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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Times Has at the School Board...Again

With the blazing headline, "Will election be a solution to Seattle School Board turmoil?", the Times lights into the current Board. 

Some of what is said is pretty face value, that some Board members "don't trust top district staff."  Actually, that's not what any Board member said in the survey.  (I can go back but I don't remember that said.)

What I believe was said is that staff felt the Board didn't always trust them.  And who can blame the Board given how many issues of trust have come up?  The Board's job IS oversight and yes, watching over the shoulders of top staff until the Board has regained its confidence.

Again, you have earn trust.

It is also stated that the Board is "supposed to stick to policy and oversight."  And that oversight does include accountability so yes, they must be sure their policies are enforced.  As well, the definition of what the Board is to do is in the RCW which is widely interpreted in boards throughout this state.  Just because the Alliance says what they think the Board should be doing (and more on that in a thread to come), doesn't mean the Board has to do it.

Stephan Blanford, a District V candidate who seems to be something of a naysayer about SPS, says this, "We as a city deserve better."  I'm not sure what is the "better" - Board members, maturity from Board members, outcomes?  Blanford has also said (elsewhere) that Seattle is a "national laughingstock" as far as education.  I'm sure hoping he will explain that sometime because I have never seen any evidence of that except from groups like DFER.  (In fact, in a recent study by Harvard and UC Berkeley, Seattle was cited as one of the cities where children can expect better possibilities for their lives and part of that is based on - wait for it - the education system.) 

The Times piece points out there has been a majority of Board members for "several contentious votes in the past year" and fails to acknowledge the fact that the MAJORITY of votes on the Board have been unanimous or 6-1.   But, later in the article, it is pointed out that school board "strife" isn't new to Seattle or other boards across the country. 

(Oddly, District IV candidate Dean McColgan told the Times that he isn't going to campaign unless he makes it through the primary.  (That's one way to run an election.  I actually have some suspicions over why McColgan is running and that he may have been put up to it.)

The Times also continues to go for the black and white sides, saying that first Seattle voters elect activists and then elect business-minded candidates.  Actually, I think there is a lot more nuance than just one versus the other and I give the voters more credit.

I also note that the Times article does not cite one single good thing that top staff or Board members say about each other in the survey and there were several.  Again, the Times has an agenda it would help if they actually had a balanced look at what was truly said.

Also, if you are keeping score, the story labels APP@Lincoln, a "program", not a school. 

2 comments:

Eric B said...

The other interesting thing about the story was that they talked to two or three people who had endorsed candidates in the primary. Funny thing, all of them had endorsed Estey. Naturally, there also wasn't any discussion of what had caused division, or any mention of Mr. Pure As Driven Snow DeBell's piece about not trusting Smith-Blum.

Anonymous said...

That Times piece was really propaganda. For so many reasons, it is too blatant for me to even bother critiquing.

Anyway, getting back to qualifications, this voter has an easy choice: Ms. Peters. She has been a passionate advocate for education, specifically PUBLIC, specifically SEATTLE, for years. She is well informed, has paid her dues, has advocated for EVERBODY'S kids to get their needs met, knows the District staff and Board, understands governance and policy and oversite, but, more importantly KNOWS IT IS ABOUT THE KIDS, and, she has the utmost respect for teachers, who are the heart of the education and are professionals who should be treated as such.

Ms. Peters has researched SPS's math problems, and has outlined her stance eloquently. Has Ms. Estey? Which SPS Board meeting or Board Director coffee chat has Ms. Estey been at over the last 4 years? None? Is it me, or does that smell rather like a Johnny-come-lately? Why is she even running?

Ask yourself that, that key question, why is this candidate running, and if you can't come up with an answer, a good answer, then perhaps that candidate is not worthy of your vote for this race for our school board.

Ms. Peters is articulate and calm, understands that micromanagement serves no purpose, and yet also knows that Staff must be transparent and consistent with policy and be accountable when they are not.

-go Sue!