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Friday, October 21, 2011

Petition for Dr. Susan Enfield as Permanent Superintendent‏

A group of citizens are circulating a petition to the Board asking them to skip the national search and appoint Dr. Susan Enfield as the Permanent Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools.


You can find their petition here: http://www.petitiononline.com/sesuper/petition.html

97 comments:

anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anonymous said...

Thank you so much for publishing this petition Melissa! I think Dr. Enfield is doing a great job so far and I am more than happy to support her too!

daf

Sahila said...

OMG.... are we all stupid in this town?

Juana said...

The state of the school district necessitates a more experienced individual (not a cheerleader) and one who is not so enthralled with TFA. I hope that the school board learned from the previous search that if you are left with only one candidate (Goodloe-Johnson) because the other candidate dropped out, that the search should be extended. Yes, that would entail additional expense, but remember in the end they voted to give Goodloe-Johnson and her CFO generous severance packages despite firing them. My point is that they spent additional funds anyway.

SolvayGirl said...

I guess this means the parents at Laurelhurst are happy...

cdubs said...

@Sahila

I'm sure you've probably read this article but I think it would be a great read for many others, although they more than likely already get this concept. People can be given FACTS on any number of issues that shows that their stance is in fact completely wrong, backed by FACTS, yet they will stand firmer in their convictions. Why? Negative culpability? People simply don't want to be wrong or admit their judgement was flawed. I think it takes a much more noble person to admit they are wrong and reasses their stance on any given situation, then it does for someone to simply stand firm because they don't want to look stupid.

"Recently, a few political scientists have begun to discover a human tendency deeply discouraging to anyone with faith in the power of information. It’s this: Facts don’t necessarily have the power to change our minds. In fact, quite the opposite."

http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2010/07/11/how_facts_backfire/

mirmac1 said...

Oh Geez, how much ya wanna bet Lesley Rogers wrote it?

Maureen said...

Forgo is incorrect, it should be spelled forego. (And, nitpickingly, 4 should be four.)

uxolo said...

Does anyone know why the Seattle Public Schools paid for consulting with "Strategies 360"? Who set that deal up and what is it that Strategies 360 is supposed to be doing? Is Enfield one of their projects?

seattle citizen said...

Two questions:
1) Why are the bulk of the signatures from Lowell and Laurelhurst?
2) Who designed and promulgated this petition?

seattle citizen said...

uxolo, are you saying that Strategies 360 had something to do with this petition?

Anonymous said...

Bad idea...

- Unimpressed Ingraham parent

Anonymous said...

I somehow don't think the petition will get much traction...

And now L@L parents know how their PTA is leaning - both the PTA president and co-president have signed the petition.

My judgment is out until the capacity management details materialize.

Prediction: The signatures gathered to re-instate Floe will continue to outnumber the signatures to keep Enfield.

anonymous parent

Charlie Mas said...

I believe that the petition was started by the first signer.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how the teachers at Lowell and Laurelhurst feel about this petition. It would be interesting to know if the Lowell PTSA President and Vice-President are at odds with the teachers at their school.

I really, really, really don't want a long, nasty, ugly, divisive fight between teachers and the PTSAs over the superintendent, over charter schools, over merit pay, over this and over that. I'm not waiting for superman. I'm waiting to work together on issues we can reach consensus about.

DWE

Jack Whelan said...

RE: the boston globe article on facts. It's talking about cognitive dissonance, and none of us is immune to it. In an era of information overload, what matters for most people is not the facts but the mental templates that they use to interpret them. Our identities are deeply shaped by our attachment to those templates, and the natural human inclination is not to trust facts so much as to trust their source. Because except for those who are doing original research, our access to facts, at least the ones we accept, is mediated through sources we've come to trust.

So conservatives don't trust liberal facts, and liberals don't trust conservative facts, and corporate reformers don't trust 'neighborhood activist' facts and vice versa. Remember a couple of years ago when the Fox News crowd was crowing about the Brits doctoring some their research about climate change? That's what science means to people within that frame--people who make the data fit their own preconceptions.

I'm not saying facts are unimportant, only that arguments about the facts are almost always unwinnable in the political arena. The argument has to focus on the underlying interpretive frame; in other words, the argument needs to work on people within one interpretive frame to allow information past the filters in such a way as to change the frame to make it more capable to absorb greater levels of complexity and nuance.

Than ancients (Greeks & Romans) understood this better than we do, and that's why rhetoric was the most important skill taught in their schools. Moderns think it's all about the facts; the ancients understood that it's all about how you interpret them. Rhetoric for us has come to mean 'spin', but really it's about articulating the most robust and imaginative interpretation.

This school board race is fascinating to me because it really is a race about one group, the challengers, that operates within what I see as a humanistic frame and the other, the incumbents, whether they realize it or accept it or not, within a technocratic frame. The contrast between them is pretty dramatic.

If two or three of the challengers get elected, they will be faced with a very interesting rhetorical challenge--to get the rest of the board to change their frame to accept humanistic "facts"--as well as a challenge to resist the pressures on them to change their frame (too much) to absorb technocratic "facts".

The pressure on the new directors will be immense, because the whole downtown power structure is dominated by the technocratic frame. The humanist camp can win that argument only if it can deploy a narrative that robustly explains complex and nuanced facts and captures the imagination in a way the technocratic narrative cannot. It's rather like getting people to change their cosmology from a geocentric one to one that is heliocentric.

Jet City mom said...

I don't want to spend even more money that we don't have, anymore than the next person. Since my children no longer live in Seattle , let alone attend its schools, I also don't have a dog in this fight- thank the goddess.
However, let Enfield interview for the job alongside anyone else who is interested, I have always been against automatically assigning positions to whomever is convenient, it rarely turns out well.

Steve said...

The bulk of the signatures in a new survey come from the friends of the people who started it. Create a survey, send it to your friends, etc. For a school-related survey, it's only natural that the first group of signers would be friends from the schools attended by the kids of the parent who initiated it. No grand conspiracy here.

Sahila, thank you for the early post encouraging constructive and open debate .

Anonymous said...

Well said, Jack. And insightful.

As Mr. TOK teacher would say, "What is a fact?"

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/facts/

DWE

Melissa Westbrook said...

Actually Charlie posted this.

Fine, if some want to do this. I don't agree with the premise myself.
I recognize several of the names on this petition.

I think I would be unhappy if the Board did decide not to have a search and used this petition as evidence.

My husband says maybe someone might start a petition TO have a search.

We've had a lot of issues and turmoil in this district; I feel like it is important to get it right this time and give it the best possible shot at doing so and not just go on because Susan is a decent person who works hard. We might just need more than that.

Charlie Mas said...

My view of Dr. Enfield is divided.

I think she has done a ton of positive things with the district headquarters to improve the personnel, operation, and, most importantly, the culture... of every department except her own.

I love how she has swiftly brought needed reform and made personnel changes in every department... except her own.

The down side, of course, is that the one department that isn't getting the needed reform is Teaching and Learning, which is the one that speaks most to the district's core mission.

Teaching and Learning holds so many really corrosive elements that it would lose in a reform (Teach for America, MAP, school segmentation, standardization, etc.) and continues to lack those things that it would gain in a reform (interventions, effective inclusion, authentic differentiation, etc.). They continue to pursue truly pointless and irrational pet ideas and continue to neglect the rational and effective.

I hold out no hope that Dr. Enfield will embrace reform in Teaching and Learning as she has implemented it in every other department of the headquarters.

If she brought that focus to her own department, I would support her whole-heartedly.

And if I could fly I wouldn't be troubled by traffic.

Let's face it. It just isn't in her nature to see the need for reform or to bring the same unbiased view to Teaching and Learning that she brought to Facilities.

Anonymous said...

I am at L@L and am NOT happy the PTA is getting involved in this - I am a member, but this is not my belief. We need to have a search. I have never spoken to Enfield - my only interaction is that I said "hello" when she came to Lincoln the 1st day of school. My family was, however, greatly affected by her decision to ignore the problems at Lowell until the day after school ended. The Lowell situation should never have happened, and it happened under her watch.

L@L family

Anonymous said...

I have to agree...bad idea.

It's very polarizing to have the PTA president and co-president take this stand. They may have signed it as parents, not PTA representatives, but the end result is a nagging feeling that the PTA cannot see the forest for the trees.

-disillusioned

dan dempsey said...

Dr. Enfield is a good enough leader so that some will sign the petition. She is an interesting combination of pleasant people skills (MGJ had none) and a pusher of technocratic changes.

I am still looking for a superintendent that will:
1.. Enact Board policy
2.. Follow state and federal laws and codes
3.. Uphold the same oath of office required of elected school board members

4.. Plan future actions for producing effective change by looking at the entire situation first and then making productive decisions through the intelligent application of relevant data. ((Perhaps even some public engagement ... remember when?))

5.. Have a big time focus on improving the academic program .. via #4 ... rather than going with flavor of the month on the technocrats' menu.
----------

I'll take Juana's - cheerleader enthralled with TFA - and look at it through the above 5 part lens.

1... WAC 181-79A-231 required a careful review of all options for closing the achievement gaps prior to the issuance of conditional certs for TFA members. (Fails #2 above)

2... In the Seattle situation there was no shortage of fully certificated teachers applying for teaching positions. The research shows the use of TFA corps members inappropriate for the Seattle situation. (fails #4 above)

3... Mark Teoh gave a data presentation at the 10-19-11 School Board meeting. Director Martin-Morris was distressed at the achievement gaps for Black students and American Indian students (Has he been asleep for four years? Harium continually adopted plans which ignored the evidence of likely effects on educationally disadvantaged learners.) Michael DeBell again questioned if the Strategic Plan was performing as advertised.
... TFA came is as a flavor of the month ... it came as just another partner to the never ending SPS Technocratic Masquerade ball. (fails #5 above)

========
Dr. Enfield, like her predecessor, uses the existence of achievement Gaps as leverage to push through Action Reports to bring about changes that are NOT improvements.
Most certainly TFA was not imported as a "Proven" solution to an existing condition that needed improvement.

WAC required => careful review of all other options for closing the achievement gaps .... which never happened ... as flavor of the month was preferable to the Superintendent and the Board.

Anonymous said...

If you're part of the PTA of a school, does that translate into being banned from expressing your support to any cause without people assuming that you are acting as a representative of the PTA?
I have no children at Laurelhurst or L@L, and I don't see any evidence of the PTA being involved, is the PTA sending messages to the parents? If not, then respect their position, argue against it, but don't attack the individuals.
Signed,
Tired Mom

dan dempsey said...

Let's face it. It just isn't in her nature to see the need for reform or to bring the same unbiased view to Teaching and Learning that she brought to Facilities.

YUP --- really good at fixing lots of stuff --- but fails at the most important duty -- delivering improved and highly effective Teaching and Learning.

Charlie won't be flying and neither will pigs ...
Time for a search ... and hopefully new directors will be doing the official deciding after the search.

Sahila said...

havent read all the comments so dont know...

but has anyone noticed the really WEIRD timing on this?

JUST BEFORE school board elections???

Is this a push to get the current board to cement her in place (one of these now infamous present/action motions at the one board meeting) before a new board (an anti-reform board) is voted in?

PTA which has been co-opted to push charters now pushing to keep a pro-reform superintendent, on the eve of a possible clean sweep-out of a pro-reform board...

Why the rush? Why the rush right now?

WenD said...

@Jack Whelan: Your analysis makes the situation quite clear.

@Sahila: Not all of us, but see Jack's post. I think he nails it in a dispassionate way that summarizes the situation with understanding instead of outrage. Not that outrage hasn't been a logical response to many of the actions and statements of directors and others in SSD.

With understanding comes solutions.
Overcoming the lies is a daunting job that takes more energy than the opposition has. What will new board directors need, revolving bucket teams to continually challenge the crap coming out of HQ, A4E, LEV, etc? Probably.

Anonymous said...

I think this kind of PUBLIC survey is great.

Everyone put your cards on the table, because once we know what people want or don't want, we can, hopefully, move on.

IF there was a counter petition, Conduct A Search, and it had 2000 signatures to the 200 signatures of the Don't Conduct A Search petition

or

the Don't Conduct ... had 40,000 signatures to 400 for Do Conduct,

or

each petition had about 100 signatures or 10,000 signatures,

I think it increases the probability of a better decision.

This kind of petition will probably just demonstrate how certain subsets of parents are dialed into to their school and the district, and how certain subsets aren't.

Then we could spend tons of money on Powerpoints from the "educated" consultant class telling us ...

Why42IsTheAnswer

dan dempsey said...

Consider this....
Enfield became interim-Super on 22 hours notice only Betty Patu voted in opposition.

In spite of Charlie Mas's thoughtful suggestions to the Board, the Superintendent evaluation tool was a one meeting slam dunk ... .

The supposed evaluation instrument is a list of 20 goals.

suep. said...

This effort strikes me as bizarre and irrational as well.

Why would anyone ever lobby to limit an important job search to just one choice?

Another title for this petition may as well be: Petition to Not Search for the Best Candidate for Superintendent But to Settle for the Emergency Appointee Who Was Hired by the Superintendent the District Just Fired.

Not exactly a winning message.

I personally think the search can and should be done locally. Surely we've got respected, knowledgeable and competent people in the community who already know our district (and yes, aren't secretly shilling for outside interests like TFA, Inc.). It doesn't have to be an expensive "nationwide" search that involves bias Broad Foundation (or any other) middlemen like Tom Payzant.

Besides, the last time the district held a "nationwide search" with a search committee of 30 (for the apparently extremely important position of district communications head...) it ended up choosing Lesley Rodgers of Strategies 360 from right here in town. So clearly the district is able and willing to hire locally.

The two PTA heads of Lowell@Lincoln represent only themselves here, not the entire school.

I'm a L@L parent too and I'm not signing it.

Nick said...

This is so typical Seattle, Lowell/ Laurelhurst and other well off and clicky schools get someone to preserve their domains and to heck with the rest. A great example of “Seattle Liberal”

none1111 said...

Here's a different angle, one that I think deserves consideration.

I am not in favor of a national search right now. Nor am I in favor of giving Susan the job without considering a search.

Until a (hopefully) new board is in place next month, the superintendent is working for the current board. For all we know, she is doing a 100% perfect job implementing their will. Unless any of us have direct inside knowledge of their non-public meetings, there is no way to know who exactly is pulling what strings. I suspect it is players outside both the JSCEE and board, but ultimately, the superintendent reports to the board.

I feel pretty strongly that we need to wait until the new board is elected to make an informed decision on which path to follow. If a new board, with a new disposition is in fact elected, then we need to look very carefully at how the superintendent reacts and responds to different priorities. She is almost certainly under an immense amount of pressure from all sides, parents, the Board, the media, and especially well-heeled reform financiers. The board has to change to swing the balance.

Unfortunately, the new board will have to figure this out in a hurry, given the timetable.

For those who think we can easily find another body to drop into the superintendent seat, I should remind you all that this is not an easy job to fill. There are few strong, capable and willing candidates. As much as I love Charlie and Melissa's knowledge and views on education, I would not support either of them as superintendent. The position requires a very different skill set, including everything from academics to operations, legal to labor contract negotiation, and near the top of the heap is public relations. Susan knows the district (a newcomer would need many months just to get up to speed), and has been slowly, but surely putting her people in place downtown. I'm still holding out hope that a change in the board will give her the ability to execute on plans that benefit the students and families in the district, but there's no way to know this yet.

There are still a few things that bother me (like the TfA emails), so I'm not fully on the Enfield bandwagon, but I think we need to stop worrying about this right now and concentrate on getting some of the challengers elected to the board. Ultimately, that's the only way we're going to have a voice in the district!


I love how she has swiftly brought needed reform and made personnel changes in every department... except her own.

I don't agree with this assessment anymore. She has brought in a new head of Curriculum and Instruction (Wendy London), who I believe is a smart leader, ready to make changes. But change, in an organization the size of SPS come slowly, especially when budgets are as tight as they are now. Also, Ms. de la Fuente has been replaced as head of math and science by Dan Gallagher. Does anyone here think these are not both good moves??

Melissa Westbrook said...

"As much as I love Charlie and Melissa's knowledge and views on education, I would not support either of them as superintendent."

Charlie, are you applying? Because I'm not (and never would have thought to in a million years).

none, shaking head in disbelief said...

Nick said: This is so typical Seattle, Lowell/ Laurelhurst and other well off and clicky schools get someone to preserve their domains and to heck with the rest. A great example of “Seattle Liberal”

What total BS. If you think Lowell has been able to "preserve their domain" in recent years, you don't read the news. The past few years have been torturous for the APP community, so I don't know where you're coming from, and no clue why you would try to throw "liberal" into the conversation. Sheesh.

FWIW, I don't agree with the L@L folks that signed the petition, but that's their choice as individuals. I would not extrapolate anything about the overall community opinions at these schools from a few digital signatures.

none, clarifying said...

Charlie, are you applying? Because I'm not (and never would have thought to in a million years).

Heh. Charlie has said as much over the years, so I know I'm not offending him. Not sure why I tossed you into the mix as well, other than you're both well-respected local education wonks, and still not ideal candidates for that kind of job.

In any case, we need you here, communicating to the public and digging into the nooks and crannies. Keeping folks honest. To the degree that's possible.

suep. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
suep. said...

One more point: if the Seattle School District has the resources and motivation to create a search committee of 30+ people and conduct a "national search" just to find its director of communications, you would think it would do no less to find the best candidates for the rather more significant position of district superintendent. (!)

Chief Communications Officer appointed

March 25, 2011

Seattle Public Schools on Friday announced the appointment of Lesley Rogers as the district’s Chief Communications Officer, following a national search.

Rogers, who starts April 4, will oversee internal and external communications for the District. She replaces Bridgett Chandler, who resigned on Jan. 3. The appointment follows a national search and interview process that included a team of more than 30 people – District staff, school staff, community members, a union representative and parents. Candidates in the final interview had to present a professional development workshop, a strategic communications plan, a mock media roundtable and take a writing test. (...)

JeanB said...

With 3 children in the Seattle Public Schools I have had plenty of dealings with the district over the past 6 years. It is my educated evaluation that district structure, communication and community outreach has significantly improved under Susan Enfield. I am a parent, coach and yes, PTA Board Member. I do not claim to speak on behalf of our school or PTA members, but as a volunteer I have not given up my right to voice my own opinion. If anyone has issue, please contact me directly instead of posting on a blog. I personally know those who started this petition and they are well-respected, educated parents who should be treated with respect even if you don't agree with them. Even my 7 year old knows not to call people stupid. I hope we as a community can continue to strive for improvements through positive, productive interactions.

JeanB said...

With 3 children in the Seattle Public Schools I have had plenty of dealings with the district over the past 6 years. It is my educated evaluation that district structure, communication and community outreach has significantly improved under Susan Enfield. I am a parent, coach and yes, PTA Board Member. I do not claim to speak on behalf of our school or PTA members, but as a volunteer I have not given up my right to voice my own opinion. If anyone has issue, please contact me directly instead of posting on a blog. I personally know those who started this petition and they are well-respected, educated parents who should be treated with respect even if you don't agree with them. Even my 7 year old knows not to call people stupid. I hope we as a community can continue to strive for improvements through positive, productive interactions.

JeanB said...

With 3 children in the Seattle Public Schools I have had plenty of dealings with the district over the past 6 years. It is my educated evaluation that district structure, communication and community outreach has significantly improved under Susan Enfield. I am a parent, coach and yes, PTA Board Member. I do not claim to speak on behalf of our school or PTA members, but as a volunteer I have not given up my right to voice my own opinion. If anyone has issue, please contact me directly instead of posting on a blog. I personally know those who started this petition and they are well-respected, educated parents who should be treated with respect even if you don't agree with them. Even my 7 year old knows not to call people stupid. I hope we as a community can continue to strive for improvements through positive, productive interactions.

Charlie Mas said...

As I have written many times before, I lack the skill set to serve as superintendent. As if that weren't enough, I don't want the job.

I don't believe that hiring Wendy London and Dan Gallagher represents the reform of Teaching and Learning. Ms London was an addition to staff - no one was let go to make room for her. Mr. Gallagher was hired because the math and science departments were merged and they needed someone to lead the new, merged department. Ms dela Fuente was happy to return to the classroom. I have seen her there and she is in her element.

A reform of Teaching and Learning would not have tolerated the Teach for America contract. It would have judged MAP solely on its effectiveness as a formative assessment. It would have come clean about program placement. It would have set clear policy about advanced learning. It would have done it all with strong community engagement. It would have aligned the southeast region executive directors of schools along feeder patterns - or gone back to just one of them. It would have brought some reason to the curricular alignment effort.

Sahila said...

Oh dear Jean.... dont like to get your hands dirty in the game of life?

I call stupidity where I see it...

calling for Enfield to be installed as the permanent superintendent without seeing if there is someone more qualified than her, especially after her mixed performance to date, is stupid...

and its equally stupid (to be used) to call for it to be done just before a Board election...

as I said.... stupid, stupid, stupid....

anonymous said...

I second what Jean said. People have a right to their opinions and they should be treated with respect even if you disagree with them. Melissa I think this is an instance where you should back Sahila off, and remove her post. She has no right to call any poster names. It is offensive and derails and discourages normal discourse.

Another mom

Anonymous said...

Melissa, I agree with the previous poster, and would respectfully ask that Sahila's comment be deleted.

Thank you for opening this discussion about the Superintendent and the petition.

Seattle Parent

Anonymous said...

Sahila has insight and integrity.
Susan Enfield has political skills and is a phony.

These signers like Susan Enfield because they know she will do their bidding--just read the TFA emails--like she did Janet and Co.'s bidding.

Maybe it's time to get wise and realize that Seattle is full of self-absorbed yuppies and...

==Susan Enfield is a personification of Seattle

Anonymous said...

No, keep Sahila's postings on stupid. They highlight her best argument and style, + they make me laugh. As for me, I don't plan on signing the petition. But for those who created it and others who thinks it's great and support it, hey, go for it! I support your decision to excercise your right even though I disagree with you. That probably makes me stupid too.

-wearing a dunce cap as I type

Sahila said...

Thanks for the laugh, people...

You've got your knickers in a knot over something I havent even done/said...

I havent called anyone stupid...

I have asked if this town is stupid!

And I have said that I think certain actions being advocated are stupid!

Some person said...

Waiting for the petition in favor of conducting a national search for Superintendent...

mirmac1 said...

For the proponents of censorship here, read Sahila's post. It says "are WE stupid in this town"? Yeah, I remember thinking that about the U.S. when W got re-elected for a second term.

Anonymous said...

I really don't understand the rush to permanently put Enfield in place. Yes, her public persona is 100 million times better than the person she replaced (this is a low bar), but that doesn't maker her the best person for the job.

With state education budgets disappearing and the need to clean up the mess at headquarters, we need the best person for the job. There is no way to know who this might be without interviewing.

Enfield should have to answer hard questions about TFA, capacity management (more precisely, lack there of), etc. A formal hiring process would be a good way to do this. Having the new board in place (I sure hope it's a new board), is also important before any decisions are made.

A proponent of a good vetting

Melissa Westbrook said...

I would ask that we all be careful in our word usage. We do try to ask that name-calling not be involved. I do not believe myself that the whole of Seattle is stupid.

I find it odd that we raise a ruckus over the cost of a superintendent search and yet had little to say about buying out Dr. Goodloe-Johnson who clearly was derelict in her duties.

It's not a particularly long process and again, I think it worth it to get it right. If Dr. Enfield rises to the top, then it turns out she is the right person. There may be someone even better.

dan dempsey said...

MW wrote:
yet had little to say about buying out Dr. Goodloe-Johnson .... Well a few folks had plenty to say about the buyout.

Note the public had a maximum of 22 hours to respond to the buyout.

Ricki Malone and Eric Blumhagen

DWE

and me

Mr. Peter Maier decided to respond to Ricki Malone's What did you know and when did you know it? ... with this.

Patrick said...

I don't see why we wouldn't do a search. What's the downside -- we might find somebody better?

The cost of a search is peanuts.

Are the petition writers thinking the incumbent Board should make Enfield permanent before the new Board takes office? I hope they aren't that low.

none ones said...

Charlie replied: I don't believe that hiring Wendy London and Dan Gallagher represents the reform of Teaching and Learning. Ms London was an addition to staff - no one was let go to make room for her.

I don't see it as significant reform yet, mostly because Ms. Thompson has risen to Assistant Superintendent Teaching & Learning. But these are definitely personnel changes in a positive direction, and I was only refuting one small portion of what you said: "and made personnel changes in every department... except her own." Reform, I agree that's questionable at this point, but personnel changes, definitely. While the changes are coming slower than I'd like, I feel the vast majority of the personnel changes I've seen so far have been positive.

FWIW, I completely agree with all the points in your third paragraph. Maybe I've just seen too much negative over the past few years and my bias has been reset too low, but I'm seeing the glass as half full right now.

Mr. Gallagher was hired because the math and science departments were merged and they needed someone to lead the new, merged department. Ms dela Fuente was happy to return to the classroom. I have seen her there and she is in her element.

This is the first I've heard about how Anna Maria is doing in her new role. If she is having success in the classroom, that's great news, and I certainly wish her (and her students) the best. More importantly, I think her move away from downtown is the first, necessary step if we are to have any chance of replacing our math textbooks at the next reasonable opportunity.

none1111 said...

This is a long way down in the thread, but I have a suggestion:

How about a purposeful day off from posting/commenting, to encourage everyone to spend time contacting friends/neighbors/coworkers about the election. Now that the ballots are in most peoples' hands, it's time!

Seriously, if everyone here took time to call 2 friends that are not following the school board races, ask them to vote for the challengers and ask for them to call 2 other friends, that could easily change an election of this size. I know some suggest 4 or 5, but that's a lot to ask people. I hit two yesterday, two today, and I'll try to hit two more again tomorrow. Who's with me??

Let's step outside our echo chamber here for a couple days and do some simple outreach!

just sayin' said...

Final count on petition to reinstate Floe: 917

Current count on petition to keep Enfield as Superintendent: 29

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

Please don't group all L@L families into one group - the petition has a paltry number of signatures, only a portion of which are L@L families.

I attended the first day coffee with Enfield and Carr and was nothing short of disappointed. It felt like a photo op and was filled with thank you's all around. There was no opportunity for questions (we all know how that went earlier in the summer).

Families may be relieved now that their kids aren't crammed into a school without enough room to safely accommodate them, but we're in limbo with no assurances beyond next year.

-not feelin' the love

ASweet said...

I am one of the SPS parents that initiated this petition. I'd like to clarify a few things.

1. There is no conspiracy at play here. I am a politically unconnected, regular old parent who likes what Dr. Enfield brings to the table. As such, I wanted to provide an avenue for those who share my opinion but may not be able to attend the community meetings to express themselves.

2. I would encourage those who disagree with me to start their own petition to conduct a search. It is easy to do at http://www.petitiononline.com.

3. As an advocate for my children, I feel that it is my responsibility to speak up for what I believe in. That is exactly what I have done, and I encourage everyone to do the same, regardless of your beliefs.

4. I am not asking you to agree with me. Rather, I am asking you to sign the petition IF you agree with me.

5. I see the petition as another piece of information for the School Board to use in making their decision. After all, they are seeking community input, right? If the petition gains no traction, then so be it. I can accept the fact that my opinion may be of the minority, and that's ok. If the petition does gain traction, great.

6. The timing of this petition is not related to the pending elections. Rather, I wanted to be able to provide the petition signatures to Lauren McGuire and Michael DeBell at one of the meetings they have scheduled to gather community input on the issue in mid-November. I will participate in the upcoming School Board elections by voting, as I hope everyone who shares that right will.

7. Two of my children attend Laurelhurst, which is why so many of the signatures are from Laurelhurst parents. I simply forwarded the petition to my fellow community members. Where the petition goes from here depends on whether or not people choose to share it with others. I am disappointed by those who feel that attending Laurelhurst somehow precludes me from having an opinion about SPS, or feeling satisfied with the efforts of Dr. Enfield. My opinion is not relative to just what is happening at Laurelhurst, but to the direction of the district overall. I love Laurelhurst Elementary and understand that we are very fortunate to have a strong community with significant parent participation. I truly wish the same for every school, though I appreciate the many challenges in achieving this. We all have issues specific to our schools, but we have to start somewhere, and Laurelhurst is where I'm at.

As someone who believes in every person's right to express themselves as they choose, I am surprised by the overriding negativity throughout this thread. Regardless of our beliefs, we need to come together for the benefit of every child in our efforts to move SPS forward. I believe we can respectfully disagree and share our thoughts. We would ask no less of our children, who are the heart of the matter.

I am an adult, and can accept the criticism along with the support. That is what healthy debate is all about. No offense taken here, regardless of the outcome.

anonymous said...

ASweet you may only be in the minority on this blog. In the greater SPS community I think you will find more support, and I think this petition will gain some traction.

Fellow Enfield supporter

mirmac1 said...

Yes, let's hear from the silent majority. And let's hope they have done the research and analysis into Ms. Enfield's prior actions to understand what it is they are signing onto.

I have had the privilege of reading Ms. Enfield's words, unfiltered and unscripted. Huge disappointment. She had the opportunity this spring to conduct a (as they called it) "functional analysis" that would have had a true impact on the effectiveness of JSCEE and use of our limited funds. Instead they played with the budget numbers so that those running for re-election could claim that "Wow, look we're finally fixing things and cutting fat." Yeah, fixing things that you contributed to screwin' up.

It's not so amazing that the worst losers are out (MGJ and Kennedy). It's rather that the new blood downtown will take their lead from a corrupted leader. One who commiserates with a sole-source contractor over BIG glasses of wine, and whines over public comment and criticism. One who, along with state regulators, comes up with ways to dance around regulations put in place to maintain a high bar for the quality of teacher training and expertise.

"Hey BFF Janis Ortega and Jennifer Wallace, when are you in town next? There's a new wine bar in Belltown!"

reader said...

Here's a link to the meetings being sponsored by Seattle Council PTSA:

http://www.seattlecouncilptsa.org/article_404.shtml

(I believe Lauren McGuire, Seattle PTSA president, is also a parent at L@L)

Anonymous said...

To those of you who support reelection of incumbent Board directors: please spend all your time and energy on the online petition to hire Susan Enfield.

To those of you who support the challengers: please do what you can to support their campaigns.

DWE

suep. said...

ASweet said... (...) 2. I would encourage those who disagree with me to start their own petition to conduct a search. It is easy to do at http://www.petitiononline.com.

Why? Why do we need to start a petition to get the school board to do what it's already supposed to do -- and said it would do?

When the Pottergate scandal broke earlier this year resulting in the firing of Supt. Goodloe-Johnson, the board said it would conduct a permanent supe search in January 2012. Let them keep their word.

Look, the Seattle school board has already been cited by the state auditor in a damning report last year for failing to exercise oversight of the superintendent.

Why encourage the school board directors to shirk their duties yet again by not even bothering to conduct a proper candidate search?

That's just irresponsible.

Those who support Enfield and don't want the district to look for anyone else, fine, write to the school board and recommend they hire her.

But to lobby them to forego their duties of due diligence and break their word when the district has already been disgraced publicly for lack of oversight, is foolish.

If the incumbents go along with this suggested willful dereliction of duty, that just adds another reason not to reelect them, in my opinion.

What if the board were to do as these petitioners wish and skip the search process entirely, hire Enfield, and she proves to be as problematic as Goodloe-Johnson? How will the board and the district look then when the board has to publicly admit that it never even bothered to properly vet Enfield or even attempt to look for other viable candidates?

Also, any costs allegedly saved by not conducting a proper search could be easily negated if Enfield turns out to be the wrong choice and makes the same kind of costly mistakes that Goodloe-Johnson did. So this is a case of being penny-wise and pound foolish.

If Enfield is indeed the best candidate then she should survive a proper candidate search just fine.

Jack Whelan said...

If we get two or three of the challengers elected, they should push to have a search. If we don't, I don't think it will matter much because the board as it is currently composed is pretty in tune with Enfield's mindset. They board and she pretty much share the same 'technocratic' mental template, so to speak. If you're fine with that template like the folks at Stand and LEV and the Alliance are, vote for the incumbents. If you want to see a less rigid, more open, more nuance receptive template, vote for the challengers.

Because at least two or three challengers have to win, if there is any hope of changing the district's mental template, and that job will be hard enough, but it will be made a lot easier if they have to fight with the superintendent for every inch of change.

I understand that there's a lot more to having an effective superintendent than just her or his having the right values, but it would sure help to have some one in addition to being a competent manager also gets that the neoliberal reform agenda is a delusional waste of time, money, and destructive to the good health of our schools. I don't think she's terrible; I just think she's got the wrong template. Someone persuade me that I'm wrong on that, and I'll feel a lot better about her staying on.

But it's a moot point unless the board changes significantly.

Anonymous said...

"Why? Why do we need to start a petition to get the school board to do what it's already supposed to do -- and said it would do?"

Well said, Suep! I completely agree -

- Disillusioned Ingraham parent

Jack Whelan said...

Why petition drive? It's a way to make it more difficult for the challengers to hire someone else. It puts pressure on the challengers to do the "popular" thing. There are plenty of people worried that the challengers are going to win, and they know that if they can keep SE in the supe's seat, that will make it harder for the new challengers to do " too much damage", in other words, move away from the neolibera/technocraticl agenda.

KG said...

Enfield supports uneccessary overadministration costs in Seattle GET RID OF HER. This is abusing school children.

Melissa Westbrook said...

ASweet, I'm a little surprised you say you helped start the petition and yet you didn't sign your name to your comment. It's a little hard to take your commitment seriously when you didn't do that.

"I see the petition as another piece of information for the School Board to use in making their decision. After all, they are seeking community input, right?"

No, you didn't read the community input press release correctly.

They are NOT asking the community if we want to keep Enfield or have a search. They are asking for input on qualities/values in a superintendent. That they HAVEN'T asked our opinion about the former should make you wonder why they are having these meetings at all.

anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anonymous said...

This blog has slowly transformed into being a place that does not welcome diverse opinions. I agree that the blog should be renamed and I have a few good ones;

The Culture of NO

The Seattle Party Line

TFA is taking over the world

Charters suck

Conspiracy Theory Busters

Are you a Plant?

Oust the super
*will apply to whoever the current super is

District can do no right
*and if they do never admit it.

The school board sucks
*Note the highly acclaimed challengers if elected will soon suck and be rubber stampers too

Argh

Anonymous said...

Argh Anonymous,
Don't despair. Just speak your piece or round up some more like minded folks and blog away. Personally I like thoughtful, witty commetaries without all the hyperboles, but I'm a speed reader so I can move through the usual suspects' rants and raves pretty fast.

And no, I don't think TFA is taking over the world, but the school board does suck, and my kids do feel their family/school life exists in a culture of NOs, but they are teens... so we're all against them anyway.

- plant lover (non GMO variety in sync with Seattle's PCC party line)

anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anonymous said...

The above post was written to be somewhat humorous, but in reality, I find it disheartening that an opinion not in keeping with the masses results in insults, chastising, and even people getting called out by Melissa for not signing their name to a comment on a blog that openly welcomes anonymous posts. I know, I know, he/she should sign his name is she wants to be taken seriously, but if you really feel that way, then change the blog rules, and hold everyone to the same standard.

ASweet took the time to explain his/her POV and went out of her way to say she understands that not everyone agrees with her, and that was OK. Why shouldn't she be given the same respect? I don't think it the blogs intent to run people off who have diverse opinions? So why all the flaming?

Meanwhile back at the Ranch, Sahila is calling the whole town stupid, and chastising anyone who could possibly agree with the petition. And with narry a word of caution from a blog administrator, until several posters asked her to step in. And even then it was a gentle, tisk tisk, lets be careful.

Why would anyone with a differing view ever want to post here? It is NOT welcoming. This blog has become a place where only like minds post and rant.

Argh

Charlie Mas said...

Before you go on about how this blog is so miserable and negative and full of haters, please remember that this blog is the place that put that petition in front of thousands of people.

The original post about the petition neither supports nor opposes it, although it could be argued that publicizing the petition does, in fact support it.

While I would not dispute the contention that I examine district failures and missteps more than I discuss their successes, I would make these statements in my defense:

1. I mostly watch the Board and the central administration, and they have many more failures and missteps than successes.

2. I never ask the district to do anything that they didn't promise to do.

3. We do write a lot about successes in schools - where most of the success can be found.

4. Here in Seattle questioning an idea or asking to discuss an idea is interpreted as attacking the idea. I don't understand that reasoning. If the idea is good, then the proponents can explain the benefits and can readily respond to questions and concerns about the idea. They should relish the opportunity, not shy from it. I see the unwillingness to discuss an idea as a sign that the idea is a dreadful idea that cannot stand up to examination.

Charlie Mas said...

I share the concern that some of our more strident regular commenters create an unwelcoming environment for folks who don't share their view.

The dilemma is how to balance the principle of an open and uncensored forum with the hope that people will behave kindly.

In the end, I can control my choices, but not the choices made by others. Not only don't I want to police the comments because I believe in free expression, I don't want to police the comments because it's too much work.

mirmac1 said...

Although I may not sound like it at times, I do value hearing opposing views and I try not to make my contrary posts personal (except against certain SPS staff people who I won't name at the moment).

I especially like to hear from Rosie Reader. : D

Anonymous said...

"Here in Seattle questioning an idea or asking to discuss an idea is interpreted as attacking the idea."

No, Charlie, questioning an idea is not at all interpreted as an attack, and in fact, most people welcome questions and challenges. What is not welcome are statements like this:

"OMG.... are we all stupid in this town?"

"I guess this means the parents at Laurelhurst are happy..."

"Oh Geez, how much ya wanna bet Lesley Rogers wrote it?"

"This is so typical Seattle, Lowell/ Laurelhurst and other well off and clicky schools get someone to preserve their domains and to heck with the rest."

"Oh dear Jean.... dont like to get your hands dirty in the game of life?"

"I call stupidity where I see it..." and "as I said.... stupid, stupid, stupid...."

"Maybe it's time to get wise and realize that Seattle is full of self-absorbed yuppies and..."

"You've got your knickers in a knot over something I havent even done/said..."

Would you classify the above as "questioning an idea"? Asking to discuss it? Is this productive? Does it further conversation? Not in my opinion. All it does is turn people off, and run reasonably intelligent people away. My kids know better than to behave like this.

Argh

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

Argh, I did not call someone out for being anonymous; I called this person out for starting a petition, defending that petition and yet,curiously, doesn't want to be named. If you have the courage of your convictions to start a petition and then come here to talk about it, have the courage to sign your name.

Also, welcome to the blogosphere. We try to maintain some sense of order but we cannot control who comes here or what they say. It is the same at nearly every blog I have seen that allows open comments.

To note, I have asked readers to not name call and I did address Shaila's point. It's not like it got ignored.

Sahila said...

@Anonymous Argh....

I'm going to give you something else to complain about...

Anyone with two brain cells to rub together, who has been following what is happening here in Seattle AND across the nation, will KNOW that what is going on is part of a larger agenda being driven by the oligarchs...

yes, KNOW... NOT BELIEVE, NOT HAVE THE OPINION THAT... BUT KNOW... THE OLIGARCHS HAVE COME OUT PUBLICLY AND SAID THEMSELVES WHAT THEY ARE DOING AND HOW THEY ARE DOING IT... AND THERE ARE MOUNTAINS OF SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION... THIS IS FACT....

If you're OK with that, cool...

Come out and say it...

But dont pretend its not what it is and that we are horrible, nasty, terrible, bad-mannered, brutish people for calling it for what it is...

I dont like being taken for a fool - and MGJ, Enfield, the SPTSA, the current Board, A4E, S4C, LEV, Strategies 360, OSC etc, are taking us all for fools....

Charlie wishes that people - me - would be kind???

What's kind about what the ed deformers are doing to all of our kids and our teachers and our education system?

Not a damn thing...

And in this fight, "Seattle nice" doesnt cut it....

anonymous said...

Sahila, I think you are mixing up Seattle nice with common respect and courtesy for others.

Anonymous said...

The issue of this thread is that a group of parents have started a petition to coronate Susan Enfield.

She has done some good things during her tenure but has also demonstrated horrible judgment (see Martin Floe debacle), duplicity (see TFA emails), poor relations with teachers (see SEA no confidence vote about Steve Sundquist's support for TFA, whioh was orchestrated by Enfield), to name a few.

If she's behaved this way when she's trying to become permanent,
Tilly bar the door if she's chosen.

Sahila has been in the trenches for several years. It's like when someone on the sidelines comes to the battle late and wonders where the fighting spirit came from.

Instead, she should be congratulated and thanked for the work she has done on behalf of the teachers and students in this district.

==being in the trenches ain't pretty

anonymous said...

"Sahila has been in the trenches for several years. "

And just how do you know that she is doing anything that other posters aren't? Just because some posters are anonymous does not mean they are not active in their communities. Quite the contrary, people that take the time out of their busy days to read and share info on education blogs are generally pretty active, involved, committed, parents and advocates.

In the trenches too

seattle citizen said...

I'm from New Yawk. Whaddya, whaddya...youse gotta problem with da way I get all up in it? Am I too loud for ya, those of ya having tea and crumpets wit' yer pinkies up, talkin' about our kids' schoolin' like ya discuss da wedder? Am I too in yer face? Tough patooties. Ya want me ta make nice wit'cha an' "tsk, tsk, I DO say, yadda yadda yadda..." Fugetabout it. Ain't gonna happen. I yam what I yam, as the man says.

anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anonymous said...

Ran out of intelligent things to say Seattle Citizen? it's hard to believe that you actually stand in front of a classroom.

Sam

seattle citizen said...

Ah, lighten up, Sam!

WV says begracer.

Sahila said...

I dont have a lot of RESPECT for people who wont educate themselves...

or who choose to sit in wilful denial...

or who become collaborators/enablers...

and I wont give COURTESY to people who are implementing an agenda that not only hurts our children, but ultimately kills what is left of any semblance of democracy in this country...

seattle citizen said...

@Sam,
Actually, in retrospect, you're right - My "New Yawk" post was kind of over the top and I apologize to the bloggers. I wanted to rif on different ways of engagement, but I went too far with the "pinkies in the air" piece. My apologies to all; I don't really think anyone here is that elitest. It was too much and not very thoughtful.

hschinske said...

@seattle citizen: I thought your pinkie post was very funny, FWIW.

Helen Schinske

Melissa Westbrook said...

Sahila, we are all going to be civil here.

I cannot say it enough - words have meaning. Please consider them before you hit send.

seattle citizen said...

Thanks, Helen. But I do think it had an edge to it that was un-necessary. I think we all are interested in the students, and I shouldn't dismiss people, in even in jest. My point, that some of us are sort of "in your face" and some of are more diplomatic, was lost in my over-the-topness, which doesn't help anybody or lighten the mood around here, which was my intention.

Sahila said...

Melissa...

from: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/civil

Synonym Discussion of CIVIL
civil, polite, courteous, gallant, chivalrous mean observant of the forms required by good breeding. civil often suggests little more than the avoidance of overt rudeness (owed the questioner a civil reply). polite commonly implies polish of speech and manners and sometimes suggests an absence of cordiality (if you can't be pleasant, at least be polite). courteous implies more actively considerate or dignified politeness (clerks who were unfailingly courteous to customers). gallant and chivalrous imply courteous attentiveness especially to women. gallant suggests spirited and dashing behavior and ornate expressions of courtesy (a gallant suitor of the old school). chivalrous suggests high-minded and self-sacrificing behavior (a chivalrous display of duty).

I'm not sure that there is a gate-keeping mechanism in place on blogs, that limits posting only to "civil" people of "good breeding"....

You think that if I am going to stand in front of the Board and DEMAND that they look at me when I am speaking to indicate they are listening to me - one of their constituents - and that I repeatedly stand in front of them and ask them point blank - who do you work for - us and our children or the Broad and Gates Foundation? - that I am going to go all falsely genteel on people here?

I think not... there are more important things to get our knickers in a knot about than quibbling about how I choose to express my views.... and I dont really care what people think about my breeding or lack thereof...

Here's a quote from Fran Lebowitz:

calling a spade a spade

NLM said...

I'm trying to figure out what civility has to do with good breeding. Even mutts know better than to walk into someone's house, pee all over the floor and expect a warm and fuzzy reception.

Sahila said...

ah NLM.... such a quaint turn of phrase.... who's house is this (blog)? and does it have carpet?

The Board seems to think it can come into our childrens' lives and pee/poop all over them....and it expects us to be happy about that....

what does that make the Board, then?