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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Can UW Be Promoting I-1240?

You may have heard of the Partnership for Learning, yet another business-based ed reform group.   They have just put out a document called Examining Charters: How public charter schools can work in Washington State.  It "examines" charters in other states and comes to the astonishing conclusion that we need them here in Washington State.

However, upon a quick read, I came upon a troubling issue.

It was written with the help of UW's Center on Reinventing Public Education.  Actually, the whole thing was written by CRPE's staff. 

Why is this a problem?

Because they reference I-1240 about 10 times as a good charter law and the entire document promotes charters. 

That would seem to be UW endorsing I-1240.  

Why is a publicly-funded university promoting an initiative?  That would seem to be a misuse of public funds especially since the entire promotional document was written by UW employees.

Something to ask the State Auditor about, I think. 

35 comments:

Carol Simmons said...

I was so angry when I watched Paul Hill Director of the UW Center for Reinventing Public Education support Charters on T.V. President Young has not made a statement to my knowledge. You may recall that members of the UWAA Multicultural
Alumni Partnership came out with a resolution opposing Charters. I wonder where Dean Stritikus is on this issue. TFA is certainly supported at the UW by Dean S. and they seem to waltz with Charters.

Carol

James Madison said...

Professors have tenure so they can write, say and do pretty much whatever they want.

Have you read a law review recently? The opine on all sorts of law and policy issues.

Anonymous said...

Exactly. This is almost as bad as those professors writing about the "global warming." Doesn't fit my personal beliefs so why should it get public funds?

Redneck Rob

Unknown said...

No, this is not a professor but an entire group.

Unknown said...

Melissa,

I believe professors may take any political position they wish, and they may speak freely about it. And I think they may also agree unanimously on issues if they wish, although the agreement of a group of professors on a state-wide ballot initiative certainly makes me wonder about an appearance of impropriety.

However, it is illegal under state state ethics law to use state resources(such as UW computers) to support or oppose ballot propositions (such as initiatives and referendums). "Historically, the Washington State Ethics Board has taken the rules against campaigning very seriously and has brought enforcement actions against individual employees."

See UW's Use of Public Resources for Campaigning for more information.

suep. said...

Well perhaps the greater point is, with pro-charter CRPE affiliated with UW, and TFA-er and local ed gadfly Tom Stritikus heading the UW Dept of Education where there is now a contingent of Teach for America recruits, UW now has the reputation for harboring or supporting corporate ed reform.

Unknown said...

Agreed, Sue. That is probably what is really happening.

Anonymous said...

Also -- they can support the idea of charters without advocating for a particular law.

Anonymous said...

zb

Eric M said...

Let us clear up something about CRPE. CRPE is AT the University of Washington, but is NOT part of the University of Washington. Someone (wanna guess who ?) paid for the space at UW Bothell in order to legitimize CRPE.

CRPE does not publish peer reviewed research, but instead is an embarrassing example of a public university selling its name to lend legitimacy and an air of impartial thoughtfulness to another of Gates' front organizations.

Eric M said...

Let us clear up something about CRPE. CRPE is AT the University of Washington, but is NOT part of the University of Washington. Someone (wanna guess who ?) paid for the space at UW Bothell in order to legitimize CRPE.

CRPE does not publish peer reviewed research, but instead is an embarrassing example of a public university selling its name to lend legitimacy and an air of impartial thoughtfulness to another of Gates' front organizations.

Anonymous said...

Eric M. is correct. There should be no connection b/t the UW and CRPE in regard to policy positions, etc. UW simply hosts CRPE and provides the organization with administrative services, which CRPE utilizes under a fee (which is usually about 25% of operating funds --- pretty steep).

And has been previously mentioned, CRPE has always been pro-charter.

--- someone who knows

Melissa Westbrook said...

Eric, thanks for that because I always thought they WERE part of UW.

Yes, CRPE is funded by Gates, Waltons, etc. It's funny how their research is touted in our area and yet not peer-reviewed.

Anonymous said...

The insurgency is nearly complete. The Coup d'etat(s) will come in many forms. It was attempted through the prior Board and SI, but was thwarted by the will of the people. But the know-it-alls and profiteers have the resources to re-launch the battle as many times as they need until their conquest is complete.

Sad that I once believed I lived in a democracy. WSDWG

suep. said...

Thanks for the clarification, Eric and someone w. k. I knew there was something not quite connected between CRPE and UW. However, UW does have to take ownership of the fact that it is -- what is the polite word for it? -- allowing its name and reputation to be used this way for a fee.

And then there is the schizophrenic situation of having Tom Stritikus oversee a real MA teacher ed program and a fast-track TFA, Inc. program in the same department, which sends very mixed messages to its own students and the public about the caliber of professionalism and training that the university believes in.

Consequently, I believe such arrangements have affected the university's reputation -- negatively.

Melissa Westbrook said...

WSDWG, I hear you and it's not any conspiracy theory. It is playing out right before our eyes.

Anonymous said...

Funny you should say that. I was just talking to a young woman who is now going to apply to Western because she has not been hearing good things about UW’s teacher ed program - and a big part of that was the TFA fiasco, which she felt cheapened the teacher ed degree. She’s smart and in touch with things, so it was nice to hear this.

CT

Anonymous said...

Trust me, OTHER UW professors, such as myself are chagrined at the meddling of the UW Dept. of Education in the SPS.

Among other things, the watered down math curriculum is rendering SPS students unfit to excel in the excellent science and engineering programs on the UW campus.

- Exasperated

Unknown said...

I think the CRPE could most accurately described as a private think tank associated with a public university. The most famous of these is the conservative free market promoting Mercatur Institute at George Mason University, which is funded by the Koch brothers.

There is an area of concern with the CRPE, because in my view, it is clearly using UW resources to promote I-1240. The CRPE has an official University of Washington email address. Under RCW 42.52.180, Use of public resources for political campaigns, it would seem some state employee is knowingly allowing the use of state facilities and resources, including electronic emails, to publicly campaign for an initiative. I am going to file a complaint with the ethics board.

Anonymous said...

Mary, please point to evidence that CRPE is using state-owned resources to promote I-1240. Being pro-charter does not make one a de facto campaigner.

Anonymous said...

Sorry. I forgot to sign the above.

--- someone who knows

Unknown said...

@---someone who knows,

On the CRPE facebook page, CRPE posted on October 18th that it
"teamed up with the Partnership for Learning to examine how charter schools would fit into Washington State's public education landscape. This new report outlines what public charter schools could offer the students and families in our state."

The "report" is linked on the "Partnership 4 Learning" website at Examining Charters.

The "report" itself says it was co-authored by CRPE, although the "report" strangely isn't linked on the CRPE's publication page. Probably because it isn't a report.

This publication is a piece of pro-charter propaganda timed to promote I-1240 and specifically references I-1240 10 times. I think that speaks for itself.

Anonymous said...

Mary, I really don't think it speaks for itself. The Partnership for Learning released this document, not CRPE. While the document certainly has a pro-charters bias, there is no statement contained within the document that says, "Vote Yes on I-1240" or "Vote for I-1240." CRPE could certainly argue that their role was informational and had no editorial control over the document nor it's release. A violation of the campaign law you reference is steep climb.

--- someone who knows

mirmac1 said...

It may merit investigation by the Washington Executive Ethics Board, but the director is wont to protect her fellow state employees (!)

Unknown said...

Someone who knows, well, they wrote the ENTIRE document. They have a UW box address and e-mail address. Additionally, they get public funds from DOE.

So if they write a document that praises charters AND 1240,the average person would think they are endorsing charters and 1240.

Unknown said...

To a large degree, the Education Advocate/Parent community in Seattle doesn't support charter schools. Early this summer, Initiative 1240 garnered enough support to be put on the November 2012 ballot.

We heard it brewing. We knew it was coming. With the mega-funding from Gates Foundation, Wal -Mart (the Walton foundation), and the Fishers, it was no problem for the pro-Charter crowd to hire an army of signature gatherers to collect signatures and "inform" the public on the merits of charter schools, putting the initiative on the ballot in record time,

Yet, after the signatures were gathered, a curious thing happened.

Nothing.

Yes, lots of complaining, some grumblings and criticisms from the blogasphere, but NO ORGANIZED PUSH BACK. With no one at the helm of the organized anti-charter school contingency, the Pro-Charter school forces gained a lot of credibility.

It also didn't hurt their cause that Seattle School District No. 1 had been making deleterious decisions which harmed families, such as school closures and neighborhood schools -the New Student Assignment plan, These derisive decisions were practically free advertising for I-1240.

$20 million is a lot to stare down. But no organized push back is worse.

How could this be?

If any of you think that the anti-charter movement is to be won on principal, then you are wrong. In politics, the cause doesn't let the opposition redefine them for eight months without a push back.

So what happened to the push back?

A well organized, well funded initiative cannot be defeated without, at the minimum, some organization and yes, some funds. So, to the anti-charter contingency, this is a call to arms.Yours is a useless position of you don't back up the "NO on I-1240."

Find those really disgruntled, downtrodden, picked on, lied-to parents and explain to them why this initiative will make things worse for them, not better in Seattle, and not everyone can afford to jump ship to private schools.. Parents are desperate. Let them know that, though education funds are spread thin, it will be even thinner.

Home made yard signs.... stop fellow shoppers at the supermarket with kids. Ask them what they think about fewer funds for public schools.

You will b surprised at the support in your own back yard.

Let us know what you think.

Email us at NICKESPARZA@seattleschooldistrictexposed.com

Unknown said...

I also think the use of the State Seal of Washington on the "Examining Charters" publication written by the CRPE is improper, and I intend to write that up, too.

seattle citizen said...

http://www.partnership4learning.org/
Board of Directors
Dean Allen, CEO, McKinstry Company
Fred Devereux, President, Wireless Operations West, AT&T
Mike Hughes, President, Safeco
Bill Lewis, President, Lease Crutcher Lewis
Stephen Mullin, President, Washington Roundtable
Brad Smith, Senior Vice President & General Counsel, Microsoft
Michael Kluse, Director, Battelle
Barbara Hulit, President, Fluke Corporation
Patrick Shanahan, Vice President & General Manager, The Boeing Company
Rajeev Singh, President & COO, Concur Technologies
Reggie Fils-Aime, President & COO, Nintendo of America, Inc.
Cliff Burrows, President, Starbucks

Led by Partnership for Learning, the League of Education Voters and Stand for Children, the Excellent Schools Now coalition includes more than 30 Washington education, business and community-based organizations. The coalition works to achieve meaningful education reform at the state and local level that increases student achievement, closes the achievement gap and prepares students to be college and career-ready.

The College & Work Ready Agenda mobilizes businesses and business organizations across the state to advocate for high-quality learning opportunities for all Washington’s children—from birth through high school and from college into career.

A diverse group of over 30 Seattle-based organizations and community leaders came together in March 2010 to form the Our Schools Coalition. Our Schools Coalition united to express the community's voice in teacher contract negotiations, to advocate for our children, and to support teachers as professionals.
National Partners
Created by the nation’s governors and corporate leaders, Achieveis an independent, bipartisan, non-profit education reform organization based in Washington, D.C. that helps states raise academic standards and graduation requirements, improve assessments and strengthen accountability.
The PIE Network connects 25 member groups in 18 states to build, support and promote a network of education advocacy organizations working to improve K-12 education in their states and the nation.

The Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s research, publications, and projects make them a leading source of analysis, commentary and purposeful action in pursuit of educational excellence for every child.
The Center for American Progress is a think tank offering policy proposals, talking points, events, news and columns to improving the lives of Americans through progressive ideas and action.

The Center on Reinventing Public Education engages in independent research and policy analysis on a range of K-12 public education reform issues, including choice & charters, finance & productivity, teachers, urban district reform, leadership, and state and federal reform.

seattle citizen said...

suep writes, "TFA-er and local ed gadfly Tom Stritikus heading the UW Dept of Education where there is now a contingent of Teach for America recruits..."
Stritikus is also on the planning board of the new urban teacher residency initiative in SPS. Which concerns me.

seattle citizen said...

From Partnership For Learning's webpage (capitals mine - they ARFE claiming CRPE is a part of the UW, and that charters work, thus endorsing I-1240 and implying a UW adjunct, CRPE, also endorses I-1240):
"A new report by the Partnership for Learning and the UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON'S CENTER FOR REINVENTING PUBLIC EDUCATION(CRPE) examines how charter schools would fit into the state's public education landscape.
The report, "Examining Charters: How Public Charter Schools Can Work in Washington State," addresses Washington's educational challenges, how charter schools work, what makes them different from traditional public schools and what it takes to start and support a quality charter school.
In early 2012, the Partnership for Learning, which supports I-1240, visited public charter schools in Los Angeles, Sacramento and Denver to learn how and why the highest-performing public charter schools were successful in serving low-income students and students of color. Washington is one of just nine states that do not allow charter schools.
"We came away from those trips convinced that public charter schools should be part of Washington's public education system, helping to educate students who are not being well-served by the traditional public school model, or for those who attend persistently low-performing schools," said Jana Carlisle, executive director of the Partnership for Learning.
The Partnership teamed with the Center on Reinventing Public Education, nationally renowned for its research and policy analysis on charter schools and public school choice, to compile this report to help people better understand public charter schools and the options they can provide for students and families in Washington."

Melissa Westbrook said...

Again, I think there's a problem here.

Michael H said...

"mirmac1 said...
It may merit investigation by the Washington Executive Ethics Board, but the director is wont to protect her fellow state employees (!)"

You are such a fool. Why do you assume a lack of integrity among ALL state employees. Are you that hateful and intolerant? You are the poster child for hypocrisy.

Jan said...

Michael H: I agree with you that there are a number of "ethics boards" in the state that take their responsibilities to ride herd on agencies very seriously (although I know nothing about the Washingto Executive Ethics Board specifically), and would not for a minute "cut someone some slack" to protect them.

But it is possible to disagree with mirmac and say this without calling her names.

Personally, I wish you would do so.

Ellie Kesselman said...

University of Washington affiliated entities seem to be a big endorser of the edu-business based "reforms". Even if merely rent-paying, well, why can't these organizations, the CRUFTY one referenced above, why can't they find a landlord other than Univ of Washington, I would wonder, unless there was a symbiotic relationship of some sort.

Also, use of official state seals, or seals of agencies, organizations such as public universities etc. for non-official purposes is strictly forbidden. It happens a lot though, because lots of people say to themselves, "It is fair use!" and the government doesn't do anything about it. Lots of people think it is a big joke, in fact. The problem is that when I see an official government seal, I assume endorsement by (or a direct relationship with) a governmental entity.

Remember too that the funders of your proposal I-1240 make very sizable donations to the University of Washington. This includes those who are residents of the state of Washington, as well as those who are not.

Unknown said...

Ellie K,

I made a complaint to the state Executive Ethics board on October 29 about the improper use of UW resources in support of a ballot issue . I received a response on October 30 from Ruthann Bryant that the issue was being looked at.

I also made a complaint with the office of the Secretary of State on October 25 regarding the improper use of the state seal, citing the same reasons you did that it is an improper use. I also emailed them again this week as I did not receive a response from them. I can imagine that with the election it was a busy time for them. If I do not hear from them by Wednesday, I will give them a call.