Sunday, August 27, 2017

Dear Readers, Part One

Dear Readers,

Just a few quick thoughts as we head into the last full week of summer vacation and before school gets back into swing.

As a blog moderator, I feel lucky that my blog doesn't see much of the traffic from trolls and their  inflammatory rhetoric. 

However, I am increasingly seeing a few more unpleasant comments that do not seem to be from my two main trolls (and most of you seem to know who they are and that's fine to keep it in the family - they matter little here).

I perceive this is happening for a couple of reasons.

1) We have Seattle School Board elections coming up and there are those who want to try to discredit me in order to try to lessen any impact this blog might have on those elections outcomes. Since it is near impossible to shut down this blog, then a strategy to undermine me makes sense. 

Of course, it is fine to believe in your candidate and their background/experience.  But what's not valid is to try to make hazy what is crystal clear.

One good example is the candidate who claims to not really want to bring charter schools into SPS despite currently sitting on the board of a chain of charter schools (and not even stepping down from said board to run for School Board). You can hedge and waffled and dissemble all you want on that point but it just defies any kind of logic to not think of what that candidate would do once in office.

2) The other reason is the use of the newish racial equity lens in SPS (which I will expand on in Part Two of this series).

I applaud the district for finally trying to make concrete efforts on the issue of institutional racism.

I think the use of the racial equity lens is a good idea BUT if you use it, you must use it for everything where decisions need to be made.  The district seems to want to use it on a need basis when they want to go in a particular direction but seem to ignore it for other issues.

For example, I think the tool is used far less for Facilities than for other uses.

I give the district credit for the large number of schools renovated or rebuilt under BEX.  In the first 10 years of the program, far more schools in the south-end were renovated than in the north-end.  The district, challenged with so very many truly aged buildings, has made a sustained effort to get a better building to every child in the district (and many thanks to the taxpayers of Seattle for the dollars to do so).

But when I see the district seem to rush into discussions with the City over Memorial Stadium, with their words almost seeming to guarantee a new high school there, I have to wonder.  The guarantee for any new high school should first come for Rainier Beach High School.  That's where the equity need in Facilities currently lies.

But the racial equity lens is not the only way to find and establish equity.  The racial equity lens is their go-to that to me sometimes feels wielded like a club.

Don't like the tool?  You may be a racist.*  The district is subtle about it but a few readers here are not.  In fact, some seem almost glad to try to say that about anyone who even questions this direction.

But there are many ways to a goal and I have no problem with readers trying to suss all of them out. I'd hope the district would be open to other ideas.

You can see this in how Trump acts - always casting doubt on the very people who are trying to get answers (meaning, the media).  

I believe that going forward in the next several months, it will be important for all my readers to have this elevated awareness about what I believe is happening.  

Lastly, I will not pit groups of students against each other and I hope to see less of that from readers.

The state has given all the school districts in Washington State a mandate - to educate each and every child.  We should move to add supports where they are needed and acknowledge the mistakes of the past - always.  But, that mandate cannot be forgotten.


*Of course, we all have some kind of racist tendencies.  The research proves that.