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.


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 and are now struggling with capacity management). 

So I'll try to read their tea leaves and see what I think they mean.

Position 1
  • John Cummings is too frantic and not as focused on solutions.
  • Peter Maier is "acceptable" and a "steady presence."
  • Sharon Peaslee is "acceptable" but also doesn't have a lot of solutions.
What's interesting here is that they don't say anything about Peter's lapses nor what his solutions are.  It seems like a wash between Sharon and Peter for them.  

Position 2
  • Mark T. Weber wouldn't talk to them.  
  • Sherry Carr is "acceptable" and they give her credit for her work on the Audit& Finance Committee but hey, after those audits, what else could anyone have done?
  • Kate Martin is "super informed" and "super angry" and they give her "above average."
  • Jack Whelan is "so-so" but I'm not sure they got his low-key style.
I would agree here.

Position 3
  • John Dunn is "so-so" and has a "pro-stringent teacher accountability" view.  But they found him one note. 
  • Harium Martin-Morris is "acceptable" and they point out he voted against school closures and the sale of MLK.   (So now we know what Harium is running on.)
  • Michelle Buetow is "above average" and they call her "charismatic."
 Position 6
  • Nick Esparza is rated "so-so" with them saying he knows the issues but his resume is "slight."
  • Marty McLaren is rate "acceptable" with Publicola saying she looks better on paper then in person.  
  • Steve Sundquist is rated "acceptable" but boy, they don't say much about him. 
  • Joy Anderson is rate "above average" as a community organizer with leadership skills.
Not sure I understand their ratings here but with three candidates getting at least an "acceptable", well, it makes for an interesting race.

They take comments so weigh in with your probably somewhat better informed thoughts.


Anonymous said…
I'm glad Joy Anderson got deserved credit. They rightfully stated that Kate Martin is angry about moneyed incumbents, not angry in general.

--for real fair and balanced
Anonymous said…
the writers at Publicola have consistently slanted their reporting to fit with the framing of the eDeform crowd.

it is obvious that the audience their most concerned with works at 500 5th Ave. North, Seattle.

WenD said…
Josh and Erica, for their deep desires to be politicos, can't really find it with both hands. They seem to be judiciously overlooking the past 12 months. Never mind the past four years.
And I completely overlooked that they put Jack Whelan and Terrance Menage in the wrong race. Wrong on their part, wrong on mine.
Anonymous said…
for real fair and balanced - i've only ever seen kate martin angry - about streets, sidewalks, math, you name it - and i've seen her a fair amount over the years. she's great when you agree with her, but no holds barred/scorched earth when she doesn't. Ask SDOT, city council, mayor, neighborhood groups.

even if she had the right experience for the board, she clearly doesn't have the temperament.

mom of 4 in sps
MathTeacher42 said…
It was somewhere in '94, when I was 34, that I first saw this "angry" thing used in the white collar world, I was a student government member at North Seattle Community College. Wow.

Some background.

Part of 1/3 of my 3 families growing up were quieter - many of the rest were into raising the roof while having a good time.

In 2nd and 3rd grade my recently divorced mother moved us to a new apartment. There was a low income project on the way to the new school, and for those 2 years, my younger brother and I got chased home and got into I don't know how many fights. I suppose those kids were "angry" - when you got nothing, you fight, literally, over everything.

We moved back to the Highlands of Holyoke, MA., to get away from that dimension of project life. This was the end of the era where middle and high schools always had some guys in the coaching staff who'd been in the Marines or Air born or played college football. "Angry" had ... an outlet. There were fights, and of the fighters there were only a few kids who had some serious wiring problems. "Angry" sounds so bougie - how about "scary" for a description?

I was a cook in Boston in the 80's. The rise of MADD and AIDS and Phil Donoghue and eat fiber and stress awareness and ... meant that in professional kitchens people might yell a bit, but, any extended Hell's Kitchen insults also meant you'd be fired.

From late '89 to appx. '93, I cooked on 9? different fishing and tug boats in Alaska. There were definitely people working on those boats who had some serious wiring problems. "Angry" sounds so bougie - how about "scary" for a label?

End Background.

Any-hoo, I don't remember the particulars of whatever happened at North Seattle Community College in 1994. I just remember hearing people throw around the "angry" label more than once and I thought ... "What are they talking about?". In the year I was there it seemed that anyone with a pulse or an opinion or an ability to ask yes or no questions risked being labelled "angry" by the docile, timid trembling white collar gossip crowd.

Does anyone remember those whacked D.C. snipers in 2002? Like many of the garden variety nut jobs who pop onto the scene too frequently, when reporting on the backgrounds of these nut jobs, the press typically uses words like "angry" when talking about the nut jobs. Clearly, something is wrong with the wiring to go running around shooting people.

Any-hoo #2, I've been in the white collar world for the last 15++ years. The use of the "angry" thing to me is very mathematical.

IF you ask questions which have yes or no answers, IF you like to establish deadlines and attain deadlines, IF your conversation style is NOT some kind of syrupy Sesame Street Tele Tubby Happy Happy chatter, IF you don't express yourself in some dilettantish effete euphemism and obfuscation ... THEN you might be "angry" !!

Someday I'll en-lite-en all with my grand theory of $ocial cla$$ and speaking in dilettantish effete euphemism.

My definition of "angry" is still stuck with - if I was cutting down an alley from the grocery store, or if I was on a dark part of the boat in 15 foot seas in the dark of night, and I ran into this person, would my knees shake from being alone with a nut job?

I've NEVER met that kind of angry in my white collar world - schools, software, teaching, ...

I've met Kate. She gets to the point and doesn't waste my time. Kate will push to get things done. Getting things done means not going along to get along all the time, and it means rocking the boat sometimes. Yawn.

I'm also 51, and I've missed all the "accomplishments" of the don't rock the boat crowd these last 30 years - maybe they happened during my time in Alaska, working with the nuts of the Craziest Catch?

R. Murphy
Anonymous said…
In this particular election, if you're not angry, you haven't been paying attention...

--As "angry" as Kate Martin
Anonymous said…
RE angry Kate Martin against monied incumbents:

well... where is all this money coming from? why?

I'm with Kate.

momster said…
to "as angry as kate martin"

angry is easy; it's getting things done with people who don't necessarily agree with you that's hard - and the latter is what board work is, not the former.
none1111 said…
angry is easy; it's getting things done with people who don't necessarily agree with you that's hard - and the latter is what board work is, not the former.

I agree entirely. And while Charlie feels that people will change to fit their role, I'm not so sure. Maybe a little.

If there were no other quality candidates in this race I would choose Kate in a heartbeat, but in my opinion Jack Whelan is also a very strong candidate without the baggage. I'll back whoever is the challenger in any case, be it Kate, Jack or Mark. We'll see tonight who gets that opportunity.

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