Showing posts from August, 2011

The Stranger and Save Seattle Schools Invite You to a Debate

I wish I could say it better but I can't (so I won't) -  so take it away The Stranger: Ready to dive into the slightly-byzantine, totally-enraged politics of the Seattle School District? Neither are we, but we must . After a three-year run of controversies—ranging from school closures to a $1.8 million alleged fraud scandal that ended in the superintendent’s termination—a majority of the Seattle School Board is up for reelection this fall. A sweep by four serious challengers in the general election would tip the troubled district’s balance of power. But do these Cliff Mass-endorsed hopefuls have the skills to run the school district? All four incumbents and all four challengers will debate at Town Hall on September 28 at 7:30 p.m . in an event sponsored by The Stranger . Lightning rounds with all eight contenders? YES!  Four sets of one-on-one mini-debates? YES!  Vote via text after every round for the winner of each match?  YES! YES! FORTHECHILDREN YES

Dr. Enfield's Message(s)

Dr. Enfield has put forth a message for parents and communities about the district's focus for the future.  Here's most of it: I promised to listen and engage with the community around what we collectively want our schools to become. I heard four common themes, which will guide our work this year: great principals, great teachers, connected families and a responsive central office.

Want Change? Let's Work for It

I've been talking to the challengers and wanted to put out the call for help.  So what can you do? first, money.  Money is not going to win a position for anyone but no one can run without it.  In fact, some groups might not give a candidate money if they don't already have some in their treasury (believing that they are not a serious candidate if they can't raise money).  Please donate anything (even $10-20).    Don't forget that Obama made (and continues to receive) a lot of little donations that add up.  volunteer.  Let the candidates know you want to help.  It can be one time or a regular gig.  For example, it is helpful to have a driver to take the candidates to the various events.   That way the candidate can focus on preparing on what to say and not finding a parking place.  Or, volunteer your front porch as a pickup spot for lawn signs.   They need these in all areas of the city and it makes it easier for other supporters to get one if they know there is a n

Washington State Scores Released

I have no time to read and analyze these results but I put them up for your own viewing.  According to this article in the Times, Washington State students are doing better on the math and science exams. Math scores in grades 3-8 increased in every grade except eighth. But What hasn't improved is the number of schools failing to make adequate yearly progress, as required by the federal No Child Left Behind law. Preliminary figures show 1,388 Washington schools were on that list in 2011, an increase of about 200 schools from 2010. A total of 223 school districts — out of 295 in the state — failed to make adequate yearly progress in 2011. Here's the link to the scores at OSPI. I checked but there is no announcement yet from Seattle Schools about the scores for our district.

Nutrition Services Changes

There's a story in today's Seattle Times about the re-assignment of the former head of Nutrition Services, "Seattle schools nutrition director tried, now he's off the menu" . The article is by Nicole Brodeur and it provides about a third of the story, so it's impossible to determine the actual course of events, but the former nutrition director of Seattle Public Schools, Eric Boutin, is no longer in that role. There is some vague, dark talk that suggests that he was somehow forced out by the union, but there are no facts and there's no explanation. Ms Brodeur only tells one side of the story and doesn't even tell all of that, but it clearly prompts union bashing (which dutifully appears in the comments after the story). Where is the District's Communication department riding to the rescue? Nowhere.

A "Wow" News Story and a "Hmm" What's This One All About story

Over at the Huffington Post, there were two interesting stories. The first is about Larry Powell, the superintendent of Fresno county, CA schools .  Larry was worried about what would happen to some of the programs he cared most about in his district, he took an $800k pay cut over the next three years.  Holy cow! He runs 325 schools in 35 districts with 195,000 students.  He'll run those districts on less than a starting California teacher salary.  He technically retired, then agreed to be rehired for $31k a year ($10k less than a starting teacher).   From the story: Powell's generosity is more than just a gesture in a region with some of the nation's highest rates of unemployment. As he prepares for retirement, he wants to ensure that his pet projects survive California budget cuts. And the man who started his career as a high school civics teacher, who has made anti-bullying his mission, hopes his act of generosity will help restore faith in the government he

News Update

The SunSentinel. com has a story on the six semifinalists named for Broward County schools superintendent job.  The list does not contain Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson's name. The finalists come from all parts of the country including the superintendent of the Bethel School district in Spanaway, WA.  They are expecting to announce a new superintendent on September 14th. 

Seattle School District Meeting for Week of August 29-Sep. 2

Tuesday, August 30th Ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Nathan Hale building from 2-3 p.m. (There is going to be just a tour for the media at this event but Hale will be having a Community Celebration on Saturday, Oct. 15th  with public tours of the building.)   Hale's rebuild came in phases but ended up costing about the same as the other high school rebuilds, around $90M. Back to School Event: Community Celebration of Learning from 4-6 p.m. at the Seattle Center Fisher Pavilion.  Program starts at 4:30 p.m.  From the district: At this celebration, you will have an opportunity to learn about valuable resources, services and programs that will be available to support students and families during the 2011-12 school year. Mayor McGinn will be in attendance, some/all of the School Board, the All-City Band and "a few surprises."  You'll receive a ticket as you enter and there will be a drawing for several prizes. Wednesday, August 31st Seattle Schools furl

Come Watch Some Flying on a Boat

Just a heads up about a couple of performances tonight and on Thursday, the 25th that may be of interest to you if you are looking for something fun for the kids.  And, it's free (but donations welcome). From the Seattle Times : Long-distance sailors typically are driven by a desire to explore new horizons, a passion for being at sea or some combination of both. But Delphine Lechifflart and Franck Rabilier may be the only ones driven by their love of performing acrobatic shows while suspended from the mast of their sailboat. The French couple, who will perform two shows at Elliott Bay Marina in Seattle on Saturday and Thursday, use the mast, boom, rigging and other parts of their sailboat to perform aerial acrobatics. Since leaving their home in northwestern France in 2004, they have performed in Europe, the Caribbean and South America before heading for British Columbia and Washington for a series of shows this summer. Delphine Lechifflart and Franck Rabilier w

Updates on This Week's Threads

I got some feedback from a couple of readers about my thread, Why TFA is Dangerous for our District, about not redacting the name of the candidate that Dr. Goodloe-Johnson and Wendy Kopp, head of TFA, were discussing. I understand those readers reasoning but I also reason that if it was a personnel matter, SPS should have redacted it.  I also believe, from reading the e-mails, that the person was actively involved in discussions and so likely knew his name was being discussed.  We can agree to disagree on this point. However, I will be writing to Ron English, General Counsel, on this issue of redaction.  I feel I should let Mr. English know about them so that if there was an error, it can be corrected in any public disclosure documents going forward. Also, over at The Stranger, they have called the Position 3 challenger win for Michelle Buetow.   I have to agree. I have been tracking the results every day and the gap between Michelle and John Dunn (about 176 votes) has not budge

Friday Open Thread

From this week we see that Dr. Enfield, at least in the case of TFA, wasn't open to listening to parent/community input at all.  That she would mock/laugh with a TFA rep at input from those in opposition to TFA is quite disturbing.  I'll be interested to see if she ever addresses this issue with me or anyone else.  We also have yet another wealthy person who wants to make over public education in the form of hey! he's from Microsoft, Scott Oki.   As former School Board director, Steve Brown, once said to me, "Why is it that wealthy people always want to start new things and not help fix our existing schools?"  Next week is the last full week of summer for our kids.  I'm sure it's a melancholy time for some of you and others can't wait.  As a reminder, Kay Smith-Blum is having her community meeting tomorrow from 10-11:30 am at the Douglass-Truth library.  Her agenda has a large number of items and Executive Director Nancy Coogan will also be on ha

Scott Oki's Solution Looking for a Problem

A story in Crosscut ("The Parents Union: A new force for education reform?") describes an effort by Scott Oki ("self-described 'serial entrepreneur' and community activist") to form a "parent's union" to counter the strength of the teachers' union and promote public school reform in Washington State. What an idiot. Mr. Oki has no idea what he's doing or what he's talking about. The article makes that pretty clear. * He says that the teachers' union blocks reform, but all of the other folks in the article acknowledge that the WEA is supportive of reform. * He says that the problem is bloated central bureaucracies, but the teachers' union didn't create and doesn't maintain those. * He says that parents should be able to send their child to the school of their choice - as if we have never tried that - but he has no solution for when 5,000 families choose Garfield. * He says that school families have no voic

District Updates (Enrollment, Transportation and Special Education)

Enrollment The District is urging families to please enroll your student by Tuesday, August 30th .  If you know anyone who hasn't done this, let them know that for the good of all, please do it before the first day of school.  From the press release:

Rick Perry Wanted More Dead Teachers

In a "can you believe this" piece of reporting, the Huffington Post reports that Texas governor Rick Perry, egged on by former Senator Phil Gramm, was trying to convince the group that managed the Texas teachers retirement system to allow the state of Texas to buy life insurance policies on elderly retired teachers.   Essentially, it was to be a bundled deal of life insurance policies for a small group of investors (this to avoid public scrutiny).  Texas would have received some of the fees the banking group would have received from selling the securities. This was never something that either the Texas retirement group or the Texas teachers' union was ever going to go along with but they were consulted early on.   The families of the deceased teachers would have received nothing.  Any teachers who balked would have been offered a free pair of shoes.  What's interesting is that the teachers pension fund wasn't even in trouble.  It was funded over 94%, above the

Education Advocacy Roster

My, but there sure are a lot of education advocacy groups in and around Seattle. There are so many, I'm not sure how the Gates Foundation (which, I think, funds them all) keeps track of them. Let's see how many we can count. League of Education Voters Stand for Children Partnership for Learning Alliance for Education Community Center for Education Results Seattle Council PTSA Each of these groups has an executive director and a staff that all are making a living from advocating all the same things as all of the other groups. Why do we need so many of them? Why can't they all just merge, like LEV and the New School Foundation did? Wouldn't that cut redundant staff and mean more resources for students? Beyond the general education advocacy groups, there are others. There are a couple special interest advocacy groups: Washington STEM Where's the Math? ArtsEd Washington Washington State Leadership and Assistance for Science Education Reform

Links to Latest SPS/TFA e-mails

For your reading interest: TFA 1 TFA 2 TFA 3 TFA 4 TFA 5 TFA 6 One last thing for anyone from SPS or anyone who works for a government entity - your work e-mails are public e-mails.  That means anyone, at anytime can ask for them. Food for thought.

Why TFA is Dangerous for Our District (or any other)

Lastly, on this latest batch of e-mails were two interesting ones from the e-mail of Maria Goodloe-Johnson. One is frightening and the other is a bit of schadenfrueden for our pal, Michelle Rhee. In June of 2010, Dr. Goodloe-Johnson wrote Wendy Kopp, the head of TFA, for advice on someone to head SPS's Human Resources department. Wendy wrote back inquiring: …whether you might be open to considering candidates who may not fit the traditional requirements/profile ( e.g. not necessarily 10 years of HR-type exp) since many of our strong leaders have not had the most traditional paths but may be interested and compelling candidates for a role like this one. MGJ We are absolutely interested in non-tradional candidates.  You have also prompted me to think about revising the 10 years and adding strategic thinking and transformative leadership as required qualifications. Wendy One more thing - - we were talking with a high-potential TFA alum in WA state about this and before he throw

SPS/TFA E-mails - If You're Not for It, Enfield Won't be Listening

When Charlie had e-mailed the Board about his concerns over TFA (antedotal versus data-driven information), here was the response between Dr. Enfield and Janis Ortega (TFA): This immediately sparked a response from Enfield to Ortega, " We need the positive research ."   Ortega -  " Coming atcha, Susan ."  Enfield - " No immediate response warranted from you – just want you to share the experience with me! Ortega - " LOL, Oh, I am COMPELTELY there with you!  Please do keep sending!  Theya re also e-mailing me directly." Enfield - " I hope you are asking for a raise – this is definitely deserving of hazard pay! " Ortega -  " That’s the best statement ever, Susan!  Hilarious!  Honestly this experience has been exhilariating aand oddly, quite fulfilling.  If I wasn’t battling on crazy turfs like Seattle, then what good is the work I’m all about.  Kids are clearly getting lost in the insane politics entrenched in SPS, so I’m fine taking hi

New Education Blog in Seattle

We are always delighted when others start their own discussions about education in Seattle. There are a number of blogs - some more active than others, some more public than others - in addition to this one. I would like to introduce a newcomer to the discussion: Let it Rain... Close the Gap . There is a mirror site at, but I think that the one without the "4" is the main one. It's hard to say. Also there is a little problem with duplicate threads - not sure if they will fix that. The blog is administered by Jess Hasken who, I believe, is a TFA alum (2007-2009), and is now working as an organizer for Stand for Children . In one of her first blog posts , Ms Hasken wrote that this blog was part of a "misinformation campaign". When I responded with a comment asking her to quote some of that misinformation, my comment was deleted. So I guess it's going to be like that. Welcome to the conversation Let it Rain.

Kind of Spooky

So out in Philadelphia, they ousted their Superintendent.  She was due, under her contract, $1.5M but they paid her $900,000 to leave (of which $400k came from anonymous, private donors).  Boy, they really wanted her leave.  It didn't help that she did this (from the Huffington Post ): With the situation becoming increasingly untenable, Ackerman faced it head-on Thursday in a speech to district principals. She publicly challenged school board members to "sentence me ... or set me free" in what many saw as an unannounced farewell speech. She entered the room to Sade's song "Is It A Crime?" – which became the theme of her remarks. She also read Maya Angelou's poem "Still I Rise": "You may shoot me with your words, you may cut me with your eyes, you may kill me with your hatefulness, but still, like air, I rise." Ackerman then referred to the past year as "full of lots of challenge and controversy for me" and said her cr

Seattle School Board Campaign 2011 News

First, there's going to be a School Board candidate forum sponsored by The Stranger on Wednesday, September 28th at Town Hall (time TBA).  It should be very interesting because of the following: large venue so bring friends and supporters for the candidate of your choice speed round with "yes, no, maybe" signs general questions for all candidates debate section for each position so that candidates can directly address the other's statements Mark your calendar now! Also, from Marty McLaren's campaign, they have set up phone banking for Marty.  Here's the details: We'll be meeting every Wednesday at the Labor Temple in downtown Seattle from 5pm to 8pm, with our first phonebank tonight, and would love to see you there!  As you probably know, contacting voters is the most important part of a campaign and one of the best ways to do that is phonebanking, however we can't do it alone!  The phonebanks will be every Wednesday at 5pm, and we

Seattle School Board Primary Update for Tuesday

The numbers seem about the same for every race.  What little movement there is seems to be going to challengers.  The incumbents' numbers are largely unchanged. The Dunn/Buetow race is still in the same place with 180 votes separating them. I did call King County elections today.  They will certify the races on August 31st.  At this point, there is no School Board race that, as it stands today, would trigger a recount.  ( It has to be 150 votes or less AND 1/4 of one percent of the vote.)  A candidate could make a request for an recount but that candidate pays for it.  If it changes the outcome, they get the money back. 

David Brewster Proven Wrong

Remember back in June when David Brewster of Crosscut wrote this article, An election likely to ratify strong councils ? He wrote: " Lots of fireworks, but I suspect the current board will survive, sustaining the momentum it has created. " He has now been proven wrong in the primary election in which three of the four incumbents for the school board failed to win a majority of the votes in their primary. The fourth won only a slim majority in his district, his strongest base of support, and now has to run city-wide where the sentiment appears to be anti-incumbent. I sure would like Mr. Brewster to follow up his prediction with another article in which he checks his accuracy and analyzes any bad guesses.

More Time in Schools

Interesting op-ed in the NY Times about the lowering of class time/school year in U.S. Schools. The minimum required school day in West Virginia is already about the length of a “Harry Potter” double feature. In Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Milwaukee, summer school programs are being slashed or eliminated. In Oregon and California this year, students will spend fewer days in the classroom; in rural communities from New Mexico to Idaho, some students will be in school only four days a week. What's great is that a trend of expanded schedules that started in high-performing charters has transferred over to some regular public schools (wow, it can be done!): In Boston, for example, the Edwards Middle School has gone, in five years, from the worst-performing, least-desired middle school to a model of success after it increased scheduled teaching time by 30 percent. Students there now outperform the state average proficiency rate in math and have nearly closed achievement

Are Charters Like TFA - Inevitable?

As we were discussing previously, LEV has decided to start a conversation about charters coming to Washington.   Okay, it's part of public education in the U.S. and I have no problems with dialog.  BUT, that's not what LEV does.  I know it, they know it.  It's part of long push to get charter legislation going and voted into our state.  But there's a couple of interesting turns here.  One is that LEV's position is not that charters are great and work well across the board.  It's that for a certain group of children, they do seem to work.  This would be for ELL and poor students.  (I'd have to look into this assertion myself but I'll take it at face value.)  So would it be worth it to bring in another layer of bureaucracy to public education in Washington state just for a small subset of students?  Do we really believe that only charters that serve those groups would pop up?  Is it worth it to have better schools for those children (even if it means w

Seattle School Board Primary Update for Monday

The numbers have barely shifted in two races; Position 3 and Position 6 (Steve Sundquist and Marty McLaren).  The numbers are nearly the same for Michelle Bueow/John Dunn in Position 3 ; Buetow is still just under 200 votes ahead of Dunn. In Position 1 (Peter Maier/Sharon Peaslee), Peaslee went up over 37% (to Peter's 51%) In Position 2 (Kate Martin/Sherry Carr), Sherry has dipped to just below 40 percent ( 39.97%)  and Kate is at 32.41.  That makes them just 7.56% apart, the lowest percentage of any race.

If You Knew Susan...

. I know Susan Enfield on the subject of TFA, well, like me, it will give you pause. It took awhile but I finally got through all the SPS/TFA e-mails that I received.  In a separate thread, I will post some additional quotes that will show a timeline of discussion, laughter, friendship and an almost absolute irritation/disregard for the public's input and for public process.  Don't you know that if the public didn't keep asking questions and writing to elected officials and public officials that a lot more could get done at SPS and TFA? This thread is to talk about themes and impressions.

News Stories: Census Still Counting and Fix Schools, Fix the Economy

In the first story, I didn't know this but the U.S. Census counts U.S. school children and activities associated with back to school.  From the NY Times article : The bureau estimated that 55 million students would be enrolled in pre-kindergarten through high school this fall, and that 11 percent would be in private schools. That total is up by about 16 percent from 20 years ago.  Also, in an alert from reader Steve, a NY Times editorial about our nation's crumbling infrastructure (including school buildings) and job creation.   Take, for example, Fix America’s Schools Today , or FAST, an idea that has been incorporated into a House proposal to be introduced this fall by Jan Schakowsky, Democrat of Illinois. Public school buildings in the United States are on average over 40 years old and in need of an estimated $500 billion in repairs and upgrades. A $50 billion school renovation program would employ 500,000 workers (1.5 million construction workers are curr

Seattle Schools Meetings for August 22-27, 2011

Tuesday the 23rd Audit&Finance Committee meeting from 4-6 p.m. (for Audit issues) Agenda reflects these items:  capital performance audit follow-up, update on Pottergate, update and action plan on yet another audit, intro of Internal Auditor, schedule of departmental reviews, more School Board policies updates (HR) Wednesday, August 24th Board Work Session on Technology in Schools from 4-6 p.m. Thursday, August 25  Audit&Finance Committee meeting from 4-6 p.m. (for Finance issues) Agenda reflects these items: financials update, community schools report, daily attendance issues, budget update Saturday, August 27 Community Meeting with Director Kay Smith-Blum from 10-11:30 am at the Douglass-Truth library, 2300 Yesler Way at 23rd Anyone attend the Parent Summit or Martin-Morris community meeting on Saturday? 

Friday Election Update

New numbers from King County elections: Position 1   (only race where the incumbent beat total votes of challengers) Maier   51.52 (down from 51.94) Peaslee  37.65 (up from 36.67) Position 2   (highest number of votes for this district at 20,674) Carr  40.21%  (down from 40.55) Martin  32.23% (up from 30.24) Position 3 Martin-Morris  41.36% (down 41.92) Buetow  28.32% (down from 28.59) Dunn  27.17 (up from 26.15) Buetow is still up over Dunn by 185 votes. Position 6 (highest percentage of registered vote at 37.75%) Sundquist  43.43 (down from 43.91) McLaren  30.13 (up from 29.78)

Green Lake Businesses Step Up to Help Teachers

From the Green Lake PI blog : On Wednesday, August 31, the first of the furlough days, there will be a Teacher Appreciation event from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at  Mockingbird Books  ( 7220 Woodlawn Ave NE ). Deborah Bonjouklian of  FaceTime SkinCare  is teaming up with Mockingbird Books to offer the event free of charge to teachers. Deborah will be providing complimentary mini-facials or hand treatments and the bookstore will offer a special teacher discount. There will also be drawings for various products, including B5 Serum, Self Tanner and Arbonne products, and a drawing for a facial valued at $80. “I think our public school teachers are getting a raw deal with the recent pay cuts,” Deborah says. “I wanted to do something to show they are appreciated.” A nice nod to teachers (while trying to help their own businesses).  

Open Thread Friday

It's overcast...again. What's on your mind? Good discussion going over at the Rainier Valley Post over the announcement of the TFA teachers at Aki Kurose.  Forgot to mention:  Director Martin-Morris has his first community meeting of the school year tomorrow (Sat. 8/20) from 9:30-11:30 a.m. at Diva Espresso at 80th and Lake City Way.

Election Update for Thursday

Looks like all the incumbents dropped slightly (but overall one percent or less).  However, the fight is still on for the challenger to Martin-Morris in Position 3.   Dunn has closed the gap to less than 200 votes between him and Buetow.  It's a nail-biter.  Also, one thing that all the challengers have asked for help with is in the legislative districts.  The incumbents have people in these districts advocating for them.  The endorsement meetings are starting now and as I have seen, it really gets swayed by who shows up advocating for who.  Please, check out the King County Dems website for information about your legislative district.  Whether you think endorsements matter or not, it's important to try to get some for the challengers because it matters to others. 

Want to Help School AND Make Your Kid a Star?

The Families and Education Levy campaign is creating a commercial on the steps of Garfield High School on Sunday, August 28th from noon to 1 p.m. and are seeking the participation of 100 kids, ages 5-18.  Here's a link to the City's page on the levy and its activities since 1990. This is a great opportunity to help create awareness and support for the F&E levy and let your kid be on tv.  I'm sure they'll want enthusiasm and bubbly types so if you have one of those at home, bring them. Garfield is at 400 23rd Avenue and they will be meeting on the front steps. No compensation but lots of fun. Please e-mail Steven if you are interested and he will send the parent release form to download and sign (in case you have an older kid you just want to send out on their own).  He will also have them available at the shoot if you just want to show up.  Steven Jones, Campaign Manager (206) 552-9148

Seattle School Board Meeting (Part Two)

The first item on the Action item portion of the agenda was the conditional certification authorization for TFA hires.  As it turns out, only two names were put forth.   You may recall, that there were 3 names (plus 1 other person but already she has a teaching certificate but joined TFA anyway).  One of the hires was withdrawn and I gather that the SEA raised some concerns about the hiring process on this particular person.  So it was announced that there will be another round of interviews for this position in the next couple of weeks and I assume this person will apply again.  Holly Ferguson, the new (deep breath) Executive Director of Partnerships, Policy and Strategic Communications, got up to answer questions.  She explained that the hiring process included a review of applications materials, references, hiring committee, etc.   )I will have to defer to StopTFA about Ms. Ferguson's statement about whether the recruits are highly qualified under NCLB and OSPI.  There is a

Game on, Times

The Times' editorial board is nothing if not amusing.  Their current editorial on the School Board races puts forth the results without much analysis (because, of course, if they said, out loud, that the incumbents all appear to be in trouble that would hurt their cause).  Here's how they framed the results: Frustration about Seattle School Board leadership weighed heavily on the minds of primary voters who, in all but one board race, were more generous with their votes for challengers than incumbents. Yes, generous is one way to put it.  Another would be that all the incumbents appear to be in trouble. They can only say about the challengers that they raise valid concerns about the district and the current Board.  Almost like, "thanks for pointing that out, now move along." They claim that virtually none of the challengers had focus and all are inexperienced.  At what?  Being Board members?  Everyone is who hasn't been on the Board or held elected offi

Seattle School Board Meeting (Part One)

The Board meeting was fairly entertaining and informative tonight. First up was a wonderful presentation about Special Olympics and soccer teams made up of SPS students from 7 of the 10 high schools that formed a league this year.  (Rainier Beach's team won the championship this year.)  Created by SPS Athletic Director Eric McCurdy, it is to expand to all 10 high schools this year.  Really hard-warming and a great community effort from both Special Olympics and the Seattle Sounders. 

Election Update

 New numbers from King County elections: Position 1 Maier   51.94 Peaslee  36.67 Cummings 10.71 Mostly the same with Peter going up 1%. Position 2 Carr  40.55 Martin  30.24 Whelan  17.53 Menage  5.69 Weber  5.27 Again, almost exactly where we left them last night. Position 3 Martin-Morris  41.92 Buetow  28.59 Dunn  26.15 Again, virtually the same.  Buetow has 291 more votes than Dunn.  I'm thinking this one could go through the weekend. Position 6 Sundquist  43.91 McLaren  29.78 Anderson  21.06 Sundquist goes up about 1% but again, about the same. I'm thinking except for Position 3, the top two candidates in each race have been decided. 

More Election Stats

So how much of the vote went against the incumbents in each race?  Interesting numbers.  In three races, the majority of the vote went against the incumbent.  In the other race, the vote was just under 50%. Position 1 - 48.24% of the vote was for challengers.  Peter Maier received 50.97% Position 2 - 59.02% of the vote was for challengers.  Sherry Carr received 40.15% Position 3 - 57.99 % of the vote was for challengers.  Harium Martin-Morris received 41.34% Position 6 - 56.39% of the vote was for challengers.  Steve Sundquist received 42.85% Does it follow that all those who voted for the lowest vote-count challengers will automatically switch to the highest vote-count challenger?  Odds are yes (unless they really believe only in the person they voted for and/or don't believe in the qualifications of the highest vote getter).  Well-run campaigns on the part of the winning challengers may translate to a win for them in the general election.

Election Night Live Blogging

The Stranger is over at Michelle Buetow's campaign party.  They say: There are tons of kids running around, eating pizza, demanding alcohol. Buetow is sipping on a gin tonic, feeling extremely confident. She thinks she has a good chance to make it to the top 2. "I knocked on a lot of doors," she says, wasted. Buetow faces stiff competition from incumbent Harium Martin Morris and former SEA leader John Dunn. "Dunn could make it too," she says, wasted-er. The Stranger does get its staff mixed up with other people in reporting the amount of drunkenness in a person.  I'm quite certain Michelle Buetow is not drinking a lot.  More election stats from King County (via The Stranger Slog): Results from the first 205,000 ballots should be released at 8:15 p.m. tonight, and that'll be that until 4:30 p.m. tomorrow afternoon. As for turnout, Kim van Ekstrom at KC Elections tells me they were originally projecting 52 percent, which is just crazy

Election Predictions

It's always a hard call for School Board.  They are predicting about a 24% turnout for this primary.  Shave off at least 8% for people who just don't vote for School Board (always happens - the vote count for City Council is always higher).  So every vote counts. I've been asked if I think people are angry enough to vote out the incumbents.  I think the problem is not anger or frustration or confusion - it's exhaustion.  Can we believe the incumbents when they say they WILL provide more oversight (despite the fact that they had a lot of community input on many issues and ignored most of it in their votes only to have it come back and bite them.  I note that Martin-Morris is running heavily on his no votes on the MLK, Jr. building sale and school closures.) I think four years is enough.  If I had seen anyone slowing changing course, maybe.  (Sherry has but I haven't seen any pushback from her to staff, just some scolding.)  That Peter had no answer to what he

Free Cardiac Screenings at Chief Sealth High School

From the district: As part of its commitment to making our schools and community safer, Seattle Public Schools is partnering a second time with the Nick of Time Foundation to host free youth heart screenings on Wednesday, August 24, from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. , at Chief Sealth International High School. All students age 14-24 are eligible for a screening, regardless of enrollment status. According to the American Heart Association, one in every 350 young people has an undetected heart condition. The best way to detect these conditions is through a heart screening using an ECG (electrical test) and Echocardiograms (ultrasound) of the heart. The test is painless and takes about 25 minutes. Athletes especially are encouraged to sign up for a cardiac screening. Those interested can download forms at . To pre-register your child for a screening, email . Please include the following information: ·          Child’s ful

Meetings This Week, August 15-20, 2011

Monday Curriculum and Instruction meeting from 4-6 p.m.  All the agenda says is " Board policies C and D."   "C" is Curriculum & Instruction and covers the following: curriculum (world languages, adoption of instructional materials, approval of supplementary instructional materials), instructional resources, instructional programs (online learning), Special Education and Staff Development. "D" is Students and covers the following: student assignement, student rights and responsibilities and discipline. I don't know what the meeting will cover but one reader said it may be about online learning. Wednesday Work Session: Distribution Services from 4-5:30 p.m.   Should be educational because I know almost nothing about this area. Public Hearing about the Debt Service Fund ( which services our bond debts like BEX and the debt on the Stanford Headquarters).  This is from 5:30-5:45 p.m. and it's short because it's likely to be only me an

More Belt-Tightening Likely for SPS

I attended a Crosscut lunch with their guest, Senator Ed Murray.  There wasn't a lot to smile about in listening to him.  The September revenue forecast is unlikely to be good.  The Governor has already sent out signals that she expects departments to find another 10% to cut. As the Senator points out, K-12 is somewhat protected because of the constitutional mandate.  However, that doesn't mean they might not cut something else.  As I mentioned elsewhere, Director DeBell is worried the Legislature will tie money to attendance , forcing a really big mandate on schools and school districts.  Don't be surprised to hear more about attendance at your school. What was sad was that he said that he didn't feel many of his fellow legislators held that kind of regard for higher ed.  He said some of them felt the state should get out of the higher ed business (which begs the question of whether it is a "business").  That felt a little scary because we are so focused

Board Agenda For Meeting on Wednesday, 8/17/2011

The agenda looks fairly light on Wednesday but with a few notable items.   (I note that today - Saturday the 13th - the agenda is not accessible at the SPS website but I had already downloaded it yesterday.  I'll post it when it comes back up.) Update: here's the link . The agenda was reviewed at the Executive Committee meeting held earlier in the week (which no School Board candidates attended which is unfortunate as it's where you see the real work done).

Update on TFA/Apple Partnership

As I previously reported, I called Apple and TFA about this iPad partnership.  Apple was very nice but said they knew nothing about it and to ask TFA.   TFA didn't return either of my phone calls or my e-mail.  I can't find any other info via Google, either. They want people to donate but they don't want people, even those donating the iPad, to know where it will go.  What is a big question is if TFA is giving the iPad to a school where a TFA recruit is assigned or to the TFA recruit? Because thenwhat happens when the TFA recruit leaves the school?  Does he/she leave the iPad behind?  Take it? I'd be troubled to know that I donated an iPad to a TFA recruit and not a needy classroom.  Which leads to the question of why Apple wouldn't eliminate the middleman (TFA) and just donate to needy schools in the cities where Apple stores are created.  A quick phone call to a district "Could you use some donated iPads in your classroom?"  and that's it. Cl

Open Thread Friday

From the Republican forum held last night: Mitt Romney thinks Barack Obama doesn't know anything about jobs because he believes Obama never had a job. Well, Obama was a law professor at the University of Chicago for a decade so I guess we know what Romney thinks of  higher ed.  And if he thinks teaching constitutional law isn't teaching and teaching isn't a job then you can guess what he probably thinks of teachers.  (But he also said at a rally that corporations are people so he's onboard with the Supreme Court on that one.) This is the last weekend before the primary.  Good luck to all the candidates and get those ballots in!

Publicola Weighs in on School Board Candidates

The wags over at Publicola did something interesting - rather than "endorse" anyone, they just did interviews and gave reviews (kinda like the Muni League).   They had a stunning review of the district: Seattle Public Schools appears to be in a state of perpetual crisis. Add the embarrassing minority programming scandal , a screwed-up bidding process for the MLK School property, and the stunning conflict of interest with the MAP standardized test to poor graduation rates (70 percent on-time), the achievement gap, and poor financial management, and PubliCola’s ratings for all the incumbents had to be downgraded a notch. Yikes! But they seemed to think the challengers were too aggressively against ed reform (which Publicola thinks is "way overblown" but they're political wonks and not education wonks.  They also - oddly - give the Board credit for closing schools (but apparently missed the news that we had to reopen schools a few scant years later a


One, don't forget that LEV is having a live on-line chat today at noon about charter schools.   Two, the BEX Oversight Committee meeting tomorrow morning has been moved to Chief Sealth High School (likely because they will be doing a Denny walk-thru) at 8:30 am. Three, I'll be doing a thread on the Executive Committee meeting yesterday but there was mention of the furlough day for SPS staff coming up on August 31st.   Here's the letter that was sent out: "On that day [August 31], all SEA and PASS represented staff as well as all non-represented staff will be furloughed and prohibited from working.   I need to stress this IS NOT OPTIONAL.    The federal Fair Labor Standards Act states that if you are a non-exempt employee (which is how all employees are defined during a furlough week regardless of position), you must be compensated for ALL hours worked during that week. Having to compensate someone for working on a furlough day runs counter to the reason t