Friday Open Thread

twere evenAs a reminder, Director Carr and Director DeBell have community meetings tomorrow morning (see Seattle Schools This Week thread for details).

Also the district is having an event, co-sponsored with WSU on Sunday, the 19th at Garfield from noon-4:30 p.m. 

Imagine U @ College! is a unique program that educates people on the benefits of a college education, how to apply for admission and pay tuition, and how to be successful in college.

For the first time, WSU is partnering with Seattle Public Schools to make the program available to all students and families in the District. The program is free and lunch will be provided to the first 500 attendees.  

A second Seattle Imagine U @ College! Program will take place the following day, Nov. 19, at Garfield High School. This one will provide similar workshops for all Garfield High School students. This program includes a family night at Garfield beginning at 6 p.m.

or more information about Imagine U @ College!, visit


Samantha Hege, Imagine U @ College! Program Coordinator, 509-335-6805,

Steve Nakata, Manager of Communications, WSU Student Affairs & Enrollment, 509-335-1774,   

This is good but I'm a little surprised that this would be at Garfield who tends to have many college visits.  Why is this not at Chief Sealth or Rainier Beach or West Seattle High? 

It also appears that the Alliance - who previously said they had no stand on charters - is going out of its way to have a big discussion on charters with those who DO support them.

There is to be an event - by invite only and alas, I have no received mine yet - that features Robin Lake of the Center for Reinventing Public Education (a charter think tank).  It's billed as "2012 Election Re-Cap and Social Hour" at the "Alliance Living Room".  It is hosted by Alliance CEO Sara Morris and other "passionate public education supporters" for appetizers, wine and conversation. 

Topics?  "What happens next on charter schools?  Who will be on the Charter Commission?  When might the first school open?"

So this is what the Alliance spends their donations on - private discussions about ed reform.  If I were a PTA, I would walk away from the Alliance.  I wonder which Board members might show up.  Or even were invited. 

What's on your mind?


mirmac1 said…
If Banda is invited, and if he goes, I give up on him. The Alliance are not his friends but he doesn't pass up the schmooze.
Maureen said…
I think it's good to have the college event at Garfield. It's much more centrally located than the others you mentioned. There are kids all over the city who need help with college, not just in the south end.
Maureen, I meant the Monday event, not the Sunday one.
Maureen said…
Oh, I see, I didn't read carefully! It does seem like it would make sense to have the two events at two different schools. Maybe it's to make set/take down easier? (I have no idea.)
Anonymous said…
Brian Rosenthal calls out Seattle ed reform pacs as a big fail on the front page of The Seattle Times. The groups passed charters, but only because of high tech millions upon millions, and it was close at that.

Like Karl Rove's success rate, Stand on Children's anti-union and hating-on-public-schools stances sent fat $$ straight down the drain. Credibility for the group continues to dive.

From the article: "Stand for Children and other groups pushing for more choice in public education spent some $800,000 in independent expenditures supporting Republican gubernatorial hopeful Rob McKenna, a Republican challenger to powerful Senate Education Chairwoman Rosemary McAuliffe and two Democratic legislative candidates. They all lost..."

Here's hoping Rosemary McAuliffe sends their lobbyist legislation into deep freeze with a smile on her face for the next 4 years.
Anonymous said…
I guess I do not understand The Alliance at this point. Our district's superintendent and board did not support charters. Nevertheless, they will have to follow the law. Our district, not the alliance, will apparently either be dealing with charters directly or dealing with the state who is dealing with charters. (I think I have this right...)

Why, then, would the Alliance be taking the lead on something that the district clearly needs to figure out internally. It is only a few days after the election, after all.

In short, what use is the Alliance in this process. Or more bluntly, what gives an organization who is supposed to be a "helper" and "supporter" of the district the right to be holding closed-door meetings like this?

Charter Disliker
Rufus X said…
Also from the ST article:

"'The McAuliffe race was a tall order, but we almost couldn't not do something,' said Chris Korsmo."

Is Donald Rumsfeld writing her talking points now? Known unknowns, almost couldn't not do something?

Ed reformers, heal thy sentence structure.
Anonymous said…
The anonymous above was by me DistrictWatcher.

I hope that article is used over and over to show the stripes of Stand and LEV.

And LEV better get its act together soon. Is it a PAC or a safe place for bringing together education ideas? Under Korsmo it seems fully down the crappy ed reform PAC road at this point. In which case, time for a new education group in Seattle or Washington. Surely we can do better than this.

DistrictWatcher again
Just as the Alliance has morphed, so has LEV. There are LEV supporters out there that believe in LEV but I think between Korsmo and their ed reform stands, that there are fewer of them all the time.
suep. said…
@ Charter Disliker

This might explain a few things. As always, follow the money....

Corporate Ed Reform in Washington State – All Roads Lead to Gates
Anonymous said…
Frugal Mom here.

I am usually a lurker, but I just have to ask about the Alliance for Education bit, as I receive fundraising appeals from them. Has anyone on this blog ever looked at the projects funded by the Alliance? I mean, really, this is what the group spends its money on? Money that they have fundraised from nice donors? Money that our SPS students desperately need? They are putting it into invitation-only parties to talk about charter schools? It just seems so, disheartening. How about helping some of those Level 1 schools from the previous blog post instead. Or buying books. Or paying for teachers or technology?

Is there any other fundraising mechanism for Seattle Schools besides the Alliance and PTA? Some group that exists to fund our schools at a central level?

Anonymous said…
Melissa or Charlie, do you think there is any reason over at Advanced Learning for the lack of communication to parents about the testing dates for this year? Are they just having trouble scheduling or is there something larger going on?
Someone said…
It does seem something of a conflict of interest for the pro-charter Alliance to be a fiscal agent for SPS, when the SPS leadership came out (at least publically) against. Seems like an excellent time for a re-examination of that fiscal relationship.

I mean the Alliance can use funds for whatever it wants but there are increasing questions in my mind about it's relationship with SPS. I think it's time to sever that business relationship - yeah I know - ha! like that'll happen ;)
Unknown said…
What the Alliance does with all the money isn't quite clear.

They certainly DO support many efforts in the district but what has changed is that they really no longer ask what needs to be done but tell the district what they think.

There is no other large-scale mechanism to raise money for our schools (other than levies). And the PTA money stays at the school level (mostly) so it really depends on what your PTA can raise.

NEP, I haven't a clue but they never were good at communications around testing time. Something to look into.
Lori said…
Frugal Mom, there is such a great need for something like that, but I don't know that it exists yet.

For now, you can donate to individual teachers for specific items through Donors Choose, but I too would love to see an organization developed to function essentially like a PTA but with a mission to serve kids at multiple schools. Maybe a central PTA that covers SPS schools that don't currently have one.

I don't know. I've been bouncing the idea around in my head for a year or so. It would take some work to get something like this off the ground, but I bet parents from all over the district would support it. There are discrepancies throughout the district in what different PTAs raise and spend, and while I don't favor forcing PTAs to share funds, I do think that if there were a mechanism for parents or PTAs to donate to an organization that provides enrichment to schools with fewer resources, it would be a success.
Anonymous said…
I wish the Alliance would just go away. They do nothing but interfere with our schools.

Their problem is that they don't see our schools as serving our childrens' interests, but their own. They view our schools as their farm teams for future workers to protect their economic interests and class status. All they do is worm their way into the schools to fertilize their own future crops. Honestly, what else do they do?

With "support" like this, we'd be better off without the Alliance. They are not charitable at all, but completely and shamefully self-interested, doing far more harm than good for our schools. MGJ, anyone?

'Nuff said. WSDWG
Anonymous said…
Look at their website. Both Jose Banda and Michael DeBell are on the Alliance's Board of Directors. If there is a conflict of interest for the Superintendent and School Board President to be on their Board, then they are getting poor legal advice. The more likely explanation is they have a legal opinion that they can do this. And that it is cheaper for the district to outsource fundraising to the movers and shakers in the community than to build its own in house team. Given that there are dozens of organizations like this across the country working in school districts, I think the more appropriate inquiry is whether the Alliance is a loose cannon in comparison to other organizations, or if this is just the way public education fundraising and advocacy seems to work, in this day and age. I know there is a big difference between what is legal and what looks improper, as writers on this blog are good at pointing out.

- NE Dad
mirmac1 said…
NE Dad,

I have expressed to Banda the sleaze that is Alliance; how they worked to hire the MGJ clone from Salem-Keizer. He assured me that he a) had experienced muche the same from a similar group in Anaheim; and b) he stood his ground and them what his district needed - they could help or not.

I'm anxiously waiting to see him do this. To date, I see him look at Michael DeBell as his sole employer, even parroting some of the worst DeBell-isms. There is a majority on the board that would support him in doing what is right for the students, not the edu-biz-crats. But he has to show that he has the cajones to do this and to work with them.
Anonymous said…
Our school decided awhile back not to use the Alliance for its bookkeeping services in part because of stunts like the one described and in part because of its One Percenter reputation. We are the 99 Percent.

Also, the bookkeeping services offered by the Alliance are not as advantageous to school groups as other choices out there. We don't have a lot of money as a community so we are real careful with it. Others with someone willing to spend a few hours on their bookkeeping might want to shop around.

mirmac1 said…
'scuse typos peas.
Charlie Mas said…
The Alliance is an advocacy group, not a fundraising group. And their advocacy is not aligned with the District's interests.

In Bellevue, the Bellevue Schools Foundation does not take political positions. It strictly raises funds and it disburses them at the direction of the District.
Anonymous said…

"The Alliance is the "fundraising and advocacy partner to Seattle Public Schools."

They serve both roles. Or so they say.

- NE Dad
Anonymous said…
Besides the statisical obviousness, as DoTheirJobs and the mathematician, Ewing, state, it should also be noted that when MAP was brought into Seattle, it was presented as a lie.

When the bureaucrats told staff trainers that MAP was simply another tool to assess students, many veteran teachers immediately knew the truth--this test (which was not even aligned to the curriculum) would be the measurement tool to assess teachers for the new contract that was being rammed through by the Alliance (who used propaganda with their little survey about teachers) and other outside interests, along with their lackey, Maria Goodloe Johnson.

When teachers asked if MAP would be used to evaluate teachers, the trainers assured us: Of course not! The administrators told us it would not be used to evaluate teachers! We asked them and they said no--it's just another student assessment tool.

Sadly, even principals were sideswiped by the use of MAP as a tool to evaluate teachers--the competent and ethical ones were in denial at first, then angry that this test (which its own designers at MAP have stated should not be used to evaluate teachers) was indeed going to be part of the new contract.

Some of my colleagues thought I was just a cynical veteran teacher when I kept insisting that this so-called assessment tool was being adopted to evaluate the teachers for the upcoming new contract. Some
of the newer teachers were aggrieved and embarrassed when the truth became apparent. I told them I am not the Amazing Kreskin--I simply know how the district operates after watching it follow this pattern for years.

SSD is ethically challenged (to put it kindly). The pretend union has been in bed with the administration for years. This combination makes for extremely demoralizing working conditions.

--enough already (having trouble with sending on the MAP thread)
Meg said…
Seattle Music Partners provides music tutoring to students at 4 central area elementary schools. It's small, with a specific mission and real benefits to actual students.
suep. said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
suep. said…
The Alliance is the money & agenda launderer for the Gates Foundation.


Alliance for Education
Date: October 2011
Purpose: to provide the Alliance for Education and its sub grantees, the League of Education Voters and the Alliance for Technology, funds over three years for Our Schools Coalition
Amount: $760,100
Term: 2 years and 2 months
Topic: Community Grants
Region Served: Global, North America
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Seattle, Washington
Grantee Web site:

Source: Gates Foundation grants database

dan dempsey said…
SSD is ethically challenged (to put it kindly). The pretend union has been in bed with the administration for years. This combination makes for extremely demoralizing working conditions.

Guess we need to hire an Asst. Superintendent to raise teacher morale. Maybe the Alliance for Education can raise the funds for this position (if we can get Gates Foundation behind the idea.)
dan dempsey said…
WOW check this....

Common Core State Standards 5 part video series on YouTube.

Remember in WA State ... CCSS adoption was done with almost no inspection of what was being adopted.....

Another take over brought to you by the Oligarchs.

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