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.


Kathy said…
Looks like there is an anti-incumbent sentiment.

Please consider keeping Sharon Peaslee in the race by contributing to her campaign. Peter Maier already has significant campaign donations.
Anonymous said…
What's the incumbents' average? 0 for 1000? Haah!

Mr. Ed
Charlie Mas said…
Peter Maier, on his web site, claims that he was endorsed by the 46th District Democrats and the King County Young Democrats.
Charlie Mas said…
Sherry Carr says that she has been endorsed by King County Young Democrats, National Women’s Political Caucus of Washington State, and Stand for Children.

Steve Sundquist is soliciting endorsements, but doesn't show what endorsements he has.

Harium Martin-Morris says he has been endorsed by Washington Stand for Children.
Lack of Oversight said…
From the Stranger:
KG said…
Sundquist has Steve Ballmer's I am sure
dan dempsey said…
Here is the Hyper-Link to Red Flags at The Stranger.

Peter Maier is clearly not endorsed by Riya.

The question now becomes ... What on earth are those folks and organizations that endorse PM thinking?

If such folks are elected representatives, they have an incredibly low standard for acceptable performance. I would likely not vote for any of them ... as this demonstrates a huge inability on their part to think critically.
Anonymous said…
They're still doing worse than Chone Figgins.

Mr. Ed
Joanie said…
I'm watching the July 6 school board meeting. Obvious a little late . . . However, I like Betty Patu. She asked why Teach for America young people were going to at-risk schools and I don't think she got a good answer. It may be their mission but anybody - esp. Enfield - should recognize the very limited ability effect well-intended but inexperienced teachers will have in the main. There may be one or two who rise to the challenge but for the most part, this is not the answer for those kids. Betty was right. They need experienced teachers who know how to manage.

He question was a good one. Put those Teach for America kids into classrooms with kids ready to learn and give our at-risk populations teachers who really know how to make a difference.

Our school board could use more people like Patu.
Joanie said…
Sorry, I should have edited better and I don't know how I got the unknown moniker. But hopefully, you get the gist of my post! If I knew how to change my sign in, I'd do it. Anybody know . . . joanie
dan dempsey said…
Ah yes ...

Washington Stand for Children reveals how clueless they are.

Harium Martin-Morris says he has been endorsed by Washington Stand for Children.

Perhaps SfC could tell us why it endorses Harium.

My guess is SfC gets big money from Gates to push Ed Reform and Harium is a mindless pusher of all things Ed Reform ... thus he gains the SfC endorsement.
MathTeacher42 said…
I know of a event at a private home, (with snacks) on Friday, 15 July, from 6:30 to 8:30 to meet Sharon Peaslee - She's running in District I against Director Maier.

Email me if you're interested.


Anonymous said…
Dems orgs endorsements = one-issue focus = TFA

of no use to me this time around. will definitely view their endorsements in future with a much more skeptical eye

signed, a little wiser this time
A Little Wiser, all I can say is at the two events I was at - 36th Dems and the Metro Dems meeting (where the candidates introduced themselves, not the endorsement one), TFA never came up either from the candidates or in the questions.

I'm not sure that's a driver in all cases.
Anonymous said…
a little "wiser",

I have no clue how much you've followed education issues over how many years.

TFA support in this region has turned into an excellent litmus test. Starting with a large set of citizens who are somewhat knowledgeable about current education DEform lies, unwavering support of TFA in Seattle typically indicates that you're talking to some lap dog of the Bill Gates Astro Turfs.

Note that I use the word "typically" - generalizations do not mean all people all the time.

If you've come away from local Dem meetings with the impression that everything is focused on yes TFA or no TFA, that is too bad. I have a hunch that there was a lot more going on, but, I wasn't there.

seattle citizen said…
Of course Director Martin-Morris has been endorsed by Stand On Children, uh, Stand FOR Children.

He's Reform's darling. I wonder how much the Gates Foundation is giving him, along with handing him their astroturf "coalition" Stand For Children's endorsement?

Ka ching!

Stand For Children contacted a teacher I know a couple of years ago. They were sent his name by one of the local minority groups. They believed that since he had experience working with struggling students, he would join them.
An earnest young woman, fresh outta college, met with him. From the way he tells it, she was like one of those eager, warm-hearted young people who fervently believe in The Cause, whatever it may be (the envirnment, a political party, etc.) somewhat naive, she extolled the soon-to-be power of SFC, and how they would help "struggling students."
This teacher knew better, however, and recognized some of the warning signs: The list of minority groups that would lend credence to SFC's cred and the lack of mention of children of poverty; talk of how teachers were somehow being racist in their teaching, since there was an Achievement Gap, and how just finding the best teachers who wouldn't be racist, better teachers...Would help these kids....Evidently, the spiel went on that way, a passionate if ignorant young white woman out to solve the problems of struggling minorities via the power of coalition, an alliance of similarly-minded concerned citizens whose combined power would allow ALL children to graduate in four years, ready for college and proficient in Reading and Math.
Of course, as this teacher learned more about the up-and-coming national astroturf Stand For Children, it turned out that the teacher's suspicions were exactly correct: SFC has no base of common citizenry - they are an allied coalition of Reformers (businesses and foundations with lots of money and a lot more to gain), minority group representatives, politicans (eager for minority votes and the "compassionate" cred that comes with "caring about children," and, lastly, media strategizers to publicize this unholy alliance and a gullible media that merely regurgitates what the Reforms spoon-feed it in press releases (or, as yesterday's story in Crosscut demonstrates, via "reporters" who used to work for The Alliance, interviewing other Reformers and bemoaning how parents and guardians just aren't involved or caring about public education, not the way Reform does...)
Stand For Children is a sham, and Reform is a pyramid scam, where those who get in early climb right on out of the classroom, get on the money ladder up into "educational management," and incestuously help each other to the riches while pontificating about how teachers are bad and citizens aren't involved enugh, so THEY have to do it.
I suggest a rally at the Stand For Children headquarters. Will anyone join me? I'd like to show them that we care.
Kathy said…
A little wiser,

Be sure to ask candidates on their views.

I was at the 36th endorsemen. I'm sure feelings vary around TfA.
Anonymous said…
citizen at 9:06 -

I have a great event for a Stand On Children protest - of course, since the event is on Thursday in the middle of the school day, it would be hard to get TEACHERS there to offer their view of what happens outside the Creation of Genius Power Points By Important-er People Than YOU.

Stand for Children invites you to join us for an inspiring event focused on how we can change the odds and change the lives of Washington’s K-12 public school students. You’ll have the opportunity to support Stand for Children Leadership Center and hear from renowned education advocate and founder of the Children’s Defense Fund, Marian Wright Edelman. Learn more about the event and Marian here.
October 20, 2011
11:30 - 1:00 p.m.
Bell Harbor Conference Center
2211 Alaskan Way, Pier 66
Seattle, WA 98121

seattle citizen said…
Unknown wrote (about 7/6 board meeting):
"Betty Patu...asked why Teach for America young people were going to at-risk schools and I don't think she got a good answer."

The answer the Superintendent gave was concise, and a great twist of logic: She said first that it wasn't the District "placing" TFA only in "at-risk" schools; schools made the decisions to hire (or not) TFA. THEN, in the next sentence, she said that TFA's mission is to go into at risk schools.
I mean, c'mon: The district CONTRACTED with TFA, because they claim TFA will help struggling students (oh, wait, their rationale is that it will "widen the hiring pool," whatever that means). The District, with the state's collusion, made the decision to bring TFA in.

So the Superintendent was deflecting the responsibility for TFA: The District wanted them, TFA's stated mission is to go into "at risk" schools, ergo ipso facto the District is placing TFA into "at-risk" schools. (And as I always point out, this is just another example of people calling entire schools "failing," or "at-risk," and thereby ignoring the individual students while drastically restructuring (privatizing) entire schools.)

The Superintendent's answer reinforced the lack of thinking, or the lack of public acountability, around policy and law. In the same board meeting, Holly Ferguson says that the "circumstance" that the state says warrants the extraordinary step of hiring non-certified people to teach classes in Seattle was merely the fact that the District had partnered with TFA. THAT is the only circumstance given (state law says non-certs shoiuld only be used if all other searches for certified teacher have been exhausted, or their is a rare skill (auto shop, for intance) where no cert is available.)
So according to Ferguson and the state, the only extenuating circumstance that warrants the extreme deviation from policy of hiring a non-cert is the fact that the district partnered with a business (TFA) whose business is putting uncertified people into teaching positions.

Two examples in one meeting of the gibberish that is presented as logic at District, state and national levels. It was evident from both performances that these people really believed that if they just threw out lofty sounding words, the logic wouldn't matter. They believe (and perhaps they are correct) that they can say any ol' thing and either no one will question it or no one will care. I was disappointed in Director Patu for not following up on that nonsense: She (almost alone) seems to often incredulous at the inane rationales emerging from the lips of our highly paid employees.
seattle citizen said…
Good idea, Lover-of-genious-powerpoints-not (hee hee, love that moniker, you must have watched some board meetings...)

I hope that non-educator citizens can attend the Stand For Children event and give them the what-for. As usual, it seems district and Reform events that might provide opportunity for an educator to actually speak with a high-level admin or with an actual Reformer are scheduled during the school day. Wouldn't want anyone with any experience or knowledge about the day-to-day workings of a classroom to actually speak, heaven forbid!

So educators rely on citizens to Stand For Educators during the school day, get on down there!

Stand On Children event:
October 20, 2011
11:30 - 1:00 p.m.
Bell Harbor Conference Center
2211 Alaskan Way, Pier 66
Seattle, WA 98121
Anonymous said…
This should be required reading for School Board candidates:

Thursday, July 7, 2011

"Seattle teacher discusses the challenges teachers face"

dan dempsey said…
Hey Seattle Citizen....

I do not think that Susan Enfield is speaking honestly about the connected dots...

The answer the Superintendent gave was concise, and a great twist of logic: She said first that it wasn't the District "placing" TFA only in "at-risk" schools; schools made the decisions to hire (or not) TFA. THEN, in the next sentence, she said that TFA's mission is to go into at risk schools.

Dr. Enfield listen up:: Here is the gosh honest legal truth....

The District contracted with TfA because the District had done a careful review of all other options to close the achievement gaps ... and concluded that TfA was necessary.

(By the way I have no idea when this "Careful Review" took place or what the results were... but would Dean Stritikus and friends lie to us and the PESB?)

You might not believe this and the Directors that approved the TfA application back in November of 2010 might not know it either but it must be true because that "Careful Review" is the basis of the TfA "conditional certification" granted by the PESB.

I mean if it is not true ... surely the PESB would have denied "conditional certification" .. right?
dan dempsey said…
Stand for Children endorses both Harium M-M and Sherry Carr.... Great just Great as today Valerie Strauss has a posting about SfC on her Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog.

This makes it abundantly clear why any SPS Director Candidate that gets an SfC endorsement is likely unsuitable for office.

July 14, 2011

The inside scoop on Stand for Children.

By Valerie Strauss

Susan Barrett was a volunteer for an education reform organization called Stand for Children, which is based in Portland. In this post she explains why she stepped down. This appeared on the website of Parents Across America.

Stand for Children’s Jonah Edelman, co-founder and chief executive officer, just got some unpleasant publicity for remarks he made while he was on a panel at the Aspen Institute’s Ideas Festival. Caught on video, he was shown bragging about how he manipulated people to get reform legislation passed in Illinois. He apologized but the damage was done.

Barrett’s post explains the history of Stand for Children, why she initially volunteered for the organization and how it is changed. It is a story that goes beyond a single organization’s narrative and explains the current reform dynamic.
------ (continued)
dan dempsey said…
. (cont.)

By Susan Barrett

I recently stepped down as a volunteer co-leader of a Stand for Children (SFC) team in Portland, Oregon, the headquarters of this organization. Being a SFC member has meant fighting for the needs of children and better public schools for all students in this state (see this pdf.) However, things have started changing here in Oregon, and I worry that SFC is headed down the path that disaffected parents, like me, identify as the corporate reform movement.

I was prompted to write this piece for a couple of reasons: One, I have seen characterizations of SFC as one of the “astroturf” organizations that have recently sprouted up like weeds, generated by the fortunes of billionaires and hedge fund managers to push their particular preference for implementing business strategies in education, attacking teachers and their unions, and promoting privatization. SFC is not astroturf, and that can make them perhaps more deceptive if we are not paying attention.

This leads to my second reason for writing this: I want to make sure that people pay close attention to who is on the SFC board, where their money is coming from, and think critically about whether or not the agendas they are promoting will bring the results parents and community members hope for in public education.

As I read blogs and articles from across the nation, it seems that many people have already determined that SFC has a top-down, corporate reform type agenda.

Here in SFC’s home state, it is not that simple to classify the organization. SFC holds a special place for many activist parents and community members in Oregon. You have to understand that they didn’t storm into the state with millions of dollars to influence election outcomes like they did in Illinois. Here, they had far more humble beginnings.

The organization was inspired by a Stand for Children Day Rally in 1996 in Washington, D.C. Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund, enlisted the help of her son, Jonah Edelman, to help organize this event. With over 300,000 people attending, Jonah wanted to keep the spirit alive and continue to work on issues attendees were passionate about. He and a co-founder set up a home base in Oregon, and worked on smaller issues with positive impact such as after-school program funding and emergency dental care for uninsured kids. Many parents like me who joined SFC a while back still remember how it was an organization fighting for the Portland Children’s Levy, which provided funds for early childhood education, foster care, child abuse prevention programs, and a variety of other programs centered on children.
---- (continued)
dan dempsey said…
- (cont.)

Because this is part of the organization’s history, it makes it that much harder to believe how much it has changed. Parents and community members most likely do not know that SFC now has private equity investors and venture philanthropists on the board, making decisions for the organization as it grows new chapters. And, grow they will, as they have announced the need to hire a National Expansion Manager, having raised over a million dollars in funding from the Walton Foundation, and over three million dollars from the Gates Foundation.

My fear is that unwitting parents and community members will join SFC because they want to rectify the problems they see every day in their children’s public schools, such as underfunding, lack of arts programs, large class sizes, and cuts to the school year, only to find that they get roped into very different goals. With SFC inspiring many of its members to run for school board seats, and the funding it gives through its PAC, I worry we will lose a truly democratic discussion and action on education weighted in favor of corporate reforms.

Before I go further, let me just clarify, that those of us who are not on board with the “corporate reform agenda” don’t think everything is just peachy. We are not “defenders of the status quo” as we are often accused, but we just don’t see how the Arne Duncan and Bill Gates-type reforms are providing tangible, worthwhile outcomes for kids.

I first became familiar with SFC in 2001 when I worked in affordable housing and community development. Our organization’s parent network was invited to be the first SFC team in Portland. It was an incredibly powerful experience for the low-income parents we worked with to feel like they could band together to make changes for quality, affordable childcare. SFC was not working on school issues at that time.

When my oldest child started kindergarten in 2007, I looked at the myriad of ways to be an involved parent. I decided to join our school SFC team because I wanted to put my efforts into a cause that would improve the education of all schoolchildren in Oregon. Since I had familiarity with the group from my past work, I felt this was the right choice.

When I joined, SFC fought for more school funding and endorsed pro-education candidates for elective office. Our elementary school parents were passionate about lowering class sizes and enhancing our crumbling school facilities. A “grassroots” organization like SFC was the perfect fit for parents like me who wanted to work on these issues. Team members grumbled when some decisions seemed to come more from the top than from the bottom-up, but since those decisions were articulated as “standing for children” it was hard to put up a fight.

------ (continued)
dan dempsey said…
About three years ago, some team leaders at my school became uncomfortable when they were asked to engage in what they considered to be tacky conversations with teachers around hiring practices. When a fellow parent and I were asked to take over as the new team leaders for this school year, we were cautioned about this, but otherwise, we all assumed SFC was working to enhance public education, and this was just a minor mistake along the way.

Well, SFC definitely knows they made a mistake because they recently commissioned a consulting firm to work on better “teacher messaging” which provided them with a list of what to say and what not to mention when talking to teachers (such as, “Don’t reinforce that there are not many teachers involved with Stand chapters.”) That was a red flag, but now as I look back and connect the dots, I see so many more.

I think about the visits from the Policy Director of the New Teacher Project, and the former aide to New York City charter operator, Eva Moskowitz, who said she was moving to Portland and trying to set up a chapter of Democrats for Education Reform, the pro-charter, hedge-fund driven organization.

I think about their push for Oregon to submit a Race to the Top application, (which the state did initially, but it failed); and how the organization acted as the “social justice partner “of Waiting for Superman and urged parents to attend the film.

Only recently did I come to realize that the SFC Portland Director, Tyler Whitmire, is the daughter of Richard Whitmire, author of The Bee Eater , a book lavishing praise on Michelle Rhee.

This past year, Oregon SFC staff wanted us to press our legislators to pass a “bipartisan education package,” which basically tied the release of much-needed school funding to the expansion of charter schools, online learning, and other so-called “reforms.” SFC also pushed to lower the capital gains tax in exchange for “kicker” reform. (The “kicker” is an automatic tax rebate that significantly restricts state revenue that could be used to improve schools.)
dan dempsey said…
Reforming the “kicker” has been a long-term goal of SFC Oregon members, but apparently SFC now has to compromise, by supporting the goal of lowering the capital gains tax at the same time, which would considerably reduce or eliminate the revenue gained by repealing the kicker.

This stance is a great departure from what people would normally expect of SFC, and only makes sense when you see the wealthy investors on SFC’s National Board of Directors, and how billionaire philanthropists like Bill Gates and the Walton Family Foundation are now funding and driving the organization’s agenda.

What is even more frustrating than the reforms they are pushing is what they aren’t pushing for anymore.

Oregon has one of the shortest school years and lowest education spending in the nation. All of this has taken away from a focus on working for meaningful improvements in our schools. Even though SFC’s membership has risen over the past decade, Oregon’s per pupil spending has continued to drop. I can’t blame SFC for the economy, but where is the concentrated effort to address this? And, now that they have a national presence, they could actually try to create a national movement around funding an equitable and quality education for all.

One of the most prominent charter schools featured in Waiting for Superman was the Harlem Children’s Zone Promise Academies. These schools have very small class sizes, amazing facilities, and wrap around services for students. Those are the kind of “reforms” we should have for all students in our public schools.

Perhaps if SFC replaced their Board Chair, Julie Mikuta, who is also partner at New Schools Venture Fund, which finances charter schools, with someone who has actually made meaningful improvements in public education, they could inch their way back to this work. They could also replace Emma Bloomberg, the daughter of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, another billionaire charter school supporter, as well as Steve Jobs’ wife, and two other board members who are private equity investors, in exchange for people who are stakeholders with a broader perspective and real experience in education....

I look forward to banding together with other parents and community members willing to make meaningful improvements for all kids in our public schools and work for real reform. Anything else, I just can’t stand for.

---- The end
seattle citizen said…
Dang, Dan, I thought I was long-winded!
Jan said…
Thanks, Dan! I clicked through to the link and read the article there, instead of in your installments -- and it was a great one. It is intersting to note one of the author's points -- that EdReform entities can either form that way (like LEV), or they can form far more innocuously, as "real" groups -- and then be "co-opted" to EdReform purposes (like StandForChildren, I guess, and the Alliance).

Either way -- folks have to be careful about being manipulated by top-down, agenda-driven ed reform ideas that are highly political, and motivated far more by money (driving it into the hands of those at the top) than concern for kids and schools.

Jan said…
Interestingly, when I clicked through to the Washington Post link, there was a further link to a different article -- where someone who sounds very much like an Ed Reformer was advocating in favor of (gasp) targeted interventions to struggling students -- and listening to experienced teachers in developing ways of reaching and teaching more kids. Huh! What a concept! Almost sounds like he had been talking to Charlie!

A portion of the article follows:

Jan said…
From the Wash Post piece (I didn't actually read Tough's NYT article):

Given all the recent evidence of off-kilter priorities, Paul Tough’s recent New York Times piece on the “no excuses” reform crowd is well-timed. Tough notes that the same reformers who insisted high expectations (and high-stakes tests) would cure what ailed low-income urban schools are now pointing to excuses. They’re discovering that high-stakes tests and tenure reform cannot (by themselves) help students overcome the conditions of poverty.

Significantly, Tough notes that the situation isn’t hopeless—just more complicated than some have been willing to admit. He points out that dichotomous debate (charters versus traditional public schools, teacher unions versus administrators, etc.) simply cannot address the quandary in which America finds itself. Instead, improving our public schools requires nuanced conversation and comprehensive solutions.

Tough argues that if we are to educate all children to achieve high academic standards, we must tackle the challenges of poverty head-on.

He highlights tactics that have repeatedly been proven effective on a small scale: “supplementing classroom strategies with targeted, evidence-based interventions outside the classroom; working intensively with the most disadvantaged families to improve home environments for young children; providing high-quality early-childhood education to children from the neediest families; and, once school begins, providing low-income students with a robust system of emotional and psychological support, as well as academic support.”

Clearly, such a shift in strategy will require creativity, investment, and partnerships. But it will also require us to unleash the power of the abundance of teaching talent we have in every school in this nation.

Who better to help ensure educational equity than our most accomplished teachers? Why not structure their work (and workdays) to strategically deploy their expertise? Our best teachers could provide targeted intervention for the children and families who would most benefit from their experience and knowledge. They could help develop, staff, and assess high-quality early childhood programs. They could work with community partners to ensure all children have access to the academic, emotional, and psychological support they need to succeed.

Too often, we shuffle our best teachers into full-time administrative roles, pulling them away from the children who need them most. Too often, we pile “reforms” on teachers without inviting them (and supporting them) to take on meaningful roles in solutions. And too often, America’s schools fail our least advantaged students and families.

Let’s drop the excuses. Let’s not kid ourselves about silver-bullet solutions. Let’s do the difficult work. And let’s welcome teacher leaders as partners in making it happen.
dan dempsey said…
In the high-tech world, companies often take over other companies (an acquisition) rather than attempt to start from scratch.

Looks like the Gates Foundation et al. decided to acquire Stand for Children.
uxolo said…
Marian Wright Edelman is one of our country's true great advocates for children. Sadly, her son takes advantage of her name and great work.Shame she is lending credence to SFC. This is about Josh:

"Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Ron Huberman has quietly ousted one of the most powerful and controversial executives left over from the administration of Arne Duncan with no public statement and little explanation.

Joshua Edelman, who came to Chicago from Washington, D.C. after being hired by Arne Duncan, was responsible for the closing of more public schools in Chicago than any executive in the 150-year history of public education in Chicago. "

Plenty more to say about him - but that's off topic.

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