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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

From the Reuven Carlyle Blog

Rep. Reuven Carlyle often speaks about education at his blog. When school started, he wrote a thoughtful thread about his concerns and hopes for education (and gave a shout-out to this blog). He has a real vested interest:

My eldest daughter enters Ballard High School as a freshman, my second daughter enters seventh grade at Salmon Bay, my son enters fifth grade at the new Queen Anne Elementary School, and my five year old daughter–the boss of the house– might as well be a freshman at Stanford University.

He expresses worry over the state economic forecast and what it might mean for education spending.

More than 41% of all state government spending is on public education at the K-12 level. The pressure to make further cuts to education–an area we generally managed to spare relative to other categories of spending–will be insurmountable. The likelihood of a special session is growing. The inability to substantively explore almost any revenue options–including simply closing grossly unproductive tax exemptions–due to passage of I-1053 paralyzes our state in a fashion similar to Washington, D.C.’s struggles. 


Ouch!  We're like D.C.?

He lays out what he would like to see in SPS:

From a policy perspective my own view is that we need strong principals with a stronger degree of control over their budget and personnel; high expectations that all students can learn with the wrap around services and infrastructure of support; highly trained and well paid and respected teachers; administrators with a ‘servant leadership’ approach that puts student interests at the core of their work; a bureaucracy with accountability for financial, administrative and oversight obligations; an elected–and paid–board that oversees an administration instead of the other way around; and data and evidence-driven system of student performance measurement and accountability designed in large part by teachers; and parents and guardians with accountability for their own involvement and vital role to turn off the TV and turn on their time commitment to their kids.

Reuven and I don't always agree on education issues but he is making the effort to educate himself (and his fellow legislators) AND reaching out with his blog.   I appreciate his efforts.

34 comments:

Charlie Mas said...

None of us can expect to agree with our elected representatives all of the time on all issues. I think that we can, however, expect them to explain their support for their views. It would be particularly nice if they would also authentically engage with those of differing views.

Mr. Carlyle and I certainly aren't in perfect agreement on education issues, but I respect the way he supports his view and I am absolutely impressed by his willingness to engage authentically and constructively with those who disagree with him.

Miss Waterlow said...

It’s time for engaged WA public school parents to shift their focus for a time away from textbook changes and capacity management and standardized tests and administration scandals and troubles in the gifted programs. Now is the time to work like demons to PASS TAX REFORM LEGISLATION IN 2012.
1053 must be repealed (watch the lawsuit) and a substantial income tax initiative must be passed.

I think all the time about where we would be if 1098 had passed. Because of the depth of the recession it wouldn’t have brought in as much as predicted, but probably enough to avoid all cuts made this year. Maybe parents were complacent in 2010 because they hadn’t yet really felt the pain of cuts to their own children’s schools. Hopefully this year’s (and next’s) pain will get them up off the couch.

We do need watchdogs at the district level, and all you SSS people do a great job at that (I’m not a regular reader, but that’s my impression). But right now the schools need more money most of all.

Po3 said...

"elected–and paid–board that oversees an administration instead of the other way around."

Looks like he's not supporting the incumbents in the upcoming election.

StopTFA said...

Interesting, the PESB is again marching to Rodney Tom's tune with a proposed residency principal program pilot. In their "research" (you might recall this exchange with TFA and KIPP), located here , they show that "Participating school districts (multiple cities); Broad Foundation; New Schools Venture Funds; Boeing; Non Profit" only require two years teaching experience, and are found via "Executive-style recruiting through 'nominator networks.'” How much you want to bet we'll see more military veterans as principals. Does that seem like a good model?

We'll soon have Principal for Awhiles in Washington. Can't say it worth emailing the PESB directors, they displayed catatonia at the last meeting, when they said "we have to approve the UW's TFA program, because they submitted the correct form. uuuuhhhh." WTH, ever the optimist...

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

"we need strong principals with a stronger degree of control over their budget and personnel"

The principals I know already have almost complete control over their staff & teachers. This directly leads to the atmosphere of fear, routine bullying, and harrassment to the point wonderful teachers are being driven out of the district and out of the profession.

I would ask Rep. Carylyle how he is protecting staff & teachers against corrupt, unethical principals & admins

(signed this time - sorry)
-JC.

Melissa Westbrook said...

JC, that shouldn't be happening and if you are a parent or staff member at a school where you believe that is happening, you should go to the Executive Director of your region.

Charlie Mas said...

"an elected – and paid – board that oversees an administration instead of the other way around"

Po3, you will be surprised to learn that Mr. Carlyle has endorsed Peter Maier in his re-election bid.

Yes, Peter Maier, the board director who has been a perfect rubber-stamp, the director who best personified the behavior that Mr. Carlyle admonishes. Surprising that he could say both of these things, isn't it/

I took Mr. Carlyle to task for this decision and we spoke on the phone about it (he invited me to call him).

He said that he had spoken with Director Maier. Mr. Maier claimed to have been deeply shaken by the RSBDP scandal, seen the error of his ways, and become totally committed to doing better going forward. I said that was all false and that Director Maier has not behaved (or voted) any differently since March 16 than he behaved (and voted) before March 16. There has been no change, no improvement.

Mr. Carlyle chose to believe in Mr. Maier; I chose to believe in my direct observations.

Charlie Mas said...

JC is right that anytime anyone is granted additional authority it should come with appropriate controls.

Anonymous said...

"JC, that shouldn't be happening and if you are a parent or staff member at a school where you believe that is happening, you should go to the Executive Director of your region."

In a perfect world, that would be the correct answer. Who does one turn to when the Executive Director is Best Buds with the abusive principal(s)?

Cronyism up and down the "chain of command" is rife in the district leaving many of us in exposed and untenable positions.

-JC.

Melissa Westbrook said...

JC, you should contact whoever is the Executive Director (chain of command). If he/she does nothing and/or gives an unsatisfactory answer, keep moving up the food chain.

Anonymous said...

Melissa. It sounds as if JC is worried about retaliation if he/she goes to the ED.

SG

Anonymous said...

@Reuven Carlyle

Did you see footage of your boy, Peter, at the last board meeting...you know, when Susan Enfield blatantly lied to the school board and community about not knowing the funding source for TFA (after promising to reveal the source following the first round of hirings)?

Peter sat there with a deer-in-the-headlights look and said NOTHING!
So, he learned his lesson after Pottergate, huh?

If you still support him after seeing the footage, you either:

-are disingenuous(at best)about what you envision for the district

-are afraid of offending Peter's coporate donors

-think you can appease the voters who aren't voting for Peter & Co. by pretending to share their concerns

-are easily fooled

...or any combination of the above.

However, we aren't stupid or easily fooled. So, quit being a phony--it ain't working.

--Get Real

Anonymous said...

re: JC (and Melissa)

This is all true. The chain of command is a hotbed of nepotism and cronyism.

Do a "web map" of district administration--go back ten, fifteen years and see some clear interconnections (who worked in what building when and where are they now--who used to be a teacher in whose building...now they are principals, Ed. Directors and higher, oh my!)?

Then look at the TFA/Gates/Broad network: Vicky at Gates, Susan as Interim Superintendent, Bree as former TFA (hired and supported by Susan).

Suddenly, it becomes clear...an inbred school district, full of all kinds of "special" mutations like...administration incompetence, bullying, and people who were promoted to higher and higher positions when they couldn't teach effectively (but mastered the art of kiss ass).

There's no place to turn...and the union leadership couldn't get out of a wet paper bag that is on fire.

--Welcome to the world of being a Seattle Public Schools teacher

Anonymous said...

I forgot Aurora Lora...and how could I? What, with her wine drinking (and drinking and drinking)outing with Susan Enfield and Janis...all spelled out for the world to see in the emails.

--I'm sure I'm forgetting others, and I apologize to those people

mirmac1 said...

Interesting that the wine drinking is now being looked askance by the Board (running for re-election)....

dj said...

I don't mean to be pilly, but how do his suggestins save money?

Anonymous said...

Reuven sounds a bit too much Kennedy School Of Government, College of Executive Erudite Elucidators.

Yawn.

Some day some one may actually put some time into figuring what 1, one, of their ideas cost in steps to implement, cost in time per step, and the dollar cost of that time.

http://youtu.be/1HRa4X07jdE

Until that day, the big shots will continue watching those videos of the Yalta and Potsdam conferences, prancing about in front of mirrors, waving their arms, dreaming of the little itty bitty minions aquaking and awaiting the imminent en-lite-n-mint.

42

dan dempsey said...

Speaking of getting real.

Peter has backed every ed reform move being pushed through the pipe.

The Big Money is pushing the same stuff through Olympia.

To find Reuven still in support of Peter ... says a lot. Not much about Peter but a lot about Reuven.

The Big Big reform piece in the last legislative session was the OK for Randy Dorn to adopt the CCSSI.

Dorn was required by state law to submit the CCSSI impact report to the legislature on or before 1-1-2011 ... and he was 30 days late. This effectively locked the public out of the process ... especially when Sharon Santos decided there would be no hearing allowed to delay the adoption of the CCSSI.

and Where was Reuven? I presume that he was voting for CCSSI just like he was supposed to.... right big money?

=========
Rarely are evidence based decisions ever made in Olympia. ... unless the evidence is how much will my vote net me in contributions.

=========
Now is the time to stop this nonsense in the Seattle Schools ... by dumping Carr, Maier, Sundquist, and Martin-Morris.

=========
So how does Rueven stand on TfA? Would he stick his finger up first to determine wind direction?

dan dempsey said...

Miss Waterlow said:

"But right now the schools need more money most of all."

There certainly is a financial need... but I believe there is a bigger need for competent leadership that is ready to apply relevant data to decision-making.

The Superintendent in Seattle and the school directors running for reelection are a huge impediment ... and more tax money will not fix them.

The crap these folks have purchased over the last four years ... is horrifying.

Jan said...

Welcome to the world's comment makes my blood run cold, because it affirms what (at a distance, at least) seems to me to be the case. We don't do a very good job, as a district, of making sure that principals and others in supervisory positions learn how to manage fairly and effectively; and we don't have anything in place that seems to step in and deal with bad management (from a personnel point of view, not a MAP test point of view). I am the first to agree that the "best" administrators are not always the most palsy, friends with everyone types -- though there are lots of management styles. But I have sensed a steady undercurrent, over many years, of bad management -- cronyism, retaliation, favoritism, subtle bullying, etc.

Again -- if it is a coffee shop, and I find out that the manager is a class A jerk, who hires ONLY his same ethnicity friends and pretty much makes the lives of anyone he dislikes miserable -- well, I can take (and have taken, in one case) my 2 dollars down the street and find a coffee shop to patronize where the baristas are not made miserable by horrible managers. With schools, we don't have this choice -- nor should we be relegated to it, since it is tax dollars that fund them (we are, in the most global sense, the employers -- and I for one don't want to see my tax dollars go to support the salaries of terrible managers).

A superintendent who cared about this stuff could make huge inroads in this problem in 2 years -- with a number of "come to Jesus" executive staff meetings, buttressed by some really good surveys (with appropriate anonymity) to gather data. Toss in some one on one interviews in targeted schools, and much of the slime would drain right out -- these folks do NOT want to lose their highly paid management jobs!

Charlie Mas said...

I think it should be clear - but isn't - that local politicians, such as Mr. Carlyle and Mr. Burgess and others - give their endorsements to school board incumbents without ever - ever - seeing those incumbents at work. I doubt that Mr. Carlyle or Mr. Burgess have ever been to a school board meeting and I certain that they have never been to a board committee meeting. Consequently, all they know about the incumbents' job performance is what the incumbents tell them.

Moreover, they don't know how the District works or how the District is doing, so they have no way of questioning the claims that the incumbents might make about their achievements. Most of the incumbents are claiming that they were responsible for the new student assignment plan - which they claim is a great success - for increased enrollment, and for increased student achievement. Unless he was following the District closely, Mr. Carlyle or Mr. Burgess would have no way of questioning or disputing those claims. Their only sources of information, beyond the incumbents' claims, are the District's PR - either from the District's own communications department or their strategic partner, the Seattle Times.

So when Mr. Carlyle or Mr. Burgess or any of these other local political types grant their endorsement to the incumbents it is largely done in ignorance, not intention.

Let's remember, when faced with the mystery of a person's motivation and you can't tell if they are incompetent or evil, they are probably just incompetent. True evil is rare, but the world is flooded with simple incompetence.

Melissa Westbrook said...

"Moreover, they don't know how the District works or how the District is doing, so they have no way of questioning the claims that the incumbents might make about their achievements."

Well, that and the State Auditor telling the district that their management practices need a lot of help. But Burgess and Carlyle and a lot of other powers that be in this town prefer to look the other way rather than bluntly ask, "What the hell is going on?"

We have scandal after scandal and management at SPS just keeps its head down and hopes it will die down and go away. The powers that be know that the incumbents are on the ed reform train they want to rumble into Seattle, so they continue to stay relatively silent.

It's a fairly dishonest way of thinking about how an elected official is doing but there you are.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Carlyle said something that not enough folks say when it comes to kids, something that should be said much more: turn off the TV!!! Engage, discuss, argue, laugh and cry all you want about educational policies and procedures, many kids are being raised by corporations daily through TV. Don't want corporate control of education through privatization in our classrooms? Check and see how well they are doing gaining control of your kids in your living room. Check out Angeline Lillard and (our local) Dimitri Christakis' recent research on early learning attention spans and.... Sponge Bob!!

Anastasia

Anonymous said...

"Melissa. It sounds as if JC is worried about retaliation if he/she goes to the ED."

SG

------------------

Over 30 union complaints were filed against Sarah Pritchett, principal, McClure middle school last year.

All but ONE teacher asked to be anonymous.

Retaliation? Fear?

Ya think?

(Not only chain of command, try investigating her best buds relationship with Carlyle. Power lunch anyone?)

-JC.

Charlie Mas said...

Results from McClure staff survey:

Staff feeling positive about professional culture: 30% (District average 56%)

Staff feeling positive about school leadership: 32% (District average: 57%)

Conflict and dissension among the staff is resolved in a timely and effective manner: 15% (District average: 46%)

The principal encourages and supports open communication: 19% (District average: 61%)

The principal is an effective manager of school operations: 38% (District average: 67%)

These are not very good results. About half of the staff responded to the surveys.

The Executive Director of Schools for McClure is Nancy Coogan, a woman who has always impressed me as a straight-shooter. I would encourage folks to contact her about any school in her region.

Anonymous said...

Charlie,
We tried to reach Ms. Coogan abut spectrum @ Lawton when it was imploding. Zip, zilch, nada presence at the meeting. It was a done deal before any discussion with the community. Don't even know if she got any of our emails. We just don't have the pull like you think we should.
-eyes wide open

Anonymous said...

I'm going to take JC's comments at fact value and believe that the principal and executive director are BFFs.

It is implied that the abusive principal is at McClure, and the staff responses definitely signal some serious problems.

Now, Charlie, why would anyone at McClure go to Nancy Coogan if she is "best buds" with this principal? Why would you even recommend that JC go to her after how he described this situation?

The fact that Nancy Coogan seems like a "straight shooter" to you means Jack Squat if she's pals with a bully, who happens to be the principal at a school.

By the way, you may want to read up on bully behavior. Bullies are usually charming towards people from whom they can derive benefit, and sadistic toward their powerless
"underlings."

--Did you even pay attention to what JC was saying?

Anonymous said...

Ouch. So much for "servant leadership". Kinda catchy, but follow through would really make it a point worth voting for.

-where's the beef?

Anonymous said...

Speaking of climate surveys (and cronyism and retaliation), WHERE are Lowell's? SPS literally rearranged the deck chairs, but the same captains are on the bridge as the ship founders. Who is following up on this?

open ears

my eyes are open too said...

And Nancy Coogan is ED for Lowell as well. Her fingerprints are all over the issues there.

I do know that someone higher up in the district is paying attention. Will there be action? Time will tell.

Po3 said...

Charlie, Thank you for the info on Carlyle's support of Maier, I would never have guessed that.


Does he support Charter Schools?

Anonymous said...

my eyes are open too said...
I do know that someone higher up in the district is paying attention. Will there be action? Time will tell.

------------

I'm glad "someone" is paying attention.

Enfield says she wants the very best principals.

Either she is
1- lying (again)
or
2- she is clueless which I doubt
or
3- abusive bullying principals such as Sarah Pritchett are exactly what she wants and encourages. How else to explain the very low numbers in the McClure staff survey and the fact Pritchett is still employed?

Sad.

-JC.

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