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Monday, May 30, 2011

Noodling Around the SPS Website

Just so we all keep up to date, looking at the district website, it appears we now have four Assistant Superintendents.  
  • Pegi McEvoy - Operations (interim)
  • Robert Boesche - Business and Finance (interim)
  • Cathie Thompson - Teaching and Learning 
  • Noel Treat - Deputy Superintendent (interim)
It states at the Superintendent's page:

The process of restructuring central office at the John Stanford Center has a near zero budget impact. 

What?  Cathie Thompson has a new job title and her old job is being filled by someone else.  Don Kennedy was COO/CFO and now those jobs are split into two.  Noel Treat isn't being paid more for his new workload?   So that statement about zero budget impact is a little hard to believe but like most statements about money in the district, no data is ever given.

Also, I see they are advertising for not only Cathie Thompson old job, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, but also for the additional Executive Director job.  

Also, just to keep up, the heads of Communications, Capital Projects and Human Resources are all new. 

Did I miss anyone?

57 comments:

Ed Doc said...

Good work Melissa, it is truly unfortunate that this information is not being provided by the Times. Also of concern should be the experience and qualifications, actually lack thereof, that these individuals bring to these positions. With the exception of finance, these individuals would never be able to land in such positions in any functioning school district.

Does appear rather clearly that Dr. Enfield is in way over her head and has surrounded herself with assistant superintendents that are equally if not more in over their heads. Business as usual at SPS, make certain people around you are ill prepared and incapable of adequately performing their jobs and you will not be threatened or revealed as unqualified or unprepared to function in your job.

At this rate and on the current path, the district operations are only getting worse...the sad part is that ultimately kids are being most harmed by it all.

gavroche said...

Why does Enfield need so much help?

She was the Deputy Supt. in Vancouver, WA (Evergreen), Director of the Office of Teaching and Learning in Portland, ORE. I believe she applied for the Supt. job in Bellevue before being tapped by Goodloe-Johnson for CAO here.

When do the training wheels come off?

This does not seem the most cost-effective way to run a District.

Ed Doc said...

The Seattle Public Schools have not operated in a cost effective manner for years; as is evident by the regularity of multimillion dollar scandals, poorly considered decision making and decline in basic functions.

Members of the Board of Directors have failed in their primary role of policy making and supervision of the superintendent. The current members of the Board of Directors defer to the superintendent and other opportunistic educators regarding policy making; witness the public meeting 5/18/11 as Holly Ferguson presented homework, promotion and retention policies that came from principals and teachers. She was unable to answer substantial questions and was clear that these new, hands off policies were from employees.

The Board of Directors has not been supervising the one employee they are charged with supervising, and they are accepting policies created by employees. I do not know if there is a district in our country operating in such a backward and dysfunctional manner, but this is just nuts. At least these incompetent do-nothings are providing great campaign material for anybody opposing their being retained on the board; sadly, children continue to be harmed by these inept fools and it is going to take a good deal of work and time to clean up the mess being made of our public schools.

Anonymous said...

Ed Doc you are so right .....Here is what was written in Holly F's Action Report for Promotion Non-Promotion.

It is appropriate to have a promotion/retention policy to permit promotions or retentions to happen; the revised D 43.00 is modeled on the WSSDA policy and also reflects comments offered by individual principals, the High School Steering Committee and the Middle School Counselors Committee.

Note the "reflects" comments. So that is how policy is made. => Listen to some comments and make those comments policy.

Next is from the SB Action Report from Holly F. .. as Statement of Issue =>
By revising the overarching policy (D 43.00) and repealing the grade-span specific policies we continue to permit schools to promote or retain students, but remove the specific obligations and requirements that bounded schools and teachers.
==>
(translation)
The Board provides no leadership whatsoever through this policy.
and does so with a 7-0 approval vote.

-- Dan Dempsey

Charlie Mas said...

I don't mind if some positions have been re-titled:

Chief Financial Officer as Assistant Superintendent for Business and Finance

Chief Operating Officer as Assistant Superintendent for Operations

Chief Academic Officer as Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning

General Counsel as Deputy Superintendent

I don't mind the change in the titles so long as there is no change in duties, pay, or benefits.

BUT...

Let me make sure I've got this right.


In a time of unprecedented austerity in Seattle Public Schools, when the Board and the District Staff keep going on about cutting costs and keeping cuts away from the classrooms, the interim superintendent has added some new positions to the upper management.

Added: Chief Financial Officer as a separate position from the Chief Operating Officer. No question about that and I accept the rationale.

Added: Sixth Executive Director of Schools. No question about that and I do not accept the rationale.

Is there really any additional executive staff in Communications, Human Resources, or Facilities or are those re-titling of continuing positions?

Anonymous said...

This has nothing to do with this post, but I thought others might like to know that the automated assignment and waitlist information is available now by calling enrollment at 252-0760, then press 3.
Mandy

Bird said...

My kid's an incoming Kindergatener. I don't have a student number.

Is there anyway to get a number or the enrollment data without it?

TechyMom said...

Bird,
If you call the enrollment office, and choose to talk to a human from the menu, they can look it up for you. Or, at least they could 2 years ago when I did that for my incoming kindergartener.

RosieReader said...

Or, you could wait three days for the mail to arrive, and let that enrollment employee focus on the work that actually needs doing in the District, instead of responding to your impatience.

Anonymous said...

An alternate point of view, Rosie: A major error was made in our student's assignment, which I discovered by calling in today. If I hadn't done so, I would now be three days closer to the complete sink of inaction that is SPS in summer. I'm sympathetic to their need to get work done, but I'm more concerned about my child, frankly.
--monkeypuzzled

Anonymous said...

The district now has the online tool available to look up enrollment info, but you do need to have a student number for it also. If you have a kindergartner I suppose you'll just have to wait to get the letter. It shouldn't take the enrollment staff long to look up your child's number, though it may take you quite a long time to get through on the phone and they may not answer the phones at all.
Mandy

Anonymous said...

All,
You should have a Student ID - even for incoming kindergartners. When you filled out your paperwork, you would have gotten a letter from the district confirming your enrollment at your Assignment Area school - it is on the back of the letter, upper left side before your child's name.

You can check online with that # and your child's birthdate.

Here's a link to check your assignment/waitlist rank.

http://tinyurl.com/4yoebss

I echo "monkeypuzzled" comment that you should do this now... there are always errors and getting on top of them sooner rather than later is good.

Good luck!

Parent at Lincoln

dan dempsey said...

WOW!!! talk about transparency.... Here is what I found from Noodling Around.

Since the discussion of the Promotion/ Non-Promotion and "Zero" interventions is on the table, I went to Harium's Blog => and here is what I found......
-------------------
This blog is open to invited readers only
http://harium.blogspot.com/


It doesn't look like you have been invited to read this blog. If you think this is a mistake, you might want to contact the blog author and request an invitation.
---------------------------

Harium said he stopped blogging because of new obligations at work and did not have the time to continue blogging. ..... So why has he closed public access to his old blog?
------------

I really do not believe he wants a lot of his previous explanations available to the public....... His written positions on the Promotion / Non-promotion policies certainly need to be concealed .... as they contradict portions of Holly Ferguson's Action Report.

Why is Harium running?
Why has Harium closed his blog?
What about transparency?
--------------------------

The Board is a complete disaster on so many issues...... Harium is now the poster child for disregard for the public.

--- Dan Dempsey

Melissa Westbrook said...

"General Counsel as Deputy Superintendent"

No, Noel is not acting as General Counsel. Ron English is until Noel comes back. Deputy Super is a new role as is Cathie Thompson's.

"Or, you could wait three days for the mail to arrive, and let that enrollment employee focus on the work that actually needs doing in the District, instead of responding to your impatience."

I'm sorry but she just asked a question about getting information. No need to be unkind.

Bird said...

you would have gotten a letter from the district confirming your enrollment at your Assignment Area school

Hm,I don't remember this letter, but I guess I'll look around to see if I've just forgotten it.

We didn't do early enrollment. Would we have received such a letter anyway?

I was kind of hoping my kid would just show up in the Source, since I already have a child enrolled with SPS.

No luck there, though the Source says new kids should get automatically linked to the parent's account.

Patrick said...

Or, you could wait three days for the mail to arrive, and let that enrollment employee focus on the work that actually needs doing in the District, instead of responding to your impatience.

If there's a problem, you should find out about it as soon as possible. If you wait, it may turn out to be very difficult to get ahold of anyone who can fix it. That's what happened to me. Transportation screwed up bus stop assignments massively and changed my daughter's bus stop to a strange neighborhood. I had to take afternoons off work for the entire first week of school to meet her bus that was dropping her off 3/4 of a mile from where she should have been. Since so many student's bus routes were screwed up and they only mailed them out a week before school we called Transportation continuously and were never able to get anything but a busy signal.

Rufus X said...

Waited 90 minutes on hold, spoke to someone who was "pulled in from transportation to help answer calls" (and big shock! She couldn't help). No worries, I'll tack that on to the 6 weeks we've been waiting.. It really would've been much more efficient and less frustrating for SPS to just tell us outright back in March "We're going to screw up your childrens' enrollment" and we could've gone into reactive mode much sooner.

dj said...

RosieReader, some people lose their private school deposits after today, so it is actually a bit time-sensitive to find out school assignments.

dj said...

Also, my child was mis-assigned three years ago, and had I not found that out immediately and taken action immediately, she would have lost her place in her kindergarten class.

Anonymous said...

I can't help but think that this HQ-heavy administration reflects the lack of classroom and principal experience by both MGJ and Enfield. They simply do not seem to truly understand that the classroom and school level is the reason for districts.

I have also observed that principals and Ed. Directors (and Superintendents) who were excellent teachers and principals have less need to micro-manage teachers.and principals. They expect the school staff to be competent (as they were)and when someone is not, they are ready to try to help fix the problem rather than blame and panic.

The lack of experience of Enfield keeps manifesting itself in many different ways. It continues to concern me that she never stayed in any job long enough to master it.

$$ keeps going to plug the hole in the dam

Anonymous said...

Here is the link to check Student Assignment and/or Waiting List Status

http://district.seattleschools.org/modules/cms/pages.phtml?sessionid=98649492d30d6ba435abdb7de03b7ab1&pageid=172239&sessionid=98649492d30d6ba435abdb7de03b7ab1

Anonymous said...

FYI - it was NOT the idea of the transporation staff to assist with enrollment questions - that was the brilliant brainstorm of the head of Transportation, Tom Bishop. If you have problems such as those outlined, I STRONGLY urge you to write to the Supt, AND your area's Board Director - there are numerous ongoing problems in this dept that all stem from a complete lack of leadership by a manager who could care less to learn how to use the systems in place and has been quietly destroying successes for the last 3 years.

signed a reader

someone said...

The lastest personnel report shows something called "Employee Performance Consultant", starting in Sept., listed under Leadership Develop/Employee Performance. We can afford to hire consultants these days?

Also in Sept start is a Director of Regional Support - whatever that means. hmmm...

peonypower said...

Sheesh- and we have to RIF counselors. I don't believe that a clear accounting of who and where the money goes should be this hard. This is something the board should demand. Now.

Dave doc said...

Wow crazy crazy District. Pegi McEvoy, a nurse now assistant super! How long is this "interim" label going to stick until she is stuck back to her only training - nursing?
C'mon School Board get real!!

Ed Doc said...

Because the opportunistic educators that populate headquarters have become experts at delay, distraction, obfuscation and supplying distorted and confusing information to the public and the board it requires a forensic audit to get to the bottom of this mess.

I have recruited a strong candidate to oppose Ms. Carr in the upcoming election and hopefully each of the incumbents will be defeated in the primary in August. It will take a good deal of grass roots work, but I am confident that the concerned members of our community will rise to the challenge. There is too much at stake and the children of our city deserve so much better.

mirmac1 said...

There is a strong candidate running against Sherry Carr. Her name is Kate Martin. I have collaborated with her on a number of district issues, taking MGJ and her minions head-on. She is much smarter and far more level-headed than I am. I look forward to her welcome addition to the Board.

TECHNI said...

Easy solution, put in a public records ask request for information related to all of these folks salaries, including if they are recieving any pay upgrade. I actually think it is quite possible that this is a no net effect situation if Mr. Treat, Ms. McEvoy, and Mr. English are doing temporary duty at thier existing salary. Assuming that to be the case, it looks like SPS is spending less on all of these changes:

MGJ's Sup salary line goes to SE (but at less pay)

SE's CAO salary line goes to Cathy Thompson as Asst. Sup.
Don Kennedy's salary line goes to Robert Boesche (but at less pay) as Asst. Sup.

Ann Chan's "Chief Talent Officer" salary line goes to interim HR Ex Director.

Cathy Thompson's old salary line goes to new Director of Curriculum and Instruction

Bridgett Chandler's old salary line goes to new Communications Director (who better be making less for the quality being put out, sheesh!)

Savings: Patti Spencer-Watkins RIF'd from Communications, Bill Martin shown the door. Martin's work disolved among others, no more Director of Facilities.

Extra Ed Director is the outlyer, but then again, they could be using funds spend on having two principals at RB last year, or the money from other RIFs like PSW and Anna Maria De La Fuente and the other content managers.

Ed Doc said...

To be clear, I was not in any way insinuating that Ms. Martin would not be a strong candidate to oppose Ms. Carr. My belief is that we need to have as many viable and strong candidates oppose the incumbents in order to vote the do nothings out of office as quickly as possible (August). I hope that in the November election none of the incumbents will be on the ballot.

CrankyParent said...

I would like to see a hiring freeze for all administrators and a thorough reorganization of the upper tiers of the district office. I don't know why there are so many administrators needed at the same time we are threatened with classroom teacher cuts.

Ed Doc said...

No question that the district must cease and desist from adding more bureaucratic layers to headquarters, but we also need to receive justification for people being placed in positions for which they have no background, experience or training.

These individuals may all be nice people, but expecting them to be able to adequately perform their duties is truly crazy. A school nurse becoming Director of Health and Security and now Chief Operating Officer, a member of General Counsel office becoming whatever Holly Ferguson has become, the lead General Counsel becoming Deputy Superintendent and the insanity continues....

suep. said...

TECHNI said....

(...)Savings: Patti Spencer-Watkins RIF'd from Communications...


Perhaps, but then the district conducted a "nationwide" search, using a search committee of 30-plus SPS staffers in order to hire Lesley Rogers of Strategies 360 from right here in Seattle to be the "Director of Communications."

(Seattle School District hires staffer from Strategies 360 – the political marketing firm that misused private student contact info to push ed reform agenda)

So at the very least, it's a wash, but I suspect Rogers is getting a tidy salary for her comm. director job at SPS during a major levy and election year.

And according to an earlier post on this blog, that makes her one of 5-6 employees on the SPS "communications/PR" payroll.

Why is SPS spending so much on PR?

Hands up if you'd rather the district spend that money on school counselors and teachers.

-- Sue p.

suep. said...

Whoops -- got the title wrong. Strategies 360's Rogers is now the district's "Chief Communications Officer."
-- Sue p.

mirmac1 said...

Current bill for Strat 360:

District Report Cards - $18,600
RSBDP Damage Control - $40,000
New leadership charm school - $3,000
TIF - $49,600

Total - $111,200

Except for TIF, the contracts were personal services contract awarded without competition. Under the new "improved" procedures (stemming from the SAO audit), staff must attest that the firm/contractor possesses unique abilities that no one on staff can provided. All the while five employees twiddle their thumbs in district communications.

someone said...

I'm sorry - they contracted out report cards because????!!!! That is just plain goofy!

Anonymous said...

"One of 5-6 employees on the SPS 'communications/PR' payroll," I see:

Lesley Rogers - Head Person (formerly Bridgett Chandler)
Theresa Whippel - Media Relations (formerly David Tucker)
Robert Tedesco (appears to technology staffer, long time employee)
Admistrative Assistant

Patti Spencer Watkins gone, no replacement.

HMM

someone said...

The salaries as of Fall 2010 are viewable on the database the News Tribune put up - sorted by salary its rather shocking!

http://wwwb.thenewstribune.com/databases/school_pay/index.php?names=&schools=&districts=Seattle&sort=salary_annual&job_title=

mirmac1 said...

During the period S360 was "helping" with spinning the "State of the District" Address and new school report cards, Patti S-W was there. She was also there during the RSBDP "dust-up". So that would be five staff diddling their thumbs.

Anonymous said...

Bob Westgard is the new director of logistics.
----Grapevine

Jan said...

Ed Doc:

I don't know whether Pegi McEvoy, Noel Treat, etc. are doing good jobs or not -- but, on principle, I am not sure I agree with the proposition that people with professional training and or degrees in management can't/shouldn't be moved into management positions. In the corporate world, lots of folks who start out with fairly technical jobs turn out to have (or to develop) good managerial skills on the job -- and move on to successfully perform in management positions. In fact, some think that this (rather than MBAs or degrees in public administration) are the BEST way to develop/discover good managers. If you want someone to draw plans to build a bridge, you had better call on a civil engineer. But if you want someone to manage 20 civil engineers in an office -- they don't necessarily need a management degree. Maybe they are civil engineers with great people/problem solving skills. Maybe they are from the services/staff side -- but have that same skill set. One thing that IS true though, is that if you hire MBA/MPAs, you will probably pay a higher salary for the initials that they paid to get at some graduate school.

What, ALL, I really care about is:
1. Can they do a decent job -- or are we just promoting whatever warm body is available and a known quantity; and

2. Since we have NO MONEY, are we hiring the best person, for the most reasonable salary, we can find?

For all I know, McEvoy started as a nurse, got into "management," turned out to be (or learned to be) really good at: setting priorities, staying on (and keeping her reports on task, developing and living within a budget, setting and achieving short and long term departmental goals, etc., etc., etc. ALL of these are things that can be learned on the job.

The same is true of Noel. He has enough years at the county that he may well be a great person to perform the jobs he is now being asked to perform in a complicated and entrenched bureaucracy.

Again -- I can't defend their actual performance. I just think it is wrong to "scoff" at their placement just because they haven't spent years and dollars collecting degrees and titles elsewhere.

(Cont'd)

Jan said...

Where I think criticism COULD be aimed though, is at the placement of someone like Silas Potter. It is one thing to bring someone "up through the ranks" or to move someone like Noel Treat, who has worked for the District as an attorney but also has years of experience in County government, etc., into management.

Hiring a furniture mover to be in charge of a multimillion dollar small works program, with absolutely no clue as to whether the person has assembled and managed ANYTHING was simply horrible management on Fred Stephens' part.

Dave said...

Knowing both Ms. McEvoy and Noel, I agree with Jan.

Since when did nursing somehow become dis-honorable? Need we have the corporate "national search" for people to come here and "steal us blind" (as another post so aptly put it)? Or may we recognize leadership within and promote it.

Lets get beck to judging people by their records and actions rather than by padded resumes and dazzling imperial pronouncements.

Both of these people are doing their best and don't deserve to be maligned by faceless snarks.

I mean really, Brent Jones insisted on being called "Doctor Jones" but told few his Phd was in zoology. Besides putting him in line for the Districts HR Department, what difference does it make.

Judge him by his performance and enjoy his working elsewhere.

Ed Doc said...

To be clear, my issue is not that said individuals lack the degrees or formal training one would expect for the positions that they currently hold. The issue and point that I am making is that the individuals that I have mentioned do not have the experience or background to adequately perform their duties; perhaps it is the result of a societal misperception that school management and operations are not that complex or difficult and anybody can do it if they just work hard enough at it.

Ms. McEvoy has not demonstrated a high degree of skill and ability for effectively managing a staff or being able to adequately serve as the Chief Operations Officer for the largest district in our state. She has demonstrated a loyalty to the opportunistic educators in headquarters and a willingness to support business as usual (i.e. dysfunctional culture and mismanagement).

Likewise, Mr. Treat may have spent years in county government but did not have experience or demonstrate any management or supervisory ability. Dr. Enfield also does not possess a background or experience that would demonstrate an ability to effectively serve as a superintendent; the poor decision making and inept actions on her part, not to mention the need to create executive positions to support her, reflect this rather clearly.

Pardon me for not wanting these 'good' people to be allowed on the job training for these high level positions during which time children in our schools are harmed and more damage is done to our district.

Pick any well run district in our state or on the west coast to form a hiring committee for the positions to which I refer, require these individuals to apply for these positions and I assure you that they would not be selected...in fact they would most likely be screened out of the pool of candidates. A problem that persists, and one I was trying to reveal, is that the process for filling these positions was sorely lacking and it was merely cronyism and favor trading that led to them being elevated to where they now sit consuming taxpayer dollars for nothing.

Ed Doc said...

Dave,

In case you were referring to me as a 'faceless snark' that is attempting to malign these fine individuals that you know, this is not at all the case and ample evidence exists to support the reality.

The COO and Deputy Superintendent have not established a record for effectively performing duties and having responsibilities that would warrant their current positions. For too long headquarters has engaged in promotion and appointment of individuals that end up over their heads and fail miserably. If it weren't for the fact that the lives and future of children in our schools are on the line, I may not be so passionately opposed to allowing 'good people doing their best' to stumble along and collect taxpayer money.

Others may be comfortable allowing business as usual in the district and support the mismanagement of our schools by 'good people' doing their best to do their jobs, but for the sake of the children I will not lower my standards or expectations. As I know firsthand and very well, the vast majority of directors and managers in headquarters should not be in the position they are in wasting millions of taxpayer dollars every year.
This is extended to the rubber stamp Board of Directors that continues to defer to headquarters bureaucrats and the interim superintendent.

SeattleSped said...

Actually Mr. Treat has managed staff at both the KC PA office and as Chief of Staff for KC Executive Triplett.

"Noel worked for King County for 13 years. Most recently, he was the Deputy Director for the King County Facilities Management Division. He previously served as a Senior Civil Deputy Prosecuting Attorney and Section Head for the Prosecutor’s Real Estate and Transportation Section. He has also worked as the Policy and Government Relations Officer for the King County Department of Natural Resources & Parks. Prior to his work with King County, Noel was an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Washington."

So far, I think he is up to the task.

Ed Doc said...

Would be interesting to know exactly how many people Mr. Treat supervised and for how long. I also see nothing in what appears to be his 'press release' of past experience that indicates any experience or knowledge that would enhance or provide for his ability to adequately serve as a Deputy Superintendent of the largest school district in our state.

I stand by my statement that he and others that are in positions beyond their ability, background and experience would not be considered for such positions in ANY OTHER district. Or perhaps it is just that Seattle Schools are so much more advanced or forward thinking and successful than other school districts.

Ed Doc said...

More importantly, Dr. Enfield is clearly over her head and is creating a lot of support for herself when she has proven to be inept and unable to serve as superintendent.

SeattleSped said...

One thing further regarding Mr. Treat, he knows what actions won't pass the smell test. He is certainly quite a few ethical rungs higher than MGJ, Mr. Kennedy, Mr. Ikeda, and Mr. Stephens (not saying much, I know). He can't feign ignorance of federal or state laws and regulations. He has considerable credibility with area agencies. I believe he has scruples. Now let's hope he has cajones to rid JSCEE of deadwood.

Don't worry though, we got our eyes on him.

Ed Doc said...

The path to finally clearing headquarters of the deadwood and self-serving, opportunistic educators must begin with a forensic audit. Due to the unity Sundquist has established on the rubber stamp board of directors, to realize the necessary audit the good people in our city will need to replace all members of the board that support business as usual. At this point it appears that would be each of them with the exception of Ms. Patu.

Dave said...

Ed Doc

I think you have misinterpreted what I said. I don't think you need the kinda degrees and fanfare that MGJ and Don Kennedy came with (thanks "national search firm")to take necessary steps to restore common sense to a severly dysfunctional organization that has gone to seed under the former regime.

There is a crisis, lets not quibble over the size of the container, just hand me a bucket.

Leadership is leadership even if your hands are dirty or you are just a nurse.

I'm no fan of the system, far from it. I justr think these two don't deserve cheapshots when they are doing their best in an emergency.

Jan said...

Ed Doc:

I generally agree with you (at least far more often than not), so maybe I am just wrong here. But here is what I think -- You may be right that, with their resumes, these folks would not be hired elsewhere -- and it would not make me unhappy if I felt that before their promotions, there was a wide search process and an attempt to get a deep, rich candidate pool -- but, where leadership is concerned, sometimes very solid leaders do, in fact, come from within -- or from unusual sources. So the fact that these two might not rise to the top in a nationwide search for their posts does not throw me for a total loop (though it is a valid concern). MGJ looked pretty darn spiffy on paper, and was a Disaster Extraordinaire! A "leader" can go through an awful lot of organizations, collecting titles and a list of "accomplishments" they can "spin," and be really and truly dreadful. We all should know.

More troubling to me are your claims that -- in their positions -- they have not shown themselves to be competent leaders at their posts. If true, this is far more damning, but I can't figure out if it is true. Here is why I am struggling:
1. Huge problems. In answering the survey today, I had to confess that outside of specific teachers and principals, I cannot think of much that the district is doing well. Some of that is ignorance. I may just not know where the stars twinkle brightly. But much of it is because nothing DOES seem to run well. HR? Nope. Facilities? HAH! No. Major constructions projects? Not really (GHS overruns, etc.) Enrollment? No, though there are pockets of competence. Advanced Ed? No, and getting worse. Statistics and Testing? No, and getting worse. Coaches and consulting teachers? Please! No. Special Ed? A lawsuit waiting to happen. Curriculum? Absolutely terrible decisions. We have paid fortunes for dreck.

2. No money. Audits cost money. Nationwide searches cost money. Bringing someone in who has no clue where bodies are buried costs money. We have less with each passing day, it seems.

Really -- where to start? I honestly don't know where Pegi, Noel, and Dr. Enfield should start (though avoiding large new holes like the Ingraham debacle would be one good spot). Clearly, I am not the person for these jobs, because I get bewildered just trying to think of where to begin (with no funds -- including the money to do a forensic or any other audit -- unless the Gates's wanted to help out on that project). You seem so certain -- but I confess, I am not.

Moreover, I don't even know how much time is needed to make a dent in cleaning up the fiasco that this District has become, particularly as new dragons continue to hatch from eggs left behind by MGJ (like the capacity problems that are now becoming more evident and critical).

I guess what I wish is that we had a better board -- one that would tell the interim Superintendent what they want cleaned up first, at what cost, and in what time framework. I think DeBell, KSB, Carr and Meier could do this (with Betty acting as a truth vs. BS barometer), if they were inclined -- but at least the latter two are not.

Ed Doc said...

Jan,

I appreciate your comments and believe we may have some points on which we agree, but we agree on many things and certainly the most important issues. Addressing the problems that have plagued the Seattle Public Schools for too long. These problems are systemic and will take time and work on many fronts to resolve. As these problems have persisted for so long there is urgency to truly moving towards resolution; millions of taxpayer dollars continue to be wasted and more importantly thousands of children are harmed.

It appears the most realistic and expedient way to begin will be replacing the members of the board that do not support a forensic audit. I believe the only member of the board that would support this is Betty Patu, providing her more members on the board to support this crucial first step is important. Pressure the current members of the board to support the audit as well, some may come to realize the necessity for truly moving forward.

The costs and time involved in conducting a forensic audit will be significant, but even during the limited and reduced funding we currently face does not mean the audit is unaffordable. No consideration is being given to this truly bold action, and therefore the manner in which it would be done and paid for has not been given a chance. State support, philanthropic support and creativity by district officials (obviously not those in power currently) are just the beginning of how we should determine how to put this into action

The principals and teachers are setting district policy and the Board of Directors allows this, headquarters administrators and directors dismiss the idea of a forensic audit. How much longer will the good people of Seattle permit this insanity to reign at district headquarters? How many more millions of dollars will be wasted and thousands of children harmed before we end business as usual in headquarters? It has been at least eight years and counting; it may be challenging and costly but a mere pittance in comparison to what is at stake.

Ed Doc said...

The first sentence should read, "....some points on which we disagree, but we agree on many things..."

Paul said...

The same forces who brought MGJ here via phony "national search" conducted (in large part) by former board member (and corporate champion) Don Neilsen, are massing to support the incumbents.

Check out the Public Disclosure Reports and see that Don and his wife (along with law firms who have made millions from District coffers), Shan Mullin (father of Charter spokesman Steve Mullin, 'wingman' for the Spady group), developers like Matt Griffin, etc., are already lining up with checks in hand (Peter M. so far, but its early).

Apparently, these folks are quite satisfied with the last 4 years at SSD and want to keep the momentum going (toward the bottom) and wait for the "new" superman.

We must turn out this board and we should stop bickering between ourselves and hit the trail or the checkbook to do all we can, TOGETHER.

Anonymous said...

Right On Paul. I think just publishing the incumbents' donors on a regular basis should shame all concerned. It's negative publicity in and of itself.

Mr. Ed

Jan said...

I agree, Paul. But I think we will need to do far more than just "out" the donor list. If more taxpayers and parents understood the negative, corrosive effect of ed reform on actual learning, their kids' experiences in school, the high "dollars out the door" of useless or harmful contracts with for profit ed companies for software platforms, bad texts, consultants, etc., they would care. But the entire agenda will be hidden, unless we out it, behind "all for kids" slogans.

Anonymous said...

Ed Doc said:

"The principals and teachers are setting district policy and the Board of Directors allows this, ..."

And the answer is? Of course, more power in the hands of Ed.D. Central.

Never mind the repetitive exhortations repeatedly delivered in carefully repeated ways that adhere repeatedly to the best pedagogical methods of repetition that are essential to a properly planned and scaled repetition of successfully repeated learning content.

No, never mind that. It's the hubris-filled belief that those mere pesky teachers down there -- way down there among the ants, can you see them? -- need to be more tightly reined in, and over all of them bestride the giant powerful minds of the Ed.D's to keep them from getting too frisky and showing initiative and departing from the hallowed dicta of Ed.D. Central.

No imagination, but who needs that? Color me skeptical of Ed.D's.

-Steveroo