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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

David Brewster's Defense of the Establishment

In a Crosscut article published yesterday, Two big shockers for Seattle schools and cops, David Brewster, Editor-in-Chief at Crosscut and chair of the board of Crosscut Public Media, revealed his true anti-democratic sentiments.


He claimed - in the absence of evidence and, in fact, contrary to Dr. Enfield's specific statements - that Dr. Enfield's decision to withdraw herself from consideration as the long-term superintendent for Seattle Public Schools "almost certainly stemmed from the surprising fall election".


He referred to the two new Board members as "insurgents".


He suggested that the new board, which he characterized as having a 4-3 anti-reform majority, might mean "a descent into bickering, micromanaging by the board" in the absence of any evidence or rationale. Why, exactly, would this Board cross the line into micro-management? What suggests this?


He wrote that the take-away lesson from the recent school board races is that "Seattle School Board races have to be treated like Seattle City Council races, complete with consultants, polls, and a budget of several hundred thousand dollars." He writes this despite the fact that the winners of two of the races, Marty McLaren and Sharon Peaslee, spent only $26,000 and $14,000. How can he conclude that money is key when the results show that money didn't matter?


He wrote that the Sundquist Board "may have given Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson too much autonomy." Ya think?


Funny that he didn't recognize himself and Education Reform movement types among the "adults" "egos" and "politics" referenced in Dr. Enfield's letter.


Mr. Brewster's article isn't particularly unique - look at what Chris Korsmo has been writing - but it is a comprehensive collection of all of the worst presumptions and un-supportable conclusions.

54 comments:

Anonymous said...

The arrogance is astounding. I particularly like how the Crosscut homepage asks that the 99%-ers donate money to Crosscut.

:<o

Sahila said...

ed deformers in a panic.... years of their planning, scheming, implementing undone in a few short months...

Bloody good job!!!!

Jon said...

Saw that article and was amazed. David Brewster is talking about buying school board seats, not democracy. Marty already was outspent 3:1 and Sharon 5:1 in this election, which is obscene enough, can't believe David is calling for spending even more.

mirmac1 said...

coolpapa posted a particularly cutting comment to Brewster's loony column.

cascade said...

Brewster doesn't know a thing about the inner workings of SPS. He simply repeats what he hears from his peers, which unfortunately includes the Macfarlane and Korsmo and Alliance set.

On the other hand, I bet not 500 people read Crosscut on a regular basis.

someone said...

Insurgents? seriously? wow - Mr. Brewster should know the power of words better - but then this is someone advocating the buying of democracy, so maybe not.

and Charlie's comment on the article was lovely ;o)

Jon said...

By the way, if you want to see who was funding Peter Maier and Stephen Sundquist, that is who was funding their ability to outspend Marty and Sharon by x3-5 times, you can see that now. The database is at

http://www.pdc.wa.gov/MvcQuerySystem/Candidate/loc_candidates

Click on the little filter icon (looks like a bucket) near the word "Locality" and filter by contains the word Seattle, then do the same for "Office" and filter by contains the word School. That will pull up all the candidates for school board in Seattle and who gave them money.

What is interesting is who gave Peter Maier and Stephen Sundquist money. Jeff Raikes, who is the CEO of the Gates Foundation, and his wife gave $5k each to Peter and Stephen. Steve Ballmer gave money to both as well, as did many other friends and colleagues of Jeff Raikes and the Gates Foundation.

Strikes me as thickly heavy-handed that the Gates Foundation is trying to control the Seattle School Board. If they want to test reforms here in Seattle, wouldn't they be better off giving grants and funding new alternative programs? Trying to buy the school board seems to risk a public backlash and negative publicity.

Disgusted said...

"ed deformers in a panic.... years of their planning, scheming, implementing undone in a few short months"

And their isn't anything they can do, but get their panties in a wad.

someone said...

Jon - thx for link - some interesting names on Harium's contributors list as well - Tom Stritikus for example, and Mr. Gates himself.

Anonymous said...

Since Harium worked to bring TFA to Seattle, as per the comment after Brewster's article, it is not a surprise that Stritikus would fund him.

Tit for tat and all that. And unseemly, too. Another strike for both of them in my book.

Informed Voter

Melissa Westbrook said...

I was not pleased with Mr. Brewster piece. I just don't think he gets it. All the thrashing going about by Chris Korsmo and the powers that be in this town - boy, they must be worried.

I loved Charlie's line (when Mr. Brewster called Marty and Sharon "insurgents") - one man's insurgent is another man's Freedom Fighter. What a silly use of that word.

I love the way he says MORE money should be spent on Board races even as there was more spent and yet voters were not fooled.

This kind of thing annoys me but do I enjoy watching this wringing of hands. They seriously think that two people - with 5 incumbents still on the Board - can do that much damage? Would want to do damage?

And how much worse could it get? The amount of clean-up of issues that needs to get done would almost preclude any actions by Marty or Sharon that would be game-changers.

Sigh.

Jack Whelan said...

Brewster is another classic example of someone who thinks that because he and his friends think it, it must be unimpeachably true. No point in actually talking to credible people who have differing opinions, because opinions that differ from theirs are by definition not credible. The ways in which the unconscious assumptions and the arrogance that comes leaking through here takes one's breath away.

But here's the task that lies before us. To prove that the conventional wisdom that so typifies this crowd--the Brewsters, Varners, Norm Rices, and all the other usual suspects--is just plain god-awful wrong. But also to present a robust, positive alternative

Christina said...

Brewster is another classic example of someone who thinks that because he and his friends think it, it must be unimpeachably true.

I don't read newspapers much, so I can't tell when an editorialist is writing pro-corporate hegemony to pay the bills, or because she really believes what she writes and that the rest of us would benefit.

I also can't tell, when I see a freshly published online editorial riddled with missing words, typos and grammatical errors at The Seattle Times, if the editorialist has been shaken (e.g. yelled at by a superior), has alcoholic tremors, or has been threatened to post a specific theme within ten minutes or else. I can only imagine. It's not in the editorialist's interest to review her work to make her post sensible, let alone a fact-based argument.

A pro journalist would tell us how publishing "haves"-defenses and justifications to the have-nots is a sustainable business model, despite layoffs. Why won't the 1% support their mouthpieces sufficiently so donation and subscription models aren't needed?

Next year I will greatly reduce my reading of such online editorials as found on Crosscut and The Seattle Times: I don't need my page hit on their servers to keep them convinced they're in the right.

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Let's hope we're at the "they fight you" phase.

dan dempsey said...

Mel W wrote:

I was not pleased with Mr. Brewster's piece. I just don't think he gets it. All the thrashing going about by Chris Korsmo and the powers that be in this town

- boy, they must be worried.


OH NO .. not that messy democratic republic nonsense .... Dear hand me my Oligarchy.

I get it.

Mr. Brewster is indirectly supported to NOT Get It. Just as big money campaign contributors supported four Board Candidates in 2007 ... Not to Get It. ... and they repeatedly did NOT Get It for four years.

Cheryl Chow's fave => Goodloe-Johnson knew from square one that she was being paid handsomely to push "100% Broad Academy Thinking" which she did consistently.

Yet stupid me..... there I was expecting Directors to intelligently apply the relevant data to improve the system. Thus I spent an enormous amount of time producing evidence filled submissions to expose the "highly flawed" School Board Action Reports.

So often "Incumbent Directors" responded with narrow isolated contrived examples to justify completely unsupported positions .... Support for the $800,000 New Tech Network contract ... which had to be approved twice was classic. Harium told a great success story of a New Tech School in North Carolina .... except the Data from NC showed it to be a failing school in the bottom 19% of NC schools and surpassed by the cheaper to run schools with less advantaged populations.

So the $500,000 four supported the wishes of the Oligarchy and repeatedly neglected evidence..... hummm sounds "Arbitrary and Capricious" to me. .... but then the Court decides to give ... broad latitude to the Board .... (at least as broad as the Equator -- Jupiter's Equator).

So let us try this court thing one more time ... and just aim it at Harium and Sherry. Remember that Directors are recalled individually.

The oath of office requires support for the WA and US constitutions .... and the laws of WA and the US.

Time for another recall sufficiency hearing ...

In authorizing the Superintendent to request Conditional Certificates for TfA corps members, the Directors knowingly ignored WAC 181-79A-231. These two directors were very aware that the WAC required "Careful Review" of all other options to TfA had not been performed, The directors failed to support the WA law WAC 181-79A-231 and failed to support the constitutional provisions addressed in article IX for low income and other groups effected by the achievement gaps.

Your thoughts?

dan dempsey said...

Cristina makes so much sense with this:

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Let's hope we're at the "they fight you" phase.

Assuming a judge would actually rule in favor of a recall at the recall sufficiency hearing......

WOW if recall petitions were circulated and an adequate number signed, it would be interesting to see what kind of a campaign would be waged and funded (and by whom) to keep Harium and Sherry in power.

Recall elections are just thumbs up or thumbs down, there is no opposition candidate.

Oh those Times editorials ... I can see Lynne Varner now. .... Wonder if the Stranger could get this one right ... before the election.

Po3 said...

I hate when people tell me why I voted one way or another. So for the record I voted against Peter Maier as I felt he should have followed up on Pottergate when he had a chance.

I voted against Sundquist because West Seattle has become a portable parking lot and did not see any change in how he would manage capacity in his district.

I also voted against both directors as I am very uphappy with the math and saw both challengers as directors who will right that wrong!

My children don't have time for me to give directors a second chance, they need to get it right the first time. Plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU Brewster, Rueven, Lisa McFarlane of Sell Outs For Ed Deform Disgracing The Democratic Brand, Kormos, ...

THANK YOU because I looked up synonyms for the word 'enemy', because 'enemy' carries too much baggage from military kind of endeavors -

THANK YOU because I found a bunch of words which convey that we're just opponents, today. Words which convey that tomorrow we could all be sharing champagne and caviar at the banquets of the enlitened and engaged!

THANK YOU because I found the words antagonist, foe and villain !

THANK YOU because you are NOT the friends or the enemies of teachers and kids and parents -

you sure as hell are the

AntagonistsFoesAndVillains.

dan dempsey said...

Hummm so now where do all these revelations from Mr. Brewster put ...... those leaders of WEA and SEA that were excellent collaborators.

Jonathan ... how about everyone read that MOU which you and Olga attempted to slip by the Members in early December.... Have a nice January meeting.

Olga and Jonathan .... good thing you pushed for Enfield to stay with your NO search for Superintendent needed letter to the Board. ... How did that work out for you?

Members pay $70+ / month ..... and WEA and SEA leadership do what?

Anonymous said...

Jon: If they want to test reforms here in Seattle, wouldn't they be better off ..."

...sending *their kids* to public schools?

Don'tcha think?

-JC.

Anonymous said...

Brewster has committed the unpardonable sin: he told.

His reckless diatribe mirrors that of Jonah Edelman, who spilled the beans on Stand for Children in Aspen several months ago, when he outlined the S4C strategy that was used in Illinois. From the NYTimes article:


"But Stand for Children’s clout capsized in an Aspen, Colo., conference room in June when its founder, Jonah Edelman, was videotaped describing the group’s use of money and prowess to insert itself into the legislative process. In doing so, Mr. Edelman, the son of prominent Washington social activists, committed one of Springfield’s greatest sins: he told."

The powers-that-be cannot be pleased that their tactics were openly divulged. Thanks, David Brewster. You have done an invaluable service.

--Dan Dempsey rocks!

Anonymous said...

Excellent point Dan Demp. Rocks.

Make sure to tweet the portions of Brewster's ravings to your network....

:<o

whitney said...

GREAT point, Dan Dempsey rocks! -- "David Brewster told." And great reference to the Edelman story.

DOES ANYONE HAVE A CONNECTION TO GET BREWSTER'S ARTICLE/ADMISSION TO THE NY TIMES???

Wouldn't it be great if the NY Times did a story on how a community(i.e. "insurgents" i.e. Seattle) is trying to stand up to the big money, big business ed reformers? (especially since Gates is right in our back yard)

Might the Grey Lady be interested?

seattle citizen said...

Here's what we've all known for years: The board election of four years ago was purchased by "a group of parents and some wealthy backers."
Jon points us to the list of said backers in his comment (I wonder who the parents are that Brewster mentions?)

Here's where Brewster spilled the beans about what we've known, about the "buying of seats," as Jon so succinctly commented:

"The school reform movement began about six years ago as a group of parents and some wealthy backers decided to get on the national bandwagon and to bring in a school board that would stay the course for these tough decisions..."
Really? A group of local parents and backers looked nationally for Reforming Big Ed, or did Reforming Big Ed come to the locals?

"...They made considerable progress, particularly with a new teachers' contract that Dr. Goodloe-Johnson somehow got through by force of will...."

Really?! This is the "particular" example of "progress" Brewster believes in? The Reform-directed "data-driven" (MAP, HSPE) aspect of the new teachers' evaluation? (for surely he's not awed by the Danielson Framework - It has little of the Reformers' hard numbers in it, as opposed to The Tests...) This is the "progress," amongst all the important aspects of the district, that he cites? How 'bout all the successes that were not board or admin driven? Like, oh, Mercer Math?

"Not surprisingly, a strong local backlash has arisen...."

No, it's no surprise that people react forcefully when they find out their elections were purchased by a small group of investors, uh, backers, and...parents. BY "parents," I think he is referring the "parents" in the Our Schools Coalition (OSC); the Alliance for Education (A4E); the League of Education Voters (LEV); and the Washington Extension of Stand Upon Children...

Anonymous said...

As much as I liked receiving "heads-up" from LEV and Stand, I am sickened to think they count me among their "members" who represent the great unwashed masses behind their "new economy" backers.

Hit Unsubscribe NOW

dan dempsey said...

So I figured after this Brewster revelation, I want answers.

So I went to the Gates Foundation and found a piece by Mr. Raikes=> We need to hear from you

So always wanting to help and get an answer ... I let Mr. Raikes hear from me.
----------

Mr. Raikes,

I am not happy with much of the Gates Foundation direction for schools in WA State. I am also not happy with your personal financial support of the candidacy of Seattle School Directors that fail to use evidence.

To improve a system requires the intelligent application of relevant data. The last four years of Seattle Schools direction via the Reform Bloc elected in 2007 by spending $500,000+ has been a misdirected fiasco.

I would like to see you explain your positions on Teach for America, and a variety of other reforms preferred by your candidates.

I look forward to your participation in an evidenced based discussion with Westbrook and Mas on the Seattle Schools Community Blog.

Sincerely,

dempsey_dan@yahoo.com

dan dempsey said...

Now that Mr. Brewster has told the truth ..... next up is..... What are we going to do about the WA State spending on the Common Core State Standards? These were developed and brought to us and the nation by the usual suspects.

... A bigger more expensive WASL is not what is needed.

Just be able to explain your process.

The knowledge of much content is really not that important. Y'all don't really need to know much, jus' use those higher order thinking skills y'all developed.

Anonymous said...

I hesitate to speak the truth...
but Obama's basketball buddy, Arne,
is the culprit. In a condensed syllogism, Obama is the culprit.
Therefore...

--Dan Dempsey rocks!

mirmac1 said...

Brian Rosenthal,

What do you think about pseudo-journalist David Brewster's exhortation to buy the next election in the name of the "new economy" and freedom fighters everywhere?

dan dempsey said...

Holy Smokes...

It is 5:30 PM
and where is Open Thread Tuesday?

Anonymous said...

Brewster's injudicious rhetoric about money was most startling to me. He must have precluded that the people who voted for the "insurgents" can't read. Haha.

Right on, Po3. I voted for the "insurgents" because as a teacher I want curriculum that works for kids and an administration that listens to its teachers although I can't say the teachers' union echoes my voice anymore. That is a problem. I believe that Olga was between a rock and a hard place before the election thinking that we had little wiggle room. But now? I don't get it. She should be listening to her teachers and enlisting support from teachers to reestablish our voices for what we really endorse. We might have our foot back in the door to help determine authentic and effective teaching programs and best practices.

northender

Anonymous said...

The more I think about Brewster's statements, the stranger they seem.

To whom, exactly, did Brewster speak as background for this article? Do they actually know what they are talking about? Does Brewster know what he is talking about?

One assertion is that next time reform candidates should raise the kind of money that city council candidates raise, as in this year's election:

Jean Godden = $262k
Bruce Harrell = $284k
Tom Rasmussen = $312k
Tim Burgess = $254k
Sally Clark =243k

If a reform candidate raised, say, $300k and, say, Betty Patu raised $15k, you think anyone would notice? You think it wouldn't be a story that voters wouldn't find out about? What do you think voters would make of a candidate backed by a wealthy elite, a candidate spending 20x his opponent?

Brewster also said that next time reform candidates would hire, gasp, consultants. But Peter Maier hired Blair Butterworth, about the most conventional consultant around. What good did it do him? In my view, Sharon Peaslee was elected to office precisely because her campaign outsmarted Peter Maier's. That--and the fact that Peter Maier had little organization to speak of.

What does it tell you that Brewster did not say that next time around reform candidates will build effective campaign organizations?

DWE

seattle citizen said...

Brewster opened by saying that "[g]eologically speaking, Seattle sits atop a sunken volcano."

Before I read any more, I had to check this out. I am a student of Seattle history, including some scant knowledge of its geography. Nothing I have ever seen has said Seattle "sits atop a sunken volcano."

I googled. I cross-checked. I used a variety of search terms.

Nothin'.

Help me out if you know differently, but to my knowledge Seattle absolutely does not sit on a volcano, sunken or not. It IS on some fault lines, which might have been a better metaphor?

So he opened his piece with a ridiculous statement, and things got stranger still after that....

Dorothy Neville said...

LOL, SC, have no fear. We live over a subduction zone, but absolutely we do not live on a sunken volcano. Brewster's prose style leaves something to be desired, eh? Or just his geology.

Patrick said...

Brewster's article is so poorly written it makes me wonder if he's writing just enough to keep the Gates Foundation dollars coming to Crosscut, and is deliberately not convincing.

ArchStanton said...

Instead of adding anything substantive to to this discussion; I created a helpful photoshop

WV says you better listenta it

Anonymous said...

Sour grapes from an angry, yapping purse dog. WSDWG

Paul said...

We know who Brewster talked to: his "education brain trust"; Dick Liliy and Don Nielsen. Same it ever was.

If he hadn't written it, they would have put Dick's name on it: he'll say anything and proved it in public for years.

mirmac1 said...

WSDWG, that's an insult to purse dogs everywhere.

uxolo said...

ArchStanton - your photos are fabulous. How can you get them to Crosscut - at least the most current one?

someone said...

A very long time ago, I worked in a historical library collection - Mr. Brewster wrote for a small magazine at the time, I've forgotten the name. He wrote a fictional piece about a local despardo, disguising it as a real historical figure - so real in fact that for nearly a year after that, we got question after question from people wanting to know more about this outlaw -
Ever since then, I think of Brewster's writing as more fiction than fact - don't think much has changed in the last 20 years or so ;o)

Melissa Westbrook said...

"One obvious way to fight back would be to make the next election, in 2013, a well-funded effort to retake the majority of the school board, putting a scare into Kay Smith-Blum, the hard-to-read new leader of the majority, and Betty Patu."

Is that a veiled threat? Kay and Betty had better fall in line or the big guns are coming after them next election? He's distressed because Kay has a brain and does her own thinking and so her decisions are not lock-step?

What's fun to me is that these control types simply do NOT understand School Board elections. The point was made that Peter had a seasoned and well-known campaign consultant AND still couldn't get reelected.

Words and actions have meaning. You cannot undo what someone has said and done over four years and the voters will see right through that every time.

Arch, you still slay me everytime. Love the photo.

Sahila said...

Arch.... your photoshop has gone national....

ArchStanton said...

uxolo said... ArchStanton - your photos are fabulous. How can you get them to Crosscut - at least the most current one?

Feel free to email him a link or copy/paste the jpg.

Sahila said... Arch.... your photoshop has gone national....

That's neat, but where?

dan dempsey said...

Ah wait a minute:

Kay Smith-Blum, the hard-to-read new leader of the majority,

Is Mr. Brewster believing that President DeBell is more reform bloc toadie than thinker? ..... Dave, Where is the evidence for that?

So when Cheryl Chow left ....
Harium put on his official reform bloc hat to produce a continuation of reform bloc 4-3 votes.

Does this mean that the puppet string pullers do not have enough current directors willing to wear reform bloc hats to continue the 4-3 decisions for All Things Ed Reform?

So when will the Board vote to withdraw from the TfA contract?

Anonymous said...

Too many organ grinders and not enough monkeys I guess. Brewster stepped up to fill the void.

Dance monkey, dance. WSDWG

Sahila said...

@Arch.... tweeted them, put them on various national anti-ed deform pages on FB, with a description of what's been going on in SPS this year...

Anonymous said...

Kay appears to have her own opinion but don't be so sure she is a populist. She is a business woman. She likes and keeps business contacts. She schmoozes the Alliance. She certainly appears to have designs on ruling the board roost. Did she not support Goodloe-Johnson because she is smart, or because Goodloe-Johnson appeared to not listen to her. Hopefully the former, but I fear the latter.

I guess we will . Her true colors will come out this year with the search. She supported the teacher's contract. She supported TFA. What else might she support?

-Critical-

seattle citizen said...

"Is that a veiled threat? Kay and Betty had better fall in line or the big guns are coming after them next election? He's distressed because Kay has a brain and does her own thinking and so her decisions are not lock-step?"

He, and his handlers, are also likely distresed because Director Patu, whose SE district is the one the Reform crowd would most like to get their hands on, hasn't been the Reformist director they would like in the SE. Director Patu has continuously advocated FOR all students in the SE, and with her many abstentions has indicated that she is NOT on board with the full slate of Reform that Big Ed (as represented locally by "a group of parents and some wealthy backers") wanted to enact.

Yes, I could certainly see Bid Ed going after Director Patu and trying to replace her with someone more brainwashed by their "we need JUST THESE "data-driven" privatization moves to help minority children!" schtick.

Word Verifier is building a new STEM/entertainment facility for kids in Florida: Eptot. Barump-bump.

Anonymous said...

Patrick: Brewster's article is so poorly written it makes me wonder ..."

...if he's a Writers Workshop grad.

-JC.

Jan said...

Critical -- That is a good question. I agree with you that Kay is a businesswoman at heart -- but her kids went to SPS, and I have always seen her as the type of businessperson who thinks that it is GREAT (for business, as well as for civic life in general) when communities have good schools (and good public institutions in other regards. She will never be interchangeable with Sahila -- in terms of positions -- but I do NOT think she came into this position with "Ed Reform-itis" -- determined to close all those failing schools, and fire all those failing teachers, in favor of classes of 50 taught by TfA.

I think it was not so much that MGJ wouldn't listen to HER -- but that MGJ steadfastly refused to listen to FACTS that got in MGJ's way -- thus creating messes (with NSAP) that would degrade this district later -- which of course is exactly what happened.

I think of Kay as independent -- not pro-EdReform -- but also not anti-Ed Reform either, if for whatever reason she thinks what it is pushing is either helpful or benign (which is how I personally explain her TfA vote -- though I have no proof to back up my opinion). I don't see Kay as a pushover, and will be shocked (and very disappointed) if the big Ed Reform players manage to strong-arm/cajole her into adopting, wholesale, the Ed Reform platform.

Jan said...

Oh -- and Arch -- wonderful photoshop work (and mirmac1, I covet that response on purse dogs. I was trying to think of a witty ripose, and gave it up after I read yours).

mirmac1 said...

Jan,

From one purse dog owner to another...? (they're so cuuuute and yappy! Brewster's not cute)

: )

ArchStanton said...

Well now; someone at SPS has noticed my stuff. Maybe via Sahila's sharing or through this blog. My 'shop page got 78 hits from Seattle School District's network yesterday (and a bunch of other new traffic, too). Thanks for visiting!

Jason said...

Now that Mr. Brewster has told the truth ..... next up is..... What are we going to do about the WA State spending on the Common Core State Standards? These were developed and brought to us and the nation by the usual suspects. ... A bigger more expensive WASL is not what is needed. Just be able to explain your process. The knowledge of much content is really not that important. Y'all don't really need to know much, jus' use those higher order thinking skills y'all developed.