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Sunday, September 16, 2012

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 out of money or left town.

While many charters in Arizona and Michigan are working well, the problems at other charter schools cry out for more oversight and control, U.S. News & World Report reported in an exhaustive, stinging review of charters schools.

Many charter schools don't have labs and libraries. Basic classroom supplies are lacking. Too often, enrollment numbers submitted to claim state funds differ dramatically from real attendance.

Next time a bill or an initiative surfaces in Washington, and one will, backers have to be painfully honest. Charter schools are a lot like other public schools. Some work, some don't.
Well Times, the Yes folks - and you - are NOT being "painfully honest". In fact, at the 37th Rep Eric Pettigrew ran as fast and as far away as he could from any specific details of 1240.

(He left that to former City Attorney Tim Ceis who got some details wrong. Mr. Ceis claimed that charter teachers can join SEA or any other union or create their own. Wrong. They can ONLY create a union at their school. I took the relevant section of the initiative to him and he promptly said I misheard him. I told him no, he said that. He got very upset and said I was wrong. A teacher who also heard him say that asked him about it and he said she was wrong. Well, there was someone videotaping the event and we'll put that up soon to keep everyone honest.)

But back to the Times:

"Charter schools should always be accountable to school boards, and the system should build in a reasonable amount of oversight."

Well, that's odd because I-1240 does NOT have accountability to school boards. I wonder what happened to that idea.

Sometimes it is hard to take the Times Editorial Board seriously.

13 comments:

GK said...

I wrote Lynne Varner last week complaining about the constant drumbeat of Seattle Times articles promoting charter schools. I told her that they were trying to influence the election and that many readers, especially older people, might not see the online comments that argued against charters.

She responded, “Of course we’re trying to influence the election. We try to influence issues every day...The constant drumbeat is what makes the editorial page work.”

Varner provided some links to anti charter articles they published last winter, but I suggested they need a more balanced view closer to the election. So far it has been a one sided argument.

I would suggest that readers send in testimonials to the Times about the actual impact of charters in other states. I know they cherry pick students and often perform no better than public schools. If this message does not get out then figure the Times will win this election.

They could not get the SPS Board of Directors or Superintendent that they wanted, so the Times will push charter schools on us unless the general public gets out the other side of this story.

GK, Seattle parent

Anonymous said...

What Ceis did makes sense, when you're as arrogant as he is. Everything you say is THE TRUTH and everything you think is THE TRUTH, so only those who are dummies would question him, and therefore question

TheTruth

Anonymous said...

Tim Ceis is the former Deputy Mayor of Seattle. He has never been City Attorney, nor has he ever held elected office.

-- Ivan Weiss

mirmac1 said...

My experience with Tim Ceis is that he is an arrogant blowhard. He earned his nickname "The Shark" for a reason. I figure he's like the guy in Finding Nemo.

Unknown said...

I stand corrected; thanks Ivan. I thought he was City Attorney and had that stuck in my brain.

Eric B said...

I'm not everyone, but I kinda like that the Times editorial page can change its mind. I don't think they're looking at charters fairly, and I think they're wrong, but I would hate to think that the attitudes from a decade ago are set in stone. Otherwise, they wouldn't have endorsed R-74. Again, I may be in the minority, but I think that an election where charters pass and same-sex marriage is approved isn't so bad. It's three steps forward and one back.

NB I'm still working as hard as I can to defeat charters. And it was an awful lot of fun to follow Ceis at a public presentation and demolish every one of his arguments in turn.

Unknown said...

NO, it's not so much that I care that Times changed its mind; I just have a hard time following their logic (especially around charters as they are doing a near 180 on what concerned them last time).

Anonymous said...

Who gives a RIP if charters are "accountable" to school boards? What a load! As we have seen here in Seattle, school boards always vote "YES"... no matter what it is. So, what does "accountable" even mean?

-reader.

dw said...

Melissa, it seems unlikely to me that the folks who wrote the article 11 years ago are the same people that wrote this week's article. That's a long time ago. Does anyone know otherwise?

I understand and greatly appreciate the ability to write anonymously as a blog commenter, but doesn't it seem like "official" positions touted by a major newspaper should have attributions? Especially when it's a "constant drumbeat". The whole thing is weird and smells bad.

Anonymous said...

So I have given up on the Times and have started using the seattlepi.com website - let them get the marketing $$. Is there much ed reporting there - since everybody here has complained like crazy about the Times (and I've come to despise their ridiculous ed reporting which is one of my top issues), I'm curious how many others have started using the PI? Any heads-up to be aware of over there. I don't need somebody to always agree with me - I do want fair and newsy... not much opinion (even though that's near impossible, but you know what I mean).

** Fed up w/ Times teacher**

Mary Griffin said...

This is one of the many reasons why it would be nice if the town still had two papers. One could fact-check the other.

I have one suggestion, though. Let's stop using the apparent success of the marriage equality campaign as our flogging boy. Marriage equality is an overdue civil rights issue. It has nothing to do with charter schools. I think if we keep referencing it, it subliminally feeds into this kind of crazy notion of rationed justice--that there's only so much of it to go around and if we can't get a taste of it, it's just so unfair that those marriage equality folks can.

We are not waifs with an empty bowl trembling at a vat of justice porridge and asking, "Please, sir, I want some more."

The charter school issue can stand on its own two legs. People need to get out there and educate the voters and they need to do it now!

Charlie Mas said...

The Seattle Times has made another flip-flop, now wanting the board to check employee credentials.
Editorial: Seattle School Board should continue work to restore public trust

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