point to the supposed average 3 year tenure of big city Supe's as somehow a failure of the fecklessness of the public, but I suspect short tenures find their source in the need to get out of town before anyone notices that, although you've rearranged a bunch of chairs, there has been no meaningful change in achievement.

I think MGJ was playing this game -- come out with "new" reports and metrics that help buy some time by effectively erasing the data that can be used comparatively for the first year or two and then find a new position after three years when it's becoming apparent that, even under your new metrics, nothing really has changed.

Bleh.

Jet City mom said...

Would you make such a comment about a male administrator? Just saying.

Actually - I think it is very relevant what an administrator in SPS chooses in regards to education for their family.

While I think that we can't necessarily afford to give stipends for all teachers/firefighters/police officers & other public servants who are employed by the city of Seattle in order so they can live in the city of Seattle, a superintendent is paid handsomely with public funds and you know what they say, " if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen".

When Manhas was appointed superintendent, he lived in Shoreline school district. My children have attended private schools with children whose parents were teachers or principals in Seattle public schools.
Before Manhas took over from Olchefske, he didn't have a public presence & I didn't really expect him to move once he did.

But when families who live in Seattle with limited resources are criticized if they can't make Seattle schools work for their children, and are forced to move or utilize other options, why should behaviors regarding children of public figures be overlooked?

MGJ used her daughter as an excuse to not attend school board meetings/community meetings- she is the one who brought her family into it- I think it is relevant that she wasn't present for important meetings before the scandal broke & it colors my opinion of her that she used her personal life for an excuse.


I kind of wish she hadn't been brought down by Potter and all. I'd rather she'd been removed for delivering no results on student achievement. I think that that was where she was headed, although undoubtablely she would have sought a new position before that became too clear.

Yes I agree. Memories are short & I'm sure she views this as just a bump in the road.
SPS sure snapped up Ron English didn't they? They didn't view his past history as a problem at all!
Unless we look at where we have been, we won't be able to see where we are going clearly & will end up with another short term superintendent.

dan dempsey said...

STRONG ACADEMIC PROGRESS ... What?

Look HERE at the Q13 coverage of yesterday's Appeals court hearing on HS Math.

Grade 10 White - Black OSPI Math test GAP = 55%

State's ELL went up by 1% and Seattle's declined by 4.5%

BUT THE BOARD plans on changing nothing... and has Sundquist even noticed? How about Enfield?

MATH COMMENTS at the Times Interview.

--- Think about it.... The teachers are supposedly lacking knowledge and yet they are making supplemental decisions ...

Enfield said: "Good teachers" can take almost any materials and run with them ... really where is the system wide evidence that that plan is or was worthwhile? $800,000 in Books and $400,000 in Pro-Development seems to indicate otherwise.

Steve was at a number of meetings and seems to be interested in experimenting ... rather than doing what is known to work.

Did we learn nothing from the UW Math education Project's experiments at Cleveland and Rainier Beach?

This is continuing idiocy.... Rational Thinking would be to stop the continued experiments and to start the teaching of the students with proven effective materials and practices. This total BS that no one really knows what to do. PFT, NMAP, and Visible Learning show us exactly how to proceed.

Note: The School Board President and Interim Superintendent are full of "Jargon Baloney" the former CAO still seems incapable of making sound evidence-based decisions.

....

BUT Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson said "There was great academic progress" so what does the data show .... It shows all these supposed leaders are full of BS.

------------

Note all of these folks were involved in legal violations of various state laws.

kprugman said...

"What you need to know about is I don't lose sleep." -MGJ

Seattle won't miss her anymore than Charleston will and MGJ won't lose sleep over either city. She made alot of her friends and herself very rich.

Restoring trust, a vague order meaning wipe the silverware clean, while the board inhales some financial amnesia, and prepare soaking taxpayers with another public douching.

From a teacher family said...

I agree with SPS parent; it is not ok to bring her personal life into this, particularly in the form of malicious gossip about her daughter. Partly BECAUSE she is a public figure, it is unfair; children of public figures (or, speaking from experience, regular private citizens who teach for a living) have a lot of unhealthy attention focused on them which they neither invite nor deserve. I think many people in education choose to go outside the district where they teach (if they can) in part so that their children won't be submitted to inappropriate, mean-spirited adult scrutiny.

Anonymous said...

Bird at 3/9/11 1:41 PM

She's been a staggering success. Toss on a few extra layers of tinfoil, and this Potter scandal is perfect - she bails out of town & by the time the little peeps have figured out what hit them and what is next, another year or so of deformist baloney is packed into more nooks and crannies.

I was vegging out on yet another history of WW2 book, and something hit me -

Recall the opponents of the USA had massive armies which had experience - lots and lots of combat experience. The USA had some senior officers who'd been in WW1, but the bench of combat experienced leadership was pretty limited, given that they were going to have to have armies of millions.

One reason the US Army started in Africa was that they'd have fewer experienced troops to fight than in Europe. As they gained experience and as various officers proved they could do the job or not do the job, senior officers were yanked out of the confrontation with Rommel to begin setting up the for the next big battles - Italy, D-Day.

As the successes piled up in the west after D-Day. American officers were clamoring for experience & getting their tickets punched before Hitler was done -

MGJ & the Sup merry-go-round comes straight from the Dilberville of the Fortune 1000, and guess where they got their great ideas from?

WW2?

Dr. Powerpoint ToDaMoon