Showing posts from September, 2012

Impact Fees

We have heard school district officials bemoan the fact that the City of Seattle does not collect impact fees (assessments on new development to offset the costs of additional demands on public resources) for schools. They are, as usual, crying crocodile tears. The District is authorized to assess their own impact fees and they simply have not bothered to do it. Per RCW 43.21C.060 , school districts can assess impact fees. The WAC regarding the Growth Management Act also clearly allows school districts to require new developments to set aside land for schools ( WAC 365-196 ). The King County Code ( 21A.43 ) also not only allows impact fees for schools, it appears to almost require them. The school district could assess an impact fee that would require developers to provide a portion of the cost of building new schools. They simply have not bothered to do it. This not only matters with regard to the development downtown, but to the planned development in Lake City and the planned de

Stay in School

Seattle Public Schools is exploring new ways to support our students to stay in school and is asking families to join District staff in discussions regarding student truancy, suspension and discipline. The meetings will be held Oct. 4, 8, 11, 17 and 24 at several high schools around the region. The meetings are being organized by the District Ombudsman, in collaboration with the Disciplinary Appeals/Truancy Office; and the office of School-Family Partnerships/Equity & Race. The meetings will be held: 5:30-7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 4 Rainier Beach High School, Library 8815 Seward Park S. 5:30-7 p.m., Monday, Oct. 8 Cleveland - STEM, Room 1201 5511 15th Ave. S. 5:30-7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 11 Chief Sealth International High School, Library 2600 S.W. Thistle St. 5:30-7 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 17 Ingraham High School, Library 1819 N. 135 St. 5:30-7 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 24 Nathan Hale High School, Library 10750 30th Ave. N.E. For more information, contact the District Ombudsman at (2

Friday Open Thread

Well, guess who likes unions? Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin who made it his goal to destroy the teachers union in Wisconsin.  Priorities, kids.  When it's something like, well, football, he's all for unions but when it's students and decent education, well, we can bring in the farm team. Tomorrow is a national Free Admission Day at some museums sponsored by the Smithsonian.  Check their website for ones in our region. Reminder of Saturday events for SPS: Community Meeting with Director DeBell from 9-11 a.m. at Cafe Appassionato at 4001 21st Ave W. Community Meeting with Director Smith-Blum from 10-11:30 am at the Capitol Hill Library, 425 Harvard Ave. E. See It. Be It. event from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Seattle Center, NW Rooms.  What's on your mind?

Effective Political Action

Warning: This is a rant. The one-year anniversary of the Occupy movement recently passed.  I think about Occupy quite a bit because it was really a discussion and demonstration about the factors of political efficacy. There are still, remarkably, a lot of people who claim that they don't know what the Occupy protests were about - if anything. These folks, disingenuously I presume, ask "What was their message anyway?" For me, the message of the Occupy protests was loud and clear: The wealthiest 1% of our society use their wealth to buy political power then use that power to perpetuate and expand their wealth and to pursue their narrow self-interests.

Mayor Buys Downtown School Nonsense

The Seattle Times is reporting that Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn wants to offer developers a waiver from height restrictions if they will provide space for a downtown elementary school in South Lake Union. It's unclear if the offer is good only in South Lake Union or in other parts of downtown. I don't know who the mayor is talking to, but it isn't anyone who is telling the truth about this.

Meany Challenges

There are a number of challenges around the District's plan for a middle school at Meany. I choose to call them challenges instead of problems in the hope that it will make me sound less pessimistic, but they amount to the same thing.

BEX IV Re-order

I think some of the District's urgency around capacity is real and some is manufactured. They have a real need for additional elementary school capacity in West Seattle and the northeast. They have a real need for middle school capacity in the north. The high school and central region middle school capacity needs aren't all that urgent. Outside of capacity needs, they do need to take care of the World School without further delay and the renovation to Arbor Heights cannot wait. Keeping the cash flow in mind, I would make a little re-order of the projects. The chart with the projects and their price tags is a bit misleading since the money isn't actually spent only in the year that the project completes. Still, any changes in timing have to be made with an eye to the cash flow. The big changes I would make would be to shift Arbor Heights from 2019 to 2015, to swap the order of Schmitz Park and Thornton Creek, and to delay the move from John Marshall to Pacific Middle

Seattle in Group for District Race to the Top Money

I had let this fact get past me until I read a recent op-ed in the Times from Mary Alice Hershuel and Kip Herren, the superintendent of Renton public schools and the superintendent of the Auburn School district, respectively.  We are working to find better ways to spread great practices and create a more permeable system of learning by relying on stronger engagement with parents, communities, businesses and support service organizations, and by making better use of online technology.  The grant application will emphasize college and career readiness and personalized instruction. Parent involvement will be critical.   We will also double down on improving science, technology, engineering and math, often called STEM, and make sure kids and families see the enormous career opportunities in our own backyard for young people with STEM skills. Each proposed investment will be viewed as a regional project, and close examination of data will be required. The district had a pr

BEX IV Thread

I would really love to go in-depth on this subject right now but I am running a state-wide campaign against I-1240 (so I have my hands full). However Facilities has always had a special place in my heart so I digress to put up this post.  Charlie has pointed out the numerous issues of the lack of clarity in this BEX.  Frankly, I'm not sure the district has a real plan.  Again, instead of long-range planning and forecasting (could they please just hire Kellie LaRue already), it's triage and putting out fires.  It is also the wages of sin.  And the biggest sin our district has is to put off what needs to get done.  They started pulling back on basic maintenance in the late '70s and never looked back.  The chickens have come home to roost, folks.  We also have quite a few elderly buildings (over 40-50 years old).  Those buildings are in constant need of repair and maintenance.  I think most of you and most taxpayers would be shocked at the millions and millions that

Tuesday Open Thread

Watch that Packer-Seahawks game?  All fans and players should boycott any more games until they get REAL refs doing the job.  That last play and its ridiculous call was the worst one in the history of the game.  Nothing against the Hawks but this has got to stop or the season is joke. But tell me, what's on your mind?

Why Don't Washington State Students Go Onto College?

From the Times, a story about Washington State and the low rate of college attendance.  More than half of Seattle adults 25 and older hold a bachelor's degree, making it one of the most well-schooled cities in the nation. So it may come as a surprise that only about one in four public-school students from Washington's high-school class of 2009 will finish college by 2015, according to a Seattle Times analysis of recent trends. While the percentage of high-school graduates who went to college jumped by nine points in the United States over the past two decades, the percentage of college-going high-schoolers in Washington fell. We were once well above the national average for the percentage of high-school students who go on to a two- or four-year college. But today, by some measures, we are one of the lowest states in the country. When they do go to four-year colleges, Washington students do well: The average graduation rate at the state four-year schools is

BEX IV Meeting tonight at Madison

School District officials bring their BEX IV road show to Madison Middle School in West Seattle tonight. The event begins at 6:30 with introductions and their slide presentation . They also have a handout . Followed by twenty minutes of Q & A from cards, twenty minutes of Q & A from the floor, and twenty minutes of "Individual Time With Staff". I hope to be there tonight because I have some questions

Seattle Schools Week of Sept. 24-29, 2012

Lots happening this week in SPS. Monday, Sep 24th BEX IV levy discussion from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at Madison Middle School, 3429 45th Ave SW Tuesday, Sep. 25th Community Meeting with Director McLaren from 1:15-3:15 p.m. at Delridge Library, 5423 Delridge Way SW Wednesday, Sep. 26th T wo- Hour Early Dismissal Work Session on Budget Goals from 4-5:30 p.m. Closed Session on Labor Negotiations (not open to the public but a heads up that the district is now talking with the teachers) Thursday, Sep. 27th BEX IV levy discussion from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at McClure Middle School, 1915 1st Avenue W Friday, Sep. 28th Community Meeting with Director Patu from 6-7 p.m. at Cafe Vita, 5028 Wilson Avenue S. Saturday, Sep. 29th Community Meeting with Director DeBell from 9-11 a.m. at Cafe Appassionato at 4001 21st Ave W. Community Meeting with Director Smith-Blum from 10-11:30 am at the Capitol Hill Library, 425 Harvard Ave. E. See It. Be It. event from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Education News

On Saturday, September 22nd, at their Fall meeting in Yakima, the Washington State Democratic Party unanimously passed a resolution OPPOSING Initiative 1240.  Out of nearly 500 delegates voting, not a single delegate from any county in our State voted to support 1240. The vote was 500 to ZERO to oppose Initiative 1240.  From the NY Times, an important story about the use of epi pens at schools. B ut school nurses in many districts face an agonizing choice if a child without a prescription develops a sudden reaction to an undiagnosed allergy. Should they inject epinephrine and risk losing their nursing license for dispensing it without a prescription, or call 911 and pray the paramedics arrive in time? A  study last year  in the journal Pediatrics found that about one in 13 children had a  food allergy , and nearly 40 percent of those with allergies had severe reactions.  A recent survey in Massachusetts, where schools are permitted to administer epinephrine to any student, fou

Board Retreat

The School Board is having an all day retreat from 10:30 to 5:30 on Saturday, September 22 at El Centro de la Raza on Beacon Hill. This is a public meeting. You are welcome to come and watch. Here is the agenda . Most of the meeting will be about developing a Strategic Plan. If that work is getting started, then I guess Mr. Banda isn't actually going to take much more time to listen and get to know the community before he decides what big changes are needed.

Friday Open Thread

I was unable to attend the first BEX IV meeting last night at Whitman.  Did anyone attend and have feedback?  I think a separate thread may be in order to suss out this issue.   From my eyes, I don't see a clear plan here and I'm not sure the district is thinking of all the things they could do instead of what they have laid out. The NAEP writing scores came out with interesting results.  From their website : first NAEP computer-based assessment in writing about 27 percent of students perform at or above the Proficient level at both grades about 80 percent of students perform at or above the Basic level at both grades female students score higher than male students in both grades The district is having five family discussions around student truancy, suspension and discipline .  The dates are Oct 4, 11, 17, 24.  Here's a link with specifics on where and when.  What's on your mind?

No on 1240 Tent vs Yes on 1240 Tent

(End of day updates in red) Can you spot the difference? No On 1240 Washington State PTA League of Women Voters WASA - Washington Association of School Administrators WSSDA - Washington State School Directors Association Board Washington Education Association Japanese-American Citizens League Board Seattle-King County NAACP El Centro de la Raza Parents and Friends for Tacoma Public Schools Parents Across America - Seattle chapter Educational Service District 113  1st District Democrats  5th District Democrats 11th District Democrats 22nd District Democrats 32nd District Democrats 33rd District Democrats 34th District Democrats 36th District Democrats 37th District Democrats 41st District Democrats 43rd District Democrats 45th District Democrats 46th District Democrats 48th District Democrats King County Democrats Pierce County Democrats Citizens United for Responsible Education Minority Executive Directors Coalition Pierce County Young Demo

Roberts Rules of Order and TFA

I just listened to the KUOW report (not yet available) on the vote of the TFA member to teach Special Ed at Franklin High.   What a mess and yet, interesting.  Here's what I understand happened. They had six members in attendance (I believe Director Smith-Blum was missing). Apparently the vote was 3 yeses (Martin-Morris, DeBell and Carr) and 3 abstained votes.  So the Board Manager said it did not pass. DeBell corrected her and said abstaining votes don't count, they have a quorum and the majority of the quorum said yes. THEN, Ron English, district counsel stepped up and said he wasn't sure. Now, as a former PTA president who is supposed to know Robert's Rules of Order (but I don't know them well), I do know there are two issues. One is what abstaining votes mean and the other is what constitutes a majority vote. "...Abstentions do not count in tallying the vote; when members abstain, they are in effect only attending the meeting to aid in consti

Is There Real Ed Change Happening in Washington State?

Yes, I believe there is. It's interesting because LEV and Stand for Children and DFER will all tell you Washington State is a backwater. We're "laggards" in education reform. You'd think we were Alabama or Louisiana. We're not. Let me start by saying - NO one is saying change doesn't need to happen or that we don't need to do better. No one. Moving on. I know that this admission that I believe change is happening might surprise some. (See Nina Shapiro over at Seattle Weekly and her article about me explaining how I do believe things are moving forward in Washington State.) How could I be such a big critic and yet say that things are changing? As I told Nina because education has become such a focal point, both statewide and nationally, there is no just viewing public education with blinders on only for our district. Those days are over. As well, in working on the No On 1240 campaign, I heard, "okay, I know what your campaign is against b

Tuesday Open Thread

The Seattle City Council recognized Cheryl Chow's service yesterday.  It was very sad to see Cheryl in a wheelchair with her black hair now gray and clipped close to her skull.  She came with her daughter and partner, Sarah Morningstar.   From Publicola : Chow also clarified what she meant when she told KING 5 that her life had been “wasted” because she hadn’t come out sooner. “When I said I wasted 66 years, I didn’t mean because I was in the closet,” Chow said. “What I meant was, I could have helped so many more people and kids from committing suicide and feeling bad about themselves.” Courage at any time is still courage, Cheryl.  Hey reader Maureen G from TOPS, could you shoot me an e-mail at  I need to touch base with you on something.  Thanks. What's on your mind?

Banda Road Show Empty Talk?

I attended the first community meeting for Superintendent Banda at Mercer Middle School last night. I think this is the first time that he has actually been exposed to Q & A from the community.   It was a grave disappointment. I don't know what I was expecting -  a little candor would have been nice - but all of his answers were empty talk that sounded reassuring without actually giving any reassurance. It was political to an extreme, so slick you'd think the guy had been dipped in teflon.  

Potter Scandal Grows in scope

From today's Seattle Times: $1.3M more might be misspent in Seattle schools scandal The hits just keep coming.

SPS News and Updates

This story from the Times on Roosevelt's Ruben Van Kempen , drama teacher and director extraordinaire who will be inducted into the Educational Theatre Association's Hall of Fame in San Diego this week.  One interesting item that most don't know - RHS offers the only full-time theater program in SPS with multiple classes.   His legacy (but he's not going anywhere) - this from a student: "He instilled a belief in me, a belief in following my passions and dreams. Whether I'd gone on to be an engineer or a teacher or anything else, I'd appreciate what he gave me at a really important time." An accomplished stage director as well as an innovative teacher, Van Kempen has trained and inspired dozens of theater professionals, working from here to Broadway. They include Chad Kimball, a recent Tony Award nominee in the Broadway musical "Memphis," as well as Noah Racey, a busy performer-choreographer who'll be the lead in the 5th Avenu

The Times Makes Me Dizzy

Over at the Times, they have written an editorial supporting Ref 74, protecting gay marriage rights. I personally say, Yay! I will have been married 29 years tomorrow and I want all people who want to get married to have the joys, pain (sometimes more like irritation/annoyance) and slogging that marriage brings to have that right. They deserve the legal protections, without carrying some card around, that marriage brings. That said, the Times used to be against gay marriage. Hmm. In yet another whiplash moment, here's a headline from the Times: The Overselling of Charter Schools It's from 2001 . The Times then did like some form of charters and said: But charter schools running willy-nilly with too few restrictions and too little oversight is a recipe for troubles showing up Arizona, Texas and Michigan. The Texas House of Representatives has passed a bill calling for a two-year moratorium on new charter schools. Several schools have shut down after their leaders ran ou

School Board meeting agenda for 9/19/12

Here's the agenda for the Seattle School Board Meeting of September 19, 2012. Not every meeting has a theme, but this one features some interesting timing decisions. Or perhaps the theme is evading public discussion.

Charter Open Thread

So one reader, Rachel, had posted a link to an interesting article out of Philadelphia (from the parent blog, The Notebook) about a very exclusive charter where you can only pick up their application form one time a year and that's usually at their open house, held either at a private golf club or country club.   Interested families couldn't find Green Woods’ application online. They couldn't request a copy in the mail. In fact, they couldn't even pick up a copy at the school. Instead, Green Woods made its application available only one day each year. Even then, the application was only given to families who attended the school’s open house – which most recently has been held at a private golf club in the Philadelphia suburbs. Is this just an isolated incident there? But this spring, that very office found that Green Woods and 17 other charters seeking renewal imposed “significant barriers to entry” on families. Some, like Green Woods, went to extrao

Friday Open Thread

From SPS, 23 of our high school students have placed as Semifinalists in the 2013 National Merit Scholarship Corporation competition.    Garfield had 13 students and led the field.  Roosevelt had two as did Ingraham, Hale/Ballard/Center each had one and there was one student from the "Cascade Parent Partnership Program." Good work to all these students! One Board community meeting tomorrow with Director Martin-Morris at Diva Espresso at 80th and Lake City Way from 9:30-11:30 am.  Heads up - the first of Superintendent Banda's community meetings is Monday the 17th at Mercer Middle School from 6-7:30 p.m.  There's also one on Tuesday the 18th at RBHS at the same time as the Monday event. There is a School Board meeting next Wednesday the 19th but the agenda is not yet available.  Sign-ups to speak start Monday morning at 8 am (either or 252-0040 to leave a message).  This might be a good time to pressure Banda on math concerns

Education Leadership Team meets tomorrow

We saw some emails or meeting notes about an Education Leadership Team formed by the mayor. It looked like some kind of dark cabal. I wrote to Jerry DeGrieck about it and asked him what the deal was. Jerry is a great guy who has been working for the city on early education for at least ten years and probably longer. I see him from time to time at education events and I know that he's a straight shooter. He wrote back to me answering all of my questions about the group. " Education Leadership Team (ELT) is an informal leadership group convened by Mayor Mike McGinn. It has no official functions or duties and was not established by City ordinance or resolution. The broad goal of the ELT is to improve education and student outcomes; the team is focused on early learning, K-12, and higher education, which includes universities, community and technical colleges, and apprenticeship programs. The idea for the ELT came out of a Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce Leadership r

Seattle Times Live Chat Flops

The Seattle Times Opinion page hosted a live chat today on Education and their latest brainstorm slogan "3to23". How nice to have another slogan. The live event was at noon on a Thursday, a time that makes it difficult for working people to participate. Teachers, in particular, had no real opportunity to be part of the big event. You can read the transcript on the Times web site, but it's hard to follow. Things seem to come out of order and people seem to be answering questions before the questions are asked. The moderator asks one person to answer but someone else does instead. There's one participant who just keeps typing "Lynne" and nothing more. It took me a while to figure it all out, but it boils down to this. The only participation the Times got from the public came from two trolls, "Coffee Joe" and "taxedtoomuch". In the absence of any other participants, the panel had to discuss the trolls' questions. Awkward. The thin

PTA Wants to Hear From You

SurveyMonkey survey from the Washington State PTA.  Might be good to weigh in.

Missing TFA Corps Member Found... in Renton

Remember that Teach for America corps member who was maybe hired to teach a special ed class at Aki Kurose but then wasn't because she wouldn't return the District's calls? Turns out that she's just fine. She got a teaching job in Renton. Think about that. When fully trained, experienced teachers can't find a job, this Teach for America corps member found two! Ann Dornfeld tells the story on KUOW .

No On 1240 Campaign

In the "tag you're it" section, I looked around a couple of months ago and realized that no one seemed to mounting a campaign against charter schools.  So I'm the head of the No On 1240 campaign.  I have a great steering committee (all parents) and great supporters down in Tacoma and we have a starting list of volunteers. I put a link to our campaign on the blog to the right of the threads.  It is chock-full of information (unlike the Yes side - they have 4 FAQs, we have about 25).  We also have a Facebook page and we're at Twitter (No_On_1240). No, we don't have the incredibly deep pockets of the Yes side.  But then, that didn't win it in 2000 or 2004.  The Yes campaign is at about $4m with about $3M of it coming from six families either associated with Microsoft or Amazon.  President Obama recently said that he would rather have thousands of grassroots supporters than one guy writing a $10M check.  I agree. It was amusing to hear Tim Ceis

BEX IV Updates From District

Link to BEX IV Work Session presentation scheduled for tomorrow from 4-6 p.m. at JSCEE.     Dear Seattle Public School families, staff and community: We opened our doors to about 49,500 students last week and had a great start to our 2012-13 school year.  We spent time in several schools and it was wonderful to see our students already engaged in learning. Seattle Public Schools is growing! Anticipating approximately 1,000 new students this year, we have been working hard to address our enrollment growth challenges. Projections show continued year-to-year increases in our enrollment for the next five years and beyond. We estimate an enrollment of more than 57,000 students by the 2021-22 school year, if current trends continue. Part of our long-term solution to meet the demands of this growing enrollment is the continuation of our capital levies, including the Building Excellence IV (BEX IV) Capital Levy, to be submitted to Seattle voters in February 2013. This levy would

Tuesday Open Thread

From KUOW, a story on high school "froshing" which is basically hazing freshman (whether general population or via groups like sports teams) in SPS.  This, of course, is outlawed in SPS and there is a very strongly worded statement in the student handbook about not doing this and the severe outcomes that follow.  "Harassment and hazing constitute exceptional misconduct and are in fact felony offenses. This includes 'initiation' and 'froshing.' Prohibited activities include dunking in the lake, face painting, baby powder, whipped cream, shaving cream, boxing, other forms of initiation, humiliation, or abuse. Consequences include suspension or expulsion, and/or possible criminal charges."  Listening to the story was not pleasant: Anna: "We poured condiments on them, we made them do an Easter egg hunt and inside the Easter eggs were gross things. We sprayed them with hoses and stuff." The freshmen have to dress in costumes an

WSPTA Legislative Assembly

The Washington State PTA will consider 18 proposals at the Legislative Assembly on October 19 and 20 at the SeaTac Marriott Hotel. From the WSPTA: WSPTA’s ADVOCACY PROGRAM: Each fall, Washington State PTA votes on a priority platform; this then guides our legislative advocacy in the state. The process started last June when members submitted 20-some proposals for consideration. Some were merged, others reworked. In July, the legislative committee reviewed and forwarded to the board of directors those that align with PTA’s body of positions and that advance our work on behalf of all children. Last night, the board made its final decisions; in all, it will forward 18 issues for delegates to consider Oct. 19 and 20 at WSPTA’s annual Legislative Assembly. This year we are starting a new 2-year cycle with all-new issues. Delegates will first vote on whether to place an issue on the platform; then delegates will vote on a Top 5. More staff time and resources go to Top 5 priorities.

SPS Receives Big Award for Family Engagement

From SPS Communications: Seattle Public Schools has been awarded a 2012 Partnership District Award from the National Network of Partnership Schools (NNPS) at Johns Hopkins University.  SPS was honored for making excellent progress in developing its leadership on partnerships and for guiding schools to develop goal-oriented programs of school, family and community partnerships. “Seattle Public Schools is demonstrating that research-based approaches can be used to make every school a welcoming place and to improve student attendance, behavior, achievement, and high school graduation rates,” said Dr. Joyce L. Epstein, Director of NNPS. Seattle Public Schools, a member of NNPS, received the award after providing detailed descriptions and evidence of specific strategies for helping schools improve their partnership programs to support school improvement goals.  Essential elements of district leadership on partnerships include teamwork, systemic approach, leadership,

Show Me How I'm Wrong

When I’m wrong I admit it. I have a pretty good record of doing so. Let’s see who else can do the same. A lot of people think that my snarky comment about the Board's plan for a proclamation for Cheryl Chow was wrong. In particular, a lot of people thought it was anti-gay or homophobic. First, I would like to thank all of the people who have chided me for name-calling, putting people on the defensive, and using vinegar rather than honey to persuade, then called me names, tried to put me on the defensive, and wrote scathingly about me. Good coaching there. I'm learning a lot from you. Second, I would like to thank everyone who thinks they know me well enough to make unfounded conjecture about my thoughts and feelings. Since you know me so well you don’t need me to tell you how much I love that. Apparently people want to talk about this. I'm open to it. Let's see who else is.

BEX IV - the Battle To Come

Next week is the first of the BEX IV community meetings (Thursday, the 20th at Whitman at 6:30 p.m.).  It now looks like a real battle brewing and the Board will certainly have a decision to make. For your consideration: - the Downtown Seattle Association has made the unfortunate decision to continue to pressure the Board/City Council for a downtown school.  To their credit, they took a meeting with me and I outlined why, at this juncture, it was bad timing.  I also gently put forth that if one of the South Lake Union businesses would donate a couple of floors, the district could roll out a K-8 or K-5 one year at a time and, by the time BEX V came, then they would get a real building.  (I mean it's just plain funny to ask for money for a building when there is NO land to build on.) They also apparently do not understand the severe and pressing needs elsewhere in the city despite my efforts to explain the overcrowding elsewhere AND the number of rundown schools.  They als

DFER Tries Bullying and Shaming over Charters

So over at the Democrats for Ed Reform site, the one-hand band that is DFER Washington, Lisa Macfarlane, wrote a column about going to the Democratic National Convention.  Coincidentally, I had just watched former President Clinton's barn-burning speech in Charlotte.  It was all about a big tent and working together and, most of all, recognizing differences but remaining unified. That is not the theme in her column. Frankly, we hear a lot of this nagging and ultimately, bullying from Dems in high places.  Earlier this year, Nick Hanauer (a big Dem donor and co-founder of LEV) threatened to support McKenna over charters.  Macfarlane just goes for the shaming tactic.  What is confusing is this idea that one sub-topic (not the whole topic of education but just charter schools) should be their line in the sand whether you are a good Dem or not. Gentle Washington State readers know that we have a well-deserved reputation as a laggard when it comes to education refor m. Really? 

SPS News

Yesterday, Superintendent Banda and Mayor McGinn announced a new partnership called " Evening Community Meetings in School Libraries " that would open every school library for use by community/neighborhood groups.  The cost would be $15 for meetings held after school hours. From SPS Communications: Any local community group or nonprofit organization is eligible to sign up, but the libraries are not available for business or commercial uses, nor for events that have admissions or fees. Reservations will be available from 6 – 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday during normal school calendar academic business days.  Visit where you can sign up for a user account, submit a request for space, and read the Seattle Public Schools rules and regulations (including the payment process and insurance requirements).   The fee is $15 plus any applicable custodial or heating and cooling costs. Rental does not include use of computers in the library. You