Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Durkan Advocates for Free College for SPS Students

Sounds great, right?  Ah, but those details.  From The Stranger:
The program, modeled off an existing South Seattle scholarship program, would offer Seattle graduates, including undocumented students, counseling for their transition to college and then up to two years of tuition at any community college or technical college in Washington State. The program would not apply to four-year universities. 

The program would cost $4 to $5 million in the first year, increasing to an eventual $7 million a year. Durkan's estimates are based off serving a quarter of the 2,900 students who graduate from Seattle Pulbic Schools each year. 

Durkan has not yet determined exactly how she would pay for the program. The soda tax and an expected renewal of the existing property tax-funded education levy could be potential funding sources, she said, as well as money from Sound Transit 3. Last year's light rail package included $500 million in taxes for education programs across the region. (That funding came about thanks to then-state Rep. Jessyn Farrell, who also ran for mayor this year but didn't make it through the primary election.)

Durkan also pledged to work on closing the achievement gap, connecting kids with jobs, and finding additional money for books, transportation, and other expenses that come along with going to college.
What does the other mayoral candidate, Cary Moon, say?
Moon said the city should "invest in education from cradle to college" by providing access to child care and education, but did not propose specific new programs or funding plans. The city should also "address inequity in Seattle education at its root causes" by addressing housing affordability and income inequality, Moon said.
In the same statement, Moon also announced an endorsement from SEIU 925, a union representing K-12 school workers, child care workers and employees of the University of Washington.
That property-tax funded education levy is the Families & Education levy.  What would Durkan cut from it?  Summer school? Some of the health clinics at our high schools (and, since Lincoln is reopening, there's another school to fund a clinic for)?  Because my perception is that there is not a lot of fat in the F&E levy.  So some programs currently serving SPS kids would likely be cut.

I absolutely agree with Durkan's idea that all these programs to get kids who might not otherwise be able to get into community college after high school should be brought under one umbrella.  That could be somewhat challenging to do given that some are state-level programs.  But the City certainly could centralize what is offered in Seattle and that would bring more clarity to what is out there and who it serves.

But cutting into the F&E levy funds which are stated as serving Pre-K-12, seems like a bad idea.  If the soda tax money or money from ST3 is there for this purpose, great.  But please don't take funding out of our district.

And, there is always the issue of when the levy needs to be renewed, in 2019, will the City include charter schools in it? 

The Stranger also had a rather telling interview with Nikkita Oliver recently and she pointed out a couple of things about Durkan, one of which rang bells in my head. (red mine)
There was a moment during our Candidate Survivor forum when Jenny Durkan dressed up as Melissa McCarthy playing Sean Spicer and she was roasting all the different candidates, and when she got to you, she said, "too cool, to cool" and then made a rather unfortunate remark about black dolls. (Editors note: She also used the term, "colored people.") What was going on through your head when that happened?
I was actually dealing with two things in that moment. The first is, how come no one is talking about the fact that an attorney who's done police reform work, who is a former federal prosecutor, threw tequila into an all-ages audience at it venue where you cannot take your own alcohol, but no one questioned whether that poor decision reflects upon her ability to be mayor? That's one thing. She broke a lot of laws right there, and no one really questioned it. Let's say I had done that. I guarantee you, I would have had some very serious repercussions. 

The second thing I was thinking about was how what she said was called a "faux pas." It was almost brushed off. Say that myself or Senator Hasegawa had said something in the reverse direction using similarly demeaning language towards white folks. There would have been an uproar in the city. It would not have been called a faux pas. In the moment, I was caught off-guard. Upon reflection, it was one of those times where I was like, "This is how whiteness plays out. This is how wealth plays out." 
My experience with Durkan at events is that she shows up late (which is odd for a candidate who might want to work the room).  And, she leaves about as fast as she can.

She did this at a Washington Paramount Duty event where all the women candidates showed up (it was a coincidence that only the women candidates came).  There was Jessyn Farrell at her table, ditto Cary Moon and Nikkita Oliver.  Durkan?  A no-show until the last minute.

And, just like at the Candidate Survivor forum, she did something to call a great deal of attention to herself.  She danced down the aisle with one of many great drag queens.  The dancing was fine but almost immediately after that particular performance, she went AWOL.  I had been chasing an interview with her for weeks - one that her handlers repeatedly told me she wanted - and yet, she was gone. I asked one of them if she had left and was told, "No, she's around someplace."  She was not.


Anonymous said...

Nothing is free...here come the taxes.

Oh Boy

Anonymous said...

As a woman, I was happy to see 2 female candidates winning the top spots. In fact, I was happy to see all 4 women at the top of the polls.

As a first time voter (new citizen) in November, I was hoping to vote for something else than the lesser of two evils. Not sure how to go about it. Will wait & see, but do not expect wonders from either one. Too sad.

Northgate Mom

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Really bummed Jessyn Farrel did not make it through as one of the candidates. She wanted development impact fees for schools etc. She also had the experience and track to make some really good things happen. Too bad. Too many candidates. Hope she will continue her work in some capacity toward some of what she had advocated.
-disappointed voter

Anonymous said...

"As a woman, I was happy to see 2 female candidates winning the top spots. In fact, I was happy to see all 4 women at the top of the polls."

As a white male, I was happy to see 2 white male candidates winning the top spots. In fact, I was happy to see all 4 white males at the top of the polls.

Why is the first statement considered socially acceptable and the second not, even though both are equally bigoted?


Lynn said...

We'll answer that question once we've experienced 200 years of women holding the majority of elected positions in this country.

Anonymous said...

@ Sanity-- Maybe because we have not had a female mayor in Seattle since 1928. She was the first and last female mayor ever. I also rejoiced that we had our first black president, who I consider one of the best presidents ever. I am very excited to hope toward a future where we will one day have a female president, many more black presidents, latino, asian, east asian & native american presidents, jewish & muslim, GLBT, non-anglo "white" (greek, armenian, turkish, italian, syrian-american etc) presidents etc.

Anonymous said...


The first comment ("...happy to see all 4 women...") sounds like a bias.
Your comment (" ...happy to see all 4 WHITE males...) sounds bigoted.

That's my take on the difference in how "socially acceptable" each comment is.

Sped Staffer

Anonymous said...

Wow, Sanity must be one of those "evil tech bros" we've hear about lately.



Anonymous said...

I think anyone who goes to college should have skin in the game. The amount they pay could be adjusted to reflect their income, but everyone should have to sacrifice a little. And there must be requirements for getting and keeping the subsidy, like graduating with a certain GPA, and maintaining a certain GPA in college. And the courses must not be made easy so that everyone can pass easily. They must maintain standards, or the degree will be meaningless, like a high school diploma is. I fear that without some rigorous standards, free college would just be an excuse to put off real plans for 2 more years. I recall hearing a free-ride student at the UW tell another student, "To me, this is just a free party". I want to enable kids who really want it and are willing to work. But that's not everybody.


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