Friday, April 15, 2016

Again, What Will the Washington State Supreme Court Do?

Update: good overview of funding from the Times.

From KUOW:
Washington Governor Jay Inslee must sign the supplemental budget next week. When he does sign it, that action touches off a series of deadlines in the McCleary case.
KUOW is reporting that the Court told the legislature they must, within 30 days of Inslee signing the supplemental budget, give them a report on their McCleary plans.  Then the plaintiffs in the case can respond (within 20 days) and then the state has 10 days to reply to that response.

Now we all know what the "plan" is - there was a bill passed on it.  They "plan" to kick the can down the road for another year.  I'm not sure what else the legislature could say they are actually doing.

So I did a calendar check.  The end of next week is April 22nd and that would be the last day the Governor can take to sign the budget. The legislature has until June 6th to respond (Memorial Day moves it one more day further on.)

The plaintiffs would have until July 6th to respond (with 4th of the July moving the date one day forward on the calendar.)

And then the legislature would have their 10 days to reply to the plaintiffs' response which takes us to July 20th.   

Of course, how long after that date the Court will take to do/say anything is a guess.

The Court began fining the legislature $100,000 a day for each day McCleary is not implemented and, last I checked, that was about $24M.  The legislature did nothing this session to pay that fine.
In the November 2015 court filing, the McCleary side is asking the court to consider cancelling school next September by invalidating state school statutes it decides are not amply funded. An alternative would be for the court to suspend the state’s tax exemption statutes. One of the most important tax exemptions in the state is the one that prevents sales taxes from being imposed on food.
Now if I were a justice, I would not be happy that more didn't get done on McCleary and the fine was ignored.  I would be upset that there was virtually no real discussion on McCleary at all this session.  Further, I would notice that the legislature did have time to discuss and pass a new charter school bill (despite the old law still being in the court system.)  

One more thing  - a new messaging that seems to be taking form on this issue.  There are a few people on the pro-charter side that have taken to calling out the "McCleary-first crowd."

Color me confused: wouldn't that be every single public school parent in the state including charter school parents?

The other line is that the "McCleary-first crowd" only wants the money to keep the current system going and really doesn't care about students of color/FRL.  And further, that we should fix our inequitable system first and THEN fully fund schools.

I don't see this as rational reasoning myself unless you believe every single school district in this state does not want to support students of color/FRL.  I don't believe that at all.  Seattle School district certainly isn't waiting (see their African-American males initiative) and neither is Highline (see Superintendent Enfield's revision of enrollment to Aviation High.)

Basically, there appears to be an attempt to take the equity mantle and put it on charter schools as the only real people who care.  That just isn't true and I know that just from the readers who come to this blog.  It's a pretty disturbing meme.


Anonymous said...

Melissa, can you post evidence, e.g., social media, blog posts, online news articles, etc., of pro-charter people using the term "McCleary-first crowd"?

--- aka

Melissa Westbrook said...

I think you can Google that and find it. I am not posting it because of personal attacks launched against me at the site.

I am going to stick to issues even if others are not.

Anonymous said...

Wait a minute, you're the one who brought it up. You stated:

"One more thing - a new messaging that seems to be taking form on this issue. There are a few people on the pro-charter side that have taken to calling out the 'McCleary-first crowd'...The other line is that the 'McCleary-first crowd' only wants the money to keep the current system going and really doesn't care about students of color/FRL. And further, that we should fix our inequitable system first and THEN fully fund schools."

I simply asked for evidence of your claim.

--- aka

Melissa Westbrook said...

Aka, I know that. But I am not going to link to this site. I Googled it and easily found it and so can you.

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

Maybe you can answer this, aka.
I'm curious how Magendanz "knows" that these charter schools are serving high-risk kids when 1) the majority of them won't respond to FOIA requests despite getting public money & claiming to be "public" schools and 2) when Rep Pollet was *finally* able to get records from Summit Charter School in South Seattle, he found that a large number of students came from private schools and from zip codes north of the ship canal bridge rather than from the low-income areas that the school purported to serve in their charter. Sounds more like a school where parents wanted their exclusive private school experience at the public's expense rather than a school serving a high-risk population...like RBHS does. Of course there are always the few token low-income kids, because they need to have examples for show.

He was (and still will be, I'm sure) willing to screw over 1.1 million public schools kids (none of whom are apparently "at-risk") for the sake of these 800 supposedly "high-risk" charter school kids whose lives are and previous schools were supposedly so awful that a charter school is their only hope for any type of "equitable" future. Meanwhile public schools are having to cut programs that serve high-risk kids due to lack of funding, as well as advanced learning options, the arts, etc., all while cramming more kids into schools that are already at or above capacity. The levy cliff is going to make the latter even worse in many districts.

So how is it that Magendanz and his pro-charter buddies, including the personal attack ones referenced previously who claim to be so concerned about equity, but only insofar as they get their exclusive little charters with class size caps and lots of secret private money to supplement their public funds, can justify privileging these 800 kids? Why is it OK to continue to make school districts rely so much on local levy dollars for basic education, thus privileging the school districts in richer areas (like say Shoreline) when compared to poorer areas (like Highline)? Why is it OK to hold one large segment of the population hostage until he gets what he wants?*


*yes, he posted this on his Facebook page

Anonymous said...

CT, why are you asking me to defend someone else's reported words?

--- aka

Charlie Mas said...

I Googled "McCleary first crowd" and got a hit. I followed the link and read the blog post.

I don't know if there are a lot of people who share this view or are expressing this view. Either way, the sentiment is out there and it was seen in Robin Lake's op-ed to the Times, so it can't be all that small a group that shares this view.

Robert Cruickshank said...

I'm sure that students sitting in deteriorating classrooms without textbooks, wondering if their IB program will still be funded next year, wishing they had the kind of programs and opportunities that kids in richer districts have, hoping for a guidance counselor and a smaller class size, agree that money isn't a problem and that there shouldn't be any urgency around solving at least 40 years of financial neglect.

Nobody believes money alone is the answer. But money is a major part of the answer and its absence is damaging. And everyone has noticed that charter school advocates were nowhere to be found when others were fighting to get schools fully funded in this legislative session. "Charters first" is fine with them, but "McCleary first" isn't?

Melissa Westbrook said...

The hilarious thing is Summit says my public disclosure request - made in early December (so they had been in operation less than 3 months) and a somewhat narrow request - now is coming in May. May.

Glad that Gerry got what he wanted. I did get Rainier Prep's and there's some interesting reading there as well.

Well said, Robert.

Anonymous said...

Robert, I see that you're all over the "charter school advocates were nowhere to be found" in Olympia on McCleary in 2016. But let's all be very clear --- neither were you. I was in Olympia on a regular basis and I never saw you. I was at the SB 6195 hearings in the House and Senate and I didn't see you. I've watched the hearings and I didn't see you. I've read the bill reports for the House and Senate McCleary bills and I don't see your name on any of them indicating that you signed in to testify or even in support or opposition to these bills.

Melissa can call out whoever she likes. She was there. You on the other hand are spouting second-hand (at best) reports. But the fact is, you weren't there. You have no idea.

You keep ringing this bell all over social media but the fact is that you have no clue.

--- aka

Robert Cruickshank said...

I work a full-time job and then help take care of my toddler at home. Like many working parents in Washington State, being able to get to Olympia during the session is a luxury I do not have. Like those working parents, I do not have to answer to or explain myself to someone who uses a pseudonym in a blog comment.

I have worked in the past, in this session, and will continue to work in the future to build support for fully funding our schools and urging our legislature to do so as soon as is possible.

Charter advocates aggressively cut in line, ahead of 1 million public school kids, to demand that taxpayers fund their private schools even though wealthy donors like Bill Gates have more than enough funds to keep those brand-new schools open. The fact that those charter organizations were not advocating publicly for the legislature to meet the McCleary order has been noticed by a lot of people across this state. I can only hope they will be a part of the movement to demand all our public schools at long last get the full funding they are owed under the constitution.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Again, there may have been charter parents who advocated for McCleary but there were no schools or charter groups that raised their voices a single time publicly, despite their frequent visits to Olympia.

But I think it difficult for most parents to get to Olympia and I myself would not fault anyone for not making it there. None of us know if people called or wrote their legislator so there's that as well.

Anonymous said...

Robert, you make a fair point. You don't have to justify yourself to me (an anonymous poster) or anyone else, for that matter. I won't quibble on that point.

But the fact that you weren't there appears to go unchallenged. And the other fact is that you, more than nearly anyone else on the WPD FB page, Twitter, etc. call out the charter advocates for not being in Olympia publicly advocating for full funding. You do this despite the "fact" that you have to direct knowledge of it because you weren't there.

--- aka

Anonymous said...

Is the reason that SPS doesn't fund the IB programs in its high schools because it considers IB to be an enrichment rather than basic education? Or is there another reason?


Melissa Westbrook said...

The district has a long-time issue of starting programs that they can't/won't fund. IB is one of them. I'm not sure why the district thinks a school like RBHS or Sealth could possibly fund the program on their own. I actually have an idea that I believe could work and am trying to advance it now. I'll let you know how it goes.

Peter Schurke said...

I was a staff member at Ingraham in 2001 when we were first applying to bring in the IB programme (Spelling theirs, not mine). Once we got through the application process, we were told by the district we'd get an extra budget allocation, to help support the FTE for the Coordinator role and to cover the costs associated with the programme. That allocation lasted 2-3 years, tops, then disappeared. The school has been covering it on their own ever since. We fought and complained, as did our PTA, but to no avail. Once the district pulled the funding it was gone.

I left Ingraham in 2011, so can't speak to what their budgetary situation has been since then. Given the recent article in the times, I'd have to conclude that the situation re: the IB programme hasn't changed for the better.

Ingraham's IB programme had some of the greatest kids it has ever been my privilege to work with. Their students today are likely just as high caliber as the ones I was honored to work with. They deserved better from their district then, and they deserve better from their district now.

Anonymous said...

" deteriorating classrooms without textbooks, wondering if their IB program will still be funded next year" A little dramatic don't you think?

Folks IB is not what people think it is. My GOD how did the US education system work for over 100 years before IB existed here.

Let's call IB for what it was used for by SPS "White and Asian bait".

End PC

Anonymous said...

Don't all of our students deserve better from our district? Why only those who participate in the IB program? No offense, but you really come off like a snob.

End PC

Melissa Westbrook said...

End PC, I can't speak to the classrooms but yes, there were not textbooks for some IB classes. You can ask Director Harris.

IB only came up because a reader asked about it. No one said anything about not funding all students.

Catherine said...

There's lots of magical thinking in the district that you can start a program with some extra money, and somehow after 2-3 years, it will cost nothing to continue it. It goes far beyond IB. Frustrating.

Anonymous said...


It is not magical thinking. We, parents and PTAs all over the district, have taught them that we will pay for things that they won't and that we will supply volunteer hours for positions they won't fill. I have been at a school where parents were forced to volunteer to watch kids at recess and in the lunchroom because the district wouldn't pay for that.

The parents at the IB schools will find a way to pay for it. They always do. Parents need to stop doing this in order to force the district to change. The problem is that no one wants their kid to only get one year of a two-year program because their kid is a senior and in the second year of the program.

All PTAs should immediately stop paying for IAs, nurses, librarians, tutors, etc. We pay our taxes and the district should be paying for these will our tax dollars. But they won't until parents stand up.


Melissa Westbrook said...

"Parents need to stop doing this in order to force the district to change."


Anonymous said...

"Given the recent article in the times, I'd have to conclude that the situation re: the IB programme hasn't changed for the better."

Peter, I'd say that is about right. The IB program works because the staff, parents and students make it work, not because the district supports it. The district would support it if they got credit for its successes, but because they aren't responsible for its successes, they'll never support it--until, that is, there is a change in the district's administrative culture.

David Edelman

Peter Schurke said...

End PC,

Please do not presume that just because I make a statement about the district's lack of support for one specific program that I only care about that program or the students who participate in it. You don't know me anywhere near well enough to assume you know what I think.

Your shot is like assuming that I don't care about the lack of support at Chief Sealth or Rainier Beach because I didn't specifically mention those school. I didn't work at either of those two places, so couldn't speak to what had happened there.

I stopped teaching IB classes to return to teaching non-IB students for a good span of my time at Ingraham--IB was not my favorite class to teach. I only returned to teaching IB during my last year at the school, and I did so only because Mr. Floe came to me and asked me to.

Only some of the students I had the privilege to teach in that building were in the IB programme. Others were students with ELL services. Some were students with IEPs. Most were none of those, they were just your average, run-of-the-mill great kids whom I had the honor to work with. I taught them all, and I loved them all. I had high standards for them all and I worked hard to help all of them achieve those standards. All of my students were amazing, and, yes, all of them deserved better than they got from their district. I wrongly assumed that I wouldn't have to explicitly state that for the record.

Take shots at the program all you want, but don't take shots at someone for trying to give you an inside look at how the bait-and-switch by the district happened. It reveals you as a troll.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Peter, I think Ingraham is a quiet but great school. Real diversity there and Mr. Floe is great. I'm glad you had the opportunity to teach many kinds of kids.

If I can ask, regarding McCleary, besides support for the IB program, what would make the most difference on the ground at Ingraham?

Peter Schurke said...


I haven't been there in five years, so it would be inappropriate of me to answer for Ingraham specifically.

I'll give it some thought about what I think our schools in general could benefit from, if McCleary were actually funded...

Josh Hayes said...

I'll chime in on the Ingraham thing - the IB is, of course, a very positive program, but I think effort needs to be made to bridge the gap between the HC/IB/IBX cohort and the GenEd cohort -- there is a pretty broad gulf between them. The GenEd group feel like second-class citizens in the school, and I think it'd be a good thing to, for instance, provide good classroom equipment for ALL classes in a department.

Example: in my GenEd Biology classroom, I had a projector and a pull-down screen, but no smart board, and no Skype capability or any of that sort of thing -- the Honors and IB Biology classrooms had both. This just reinforces the idea that GenEd kids get castoff materials, and I think that's something the school should combat: I saw this "two schools under one roof" attitude as the biggest problem facing a darn good school - as a sign of my confidence in the school, my son graduated from Ingraham last year and my daughter is a 10th grader there now. I believe in the school, I believe it's a good place, but it can be better.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Oh no, Josh, that's just not good.

Anonymous said...

Does Ingraham have a science boosters group? Hale has one and they usually ask for a donation every year. There is also a suggested science fee for the various classes. I think it was $20 for Physics? There are scholarships for it and I don't think you are required to pay it. I usually take the fee and double it so that I pay for one other student. Ingraham may want to look into something like that and then have the support cover all sciences classes not just IB or Honors.