How Representative Eric Pettigrew is Wrong with HB1497

Please take the time to read House Bill 1497 introduced by 37th District Representative Eric Pettigrew. This bill, if it were to become law, would grant the mayor of Seattle the authority to appoint two members of the Seattle Public Schools board. Not only is that an exceptionally bad idea, it is un-democratic to boot.

It is a bad idea because policy-making government officials should be directly accountable to the citizenry, not to the mayor.

It is a bad idea because there is no reason to believe that the mayor can do a better job of picking school board directors than the voters. If elected officials were so good at choosing other people for these sorts of posts then we should have the governor appoint a quarter of the state legislature. I don't hear Mr. Pettigrew proposing that.

It's a bad idea because the Mayor isn't responsible for the schools and he should not be assigned that responsibility. He has enough to think about with downtown tunnels, snow to plow, sidewalks to build, potholes to fill, and streetcars to grant to favored businesses. Let him focus on those things while people who only have to think about the schools take care of the schools.

It's a bad idea because whatever problems the schools have are not due to democratically elected school board directors, so removing that won't fix them.

And, yes, it is a bad idea because it is un-democratic and essentially un-American. He should be ashamed for proposing it. I know that I am ashamed of him.

Usually it is a bad idea to attribute any action to evil when it can be just as easily explained by ignorance or incompetence. That appears to be the case with Mr. Pettigrew. His horrendous bill can be more reliably attributed to his woeful ignorance about our schools and their leadership than any malevolence. While one could scold him for making proposals from such ignorance, that is only arrogant. If he knew something about the District and still made this proposal, then he could be actually malevolent. It has been suggested that he put forward this bill not out of any motivation of his own, but only because his financial backers have directed him to put it forward. Again, while this would make him corrupt, at least he wouldn't be motivated by the intent to cause damage.

There is ample evidence of his ignorance - and he provides it all.

His children do not attend our public schools, so he has no first-hand experience with them.

In his presentation in support of the bill he attests to his ignorance saying "I don't know" several times.

He expressed dismay at the turnover in the school district leadership, but could not say how many superintendents there had been in the past ten years.

He did note that the school board had experienced 100% turnover in that ten year period. Of course that is also true of the White House and for similar reasons. School Board directors serve four year terms. They rarely serve more than two, so almost no director serves beyond eight years, so of course there would be 100% turnover in a ten-year period.

Mr. Pettigrew clearly has no idea what he is talking about, but that just makes him an arrogant idiot, not evil. So let's not be so hard on him. Of course, I leave it to you to decide if you want an arrogant idiot representing the 37th District in the state legislature.


Charlie Mas said…
To those who say "What we're doing now isn't working, so why not try something different?" I have an answer.

Let's try this: Let's have all of the children come to school wearing their socks inside-out. After all, things are less than perfect now, so why not try something different?

You see, it isn't enough to just try something different. You have to try something different that has a chance to bring an improvement. That means making the change at the source of the problem, not just making any change at all for the sake of making a change.
Kate Martin said…
Thank you, Charlie.
Kate Martin said…
Politicians pander to popular sentiment even when they know there is no hope their pitch can help anything or anyone. People have been trained to be wary of schools (I call that out because, what?, we don't have to worry about Olympia? and please, Washington, DC's ideas suck on education). Olympia says even though they fund schools at the bottom of the barrel level - 46th worst in the nation- they want to tag someone else for the problems. Please just say no. Call BS on this.
Anonymous said…
I see it as a counter balance to the ding bats who run and win, but what can we expect when it's basically a pro bono position.

I'm with Charlie, lets take a few board members and turn them inside out. Yikes! Wait, I think it might work.

Charlie Mas said…
Don't be shy, Michael, name the ding bats.
Question said…
Pettigrew and Tomiko-Santos's bill to split the district and the bill contains an "emergency clause.

Note that the bill has an “emergency clause” so it could not be brought to referendum by the people directly affected, the voters, students, and teachers of Seattle.

Please leave your comments with your legislators and tell them this is the height of hypocrisy when it comes to democratic values. Call 1-800-562-6000 for the toll free hotline.

Please leave your comments with your legislators and tell them this is the height of hypocrisy when it comes to democratic values. Call 1-800-562-6000 for the toll free hotline.

An "emergency clause" disallows the people from referendum by the people directly affected, the voters, students, and teachers of Seattle.

There are articles written on the abuse of an "emergency clause" and this is one of these times.

Thanks for this blog post, Charlie.
Question said…
Sorry. Here is the edited version:

Pettigrew and Tomiko-Santos's bill to split the district and the bill contains an "emergency clause.

Note that the bill has an “emergency clause” so it could not be brought to referendum by the people directly affected, the voters, students, and teachers of Seattle.

Please leave your comments with your legislators and tell them this is the height of hypocrisy when it comes to democratic values. Call 1-800-562-6000 for the toll free hotline.
Question said…
Pettigrew's testimony contained other errors. Pettigrew claimed that there is only ONE director that served more than one term- and that was Patu. Pettigrew did not know that Debell, Carr and Martin Morris all served two terms. There was no need for Maier and Sundquist to serve two terms because voters kicked them to the curb for a scandal.
Anonymous said…

As I often do, I find it hard to see the substance of your post through your disdain and hyperbole. The socks analogy is really a bit much. People can disagree with you and have solid arguments for the reasoning (even if Pettigrew's are thin) without being crazy idiots who support Sock Inversion. I welcome the change, with hesitancy, because I think I elect my city officials, and they have more knowledge of large organizations, and could be up to a task that our current board (or past 3, 4, 5) do not seem to be. It isn't change for the sake of change. It's the hope for something better. In the same manner, I could say that you want to maintain the status quo, just for the sake of status quo, mainly you are deeply invested in criticizing the same thing over and over again. Be a tad more respectful of opposing arguments - we're not anti-vaxxers, for heaven's sake. I love hearing your evidenced-based arguments. Don't dismiss mine.
PS: Weren't you leaving?
Watching said…
I've done some research on the use of an "emergency clause" in legislative bills.

Yes, it appears the "emergency clause" disallows citizens from over-turning a bill and there is much documentation regarding abuses of the "emergency clause"

Melissa has a good gut instinct and she asked Tomiko-Santos about the use of the "emergency clause". Here is what Melissa reported:

"3) The "emergency" clause was put in by "technical" people. Well, I don't care who did it - there is no burning reason to do this kind of massive overhaul. If they need the word "emergency" in there to put this bill forth, then something's wrong."

Individuals can comment on this bill by clicking- here:
Oy said…
Clearly, Sock Inverter has not done research in relation to mayoral appointments, but Charlie touched a nerve. If she/he had done the research...she/he would have learned that mayoral appointments have failed.

In 2000, there were 40 cities that had mayoral control. Now, there are 12 cities with mayoral control. Chicago is fighting to get back their right to vote on school board representation.

I'm baffled-why would anyone be willing to give-away their voice?

There is NOTHING preventing an individual to run for office. Appointments are done for convenience and the campaign process provides an opportunity for candidates to be vetted. Why circumvent this process.

One does not have to look beyond the last school board race. There was a candidate that was supported by Ed Murray- and the voters rejected her by a large margin.

Josh Hayes said…
Dear Sockinvertor,

I look forward to seeing your evidence-based arguments. I am a little confused by your point that, "I think I elect my city officials, and they have more knowledge of large organizations, and could be up to a task that our current board (or past 3, 4, 5) do not seem to be." You also elect school board members, of course, so it seems to me that you are saying that other city officials, who have not campaigned on school matters, are more qualified to run the schools than people who DID campaign on school matters. This is a claim which requires evidence: I look forward to that!

In particular, I'd like to see you explain Mr. Murray's years of incompetence in Olympia and how those were hiding his constructive knowledge of large organizations. Looking forward to it!
Anonymous said…
The sock comment was silly, but it was meant to be. I don't believe Charlie was really equating sock inversion and giving away a bit of our democratic rights. Sock inversion would have no effect, but giving the mayor the chance to put his golf buddy (I have no idea what the mayor does in his private life) on the school board certainly would. Look at how great Obama's basketball buddy has been for national education (NOT).

There are major things wrong with the school board and the running of the district, but putting the mayor's friends on the school board won't help. The board (all but two of them) seems intent on being blind to the issues before them. Why would they not do a super search, for instance? Why don't they do basic things like make the district provide information/reports/results of task forces, etc when they say they are going to? Just having the officials at JSCEE not treat the school board and parents as hindrances would be a great start.

-mushy peas
Anonymous said…
Right on Josh!

Really sock, how is one set of elected officials more qualified than the other? That makes zero sense. And as Oy points out, no one is prevented from running for the School Board positions if they think they can do better. Step up to the plate and participate in democracy if you don't like whats happening. But the answer isn't taking away those democratic choices.

Lets also remember that the heart of the matter is the Superintendent. The board has ONE employee - the Supt. If that person is doing their job, then all the other little duckies should be falling into rows. No Board - elected, or appointed can make a change if the Supt is not doing their job.

And I appreciate that Charlie is pointing out the fallacies in Mr. Pettigrew's position - he can't be bothered to learn whether this is a successful approach to school district management. It's like throwing a handful of darts at the wall and hoping one will stick. Really? Thats how we want our children's lives to be governed? By a guy who can't be bothered to do his homework?

Anonymous said…
I actually have legit questions about how this would work. I live in the 37th and never voted for either hypocrites. A woman who votes on excessive DUI punishments while having one herself. A man who has no kids in the district, has been called a "turd in the toilet" by the Stranger yet endorsed repeatedly by them makes you wonder if this is you get what you vote for. We also had the hateful Adam Kline for years who did little in the legislator except pander to his own agenda. This is a very diverse area with regards to income and race and the results show in its schools. The public ones are not good at the best of times, horrific at the worst.

We also have the largest number of K-8's that struggle, a high school barely full, a farcical STEM program, bizarre alternative schools that put the "in" in accountability. How would these be funded? How would they be administered? What is the time frame for this "emergency" to be handled? Who will be the board? Will they be appointed or elected?

This is my district. Half baked, literally and figuratively with problems that go way beyond the schools. But hey at least someone is finally actually paying attention to these two albatrosses and perhaps now we might actually get some decent people elected. Kline retired that worked out, hopefully. We shall see with Ms. Jayapal.

Gentrification is coming, it's here but nowhere near as fast as the money men would like

- Bitter and Jaded
Disgusted said…
Sockinverter writes: " because I think I elect my city officials, and they have more knowledge of large organizations, and could be up to a task that our current board"

Does Sockinverter think the city has a good grasp on their police department? How is that going??

Lisa McFarlane testified in favor of this bill. McFarlane and Pettigrew were the only ones that testified in favor of this bill. There was a long list of individuals/organizations that testified in opposition and/or signed-in opposing this bill.

We're looking at another top-down piece of legislation brought to you by Democrats for Education reform--the same group that is supported by the Walmart Foundation.

There is NOT a ground swell of support for mayoral control.
Anonymous said…
I think the point --- besides defending the idea of a mayoral appointment of school board members --- of SockInverter's post was to call Charlie out for his constant disdain and hyperbole as well as sometimes hypocrisy.

Unfortunately, all too often, Charlie uses this blog as an outlet to rage and spew invective. And in doing so brings out the worst aspects of this blog and attitudes of the commenters.

That's all fine. Maybe Charlie and others have cause and justification for their rage. It's certainly their right to use this forum or any other as an outlet.

The bottom line for me is that I will spend significantly less time on this blog as a result. Reading and trying to digest all of the hatred wears on me and puts me in a bad place. I won't volunteer for that.

I will eagerly await Melissa's return if indeed her return ever comes to be. In the meantime, I'm going to continue to roll up my sleeves everyday to improve the academic performance of kids. This blog will simply not be a daily reading for me.

--- swk
Anonymous said…
I'll echo SWK. I am a longtime reader and have greatly appreciated this blog for keeping me informed and for Melissa's mostly taking the positive track in tone. Please Charlie, keep the blog going, but not with the negative tone of your recent the post. That's a big turn-off to a lot of readers who don't want to dwell in the negative spaces.
Longtime reader
Lynn said…
When a public official acts like an arrogant idiot, I'm not unduly upset to see that pointed out. I'm all for discussion of reasonable ideas - but when the idea is this bad it's not worthy of respectful consideration.
Anonymous said…
Thank you SWK and longtime reader. I think you got my point. I'm not even arguing for the position, I'm just really turned off by the tone. That is what keeps this blog from being a truly great resource. Here's hoping Melissa is back soon.
Web Hutchins said…
Hi Charlie-

Re: Calling Rep. Eric Pettigrew an "arrogant idiot" in your 2/15/2015 post

There are so many educators and citizens like me who value the voice of SSSCB---your blog is essential reading for those who want to have half a chance of knowing what is happening in our city’s schools.

Yet, calling popular, long-time public servants “incompetent…arrogant idiots” is beneath your blog, or it should be. While your reputation as a caustic critic of local education players has been celebrated for many years by many – including me, hurling epithets like the school kids we seek to help helps no one. In fact, it risks alienating and losing large chunks of your readership and respect from others who we want in the dialogue.

For example--- surely you want the 21 members of the Seattle delegation to Olympia to read your blog. Yet they will not return often if the blog publicly excoriates and humiliates their fellow legislators – as you did with Pettigrew. Even a widely criticized public figure or legislator, say Rep. Dawn Mason, does not deserve to be attacked with terms like those used to hack down Pettigrew.

Although I completely agree with your blog’s critique of the HB 1497, when I read the post attacking Pettigrew I was appalled and embarrassed --- and if that happens too many times I will unsubscribe --- I guarantee there are many others who had the same reaction around town, and especially on the South End.

Pettigrew’s unwillingness to follow the standard Seattle leftie ideological checklist and his willingness to partner with organizations like LEV irks most Seattle lefties. This is a sign of his complexity, not stupidity or arrogance.

It is also a sign of his relentless dedication to helping young people. While he is not an professional educator his commitment to improving our city’s schools is unquestioned and he has become absolutely convinced that not enough has been done or is being done in S. Seattle schools to bring equitable opportunities to all students. He is making himself open to ALL possible solutions.

I am not looking for vitriol when I open the SSSCB blog. I am hoping to find a reasoned presentation of the facts on veiled stories/issues and insightful, OPINIONATED BUT RESPECTFUL commentary about these education issues---this is is why I always eagerly click open the SSSCB blog.

Web Hutchins, Civics for All Initiative, Director
Anonymous said…
Add me to swk and others who find Charlie's tone more than a little off-putting. At least when Melissa was here she balanced him out, but from calling the board the "Faces of Evil" to his cruel words about Cheryl Chow as she lay dying, to calling a group of black agency reps "useless idiots", honestly, I'm not sure why anyone pays him any attention. And he's not shy about heaping his scorn on parents who write about situations he feels are untrue, even when he was not there.

I've found much useful information in this blog, and it indirectly led me to my child's "perfect fit" school. But the negative nature of Charlie's posts make it almost a "necessary evil" rather than a worthwhile read.

Alsoin 37th
TechyMom said…
Just to balance the negativity here... I find Charlie's comments incisive and often funny. He reminds me of John Stewart or a young Dan Savage. The inversed sock analysis is something he's used many times to point out unfounded ideas that people want to 'just try' on our students.

Personally, in this case, I think it's a good analogy to mayoral control, and a less good one to multiple, smaller districts. Why would mayoral control help? I don't see it. The mayor will appoint someone who may or may not be any better than the people who run. Blanford seems like exactly the sort of person who would get a mayoral appointment, Peters exactly the sort who wouldn't. meh. Not seeing the benefit here.

The smaller districts, however, seems interesting. A large, complex organization with stakeholders who vary so much in their values and goals is a hard thing to run. Several smaller organizations that can focus on particular customer groups can work better. I've seen this in my own work, and I doubt I'd have a lot of trouble finding organizational theory citations to back that up. I don't think it's what we should be spending time on right now, but I can see why it might be a good idea.
dw said…
I kind of agree with TechyMom on a district split, but with the huge caveat that I don't trust the people pushing it.

I've often thought that the students in our city could benefit from splitting SPS. I don't think anyone can argue that the specific needs are different in different parts of our city. The predominant thinking in our administration is that everything needs to be equal, or at least feel equal all across the city. Ultimately, that thinking fails a lot of kids - pretty much everyone outside the norms. Would a split end up with districts that looked very different from each other? Sure. Is that a bad thing? I don't know. What if it ended up helping both groups in different ways?

We've already moved to a geographic-based assignment plan, so let's be really honest and understand that our schools are clearly very different. Short of blowing up the assignment plan, nothing is going to change that in the foreseeable future. As long as our district has a one-size-fits-all mentality (think Leschi), kids' needs will be ignored, as the district pushes for homogenized programs and policies. Extra layers of support for students who need extra help? Too bad. Advanced work for kids who are working ahead of standards? Too bad. Do we really think parents in Wallingford need the same outreach as parents in Delridge?

So on the one hand I really like the idea of splitting our district.

But... I do not trust the motivations of the people pushing this agenda. It makes me highly suspicious that outside groups are trying to figure out ways to exert their influence over our schools and children. Why?? It will be easier for them to peddle their plans to a smaller district, especially one with less active and influential parents.

On balance, I find myself thinking that we are stronger as one, single district, but I'm definitely paying attention, and there would clearly be advantages to a split.
Greenwoody said…
Tone policing is usually what happens when people want to deflect from an accurate line of criticism. Pettigrew's testimony was indeed deeply uninformed and full of flaws - in service of a bill that is an attack on our fundamental rights as citizens, in order to further wreck our schools.

The fault here is not Charlie's, but Pettigrew's. We face bills like this and problems in our schools because we are too quick to tone police rather than actually stand up for what we believe in.

Finally, swk, you work on "academic performance" all you like, a phrase we know is code for "test scores." The rest of us will remain focused on giving students a good education. As we know, those are very different things.
TechyMom said…

I completely agree on not trusting the people pushing the split idea. I just don't think it's inverted socks.
Elephant's Memory said…

During the last campaign season, Lisa McFarlane brought school board campaigns to a brand new low. As part of Democrats for Education reform, McFarlane contributed $10K to a PAC that was intended to distort the views of the very capable Sue Peters. At the time, Sue Peters was sweeping-up endorsements. Contributing to a PAC is a sign of desperation- not strength.

Peter's opponent had a PAC and campaign funded at a quarter of a million dollars- a new high for Seattle. Perhaps Ms. McFarlane should consider her actions. Who would want to run for school board..knowing ther are folks willing to fund PACs and sink to a new level of low.

Research indicates that elected school board members serve their community. They may step over the line..but, they do so to represent their community.

Research shows that appointed school boards marginalize their community.

We have a representative board that consists of individuals that have personal experience with teaching, special ed, advanced learning, poverty, racism and English Language Learning.

During the last election cycle, there were a couple of weak candidates and voters had the wisdom to weed-out these individuals.

Anonymous said…
"Tone policing is usually what happens when people want to deflect from an accurate line of criticism"

I could not agree more. Maybe it's because I grew up with a houseful of incredibly intelligent but very sarcastic people but I don't take exception to Charlie's tone in the slightest. He doesn't mince words, he doesn't sugar coat. And in this particular instance, he is not wrong about how disturbing the lack of knowledge behind this bill truly is.

Anonymous said…
I do luv the "tone" arguments.

How Noble.

The evidence is consistent that the deformer crowd pushing their annual derfomer agenda have done few good things, unless you're 1 of the ones making those over $100 grand a year paychecks for advancing the causes of the Waltons, Gate$, ALEC ... for those willing to look beyond the photo-ops and the trite soundbites.

There is decades of evidence of the right wing defending themselves by going on the offensive over "tone", and "civility" ... whenever anyone gets close to calling them out on their lies. I admire how Democrats in the deformer camp have adopted the same tactics!

I'm disappointed that a civics instructor is jumping on the tone bandwagon.

How Noble ...

Lynn said…
No region of the district has a homogenous population. There are children in every are who are rich, poor, advanced learners, English language learners, eligible for special ed services. Splitting the district makes it less likely their needs will be met. A smaller district will have fewer of each type of student. The smaller the group, the easier they are to ignore.

Splitting the district geographically makes no more sense than splitting it by race, gender, income or age.
Anonymous said…
New bill on splitting the district was just dropped late today (Friday) with a hearing scheduled for Tuesday, 2/10, 1:30pm. Not much notice here for a major bill that only affects Seattle. New bill is HB2048 sponsored by Pettigrew and Tomiko Santos. It does not contain an emergency clause but has no provision for public input or any voice of Seattle voters, teachers, and students.
Pat Griffith
Anonymous said…
Excuse me. I've heard former Rep Mason say far worse. I took offense at her arrogance. And I'm not easily offended. Charlie's is one voice against many well-funded, less altruistic commentators.

not convinced.
Anonymous said…
I don't support these 2 bills for all the reasons many have put forth here, including Charlie. But I would argue tone, evil, un-American, and arrogant idiot aren't needed if there's weight in the argument in the first place. It's grabbing the tiger by the tail.

Personally, If there's a word I find far more gut piercing, it's un-American. That's a heavy duty word. Un-American. It harkens McCarthy, censorship, WW 2 Japanese-Americans, today Moslem Americans and the unjust treatment of folks whose ideas, ancestry, religion, or politics just didn't mesh with another's idea of what or who is an "American".


Anonymous said…
Tone Policing, Geeenwoody and Not are so sadly mistaken about me. I am as anti reformer as you get. Seems like you just don't want dissenting opinions or objectivity. If you disagree with Charlie, you are stupid or anti-American. That is pretty sad. I've been working towards improving this district (and have been a supporter and follower of this blog for years). Charlie did a great job with Melissa, but he is more than done, has lost the last shred of objectivity, and only hurts our cause at this point with his superiority and tone.
Anonymous said…
I don't like your words, your tone or your way of expression. Here is one for you, say that and walk away.

If you agree on principal but not in manner then express how you feel but telling someone how to express themselves is so Seattle.

I have no problem with him saying what he feels, this is his blog and he has that right. Just like it is his right to not print, to not allow comments.

This thing where free speech is fine when you say the speech in a way that the nice people like or tolerate is just another example of why little gets done.

Pettigrew was called a turd in a local paper he is a Politician I suggest one watches news to see the shit fly there when it comes to names. There are many other negative superlatives that Mr. Mas could have used and likely some have in the Seattle Times, ever read the comment section there?

I don't always agree with Mas, he can be quite surly and when you disagree with him he of course turns that to being some sort of fault and does so in a manner that is less than simply disagreement in both "tone" or words.

I actually find Ms. Westerbrook equally as annoying and I simply read the blog on occasion when these laws are presented as to find out the buzz as the Times does such a poor job of covering them.

So I can disagree, agree and comment as I see fit. It can be deleted, denigrated or applauded. And I care about that not one whit as I know none of you in my real life nor you me. So opinions like words on the internet by strangers are utterly meaningless. Sticks and stones...etc...

But carry on... next week's witch hunt will be something else and you will all have moved on.

- Amused
Ryan said…
All this call for polite, civil disagreement is part of the problem, because is belies the fact that the proposals that Pettigrew is making aren't coming from an honest place. DFER and the LEV have been bleating about a "respectful dialogue" for years, and it's because most of their ideas are so prima-facie ridiculous that discussing them without mockery is impossible.

Eric's not an honest actor on school reform issues. Pointing that out, no matter the tone, is fair and just.
Anonymous said…
This isn't about polite conversation or argument.

Political landscape has changed and moved into social media. It's not political rally, push poll, knocking on people's door, kissing babies and buying TV and newspaper ads anymore. The money is on figuring how to get to you in your favorite comfy chair @ home or while you ruminate on the commuter bus with your smart phone. It's all about words. Lots and lots. It doesn't even have to be facts, just entertaining. Verbal jousting can be noisy and senseless because all it has to do is score a hit. Think of all the clicks.

I teeter between cynicism and hope all the time. I hate it when people don't use the strengths of their position to win their argument. Insults add spice and have become an everyday, acceptable thing. You can be proud of having thick skin, shoving aside polite sensibility, be a tough, straight talking, make my day kinda guy (or gal). And while some are entertained by this duel to the death by verbiage, others are moving their agenda foreword. Do you really think our representatives are finding ways to vote up or down on a particular bill by shouting insult at each other? Theater aside, politics is about relationships-- making deals and finding odd allies. Rep. Pettigrew has fulfilled his obligation by presenting these bills. Next, allow the bills to die quietly in some chamber.

BTW, ST, crosscut, and SLOG have been rather mum on these 2 bills. I find that rather interesting.
syd said…
I agree that attacking Charlie's tone is ridiculous. He is actually a big sweet heart. Those who are fooled by a gruff tone are just that....fooled. And it sort of looks like some of the posters are protesting to much, as if they just came to denigrate Charlie instead of coming to hear policy opinions and share their own. Kind a looks like an orchestrated effort. But you know, appearances can be deceiving.

P.S. Maybe Charlie did not leave because he is covering for a caring friend. Just a thought.

Anyway, instead or in addition to talking about motivations behind the idea of splitting the district, why don't we just make a spreadsheet of the pros and cons of the idea?

I agree that small groups can often self organize more efficiently. So for example, we might be able to move more quickly on book adoption.

On the other hand, working on expensive solutions for small populations might be handled better by a larger organization. I don't think that is true for this 50K district when you look at Special Ed or APP.

I also don't see a lot of equity in BEX funding.

And the food program is not good. However much they are saving with economies of scale, it is not worth it.

Are we actually benefiting from any of the theoretical benefits of a larger district?
Anonymous said…
That's why you do the analysis before proposing the legislation....

Anonymous said…
syd-ah yes, the "if you're not with us, you're a'gin us trope. This is yet another way this blog loses readers-the constant refrain that if more than a few people disagree with the authors, then it must be a sooper sekrit orchestrated front of them durn "deformers". Oh PLEASE.

I don't often post because I come to this blog for information, and much of it is good. But someone brought up Charlie's tone and some of us agreed. I am not a DFER, a LEVer or a insider in the evil halls of the Stanford center. I am just a parent hoping that my kid gets a decent enough education and that others in Seattle do too.

My "mom's group' right now is discussing, among other things, special ed, facial hair and college planning. Some of these threads have brought out rare commenters but we're not sitting there accusing them of being spies for the enemy, just people who had something to say on certain topics. Why on earth is this blog so paranoid?

Whatever. I really do believe that polite words get you more than impolite ones, but stating that apparently makes me one of the bad guys.

Carry On
NW mom said…
Tone policing is both juvenile and annoying. Don't like this blog's tone? Don't read it. Whining about tone is one of the infuriating things about Seattle.

I find Charlie a breath of fresh air.
Anonymous said…
I like Charlie too. This district has been so exasperating, it deserves every bit of criticism he has thrown their way.

S parent
Mr Ed said…
Charlie is correct and I appreciate his passion,but it appears some are offended. It is my hope that Charlie tones it down a bit= he will be more effective.
n said…
Thanks techy mom and Greenwoody. I'm another who thinks "tone" is over-emphasized. Yeah, I took a bit of umbrage at the simplistic sock analogy but I make it a point to always read Charlie because he makes so much sense and is concise. And I love his attitude.

Thanks for making an articulate response to all this drivel about tone.

Thanks as well for thoughtful responses to the concept of a District split. We should consider it at least. It is one viable alternative which may or may not be the answer to SPS troubles of which there seem to be many. Of course, without study, no one knows how or where the split could happen or if it would be beneficial. Isn't that the point of exploration and consideration? How can it hurt?
Charlie Mas said…
Web Hutchins wrote:
"While he is not an professional educator his commitment to improving our city’s schools is unquestioned"

No. It is not unquestioned. I question it - as do a number of other people. His idea of replacing elected school board directors with appointed school board directors is highly questionable.

As for those who don't care to read
Representative Pettigrew described as an arrogant idiot, I would encourage you to avoid reading the Stranger or, if you do, writing to them as well about their negative tone. They have called him - and a number of others - much worse.

Mayoral appointment of school board directors is a bad idea. The same voters who are, supposedly, incapable of selecting a good school board director are the same voters who selected the mayor. If they can't be trusted with former then how can we have confidence in their ability to do the latter?

As for Mr. Pettigrew, he displayed his ignorance about Seattle schools when he spoke on behalf of his bill at the hearing. It is arrogant for someone so ill-informed about a situation to believe that they have anything useful to contribute to the situation, let alone a solution. Is there anyone who cares to dispute that point? Is there anyone who wishes to claim that Mr. Pettigrew's misstatements were made despite knowing the facts? Is there anyone who wishes to claim that Mr. Pettigrew is actually knowledgeable about the school board - it's history, it's duty, or the fulfillment of that duty? If there is, then please come forward and make your case - instead of just clutching your pearls and shrieking about my negativity or bad manners.

And, yes, an idiot, for not knowing. His lack of knowledge is directly attributable to a lack of curiosity. If he wanted to know then he would know. The fact that he didn't want to know reflects on his intelligence as well as his commitment to public education. The fact that he would spew false information at a hearing also makes him an idiot. Only an idiot makes statements without knowing the facts. What did he think? That no one would know the truth? That's just dumb, and it also makes him an idiot.

Does anyone want to argue that point? Does anyone want to come forward and claim that he did know the facts, but that he intentionally misstated them for very clever political reasons?

I don't think so. I think he's arrogant and an idiot. What is more upsetting - that I correctly identify him as such or that this arrogant idiot represents the 37th district in the state legislature?
Charlie Mas said…
I would like to address the claim that I would be more effective if I were to adopt a more pleasing tone.

I've tried it. It didn't work. I suggest you try it also and see if it works for you.

I found that the people who run the school district don't give a damn about what I have to say, no matter how I say it. Nor do they care about how often I write to them. They aren't more responsive if I write less. I know that because I've tried it.

It's not just me. I have observed other people - hundreds of other people - try it to no avail. They come and go and they leave angry, frustrated, and dissatisfied because they were no more effective than I was.

But you go ahead and try it for yourselves. If it proves effective for you, then keep doing it.

Mr. Pettigrew isn't going to withdraw his bill - not if I yell at him and not if I ask him "pretty please". He isn't going to do anything different because of what I write or say no matter how I write or say it, and those who think he will are simply naive or mad.
Dadof3 SPS said…
Charlie is on point and anyone who tries to deflate the messenger need to assess if that is only to divert from the message: Pettigrew is wrong in his fact-less endeavor to split the district and to allow mayoral appointed Board members. You know who I would appoint if I was Mayor; Blandford! You know who I will never vote (again) for; Blandford. Right resume, wrong guy.

Thank you Charlie and Melissa.
Thank you Charlie and Melissa.
Thank you Charlie and Melissa.
Thank you Charlie and Melissa.

Dadof3 SPS
Anonymous said…
instead of just clutching your pearls and shrieking about my negativity or bad manners.

Classic. Just classic. :)

Conspiracy theories aside, this is a poorly thought out piece of legislation, with a sponsor who appears to have little knowledge about the potential negative impacts nor impetus to discover them.

That is the bottom line issue. If Rep. Pettigrew had come out with...oh I don't know... facts? statistics? some kind of inkling that he knew what something as earth-shattering as splitting up a large fiscal entity might entail? Then maybe this post and reader reactions would be vastly different.

Its that seeming dispassionate disinterest on the part of Rep. Pettigrew that makes me for one, go hmmmm......

Do your homework Mr. Pettigrew and then and only then, come back with these proposals. In the meantime, here's hoping sharper minds will prevail and these will die in committee.

Anonymous said…

It must be awful to be around you. The point about tone is to engage in thoughtful discussion or debate but I realize now that you don't want that. You've driven away any dissenters, so you're just surrounded by your sycophants and fan club. There is no debate in your echo chamber, and you've heard so often how wonderful you are from your fans, who are more pearl clutching shriekers than any others. By driving away any contrary opinions, you've forgotten how to debate them, and can only scoff at the rare dissenter as stupid or evil or ridiculous. It's very intellectually lazy, but I doubt that matters to you. Don't forget, any of us complaining about tone were probably reform movement plants or SPS spies or Nazi infiltrators or whatever. And Iet's not forget how much you've accomplished for this district with your own shrieking....that would be...exactly nothing. Carry on. Real progress is nothing compared to smug moral and intellectual superiority. You were right to go with the latter. I really hope Melissa returns soon.
-Pearl Shrieker
Anonymous said…
@pearl shrieker et al aliases,

Wrong, wrong and more wrong. Yeah I do think you might be a spy probably outsourced out of country shrill shill.

When you have no facts you cast aspersions. Charlie put forth a cogent argument about why Pettigrew was incompetent or did your employer not allow you to read that? Charlie has had a long lasting effect... In fact every time I advocate for my kids or their schools I think what would WWCD or WWMD to temper my advocacy. I said TEMPER. That is right, polite seattle has a ton of hot heads. Non transplant hot heads who when pushed will push back twice as hard. Keep pushing McMayor and you will find yourself in the long list of single termers.

CM and MW are never 100% correct... But they are 100% advocating for the best for all SPS students and for that they are not reproachable.

n said…
Umm, I've disagreed with Charlie and said so. Not often because it isn't often that I do disagree with him. But his "tone" has never deterred me from articulating my opinion.

I so wish people could learn to participate in a really good debate without constantly judging the debater's tone. That's why I enjoy listening to Parliament in GB so much more than our Congress in the PC US. Of course, Congress is becoming less PC and in a really abusive way. I see Charlie as more like Parliament where there's a lot of good-natured ridicule in the banter. We Americans seem to set banality, shallowness, politeness to the degree of boredom and a definite lack of humor as our model for argument and debate.

I've always thought that's what got George Bush the inferior elected. His frat-boy brashness was at least refreshing - for a while. (I didn't vote for him!)
Amy Hagopian said…
I was in Olympia last Wednesday and ran into Rep. Pettigrew in the hall and we talked at some length about these bills. He could not explain the "logical framework" of how this change would lead to the change he is looking for. We did agree the district should work on restorative justice reforms (in lieu of suspension and expulsion) to block the school to prison pipeline, but he isn't working on that at the moment. Amy Hagopian
Amy Hagopian said…
I was in Olympia last Wednesday and ran into Rep. Pettigrew in the hall and we talked at some length about these bills. He could not explain the "logical framework" of how this change would lead to the change he is looking for. We did agree the district should work on restorative justice reforms (in lieu of suspension and expulsion) to block the school to prison pipeline, but he isn't working on that at the moment.
mirmac1 said…
I'm pleased to report that an SCPTSA representative will testify in Olympia today against the bill to split the district. The Legislature will know where we stand. Thanks Eden for your work.
Anonymous said…
I find that Charlie and Melissa appear on this blog as very real and concerned people, not as polished personas.
That said, I have to respectfully disagree with what Charlie said. It seems to me that the reformers are not idiots, they know what they are doing and they are evil. Charlie can't go flinging around names like that, but I can because I am

A Lurker
Charlie Mas said…
I am happy, hell, I'm DELIGHTED to discuss and debate the issues.

Let's do that instead of debating my tone or rhetoric, okay.

Were is the case that Representative Pettigrew is informed and his bill will be effective?

I'm listening.
Charlie Mas said…
Still listening, but I don't hear anything. Is there no one to make the argument for the other side?
Charlie Mas said…
Still listening. Still no rationale to support this idea.
Charlie Mas said…
Okay. So no one wants to argue on behalf of the bill. How about this:

Does anyone want to have a civil and fact-based discussion about whether Representative Pettigrew is well-informed on the issue? How about whether or not his submission of this bill was an act of arrogance? How about whether his submission of this bill - and subsequent mis-informed talk about it - was an act of idiocy?

Any takers on that?

Here's the thing. If Mr. Pettigrew is arrogant, then there is nothing wrong with calling him arrogant. If he acts like an idiot, then there is nothing wrong with calling him an idiot. I have yet to hear from anyone who actually wants to dispute those truths, they only want me to keep quiet about them because it is somehow rude to announce that the Emperor has no clothes.

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