Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tuesday Open Thread

School Board candidate Rick Burke is having an event tomorrow night at the Great Hall at Green Lake from 7-9:30 pm.

Come join us for a get-together so we can eat, drink, and talk about how to transform Seattle Public Schools. Pick up a yard sign and campaign literature. We hope you can stop by. Light appetizers and drinks served.

Parking is limited in the Green Lake area, so look for metered on-street parking near the venue. Carpools encouraged.

There is also a picnic on Thursday night at Carkeek Park, Shelter #2 from 6-8 pm to meet candidates Leslie Harris and Jill Geary.  Bring your own beverage.  (Leslie and Jill were the only candidates out yesterday outside the SEA meeting at Benaroya Hall.)

I haven't had a chance to view this but Seattle Channel's "Our City, Our Schools" series has a new one on "Safe Passage" which is a federally-funded pilot youth violence prevention program helping the four schools within one block of each other in Rainier Beach.  Those schools are South Shore pre-k-8, RBHS, Dunlap and South Lake High School.

I was outside the meeting for SEA outside of Benaroya Hall yesterday.  Word is that there was no vote taken on a contract (I believe mainly because the district has rejected so much of what the teachers have asked for/offered) and that when they do vote on September 3rd, it will be to accept a contract or strike.  Teachers seemed upbeat but frustrated with the district.  (I note that one item teachers appear to be pushing for is to right-time lunch (meaning, have a real lunch time not a truncated 15 minute one).

 I think all parties will do the right thing and get this done but again you see the district pushing until the last minute. 

It's no way to get things done but it certainly is the SPS headquarters way.  

With school coming, a reminder of what teachers do to get ready for your students.

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said...

Related to the welcome back video, Huffpo has a photo series on what classes look like without all the stuff teachers purchased.

Will be interesting to see how the contract plays out. Surprised that they are going to wait until the 5th for the second vote, WEA at the beginning of summer was talking about possible state wide strikes related to McCleary. Hoping that the McCleary votes are settled and in motion before that, just so parents have more time to plan.

Glad I left Seattle

Andy said...

The vote is on the 3rd. The union would love to have an agreement by then. For that matter, the union wanted an agreement by yesterday. Teachers in the meeting were absolutely ready to strike. I would not at all be surprised if that happens.

Anonymous said...

A question for Melissa. A while back you posted in this blog information about the percentage of the SPS budget that was spent on "administration". You mentioned also that some of the administration costs may be part of other district finances not directly counted as administrative. I have tried searching for this post but cannot find it. Will you please consider re-posting that information?



Anonymous said...

What is the latest on special education instructional assistants? Campano has gone silent about this after being initially gung ho in opposition. Is the union now agreeing to centralize control of IAs? Is the union agreeing to this in exchange for other things?


OM/PreK said...

The Executive Committee, which is comprised of Carr, Peaslee and McLaren pushed through a prek initiative, which accepted funding and allowed the Superintendent to enter into a city contract, without having umbrella prek policies in place. (!!) Then, the board majority voted in favor of this initiative.

The entire August 19th school board meeting is on line and available for viewing. The issue regarding the city's involvement with SEA remains unclear. Suffice it to say, the city has inserted themselves into principal hiring via the Family and Education Levy. It will be interesting to watch.

I would like for viewers to turn to minute 46 of the school board meeting. Seattle attorney- a highly paid individual- tells the board that legal used city templates and did NOT have time to do a line to line analysis. (!!) He goes on to say that the document will continue to change- after the board votes.(!!) It should be noted that language was added to the city's prek service contract AFTER the Executive Committee met and did not vet te changes. (!) I can't imagine Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon- or any individual- accepting the district's shoddy and incompetent legal work.

The motion was for the board to accept funding from the city for prek. The SErvice Contract will be for the superintendent to sign and the board majority has effectively given-up their vote on serious issues within the prek service agreement- which includes the termination clause and union involvement.

To Peaslee's credit, she argued in favor of a funding source and timeline related to the city's 25% hold-back. It became clear: There is NO timeline and there is not the intention of providing one. Finance essentially argued that there are grant funds to cover the 25% hold-back for many years. As per usual, Cashel Toner and Charles Wrigtt shoved this issue back into committee- and Carr gave them cover.
None the less, Peaslee voted Yes.

The question of Exhibit C, which pertains to performance targets, was embedded into Exibit B.

Blanford brought attention to the fact that he- and other board members- were in the dark because discussions occurred only in E. Committee. None- the- less. He voted in favor of this agreement; an agreement without clear understanding of umbrella policies. He provided a round of hugs to Burgess and Holly Miller.

Carr admitted that the scope of the city's prek agreement admitted that the work covers many committees. She also felt it necessary to apologize to the city, for having questions/concerns regarding the 25% holdback. Yet, she, McLaren and Peaslee allowed the prek initiative to remain bottled-up in the Executive Committee.

What will happen if/when an unfortunate incident occurs and there is a lawsuit? I will refer you to Ronald Boy's comments- at minute 46-where he says he didn't have time for a line by line analysis. Then, we can look to all board members that voted in favor of this agreement.

Lastly, I'm disappointed in John Cerqui(sp?). Peaslee asked Cerqui about voting on Service Contract and accepting funding. I thought he was a straigt shooter, but I was disappointed when e joined his fellow tap dancers (Charles Wright and Cashel Toner) The issue of voting on the Service Contract AND accepting funding was ignored. He simply stated the bAR was for the board to vote on accepting funding, and in doing so, the board agreed to let the Superintendent sign the Service Agreement.

OMG PreK said...

Clarification: Carr admitted that the scope of the city's prek initiative involves many committees. Yet, the initiative never made it out of the Executive committee.

Melissa Westbrook said...

OMG, I haven't had a chance yet to review the videotape. What you relate is stunning. Again and again, we see things that Sherry Carr would NEVER let happen at Boeing.

I have a fairly easy prediction - some part of this is going to case someone to go to court.

CJ, I don't have the most current figures on administration (with all the hiring and promoting). I ask for those. My contention is that there is Central Adm and Central Office which are two different things (or used to be) to the district. It was easy to say "we are at 6% adm costs" without mentioning Central office costs.

OMG Prek said...

Lastly, Robert's Rules allow directors to bring amendments to the floor-at the last minute.

Director Peters brought an amendment to the floor. Harium Martin Morris began scolding Peters for bringing the amendment to the floor, and as per usual, Blanford joined in. I"m becoming increasingly concerned about Martin Morris and Blanford's behavior. I wonder if they treat their wives in the same manner.

Anonymous said...


Whatever you could provide would be great. I am working with a group of folks who are concerned about the funding of IA positions or the lack thereof. SPS takes the position that those who supply direct services to students are too expensive while continuing to bloat both central office and central administrative costs. It would be very helpful to have some concrete numbers especially as the start of school is looming. Thanks for all you do. The information on this blog is priceless.


Anonymous said...

SEA was able to get the district to drop their proposal to centralize control of IAs.


Anonymous said...

teacher - where can we read about this? In the most recent communication from SPS (a couple of days ago) this was still in play from the district's point of view.

"Special Education (SPED) http://seattleschools.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=627&pageId=1626577

There is significant work to do to support our special education students. SPS Special Education department, under the direction of Wyeth Jesse, has worked very hard to meet compliance challenges, and continues efforts on meeting legal assurances. To that end, SPS has offered a proposal that would maintain ratios of Special Education Instructional Assistants (IAs), and also work to ensure paraprofessionals are appropriately assigned work in buildings, to support the legal assurances our special education students need."


Anonymous said...

Who are the best school board candidates for special education issues?

Now that the primary is over, I want to pick the candidates who I think who would best support our special educational students. Yes, I understand there's more to SPS than special education.

I'm using the following criteria for grading;

1. All public statements regarding the Seattle school district special education by a candidate.

2. Each candidate's advocacy for special education in Seattle public schools.

3. Participation in special educational groups or meetings.

4. Use of public records request (PRR), email or blogs to support special education advocacy.

5. The candidate's public statements or proposals for improving special education.

Let me know of any other criteria you think is important. I hope to have my findings posted in the next few weeks, so please check back to see which candidates answer my email. If candidates choose not to respond I will search the internet and other sources to find the answers.

District 1 - Michael Christophersen sld.advocate.seattle@gmail.com

- Scott Pinkham nimiipuu@gmail.com

District 2 - Rick Burke rick@rickburke4schools.com

- Laura Gramer LauraGramerSeattleSchool@gramer.com

District 3 - Jill Geary jillforseattleschools@gmail.com

- Lauren McGuire info@laurenforschools.com

District 6 - Leslie Harris harrislsh@comcast.net

- Marty McLaren martyforschools@outlook.com

Dear school board candidates,

Congratulations on making it to the general election. I'm conducting a survey of school board candidates in order to inform my readers which candidate might be best to represent our district when it comes to special educational issues. Of coarse your participation is completely voluntary.

Could you please answer the following questions ;

1. Please state any advocacy you have been involved with for special education in Seattle public schools.

2. Please list any special educational groups you belong to or meetings you have attended.

3. Please list your use of Public Records Request (PRR), email or blogs in support of special education advocacy. These can be emails to directors or the superintendent, blog post etc, regarding special education.

Thank you for your time,

Concerned citizen

Melissa Westbrook said...

OMG, please do not make remarks about anyone's spouses or children. You can speak to how people treat each other within the district and the confines of their job/elected role.

Concerned Citizen, two things. You say nothing about district policies and what the candidates might think of them. Second, I hope you didn't sign your request "Concerned Citizen" because they won't answer.

Anonymous said...

I haven't sent anything out. It's just a hypothetical questionnaire. What policies are you referring?,special education?, IDEA? or ADA? The IDEA and ADA are not simple policies of the district, as you know SPS is capricious and arbitrary in its application of those federal laws.

So, what policy questions would you add if you were to send out my hypothetical questionnaire?

Concerned Citizen

Anonymous said...

The info about the district dropping the IA proposal was given at the SEA meeting yesterday. SEA is posting some bargaining info at their site (seattlewea.org) but I don't think they posted that piece of info. That being said, there is still nothing stopping the district from bringing up the proposal again.


OMG said...

It appears that Mirimac is a fortune teller or as very good instincts. Here is what she had to say on August 20th:

"I'll lay bets that Carr pushed that the SPP Bar conveniently only addresses voting on the grant. SPS Superintendent Policy clearly shows that revenue-producing contract over $250K (like this one) shall be approved by the board. Doh! You'd think the Board President might remember that!? Selective amnesia. It's all about pushing this BS through. SAO finding in the making.

8/20/15, 8:06 PM "

Anonymous said...

I agree with Andy's sense of the SEA meeting. SEA members would love to have a tentative agreement by September 3rd, but otherwise they are primed to strike. The level of frustration is high.

David Edelman

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Melissa Westbrook said...

Anonymous, reprinting but no anonymous posts (give yourself a name):

"I too would love to know how much is spent on "administration" and "central costs" with further breakdown for special education. (direct student supports vs admin).

It is crazy to me that Seattle schools is getting an additional 40 million dollars for next year- and yet we are not seeing smaller class sizes (2nd through 12th grade), nor pay increases, nor additional classroom supports- and the district is claiming no funding available? Where is the money going? there is something really wrong.

And though SEA is asking for 21% over 3 years increase in pay (which does seem shocking at first glance to even me) the district is asking for an aprox 8% longer school day. There has not been an increase in the past 9 years. So look at it as aprox 1% a year average, with increase in pay for longer day and health care costs."

TechyMom said...

The 21% over three years seems shocking at first, until you realize that Seattle teachers haven't had a cost of living increase in quite a few years (5 or more?), and that the cost of living in Seattle has gone up a great deal in that time.

Anonymous said...

Social Security cost-of-living adjustments for the past 9 yrs are as follows:
2006 3.3
2007 2.3
2008 5.8
2009 0.0
2010 0.0
2011 3.6
2012 1.7
2013 1.5
2014 1.7

It looks like teacher salaries would have needed to increase 20%+ over those 9 years to have kept pace. Maybe that explains the request for 21% over the next 3 years--it's basically just making them whole again after years of losing ground.

That doesn't even begin to account for a longer school day. And then when you see the bloat at the top, and all the mismanagement? I'd be ready to strike, too.


Anonymous said...

One of the problems with extending the school day is that there is no budget to include IAs into the extended day as IAs are often paid an hourly wage.The reasoning behind this is there are no funds.
This is why it would be interesting to know if there are areas in administration that could be "trimmed". This might make a decent counterproposal.


Anonymous said...

reader, teacher. Special ed excutive director Wyeth Jessee hatched a midnight idea to pull a fast one - cut IAs in favor of the 100+ (and growing) legion of central administration - multiple directors, supervisors, consultants, program specialists (all for special ed). All expensive. That plan hit a snag: Parents. Parents really banded together on this one. The board and super heard from many parents, who all know their kids actually need IAs and not administrators. Don't kid yourself. SEA has always been a feeble advocate for students with disabilities at best. Most of SEA are general educators - many would be just as happy if students with disabilities were herded off to a secluded room somewhere out of sight - with no IAs of course. Because, there wouldn't have been any. Oh well. Out of sight, out of mind. Yes, there are special educators on the bargaining team. But the SEA membership is not a special ed favorable group.

And the other thing - this new special ed administrative team has basically slammed the door shut on the community. Only now do they probably have an idea that parents aren't complete pushovers, and can be a force. Yes, after directed to do so, the administration formed a purposefully a meek group, SEAAC... but where are the results of the new SEAAC? What was their recommendation to the superintendent? Crickets. It was all breakout sessions with the consultant. If this administrative team was surprised by the blowback from parents - it's because they NEVER listened, nor engaged the community, nor wanted one shred of input. And now, that lack of engagement has cost them the communities' good will, and a failure with this lead balloon of a proposal. And it appears the school board is onto the problem as well. The wool has been removed from everyone's eyes.

Another reader

Anonymous said...

Another reader, You should as Jill Geary, because she is a member of SEAAC.

Wink Wink

dan dempsey said...

August 20, 2015
Published letter to editor in "The Olympian"

Better High School Diplomas Needed

Anonymous said...

Why should anybody have to ask Jill Geary for anything? If there was a work product from SEAAC - then the district should post it, and let everyone know what the work product was. And what the response is. And who said what. What's the plan? (other than cutting IAs) Because this, now, is the only plan we know about. And, nobody liked it. Just float that lead balloon somewhere else.

The reality is - if SEAAC didn't offer any recommendations, or if the recommendations are not available anywhere - then, it never really existed as a group.

Another Reader

Anonymous said...

As I recall Mr. Jesee became a school principal after only one year as a special ed teacher. His staff hated him as he viciously forced out all the experienced teachers ( a SPS requirement for all principals) at his school in favor of hand-picked newbies. Sadly, this lack of actual teaching experience is one of the sole defining features of SPS administrators. This lackey cipher mentality of principals who then become central staff is a national trend. The only vision is to follow orders and preserve a paycheck that would not be duplicated in any field which actually demanded competence.
Mr. Jesee never bothered to show up(without notice) at several scheduled Special Education bargaining meetings over a period of several months leaving the SEA bargaining team staring at the walls. What kind of "leader" does that? Can you even imagine a manager getting away with that kind of behavior in any business?
I do not believe that Mr. Jesee is leading the dance. He is just a puppet. The only input that moves him that of his handlers.

Melissa Westbrook said...

HF, Another Reader have it right. We should ALL remember what is happening b/c we may need to stand with teachers (and they will need parents' support).

I say stand with teachers, not necessarily their union. Their leadership is not great but the teachers themselves have to face down more change in a year than most people at their jobs.

Anonymous said...

HF, thanks for your support. Your numbers make sense, however, I think the 7%/year increase may just be based on the district's portion (called TRI) of the salary which is only part (somewhat over 20%) of the overall pay for teachers. In other words it's an ask for a 7%/year increase on only a portion of the overall pay. I'm am not on the bargaining team and I don't know for sure, but the district can only control the TRI pay so I assume that is what the 7% is based on. I read a comment on another post (Charlie Mas at Seattle Times?) that the 7%/year ask is really about an $840 per year raise. It's probably just a little more than the increase in medical that will be deducted from our paychecks.

CJ, your point about IAs not being included in the extended day is excellent and true. In addition, SAEOP (school secretarys) are not included in the extended day. Anyone who has ever been a teacher(or a public school parent) knows that buildings don't run without the school secretary, thought the district administration folks doing the bargaining don't seem to be aware of that.

Anonymous said...

THOUGH the district administration folks doing the bargaining don't seem to be aware of that


Anonymous said...

Whatever anyone thinks of the SEA leadership, they did one thing right: they assembled a forty-person bargaining team. That allowed the bargaining team members to divide up into specialties and hammer out serious proposals--not just proposals for improving our contract, but also proposals for improving the educational experience of students.

I have a great deal of respect for the SEA bargaining team members, who worked countless hours and demonstrated that front-line educators are the ones who know how to do the job.

David Edelman

mirmac1 said...

The Special Education PTSA rallied its community to lobby on behalf of IAs who actually work with kids (versus administrative gatekeepers or "data-takers"). Personally, I was disappointed there wasn't more collaboration between SEA and the PTSA. It's not for lack of trying. And I refuse to be played, The SEA should know that our support is not unconditional.

Anonymous said...

How did SPED PTSA rally its community to lobby on behalf of IAs? I'd love to know what happened.

mirmac1 said...

Join our membership and you might find out.

Anonymous said...


No you don't have to tell me about your group and what they do. But don't expect cooperation in return. Just based on the snarkiness of your last comment, I am not drawn to joining your group.

In addition, I have been to some sped ptsa meetings (the last I attended was when Virginia Berninger spoke) and have not been impressed. I've saw parents who want to brag about the 1-1 IA they got for their own kid, but NOT much in the way of how we might work together to make sped work better for all. I don't really have time for that.

I'm speaking from the perspective of a sped teacher and former sped parent. Yep it's hard, but being rude and snarky accomplishes little.


Anonymous said...

Teacher, are you not impressed with Virginia Berninger or the SPED PTSA? Virginia Berninger is brilliant and I hope the district takes her up on her offer to work with the district. I'm not sure what's going on with the offer since there hasn't been any updates sine June. We need to start spending money on what is most likely to succeed.

The SPED PTSA is like all PTSA there's only so much they can do.

I emailed the district's Jacque Coe, Chief Communications Officer
several times asking about the PD offer, but I never relieved a reply. Perhaps they are all busy with the CBA?

Patiently waiting

mirmac1 said...

Not to let this descend into the Christopherson SLD versus "pervasive " spiral, I'll just say that I have little time to spell out our advocacy for the casual reader. Be involved and find out that way. Or not

Anonymous said...

It's hard to believe mirmac1 is the SPED PTSA president...god help them.

Ex-SPEDPTSA member

Anonymous said...

How do you expect to increase participation and collaboration if you do not share or "spell out" your advocacy to the casual reader or even to a highly educated, trained, and skilled individuals who are deeply entrenched and active in advocacy, positive change, interactions, and results (which by default means that they are selective because they are busy doing the work that they feel will actually demonstrate results). True change necessitates education and recruitment. By not spelling out your advocacy in a manner that engages and invites readers to focus on positive changes, needs, and future goals you are limiting the impact. I often find the rhetoric (attacks and allegations) offensive and hurtful. I understand that this is something that you feel very emotional and invested in, as do I. Otherwise, I would not have obtained two Masters Degrees in Education, I would not hold General and Special Education teaching certificates, I would not have focused my post graduate work on severe/profound/low incidence disabilities, autism, and ABA (BCBA), I would not have worked for 3 yrs in the nonprofit sector advocating for individuals with disabilities & their families before teaching, I would not spend time doing in-home coaching, and volunteering in the community, attending wrap-around meeting, assisting colleagues, and advocating for and staying involved with the amazing individuals and families that contiue to stay in touch with me and see me as an invaluable resource.

I guess it's just that I don't consider myself to be casually involved and I find this attitude deeply offensive and in juxtaposition to so much that I value.
My overall take on the organization that you suggest to the "casual reader" to be involved in or not as well as on many of the other posts on this blog, is that I am very apprehensive and perhaps scared to be involved. The attitude, the judgement. It seems hostile, cliquey, and unhealthy.

mirmac1 said...

Seriously. When I'm not attending board general and committee meetings, testifying, writing to the board and superintendent, building a website, writing civil rights complaints, working on campaigns and community organizations, raising my child etc, I work fulltime. So, no I don't have time to spell out this work on a blog. Anonymous, I didn't say you were a slacker. Soon our advocacy will be on our website so readers who do not wish to be involved can find answers to their questions.

Anonymous said...

Why would I want to attend a meeting just to listen to Wyeth Jesse tell me how great things are in SPED, or how SPS has met all of OSPI demands. It's not really a PTSA, when it's your way or the hiway. One minute you're sending out emails on the list-serve bragging about all YOU have done partnering with the district, then you turn around and threaten law suits against the district...doing all this on your own without consulting the membership. Maybe it's been your intention from the start to destroy the SPED PTSA, so congratulations you have succeeded.


Melissa Westbrook said...

So I will offer Mirmac1, the space to write up something about SPED PTSA when she has the time. (Or send me a link to any Facebook or webpage and I will put it up.)

Anonymous said...

MW, Why hook your wagon to this horse? I think you will lose a little credibility with people if you choose to do so.

I'm tired for her attacking anyone who might have a different opinion of SPED, like APP parents or teachers.

It's frightening to think she's still behaving this way considering she is now the SPED PTSA president. BTW, the SPED PTSA already has a web-site the url is in all the emails and filers SPS sends out about SPED, it's also listed on the SPS web-site. http://seattlespecialedptsa.org/

I don't know what game mirmac is playing, but her antics are not working. People should search this blog and view for themselves what she is all about.

If I thought it would make a difference I would file a complaint with the national board about her behavior.

SPED parent

Anonymous said...

I hope mirmac1 will take you up on the offer, MW. I don't have a dog in this fight, but would be reluctant to join a group where that kind of unnecessary snarkiness is frequently on public display. We get that SPED families are pushed to the limits by SPS on a daily basis. And we all have busy lives and other obligations. But to get real change, you'll need all of us in the fight. You have no way to know who is behind the pseudonym. Maybe just think twice before you so casually blow off a possible ally, or to automatically dismiss someone as a casual reader.


Anonymous said...

Just a point of clarification. Unions and teachers are not separate things. Teachers and other educators and super staff ARE the union, teacher and other educators and support staff ARE the leadership.
Special education is better represented on the bargaining team this year than in the past. In addition to the members on the team, they brought in extra folks on the bargaining day specifically set aside for SPED proposals. This was the day in June when Wyeth Jesse couldn't be bothered to attend, nor any other of the many SPED directors.

Union SPEDTeacher

Anonymous said...

Union SPEDTeacher

What are the bargaining team's key points about special education? What improvements are being sought? I've only heard about the reactivity to that strange "we know best" proposal to centralize assignments and supervision of special education instructional assistants. Not that building admins know how to do this supervision. Sure, it is a gap. A big one. But central office does not have the capacity to do this either, not from afar and not in terms of relations with buildings. Uh uh.

I'm curious, what sped issues is the union bringing to the table?


Anonymous said...

SPEDTeacher, please tell us what's going on. Are you bargaining for ALL SPED students? There's a lot of talk about IAs, but in reality only a few hundred SPED students out of the nearly 8,000 SPED students use IAs. So, what are you doing for the other students? I hope you are bargaining for using evidence base curriculum or for having a educational neuropsychologist on staff. Maybe you are bargaining for demanding SPS follow the IDEA? Did you know the majority of special ed complaints are about general educational teachers? So, what do the general educational teachers propose for reducing the complaints, lawsuits and out of district referrals.

Thank you for your work and I'm sorry your group has all the responsibility, but no authority. I think that needs to change, see you on the picket line.

Wink Wink

mirmac1 said...

Of course Melissa. Our new website will be full of information, scheduled events, the PTSA Charter, district policies and documents, resource links. It'll be ready in 2 weeks.

Anonymous said...

Additionally, let it be noted in an email forward to some blog readers, Mirmac used the PTSA listserve to promote specific SPS board candidates gathering at her house. This is a serious violation of the spirit if not the letter of PTSA communications and a complaint is pending as to state PTSA compliance. Further, the SPED PTSA listserve apparently is used on a weekly basis to disparage the very SPS individuals Mirmac insists deal with her in a 'professional' manner. Why would any SPS employee do so? If special education is not a positive picture within SPS, and it's not, the SPED PTSA group is part of the problem not solution.

Team Teacher

Anonymous said...

Further, why was SEAAC de-emphasized by SPS? Mirmac. And cronies.

If the new SPED PTSA website is anything like its list-serve and its presence via Mirmac's comments on this blog and others, it will continue to degrade any possibility of SPS-family collaboration.

Team Teacher

Anonymous said...

I thought mud-slinging was not tolerated on this blog.

I personally find the accusations, insinuations and outright insults being directed toward writer, Mirmac1, mean, inappropriate and unnecessary. And, frankly, embarrassing.

Take it somewhere else.


Melissa Westbrook said...

We don't allow name-calling. But we have always said you can comment on someone's job performance (volunteer or not). For example, you can't say, "That person is dumb" but you could say, "That person's effectiveness as X is undermined by his ability to understand policy."

Mirmac1 has strong opinions for sure and it's her issue to navigate expressing them while being a PTA president. (I know what that's like.) It is important to be inclusive and sometimes that means dialing it back, if only for the comfort of other parents. That's for her to decide and those of you in that PTA can vote her out if you are that unhappy.

Anonymous said...

I hope I wasn't misunderstood. Personally, I greatly appreciate the advocacy and energy of Mirmac1 especially when when no one else steps up to the plate. And yes, sometimes things are uncomfortable to hear. Absolutely, if someone else want to take on a responsible volunteer position, please, please go ahead. I do see what I consider unsubstantiated accusations and innuendoes from Team Teacher, Sped parent, Ex PTSA member, Anonymous - those are pure insults in my opinion. I will move on from this "conversation"


Anonymous said...

Here is the latest SEA update:

New offer from district still falls short

District administrators brought a new wage offer to the table on Tuesday, the day after SEA members voted to set September 3rd as a strike deadline.

The administration's offer was a slight increase from their previous offer, but still fell far short of paying certificated staff for the increase in work hours the District is proposing. The first year remained the same at 2%, while the second year increased from 2.5 to 3.2%, and third year increased from 2.5% to 3%. In contrast, SEA has proposed increases of 7 percent a year for three years, which is much more in line with what is needed to continue attracting and keeping quality educators in Seattle.

The District administration's wage proposal is contingent on our acceptance of their proposal for a longer school day for certificated staff beginning in 2017-18.

Partially because of WEA's advocacy in Olympia this year, the Seattle School District is receiving significant new funds this year from both the state and the levy. Yet their wage proposal looks very similar to what was offered in the last contract two years ago, when funding from the state was less robust and we were still feeling the effects of the great recession. The District also continues to maintain a very healthy reserve of over 8% of its budget. It's our position that investing in Seattle educators should be the district administration's top budget priority.

"We can't regard this as a serious proposal," Andy Russell, teacher at Dearborn Park told the administration. "It assumes a half hour donation of time in the 3rd year. How could we present this to our members?"

Administrators suggested that teachers could reallocate the time we currently have in the half hour before and after school, and thereby see their proposal as working just ten more minutes.
Team member after team member described for the administration what we do in the half hour before and after school: contacting parents, helping students, planning, meeting with colleagues and on and on and on.

"How do I 'reallocate' those 20 minutes?" asked Joe Kelly, teacher at Ballard. "The work will still have to be done. A half hour is 6.7% more time, and I don't see a 6.7% increase in this proposal to cover my time."

SAEOPs and Parapros would receive the same third year increase as certificated staff, but not be required to work more time.

"Having students on campus longer creates additional work for parapros and SAEOPs," said Lynne Hubbard, SAEOP president. "The District doesn't seem to have a plan for how we get our work done with a longer school day."

District also responds to our proposal around substitutes

We received a counterproposal regarding certificated substitutes that indicated some movement on some aspects of the substitute shortage. We have not yet received a response to our proposal for classified substitutes.

"The classified substitute shortage may be even worse than the certificated one," said Peter Henry, SEA Substitute Department president.

Little progress on other important issues

The district administration continues to reject SEA's proposals on ESA workloads, equity teams, recess and teacher evaluations. Bargaining resumes Thursday.

David Edelman

Anonymous said...


Could you better explain the SEA proposal for 7% per year salary increase? Doesn't the state set the salary scale?


teacher neighbor

Carol Simmons said...

I personally know that Mirmac 1 is one of the most knowledgeable, caring, effective and strongest advocates for our Special Education students in the District. We are extremely fortunate to have her willing and able to do the work necessary to insure not only equity for Special Ed students but for all students who have been underserved.

Josh Hayes said...

As I understand it, the state kicks in a portion of a teacher's salary. This year the leg has sweetened that by, what, 3%, I think? The district, however, bumps up that state-provided amount. Different districts allocate money differently. For some, that produces higher teacher salaries (Everett SD, for instance).

In short, there's both a state and a local component. The state has increased theirs a bit, and now the SEA would like to see the district step up and do the same.

Anonymous said...

WinkWink, what century are you living in? Every elementary special education program has IAs, including Resource Room. 1/3 of the students in secondary sped programs have IAs. And, a good chunk of therapy providers in sped have IAs. So truly. it's more like 6,000 special ed students who "use" IAs. Even if your kid isn't directly using an IA, your kid indirectly benefits because more teacher time is available to your kid as a result of the IAs at your school.Subtract the IAs from the buildings, and your kid will be impacted, guaranteed.

You want research? We don't need any more fads. So, that wouldn't be in the bargain. We need programs to come with expectations.

Get real.

Nudge Nudge

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Josh. I've heard people say that the Union is asking for a 21% (7% each of 3 years.) wage increase. Ha, if only. So this is really not very much per year.

Thanks for your clarification. That sounds reasonable.

Teacher neighbor

Anonymous said...

So, does the SEA have no bargaining issues on SPED? There was no info in the update. They LIKE the status quo?


Anonymous said...

SEA SPED bargaining issues:

ESA (psych, slp, OT/PT) caseload limits. There are no caps now. Some therapists have 50 or more students on their caseloads.

more support for intensive classrooms

more support for the riser process

fighting against the district proposal to have less staffing of sped preschool


Anonymous said...

Teacher Neighbor wrote:

"Could you better explain the SEA proposal for 7% per year salary increase? Doesn't the state set the salary scale?

The State has a state salary schedule. There is much more to that than meets the eye.
The following is from memory.

Around 1980 the state needed to fully fund education. At that time there were large discrepancies in salaries paid to teachers. Generally rural school districts paid way less than other districts. Teachers generally moved to more developed areas to get more money. There was about a three year window to equalize this.

In this time higher paying districts gave no raises and lowering paying districts had three years to catch up. It did not take long for teachers to see that moving to the more urban areas made no financial sense.

I remember a district recruiting and interviewing a wonderful teacher and girls basketball coach, offering him a contract and then he rejected it because the cost of living was so much higher in Western WA than in Ephrata. (housing prices for a teacher with a wife and four children at home = no deal)

Eventually many districts decided to supplement teacher pay with TRI money (and the state said this was OK). This was necessary because teachers had extreme difficulty seeing any financial logic to teaching in the Seattle and the areas around Seattle.
I believe that all TRI money came from local funds. (The legislature on McCleary has completely failed to address this huge financial discrepancy - as around 1/3 of district salaries are coming from local funds and no mention of how that will be funded by 2018)

TRI money stands for Time and Responsibility Incentive (I think)

For the rural places next year the top of the teacher salary schedule is around $65k

in the higher paying districts it is around $85k.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

We need to look at The Math of those who deride the tone of others, of those who have suggestions on being 'positive' & inclusive & ... to make whatever organization more powerful.

The Math is that a significant % of the complainers and whiners ever get off their asses, except to whine and complain about the tone of others. A significant % do participate, and when they get in charge they censor out anything and everyone who doesn't follow their narrow definition of 'positive'. They tend to not only lose, but to politically get their butts handed to them, year after year and decade after decade. While it is admirable that they'll stick to their Holier-Than-Thou-NonGuns, if they weren't so intolerant & stuck in folk music land of 1965 & allowed tactics & messaging other than whiny begging pathetic, they might accomplish something.

In 1965 20 or 30 Republicans voted for the Voting Rights Act. 1965 & bipartisanship & working together are gone. By the way ... there was a lot of other stuff happening besides sing a longs with Pete, Joan & Bob which made the Nicey



Chris S. said...

I think mirmac is being trolled, too. Every once in a while on this blog we have a conversation about how you "catch more flies with honey" etc etc. Well, show me a case where being polite has gotten you somewhere with the district. Of course they prefer polite PTSA reps - easy to roll over. Of course NOTHING, nice or not, has ever had much traction here. But give me someone with mirmacs' breadth and depth of knowledge and I'll let her take whatever tack she favors.

Anonymous said...


as a fellow teacher, sadly, I have absolutely no more details about what my Union is bargaining for, in Sped as far as :

more support for intensive classrooms

more support for the riser process

fighting against the district proposal to have less staffing of sped preschool

Nothing was elaborated on at the meeting. Anyone have specifics? (the words: "more,""less" don't cut the mustard)


Anonymous said...

In the meeting, we were encouraged to contact bargaining team members with questions. Their names are on the SEA website. I think the ESEA caseload limit is highest priority among the SPED issues.

Anonymous said...

I did not mean to imply that anyone should be a push over. On this we agree. Nor was I suggesting a saccharine sweet approach-- that is equally as ineffective. I was nearly suggesting reflection on how we represent our selves to others who may be interested in and/or already active in the issues that the sped ptsa is. As a president and member of this organization, she is an ambassador for them when posts are made in reference the work they are doing. As an ambassador, she has the power to grow this organization and draw people together towards a unified cause. My post was not about getting anywhere with "the district".


mirmac1 said...

I haven't reviewed this thread for a day or so. Again, too busy. In my many years active in SpEd PTSA and SEAAC, I'm used to reading questions on this blog from some who I know are more aware than they seem. Whether inquiring minds are the same or are new readers, I strongly urge them to join the SpEd PTSA listserv, attend meetings or become active as a volunteer. That is the easiest way to keep up with the many, chronic, ever-changing issues parents and teachers are confronted with every day.

To join the SpEd PTSA listserv, email: seattle_sped_pta-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Do know that, unlike this blog, trollers are excluded. Thanks : )

Anonymous said...

teacher neighbor,

This is how I understand it:

The state is kicking in a 3% COLA increase over two years. In addition, the state is granting an additional temporary 1.8% increase over two years. So the phased-in increase over two years is 4.8%.

The district initially offered a 4.5% increase over two years, which is lower than the state allocation. That I don't understand. The district offered an additional 2.5% in the third year.

Now its offer is a 5.2% increase over two years. And it's offering 3% in the third year.

Thus, for the first two years, the district would be kicking in .4% beyond what is coming from the state in the form of state COLA allocations. That .4% would come out of the additional $40 million the district is receiving from the state. In addition, the district has what the SEA believes is excess reserve funds, though how many tens of millions that amounts to is not something I know.

If any of this is incorrect, I invite someone with better knowledge to clear it up.

David Edelman

Jet City mom said...

I apologize for posting on Sunday instead of waiting till Tuesday, but Ive just heard about at least two, maybe three families in my neighborhood( Ballard) whose landlords are kcking them out in a month because they are selling the properties, and they would like to be able to keep their children in the same elementary school if they are able to find another place nearby.
If they moved say a block or two outside the assignment zone( but still within walk zone) wuld they still be able to attend?

Lynn said...

If they don't report a change in address until after the school year begins, they will be able to stay through June. (I'd wait until after September 30th myself.) They'd have to try to get a spot through open enrollment for next year.