Sunday, September 16, 2012

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.

The public testimony is still scheduled for 5:00pm. The Board knows that having the testimony at this time creates a barrier to participation by working people. Perhaps that's the intent.

The proclamation for Cheryl Chow is presented for introduction and action at the same meeting. The Board repealed the policy that restricted the practice to emergencies so now they can (and often do) bring motions for introduction and action at the same meeting. Usually they do it when there is some urgency or if they wish to evade public questions about their actions. Take it from me, you do not want to question this proclamation. I certainly won't question it. I presume it was brought for introduction and action at the same meeting because there is some urgency and therefore immediate action is in the best interests of the District. I doubt they are rushing it to evade public discussion. The statement of issue reads:

Seattle School Board wishes to recognize the work of individuals in committing themselves to helping the children of Seattle achieve, and for dedicating their lives to working with children.  Ms. Chow has shown her commitment and dedication not only through her work at Seattle Public Schools, but also in the greater Seattle community.
The Board has not done anything like this in the past ten years, but it would be nice if they did. The statement of issue makes reference to multiple individuals, so perhaps this will be the first of a number of such proclamations to deserving people and organizations. Feel free to nominate anyone you believe also merits such recognition.

There is a motion for action to authorize the superintendent to approve applications for conditional certificate for one person, a Teach for America corps member. This has been brought for action despite the fact that it was never brought for introduction. The motion brought for introduction at the last board meeting was for a different candidate. They are not interchangable. The Board is deviating from their practice of introducing motions prior to action. This motion was never introduced. It came through the Executive Committee for the first time just last week, a week after the last Board meeting. I think it is interesting that motions for approval of conditional certificates come through the Executive Committee instead of the Operations Committee.


Anonymous said...

Most school districts don't have a concept of introduction and action. Business needs to be done, it gets put on an agenda and the school board votes. As you noted, Seattle no longer has a policy about introduction/action, and could if they wanted to move to the style that other districts do. There isn't always evil motives to be had, maybe just a realization that business can be done more efficiently.

An Observer

mirmac1 said...

Yes, and we've seen that our district has always done business in an open, transparent manner with no subterfuge, smoke and deception. Pls get real. If they knew the TFA dude's name last meeting (remember the verbal "update"), then why didn't they intro the item to declare him most eminently qualified? Why has staff (and DeBel) decided that the less the board members and public know the better? This is how we've ended up with tens and tens of audit findings over the last ten years. "Move along, there's nothing to see here!"

Anonymous said...

Okay so having an introduction and action really has helped? Because it really doesn't sound like it from your post.

And observer

mirmac1 said...

The intro and action for the last person prevented an unqualified person from being placed in a high-needs classroom of children with learning and developmental disabilities, just because someone told someone everything was okie dokie. Turns out everything wasn't. Intro allowed me to make that case.

I have no particular problem with the person proposed, beyond the obvious issue of placing someone with five weeks training in front of a classroom of Franklin high-schoolers who deserve a real science teacher.

I do have a problem with the slimy sneaky nature of the entire PESB/UW/Stritikus/Enfield/Alliance/Greer/Insider garbage that goes along with TFA in Seattle. Can we stop doing business this way? Or is it necessary because that's the only way to keep the wool over some people's eyes?

Unknown said...

How does Intro and Action help?
It allows parents and the public to give input on issues that concern and affect their children and their communities.

Not everyone can go to the Board Committee meetings and the minutes are very superficial so that is not an easy option for anyone.

I think it is fair to Intro some items - high profile, across-the-board items that affect many students - one meeting and approve the next. Otherwise since the Agenda is not available until 5 pm on Friday and they vote on the next Wednesday, that offers little time for folks to read, ponder and offer input.

Unless, of course, the Board neither wants nor needs input to make their decisions (except from the Alliance or Frank Greer or Jon Bridge).

mirmac1 said...

And as you can see, the Times would chastise select board members for asking whether something is legal that, in fact, ultimately proves to be illegal (like the Creative Approach Schools MOU). Unfortunately, not everything that emerges out of the General Counsel's office proves to be correct or ethical.

Patrick said...

An Observer, we don't have democracy because it's efficient.

Patrick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Patrick, we have a republic not a democracy. That's why you vote for school board members instead of it being an open vote on every decision the school board makes.

-An Observer

mirmac1 said...

So you must be advocating for the "shut up and approve it" approach to governance. Where the board is asked to read and pass anything that is placed before them?

That's how MGJ got the NWEA contract approved, just provide a supposed "research paper" by a Broad lackey to HMM's C&I committee and there it is. Or better yet, provide a TFA MOU with their marketing materials to the Exec Comm. No analysis or consideration required.

Anonymous said...

No, if you're working from the place that the board is going to screw the public no matter what they do, I think it's silly to focus so much an introduction and action. They're going to do whatever they're going to do anyway. Or, you can focus on electing people who share your viewpoint. I also personally hate ignorance and when people misuse the word democracy instead of republic.

An Observer

mirmac1 said...

Wow. I've been known to use the wrong word on occassion. Haven't you?

For those of us who follow open meetings and public records, it's become quite apparent that there is a lot of shenanigans behind the scenes, manipulated by a handful of staff and, for the most part, Michael Debell. That is how you get such garbage legal analysis like the TFA memorandum or debacles like the CAS MOU permanent injunction. They aren't working for us, nor representing us unless your name happens to be Jon Bridge or Tim Burgess.

Charlie Mas said...

If you take a look at the School Board Action Report that accompanies each motion you will see that for most of them the only community engagement on the motions before the Board comes between introduction and action. This is, essentially, the one and only opportunity for community input.

Yes, the board directors are elected to make these decisions, but they are the elected representatives of the public. As such, there is a reasonable expectation that they will allow the public an opportunity to provide them with input and comment on the matters before them. Typically, the time between introduction and action is the only time afforded for this purpose and if it were removed then there would be no time for public input.

I believe that public input provided to the elected representatives is a critical element of any republic. So do the Board directors. At least they claim as much.

Anonymous said...

You are misinformed on the meaning of the words republic and democracy. Check a dictionary.

Rooting for Words

Anonymous said...

My impression was exactly the same. I am not sure if he is just in way over his head and ability (which would explain the deer in the headlights reactions) or is being purposefully evasive. A national search and we got this guy? It will be a long three years (maybe less).

Seen it before

Charlie Mas said...

I just checked the motions before the school board this week and not one of them has any community engagement at all. Not one.