Friday, July 22, 2011

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 city is rich in the talent, resources and public commitment necessary to create and support great schools.  I believe quality public education has the power to change lives and transform communities.  And I believe that if high expectations are set for every child, our students will rise to meet those expectations.”  

Harium Martin-Morris, District Position 3: “It is my belief that quality public education can and does transform lives.  My vision is for a Seattle to become a school system instead of a system of schools.  Our students deserve a system that supports individual student needs. A school system must have quality in every school and in every classroom.”

Steve Sundquist, District Position 6:  “I believe each Seattle child deserves a quality education and the opportunity to succeed.  I am committed to make the needed changes that help deliver on this belief.”

That's a lot of fairly trite talk there for 3 people who have already been in office for 4 years.  Harium's comment about "a school system" rather than a "system of schools" was interesting but I'm not sure what he means.  Better or more central control? 


suep. said...

That pretty much tells us everything we need to know about the wisdom and agenda of Stand for Children.

I'm not sure that their endorsement should carry much weight in this local race anyway. They are a national, political lobbying enterprise based in Oregon, with a corporate ed reform agenda, questionable tactics (see SFC head Jonah Edelman's recent revealing confession about how Stand does business: http://parentsacrossamerica.org/2011/07/jonah-edelman-on-outfoxing-teachers-unions-transcribed-remarks/) and funding from Gates.

If anything, their endorsement of Sundquist, Martin-Morris and Carr should be seen as a liability.

Anonymous said...

Such rhetoric from 3 who cannot turn our concerns into action, over 2-3 years of trying on our part. I think they've begun to identify too much with the system they're stating they can/would like to change. Sherry especially seems to listen and understand but she doesn't follow through. Ever. I think we need stronger advocates for the bottom line.

Looking for strong challengers

Juana said...

The directors state theories/ beliefs but where are the actions that they have taken to make them a reality or even actions consistent with these beliefs? At this point in their tenure they should have already accomplished something in line with these beliefs.

RBHS PTSA Secretary said...

Furthermore as elected board members in this district I challenge all seeking re-election to examine their core values as leaders and as it relates to compassion, equity and justice for ALL students.

I attended a few board meetings and watched as they sat emotionally unattached while students, parents, teachers and community members poured out countless inconsistencies, injustices and blatant lies yet they are endorsed, are running again and have the audacity to want people to vote for them.

Anonymous said...

They interviewed me for Dist 1. I probably said a dozen or so things that discouraged them from endorsing me.

Sharon Peaslee said...

Sorry about that last anonymous post. It was me. Sharon Peaslee. I can't seem to post through my google account.

Jan said...

Harium said: "My vision is for a Seattle to become a school system instead of a system of schools. Our students deserve a system that supports individual student needs. A school system must have quality in every school and in every classroom.”

Pretty vague and not terribly artful. I assume what he means is that he wants a "system that is sufficiently integrated, and has its "assets" strategically deployed, so that you wind up with high quality teaching and learning opportunities in all schools -- as opposed to just a "collection of buildings" where teaching goes on -- some good, some bad.

First of all, this seems like the slogan from the LAST election he ran in -- where there was a push to "recentralize" what many saw as too much independence - and lack of accountability - in schools. I hated it then (though I concur that there were problems, I don't think that was the solution) -- and I like it no better now. When you systematize things, it is FAR easier to get to equality by wrecking the good stuff than by fixing the bad-- and that is much of what MGJ did during her tenure.

He goes on to say (correctly) that kids deserve schools that support their individual needs -- but he has spent the last 4 years dismantling solutions that work for individual students, and doing nothing to replace disappearing alts, disappering choice, etc. with anything that DOES work. It isn't enough to "want" something. I "want" to go to Tahiti! But without money in the bank for the ticket, and actually accomplishing the buying of the ticket, packing of bags, getting a passport, driving to the airport and getting on the plane -- nothing happens -- especially if in the meantime, I spend all my money on a ticket to Newark!

Finally, the statement: A school system must have quality in every school and in every classroom" is just ed reform BS. Ingraham has plenty of quality in the school (in the IB program) but that doesn't help a kid who isn't in that program, and is idling away in "regular" classes, 4 years behind in reading and math. Garfield has plenty of quality in its classrooms, -- but still has way too many low income and minority kids who are not passing the HSPE.

Harium is wrong. That is NOT what we need. What we need are schools that have, and successfully use, methods to identify identify each kid who is behind or struggling, and help him or her catch up; and methods that identify kids who are at grade level or ahead, and help each of them learn as much as they possibly can in the few years we have them. It needs to be done by every school -- but it doesn't necessarily have to be done top down, cookie cutter, the same way by every school. In fact, it tends to be done very badly when done that way. It just needs to get done!

Jan said...

Suep -- I agree with your assessment that at this point (even if not originally), SfC is properly viewed as an "astroturf," fake-community, ed reform lobbying group.

However, for the endorsement to be a liability, rather than an asset, people have to know about the questionable tactics, the ed reform agenda, etc. Do you think they do?

Anonymous said...

They all sound like Chauncey Gardiner from "Being There"--spouting jingoistic rhetoric, that sounds right out of any ed. reform playbook.

--Life is a state of mind

Stu said...

Wow, Glenda . . you managed to really break it down to the simplest level.

The problem with these endorsements, and the signs I see all over 25th Avenue NE by Dahl Field, is that it keeps their names out there. Those little signs don't have a "message," they just keep reminding people that THESE PEOPLE ARE RUNNING . . . THESE PEOPLE ARE RUNNING.

And when an uninformed, or disinterested, voter gets ready to cast a ballot, he/she thinks "hmm . . . Sherry Carr, she must be good 'cause her signs are all over the neighborhood."

Same thing with endorsements. If someone's not looking past the first paragraph, the words "endorsed by," followed by any familiar name or official sounding organization, carries weight.


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Kathy said...

Despite the fact that Peter Maier has failed to hold the district responsible for tax-payer dollars, set the district on a fiscally non-sustainable path, supported administration over direct student support etc., he is heavily endorsed.

Please help Sharon Peaslee by helping to promote a viral campaign. Please click "like" on your facebook page. Encourage friends to do the same. Additionally, please consider donating to Sharon Peaslee's campaign.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Kay won, in a green campaign, without signs OR mailings. She used social media and a couple of billboards. But she had a big base in her district and that is key to getting out of the primary.

I would disagree with candidates who make it out of the primary to run as a slate. There is more danger to doing that. They should just run against whoever makes it out of the primary.

My hope (small though it is) is that in one district, the incumbent gets bumped out in the primary. (Remember this from the Mayor's race?) What a signal that would send! I could see it happening in Peter's race (as he seems to be a weak link) but Sharon Peaslee and John Cummings will have to run hard between now and the primary.

It might happen in Harium's race as Michelle Buetow and John Dunn are both strong candidates.

There's a lot of anger out there and we'll have to see how it translates into votes. What if the State Auditor releases the report on the sale of the MLK,Jr. bldg to First AME? I can only say that I know there a couple of things that may be in the report that will NOT be favorable to the district (and therefore the Board). One more thing to add to the tipping point.

Again I say, every single vote counts. Tell your friends, your neighbors about these races if it matters to you. The Board races generally come at the end of the ballot (where voters sometimes don't get to) and those vote totals drop off (look at the count between City Council and Board votes and you'll see what I mean).

Stand will throw LOTS of money to the incumbents with this endorsement. If you don't have money, fine. Then make time to do one thing for their campaign and at least talk up the races to people you know.

dan dempsey said...

It is interesting what can be found when one examines how endorsed candidates do once in office.

The Muni League endorsements in 2007 were among the worse. The Muni League completely skips over any concern about competence in dealing with school issues and focuses on civic involvement and evaluates candidates on leadership experience.

It should come as no surprise the Four elected in 2007 were the highest rated by the muni league in each of the four races.

NO surprise that each elected candidate was great at assuming the role of politician and pathetic about making decisions related to improving schools.

Perhaps some organization needs to be rating the organizations that do endorsements for school director. .... Most of these endorsing organizations have lousy track records when it comes to school director (if results matter).

Also the City League in 2007 excluded some candidates form their forum with School Board candidates in direct violation of their 501c3 status.... but as we know when it comes to schools and the law in WA State LEGAL VIOLATIONS just do not matter.

Charlie Mas said...

I wonder if the gap between getting elected and governing has ever been so wide as it is now.

We have a lot of folks at the federal level who appear much more focused on campaigning than governing, to the point that they are dropping the ball on governing to score points for campaigning. Horrid.

Now, here in Seattle, we see four members of the school board who have resolutely refused to govern, yet who have no trouble gaining endorsements for their campaigns. What in the world are these endorsing organizations and people using as a basis for those endorsements? It sure ain't anything to do with the work.

What if the endorsement interview were all about the work? What if the questions were:

What, in your view, is the board's job?

How will you perform governance?

How will you provide oversight?

How will you represent the public?

Those are the only four questions that really matter, aren't they? And yet I rarely see these questions asked.

Kathy said...

Get ready for this...

The word on the street is that
Reuven Maier has endorsed Peter Maier.

When...just when... will our polilticians help us protect tax-payer dollars intended for our children.

BTW..Peter is Chariman of the Operations Committee. The district failed to renew the permit for an elementary school in West Seattle. Consequently, the district will now have to spend $12M to open the school. If the permit hadn't expired..cost of reopening the school would have been $2M. Thanks AGAIN Peter.

Kathy said...

Sorry, just reread my post.

Reuven Carlyle has endorsed Peter Maier.

Charlie Mas said...

Kathy, I don't see this on either Peter Maier's web site or on Reuven Carlyle's blog.

I hope that Mr. Carlyle will write about it on this blog so people can discuss it with him.

voter said...

In our neighborhood, business size cards were distributed door to door for the KSB campaign.

Anonymous said...

I think that some of these candidates should pool their resources and remind the public that the group of incumbents have presided over waste and corruption in this district with a smiley face stamp.

The candidates should use some type of collective symbol to distinguish themselves from the incumbents--maybe a cartoon of the incumbents with the slogan,
"Thank you for not thinking."

--not time for Seattle nice, especially with the big money and endorsements

EmeraldCityLifer said...

Kathy - Where did you see the information about the district not renewing the permit for a West Seattle elementary school?

I would love to see how much money has been wasted by shuttering and then a few years later re-opening schools, including the additional cost of vandalism/theft at Viewlands.