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Monday, October 08, 2012

West Seattle Issues and Priorities

Here's a brilliant story from the West Seattle Blog about Director McLaren's community meeting in West Seattle.

8 comments:

Greg Linden said...

Great article, Charlie.

This line struck me though, that "the last round of school closures [are] widely acknowledged now as a massive mistake."

I actually haven't seen a lot of discussion, especially from those school board members who were around at the time, of the last round of school closures being a massive mistake. In particular, I haven't seen much public discussion of the Board's role in that decision and what specific changes have been made to keep it from happening again. Did I miss it?

mirmac1 said...

No Greg. If it's not self-congratulation or blaming someone else, you won't hear it JSCEE.

Charlie Mas said...

The acknowledgement that the last round of school closures was a massive mistake has been made by everyone who did not have a direct hand in it.

Those who did have a role, most notably the board members who voted for it, have yet to acknowledge that it was a mistake. They contend that the closures were the right choice based on the information available at the time.

This is, of course, hooey. The information they got from the staff - or, to be more accurate, the misinformation they got from the staff - was countered by information from other sources. The Board chose to disregard all other data.

Also, to be fair to the Board, the closures were done primarily for political reasons. There were some members of the state legislature who wanted Seattle to close schools. They saw any excess school capacity as wasteful and were threatening to cut education funding. The District was responding to that threat more than any actual belief in excess capacity.

There were other reasons. Summit was closed to save the transportation cost. AAA was closed because the test results were so bad. Cooper was closed to provide a building for Pathfinder. Pathfinder needed a building because the District gave their capital budget to Southshore. Southshore got Pathfinder's place in line for a new building because the New School Foundation wanted it. Viewlands was closed to provide some cover from accusations of racism.

There was not a single school closed for actual enrollment reasons.

disgusted said...

Thanks for the link to WSB. That article sums up pretty much all of the problems with SPS: Lack of foresight, lack of engagement, lack of transparency, constant churn of schools (I'm sorry, "programs", a very important distinction to everybody but normal people just trying to send their kids to school), lack of accountability, lack of competence, did I miss anything? Oh yeah, constant weasel-word noncommittal responses.

I hate to say it, but by their behavior SPS is helping make the argument for charters, and for voting against the levy.

Mark Wainwright said...

Hello Charlie and others -

I live in Schmitz Park Elem area, have a student there, and am involved with the PTA. We received a letter from your group this weekend on our front porch.

I am confused at the overarching purpose of the letter. The Schmitz Park Community loves our school. The potential move to a new facility seems to be an excellent option for our growing school population. Many people, including our community, have been involved in many discussions about the various pros and cons for different scenarios.

Does your letter support the Feb 2013 levy? It's not clear, but it seems to raise enough questions about things that someone may interpret this as a reason not to vote for the levy. As a Seattle resident who sees the need across the city for this levy, can you please clarify your letter?

Eric B said...

I'll go one step further than Charlie. The demographic data provided by staff as background to the school closures clearly showed that the capacity at Viewlands would be needed again in roughly 2-3 years. It re-opened 3 years later. It was a straightforward case of the staff recommendation not matching their own data.

Charlie Mas said...

Mark Wainwright,

What letter? I don't recall writing a letter.

Dorothy Neville said...

Mark W, that sounds like it could be the work of Chris Jackins. It's his MO and his committee to save schools has a similar name to this blog. But he does not participate in anything internet, so will not read your query/complaint.