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Sunday, July 31, 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, they talk about all three candidates in this particular race with good things to say about all.  They end up not really endorsing anyone (but with the larger space on the page for Harium, you might assume he is being endorsed.)  Here's what they say about him:

Martin-Morris is the only African American on the school board; in a district where 21% of the students are African American and 56% of the students are children of color, we believe this is an important consideration. He is well-respected and has the endorsements of many city leaders and education reform activists. 

What is odd about this is that Harium wears this mantle of being the only African-American on the Board somewhat uneasily.  His speech at the Board meeting where Dr. Goodloe-Johnson was fired is a prime example.  He was absolutely uneasy about it and said so. 

Don't get me wrong; I like seeing diversity on the Board.  But I'm not voting for anyone based on race.  It's great to bring that vision and experience to the Board but first and foremost, can you do the job? 

I  also note that they state he was endorsed by many people but they none of them are named.  Curious.

They also don't directly endorse anyone in Position 6 but only name Steve Sundquist and Marty McLaren.   

11 comments:

Michael H said...

"What is odd about this is that Harium wears this mantle of being the only African-American on the Board somewhat uneasily. His speech at the Board meeting where Dr. Goodloe-Johnson was fired is a prime example. He was absolutely uneasy about it and said so.

Don't get me wrong; I like seeing diversity on the Board. But I'm not voting for anyone based on race. It's great to bring that vision and experience to the Board but first and foremost, can you do the job?"

Here, here! Race should not matter one iota. As you said, can the person do the job. "Diversity" is an over-used term that is, unfortunately, often used to justify actions that have no meaning or merit. The connotation should not be racial diveristy; it should be about diversity of perspective, and diveristy of thought instead of diversity of skin color. Those who focus solely on skin color need to have their heads examined.

How can anyone take you wrong? Just because you don't agree with this man who happens to be African-American (or just because you thought his speech at the MGJ firing meeting was lackluster - it was)does not make you a racist or someone opposed to "diversity".

dan dempsey said...

Well at least now I know why the Progressive Voters Guide is near worthless for evaluating Seattle School Board candidates.

"Our goal is to make smart, informed voting based on progressive values easier for you. So we worked with Washington's leading progressive organizations to produce a Progressive Voters Guide based on their endorsements - your ticket to highly informed recommendations about the races on your ballot. {{{ Say What??? highly informed about what in regard to the candidate evaluation of school directors? }}

The Progressive Voters Guide identifies the candidates with the most progressive track records and the ballot measure positions that will protect or promote progress in Washington. "

---------
I am looking for candidates who have a clue about how to produce academic achievement in children and can make it happen though effective policies, governance, and program approvals. The Progressive Voters Guide is an aid to those wanting to have more club-i-ness surrounding educational decision making.

Little wonder the Progressive Voters Guide does little to investigate substantive education issues or candidates... for as near as I can figure ... That is not what this group is about.

dan dempsey said...

Melissa said:
"I'll have to call them because what is on the page is a little confusing. "

If you read what the PVG says it is doing, it seems perfectly clear. The PVG looks at what other organizations and individuals are saying .... the PVG is not evaluating candidates on their ability to become effective school directors.

It is politics ... it is a club sport ... intelligent decision making has nothing to do with this endorsement business.

dan dempsey said...

So now that I've trashed the Progressive Voters Guide.... Let us see what Cliff Mass has to say....

Saving Seattle's Schools Requires New School Board Members

The multitude of problems in this poorly run and poorly performing district are manifest, and ultimately the origin of these deficiencies can be traced to a lack of leadership, energy and curiosity among several of the school district's directors. It seems that local newspapers run another depressing story every few weeks about a major Seattle School failure or scandal.

SST said...
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SST said...
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SST said...

"Don't get me wrong; I like seeing diversity on the Board. But I'm not voting for anyone based on race. It's great to bring that vision and experience to the Board but first and foremost, can you do the job?"

You said it Melissa!!! As a family of color who lived in the north end during the days of "choice" I was often asked if I chose the most diverse school that I could for my kids. My answer was no, not always. I chose the schools that most suited my child's learning and social emotional needs. If the school was diverse then that was an added bonus. And if there were two or more schools that I felt would be a good fit then I went to my tie breakers which were how convenient is the location and how diverse are the students and teachers. But I only used these tie breakers after I was convinced the school itself was a good fit. Same for school board elections. First and foremost will the person that I vote for be able to do the job? If so, I'll vote for them, no matter their race. To do anything other than this is in and of itself is a racist act IMHO.

ben said...

It might be nice to try to engage with some of these groups like the progressive voters and improve the quality of their guides.

Charlie Mas said...

There is no contact information available on the site.

Anonymous said...

Of course the Times has a vested interest in seeing that the most incompetent board members are retained. It creates news. Better yet, it creates scandal. News, especially in the form of scandal, is what they sell. If the district were running like a well-oiled machine, what sort of stories would be produced? All is Well. That doesn't sell much and isn't too interesting.

-observer

Phil said...

Charlie

Its Aaron Ostrum and SEIU funding the PVG.

Ever hear of anyone there associated with anything at SSD?

Me neither.

Can Karl Rove's Grassroots America be far behind?

They probably did that "Poll" for Sherry too.