Showing posts from July, 2011

Endorsements - Do They Matter?

I'm like everyone else; I like to see who endorses whom.  That said, I take it with a grain of salt.  I've been to enough Dems endorsement to see that it really only takes a few people to push a room in a direction (without giving a real reason or without a lot of discussion).  Someone referenced the Progressive Voters Guide endorsements so I went to their website and checked them out.  They are not the most helpful endorsements (almost a "take what you will" kind of endorsement).   I'll have to call them because what is on the page is a little confusing.  For example, they have good things to say Peter Maier and Sharon Peaslee but give the endorsement to Peter.   They list endorsements from other groups for each candidate.  This is all they have to say about endorsing Peter: We believe that Peter Maier is the best choice in this race. Same for Sherry Carr and Kate Martin.  Then for Harium Martin-Morris, there's a lot more reasoning provided.  Again

I'm Endorsing Sharon Peaslee in Position 1

I had hoped to do my endorsements all in one fell swoop but I still have three incumbents to interview.  But by week's end, I hope to be done. I'm sure some of you might think, "Why is she bothering to interview them when it seems clear she doesn't support them?"  My answer is that it is the fair thing to do.  Is there something I can glean from talking to them one-on-one that I have missed?  I have very few questions for them so I'm not grilling them.  My most basic question is this one: Going forward, what will YOU, as an individual Board director, do differently in your second term based on what you have learned from your first term?   I am endorsing Sharon Peaslee because I believe that: she has the skill set to get up to speed quickly (something that is key for new Board member) she has had the experience as a parent in three districts in our region she has the understanding of Special Ed because of her own children she has shown herself someone w

Discussion for District VI Election

The candidates for school board in District VI, representing West Seattle are: Steve Sundquist Nick Esparza Marty McLaren Joy Anderson Please use this space to discuss these candidates' relative qualities, their positions on the issues, and your confidence in their ability and willingness to perform the duties of the office and perform them well.

Discussion for District III Election

The candidates for school board in District III, representing Northeast Seattle plus Montlake, Madison Park and Downtown are: Harium Martin-Morris Michelle Buetow John Dunn David Blomstrom Please use this space to discuss these candidates' relative qualities, their positions on the issues, and your confidence in their ability and willingness to perform the duties of the office and perform them well.

Discussion for District II Election

The candidates for school board in District II, representing North Seattle around Green Lake, are: Sherry Carr Kate Martin Jack Whelan Mark Weber Please use this space to discuss these candidates' relative qualities, their positions on the issues, and your confidence in their ability and willingness to perform the duties of the office and perform them well.

Discussion for District I election

The candidates for school board in District I, representing North Seattle, are: Peter Maier Sharon Peaslee John Cummings Please use this space to discuss these candidates' relative qualities, their positions on the issues, and your confidence in their ability and willingness to perform the duties of the office and perform them well.

Blog Endorsements

Historically Melissa and I have not made endorsements and we certainly haven't made them speaking as the blog. I think this year we will. But we are just two of the dozens of voices on the blog, so I have made this thread as a place for anyone to make themselves heard. Please take one comment to list your endorsements. I'll make additional threads for people to discuss each election individually. People have their ballots. Now is the time for endorsements.

Position 3 School Board Candidate Interviews on KUOW

Yesterday on The Conversation , the candidates for Position 3 were interviewed.   Joining host Ross Reynolds were the incumbent Harium Martin-Morris and challengers Michelle Buetow and John Dunn .  The interview was, again, too short for my tastes but did have some new and interesting content. Harium, like the other incumbents, was asked about Pottergate.  He said it was complex, it when down several layers, there were structural problems with identifying this, etc.  But then he said now that they know this, they are putting structures in place.  (This becomes quite key in the discussion later on.) He was also asked about the sale of the MLK, Jr. building.  He said that two of the bids were identical (something I was not aware of) and that yes, $1.5M extra (the Bush bid) was a lot of money.   When pressed on the issue of not much activity happening at the building since the sale, he said that it had only been 6 months and "immediate gratification" wasn't possible.

Marni Campbell Appointed NW Executive Director

From the district:  Dear Seattle Public Schools families, community and staff: I am pleased to announce the appointment of Marni Campbell, current Executive Director of Special Education, as the new Executive Director of Schools to support the Northwest Region.  A proven instructional leader who has spent the past 10 years working with principals, district leaders and families in Seattle Public Schools, Ms. Campbell will be a tireless advocate for ensuring excellence for every student by raising expectations and making sure that all of our students have access to high-level instruction. Ms. Campbell is committed to building on the foundation that has been established by former Northwest Region Director Brianna Dusseault, who was recently appointed to serve as a second Executive Director of Schools for the District’s Southeast Region.  Ms. Campbell is a long-time Seattle resident with three children who attended Seattle Public Schools.   She received her educational

Open Thread Friday

And here we are on the last Friday of July.  Times flies.  Director Patu is having a Community Meeting tomorrow from 10 am to noon at the Tully's at Rainier Ave South/Genesee. Our household received its ballots for the primary.  I know sometimes it can be hard to speak up on political issues so here's one suggestion.  Send out an e-mail to friends and family who will be voting and just let them know that you are keeping up on the School Board races and if they need any help, to ask.  Or, if you are brave just send them an e-mail with your picks and why you think it is important.  You'd be surprised how in the dark many people are on the subject of School Board elections.  Help them out.

Word on the Street

I have a couple of word on the street items to relay; still checking on their veracity (but my sources are good). First up - I think the new Ex Director replacing the ever-popular Bree Dusseault is...Marni Campbell?    Ms. Campbell is the head of Special Education services in the district but was a former principal at Eckstein and Hale.  This might be a better position for her but, in the musical chairs game that is our district's leadership, we would now have no one in Special Ed for awhile. Second - I hear that there was at least one TFAer interviewed for a position at Denny .   This is definitely going to happen but the problem is that it's for a Special Ed class .  I am putting together the latest amazing e-mails from UW's College of Education and Captain America Tom Stritikus and you will see that even the faculty putting the program together are deeply worried over TFA recruits teaching Special Ed and ELL.  I believe all Special Ed and ELL parents should tell

Seattle Times endorses all incumbents

Endorsement | School board candidates with most promise for reform The Seattle Times believes that things are getting better and that none of the challengers, except Michelle Buetow, has what it takes to serve on the Board. Perhaps they should get some five-week wonders from Teach for America to broaden the candidate pool.

Teach for America: The Money Just Keeps Rolling In

Teach for America and Walmart - it kind of says it all, no?

They were for it before they were against it

The school board incumbents have a strange record of expensive flip-flops. They supported closing schools - and refused to even consider opening any. Then, they opened a lot of schools, including several that they had just closed. The cost to the District is in the tens of millions. Add to that the damage to student learning caused by the overcrowding of schools, and the disruption in their education. They absolutely refused to provide any management oversight whatsoever, then, suddenly they committed themselves to providing it. They go on and on about how they are zealous about it. They haven't actually started providing any yet... but they promise that they are about to do a whole lot of it some time real soon. They never offer any explanation for why they didn't provide any oversight for the first three years of their term of office. Their refusal to oversee the District has cost millions - millions pissed away on foolish projects and on consultant contracts. They abso

The Stranger endorses,,,

Primary Endorsements from The Stranger From The Stranger: First, let us repeat the long-standing, deeply considered, and eternally unchanging opinion of the SECB as it relates to people clamoring to be let on the Seattle School Board: They are fucking crazy. District I: Sharon Peaslee District II: Kate Martin District III: John Dunn District VI: Joy Anderson You will notice that The Stranger did not endorse ANY incumbents.

District One Candidates on KUOW Yesterday

District One Candidates were interviewed on KUOW yesterday on Weekday .  They were interviewed separately and each had different questions.  (I get this for incumbents versus challengers but overall, I'd like to see the answer from all to at least one question that is the same.) Sharon Peaslee was first up.  She came across to me as strong and confident with ready answers.   She was asked about her assertion that there was too much "top-down" governance and what she would change.  She said she would bring back site councils or strengthen BLTs, put the needs of students and schools first and allow math teachers to use whatever materials they needed to teach math.   She also mentioned replacing MAP testing with another called ALEX(?) which I couldn't find info on so if someone has a link, please let us know. Peter Maier was next and like all incumbents spoke well (although I felt he mumbled a bit and I was having a hard time understanding what he was saying). 

Lynne Varner wants to pay the weasels

Time to pay school board members

Political Action

Candidates for School Board have some phone banks scheduled. The King County Labor Council will be calling on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings from 5:30 to 8 PM from the Firefighters hall (great caller Id) at 517 2nd West near the counter-balance. Anyone interested really supporting candidates should contact Max Brown at or 441-7102 Other phone banking or campaign volunteer opportunities?

Teens and Tweens Special on Questionland

Questionland is doing a special week dedicated to parenting teens and tweens. They will have a bunch of experts including a high school vice principal, safety experts, some folks from a parent-teen communication group and the Seattle librarian who handles teen fiction. The link is

Position One School Board Candidates on KUOW Tomorrow Morning

Weekday will feature the Position 1 School Board candidates; incumbent Peter Maier and challengers Sharon Peaslee and John Cummings at 9 a.m. Position 6 candidates will be at a West Seattle Candidates' Forum at South Seattle CC in the Brockey Center,  6000 16th Avenue SW, in the Delridge area of West Seattle on Thursday, July 29th at 6:30 - 9 p.m.   There will be an ice cream social fundraiser for the West Seattle Food Bank and a three-part format with referenda and Port Commission candidates first, then City and County Council candidates and then School Board candidates.  Ballots go out in the mail this Wednesday, July 27th.

KUOW Interviews with Position 6 School Board Candidates

Not a complete bust but not a great interview with these candidates on The Conversation this afternoon.  First, KUOW should make up its mind on the format.  For District 2, the candidates were interviewed individually and for a longer period of time.  (There were three of them.) For District 6, they had them all in the studio and interviewed each for a much shorter period of time but did allow them to interact.   I think it would be better to have the interaction among candidates AFTER the primary and allow people more time to get to know these candidates now.  Steve was first.  He was asked about Pottergate and the sale of the MLK,Jr. building.   His answer will now set the tone for his campaign.  He says they acted promptly when they had the State Auditor's investigation report.  What!?   If he is saying he had no idea anything was wrong until that point, he was simply not paying attention.  He stated that the RSBP " was a small program and extraordinarily difficult to

Endorsements and Ratings

The Seattle Times will announce its endorsements for the August 16 primary this week. They will announce their endorsements for School Board elections on Thursday, July 28. The Municipal League has released their ratings for school board candidates . Incumbents Carr, Martin-Morris, and Maier were rated "very good", Steve Sundquist (his name oddly mis-spelled), was rated "Outstanding". Challengers did not fair as well. Michele Buetow and John Dunn got the same "very good" rating as the incumbent, Kate Martin and Sharon Peaslee were rated as "good". The rest got either "adequate" or "not qualified" except for Joy Anderson for whom they had insufficient information. The King County Labor Council has endorsed candidates in just two school board elections, John Dunn in District #3 and Martha McLaren in District #6. The King County Democrats endorsed Kate Martin and Jack Whelan in District II, Michelle Buetow in District III

LEV,WEA, State Legislators and Taxpayers File Lawsuit Challenging I-1053

In more breaking news, today LEV joined a lawsuit challenging I-1053 which requires a supermajority vote in the Legislature to raise revenues. From the press release: The plaintiffs believe the statute in question, established through the passage of I-1053, unconstitutionally impairs the ability of state lawmakers to fund public schools, which is the paramount duty of the state. Representative Jamie Pedersen is one of the legislators challenging the measure: “Our state constitution is the ultimate expression of the will of the people. Making sure our laws – whether passed by the legislature or by citizens through the initiative process – abide by the constitution is critical to protecting democracy and the rule of law,” said state Representative Jamie Pedersen, chair of the House Judiciary committee. “The question of whether a super-majority requirement to approve legislation is constitutional has gone unanswered for many years. It’s time to get a decision, once and for all.”

Want to move your child to Lowell?

This is a sort of weird idea that just struck me, but I'm pretty sure that I'm right about this. With the entire APP cohort moved out of Lowell, the school building's enrollment next year is likely to be about 250 in a space that can easily accommodate 500. The Lowell building will be nowhere near capacity. As a result, there should be plenty of space available at Lowell for any student who chooses to enroll there. Are you unhappy with your child's elementary school assignment? Do you think Lowell would be a better choice for your child? Lowell should be available to any elementary student anywhere in the District. Transportation, however, will only be available for students living in the Lowell Transportation Service Area . The current map will clearly need to be updated as it suggests transportation available to half the city. If you're not happy with your child's assignment - or your children's assignment if you have siblings assigned to different

Just In - Court Dismisses One Sisley Lawsuit Against SPS

As you may recall, one of the Roosevelt area landlords (we in the neighborhood sometimes refer to them as our alleged "slumlords"), Hugh Sisley and his wife, Martha, had sued the district over a Roosevelt High School student article about their properties.  The reporter had stated that they had been " accused of racist renting policies " and the Sisleys were suing for defamation of character. The Superior Court of King County  found for the district on all counts.  It ruled that: SPS is not "vicariously liable for the student's allegedly defamatory statement that the plaintiffs were accused of racist renting policies" the plaintiffs did not prove, " consistent with the First Amendement" that SPS should have censored the reporter's speech that the article was a " non-actionable opinion that is not defamatory as a matter of law" "Plaintiffs are unable to prove the statement that Hugh and Drake Sisley had been 'accus

Math and Marty McLaren, Position 6 Candidate

In her West Seattle Herald interview, Position 6 candidate, Marty McLaren , has a lot to say about the math adoption.  From the article : "I administer the COMPASS® test in the Assessment Office," McLaren said. "The math scores are abysmal. Some are from West Seattle and Chief Sealth graduates. They should be ready for college algebra but their math skills are at middle school levels."   (The office she refers to is the South Seattle College office of student assessment.) Just Google "Washington State Report Card", scroll to "Seattle Public Schools" and the low math competency rates and high dropout statistics seem troublesome. Only 60 percent of students in 4th grade are meeting the standard, dropping to about 50 percent by 10th grade.  Cliff Mass endorses her in the article: "She has a deep interest in not only math education, but in reforming the dysfunctional School Board and District.  She will ask the questions that

New On Monday

From KUOW: Seattle School Board Race Position 6 The Conversation at 12:00 p.m. Four candidates are vying for Position 6 on the Seattle School Board, including incumbent Steve Sundquist. How do the candidates plan on handling continuing budget cuts and what are the specific issues facing the West Seattle School District? We speak with all four candidates and take your questions. So it looks like right now they have all four candidates - Sundquist, Joy Stevens, Marty McLaren and Nick Esparza - scheduled to speak.  This should be informative.  I would urge you to write to them if you have specific Position 6 questions you think should be asked ( ). From the District: This summer, Routing Specialists at Seattle Public Schools are working hard to develop bus routes for the District's new Student Transportation Plan. The Routing Specialists are responsible for developing the streamlined bus routes for new neighborhood-based Transportation Zones that ar

Sundquist Says "System shows signs of improving"

The West Seattle Herald ran an interview with Director Steve Sundquist where he says some pretty interesting things.   (They will be running interviews with challengers Marty McLaren, Joy Anderson and Nick Esparza soon.)   The Herald made one mistake (I believe) which was to only list the other incumbents running and not their challengers. 

Touchy, Touchy

Keeping in line with Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, Mayor Rahm Emmanuel had a bit of a hissy fit yesterday when a local reporter asked where his children would go to school.  He just smiled and said he was elected, not his kids, and got up and left the interview.  (Christie, on the other hand, huffed and puffed.) Obama's kids go to private, too.   McGinn's kids go to public school as do/did most of the School Board's children. I have always said that I believe every parent has to do what is right for their child and only they know the right thing.  I don't have a problem with anyone who chooses private school for their child.  Of course, for elected officials, it CAN be a problem because, well, if you are talking about public education as a part of your job and you wouldn't send your own kids to the schools you represent, for some voters it might not look good.  Naturally, if you are a billionaire who is trying to be a de facto deputy secretary of ed

School Board Endorsements

Stand for Children has announced its endorsement of Harium Martin-Morris, Sherry Carr, and Steve Sundquist.  They say nothing about District 1 (or Peter Maier).   They call these three incumbents "education champions."  The press release states that they interviewed 8 candidates in late April but don't say who they were.  They say their endorsement committee was all Stand volunteers.  (I'd have to assume all 4 incumbents plus Michelle Buetow who came out early but I don't know who else they could have interviewed as nearly everyone else who came into the campaign came in June.   Maybe they had an early heads-up on who was running.) I'll have to ask why there is no endorsement for District 1 and who else they interviewed.  Here are the quotes they used from their endorsed candidates.   Sherry Carr , District Position 2:  “I believe strong schools are the core of a strong city, and that Seattle can have public schools that are the envy of the nation.  Our c

Open Thread Friday

Summer's bustin' out all over...except here.  I know, I know, the rest of country is suffering.  I'm not asking for more heat (although, that too, would be nice).  Can it just be sunny so we can believe it is actually summer?  It's sunny right now in my neck of the woods so I better get out and enjoy it. 


The Board has recently written and adopted new policies that define the duties of the Board. Among these new policies, the 1000 series, is this one, Policy 1005, Responsibilities & Authority of the Board , which speaks most directly to the question. Unfortunately, it does not speak in clear, definite, or enforceable words. This policy is a puff of hot air without any meaning whatsoever. There is a lot of detail in Policy 1010, Board Oversight of Management , but that detail is curiously deficient. The stated goals of the policy are to:  Evaluate each Oversight Area’s implementation plans, goals and objectives.  Enable the Board to perform appropriate oversight of management of each Oversight Area by monitoring progress toward performance indicators.  Ensure the district has qualified personnel overseeing its programs.  Ensure compliance with state law and Board policies and procedures. This is followed with exhaustive detail about information that must be included in a

District Two Candidates on KUOW Today

On this morning's Weekday, the candidates for District Two were interviewed.  They talked to Jack Whelan, Kate Martin and the incumbent, Sherry Carr.  Mark Webber declined the interview (he won't talk to me either). Sherry was up first.  She spoke in a clear, professional manner.  The host was pretty blunt in asking her why she should be returned to office when the State Auditor called out lack of oversight as a problem in the recent audits.  She said they "embraced the feedback" and created a governance project to implement a stronger governance structure for SPS. She also said - twice - that central administration has been cut by one-third over the past three years.  (Again, central adm is NOT central office; it is many more staff that do not work out of headquarters.  It's something to be aware of as the election goes forward.)  Jack Whelan was next and was a little tentative at first but he carried his message through about needing change because of the

Seattle Schools Shuts Down (for one day this year and a half-day next)

From the Seattle Times : In an effort to show the public that state funding cuts hurt, Seattle Public Schools plans to shut down for one full day before school starts, and close school early on another day during the school year. Principals have agreed to take Aug. 31 as a furlough day, and the district announced Wednesday that it has reached a tentative agreement with teachers and other school staff to do the same, plus a half-day later in the year. The Aug. 31shutdown will be a few days before the school year starts on Sept. 7. It will affect training and other activities scheduled for that day. The district's enrollment office will be closed, too. Nearly all district staff will be gone, Harman said. The other half-day will occur sometime in January or February, and the union hopes to hold some kind of joint district-union activity in Olympia. Um, will anyone really notice? In Seattle, Harman said, "we did not feel that, given the reductions we've

News Roundup

The White House announced that it has received about $118M in commitments from private companies to support public education.   From the AP story:

Parent Summit

The Seattle Alliance of Black School Educators, in partnership with Seattle Public Schools, will be holding a Parent Summit on August 20 at Cleveland High School. Topics will include parent and family engagement, Seattle Public Schools initiatives, early learning education, and much more. More information here .

Trying to Keep Up with Who is Employed at SPS

Word has it that two more high-level SPS employees have left.  One is Jim Ratchford, the head of IT services who I thought was a pretty good guy.  He was here maybe two years. The other is Faye Chess-Prentice who has been with the district since 2001 as a deputy general counsel but then was placed as the interim director of Human Resources and that ended when Ann Chan came (and then went) as head of HR.  The interim HR director (so you can keep up) is Paul Apostle. What is also interesting is that if you look at the employee chart, it looks like the Executive Directors report straight to the Superintendent.  But looking at the Job Opportunities page at the SPS website, I see a notice for a "School Improvement Program Coordinator" who " serves as the first point of contract for the Executive Directors. "  Then that person reports to the Executive Director of School Improvement who then, I assume, reports to Dr. Enfield.  From SPS Communications: There are n

TFA Updates

Over at KIRO 93.7, reporter Josh Kerns did a piece on TFA coming to the Puget Sound area.  Update:  the KIRO piece includes links to the professor at the University of Texas and Janis Ortega who is the area TFA person.  Very interesting to listen. I have to say that one troubling thing is the language that TFA uses.  Ms. Ortega, in defending the research that supports TFA's contention of how their recruits do, said, " I wish research would be comprehensive, at least those who proport research."  Considering where some of that other research comes from, that's a little disrespectful.   It's one thing to say you disagree or have other research to back your claims; it's another to call that research proported.  I also note that TFA never seems to acknowledge teachers already in the classroom.  I wonder why. 

Program Placement

I know that I harp on Program Placement a lot more than folks want to hear about it, but here I go again. The Program Placement Policy, C56.00 , isn't particularly enforceable. It does, however, have two elements that can be enforced. 1) It requires the superintendent to make an annual report to the Board of program placement decisions. The District claims that this is that report. However, this report does not meet the requirements of the policy - not by a long shot. The policy requires: On an annual basis, the Superintendent shall report program placement decisions to the School Board, including describing how the decisions work to achieve the above listed criteria. This report makes no reference whatsoever to how the decisions work to achieve the criteria that are supposed to guide program placement decisions. The report is inadequate. The superintendent is in violation of the policy and the Board has a responsibility to demand compliance. 2) The Policy also requires th

91% of Eligible South Seattle/South King County Students Sign Up for College Bound Scholarship

Good news from The Road Map Project.  One of their efforts is to make sure that as many eligible students as possible sign up for the College Bound Scholarships .  Looks like it paid off as a record 91% of eligible students signed up (as compared with 74% lat year).  Thank you to everyone who reminded a kid or their PTA. The scholarship will cover students who pledge to graduate from high school, demonstrate good citizenship and seek admission to a college. The area covered includes South Seattle, Auburn, Federal Way, Highline, Renton, and Tukwila.  Tukwila signs up 100% of all eligible students while Auburn climbed from 38% to 67%.  Over 3900 student signed-up.  The Seattle schools covered are Secondary BOC, Merce, Aki Kurose, Orca, South Shore, Washington and Denny.  Secondary BOC, Mercer, and Aki Kurose enrolled 100% of their eligible students.  South Seattle schools overall went from 91% to 95%.

UPDATE: Candidate Forum Tonight (Don't Bother)

 Still more confusion.  Somebody needs to get their info clear. Horizon House (a senior home) had wanted to have a candidate forum for their district's candidates but unfortunately thought they were in District 1 (but are really in District 5 where that slot isn't on the ballot this time).  So my understanding is they only invited District 1 candidates and will allow them to make statements but there won't be Q&A (this is what I was told by an organizer).  I am still waiting to hear from the League of Women Voters.  I'm not sure it's worth going for School Board but naturally, if you are interested in the City Council races, go. End of update. My apologies for this late notice but I had some confusion over whether this event was public. There is a candidate forum at Horizon House tonight being hosted by the League of Women Voters.  It starts at 7:30 p.m. at HH, 900 University Street.   Both City Council and School Board candidates will be there. Th

Lowell Updates

The following was information sent by Kay Smith-Blum to Lowell parents.  Please note these are considerations only .  Also she still references an "Advanced Learning" taskforce so I'll have to ask her about that as the consensus here is that it is for APP only. Staff has considered ALL of the following in recommending the move of majority of the cohort (sans the walk zone Lowell students, who will have the option of going to Lincoln if they provide their own transportation - similar to the way we handle matriculation to Hamilton as a choice without transportation for those students graduating Lowell now): the condition of Lincoln, making it “friendlier” for elementary students transportation for those south of ship canal, routes will cross Ballard bridge and Fremont rather than getting stuck on I5 for QA & Mag students library and other resource beef ups, mitigation funds will be used up

Following the Bouncing Money Ball

The reality is that our country, our state, our city are in a recession that has gone on now for at least two years.  We are moving at a glacial pace out of it.  Our district tells us over and over there is not enough money for all we need to do to the point where we laid off teachers and counselors (and other district workers) and put off planned purchases.  Now, technically, the district has marginally more money than last year, not from the state, but from increased enrollment.  Any other time this might be major good news but just as money comes with those students, so do costs.  I come to an interesting article in the Saturday Seattle Times about schools districts and their budgets.  The State Legislature included a 1.9% pay cut for teachers in the state budget but the teacher contracts are all decided locally.  So that means, our district is, right now, negotiating with the SEA about those cuts.  Now, you may recall that we voted in a Supplemental Levy in February to pay f

This is What is REALLY Wrong in Public Education

 Update:   I originally thought this was from a teacher but it is from a parent .  My apologies Below is a post from a parent, "No Confidence," from another thread but I read it and said bingo!  (Emphasis mine.) I think that the first change that could make some difference would be for teacher & administrators to understand the limits of their abilities to assess. At least the teacher could say, Sally is learning differently than many other kids I see and we don't know why. Johnny is refusing to do writing assignments and we don't know why. Next I think that PD should include training about learning & developmental differences, with case studies , to the extent that at least teacher are familiar with the possibilities. (I have spoken with so many SPS teachers & administrators who believe that twice exceptional kids don't exist.) There are signs to look for. I also think that there should be some staff members who develop expertise

Seattle Public Schools, Tell Your Story

Everyone who reads this blog is familiar with my penchant for inventing stories. I'm not in the district staff meetings when decisions are made. I don't have a source who reports to me about what happens in those meetings. I just hear the (often surprising) results. From the outcome I reverse engineer the story of how this result came about. Some of my favorite blog posts have been these inventions of narrative that are both plausible and fit the facts. I don't know if they are true, but they earn credibility because they work. They do explain the apparently inexplicable.

Stand for Children is an Astro-Turf Machine

Recently, there's been some buzz around the semi-national organization, Stand for Children.   ( I say "semi-national" because they are only involved in 9 states but have received a lot of national attention.) An Oregon parent activist, Susan Barrett, wrote in the Washington Post blog, Valerie Strauss' The Answer Sheet, about her experience with Stand.  She explains her experience of believing in Stand only to find that their Board is full of private equity investors and their local staff tried to manipulate parents into lobbying teachers and parents for a reform agenda.  Who is SFC?  From their website : Stand for Children is an innovative, grassroots child advocacy organization. Our mission is to use the power of grassroots action to help all children get the excellent public education and strong support they need to thrive. Our members believe we need to stand up for our children now - particularly for their education from pre-school through high school -

Open Thread Friday

Something fun; two free kids' plays staged outside. One is King Arthur and the Knights of the Playground and the other is Arrh! A Dinosaur Ate My Space Ship! Both play thru the first week of August. 'King Arthur and the Knights of the Playground' By Jaime Cruz, Maggie Lee, Juliet Waller Pruzan, Joanna Horowitz, Paul Mullin and Matt Smith. Through Aug. 6 at area parks; free ( ). 'Arrh! A Dinosaur Ate My Space Ship!' By Bret Fetzer and Juliet Waller Pruzan. 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Aug. 7 at Volunteer Park amphitheater; free ( ). What's on your mind?

Stranger Article on Peter Maier and Pottergate

From the Stranger comes reporter Riya Bhattacharjee's look into Peter Maier and red flags that he either didn't follow-thru on or didn't wave in the faces of his colleagues.   The key one? As chair of the school board's Operations Committee, Maier acknowledges that he read warnings in a document called the Sutor report, commissioned by the district, about irregularities with a small-works contracting program, originally a component of the regional small-business development program. Peter had The Sutor Group report (given to him at an Ops Committee meeting by Stephens).  I have never heard Peter say why Stephens gave it to him (and only him) but that seems to be the case. At a March 6 school board meeting, right before the board unanimously voted to fire superintendent Goodloe-Johnson for her role in the scandal, Maier said he had been alerted to the problems and didn't tell the board. Bhattacharjee was looking for evidence that it might have made a d

Challengers Receive Metropolitan Dems Endorsement

From our reader, Joanna: At today's Metropolitan Democratic Club meeting the following School Board candidates received an endorsement for the upcoming Primary Election: Sharon Peaslee, Kate Martin, John Dunn, and Marty McLaren . Interestingly these endorsements were determined by a pretty overwhelming majority.

Willing to Give Up Summer Vacation (if it meant better outcomes for all)?

Danny Westneat had a column in the Times last week about summer vacation for K-12 public schools students.  He boos the new initiatives for a longer school year (or even year-round) school on the premise that kids need the "value" of freedom?  He says: Doesn't that value, of freedom, count anymore? Or is it all now about prepping for the 21st-century global economy. I know, not everyone can go to the San Juans. But we could try to spread summer's spirit, instead of giving up on it. Give more kids a chance to run free. It may not be "expanded learning time." It can expand you just the same. Here's the thing.  If our schools had direct interventions during the school year for struggling students and enrichment for all and summer school for both remedial and enrichment, I'd say keep summer vacation.  But that is not happening or is happening in a piecemeal fashion.  Not good enough. I know a couple of people (out of state) who had kids i