Open Thread Friday

Ballots go out next week for the primary in August.   Once again, who you vote for in the School Board elections is really going to matter.  So you people in Districts IV and V, give it careful thought.

Look for my mayoral candidates assessment thread coming this weekend.  (I will only be giving my opinion of who I believe understands the public education issues in Seattle and has ideas to support SPS.  I will not be endorsing any one candidate.

What's on your mind?


Looking at Publicola this morning, I see this quote from Ed Murray at a recent forum:

On the relationship between city government and Seattle Public Schools: "The school district closes down schools, and then opens schools, and doesn’t understand the demographics" of a changing, increasingly diverse school district, Murray said. He added that although the school district doesn't report directly to the city, "It could be as simple as the city talking over demography for the school district" by integrating school planning with the city's growth targets. 

Murray is, of course, right (as we all know from the experience of the whiplash of closing/reopening schools).  The district has shown it needs help on its projections and, despite repeated questions from Board members on this front over the years, staff has waved off this question.

But the district has increasingly shown itself willing to now ask for that help.  This is one good way the City could work with the district and be helpful to making it better.


mirmac1 said…
Based on this lame editorial in the Seattle Times, I'm not voting for any of the mayoral candidates that espouse a takeover of our school district.
Charlie Mas said…
I wouldn't mind having the City take over property management for the District.
mirmac1 said…
Charlie, if that were so, there'd already be a $40M elementary in SLU. Of course I exaggerate - but city planning and land use are more political than SPS Capital Projects and facilities.
Carol Simmons said…
Currently we have several excellent School Board Directors who are committed to educating EVERY child in our Seattle Public Schools. Directors McClaren, Patu and Peaslee need support (now that Director Smith Blum is stepping down) to eliminate Disproportionality and successsfully serve all of our students and their families. Sue Peters will do this. Please vote for her.
Charlie Mas said…
Carol Simmons, For the past ten years I have heard that the District's top priority is to close the academic achievement gap. If that were true, why hasn't the District ever developed a plan to accomplish this goal?

Why won't these Board members direct the superintendent to develop, draft, implement, and monitor a plan to end disproportionality?

The Board named their top priorities for this year. They were:

1. Bringing Teacher & Principal Profession Growth & Evaluations (PG&E) to scale
2. Development of Equitable Access Framework: Phase I
3. Development & Implementation of Student Support Strategies/MTSS
4. Replacement Strategic Plan

Not closing the academic achievement gap, unless you believe that these four are part of a tacit plan to end disproportionality. If so, then why is that plan un-written? Why isn't it clearly - or at least overtly - stated?
mirmac1 said…
FINALLY! The 2013-2014 Proposed Budget report. I figured we would be expected to offer public testimony without getting to see.
Charlie Mas said…
Operating Budget: $651 million
Capital Budget: $168 million
Debt Service: $46 million
Anonymous said…
So my son is interning with one of the mayoral candidates and part of his job is to help fill out questionnaires with the candidate. One of the questions that has come up on several questionnaires is about the Horace Mann school where NOVA is to return. There is a loud group advocating for Horace Mann to become a community run community center. There is a city community center just down the street but some activists do not believe it represents them or their neighborhood. The questionnaires ask what the candidate would do with Horace Mann.

Does anyone have any information on the Horace Mann school situation?

Anonymous said…

Ridiculous! The building belongs to the district. I don't think the mayor could do anything with it.

Carol Simmons said…
You are correct Charlie.

If the elimination of Disproportionality is a priority, there should be a Plan to eliminate Disproportionality and the Board should direct the Superintendent to develop,draft,implement and monitor this plan. Likewise, human and financial resources should be budgeted for this plan with a Director appointed who would report directly to the Superintendent. Additionally, the Goal of eliminating Disproportionality should be included in the Strategic Plan and the School Board's list of top priorities should include closing the achievement gap.

It is not too late to do this and I am confident that Sue Peters will importantly assist Board members in doing so.
Carol Simmons said…

How wonderful that your son is interning for a Mayoral candidate. What experiences he will have.

With regard to the Horace Mann building. This question was asked of Dr. Blanford at the MDC meeting, because one of his opponents for the School Board was in favor of the Community group remaining at the Mann building. Dr. Blanford responded with an idea I found interesting.....sharing the facility. Would that be possible?
Anonymous said…
Horace Mann info:

Not much more than that.

Anonymous said…
Apparently they have met with Mr. Banda on the Horace Mann school building. I couldn't find any report on that meeting.

Anonymous said…
Re. Horace Mann: From the Daily Journal of Commerce, 06.12.13.

Charlie Mas said…
The District needs the Horace Mann building for The NOVA Project. NOVA should never have been moved out of the building, now, after five years away, they will return home.

All of the things that the young people are doing or want to do at UPC they could be doing at NOVA.

If they don't want to do it at NOVA, they could do it at some of the community center space that is already in the area. There's plenty. The Africatown Seattle web site lists a number of suitable spaces.

Wouldn't the old Colman School space be appropriate? Or Garfield High School, Garfield community center, Yesler community center, Miller community center, MLK, Coyote Central, Pratt, or any of a half dozen other spaces?
Anonymous said…
I don't get it either Charlie. I was wondering if anyone had any more info on why it had to be this particular building. Clearly Nova should go back there.

Anonymous said…

There is video of the meeting with the superintendent on YouTube. Search for Seatlle's Horace Mann School.

Anonymous said…
Oops - you'll have more luck if you spell it correctly!
Anonymous said…
Any one else hear that Carmella Delino is taking a job with the City and leaving the WS area in need of another Ex Director? That would make three in the three years that SPS has used this regional model.

mirmac1 said…
Hmmm SWWS, That means Dellino, who lost or fired 50% of her principals, only lasted one year. Churn and burn baby!
Yes, it seems Ms. Dellino is leaving. SPS seems to be a waystation for people who want a 2-year job.

As for Horace Mann, Charlie is right. Nova never should have been moved. There are a lot of places to have community activities including, just down the road, their communiity center.

That said, the community could work with the district to use the building after-hours if the Nova community isn't using it. I see no problem with that but someone has to help pay the costs for using the building. You can't just put that on the district so if a mayoral candidate wants to do that, great. And if Mr. Blanford thinks it a good idea, he can spearhead the effort. (Wait, that would be micromanaging.)
Anonymous said…
And good riddance to Nancy Coogan who left for Tukwila. What did she ever accomplish for Central Region schools? It's a pity she is now supervising an entire district. I listened to Dellino's rap to the School Board when the Ed Directors gave their presentation. What a snow job. And to think that they are supervised by Michael Tolley. We need so much new leadership in SPS.

Charlie Mas said…
Wow! That presentation is full of lies.
Anonymous said…
OMG! Dellino wreaked havoc on West Seattle this spring, and now she's abandoning ship?

I'm thrilled to see her go, but I'm FURIOUS about what she was allowed to do prior to her departure. Is Supt. Banda paying attention AT ALL??

In addition to what she's done with principals all over West Seattle, she's really done a number on Lafayette. She's completely undermined some of the best and brightest teachers at Lafayette. The staff took the very serious and courageous step of placing a No Confidence vote against the inept and loathsome asst. principal at Lafayette this spring, and Dellino sided with said asst. principal in spite of a landslide of evidence against the asst. principal. She threatened the teachers and punished them for speaking out, even though there were serious infractions and illegalities reported.

Then, in the last week of school, she sought to relocate some of the strongest teachers at the school (who had been part of the No Confidence vote). I'm not sure where that shook out since school ended (as per her design), but if she succeeded, Lafayette will be a shell of its former self in September, all thanks to Dellino. Honestly, what's next for West Seattle?? Are they going to turn us over to Tolley next? I wouldn't be surprised. What WOULD shock me is if Supt. Banda decided to help.

-so sick of it
Anonymous said…
Huh? What? Really?

I'm sorry to see Ms. Dellino go, she's fantastic, hard working, and a genuinely good person. She's not WS's problem or part of Lafayette's problem. I don't blame her for moving on. Our loss.

-Other WS
Charlie Mas said…
Other WS, can you explain why you think that Ms Dellino had no role in the disruption of principals in West Seattle this year?

Can you explain how you know that she acted as an honest arbiter in the situation at Lafayette?

What inside information do you have?
Charlie Mas said…
Washington Policy Center is gushing about Spokane Public Schools and their decision to apply to be a charter school authorizer.

They write:
"This decision by Spokane Public Schools, led by its school board and Superintendent Shelley Redinger, is a profile in courage, humility and responsibility. These education leaders have enthusiastically forged ahead to deliver what the community clearly wants: charter school options for their students."

Ummm. If their community wanted choices, then why didn't Spokane just create the kinds of schools that they want? They specifically call for project-based learning, IB, Montessori, dual language and others. Why didn't they just start these schools for themselves like we did here in Seattle?
Charlie, previously the Spokane newspaper went on and on about how they could do all these cool things now that there are charters. I, of course, rwrote a comment asking why they waited for charters if (1) they thought this was a good idea and (2) it would serve their population.

WPC writes the most one-sided items.

They gushed over 13 districts sending a letter of intent. Three drop out but they don't note that.

Then only one files an application. One. Others say they don't have the time and resources. But, the new charter association says they will help. Gates will help.

I have to wonder if many of them just thought it out and realized what they would do to their own district.

WPC is also claming Port Townsend wants to be a charter district. I don't recall that language in the law so I don't even know how they would do it.
Maureen said…
Excellent Op Ed in the Seattle Times by SPS parent Christine Johnson Duell: A wish for better education in Washington state. Comments are, as usual, generally idiotic. I can't understand why people in Washington state think it's fine to only fund a five period day when our kids are competing against students who have, at least, seven period days. No wonder the major employers import so many grads from out of state.
Thank you for that, Maureen. I just don't get how people believe our state will do better when we don't even fund to the national average.

If people want to dispute how the money is spent, fine. But it is quite true that teachers spend huge amounts of their own money as well as parents who invest huge amounts into their own child as well as their child's school.
Anonymous said…
How discouraging. We can all go on and on about disproportionality, but nationally we allow black youth like Trayvon to be murdered and allow the murderer to simply walk without a shred of recourse. That's the net result of disproportionality in starkest terms.

Anonymous said…
so sick,
Are you aware of what those illegalities were? And have they been reported to the police?


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