Friday Open Thread

Charter school initiative at Sec'y of State's office and assigned a title:

Ballot Title
Initiative Measure No. 1240 concerns public charter schools. 

I will write a separate thread but let me just say that I don't care if you like charters or not - this is one scary and vague piece of work.  It's pretty shocking to see what could be allowed to happen.  Like the bill in the Legislature, this initiative is bad news. 

Upcoming threads:
- Board retreat from last Saturday
- underenrolled schools - do we really know why they are underenrolled?  The district seems to have left a couple of schools hung out to dry
- who's next to endorse charters?  Could be a City Councilperson and/or a parent group

Saturday Community meetings
Director Carr from 8:30-10 am, Bethany Community Church, access from N 81st by playground
Director Martin-Morris from 9:30-11:30 am, Diva Espresso, Lake City Way
Director Smith-Blum from 10-11:30 am, Capitol Hill Library
What's on your mind?


Eric B said…
Does anyone have any scuttlebutt on the Charlotte M[something] rating system for teachers? I've heard some interesting anecdotes but no data.
Maureen said…
I spent three days and two nights camping with TOPS 8th graders, staff and parents at Deception Pass State Park this week. It was so inspiring to watch the kids wander through the flats exposed by the -3 tide and gather samples to photograph and identify (family genus species in Latin) for their marine biology final (and hike miles and set up camp and cook for the group and play). My family has been so lucky to be part of this community for the past 13 years. My kids got a fabulous education and became much more thoughtful and open members of society. Thanks to the staff and families that have made TOPS tops for us!
Bless you Maureen; that must have taken a lot of energy.
Josh Hayes said…
As we near the end of a school year, I have a vague memory that Martin Floe was on some sort of Super Sekret Double Probation or something, and Decisions Would Be Made -- does anyone know what Martin's future at Ingraham looks like? My feeling is that the district regards the whole Floe incident as an embarrassment and would like for us to forget it, move along, nothing to see here. And that would mean that there's no excitement on the horizon, right?

FWIW, I met and liked Martin before the whole flap blew up, but didn't have a student at IHS at the time. Now I do - my son is finishing up his freshman year - and I'm even more impressed with him. It's impossible for me to believe that the district would want to bring that whole mess back up again.
Someone said…
@EricB - Mecklenburg is the M something - the system was scraped after outcries in Feb. 2012 - but data is here I believe

Maureen said…
@Melissa, the kids are really well trained at camping by 8th grade. There were at least 3 staff members and five other parents there at all times. I did quite a bit of chatting!
mirmac1 said…
Eric B

There are many interesting documents posted here
Anonymous said…
The Charlotte Danielson Framework perhaps?

Jen said…
FYI, Stand for Children says in response to me mentioning your post about Melvin G. Ashton's identity:

"We don't know who Melvin G Ashton is, but we're pretty sure the "Save Seattle Schools Blog" is not a primary source of hard facts."

I don't understand how anyone can continue to repost this individuals writing without understanding that it offends a lot of parents. (Maybe it's because it offends parents not in Melvin's tax bracket.)
mirmac1 said…
The SPS Danielson Framework for teachers and principals are now posted on This is "the Work" of which many downtown are so proud.
Jane said…
Looking at the teacher performance documents, we have documented numerous incidents that would place a teacher in the unsatisfactory rating (disrespectful and unprofessional behavior with students and parents, poorly planned lessons and assessments, developmentally inappropriate material, lack of adherence to the curriculum, the list goes on). The questions is, does the unsatisfactory performance have to be witnessed by the evaluator, or do parent/student observations get included in the evaluation?

This is one case where you'd hope the Framework would be used as a tool for the principal to remove an ineffective teacher.
Anonymous said…
@Jen: Hilarious answer from Stand. Talk about "Not a Source for Hard Facts." Stand is a multi-million $$ PAC eg Shill For Corporate Ed Reform.

Stand has no High Horse to get up on.

This blog has no money (well now maybe a little via those ads?) involved in its mission. participation of hundreds. Readership of thousands.

Stand has politicians who won't participate in its endorsement process because its brand is so tainted at this point. It has parents who attend a meeting or two and say no thanks. And that's with its millions.

Stand trying to dismiss this blog? What a fail. This blog makes news.

Reformed Reformie
mirmac1 said…
The district has six retired/consulting principal/mentors who are authorized "observers" of teachers on probation. Based on salaries on the P-275s, their wages may equal $675K.

So, if you were being paid to "observe" a teacher, you are going to come up with something to justify your $100K+ a yr. In one instance, a teacher was dinged for not having a date on the lesson plan.

And what do students think when they find out a teacher's on probation? All right, I can screw off and blame it on the teacher. I can claim I'm being cheated out of a good grade. I can act up in class (and the observer will ding the teacher again for poor classroom management).

This is the Work that is costing our district millions to implement. $1.4M in roster verification alone.
Floor Pie said…
Glad to hear there's a post on underenrolled schools coming up. Will it include Green Lake?
Jet City mom said…
That sounds great Maureen. I love Deception Pass.
When youngest was in 8thgrade, I helped chaperone the 8th grade of Summit, at Camp Orkilia, for their springtrip.
Several suburban elementary classes were there at the same time, and a few conflicts occurred.
The program was really not engaging enough for kids ready to enter high school, so it put more burden on the chaperones to keep them together.
Still I really appreciated the opportunity to work with the kids- that is one of my favorite ages.

I got more sleep while chaperoning the 10th grade marine biology trip through the North Cascades and into Eastern Washington , albeit the chaperones were led by the legendary Craig MacGowan and his rugby pals.

Any response from the directors regarding the recently released performance audit?
Or is this going to be used as an excuse to implement charter schools with their reduced " administration", even though the suburban school districts direct more money into classrooms thanSeattle.
Jane said…
My concern is that what a student experiences when an observer is not present can differ from what happens in the presence of the authorized "observer." What is the mechanism to ensure parent and student concerns are documented, outside of the authorized observations?
Jet City mom said…
Mirmac, your link came up on an old email from MGJ.
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Eric B said…
It was Danielson, thank you. I'll take a peek through the Scribd documents just for kicks. The CD framework was the source of a comedy of errors that would be a lot funnier if a good teacher hadn't lost their job over it. I don't want to be too specific, since the teacher involved doesn't want to be identified.

I wish our 8th graders had gone to Deception Pass for their capstone trip. It sounds like a lot of fun (and lots of work for parent volunteers).

Funny response from SFC. I've always found this blog a good source of facts, particularly when they come from Melissa or Charlie. Maybe the difference is that SFC doesn't know the difference between facts and opinions? Actually, that would explain a lot.
Anonymous said…
reposting for anonymous:

"Oh...keep reading. Especially interesting are the exchanges with Jon B. Start at page 38-40."

Disgusted said…
"We don't know who Melvin G Ashton is, but we're pretty sure the "Save Seattle Schools Blog" is not a primary source of hard facts."

So they say. But Melissa and Charlie have more than a few people in this town jumping.

Congratulations on your free publicity.
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
Just skimmed through the SPS Leaks documents and what a fascinating backstory. That a couple of downtownies enjoy their inside access and use it at every possible juncture is nauseating.
Frank Greer, Sara Morris, Matt Griffin. And the crew at Strategies 360.

How many ways can one person say Yuck. Ick. Blech.

"Disgusted Too"
Anonymous said…
And weren't school based enrollment projections supposed to come out last week?

Jane, you're funny. A parent's opinion about a teacher's effectiveness being part of any evaluation? I am teasing but no, that's not going to ever happen.

Yes, Floor Pie, that thread on underenrolled schools will include Green Lake.

ALTF news? I will probably write something on Monday as I'm fairly certain now that someone (s) are trying to run out the school year clock.
Just Plain Disgusted said…
"Just skimmed through the SPS Leaks documents and what a fascinating backstory"

Me too. I found pages 36-38 particularily illuminating. Maybe I forgot, but when was Jon Bridges elected to the board?
mirmac1 said…
I hope Mr. Banda looks at this insider wheedling and says thanks but no thanks.

This crap is totally Enfield's style and yes it is nauseating.
Anonymous said…
Domain 4: Professional Responsibilities
4c: communication with families

Yes--that is part of our evaluation

Jane said…
Melissa, I'm not talking about opinions. I'm talking about a child's description of a class incident or submitted examples of classwork. These should count for something.
Jane, I know that you are serious. But I am telling you that between the district and SEA, they will NEVER allow the input from a child or parent. Sorry.

Just read the SPS leaks and boy, I am really mad. I think this needs to be outed in a big way.

I'm not sure who thinks they are the biggest dog in this town - Frank Greer or Jon Bridge.

(And if any of our Alliance or Stand friends are reading, early warning. Fur is going to fly.)
Disgusted said…
"I hope Mr. Banda looks at this insider wheedling and says thanks but no thanks.

This crap is totally Enfield's style and yes it is nauseating"

I agree. We now know the politicos that control the message and the media. If Banda does not support the agenda of these folks...I think it is safe to say they will use the media to make swiss cheese out of Banda.
Rufus X said…
SPSLeaks, Insider-email, Pg. 39 Jon B says "The bloggers out there represent themselves only. The silent majority would be appalled if we followed their direction."

Seriously Jon? You put a blog on blast for not representing anyone besides the writers' own selves, and then attempt to represent the "silent majority"?

With arrogance like that, one may be inclined to assert that you, Mr. Bridge, are a contemptuous, entitled windbag.
RosieReader said…
For Josh Hayes -- Martin Floe was on a "personal improvement plan" that was extended after his termination was revoked. In the fall or early winter he told the PTSA Board that he had successfully completed the PIP and was back to being subjected just to the normal process for principal evaluation.

Speaking of that whole situation, sure is interesting how low a profile Bree Dusseault has maintained this year. Because I'm an eternal optimist, I'm hoping she's learned some lessons in how to effectively supervise folks.
Holy Cow said…
Check out Miramac's link - around page 70. It appears DeBell was working with Matt Griffin before 1620 was available for the public!

It is time for DeBell to GO!
mirmac1 said…
Amen Rosie
Anonymous said…
K-5 STEM at Boren is going to have mandatory uniforms. Who decides if a school is going to have uniforms? Are there any checks and balances when this decision is made? Parents have already enrolled their children and it was just announced this week that the kids will be wearing uniforms. Is there anything parents can do? Any info/ideas will be appreciated.

Future STEM Parent
Anonymous said…
K-5 STEM at Boren is going to have mandatory uniforms. Who decides if a school is going to have uniforms? Are there any checks and balances when this decision is made? Parents have already enrolled their children and it was just announced this week that the kids will be wearing uniforms. Is there anything parents can do? Any info/ideas will be appreciated.

Future STEM Parent
Dorothy Neville said…
What happened to AGREE? The Four Pillars? Did any actual action happen regarding these buzzwords?
Anonymous said…
K-5 STEM @Boren has had involved parents from the beginning. I know a parent with a kid headed there. Parents were the ones who made this decision. Get involved in the site council and attend the meetings they've been having and say your piece. What about uniforms upsets you so?

Auntie to a STEM kid
Maureen said…
puzzle pieces...

mirmac, do you know if Joanie Deutsch (p.79) of Strategies360 is related to longtime SPS HR guy Harvey Deutsch?

Interesting to read Kay Smith Blum's push back to the Alliance4Ed's fee increase (p.91). Did that end up going through?

So Matt Griffin (throughout) is in commercial real estate?

I'm not sure I blame Enfield for hanging out with some of these people--a person has to have a social life and they have common interests. If they are friends though, they should be doing it on their own time/email accounts. Then we wouldn't even know who was influencing whom.
Po3 said…
What about uniforms upsets you so?

The cost would upset me; I depend on hand me downs and do very little back to school shopping in the fall.
Dorothy, what is AGREE? It just isn't ringing a bell.

Uniforms? I don't know. With the new school, I suspect it may be parents as well as the district. I'm not sure I get why. But they have to offer some kind of discount for them because you cannot force people to pay for clothes who can't afford new clothes.

As for Bridge and Greer, look, the media and the "community" say what they want. But one, not all the media are going to swing their way.

But two (and most important), if Banda makes district staff, school staff, parents, and students happy, there's not a darn thing they can really do to him. If he does well, parents and the real community will rise up to protect him against all foes. If we have a transparent and well-managed district, then there' not so much they can say.

If Banda succeeds, the district succeeds. We need to help him make that happen.
Someone said…
Mr. Griffin appears to have hands in many pies - he's on the Board of the Downtown Seattle Association, the YMCA, Rainier Scholars. His company Pine Street owns things like the Seattle Art Museum bldg, and Pacific Place,
Fascinating reading - and yes, one can socialize where ever one wants, but should that social circle have such access? It's all so interwoven and frankly, disturbing.

But then us pesky blog readers arent the silent majority, so what does it matter what we, voters, parents, concern citizens that we might be, think ;o)
Anonymous said…
It was not parents. There was a poll on the STEM yahoo group and parents voted against uniforms. How do I find out who has authority to make this decision. If the parents don't want it, can we do anything?

I know there are other schools in the district that require uniforms, so I am wondering if there is a process a school needs to go through in order to implement requiring uniforms.

Future STEM Parent
Maureen said…
I remember uniforms being an issue when the south end APP cohort moved to Thurgood Marshall, but don't remember what ended up happening.
Charlie Mas said…
Dorothy Neville asked: "What happened to AGREE? The Four Pillars? Did any actual action happen regarding these buzzwords?"

It all goes on the scrap heap. It died when Dr. Enfield announced she was leaving.

I hope nothing was done about any of it because it all just evaporated.
Eric B said…
How uniform are the uniforms? There's a big difference between "khaki pants of skirt and a red T-shirt or collared shirt" and "Uniform #47 from XYZ store". The former is a lot easier to find cheap at thrift stores and the like, while the latter obviously isn't. Whatever it is though, it's all extra if you're on a hand me down train.

Which leads to an interesting question, who sets policy about things like uniforms? Can a principal/site council do it unilaterally, or does the Board have to get involved?
Anonymous said…
Re: uniforms

I just don't get having uniforms when the school system as a whole doesn't have them (and you can bet that wouldn't fly). I associate uniforms with KIPP and more regimented school atmospheres.

Back when HMM had his blog, there was a long thread about uniforms. They backed off. Yes, some parents were in favor of uniforms, but many weren't.

It just feels like a divisive topic. When you're trying to build a community, why even go there as a design team?

Jan said…
Charlie and Dorothy -- I never know quite what to think about things like the Four Pillars, Everyone Accountable, Expect Excellence, -- and maybe even the Strategic Plan. On the one hand, I think most in "leadership" these days are encouraged to encompass whatever their "vision" is into some sort of a package that can be disseminated in small sound bites, digested, etc. If done right (i.e., it's a doable plan and people buy in), it can/should create some cohesiveness, and it gives people a sense of the forward trajectory. It does not seem reasonable that when the person who "owned" the vision leaves, the slogans, or vision, or whatever, would remain to entangle the next leader, who may conceptualize his or her vision differently.

This "presumes" a number of things: first, it presumes that most of the activity that will be undertaken is already stuff that can/should happen in ordinary course, under the ordinary budget/staffing process -- and that the "vision" simply rearranges priorities (a little) and reorders thought processes so that everyone can feel part of a team that is moving toward commonly adopted goals. No clue whether that ever happens at SPS, but I think that (plus some PR value) is what was intended. I don't see any "loss" from moving away from Excellence for All and Everyone Accountable (MGJ's language/vision) to Enfield's Four Pillars.

Where I part ways is with the Strategic Plan. In this case, the "vision" sort of jumped its box and became an expensive, District adopted action plan, with deliverables, damage if those deliverables were not delivered (like the problems of running an attendance based system before you make every school a "quality school" -- oops. Sorry RBHS.) In that instance, I don't think the "plan" vaporizes with its proponent. I would be much happier if the Board and new District management would deal openly with "what happened?" Is there still a viable "Strategic Plan" out there, continuing to miss one milestone after another. Did we decide we hated it as much as we disliked its author, so we formally terminated it? (Ok by me, but there is value in actually going through that process, rather than just kicking it under the bed and hoping no one ever looks under there -- besides credibility and integrity issues, it tends to make the proponents a little more accountable (what did it cost, what did we achieve, where did we fail, -- and maybe most important -- what replaces it? If nothing, is that ok? Did we ever need anything like it? If not, would we ever caper down that path again? And why or why not?

The Board could figure all this out in an hour -- make a pronouncement -- and move on. I wish they would. It would be so -- adult. And I am happy for Mr. Banda to come in with his own vision, and articulate it how he likes (as long as the Board, his bosses, are happy with it).
Maureen said…
It just feels like a divisive topic. When you're trying to build a community, why even go there...

I nodded at this, but, ironically, I'm sure many parents look at uniforms as unifying. I know some think of uniforms as a way to be sure some kids don't feel inferior because they can't afford the latest clothes. I'm with Po3 though, uniforms would have to cost more (even used) than what my kids have grown up wearing.

I had a conversation with a mom who has a kid diagnosed with Asperger's, she mentioned that her kid would have a terrible time tolerating a uniform and it would take a huge amount of energy everyday trying to get the kid to wear one. (Sensory issues I think? collars and waist bands?) My kid isn't on the spectrum (afaik), but would be miserable being told what to wear every day. (I wore a uniform for 11 years (Catholic School). It was great. I would think hard before I sent my kids to a public school with uniforms. Hypocrite?)
Anonymous said…
Page 68 SPS Leaks:

From Frank Greer
To Michael DeBell

...I've had a long talk with Lynne Varner …she's beginning to understand..would love for you to talk with her, even if on “background”…to provide an understanding of what the problem is with Kay and what she did to drive Susan away…and why this policy is so important to limit her interference with the Superintendent.’s really important to help her understand and I think she will be very helpful…

And the downtown people point to this blog as rabblerousers. This is insane stuff. Frank Greer, Lynne Varner...I hope Banda has zero time for both of you. And frankly for DeBell too. Shame.

Disgusted Too
Anonymous said…
There's a link to Emerson Elementary's uniform policy on their school page:

"School is student's workplace and as adults have dress standards within the workplace, so do students at Emerson Elementary...[the] dress code...demonstrates that school is a place for studying and learning."

I don't know why this makes me cringe, but it just does.

Anonymous said…
Scary read from SPS leaks. Had no idea how many unelected folks have such a big hand in controlling our public schools. Folks I never heard of like Matt Griffin. Reading his email about how he was the Lakeside board chair a decade ago and helped instituted a staff evaluation system at Lakeside to got rid of half of the staff. WOW! A lot of power in one guy and he sure is proud of it. Now I know why parents' emails didn't get a response back from board members or ed directors when our little school was upside down. Sheesh! Why bother with school board meeting (and time for public commentaries) when decisions and strategies are formed long before the public even get a clue?

-fed up
Anonymous said…
that is a BEAUTIFUL title from "our" right wing fascist toady attorney general !!

"public charter school" --

they are NOT public! we already have public schools! they're charter schools, which, are NOT public!

ha ha ha ha. Glad I didn't and Glad I won't vote

Beyond Disgusted said…
Jon Bridges and DeBell come up with this "micro-management" theme to gain utmost control. Yet, they are the micro- managers of the situation.

Around page 180 (in an e-mail exchange between DeBell and Bridges) Bridges wants the Alliance to be included in the Superintendent search. Bridges feels the Alliance deserves a seat because of "our MOU".

Also noticed Greer talking about some meetings with the Chamber of Commerce. Was he part of the whole campaign to discredit the board?
Jan said…
js -- This stuff makes me cringe too. I think my discomfort comes from the idea that they don't see anything wrong with casting schools in a "corporate" or "business" model -- whereas I see them in much more of a "family" or "community" model. Like if your parent came home and announced that because he/she had to wear a suit at work, whoever was at home (doing the "home equivalent") needed to wear a uniform too (maid outfit for the stay at home parent? dresses and pressed slacks for the stay at home kids? -- so we all feel "worky" enough?) I believe that the "work" of children is "play." That doesn't mean they should approach play as work. It means that the work they do, the learning they do, should feel as exciting and fun and inventive and "discoverish" as play does. There should be joy. There should be problem solving. There should be personal ownership of means and goals. We can't get all the way there with 25 or 30 kids to a class -- but we ought to at least have that as a goal.

The few years when my kids have been in schools with uniforms were no big deal. It was easy to dress for school. School ran a "hand me down" exchange as the kids grew. No obvious flaunting of wealth or personal politics on clothes. And maybe a heightened sense of identity with the community -- that all seemed fine. (And they would have all been fine with no policy, as well). But the idea of little kids all dressed up in the kid equivalent of business attire (lacking only their little briefcases) -- blech.
Louise said…
Does Northgate still wear uniforms?
Anonymous said…
I loved the idea of uniforms until I taught in a school that required them. Many families can only afford one or two uniforms and that causes laundering issues, especially in families that don't have "free" access to a washing machine. Kids are forced to wear dirty clothes to school each day and nothing screams "I'm poor" to your classmates more than wearing the same ketchup stained shirt to school 3 days in a row.
I finally took it upon myself to buy a bunch of shirts so that when kids needed a clean one they would always have one. As the resource room teacher in a school with a lot of homeless kids, I found myself taking at least three loads of laundry home a week. When word spread that I had clean shirts, kids came knocking from all classes and grades.
The notion that uniforms somehow help our poorest families is flat out wrong.
Teacher Sally
Anonymous said…
Thanks, Melissa, for staying on top of the ALTF report. Some of us have been waiting a very long time for it. I am not surprised one bit that someone is trying to bury it, even in its already supposedly weakened form.

So much energy and effort expended on hiding and obfuscation. Sigh.

Waiting for Godot, too
Po3 said…
My word these people sure wasted a lot of time of that board policy; you would think they were dealing with national security issues.

It almost reads like a sit com.

Do any of these people even have kids in SPS?
Jan said…
I don't know Jon Bridge or Mr. Greer. I do know, and have always admired, the amount of time and money that Matt Griffin has contributed to the community. I see Matt as someone as frustrated as we all are at the system failure (the failure of the educational bureaucracy downtown -- both its structure and its staffing) in loal education. It depresses me that people such as Matt wind up aligned with national privatization money and initiatives, -- and all the failed, top-down administrative blather they have generated -- rather than with the hundreds of active parents and local community folks who are working (and have worked) so hard to advocate for effective local schools. What a lost opportunity. For all of us, including Matt.
ForPreppy, to be fair, charter schools ARE public schools (legally).

Do they operate differently? They do. Do they cherrypick students? They do. Do some of them have admissions policies? They do.

I believe Madrona also has uniforms. I can see the good and the bad but I would like to know who made the decision and why.
Anonymous said…
I can also see the pros and cons of uniforms. I think different families have different views or values when it comes to uniforms and I respect that. But, this is public school. If your neighborhood school requires a uniform and your family objects to uniforms, what's your option? Plus, I object when uniforms become barriers to some children obtaining the educational services they are entitled to. For example, my child is twice exceptional and qualifies for Spectrum, but the Spectrum school in our area, John Muir, requires a uniform. No way my kid will wear a solid color shirt of any color -- ever -- and certainly not white. If you have a special needs kid, you will understand that this can be a real issue. And, given the many issues we have to work on with him every single day, there is no way I am going to add convincing him to wear a uniform to the list. Thus, he is effectively barred from attending a school that would better meet his academic needs and would provide him more challenge. Does that make sense?

Non-uniform family
Jan said…
Non-uniform family: I see your points. I had thought that Boren STEM was an option program (so all choice) but really -- that partly begs the question, because it still creates a barrier for kids whom that program might otherwise attract but who can't/wo't do uniforms.

Here are some random thoughts: I also have a 2E kid, though not one with that specific issue. I think that there should be exceptions -- so your child can wear something different if it is a Sped issue.

Neighborhood schools: it makes me wonder. My understanding is that in many other countries (both European and Asian), all kids just wear them -- whether to neighborhood schools or to magnet schools. And it is just not a big deal. Leaving aside the few reasons I think are just plain wrong -- I wonder why we all have such a reaction to the idea of school uniforms. Regardless of the merits, I just wonder at what the "communal genesis" is of our collective resistance to uniforms?
Anonymous said…
Non-uniform family- that makes total sense.

Melissa- Would you be able to post a thread about this topic and that k-5 stem at boren (an option school) decided to impliment required uniforms after parents had already signed their kids up thus giving up their neighborhood spots. the yahoo group is clearly divided on the issue and I want it to be made more public so more parents are made aware of it and can voice their concerns if this is also a concern to theirs. If this is what the majority of the community wants that is one thing, but I don't believe this is what the majority of the community wants.

Future STEM Parent
Anonymous said…
Let's connect some dots here: From 'Someone' above:
Mr. Griffin appears to have hands in many pies - he's on the Board of the Downtown Seattle Association, the YMCA, Rainier Scholars. His company Pine Street owns things like the Seattle Art Museum bldg, and Pacific Place..

1) And is anyone surprised that the ridiculous proposal - when we have NO $$$$ for existing schools - for a South Lake Union school is proposed for the upcoming BEX levy? Deep pocket developers speak and politicians and the school district jumps, doncha know.

2) Downtown Seattle Association is the Downtown Chamber isn't it? Doesn't the DSA/Chamber actually issue the paychecks of The Alliance for Education's staff? Because if Griffin has this sense of OUTRAGEOUS entitlement to issuing directives to the system, then you know where Alliance CEO Sara Morris gets her sense of entitlement to 'running' the distict 'the Alliance Way'.

Anonymous said…
Page #83 makes me want to vomit. The spin is making my head spin. Is the cateqory for master manipulator taken ? It must be a higher pay grade !

Public School Parent
Anonymous said…
Parents signed their children up for STEM before they knew it was requiring uniforms. They gave up their spots at their neighborhood schools and are now forced to go to a school requiring uniforms.

Future STEM Parent
Sara Morris does have kids in the system. I think Bridge's kids went through some of SPS.

Non-uniform, I have one of these at home and we had to do this went we lived in another country. It WAS difficult. One of the main issues is tags and "how it feels". It makes life for a parent much harder.

We don't have that many schools with this policy and I think that parents should have input. Why not start the year and talk to parents and THEN decide?
Jan said…
Future STEM parent -- that is a really good point. I hadn't considered the ramifications of the timing of the announcement. Frankly, it sounds like something that was probably aimed at creating unity and a sense of shared purpose could end up having the opposite effect.

On another topic -- Charlie posted on another thread that we are due for new elementary and middle school math materials, but had postponed it due to budget issues. If Mr. Banda can find the funds to replace the horrible stuff now used with Singapore (and Saxon as a back up for kids who learn best with spiraling), the effect on test scores will make him look like a genius in about 2 years!
Charlie Mas said…
Charter schools are not public schools. Let's end that nonsense right now.

Yes, they are publicly funded, but they are NOT publicly owned.

Their ownership is private. KIPP owns KIPP schools, Green Dot owns Green Dot schools, and RocketShip owns RocketShip schools. They are not public assets.

Public schools are owned by the public.

It is the ownership, not the funding, that says whether they are public or private, and the public does not own charter schools therefore they are not public schools.
SP said…
re: uniforms @ Boren STEM-
see the May 30th report & discussion on the West Seattle Blog-

"Dr. McKinney stressed repeatedly she wasn’t bringing up the uniform/dress code idea as a means of “behavior control.”

Primarily, she said, she saw it, potentially, “as a way to elevate the expectations at our school … so far as, kids come to school, dressing for success. … I (would) want them to be proud of the fact they are coming to school dressed for success, ‘we’re here to learn and this is an awesome opportunity’.”

And in the next breath, she declared it would be a “community decision.”
Anonymous said…
SP- Was it a community decision?

The yahoo group is the only place I know of that the community could voice their support/concern. The the majority according the poll on the yahoo group did not want to explore the option of school uniforms.

Future STEM Parent
dj said…
Yes, uniforms were an issue with the APP move to TM. The end result is that we don't have uniforms. I have not heard one peep out of anyone to the effect that lack of uniforms is causing problems or that anyone wants them back.

Like it or not, in this city, in the public schools, very few schools have uniforms. No uniform is the norm.
Jan said…
Charlie said: Charter schools are not public schools.

Thanks, Charlie -- I needed that. You are exactly right. Charter schools are no more public schools than my doctor is a "public health care doctor" because she accepts Medicare and Medicaid patients.

Not clear why I was so offbase on that.
Anonymous said…
More from sorting through SPS Leaks. On 175, 176 there is Matt Griffin happily throwing "ANOTHER $2500" to Harium Martin-Morris and Sherry Carr to get them reelected last Nov. In a SCHOOL BOARD ELECTION for cripes sake. Then he mails "1,000+ people" on their behalf.

Forget Bridge as the Superintendent Whisperer. Griffin is buying himself a school board there. And I just learned his wife Evelyn Rozner apparently also threw buckets of $$$ to them.

And then there is the fact that Harium and Griffin are discussing a campaign on Harium's public official account. Isn't that an ethics violation? My knowledge is hazy but it seems like it should be.

In any case, jeez, this is a deeper and deeper steaming pile of gaming (buying?) the system stink.

Disgusted Too
former dragon said…
Uniforms were an issue in the APP split, because if TM would have them, would Lowell switch to a uniform school?

I am hugely against uniforms for many many reasons, if I wanted my kids to wear uniforms, I would send them to Catholic school or West Point. I choose neither, I choose public school, and as a member of the public, I choose to wear (and dress my children) in anything I damn well please.

Luckily it never came to be an issue, because I was going to go the mat on this one. Phooey.
An interesting set of emails mirmac1 - something for everyone!. I was interested by Carr's response to Matt
Griffin. He sent an email to the directors suggesting they read a particular editorial about
Enfield. Now remember Carr gets all indignant when it is suggested she is too close to her top
donors or gives them special treatment. Carr responds to Griffin (her top election donor) within 26 hours
(on a Sunday) even though he was not asking a question and the email was not targetted at her.
Griffin does not live in district 2 and does not have children attending a district 2 school. I however
do live in district 2, my child attends a district 2 school and I am most certainly not a Carr donor.
So why is it as someone she alledgedly represents I have never had an email response in that time?.
It is quite a different experience when you are not a top donor, email questions are sent and resent
to Carr since she invariably does not respond. It is not uncommon to simply give up on waiting for a reply.
So why does Carr reply on a Sunday morning to her top donor and I have to give up if as she says
there is no special treatment?.

Perhaps I should send my questions to Matt for him to forward?. Or perhaps I should suggest when he
asks a question of Carr he should send it to me and I'll ask - that way he'll see what is $ is buying.
SP said…
Announcement from WSHS this afternoon about being awarded the City levy grant(1 of 5 schools). Does anyone know which other high school (not on the SPS website)?

"West Seattle High School was awarded one of five high school Levy grants! We will be receiving $350,000 per year for the next seven years! It was an extremely competitive process and we are very proud of our grant, and the continuing work we will be doing to support students. The funds are from the City Levy."
Anonymous said…
In the good news category...

Check out the new murals at Sacajawea Elementary.

These are from the same group that painted murals at Pinehurst last year and some playground refurbishment at Van Asselt at AAA the year before that.

Very proudly, my hub was the lead on all three projects.


Kathy said…
Should Charter Schools Be Called "Public Schools"?

Don't miss this article:

Be sure to paste this article to your facebook page and share with others.
Anonymous said…
Well, if I remember right, the new "transformative" principal had uniforms in her old school. So 'natch it's a good fit...

Anonymous said…
Waiting for Godot too,

Yeah, that's what they did to SpEd in '10. "Let's wait 'til they go on vacation..."

Anonymous said…
Neighbor- I responded to your post on the new thread about K-5 STEM at Boren.

Future STEM Parent
Anonymous said…
Some of these posts are spreading inaccurate information. The K5STEM Yahoo Group poll did not have a clear majority for any of the 3 possible answers. Of the 49 people who responded (not all K5STEM parents) 44% were against uniforms, 30 % were for uniforms, and 24% were neutral. So you could just as easily say the majority of the poll responses were positive or neutral if you wanted to oversimplify this complex issue. There were some strong arguments shared on both sides online and in the public meetings and lots of positions somewhere in the middle. Several K5STEM parents who had initially said they were against uniforms publicly announced at the meeting or on the Yahoo group that they had changed their opinions and now supported the uniforms after hearing the principal explain her vision and reasoning. There are over 300 students currently enrolled in the school so the Yahoo Group poll was not a full measure of each student's and parent's position. Some arguments for and against held more sway than others. Anyone who wants can Google the K5STEM Yahoo Group to see what was posted there before and after the decision was made on June 6th.

-Neutral on Uniforms but Supporting the Principal
Anonymous said…
Charter schools are publicly funded private schools, not public schools.

How nice to see that Mr. Bridge thinks teachers don't matter. I wonder if any of these rich people had any idea their comments would be made public - perhaps they think they are immune to public record requests, or in their arrogance, never considered it to be a possibility. These back room deals and a$$ kissing emails make me sick.

Anonymous said…
My post above had a typo is should read "over 200 students currently enrolled in the school" instead of over 300. Enrollment will be over 250 once the recently announced K/1 class is formed.

-Neutral on Uniforms but Supporting the Principal
Anonymous said…
I've come to believe the Jon Bridge, Lynn Varner, Matt Griffin, Susan Enfield, Michael DeBell, Chris Hansen, Tim Burgess, Frank Greer, Mitt, Barack, Bree and Chris, Koch, Mayor McGinn and the "grassroot" advocacy PACs of this world are much the same no matter what political stripes or shades of beige they chose. The way they do business is the same. They are insiders. They do business by the handshakes, cliquish e-mails, and clinking drinks at fund raiser. They bypass the public process and fair play. They play to win and in the process to do "good" forgot about do no harm.

It doesn't help that they are do gooders because even if they are bad doers, they didn't include us on the important decisions that affect our daily lives and our children's lives. They don't get our ire. They don't get why we can't accept their noblesse oblige with a smile instead of bile. They talk about us and our kids as if we are a separate entity to be helped, to be led, to be controlled.

Maybe that's the way it has always been and I didn't realize it. My vote doesn't seem to matter and certainly my donation doesn't compare. I volunteer all over this city and pay my taxes dutifully. I've always voted Democratic, but I think this year, I'm sitting it out.

fed up
Anonymous said…
fed up at 2:07

obama putting in summers and geithner, that hack arne, and throwing the population under the bus on health care access made it easy for me to not vote Democratic in 2010 for federal and state wide offices -

I couldn't vote for the right wing liars, so, I wrote in "my blue hat" or something - and then the lame duck "Democratic" congress defunded social security with that idiotic 'payroll tax cut' and allowed the unemployed to be held hostage so millionaires and billionaires could keep more of what they taken for all of us - and I felt proud of voting 'my blue hat'. At least I hadn't wasted a vote to get sold out.

Please please please vote - and when it comes to state wide Dems and federal dems - write 'your green hat' !!

Anonymous said…
I read the SPS Leaks new postings. I agree with the previous posters feelings.

I found the period when Goodloe-Johnson was fired and Enfield about to be announced interesting. Pages 78-81 and around that point. There was Lesley Rogers working for pr firm Strategies 360 to shape Enfield's introduction and next thing you know she was the head of SPS Communications. That's insider baseball, people. Strategies 360 puts One of Their Own inside.

More troubling. What was Frank Greer doing manipulating that message? He works at GMMB. Gates' advertising agency. He has an agenda. There is no way he should be telling the super what to say and how to say it. Unless GMMB was on retainer at the time. Does anyone know?

Worst of all is Sara Morris at the Alliance for Education. What is she doing running the introduction project? She's not only telling Enfield what to do and how to say it, she's arranging robocalls, summoning civic leaders and getting into the most minute details of what Enfield should say. (See page 83). Things like: "Emphasize you are running a NATIONAL search, not just a search, for CFO and COO". Or "would love more imagery, something emotional and more evocative..."

In other SPS Leaks I have seen Morris demanding minute details into teacher performance details. This whole idea that The Alliance via its CEO can make insert itself into every crevice of central administration is unnerving. I think it is 100 percent inappropriate. Be a fundraiser. Hell, be a PAC. But you are not invited to be a district employee nor are you invited to be a board member. Want to help out? Volunteer for a task force or two. But none of this disgusting pseudo-employee crap. Especially since The Alliance shoves Ed Reform up this city's ying yang - much to my dismay. The Alliance or perhaps it is just the CEO, is way, way, way, way over the line.

Anonymous said…
I close by asking this blog or SPSLeaks whoever that is to do diligence on the back n forth between the Alliance and our superintendent-s. Maybe I am wrong on my view of the Alliance as an octopus with a stranglehold on "helping" the district. I doubt it though. My view leans strongly to them as, beyond their fundraising, a problem not solution.

Compare to something like The Seattle Foundation. They raise $$$ to help civic causes. I don't see them telling city council when to jump, where to jump, how high to jump and whose arms to jump into.

SPSLeaks said…
Savvy Voter,

A thoughtful request. However, realize that the few of us who stick our necks out often face retaliation (not necessarily a problem with me and others because we wouldn't be pushing if we didn't know others would like this information about expenditures of our tax dollars). Please realize that ANYONE can ask for this information. All you need do is email and ask for what it is you would like to see. Then plan on waiting 6-8 wks for it (maybe sooner if you are lucky).

Finally, in closing, the due diligence must be on the part of public employees spending our money to (purportedly) comply with law. Unless I have, in a criminally or civilly liable way, an actionable issue, we have, as a democratic republic, every right to ask for everything and anything, related to our issue. So don't expect for employee grievance files or FERPA protected student info, but everything (including emails sent from personal accounts relating to public business) is open to disclosure with very specific exemptions.

SavvyVoter, if you have the same interest as I do, please email Ms Clarkson (who is a diligent, conscientious public steward) for the desired information.
suep. said…
To Savvy Voter re:

I found the period when Goodloe-Johnson was fired and Enfield about to be announced interesting. Pages 78-81 and around that point. There was Lesley Rogers working for pr firm Strategies 360 to shape Enfield's introduction and next thing you know she was the head of SPS Communications. That's insider baseball, people. Strategies 360 puts One of Their Own inside.

Yes, and yet the district still went through the charade of conducing a "national search" (or claimed it did) and creating a committee of "more than 30 people" in order to find the district's communications director -- only to hire Rogers from Strategies 360 who was already working for the district and is based right here in Seattle.

(And then Susan Enfield's fan club had the gall to suggest the district not even bother with a national search for our permanent supe -- clearly a more important job than PR head.)

Savvy, don't forget that the Seattle Foundation financed Teach for America, Inc., stepping in when Enfield was floundering and fibbing because there were no private funders to pay TFA, Inc.'s $4,000 per recruit per year fee (& tapping wealthy individuals like Griffith, Rozner et al who also contributed to or endorsed the political campaigns of incumbents Carr, Maier, Martin-Morris and Sundquist).

Once again, it's the same small moneyed circle of people pushing the corp ed reform agenda and buying policy for SPS, parents be damned.

I have heard that, like the Alliance, the Seattle Foundation has also changed its stripes in the past few years, going from (ostensibly) a funding-focused, somewhat neutral do-gooder to a political operation with an agenda and strings attached to every dollar they touch, and a corporate ed reform bent.

The tangled web of ed reform.
mirmac1 said…
What I also found concerning is Greer offering the services of his firm to do district business. Is this one of those many personal service contracts SPS awards its friends (like Strat 360, Brainbox Consulting etc) while crying poverty? Or is this simply a gift? I believe Board policy 5251, which reads:

Gifts and Gratuities. District employees and officers generally must not accept gifts or gratuities from people who may have an interest in District actions...

prohibits receipt of complimentary services from interested parties like Greer. Or is it okay if he's one of yours?
Syd said…
Interesting article about helping kids succeed in college.

The article also addresses how we measure students for college admission, and how those data points are not a complete measure of the person. For me it was an important reminder of why affirmative action is still so important when many people think we should be ready to move past that. It is a discussion we are having a lot in our house as our eldest prepares for the college admission process this year.

"Many find their performance greatly affected by simply being reminded that the stereotype exists. Researchers, for example, gave a math test (pdf) to a group of Asian female students. Before the test, the women filled out one of three types of questionnaires. One asked about their gender, one about their ethnicity, and one asked about neither. Those who were reminded they were Asian did the best on the math test. Those reminded they were female did the worst. Another researcher found that when black adults were given tests four times in 2008, on two of those occasions their scores were much higher than the other two. What made the difference? Barack Obama. When the test was given right after his speech accepting the Democratic nomination, or just after his election, the scores of black test-takers were statistically equal to the scores of whites. On the other occasions, the whites scored higher."
dw said…
SPSLeaks said: So don't expect for employee grievance files or FERPA protected student info, but everything (including emails sent from personal accounts relating to public business) is open to disclosure with very specific exemptions.

I've always wondered about public access to personal (non-SPS) email accounts. On multiple levels. We see in this thread that there are obvious personal accounts, like (and who is, but requests to Ms. Clarkson can't possibly reach into Yahoo or AOL's email system, right? I've heard that ALL communication is supposed to be available, I just don't understand how that would work in practice.

Beyond this, there's nothing to stop anyone from creating a personal web-based email account that only a few people know about. If the user is careful to always use their own computer and never CC SPS accounts on those emails, there's almost no way that anyone would ever be able to find them or even know they exist. If I felt like I was giving anyone tips they didn't already know I wouldn't post this, but I'd be shocked if this doesn't happen already. Thoughts?
dw said…
mirmac1 quoted Policy 5251: Gifts and Gratuities. District employees and officers generally must not accept gifts or gratuities from people who may have an interest in District actions...

(from page 99, Matt Griffin to Susan Enfield)

"Great. Let's return to Mexico where we met last time. and I'll buy the beverages."

Technically, I believe this would even be prohibited, although she may very well have refused the offer. Savvy elected officials are usually very careful about any "gifts" they accept, even small ones.
Disgusted said…
"political operation with an agenda and strings attached to every dollar they touch, and a corporate ed reform bent.

Yes, we're seeing folks like Greer and other very sophisticated strategists/ business people involved with manipulating our district. Thanks, DeBell.

We're on to you guys.
Anonymous said…
For me, what SPS Leaks exposed is what William Damon called in his essay, "the Death of Honesty." It is the lack to trustworthiness that we used to expect from some of our institutions like schools and great philanthropies and their leaders. Mr. Damon writes our society is "reaching a dysfunctional tipping point in which essential commitment to truthfulness no longer seems to be assumed in society." It happens when we see truth and "personal integrity... abandoned in pursuit of other life priorities." As our civic and political leaders treat us in a utilitarian way, they speak to us in jargons and keep their distance. Their cozy tidings to one another in these emails merely reflect how far apart their world is from ours.

Mr. Damon writes that the bond which holds all of us collectively responsible for the society we live in tears as our moral obligation dissolves and when that happens, the rules of the jungle prevail. It's CYA all the time now. What follows is a free for all.

That is why we have documentaries where we get to watch anguished parents and kids sitting through lottery draw trying get into the "best" public schools and this is highlighted as if it's a good thing. I call it shamful when the pursuit of good education brings to mind the gladiator arena where there are a few victors and many losers. That is why we can talk about the goodness of charter school that will help a handful of kids, but not the majority of kids. That is why the news celebrates when one school wins a grant funded by tax dollars, but made no mention of other schools with just as much need, do not. It is the law of the jungle. There is something horribly wrong here.

Our school was once a strong school and suffered from the last 4 years because of careless handling. The district made many personnel and program changes to our school for practical administrative reasons, but they were not done for good educational (or even good managment) reasons. Today it is a school foundering trying to find its way back.

This is what happens when school leadership is distracted by other things. They neglect the fundamentals. They don't seem to have the time to work on basic things like curriculum and fail even at managing things like bus schedule. The lack of direction, consistency, and discipline trickle down into our classrooms and our kids are the losers.

fed up
DW,your thoughts are mine as well. But that's IF these people were thinking clearly.

How many times have we printed public disclosure information here? And yet, no one at SPS (virtually) seems to want to edit themselves or consider whether they would like the world to write what they are writing.

It's baffling unless you feel you are above it all.

The "distractions" are exactly the problem. This district struggles and struggles with being well-managed and I think it has very little to do with any kind of issues between Board and staff.

We can't get a basic like bus schedules right. How is that possible? If we have such high costs and issues, then cut back on bus service but at least make it fair and make it clear. But to have these varying start times, pick up times, who gets a yellow bus, who gets a taxi - it's craziness.

Where are all these business types when it comes to give help with these kinds of issues that they so clearly have experience at? No, they focus on being able to manipulate wording and power.

While I applaud anyone who cares about public education, I sometimes question their motives given their actions.
Disgusted said…
Yes, fed up.

Legislators continue their pursuit of failed initiatives. Yet, they themselves have failed-miserably- at fulfilling their duty to amply fund education. Shame on them.
mirmac1 said…
MT @MakUpFront: Up Front today. Good to have A.P.'s @dgblankinship.

Alright, Based on SPS' meda machine and recent emails, we know these "news media" types know what side their bread's buttered on. Whenever you read anything re: education from the NW, know that Donna Blankinship and Lynne Varner are friends, mutually and on most all things Ed Reform. I would now add Robert Mak to that list.
Charlie Mas said…
I don't think that Mr. Greer's offer of services to the district would fall under Board policy 5251. The reference to "an interest in District actions" means a direct financial interest. In other words, vendors.

Mr. Greer certainly has a personal and political interest what the district does, but as long as the District never hires GMMB, he does not have a direct financial interest and therefore is not covered by the policy.
Anonymous said…
I just read the link someone posted to Ravitch's blog. Check out the new normal if you haven't. Pretty dismal for teachers.

Later, in another thread, a teacher asks why politicians think they know more about teaching than teachers. I don't think it is about education anymore. It is about breaking unions, lowering pay and benefits and writing if all off as ridding society of people who can't teach. That's the agenda.

We no longer live in a civil society where education and opportunity matter.

That's the real problem.

Dollars Down The Drain said…

Gates gave $498K to measure teacher effectiveness via neurotransmitter bracelets
Anonymous said…
I saw that, too. It sounds like the lunatics have finally taken over the asylum. I'll have my kids run around the room every half hour. They'd love it!

I wonder if Microsoft would consider bracelets to insure their workforce stay engaged?

mirmac1 said…
Here's one I haven't heard of...

Philanthropic Partnership for Public Education

They're paying for Prof Honig at the UW's CEL to help with and HR "transformation." Wonder how much of that money went to pay for Nathan Fitzpatrick's salary...
Jan said…
SavvyVoter: when I had a little time Friday to reflect on the emails, I had the same reaction you described, regarding the overparticipation of the Seattle "elite" in Dr. E's promotion to interim Superintendent. They were crawling out of the woodwork to help her "craft" a message, get in front of the public in just the right way, etc. etc. etc. What?! She couldn't come up with the correct introductory speech, and introduce herself, without all that "help?" It was genuinely weird. And you know, it all seemed a little "icky" and orchestrated at the time, as well, though I could not have put my finger on it, and was clueless as to all the PR work going on in the wings.
At the end, I felt like I had been blanketed in fake marzipan.

And now, our NEW Superintendent, Mr. Banda arrives -- and will have to actually fend for himself? How refreshing! The first of July cannot come soon enough for me! Here is hoping he shows Leslie the door and gets folks to do pr for the District and ITS objectives, rather than for its leader, and hers.
Anonymous said…
I'm hoping that Mr. Banda and the district's successes will speak for themselves, so PR is superfluous.

-hope springs eternal
SPSLeaks said…
And DeBell has the AUDACITY to claim those who request public records have an agenda. NO, I'm exposing those who drive the agenda in our district: your monied and powerful friends.
Ed said…
I tried to print but couldn't the emails about contributions from Brige and how many others he solicited that were sent to incumbents last election. Using public addresses for campaign contributions?

And DeBell talks about "agendas"????

It appears the only agendas he approves of are for sale on email.

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