Commentary on Current D7 Status for a New Director

I'll just put a couple of things out there.

1)  I think the Board should call off the last forum and just vote this week so when school starts, D7 has representation and the Board did their job.

2) This process of picking a new rep for D7 is going south.  For people who say this is "their" decision, they Board certainly seems like they are following someone else's lead.

And that there are those in D7 that are still complaining should tell you something.  They were never going to be satisfied.

3) Those three brave candidates now have to wait almost two more weeks for a forum whose format isn't truly clear. 

What else could we possibly learn from them if the forum isn't open to all types of questions from across the district?  Otherwise, it's some kind of popularity contest.

Reader HP said it well - the first forum was the primary for D7 and this forum should be the general election for the entire city. 

4)I think if they do hold the forum it will be a train wreck because I suspect there will be people willing to derail it to make a point.

5) Also, note the silence from the Seattle Times editorial board.  This is very unlike them to not have endorsed Board seats in the primary. Sure, they had their hands full with the City Council seats and the number of candidates, but that doesn't totally explain it.

I think they are waiting to see how the D7 process goes.  I think they are hoping the next forum will be a failure.

I think if the candidate they believe is right from D7 isn't picked, they will go after the Board (and especially President Harris who is the sole incumbent running) like a duck on a bug.


D7 parent said…
While I am not happy about how long this process is taking and don't understand why the forum wasn't scheduled for this week, cancelling the forum is not a good idea. Even though it is pretty clear who will get the seat, the community would feel even more ignored if the forum does not happen.
The board is in a bit of a no win situation, but that was always going to be the case in this process. I'd rather have a forum that centers the voices of BIPOC even if it doesn't change who will be selected. People in D7, especially BIPOC and SpED families, do not feel heard by the district, and this is an opportunity for them to express their needs and concerns through questions of the candidates.

Watching said…
I agree with Melissa. The board should appoint a director before the start of school.

How are they being ignored?

I'll just say Sped does not come up much in these discussions.

Train Wreck said…
Good point:

"Reader HP said it well - the first forum was the primary for D7 and this forum should be the general election for the entire city. "
Anonymous said…

Was that a rhetorical question or are you serious?

This district has spent years catering to families with power and privilege.

The evidence is manifested in everything from inconsistent offerings in high schools, continued HCC debacle, Black families leaving the district out of despair, and PTA funding.

That question was similar to your comment, again, that Advanced Learning is "open to everyone."

Actually, it's not. It's open to those who qualify based on the entry requirements that go against all best practices for identifying underserved students.

Get Real
Anonymous said…
So the answer is to take things away from one group of kids and give it to another? Or in the case of eliminating all PTA funding, taking things away from one group of kids and that's it? There's no equity here. There's no high quality education here. There's no calling in to achieve racial justice and a great education for every child in Seattle. There's just a politics of resentment, a few toxic people who seized control of SCPTSA in order to get back at people they've had a grudge against for years, and now they're acting on it by taking it out on kids.

There should be *good*, consistent offerings in high schools. You can achieve consistency by having a narrow curriculum and then you've failed, just as narrowing the curriculum has provided low-quality for everyone in a city like Newark. The "HCC debacle" is that the district wants to end it and so they actively block kids of color from going there and some resentful parents think the problem is the program rather than the district's gatekeeping.

Black families are leaving Seattle due to high costs, some are being picked off by charters, but what do you think is going to happen if PTA funding is ended? You'll see a massive exodus of white families from SPS.

If you want to end privilege, you have to show parents who have privilege that they do not need to rely on their privilege in order to get a good education. But all the solutions the SCPTSA crowd propose are basically telling parents to fall back on their privilege - that in fact the only way to get their child the education they need is to use their privilege. It's absurd and shows why the drop-ceiling approach to equity, this ugly resentment that is about revenge rather than educating kids, is a recipe for disaster in SPS.

Say What? said…
Get Real,

What are you talking about? Are you talking about initiatives to put IB into Rainier Beach, STEM in Cleveland, STEM in W. Seattle etc. Are you talking about the new teacher contract that puts counselors into low income schools? Are you talking about grant funding that goes into Title 1 schools? Are you talking about district efforts to get University support into low income schools? Are you talking about the $1M provided to a low income elementary school via a private entity. Are you talking about the failed $11M Southeast initiative? Are you talking about the city's $600M Family and Education Levy that supports low income schools? Maybe you are talking about efforts to get Rainier Beach a new school while north-end middle schools are falling apart. How can you say, with a straight face, that the district caters to HCC families?

Get Real, I mean no one was being ignored in the D7 process.

Of course, I know the history of this district. Some high schools used to not have any AP. There were always inequities in PTA funding (but that never stopped the district from taking the money). I'm not going into HCC but again, the district has known for a long time how to change the program to make it better and I have tried to help them see that. It hasn't worked. Clearly.

I think it's also clear the district doesn't know what it is doing if it is driving out both Black families and white families.
Anonymous said…
Agree with Say What. @Get Real In addition to all the grants, programs, initiatives etc. that Say What mentioned, the strategic plan and everything else the district says and does is focused on kids of color and/or African American males specifically.

Actually 1/3 of white Seattle most wealthy privileged families already left SPS for private schools. Many have also left for neighboring suburbs with smaller school districts with far less dysfuction than SPS. The white families who are left in SPS are largely the middle class, a gap growing between them and the wealthy, with a school district that is not focused on them or their needs in the slightest. This also includes SPED and other kids not included in the strategic plan.

Private Stats said…
Private school students are not all white. They are all privileged, though, privileged to have a choice of school.

Seattle’s 2017-18 Private school enrollment by racial demographic
Total: 17,685 students in private school
American Indian 89
Asian 1,967
Black 1,283
Hispanic 909
White 10,844
Other 2,590

(from the OSPI enrollment reports here:

SPS clearly does not care about anyone that leaves. And there is some question about how much they care even about the students who stay.
Anonymous said…
The board was supposed to appoint someone, but they seem to be turning this into an election of some sort--one that's only being voted upon by a minority of people who are particularly involved in--or have something at stake in--the process, as opposed to the entire region that's supposed to be represented. (While each board member technically represents the entire district, they are also more accountable to their own district, as that's who will/won't vote for them in the future.)

The whole point of doing this by appointment rather than election is to make it easier and faster--but that sure doesn't seem to be happening. There are so many other things the board needs to be working on right now. The fact that they can't handle just making a simple and efficient appointment is troubling.

c'mon already
Please tell the Board this.
Unknown said…
Governance through spectacle and misdirection with too many activists with Sociology and Education (which is often Sociology with therapeutic journaling) degrees with too many good arguments. It's another PNW paralysis akin to four Ballard drivers simultaneously arriving at the intersection of 80th and 24th.

Anonymous said…
This is BS. Patu ruined any good will by not letting the city elect her successor. Shameful. Board members better realize this too. You all represent everyone in the city's boundaries. The replacement should too.

Anonymous said…
If 4 drivers arrive at the intersection of 80th and 24th then they do whatever the traffic lights tell them to do, because it's a signalized intersection...

Agree completely that Betty Patu made the wrong choice to resign rather than allow an election to be held. That said, Leslie Harris could manage this better but isn't. I get the need to re-elect her, but she sure is making it hard.


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