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Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Washington State Charter Commission Members-Early Parsing

All the members come from education, non-profit or government backgrounds. 

All are white except for two - Doreen Cato and Trish Millines Dziko.  They're African-American.  Not a single qualified Asian or a Latino or Native American applied?  That's disappointing.

There are four women and five men.

Three of them have children in public schools.

Four are from the Puget Sound area.   

There are some good appointments to the Commission (of the people I know of personally).  Millines Dziko is smart and has good judgment.  (And woe to anyone who tries to snow her.)  Dr. McGuire of Seattle University serves at their great teaching program and is also sharp.   Former Rep Quall, while I disagreed with some of his education efforts when he was in the Legislature, does his homework and knows education in this state.

Kevin Jacka, the superintendent of the Mary Walker District, seems like he might be a good choice since his district is small and rural.  But it is also largely white district.

Larry Wright already sits on one state commission - the Washington State Commission on Homelessness.  I have a call in to ask him about that as well as his thoughts on serving.

Update:  Talked to Mr. Wright.  His term on the other state commission has expired so he will be serving only on the Charter Commission.  We didn't have a lot of time to talk but he said a lot of his professional work has been around at-risk youth.  I asked him about the issue that 1240 asks that charters for at-risk youth be favored but doesn't mandate it.  He said he was open to all discussion.

I did I brief interview with Chris Martin.  Oddly, I was the one letting him know that he was on the Commission as the Governor's office had not gotten around to telling him before the press release was sent.  So I did get to be the first one to congratulate him.

He seems like a nice guy and was recommended by the superintendent in Spokane.  He is quite passionate about gifted education.  The school he is connected with - Odessey - is a 5-8 school for gifted children that is one of the top ones in the state.

I asked him what he thought was lacking in Spokane that they might need charter schools.  He went on at length about all the great things they do have but said that the area around Spokane might need them.  He also went on about "choice" for parents.

He mentioned great successes for states with charters and I asked him what states he thought were doing well with charters.  He said "I don't have an extensive background in charters so I couldn't say."

Who do I worry about the most?  You'd think I'd say Steve Sundquist (and I do worry they will make him chair of the Commission) but no.

The person I worry about is Cindi Williams.  She worked for a long time at the Gates Foundation on education issues and I worry she is going to carry their message into every meeting.   She now works at HCM Strategists which is based in D.C.  She is probably the biggest heavy hitter on the Commission with ties to both the White House and Gates Foundation.  She sits on Stand for Children's Advisory Board and the Center for Reinventing Public Education's Advisory Board. 

I don't think you could have found a better charter cheerleader.

4 comments:

joanna said...

Likely you are correct about Cindi. I hope that the State Supreme Court Challenge is suceessful. I agree with your comments on McGuire. I believe that I will let Inslee know how disappointed I am with Sundquist appointment, especially in light of the fact that is he is the only one who directly represents Seattle. McGuire really understands schools and teaching and will be great , but is not necessarily connected with the Seattle public. Since Seattle is the largest district in the State, I would have liked to see someone appointed who is more trusted by Seattle. I just don't get why Inslee would have even seriously considered Sundquist.

mirmac1 said...

What can we expect? Frank Greer was sucking up to Inslee for months, like a leech.

Inslee knows what side his bread is buttered on.

Anonymous said...

I don't think a single person in that Donna Blankinship article made the committee.

mirmac1 said...

Remember that state commission members must follow the same ethics laws that state employees must. Of course they don't police themselves very well. Look at Jennifer Wallace at the PESB, shilling for TFA and Tom Stritikus when she was supposed to regulating them.