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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Superintendent To Meet with Native American Parents

I understand that the Superintendent is scheduled to have a long meeting today with Native American parents and leaders.  I'm sure it will be a compelling discussion and I hope he listens.

Like all of U.S. history with Native Americans, the Seattle Schools' history doesn't have a whole lot to hold its head up about.  I'm not even part of that community, nor was it on my radar for many years but even I know that things have not been handled well.

I can't give you the whole history of the Wilson-Pacific building and the Native American program.  But the program always did the best it could with a lousy building and underfunding.  Now that the building IS getting a rebuild, is it for the Native American program?  No.  Was there even discussion of keeping the program there?  If there was, it was on the down low. 

And, they had to beg to save the beautiful and moving murals painted on the side of the building.  This was not graffiti - these are murals akin to Mexican artist, Diego Rivera.  (To his credit, Banda said they would be saved.)

So where will their program go?  Oh right, they are like the students at World School - last on anyone's list and sometimes kicked to the curb.

And as for paying attention to the numbers?  Apparently, from their actions, year in and year out, the district has little to no interest in getting numbers about Native American students right. 

As I previously mention, in several posts, the district has been found by the State Auditor's office to be out of compliance with federal law on Native American students (and the funds they bring into the district), three times.  That's three years in a row.  Now, you'd think this would be an embarassment to, I don't know, Grants, Compliance, hey, even the Board - but doesn't seem so because it happened again and again.

The third time, when SAO staff looked into the file of the director of Native American program, they thought they would find a letter of reprimand for at least one of those times.  They did not.  I rarely read disappointment written into SAO reports but you could hear it in this one.  (And, the director had magically received a raise that no one could document or explain.   He has to pay the money back and is now gone from the district but what damage he did.) 

Chris Jackins pointed out that in the 2013-2014 budget that in one place it is cited that Native students are 1% of the total student population and, in another, 5.9%.  That's a pretty big "whoops." 

I'll be interested to see what outcomes venture forth from today's meeting.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great! It's about time! Banda has to lead by example, otherwise the bureaucracy and ennui will persist. If he has no intention of using this job as a stepping stone, and doesn't want to be viewed as ineffectual, he needs to kick butt and take names - starting with his executive leadership!

Done

Anonymous said...
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A-mom said...

A very good thing.
Now if only Banda could have a conversation with Pinehurst/AS1
regarding their future.
Pinehurst/AS1 has the highest FRL population of any Option school in the district and has a small voice.
Phil Brockman listened to us, but he is now gone. Banda has never had one conversation with the Pinehurst/AS1 community, despite his claim way back in October of 2012 that he would work with us.