Race and Class, Our District and...Fundraising?

When the issue about the race/social justics class at Center School came up, there was little notice about who attends the school.  Yet both the teacher, Jon Greenberg, and some Center students I talked with expressed frustration with the lack of diversity at the school AND that for some minority students who do enroll, they leave fairly quickly.  What the students told me is that the minority students don't feel they fit in but many enjoy Mr. Greenberg's class because they DO get to talk about something completely relevant to their lives.

(The students also said that the minority numbers are so low that many parents won't consider Center School.  This is very akin to what minority parents have expressed about APP.  They don't want their child to be the only minority child in the classroom.)

One question I do have is how this class continued on - for years and under different principals - and if there were problems in the past.  That hasn't been addressed and yet if there had been even a volume of complaints, you would have thought it would have been altered or even shut down by now.

But on the heels of this comes a fundraiser at Catherine Blaine K-8.  I sat on this story for 24 hours because I wasn't sure if it merited a mention.  But frankly, anyone who has been in this district for awhile knows there's a divide between north and south and it is not just a racial one.

We also all know that, depending on your neighborhood, your PTA may raise hundreds, thousands or even hundreds of thousands.  That has a huge impact on your school and what enrichment gets to be offered.  (But let's not even start on the fact that PTAs don't even get to fund as much enrichment as they used to because they are trying to backfill basic dollars cut by the district.)

I will say upfront - bless each and every person who helps their public school.  It matters and I know it is appreciated by every single school.

But to get to Blaine, well, I'll let the Stranger Slog tell this tale:

We've been getting outraged tips this week about an item in Magnolia-area public school Catharine Blaine K–8's school fundraiser auction this year. In among the "VIP Parking Spot" and "Kindergarten Movie Night" items, there's one that stands out:

We’re not in the 98199 anymore! Here's your chance to experience the "other side of the tracks" at Blaine’s First Annual White Trash Tea! Grab your trashiest girlfriends to sample the finest in Crock Pot cuisine, Twinkie trifle, a variety of fun cocktails and, of course, teas. Everything will be served on plates from Safeway's "Bonus with Purchase" collection, natch. The tea will be hosted at the not-so-trashy [name of place redacted], located on Capitol Hill.
Cost: $40 per person
Limitations: Up to 14 people
We e-mailed the PTA to ask if they were mocking the poor, as our tippers said, and they sent us a statement: "This event has, in fact, been pulled from the auction... There was never an intent to mock, as you say, any specific class of people, and as soon as there was concern from a parent, the event was pulled." They point out that it was never in any materials distributed to students, only parents, and that it was aimed only at adults. They also point out the truth: "Our PTA Board and Auction Coordinators are all parent volunteers who have worked tirelessly this year to raise the funds to gap the shortfall in both the money we receive from the district and the state."

Did you gasp or shake your head?  Because I did both.

I remember at Whittier we had the auction for the front row seats for school performances and Blaine has one for parking.  I don't have an issue with that one.

But what makes the "Tea" so offensive is that someone thought this funny and others agreed it was a good idea.

"We're not in the 98199"?  "other side of the tracks"?  "trashiest"?  "crockpot cuisine"  (Amazingly, many Slog readers really wanted to know what a "Twinkie trifle is.)  And, "the first annual"?

No intent to mock?  Sorry, but NO ONE is going to buy that.  And if no parent had had the courage to say something, it would have been part of the auction, right?  And does it matter that it only went to parents?  (And what's up with the crockpot reference?   Many people use a crockpot - hell, Betty Draper on Mad Men uses one.)

 I recall a fundraiser at a north-end school (that will remain nameless) where the tickets were $250...each.  Naturally, that left out large numbers of parents who could not possibly afford that amount.  But the parents who could said, well, we are raising money for all the kids, so what?

Well, it's a school-wide event, that's what.  I remember at Whittier arguing over $30 per couple versus $20 because we wanted as many parents to be able to attend as possible.    We thought we were being exclusionary if we went higher.

Is fundraising a no-holds barred activity?

Does anything go as long as the money being raised is for a good cause?


mirmac1 said…
I am a strong believer that ticket prices should be within the reach of the vast majority of parents. We all have a right to participate in fundraising for our school. And no, I don't mean buying cookie dough. Group events allow families to feel connected to their students' school.
Anonymous said…
I think with as far back as the district has cut funds, fundraising should maybe be a no holds bar thing. If higher ticket prices get a librarian an extra day a week, I think that's more important than 100% parent attendance. I'd feel differently if the district adequately funded the schools and we were talking about new jerseys for the soccer team, because I agree it's not ideal. As it stands, though, they have an impossible, critical task and if hard choices get it done, I have to just let them do it. It's not like you can't just give the school money, still, up to whatever you could pay for the ticket, and at least at my school the auction is one of about a million events, so I'm not worried about parents not being able to go to this one particular one.

Not to the point of White Trash tea, though. Holy cats.

meanie fundraiser
A-mom said…

I've been meaning to ask about an idea from Portland having to do with a percentage of funds from schools with more successful fundraising going to schools with less.
I seem to remember the idea came to Seattle a few years ago and was quietly killed.
Meanie, so what's the line? (Not being sarcastic but what should it be.)

A-Mom, no, I don't think it was killed. I think no one - especially the PTA - wants to talk about it.

Now might be a good time.
Anonymous said…
@ "meanie" You may not be able to "give the school money," but you certainly CAN give the PTA money. People can write huge checks direct to the PTA, so there really is no need for overpriced auction tickets. Many schools have "No Bake, Bake Sales," to encourage people to write checks without the hassle of fundraising or having to buy cheap stuff from China (most catalog sales).

So no, I cannot agree with you. If a school has a smaller percentage of wealthy families, those families can write big checks and help create an auction or some other fundraiser event that at least a larger majority of families can attend. IMHO...

Solvay Girl
Anonymous said…
And don't forget that the Alliance gets in their processing checks for a variety of funds raised. Just taking their 'small' percentage....
Year and a quarter to go
Catherine said…
I think the reason that the PTA fundraising dividing up to help less financially productive PTAs has been mostly dropped, is that there are 100's of ways around it, so many as to make it pointless.

Then there's the "who would administer it" question, which would probably be the Alliance, and they get their ever growing cut. Not popular with me.

I think maybe if more financially able PTAs felt like they didn't have to raise money for basics, they might be more willing to share a bit of their proceeds. But if they're funding basics like support, library, materials, and full day K then I can't give them a full demerit for wanting to keep their money in their neighborhood.

Let's try fully funding eduction, then see where we are.
Jet City mom said…
I lived in Magnolia when I was young, and my grandparents lived there until their their last years.

I reluctantly declined to buy my grandparents house while my grandmother was still alive, because I had a longing to have a yard with something besides pruned foundation plantings & manicured lawn.

What a shame to hear my gut instinct was right.
Anonymous said…
I know, it's easier to hold black and white positions than grey ones, and especially to defend them on a blog. In an ideal world- heck, even if I just lived where my in-laws do with better funded public schools- I'd agree.

I have a list of things in my head. Schools should have full time librarians. Academic tutors for struggling kids (so that the kids can see them more than once a week). An art teacher, and music for all grades. Classroom aides for second grade and under, and class sizes under 25 until 4th grade. I know parent groups fund most of that now, all or in part, and I think that's a sort of...martial law zone...for fundraising. I could see 250/ticket events raising enough more money in certain schools that it's the difference between basic academic service or not(not mine, by the way, there'd be like 5 people there). I think it is completely the district's responsibility to fund this, and parent groups should be funding things like soccer jerseys and extra after school opera programs or whatever. Since the district doesn't get the basics I give more leeway to parent groups. But I wish they would, and if it helps my street cred, do actually write my representatives regularly to tell them that.

Jet City mom said…
At Summit we had lots of fundraisers / community building events, many encouraged participation of the whole family & we never would have turned any away if they couldnt buy a tcket.

I also helped out quite a bit at Garfield, however it took a while to get over my first experience there.

I had been working all day to set up, not even going home o change. I believe tickets were reasonable, $50 or $75 but still quite a lotof money to me.
When, it finally died down backstage enough for me to participate in the bidding, I was told that I could not get a number unless I bought a ticket. This was well after dinner had been served ( which I wasnt offered) it was just for the number.

Well I had money to bid on something that was useful & for which I might get a good deal, but I didnt have that much money on top of my membership dues, to donate to the PTA.

So I didnt bid & it took a while to get that taste out of my mouth.
I was especially affronted, because I had been on the parent board @ Summit & we didnt require dues to vote ( although we encouraged donations) & I was also on the parent board at a local prep school and had never felt as scorned as I did that first year at Garfield.
Anonymous said…
Where do my PTA family dues go then? I also top that dues by $20. Can't Seattle PTSA take a percentage for admin cost if we go with pooling funds? Maybe we can ask Portland PTA how they manage it?

Anonymous said…
I don't believe any SPS school has a $250 ticket. What school is it?

Just the Truth
Charlie Mas said…
Every time there's some kind of crisis that catches the media's attention, the District appoints an advisory committee to produce a set of recommendations to address the crisis.

The committee meets and writes their report. It is accepted with some fanfare and the district says that they will implement the recommendations, then... nothing.

A few years go by and the crisis re-surfaces. The District appoints an advisory committee to produce a set of recommendations to address the crisis.

The committee meets and writes their report. It is accepted with some fanfare and the district says that they will implement the recommendations, then... nothing.

A few years go by and the crisis re-surfaces. The District appoints an advisory committee to produce a set of recommendations to address the crisis.

The committee meets and writes their report. It is accepted with some fanfare and the district says that they will implement the recommendations, then... nothing.

A few years go by and the crisis re-surfaces.

We have a series of committees that were supposed to review and make recommendations to address the achievement gap and disproportionate discipline. We don't need to appoint another committee, we just need to implement the recommendations from any of the several committee reports we already have.
Just the Truth, I'm not going to out the school. I know this for a fact.

"Let's try fully funding eduction, then see where we are."

Absolutely, positively.

This was my mantra during the 1240 election and frankly, I found it confusing that LEV was all over overturning 1153 and loved McCleary but no, we have to have charters NOW.

There is NO doubt that charters will take money out of existing schools/districts that are already underfunded. So why not fully-fund what exists for, say, 3-5 years AND see what happens?

(I also love the mantra - "The Supreme Court can't force funding." Fine but that doesn't make their ruling wrong.)
Anonymous said…
PTA fundraising capacity is about equity when you look at the fact that wealthier schools can actually alter the curriculum taught at their schools. This is currently happening in West Seattle. The wealthier schools (Schmitz, Alki, Lafayette) are getting Singapore/alternate math because their PTAs have the fundraising capability to pay for the materials and training (appx. $30k a year is what I've heard). All the schools in West Seattle with less wealthy PTAs are unable to make this change. Also, I am really glad to be at a school that keeps the auction ticket cost down. It is still a stretch for many families to afford that $40 ticket (let alone buy anything), but at least it makes it more accessible because it is a fun, community-building event that should not just be for the wealthy. Our school also does a direct give campaign at the start of the school year which seems to be a successful way to fundraise for the PTA without requiring parents to sell stuff. I prefer this method. The white trash tea idea is just tasteless. Not surprising. Just tasteless. Glad they at least had the sense to pull that out of their auction.

Looking for Math Equity in WS
Anonymous said…
A wonderful idea that was spoken of regarding PTA's that raise any/more money, was to find a need in another school and fund it. I believe a children's theater trip or visit from a theater group happened. What a great idea to share enrichment and to let the kids know that they are helping others right in their own city. SSD/Alliance/SFC.......none of these groups need to be involved.
The PTA's simply need to have folks advocating that this idea be moved forward.

Year and a quarter to go.
Anonymous said…
Any group of volunteers can come up with something as stupid as "White Trash Tea." Other than being very derogatory, it sounds like a complete bore. But, there you have it. People make mistakes, and sometimes other people don't get it, or catch it. Who here has not made an insensitive or stupid comment? In the end though, it was recognized for what it was - a huge mistake - and the item was removed. I don't think it's a poor reflection on an entire neighborhood.

Magnolia Resident
n said…
I agree, Magnolia Resident.

But, having said that, is this whole idea a reflection of "white privilege?" I'm just asking because the topic is alive and well right now and I'm wondering if any other population would even think of such an idea.
Anonymous said…
Magnolia does get stereotyped as an enclave of wealthier white Mayberry kind of place. That I see. At times though it can be its own worst enemy. Not just with the Blaine PTA fiasco, but if you follow the neighborhood blog, Magnolia Voice, you think we are all obsessed by parking and suspcious swarthy people knocking on doors. These threads generate the most comments in an otherwise quiet blog. The comments are entertaining in a dark humoresque way. The White Trash Tea is a stupid idea, but if you don't know what's offensive, you are going to keep making similar mistakes.

Data said…
"minority numbers are so low that many parents won't consider Center School"

That doesn't sound right. How about we look at the data?

Center Schhol has 71% white, 11% African American, 9% Latino, 6% Asian, and 3% American Indian.

The City of Seattle is 70% white, 8% African American, 5% Latino, 14% Asian, 1% American Indian, and 2% other.

What is the problem exactly? What minority numbers are so low that it is a problem?
Magnolia, no one said it was a reflection on the neighborhood. But they only pulled it BECAUSE someone complained and not because someone thought better of it.

Data, thanks for that. I'm just going with what the students there seem to perceive as low numbers. Also, for a small school those numbers of minority students are small.
A-mom said…
I doubt that Portland feels that they are fully funded, yet they made an effort to create a more equitable
school district.

Especially now that we have 'neighborhood schools' and ever decreasing support for transportation, we need to work so that we don't create 'separate but equal' schools that are not equal.
Anonymous said…
Data, you misconstrue the data. Nobody really cares about "city of Seattle census data". The data that matters is the school district's demographic data:

White = 43%, black = 19%, asian is 19%, and American Indian = 1%.

The most striking thing about that is that in an overwhelmingly "white" city, SPS (the district's students) is less than 1/2 white. That means, the "white" students are going to school somewhere else - and in large numbers, and in larger numbers than other groups.

Any school or program that is 70% white is clearly out of whack with the rest of the district. And clearly, it is a school catering to that demographic, which is a minority in the district.

seattle citizen said…
Gates, et al, "donated" over six million to buy the strategic plan three years ago. Let's see...90 schools, six million...that's about $60, 000 per school. Would've helped a lot of schools out.
Data said…
Many of the schools in the north are 70% white. Ballard High School, for example, is 67% white. It is completely false to say, "Any school or program that is 70% white is clearly out of whack with the rest of the district." You are wrong on the facts.

The City of Seattle demographics is the only data that is relevant if you believe our public schools are intended to serve all the children of Seattle. If you want to claim Seattle Public Schools shouldn't serve all the children of Seattle, go ahead and try, but you can't argue that Center School has poor diversity when its racial percentages are the same as Seattle's.
Jet City mom said…
Well if we want the schools to be neighborhood schools & we want them to be more socio- economically & racially diverse, dont we need to look at housing & other community resources?

I suggest we focus on economic disparity, every school should be supported by a community group rather than one school raising hundreds of thousands of dollars and another hard pressed to fund teacher appreciation day.

I would agree with something requiring half of money raised goes into the school system over a certain amount, instead of my chlds school (as long as the Alliance didnt get o touch it), I might even give more.)

Anonymous said…
As a transplanted Magnolian, I would say 98199 is full of white trash. They aren't poor white trash, just white trash. And I mean that in a freindly way, they are my neighbors and friends. But.. I've heard some anti-black comments and the phrase "Jew down". But that's Seattle. Before 1968 my deed was legal in prohibited non- Caucasians, as did much of the north end. As I drove through Shoreline recently, by the water, it was very white, punctuated by private swim clubs. Even Blue Ridge in Ballard is semi gated with its private parks. Magnolia is no worse than other parts of north end, maybe better. I'd rather have behind the times white trash types than sanctimonious hypocrites who pretend to be diverse.
If you think about something this stupid, you realize they aren't really classist or racist, they're clueless, and that pretty darn endearing.

Proudly 98199
Jet City mom said…

If you think about something this stupid, you realize they aren't really classist or racist, they're clueless, and that pretty darn endearing.

Only if you are talking about Dewey Crowe.
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
Data, right! Ballard HS is MUCH WHITER than the district as a whole, which is around 40% white. THOSE are the facts. We have neighborhood assignments to Ballard HS- so yes! Some schools will be more or less diverse than others. And right! Ballard HS has always been one of those whiter than average areas. (It's the whitest high school of all.) SO what? Center School is NOT a neighborhood assignment school. It caters to a particular demographic. So, why do white-flight types get a special school to escape to?

I disagree. Whether or not I believe SPS should serve everybody in at a particular percentage rate is completely irrelevant. The fact is, SPS doesn't have a mostly white demographic. That is the fact. Schools in the 70% white range are outliers.

Jet City mom said…
Oh yay.
they aren't really classist or racist, they're clueless, and that pretty darn endearing.

Given you live there, I'm glad you find it endearing. If I were at parent at Blaine, I would probably not join the PTA because of these "endearing" attitudes. (I can just imagine what it must feel like to go to a PTA meeting and get looked up and down as these attitudes might indicate.)

Center School is an all-city school and yet "it caters to a particular demographic." What would that be?

John said…
Believe me, parents atBlaine are not racist or classist, you have lots of second and third generation Magnolians at the school and they are not rich. Is it a bubble here, a bit. Are we obsessed wiTh car prowls and burglaries? I guess we're lucky we don't get much gunplay here. But I'll tell you Magnolias best kept secret, it is a Mecca for LGBT families and the few Latino,black and Native American kids are treated respectfully. We have more more low income housing and more and more parents are opting not to go private when middle school arrives. No private clubs, a huge city park and beach, it's a great place and the white trash party idea only shows a good sense of humor and a refreshing lack of political correctness. The other side of the tracks, which Magnolia has a lot of in their neighborhood, is Queen Anne! Now there's your fancy pants.
"Are we obsessed wiTh car prowls and burglaries? I guess we're lucky we don't get much gunplay here."

Really? I'm thinking Magnolia MUST be a truly "special" place. Nothing that anyone from Magnolia has written here has exactly erased what the PTA auction sheet put forth.

More low-income housing than where?

I'm always interested in Seattle neighborhoods and how they tick and you can certainly see this from this thread.
Anonymous said…

I think they mean "more than EVER BEFORE" in their own rare air. And I'm sure those lucky few enjoy the sense of humor they offer.

Anonymous said…
Why not visit Magnolia and see how horrible it is. You can park in the village for free, no meters yet; walk over to Blaine and the community center, two more blocks to the library. You'll see how mellow and friendly it is and in the summer come and swim at Mounger pool. Take a walk over to the boulevard or down 32nd to the hand carry boat launch. We eeven have a dogbparkmnow up behind Lawton where all the apts are. I really don't think any of you negatives have spent much time here. Sure it's whiter than some parts of town, but it is not a hostile environment.
See you soon?

Anonymous said…
John, I'm glad you have that view of Magnolia, especially about the "few black, Latino, and Native Americans". 'Cause as one of those singled out groups, sorry to say it's not so sublime. When it happens, I would say it's more of an individual incidence, but not always. What I've noticed is for us to co-exist peacefully, it's up to me and my family to laugh things off, to get along, to shed PC to show we are not uptight to laugh at off color jokes, to be visible when it's important to emphasize the little diversity here and be invisible/silence when we may have a different opnion and attitude that doesn't conform or make people "uncomfortable" with the happy valley air. And god forbid, if you happen to be a single parent and poor on top of this.

Look face it, the tea party was dumb. Time to look inward, OK? Some may think this was a cute and funny idea and people are just making a mountain of a little, bitty molehill. But others didn't and worse, some chose to laugh at us for it. The shoe is on our foot now. It's not so funny to be the butt of a joke is it? So just own it, and say we were wrong. It was in bad taste, shows poor judgement, and we do need to re-examine ourselves in order to move on. Stop trying to sweep it under the rug because hiding it doesn't make it go away.

reality in magville
QT said…
What a bunch of haters. Magnolia is a very caring and increasingly diverse part of Seattle. We also have a fantastic park for all to enjoy, a heron rookery, more eagles than anywhere in the city, I'd guess. We even have a fancy new restaurant, Tanglewood. The way people talk on this blog you'd think we were burning crosses on lawns. Come on down, I agree, get coffee and a bite and see what it's really like in Mayberry. Far from rarified, it's really pretty boring.
Anonymous said…
I will gladly "own" that there are many non pc residents here who dont have much of a clue about racial issues. Are these people bad or ignorant? Should we vilify them or educate them? How many communities are there in Washington and the rest of the US that have literally NO people of color? Are these people to be despised? Come on, if people make comments about my unseen disability, I don't hate them or hold a grudge, but neither do I do admonish them. It's not worth the trouble and I don't really believe in changing the world one person at a time. But I know things are moving in the right direction and do see things changing with the kids. Don't be a martyr for your cause, sometimes we just have to let the water roll of our backs and look towards a brighter future.

98199 too
Anonymous said…
98199 resident here weighing in to say the tea party was a bad idea and it shows poor taste. I'm sure the intentions were not malicious - probably the auction committee sitting around w/ a glass or two too many of wine or some panicked catalog filler at the end - but the fact that no one stopped it before it got to the complaint stage is very disappointing. Not my school but I know plenty of folks there who wouldn't let that fly.

-98199 parent
No one was referencing the community of Magnolia, the Blaine community or even the entire Blaine PTA. It was apparent that some in PTA leadership made an incredibly bad choice that, if it had gone forward, would have been offensive to many who read it.

No one was referencing race - the term was "white trash" and yet many brought up race and being pc. In fact, I brought it up because of the issues and race and class in our city and district and that's on display here.

But boy, has the Magnolia community risen up in righteous indignation.

But if this is how the Magnolia community thinks about these issues, that's their viewpoint.

But don't say that everyone here has attempted to paint the community with one brush.

Anonymous said…
"But boy, has the Magnolia community risen up in righteous indignation.

"But if this is how the Magnolia community thinks about these issues, that's their viewpoint.

"But don't say that everyone here has attempted to paint the community with one brush."

Do you even read your own posts?

Yes, I do and I did not say anything about Magnolia. Other people especially those FROM Magnolia made comments about themselves.

mirmac1 said…
I'd say some of the responses speak for themselves....
Anonymous said…
I'd say some of the responses speak for themselves....

They ALL speak for themselves, and themselves only.

To wit, some think the auction item was all in fun, others think it was highly objectionable; a variety of other opinions were offered.

I'm from Magnolia, and when I initially read the item I thought it came from the Onion: too ridiculous to be true. But I speak for myself only.

You can't pick a couple of posts you don't like and ascribe the feelings to "the Magnolia Community".

Well, you can, but it's lazy thinking.

Still Amused
A-mom said…
I'd say that the Tea was a Red Herring and boy howdy most everyone pursued it, while ignoring the real issue. Economic inequality in our schools is becoming more entrenched due to district policy.
No, we didn't ignore it.

The problem is that our Legislature does not want to fully fund education.

Our Seattle and State PTA don't seem to want to do much but support ed reform.

And it's not just "district policy" - it's people not understanding that PTAs are doing this and we are all going to get hurt.
Anonymous said…
Red herring? Really? I don't think the Blaine PTA was trying to throw one on folks. I have to thank the concerned folks who had enough smarts to approach the PTA heads and say, let's take a pause. I hoped their effort are appreciated. Far better to stop it before it happened than deal with the aftermath (pixs and all).

From the readings here and conversations down in the Village, playgrounds, opinions and feelings range from: OMG with hand to forehead to can we just forget about this. Some want to circle the wagon & others want enlightenment to end the "cluelessness" in Mayberry. It's the reactions or backlash that people seem to have problems with. Whatever. As some posted here, we certain have enough parks, new off-leash area, restaurants, coffee, heron rookery, and a boat launch to take our minds off this (sorry, couldn't resist since these pieces read a bit like a realtor neighborhood guide).

As to the statement of:

"Economic inequality in our schools is becoming more entrenched due to district policy."

What does that this mean? I've heard various versions of this sentiment expressed. At time it sounds like the state needs to fund schools better, but other times, what I hear asked" why is our school getting less per student than others. Having sat on budget committees and done a lot of volunteering at schools, that difference bothers some people. For me, its pretty clear, our schools have very low FRL to non-existent ELL so we don't get much $ there (title I, LAP, etc.), and special ed population brings in the most in terms of non gen-ed dollars, but not high enough that's going to bump our budget up. School budget allocation is based on a formula and one of the more straightforward thing that comes out of SPS.

A-mom said…
I don't believe Blaine or Melissa created this Red Herring. It turned into one on this thread because people would like to ignore the inequality created when students are forced to go to schools in there neighborhood because of lack of: space in neighboring better performing/more affluent catchment area schools,option schools,and or transportation to these schools.
It's easier to be PC than speak for real social justice.

Anonymous said…
A-mom, got it and agree with you!
Anonymous said…
I agree with you too, A-mom. I recall vividly the discussions around the NSAP and choice -- the glaring fact that little to nothing had been done to make all Seattle schools "excellent," and how critically important it was to MANY that there be "choice" seats available in schools like Ballard and GHS, and transportation to option schools.

How would the conversations (and the votes) have gone if the reality we know today (no option seats anywhere except, maybe RBHS, and dwindling to no transportation to anywhere outside assignment schools, unless you are SPED -- so they can get you to whatever school you have to go to whether you like it or not -- or APP, where transportation is funded with federal dollars) had been publicized then. The old choice system was flawed -- but not as flawed, in my opinion, as the NSAP is. We can't unscramble these eggs now. But we have to do better by families whom we have now left without any options -- their neighborhood schools are not working for their kids, and they lack the resources to either pay for private school, drive their kids back and forth to an "option school," or homeschool.

It's Worse Now
Anonymous said…
federal dollars for APP? Really?

Anonymous said…
Post 1 (too large for single post)

It came to my attention this morning, that this story had also made its way this Blog. Below is the e-mail that was sent out to our administration as well as the few parents who had voiced their concern.
Dear Julie & Doug,

As you know the issue of the auction sign-up party has not only made it's way to The Stranger, but most recently this evening to the neighborhood community board. MagnoliaMomsandDads@yahoo.com I had wanted to discuss this with you prior to sending out my letter, but since the issue was taken publicly, I had no other recourse but to also address them publicly and I have posted the attached letter to the yahoo group as well.

My intention was to send this out tomorrow to the parties who have voiced their concerns, or I know have received e-mail communications, over the party, so that they to will know what is going on. I have blind copied those parties.

I have lost too much sleep and shed too many tears over the last week and I feel that there is nothing more I can say to this matter.

Anonymous said…
Post 2

March 13, 2013
Let me start by saying that I am truly sorry for any offense that anyone has taken to the “White Trash Tea Party” that was to be offered at our school auction. There was never any intent by the auction committee to offend, mock, be insensitive or advocate racism in anyway, as has been purported via e-mail and through the Stranger Blogs.
The entire school gala was run by a volunteer committee comprised of thirteen parents of very different ethnic and economic backgrounds.
In hindsight, we should have never let this party be described in such a way. But, many pairs of eyes reviewed this and not one of them went to a place of hatred, racism or elitism.
I, myself, am a second generation Filipino American who is married to an Irish American. Clearly, I’m not the whitest person in the neighborhood as has been insinuated. My family, like many others, have faced financial hardship the past few years due to the economy. We live paycheck to paycheck like the majority of our neighbors and as anyone who knows me, knows that having four matching hubcaps would make my day. The insinuation that those who live in Magnolia believe that they are of a certain class is absolutely ridiculous. I fully recognize that we are fortunate to live in a wonderful community and would never look down upon those who are less fortunate.
Regarding community, what upsets me the most is that there are parents who would rather contact a news organization rather than communicate directly with the PTA board? I would like to thank the TWO parents who communicated directly with us. If our actions were not fast enough, I am sorry. The party was pulled the next morning after having a chance to speak to the party host, whose children happen to be a Hispanic/African American/Caucasian mix. The party theme was NOT her idea. As a new parent to Blaine, she was simply trying to get involved by offering a venue in which the suggested party could be held. The party was never offered at the event and it was removed the PTA website. My co-chair and I spent all day Friday setting up a party for 300 people and had not even read the comments being posted on The Stranger.
Why anyone would want to have our school publicly portrayed in such a way does not make sense to me. This has been the trend all year. When there has been a concern, the immediate response has been to send off an e-mail to rant about the issue rather than actually COMMUNICATE with the parties involved. That is why my personal position all year has been to not communicate via e-mail over matters of importance, but to make myself available via phone or over a cup of coffee. In my opinion, much is lost when trying to convey your message through the written word versus a one on one conversation.
Also, why involve other school PTA’s when you don’t have the facts? The fact that this controversy was not only submitted to The Stranger, but also forwarded to other schools is beyond reproach.
Anonymous said…
Post 3
This has been a year of challenge in many respects. We have a few parents who seem to be unhappy with the education and environment that their children are experiencing. I truly do not understand this. The most important thing to me is that my children are happy and getting a wonderful education. They are getting exactly that with the educators and administrators at Catharine Blaine. For that, I am truly thankful.
Some would like to place the blame for this unfortunate incident on the PTA board leadership. So much so as to try and have them removed from their seat. This is truly unfounded. If any blame is to be placed, it lies with the fundraising chairs. It was our ultimate responsibility to review all items being offered and we obviously failed at recognizing the discord this would create. The only thing our PTA board leadership has done in this situation is to completely have our backs. She was trying to help us get through the weekend and pull off a successful event, which we thankfully did.
I may sound defensive. Maybe I am. But, anyone who knows me (and those truly are the only ones whose opinion of me matters) knows that I care deeply about my children and all the children at Catharine Blaine and would never do anything intentionally to bring about all of these negative feelings. The fact that anyone would believe that I am a racist or would mock the poor leaves me feeling saddened. I know at the end of the day that I am none of these things. I am at peace with who I am and the efforts I have put forth as a proud member of the Catharine Blaine PTA.
Anonymous said…
Where was the principal?

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