Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Superintendent Banda Says He Has Won Over "Skeptics"

From KPLU:

Taking stock of his first year at the helm of Seattle Public Schools, Banda told KPLU a divided board has a definite effect on how he does his job.

“[That’s the] reason for my taking a very strong stand with the board to say that we need to be able to do that job unimpeded. They need to have trust in the leadership team, that what we’re doing is in the best interests of the district and our children, ultimately,” he said.

Well, yes, but he's new, a lot of the leadership team is new and until everyone has shown some mettle, I'm on the side of Board oversight.

Banda said the job review process took place over several weeks, and that he believes by the end he was able to win over the skeptics.

“I believe that I have the full support of all seven members of the board,” Banda said.

Any change of heart is not reflected in the report produced by the board, and no board member has said publicly that he or she has come around from doubting Banda’s leadership to supporting him. But Banda said that “courageous conversations,” and some hard work at a weekend board retreat put all of them on the same page.

I like that positive reflection on his part.

About MAP:

Banda called the initial response a “little bit of a glitch.” 

Hey, we now have it documented (bold mine):

One key policy component of that formula remains unfinished: the Equitable Access Framework lays out how the district intends to ensure fair and equal access to academic opportunities and programs. But that framework has languished in the bureaucracy and still awaits final approval. Banda said that’s an example of the complexity of an organization like Seattle Public Schools: each moving part requires many other things to fall into place too.

“The equitable access framework, the boundary work, the enrollment work: they’re all interlinked,” he said. “So you can’t really move on one without making sure that you have all those pieces set.”

And yet the district is forging ahead on boundary and enrollment work without an equitable access framework. 


Charlie Mas said...

Wow! Surprisingly good reporting! The reporter, Gabriel Spitzer, knew to ask about the Equitable Access Framework and pressed the superintendent on the MAP boycott - getting him to adjust his revisionist history to admit a "glitch".

mirmac1 said...

I see Banda as trying to walk the tightrope between the A4E/LEV/Seattle Times agenda, and his natural instinct as an educator and fair-minded person. He shouldn't try to make everyone happy, because he will make no one happy. He should pick the direction that, I believe, he feels is right - putting students first, bonafide engagement with families, and creating opportunities for students to succeed. Quite handing over all discretion to the MGJ/Enfield retreads.

Louise said...

The irony is rich that they had "courageous conversations" after eliminating that from the Center School.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Gabriel is a smart reporter and I'm glad he's on this beat.

Krom Family said...

Yes, his decision to remove Jon Greenberg from Center School was a poor one. He managed to alienate students, teachers and families who were deeply affected by this teacher. Not a good first step for many of us.

Krom family

Melissa Westbrook said...

One other flaw that Banda seems to have inherited from past superintendents - the refusal to acknowledge how principals get moved or placed. I know the switcheroo movements in West Seattle are driving some parents nuts.

It's terribly confusing because the district will not address this issue and when parents see some schools having staff/parent input and some not, it does seem quite unfair and arbitrary.

mirmac1 said...

And you know who's making principal and Exec Dir of Schools decision? Michael Tolley with Banda's rubberstamp.

mirmac1 said...

OK, Gabriel, I love that! "...peoples' eyes glaze over. Can you make me care about the Strategic Plan?"