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Sunday, October 20, 2019

Got Ballot? District 1

Update: see the bottom of this post.

I received my ballot just this week; I believe everyone registered to vote should be getting theirs soon.  I'll have a post for each race.

District 1 - Eric Blumhagen

This is such an easy choice.  The depth of Eric's knowledge of this district and its workings - across several areas - is enormous compared to his competitor, Liza Rankin.

If you have gone to any forum, you can see how Eric easily grasps questions and has thoughtful answers. Rankin seemed to need every other question repeated and had less meat to her answers.

As well, Eric has the temperament to be on the Board.  He's calm and analytical. He knows how to listen without judgment.

The above should be enough for anyone but I'll add one other because of my belief about service on the School Board.  It's a team sport. No one should be there for their own agenda or to be a slate of zealots.  We've seen that before and it did not work out.  Rankin is soft-spoken but make no mistake, she's got an agenda.

And, if you have her and Chandra Hampson and Zachary DeWolf, you have three people who are favor of flipping the SPS table.  Get one more person and you will see an endorsement of all that the Superintendent wants and very little pushback on flipping the SPS table.

And to be clear, she does not like the current HCC form and told the Superintendent that in a letter:

We need to take a stand for our students and commit to serving their needs where they are geographically and academically.

Not too much to argue there - that should be what SPS is doing every day.


She points out that "the substitute resolution includes a priority on "minimizing disruption" which I would argue is antithetical to returning students to their home schools."

Ah, so it's not giving kids of color who may need highly capable services but more about where they live and making sure they are in the exact community their entire school careers.  This is where you can see that Rankin has not had kids in high school because, for high school, it's about a best fit for interests and emotional well-being.  Maybe staying in their neighborhood high school might not be the best thing for some kids but Rankin wants everyone to stay put.

She is all in for taking HCC apart.  (I note she says HC.  Also, all bold is mine.)

The struggle shouldn't be for equity in HC; it should be to provide equitable advanced learning opportunities to all students.  

She asks for "an equitable goal - differentiated HC and advanced learning opportunities at every school."

I'll just stop right here and say that the district DID have a system in place to do that and you know what? They didn't deliver.  What would be different this time?

Striving for more diversity in HCC is centering the needs and wants of the dominant culture - it's make self-segregation more palatable with the presence of more students of color who must choose   that was not made with their needs and wants in mind. Diversity isn't equity - equity is equal access to resources for everyone.

But, if you are revamping a system, can't it change to meet the needs and wants of students of color and their parents?

She goes on saying, "The only way to close opportunity gaps and improve outcomes for students of color and low-income students is to commit to providing them with the same resources and opportunities as their more privileged peers."

So the commitment HAS been made by the district to direct more resources to students of color.  Title One schools do get more state and federal dollars.  All AL programs are open to all kids.  She didn't say "in-school" opportunities (and I think that's what she meant) because schools can never give all the same life opportunities to all students. 

So that leaves - I surmise - PTA funds.  That's probably next on her list.

She also said:

Students in SPS who are white and affluent are achieving and advancing at exponentially higher rates than our students of color and poverty.

She does not explain how she knows which white students come from affluent families nor how many of them there are.  But she just knows.  Let me add to that as she wrote recently:

Additionally, there are students who test in very early and are precocious, not gifted, and by the time they are a little older are receiving academic tutoring to keep up with the acceleration, instead of being taught at a more appropriate level. 

Again, how does she know this for a fact? The answer is, she doesn't but it suits her narrative.  This is supposed to be a data-driven district and yet she wants to sit on the Board and judge parents. 

Band-aid fixes only serve to widen the gap, as they then allow white students to achieve more and more.

What that band-aid fix is she doesn't say.

This is all so much more about keeping kids in their neighborhood schools than what should be happening for Advanced Learning - which is finding and serving bright kids of color in a revamped HCC program that includes cultural competency.

Vote Blumhagen.  

Update: Chandra Hampson wrote an endorsement for Rankin and Mitchell and said these things:
  • Liza has been a local champion for special education students, highly capable students - wait, what? Just jump over to my thoughts on District 1, the race between Rankin and Blumhagen, and see what Rankin says about HCC.  A champion? Where's the proof of that?
  • She’s be an instrumental ally to me and many others. There's that slate mentality. Not good.

54 comments:

Anonymous said...

Liza chose to buy a house in the attendance area of an elementary school that is 2% Black, 8% Hispanic/Latino and 5% eligible for FARM and a middle school that is 3% Black, 7% Hispanic/Latino and 9% eligible for FARM. Her support for desegregated schools does not extend to her own family.

She attended a neighborhood school as a gifted student and believes this is what all gifted students should be required to do but attended University Prep and Whitman College.

No Rankin

NE PTAer said...

I thought Rankin said she went to Garfield HS?

But she definitely decided to live in a neighborhood where the school had one of Seattle's best Great Schools ratings (8/10).

In a city as diverse as Seattle, I just don't think we need two Eckstein middle school parents on the board. Rankin is on the PTA at Wedgwood and Hampson is on the PTA at Sand Point. Both schools feed into Eckstein, one of Seattle's wealthiest middle schools. The Eckstein zone has more HCC students in it all by itself than the Aki Kurose, Denny, Washington, Jane Addams, and Mercer middle school zones combined.

We just don't need both Rankin and Hampson. One Eckstein parent is enough on the board!

Anonymous said...

Don't worry LIZA will win the city as she did D1 in the primary.


No Eric

Melissa Westbrook said...

People buy houses where they buy houses.

But NE PTAer, good point on having two such similar people - same agenda, same schools, PTA, etc. - that would not be good.

Anonymous said...

Very happy to vote for Eric. He is definitely the most qualified candidate.

HP

Anonymous said...

Until my kids reached high school, I never knew how important it was for Board members who are also SPS parents to have experienced the full K-12 grade range. High school is so different from elementary and middle school. This is one of the reasons I'm voting for Eric. Not only does he have strong institutional knowledge of SPS, his working knowledge of high school issues will be extremely valuable on the School Board.

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...


I don't think Eric will win in this anti Male anti white city.

Just Saying

Melissa Westbrook said...

Just Saying, just to keep in mind, opinions are one thing but who actually goes and votes is different. Eric's going to do just fine.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

What? Eric didn't even win his primary. Are you saying the fix is in?

HRC what

suep. said...

Hi HRC what,

For the record, I didn't win my primary either. (I was outspent & hit with multiple attack mailers paid by a $100,000+ PAC.)

But I still won the general election, by 10 points.

The citywide election is a different ballgame from the district-only primary.

Eric Blumhagen has my vote too, by the way. He has the knowledge, experience and analytical skills the Board needs. His longstanding K-12 experience with SPS is invaluable.

-- Sue Peters

NSP said...

I'm really confused by the people who think that calling someone an autist without evidence is an effective attack. Like most one-star Yelp reviews, it tells you more about the person giving the review than what they're reviewing. Same goes for the Marxist accusation.

Anonymous said...

No Sue you didn't win the primary, but in the general you had a small army out there and spreading false information about your opponent. You sowed fear about the "Ed reformers" which was not fact. You really did not accomplish much and will forever be known for your pro AL bias and your BLOW HORN incident at Garfield.

SPS did not improve under your tenor, it got worst. I think we have had enough pro AL board members and bloggers in this district.

--Bye Bye

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

@GO Liza Actually the opposite is true! Eric has been a voice for the disenfranchised, and for those of us who are opposed to bullies, who made derogatory remarks on this thread about autism. We have many autistic kids in our district. Your remark disparaging people (as well as kids!) who have autism would make me even more inclined to vote for Eric, not less!

GO Eric!

Dad Power! said...

I voted for Blumhagen. I've been to a lot of PTA meetings over the years and you know what I love to see? Dads. Dads who show up. Have you ever been to a PTA meeting? If so, you probably know what I mean.

Go look at the cover photo on the Seattle Chapter PTA's facebook page https://www.facebook.com/scptsa/

Where are the men in the picture? Mostly pushed out to the very edges. Not looking very included there in the cliquish central estrogen core.

Neither Hersey nor DeWolf have kids.

Involved fathers are an important voice for Seattle's students. I voted for Blumhagen because he's extremely qualified and pragmatic and kind, but also because he'll be the only dad on the board. With district 2, 3, 4, and 6 represented by women and district 5 and 7 represented by young guys without kids (ages 27 and 33) there's room on the board for one dad. Go dads!

And, to the ones who do, thank you for coming to to PTA meetings. Kids need your voices, too!

Anonymous said...

@ Go Eric,

Exactly, but I'm worried about the Rocket club's future with out him.

For Eric

Anonymous said...

I second what @Go Dad said

a mom

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Melissa Westbrook said...

Slimy, if you do not provide proof of your claim, it will be deleted.

Cease and desist on claims about anyone and their personal background.

Dad Power, good insights.

Telltale, no, just no.

Facts Please said...

Nice cherry-picking with the quotes from Rankin about her views on HCC. From a public post on her FB page:

"Currently SPS is missing students for whom their most appropriate, LRE, would likely be a cohort. They are also transporting kids at expense to the district away from the neighborhood school they may prefer, if only there was some advanced learning available there. SPS is limiting access for children who are highly advanced or capable in one subject area but not all. SPS is not providing all levels of special education support in HCC, so twice-exceptional students who need any support beyond resource room have to choose between HC and special education needs.
We need to provide AL and HC in a way that serves the very exceptional student (with also a high likelihood of a learning disability and/or social-o emotional needs) in a learning environment designed to support them (cohort or self-contained classes of some kind) AND we need to support advanced learning and the opportunity for rigor in every school."

Aspirational, sure, but I have no doubt she'll work like hell TRANSPARENTLY with the community, not hidden in back room task forces, to try to get there. Also, because her kids are in elementary school she can't understand high school??..She has actually taught college - in the classroom and in hands-on building skills. Her kids will be high schoolers soon enough.

suep. said...

@Bye Bye, Pretty much everything you said is demonstrably false and/or the opposite is true.

And Eric Blumhagen will make a smart and thoughtful School Board Director.

Vote Eric!

-- Sue Peters

Melissa Westbrook said...

Facts Please, she offers no ideas how to pay for this AL change. I didn't cherry-pick but my info came from two different places so I'm doing my homework.

Are you defaming all the Task Forces? Because Juneau and the Board set those up. If you are, then you are saying all those people are doing it wrong.

Anonymous said...

Too bad Eric went for the ST endorsement, it's the kiss of death for a white man in Seattle.

RDI

Melissa Westbrook said...

RDI, did Eric really have a choice to tell the newspaper of record in Seattle, "no thanks?" But again, I think the Times has some weird strategy going to secretly get people other than their picks into office.

Voting Blumhagen said...

Eric is the only candidate that has experienced the entire K-12 system.

With 16 years in the district, Eric brings historical knowledge to the district. With a new superintendent and staff turn-over, it is important to have members familiar with Seattle's history.

Throughout Eric's 16 years in Seattle Public Schools, he has seen boundary changes, option schools, system of choice, return to neighborhood schools, school choice in relation to tie breakers, set aside seats, Supreme Court decisions related to enrollment, centralized control of Seattle's schools and the switch to a decentralized system, school closures, dismantling of school based Alternate Learning Opportunities. These issues are still relevant. It is helpful to have a board member with this knowledge

Eric fought for the district to fund all IB programs because the district installed IB and then failed to fund the programs...MAP testing and the use of MAP to identify advanced learners, MTSS system of funding which began around 2010 ...enormous budget deficits during the Great Recession etc. These are all relevant issues in today's environment.

Eric is very familiar with Olympia and has been since No Child Left behind policies were initiated.

There is more information on Blumhagen's web page. He has many respectable endorsements.

Anonymous said...

@ Facts please

Yes, since Board directors oversee budget, curriculum, facilities, etc... for students through grade 12, I feel it is valuable to have directors on the School Board who have a working knowledge of those topics for the full K-12 grade span.

There have been a number of recent changes to high school graduation requirements, curriculum, etc... With one child who recently graduated high school, and one still in high school, Eric is very knowledgeable when it comes to high school-related issues.

North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

It's odd for someone to mention model rockets and not their work for public education.

Just saying

Anonymous said...

Eric knows next to nothing about early learning. If you don't believe me write him an email with a question about it.


You are not going to close the gap in high school, it's too late for many students by
high school.


Anyone reading this blog is not going to be persuaded to change their minds.

Too bad






Melissa Westbrook said...

Just Saying, it's okay for someone to have interests other than public education.

Too Bad, I'm not sure I know that any of the candidates are well-versed in early education.

I love that last sentence - nothing like the old college try.

I hate to break it to you but my picks for the Board are nearly always elected. That's why people come here.

Anonymous said...

I thought Eric moved his kids out of their neighborhood high school
Ballard to the IBX program at Ingraham. He's great proponent for HCC.

It might be good for all the SJW to have someone on the board to attack.

JS

Anonymous said...

It's not uncommon for kids from outside the Ingraham attendance area to attend IB at Ingraham. I know kids from the Hale attendance area who have done it. These attacks on Eric's character and qualifications are getting tiresome.

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

Another vote for Eric! I have witnessed his advocacy over the years from elementary through high school. I also like the fact he has a high school age kid. Except for Lisa Rivera Smith, I don't think any other candidates or board members do. He has understood and advocated addressing the multitude of issues that affected our kids the past 10 years very well. I don't hear Liza mentioning anything about the botched up budget and staff allocation mess. I don't see her as a fair voice to represent the entire SPS community, in all its regional and student diversity and to stand up if needed against the district admin.

Eric supporter

Serious Question said...

There are a lot of issues. Would Rankin actually represent the people in her district?

Carol Simmons said...

I am proud to endorse Eric Blumhagen for District 1 School Board Director. Eric is dedicated to the elimination of disproportionality among students in academic achievement, disciplinary sanctions and placement in Special Programs. He is persistent, analytical and totally committed to the success for every student in Seattle Public Schools.

Linh-Co said...

Thank you Carol Simmons. Your endorsement speaks volumes. You have been an unwavering life-long advocate for students furthest from educational justice.

kellie said...

Eric Blumhagen is one of the most qualified persons to ever run for the school board, in any district.

SPS' endemic and chronic capacity mis-management impacts every student in the district. Superintendent Juneau's first budget, was an unmitigated self-inflicted disaster. I have seen disastrous budgets, that have hurt students. Most of these budgets were caused by the recession. The last time we had a self-inflicted budget disaster was the 2002 Olschefski accounting scandal.

Eric has a deep understanding of budget and capacity and how the two interact.

Last Spring, I worked with Eric to develop some estimates around high school capacity. We estimated (based on very limited public data) that High Schools were being short-funded by 1700 students. Come Sept 4, high school was short funded by 1650 students.

We need someone with this level of analysis skills on the board.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Say what, capacity issues are going to become a huge problem if HCC is dismantled and kids are sent back to their neighborhood schools. Be ready for your boundaries to change.

HP

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

@say what

I volunteered at my kids' former elementary school today. It is a Title 1 school. They have received at least 4 new 3rd graders in the past week. Class sizes are increasing (i.e., 28 kids in a 3rd grade classroom).

Meanwhile, there are 37 kids in my son's high school Spanish class.

SPS has had capacity management issues for at least as long as I've been an SPS parent (14 years now). There will be many capacity management-related decisions in the near future, as BEX V- funded buildings come online...and also as planning begins for the next BTA and BEX levies.

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

A problem is something outside of what considered normal or expected.
"SPS has had capacity management issues for at least as long as I've been an SPS parent (14 years now)"

By your own words this is normal for SPS.

Next

Anonymous said...

Here’s SebRena Burr’s testimony from last week’s board meeting. She supports Chandra Hampson, Liza Rankin and Molly Mitchell.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyW8I_Sq5dI&t=28m32s

Meeting Viewer

Anonymous said...

She doesn't do them any favors.

HP

kellie said...

I simply stated that SPS capacity woes are "endemic and chronic capacity mis-management."

There are many like commenter "next" and Superintendent Juneau, who believe that textbook poor management, including RIF'ing and re-hiring teachers is "normal" and "not-a-problem."

I said endemic, because it is local to Seattle. Surrounding districts do not have this problem.

I said chronic, because it is every year.

Both "endemic" and "chronic" are caused by the same Issue, the failure to prioritize putting adults into school buildings when building the budget.

SPS is always looking for a quick fix, with the next shiny initiative. Just a few years ago, all problems were going to be solved by a focus on attendance. Everett had a massive improvement in graduation rates by focusing on attendance, so let's do that too!!!

However, the improvement in Everett came by prioritizing case workers who focused on "why" students missed school. SPS's version was to send letters and phone calls reminding people how important it is to attend school.

SPS can declare victory over and over again. But if there is not a corresponding budget code and budget allocation to structurally create change, then nothing has really happened.

I have endorsed Eric because of his deep understanding of the budget and how the budget process drives everything.








Melissa Westbrook said...

Meeting Viewer, hard for me to decide whether to delete your link. It is indeed an incredibly incoherent performance. She calls me out (twice)but I give her credit for expressing her frustration (and apparently that of many others) because I have the integrity and knowledge and yes, influence, that she and her zealot friends do not have. Burr is desperate to stay relevant in this district.

You don't need to scream, name-call or throw in everything but the kitchen sink to make a point.

Melissa Westbrook said...

To Michael C who keeps calling Eric Blumhagen names, you might want to go look in the mirror and examine your life. How does this do anything to better the world or yourself? Cease and desist.

Anonymous said...

Melissa - Sorry. I didn’t post that to bring attention to her comments about you. I assumed anyone would view them as invalid and incoherent as the rest of her statement.

Meeting Viewer

Anonymous said...

In the name of justice the wealthier schools who's parent contribute the most to district funding, those schools and their children deserve larger class sizes because it has been shown that the more money your parents have the more distractions their children can tolerate and because of their parents money they are the closest to educational justice.

--Ms. Virtues

Anonymous said...

It's not uncommon for kids from outside the Ingraham attendance area to attend IB at Ingraham. I know kids from the Hale attendance area who have done it. These attacks on Eric's character and qualifications are getting tiresome.

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

Another vote for Eric! I have witnessed his advocacy over the years from elementary through high school. I also like the fact he has a high school age kid. Except for Lisa Rivera Smith, I don't think any other candidates or board members do. He has understood and advocated addressing the multitude of issues that affected our kids the past 10 years very well. I don't hear Liza mentioning anything about the botched up budget and staff allocation mess. I don't see her as a fair voice to represent the entire SPS community, in all its regional and student diversity and to stand up if needed against the district admin.

Eric supporter

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