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Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Rankin and Hampson Dismiss SEAMEC Ratings

This came up in a different post today:
LGBTQ Dad said...

As a father of a LGBTQ child, it saddens me to see Rankin supporters laughing at SEAMEC's candidate ratings on the SPS Community facebook page (formerly Soup for Teachers).


It is really disturbing to see Wayne Au laugh and mock SEAMEC's desire to support strong candidates. Isn't AU a UW professor that works with the district? Are these truly the people that support Rankin? Why does she not reign in her supporters?

LGBTQ students must feel safe. We need Eric Blumhagen to support our children.


LGBTQ Dad said...

LGBTQ are a vulnerable group of kids. I just can't get over the lack of sensitivity shown by Wayne Au and other Rankin supporters. I am truly upset.
I have been blocked from this Facebook page, SPS Community Discussion and Resource Exchange, but someone sent me screenshots. 

The discussion was around the SEAMAC ratings that I discussed in this thread. SEAMAC is a political organization for LGBTQ folks.

SEAMEC evaluates candidates on their knowledge of, record of proven activism for, and commitment to the concerns of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered (GLBT) communities. 

And just to note, this was not an endorsement process per se, but was to rank candidates, finding out what candidates know as well as helping to educate them.

In short, apparently SEAMEC created an overly long questionnaire and, from the look of the comments, it got little respect from Rankin and Hampson and their supporters.

You'd have to wonder  - if this was the King County Dems questionnaire, would this be the attitude from candidates?
Now apparently there was some lateness to SEAMEC's questionnaire but this could have happened to almost any other org. But it allowed both Rankin and Hampson to make excuses about why their rankings were not good.

Meanwhile, Eric Blumhagen got it done in spades and Lisa Rivera Smith was able to get most of it done. And their scores reflect that effort.

Let's see what was said:

Tracy Castro-Gill - This is misleading since every person of the Seattle LGBTQ community didn't get to vote - only a few people in SEAMAC.
News to me: I was not aware there was a Seattle database of LGBTQ folks available so that they could all be surveyed at once.

And one comment was, "Oh, like with SEA, right?"

Hampson chimes in, "There are never more than a handful of members of any organization or union that do any endorsement so this is a meaningless point. They have elected member (sic) and committees just like your PTA."

So wait, all endorsements by groups are mostly bogus because it's just a few people voting? Hmmmm.

Another commenter said: "So it's like 7 people asked to run around a track to see who finishes first.  One person is competing, one person isn't competing, and the other 5 are busy doing other stuff and don't participate...so we're going to celebrate that the one person who was competing and opt'd to participate won? Yay! Good for you, Eric, glad you had time to complete the survey."

Except that all the people in the race ASKED to be in the race.  Some just chose to sit out a lap of the race while others didn't.  That's maybe another way to see it.


Rankin gives Blumhagen some props but dilutes it down by saying "In this case, it looks like SEAMEC publishes ratings for whichever candidates complete the questionnaire."   A political group basing its rankings on people actually doing the whole thing?  I know, weird, right?

Blumhagen says, "FWIW, I contacted SEMEC in late May to ask about their endorsement process.  They sent the questionnaire in late July and gave me 5 days to complete it. "

So Blumhagen got it earlier than other candidates but had the same amount of time to complete it. Which he did and got all As and their second to highest ranking.

Au put up a laughing emoji at Blumhagen's score but that feels like the general tone here.

(To note, Wayne Au is a UW professor at Bothell in the School of Educational Studies. I have no idea if he does have a connection to SPS except for his alignment with Tracy Castro-Gill, head of Ethnic Studies for SPS.)

Hampson showed a screenshot of the SEAMEC email to her, apologizing for "the lateness of this questionnaire, we just learned of a systemic failure in sending out this year's questionnaires." The date shows October 17th which was a Thursday and they asked for it by Sunday afternoon.

Kathy Smith, a long-time parent advocate, says this:

SEAMEC is a highly regarded organization. They are known for putting candidates through a rigorous process. They are know for taking their work very seriously. Eric's straight A rating is an honor and worthy of mention.
Kate Eads, a librarian and SEA union rep, says if candidates declined to fill it out, "How does this make for something to celebrate, when Blumhagen was the only one who submitted a survey?
Oh, I don't know. Maybe it shows his willingness to follow-thru for every group including LGBTQ folks.

Rankin says she didn't deliberately decline but "I did not complete their questionnaire for consideration." She says she asked in August about an endorsement from them but never received a response until now. She said she had too much campaigning and family responsibilities to fill out the questionnaire when she received it.

Hampson continues to complain - she says the questionnaire was 80 questions - "It's irresponsible for them to put out when so few in any race turned it in given that they failed to provide in a timely way. Most other groups that sent questionnaires out late at least sent out a reminder and gave grace periods. This was a process that wasn't."

So there, SEAMEC.

And, apparently Hampson didn't bother to ask for a grace period but Lisa Rivera Smith, who got a decent score, did ask for an extension and SEAMEC was fine with it.

78 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is ridiculous, even for this blog! You’re a fair person!? HA! Anyone reading this will see how pathetic an attempt this is to smear two candidates who didn’t have time over a weekend right before a general election to complete a lengthy questionnaire. Rankin said she didn’t have time but sent regrets, and yes, pointed out that Blumhagen’s score was not an endorsement but still had merit. This was worth a whole new post?? The days of getting information and analysis here are LONG GONE.

GET REAL

Anonymous said...

Is this high school or a school board race? Complaining because you didn’t do your homework and missed the endorsement? Clique-y online groups? Talk about mean girls behavior. Voted Harris, Muniz, Blumhagen yesterday. The polarization in this town is ugly, these candidates did a better job of sticking to the issues than the others.

So Fetch

Anonymous said...

This is very telling for me about WHO actually cares and truly supports ALL children regardless of what is "politically popular" at the moment. I am really getting tired of the focus on only some children, while so many others who are also vulnerable get ignored or treated as unimportant.

Only candidate Eric had the thoughtfulness to reach out to this group? While the others are actually complaining and supporters of those people are posting those kind of comments? How about an apology instead? This kind of rationalizing would not hold up if it was an analogous group that focused on POC. Hmmm...I know who has my vote!!

Some people

Anonymous said...

So fetch, Some people, you’re joking, right? You don’t see how unhinged this post is? We have two candidates who spend all their time standing up for other people’s kids, and one who is good at filling out forms, and this is Melissa’s interpretation of comments made in a group she was kicked out of for bad behavior.

Get Real

Anonymous said...

Rankin and Hampson only stand up for some kids. Blumhagen stands up for all kids. It is interesting that they dismiss SEAMEC which ranks on a questionnaire vs. SEA which only has the top people vote on endorsements. That's okay and should be celebrated according to them. Teacher after teacher has gone on that facebook page and said they do not support the endorsement their union made. Frankly, SEAMEC seems like a more rationale and fair process.

HP

Anonymous said...

@Get Real "Just good at filling out forms?" Would you state that if the form was from a group that advocates specific to people of color? I have indeed observed Eric over the past 10 years standing up for many kids and a broad range of issues that otherwise get ignored. So far the competitor has not addressed anything that would best support my own high school age kid. She seems pretty unaware about alot of issues. You have the choice to vote for her, but I will not and that is my choice.

Some people

Wayne Au said...

Melissa,
I rarely bother to comment on or even read your blog anymore since it has descended into exactly this kind of insinuating attack based on the most ridiculous stuff. You do realize that you are using a hot take from an entirely anonymous source to smear me. For fairness, you could at least have done your research and posted my follow up response in the Facebook post. I’ll share it for you here:

“ And for whomever is lurking here and then going and talking sh*t on Melissa Westbrook’s blog - I’m looking at you “LGBQT dad” - My laughing comment above is entirely directed at the idea that anyone can fairly compare these ratings between candidates when Blumhagen admits he got his questions to answer in July and was given five full days to answer, when other candidates were not afforded the same number of days AND were asked to answer in the height of campaign season when they had less time (and kids in school, etc.). So while it may in fact be laudable that Blumhagen got high marks, it actually says nothing meaningful about Liza Rankin or other candidates listed as DI (like Chandra Hampson), other than perhaps she and Chandra were not given an equitable opportunity to fill it out and get a grade.

So, again, “LGBQT dad” you are just trolling if you think that I or Liza or Chandra do not support LGBQT kids and communities. That is far from the truth you ignoramus. Instead, check your BS, and recognize that you just can’t make meaningful comparisons using the SEAMAC questionnaire and grades because they did not treat the candidates equitably.”

But I’m pretty sure none of this matters to you, Melissa. You seemed to have lost any sense of ethics in your blogging by using anonymous hot takes to guide your work. Literally, at this point, any random person saying anything to under whatever name seems to be reported seriously here. I know you’ve also quoted a personal email exchange we had, which is also totally unethical. You may be mad at me for critiquing the politics of you and your blog, but at least I offered a substantive critique and also engaged you seriously by email. And even invited you to further critical conversation. But you never responded, only quoted my personal email back to your anonymous followers here (yes, I saw the screenshots).

For the record, I’ve got nothing against Blumhagen or Muniz. I’ve never spoken or written a word against them, and I’m sure they are good, generally progressive people. I also respect SEAMAC and the questionnaire as being important. But, as I point out above, the grade comparisons are meaningless unless SEAMAC makes efforts to give all the candidates the same opportunity to answer their questionnaire. And if SEAMAC was interested in really getting answers from all candidates, then they would have made extra effort to hear from all candidates. That doesn’t take away from Blumhagen’s good grades. That’s great. It just doesn’t mean we can make meaningful comparisons.

But like I said, I’m sure none of this matters to you.

Anonymous said...

@Wayne Au It sounds like your candidates don't have a thick enough skin for the job. All this whining about a questionnaire? To what end? To deflect from the real issues, or to cover for a cadre which spends its time calling middle school kids racists for trying to get an education that matches their aptitude? Maybe your candidates do not care about LGBTQIA so much, that they didn't *prioritize* SEAMEC in their campaigns, and now they are trying to cover themselves because they realized that, in Seattle, it actually matters? Don't have time to properly campaign? Then do not run for the office and convince us that you have time to serve if you are elected. People who deflect onto others need to look in the mirror.

Fed up Dad, not to be confused with someone else.

Anonymous said...

@Wayne Au,

If you're going to respond here, how about also talking about the proposed "ethnic studies" curriculum, which from everything we've seen thus far seems to be fairly racist? I believe we've seen comments from you, cited in articles by the Seattle Times (?), that suggest you support the divisive approach being taken. Is that true? Do you feel that stoking division is the way to promote unity and equity? As an academic, can you provide links to articles that support that? Can you also provide links to research that shows that an integrated approach that builds "ethnic studies" into all subjects across all grade levels is effective, and if so, for improving what outcomes? Are there also studies on the effectiveness (and cost-effectiveness) of training a whole district's worth of teachers and administrators to implement such challenging work? Is there research that supports this approach over more traditional ethnic studies classes, or is Seattle attempting to do something "innovative" here?

As the parent of minority students who don't "look" the part and are thus likely to be seen as the "oppressors" in these proposed racially inflammatory classroom lessons, I'm very concerned. I'm also not convinced teachers have, or will have, the tools to handle these challenging conversations effectively, since a quick PD is not going to do the trick. Things are not so black and white, yet children and teens can't see the nuance.

If the Seattle approach is truly a good one, please help demonstrate that. The current leader of SPS's ethnic studies efforts has been unable to make a convincing case that this approach is a best or even promising approach (and indeed cites research that is irrelevant), and SPS's current superintendent also appears to be stoking race-based divisions as well. One would hope that, as an academic, you must be looking at things more even-handedly and with an emphasis on the evidence base, the feasibility of implementation, the development of something that teachers can actually implement with fidelity, a pilot phase with meaningful evaluation of both process and outcomes, community engagement, etc. Right?

please share

SEAMEC said...

Board directors are buried in paper. Filling out a questionnaire pales in comparison.

Anonymous said...

Wow. The rationales, whining and sour grapes by this group is really off-putting.

It sounds like Candidates Rankin and Hampson undervalued the importance of this organization and questionnaire and didn’t prioritize it. That’s their choice, but it reflects poorly on them. I agree with @Some People and @Fed up Dad, what does this say about their support of LGBTQ students? Maybe “equity” in their world doesn’t apply to everybody. To whine about it afterward and to hear their supporters call it “inequitable” is embarrassing.

Professor Au says it’s not “equitable” that a candidate (Blumhagen) was conscientious enough to reach out to the city’s main LGBTQ organization back in July – rather than wait until the last minute like some other candidates -- and got 5 days to fill out their questionnaire. Au’s candidates didn’t bother to reach out to SEAMAC until months later. That’s on them. Still they also got multiple days to answer it. Rankin says she got it on a Thursday and it was due on Sunday. That’s 3-4 days, should be enough time. She said she contacted them in August but didn’t hear back. Why didn’t she follow up? If she waited until October to follow up with this organization, who’s to blame for that?

It's also weird to see a UW professor use emojis to mock an organization or candidate and call parents “ignoramus” and accuse people of “talking sh*t” on social media. Not very professional. That whole exchange is very disappointing.

What happens if these people get on the school board and have to regularly read long documents with little time, or if they don’t get a response to their questions from the superintendent or district staff, or if parents or teachers ask them for help with an issue? Will they follow up? Or will they have excuses and emojis for not doing any of that work too?

This is not a good sign.

Excuses, Excuses

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

I'm truly amazed at how people who identify themselves as SPS employees and other education professionals are conducting themselves at the SPS Community Discussion and Resource Exchange group on Facebook. It has thousands of members. Are these educators under the impression it's just them talking, and that no one is reading this? Is this condoned by their employers? Jill Geary is in the fray too, fighting it out with concerned citizens.

Spike

Anonymous said...

This will not have any impact on the race.


Here is my district by district analysis of the School board races in the city wide general for the D1 candidates.

Rankin

D1- Rankin won the D1 primary and she will win a close one in the D1 general.
D5- Will go to Rankin by 15 points.
D6- Will go big for Rankin by 40 points.
D7- Will be a landslide for Rankin as much as 60 points.

Blumhagen

D2- Will go to Blumhagen by 20 points.
D3- Will District 3 will lean Blumhagen by 5 points.
D4- Will go to Blumhagen by 20 points.

There are just are not enough votes for Blumhagen. The D7 and D6 landslide count for Rankin will be too large to overcome for Blumhagen. Plus, I think Rankin will win the UW student vote.

Hopefully Blumhagen will be willing to help Board member Rankin in the future.

Just Facts

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

Get Real, I smeared them with their own words?

No mention that candidates probably shouldn't be in quasi-public forums bad-mouthing political groups?

Honestly, will Rankin and Hampson keep this up if they are elected?

Get Real:

"one who is good at filling out forms" - and this shows that, like Rankin and Hampson, this person doesn't really care about this group and their concerns. This was not about filing out forms; it was an exploration of candidates' knowledge about LGBTQ issues and public education in Seattle.

Some People, Rankin claims she apologized to the group and that gender identity was "a priority" for her. It doesn't say that under her "Issues" at her campaign website but that's what she says.

I was not "kicked out of for bad behavior" from this Facebook group. I asked them to not allow personal attacks and they said I am a public person so fair game. And after that, they took me off the list.

Dr. Au:

"...recognize that you just can’t make meaningful comparisons using the SEAMAC questionnaire and grades because they did not treat the candidates equitably.”

And there you have it. The equity issue raises its head. Somehow SEAMEC, for whatever reason, chose to treat Blumhagen different from Rankin and Hampson and it's about equity.

I'm unethical? Go look in the mirror. I never responded to your email because you could have come to me years ago to talk about my stances but no, you just jumped on the Tracy train to try to turn others against me. Clearly, that didn't work.

"And if SEAMAC was interested in really getting answers from all candidates, then they would have made extra effort to hear from all candidates."

You must not know politics much because it is the candidate's job to go after the endorsements, not the the people handing them out. Go ask any LD leader and they'll tell you they have no time for that.

Spike, you make a good point about SPS employees. I'll have a separate thread on Director Geary's use of Facebook soon. I don't get it.

Just Facts, I'll just note for readers that you don't give any rationale for these numbers so it's just political spin. Also, do not reprint exact comments you have already made elsewhere.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Get Real, you need to explain that last comment about bathrooms or it will be deleted.

Anonymous said...

DeWolf the only LGBT person on the board supports Rankin and Hampson, so go figure.


Bigot much

Anonymous said...

@Bigot Much: Why doesn't LGBTQ board director Dewolf support the only LGBTQ (and Latinx) candidate Rebeca Muniz?

Fake Equity

Everything Equity said...

"Professor Au says it’s not “equitable” that a candidate (Blumhagen) was conscientious enough to reach out to the city’s main LGBTQ organization back in July – rather than wait until the last minute like some other candidates -- and got 5 days to fill out their questionnaire. Au’s candidates didn’t bother to reach out to SEAMAC until months later. That’s on them. Still they also got multiple days to answer it. Rankin says she got it on a Thursday and it was due on Sunday. That’s 3-4 days, should be enough time. She said she contacted them in August but didn’t hear back. Why didn’t she follow up? If she waited until October to follow up with this organization, who’s to blame for that?

It's also weird to see a UW professor use emojis to mock an organization or candidate and call parents “ignoramus” and accuse people of “talking sh*t” on social media. Not very professional. That whole exchange is very disappointing."

So True. #SocialMediaResponsibleBehavior

Anonymous said...

Hey "Excuses, Excuses @ 10/30/19, 9:53 AM" Get your own name. That's my handle.

Melissa W. please delete that imposter's comment. Thank you.

The original

Excuses, Excuses

Anonymous said...

Bigot Much One could also point out that Scott Pinkam a native American board member, supports Rebeca Muniz over the other candidate who is part native. I also don't happen to think DeWolf has been the most effective or engaged board member on multiple issues that affect students and staff broadly.

HJK

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

Candidates who have 4 days to fill out an 80 question survey didn't meet the deadline.

They would never be able to graduate from our high schools. Where most of your grade is based on meeting homework deadlines. My kids often had multiple large assignments all assigned at once, deadlines changing, no notice ahead of time. No flexibility for a busy schedule,even if it involved work or family commitments. (Once not allowed to submit work late after traveling to grandparent's funeral) Some teachers penalize 50% off for one day late, or not accept the work at all. More emphasis on meeting the deadline than the quality of the work or demonstration of meeting academic standards.

If these people end up on the board, I will expect to see them advocate for the same flexibility for students that they expect for themselves.

-Unsympathetic



Anonymous said...

These people should consider the words of President Obama...

"I get a sense among certain young people on social media that the way of making change is to be as judgmental as possible about other people. If I tweet or hashtag about how you didn't do something right or used the wrong verb, then I can sit back and feel pretty good about myself because 'Man did you see how woke I was? I called you out!'"

It's not just young people doing this obviously. It's applicable to everyone. Even the ones who are doing some good things to help this district improve are limiting their ability to create positive change by their ugly behavior on social media.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Anonymous, I'll reprint your comment because I think it worthy but next time, give yourself a name/moniker.

"I get a sense among certain young people on social media that the way of making change is to be as judgmental as possible about other people. If I tweet or hashtag about how you didn't do something right or used the wrong verb, then I can sit back and feel pretty good about myself because 'Man did you see how woke I was? I called you out!'"

It's not just young people doing this obviously. It's applicable to everyone. Even the ones who are doing some good things to help this district improve are limiting their ability to create positive change by their ugly behavior on social media."

I believe President Obama just made this statement recently about activism. And he's right.

I think I'm probably guilty of this at times - pretty easy to hit a button to "agree."

But if Rankin complains about the paperwork, which is part and parcel to the director job, and complains if people say unpleasant things to her, which sadly, is part and parcel to the job, I don't know if I think she is ready.

And, I sure hope that if either person is elected, they get training in how to make public comments. This was only quasi-public but I'm quite surprised that people running for office are so free and easy with their comments. It won't bode well if the press realizes this.

Anonymous said...

And just to add to my comment about the President's words...I'm in that FB group. It's been totally hijacked by a small group of people (led by Tracy Castro-Gill) which exhibits incredibly offensive behavior on a regular basis. Anyone who disagrees with them, on any topic, immediately gets labeled a racist. They've even done this to POC. The fact that Tracy works for the district just makes it that much worse. A teacher at my kid's school got fired for Twitter posts from almost ten years ago. Seems to me that people like Tracy should have similar consequences for their ongoing assaults on the people who pay their bills.

Anonymous said...

@MW what a long bridge you make.

SEAMEC is insignificant in the big picture.
The Times endorsement is usually the kiss of death.
The Times educational reporters clearly do not support Eric.

You might dis Rankin for trying to be open, but at least she is not in hiding like Eric.
It's one thing to operate under the delphi method and another to speak openly.

Eric Blumhagen has commented on this blog for years and his views are in the archives for all to search and read. Eric is not what he claims to be based off of his years of commenting on this blog.

2cents

Anonymous said...

I believe that some of the conversation the spawn-of-soup Facebook page is because there has been some pushback on the SEA endorsement. SEA decided to endorse one group of folks, and then sing those endorsements wide and far, and make the claim 'Educators support slate-S'. The problem is, SEA didn't involve their membership in that endorsement process, and some educators have been frustrated with SEA acting in non-approved ways. Many educators disagree with some or all of the endorsement decisions SEA made.

Now, supporters of slate-S are pushing back on every endorsement with claims that the process was the same as SEA. In some ways this may be fair, but in others it is ridiculous. For example, they dismiss the Times endorsement because it is by an editorial board, not the entire Times. However, it is very clear that the endorsement represents the opinions of the editorial board, just like it is clear that the Stranger's endorsement represents the opinions of the Stranger Election Control Board. It is less clear that SEA's endorsement did not use a membership vote.

In the case of SEAMAC I think it is a weird diversion to focus on because the SEAMAC 'A' ratings for Blumhagen can be seen as affirmation for someone looking for an LGBTQ friendly candidate. Rankin could have simultaneously earned those ratings if she'd wanted to, and what we know by her 'DI' is precisely as much as 'she didn't fill out the questionaire'. I believe the folks attacking the notification on Facebook are mostly just trying to push back on this criticism of SEA rather than actually care about SEAMAC.

This election is getting very ugly. WE have a slate of candidates - (the aforementioned Slate-S made up of Rankin, Hampson, Mitchell) and other candidates who are not particularly associated except in that they are not part of a voting bloc. The truth is, many individuals may be okay as board members, but we should be very wary of the attack tactics being used to elect three directors as a single slate. It gives them undue power in each of the three races which are being run independently, and will give them undue power in decision making on the board.

-- frustrated mom

Anonymous said...

Yes, what we want is the same old same old that never gets things done and lets the administrations run wild. BTW three doesn't equal a majority. They would still need one other board member to join with them. Are you saying there is a secret member of the "slate" already on the board. Please enlighten us.

-- Owler

Melissa Westbrook said...

2Cents,

"SEAMEC is insignificant in the big picture."

I'm sure they will appreciate your kiss-off. In politics, it's generally not a good idea to ignore any group. Maybe you might ask Director DeWolf about his thoughts on SEAMEC.

"The Times educational reporters clearly do not support Eric."

What an incredibly odd thing to say. Reporters are not in any way, shape or form suppose to "support" any candidate. That you think that seems weird. Care to expand on that?

Eric is hiding? He has gone to nearly every event. As for his record here, if you think he is presenting differently now than he did in comments, you might have come forth - with comments in hand - earlier. Now it just sounds like you are grabbing for straws.

"Many educators disagree with some or all of the endorsement decisions SEA made."

This is exactly what I have been hearing as well from some frustrated teachers.

Of course there was no membership vote in SEA or we would have heard about that.

I concur with your last paragraph, Frustrated Mom; slates are not good and can be dangerous.

Anonymous said...

@ MW I heard Soup for Teachers gave you the boot and filed a complaint with FB against you.

Now you are asking for other members of the FB group to screen shot FB and email you the screen shots. You think that is ethical?

Lady you have fallen a long way.

SFT member

Melissa Westbrook said...

Today:
"Thank you to Assunta Ng and the Northwest Asian Weekly for their endorsement!

"Eric Blumhagen, candidate for the Seattle School Board, contacted the Asian Weekly and other Asian leaders and organizations right after the primary. We are impressed by Blumhagen’s eagerness to learn about the needs of the Asian community. He was the only school board candidate to take the initiative to study the issues facing Asian students in his district."
http://nwasianweekly.com/…/blog-10-reasons-you-should-vote…/

The only candidate.

Anonymous said...

@Get Real said: Let focus people on learning and not bathrooms.

As if learning and discrimination can be easily separated. Learning is influenced by all sorts of factors, including one's sense of well-being and safety. You might as well say "let's focus on learning and not teaching," or "let's focus on learning and not seismic safety of our schools," or "let's focus on learning and not unbiased curricula and teachers," and so on. Learning and its context are deeply related.

We need school environments that are conducive to learning for all students, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender identity, income, English language ability, intellectual ability, religion, political views, etc.

already real

Anonymous said...

It also doesn't hurt when Eric buys ads on Northwest Asian Weekly.

Gotcha

Anonymous said...

The minuscule percentage of transgender students should not drive the big picture at SPS.

Vote Eric

Anonymous said...

There are 2 “Get Real” commenters here. I didn’t make the bathroom comment. Eric is “the only candidate” who reached out to learn about the needs of the Asian community —— because the other candidates have been working beyond their own bubbles for years! They already know!

Get REALLY Real

Anonymous said...



I think that both Eric & Liza have tried to keep their campaigns positive. They seem to both be good people trying to help kids. They have different strengths & experience. I would say Eric is more analytical & has a broader experience of the district including history of decision making. That is why I am supporting him. But I don't hate people supporting Liza. '

I think the ugly divisiveness we are seeing on facebook & here on this blog will hurt students in the long run. The folks who did the damage will move on in a year or so & leave us all trying to put the pieces back together. Seems to be a cycle as disrupters come& go in district leadership pitting parents, staff & community against each other every time.

- HS Parent1

Anonymous said...

Board members are not going to be running the budget process or enrollment process. While on the committee they have no more influence on the committee then any other member. What they do is go back and give their recommendation to the whole board. The board then needs the majority vote to move the item forward. The idea that Eric is going to magically crunch numbers and fix the budget or enrollment is an unreal notion.

The District has a new Strategic Plan and I would say it's Eric that will have the steepest learning curve when it come to overseeing the plans implementation.

Lucky we have seven board members to cover all the various issues and Liza's commitment to struggling students is what sets her apart from Eric and is why you should vote for Liza.

Voting Liza

Anonymous said...

I have been involved in many, many election endorsement procedures during my almost 20 years of Democratic Party work around here, and I have to say, in all fairness, without throwing any shade at any candidate for School Board, that I would never hold it against anyone who declined to answer an 80-question questionnaire, for whatever reason, no matter how much or how little time they had to do it. No organization should be burdening any candidate with anything like that.

-- Ivan Weiss

Anonymous said...

I for one, really appreciate Melissa daylighting at least some of what transpires on those FB groups.

I'm not on FB, and I feel uneasy that there is a quasi campaign conducted out of sight of many of us who are either don't use social media or don't want to join a FB group. This has gone on for many years. Things are said that might not be said openly in a public forum. Some people are 'in the know' and the rest of us who aren't part of the clique, are not. I have no desire to participate in that sort of forum but I feel as though parents (and I guess, teachers too) like me are left out - us ordinary, non-politically active folk, who don't have the bandwidth to closely follow everything that is happening in the district, or don't want to put our head over the parapet, are rendered largely invisible and we not privy to all the behind the scenes stuff that is going on between district employees, activists, prospective board members etc.
When we are talking about candidates for public office or district employees such as TCG, I think there the public has a right to know what they are saying behind closed doors/facebook groups, who they are insulting etc. These people are going to potentially be in a position to influence the educational path and future prospects of many thousands. These people don't have to comment or make controversial remarks. If they are uncomfortable with comments being seen outside of their echo chamber, perhaps they should think twice about making them. Nothing is truly private when you put it out their on the internet - sometimes you can see peoples true colors.

Sunlight is the best disinfectant

Anonymous said...

The failed candidate Benjamin Leis runs a Pro HCC blog where Sue Peters in commenting. Take some time and browse through Benjamin Leis blog and you will see what is what.

If this is how Pro HCC advocates like Eric think then we don't need them on the school board.

Shocking

Anonymous said...

Shocking You know what is REALLY shocking? The fact that you seem from your post to have something about kids under a protected class by the state. Whether you like it or not, these kids WILL exist in SPS and have protections recognized nationally and locally. In fact the top 1% of those kids will still have a program last I heard, so sorry for you.

I personally applaud school board members that have supported ALL kids. You can criticize the format of the particular program, although I doubt you are an expert, without the nastiness I have recently seen towards kids, parents or board members who support those kids.

It is what is truly shocking. This also includes a superintendent who had no awareness about how students would feel about being labeled as attending a "slave ship" insinuating and repeating such a statement that children are equivalent to slave owners and slaves! It is appalling

AND program placement is the district's decision and fault! NOT THE KIDS. All kids deserve respect and support.

An observer

Anonymous said...

@HSParent1 I really agree with you. I'm supporting Eric, but I don't hate people supporting Lisa. However, when I am on the facebook blog it is filled with so much vitriol. I think many of those people are going to come and go and we will be left trying to repair the damage.

Anonymous said...

Oops.. I'm SPS Teacher up above.

Melissa Westbrook said...

SFT member, you have it wrong. And Facebook has never said a single thing to me about anything I have said or posted. Look at your source.

Gotcha, man, that's pretty insulting to Asian Weekly - you are saying their endorsement can be bought? I will categorically say that is NOT true.

"While on the committee they have no more influence on the committee then any other member."

Actually Board members on committees DO have more influence as their vote is the one to move a BAR forward and, as well, send it forward for consideration or for a vote. Learn your Board policies. If it doesn't get to the full Board, as the AL recommendations didn't, then there's no full Board vote.

Maybe not, Ivan, but isn't that how the game is played in some quarters. Also, the candidates didn't have to answer all 80 pages worth of questions; some were specific to different races.

Shocking,what? Who cares if Benjamin has an HCC blog that Peters visits? Nothing to do with Eric.

And, to add, I don't hate anyone either. That is such a terrible word to use.

Anonymous said...

HCC is NOT a protected class, just when I thought it couldn't get anymore ridiculous in comes the most absurd claim. All students need to be taught rigorous material, but they don't need their very own segregated buildings.

When did you ever get the idea that HCC is a protected class?, that's just crazy talk and not helpful.


Just Wow

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

@Just Wow. 2e is a protected class. If you don't believe us, see you in all litigation. Discovery will be very interesting.

Fed up Dad

Sad Emoji said...

SEAMEC isn't insignificant to me, 2cents. I'm certain SEAMEC isn't insignificant to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered students. I've seen these individuals suffer with depression. Some contemplate suicide.

It was sad for me to find 5 laughing emoji's attached to SEAMEC's ratings.

I'm personally grateful for any candidate that seeks SEAMEC rating. SEAMEC educates candidates, too.

It is really sad to see professionals(?) loose their sh$% on facebook. Someone should let them know that they are not doing themselves any favors.

Anonymous said...

@Just Wow Are you really that unaware of state rules governing highly capable students? Why do you think the school district identifies students and has a program? Let me guess, because you think the parents want something special and have some sort of magic over the district? One link for you.
https://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=28A.185

HK

kellie said...

I agree with several of the commentators here that both Blumhagen and Rankin have been running a clean race. It is unfortunate that some supporters are not following that lead.

I support Blumhagen, simply because he has over 10 years of experience with the SPS budget process and because more than 90% of the board director job is very detailed and typically very opaque committee work.

The bulk of the overall governance happens in committee. I have seen many board members quickly turn to rubber stampers simply because the sheer volume and lack of transparency in the committee work.

I think Rankin is a good candidate, far better than many who have been elected. However, she just doesn't have the same breadth and depth of overall budget experience and capacity related experience.

But I am very clearly a single issue voter.

Anonymous said...

AL might be mandated but HCC and segregated buildings are not and will soon be a thing of the past. When SPS polled, 95% of Seattle residents did not support special schools for "gifted" students. Most supported AL delivered in their neighborhood schools.

No one is against AL, but HCC is just excessive segregation that benefits a majority white population.

Case closed

Anonymous said...

This whole post sounds petty and desperate.
Let's all take the high road and focus on the strengths of the people we support.

Fed Up

Anonymous said...

I would like to discuss the neurological issues of each candidate. Are they fit to complete a four year term?

RDI

Anonymous said...

Someone within the Save Seattle Schools blog (believed to be Cecilia McCormick) posted the personal information of the handful of young teachers TFA had placed in public school districts in Washington State in 2011-12. All were under the age of 25, all were members of the union, and all were teaching in public schools.

One of those teachers was protected by a restraining order against someone from her past, but Save Seattle Schools made her name, address, academic transcripts and more publicly available online.

Three more teachers sharing a house together were burglarized within a few weeks of having had their information posted.

Nice job

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

@Case Closed "Most supported AL delivered in their neighborhood schools."

Most would support unicorns for every 4th grader too if they could be convinced (the adults, that is) that unicorns exist. Funded and functional AL/HCC in every neighborhood school is a unicorn smoking pipe dream fraud being perpetrated by people who know little about how a school functions outside of their tiny admin job, and doesn't care the most of the public knows even less.

Fed up Dad

Melissa Westbrook said...

This thread is not about HCC. Cease and desist. (I have one coming up.)

Yes, when you can't make your own points, do go after me. Most of what is being said is not true.

Nice Job, it's an open forum and I cannot be on 24/7. I immediately took that down, apologized, told the author of it to NEVER do that as well as readers. I'm not sure all your conjecture follows.


Anonymous said...

@Case closed
One can argue that if program majority are white students that come from white neighborhood schools, they will return to their majority white neighborhood schools. I really don't think they were trying to escape their school due to race. That is naive. It is smoke and mirrors on the equity issue. The parents, kids and board members who support the program have complained to the district for years they want more racial diversity in the program. I guess you ignore that fact. They did not ask for a separate school either, and that is recent. If you know the history the program has always been moved around to diverse schools, more diverse racially than many of these kids neighborhood schools.

Nobody is arguing against AL? Are you kidding? You are operating in a vacuum if you believe that, and must be completely unaware of how AL in neighborhood schools has actually been disappearing!

Walk to math was eliminated, honors classes eliminated in practice, AP classes are likely next because you have the same situation as honors classes regarding who takes those classes.

The kids, parents and board members who support actual AL in neighborhood schools have been criticized heavily. The district has clearly demonstrated over the years, they cannot or will not implement "AL" in neighborhood schools in practice. You need to look at actions and you also seem to lack historical background. Do you have a young student perhaps?

Regardless, this thread is about candidates. I do support candidates such as Blumhagen who have had a long historical history engaging with the multitude of issues this district has been grappling with for years. He also has shown he reaches out to various communities and does not limit this engagement to only certain groups either. That is what is salient to me. I have nothing against Rankin except that she lacks the history and depth about constant enrollment issues, budget, and current high school related issues among other items.

An Observer

Anonymous said...

@ Case closed,
AL, as SPS defines it, is not mandated; appropriate services for HC-identified services are. Nobody said HC services must be provided in segregated buildings--and, in fact, most cohorted "HCC" services are NOT provided in segregated buildings. But SPS has determined in the past that the most feasible and cost-effective way to provide appropriate HC services is via a cohort, hence the HCC option.

Note: Since most students don't qualify for HCC services in the first place, I'm not really sure that polling all parents about how they want to serve "those" students makes a lot of sense or should be given much weight. If we run this district by majority rules, that suggests we don't need to bother worrying about any minority group--racial or not.

It's great that "most supported AL delivered in their neighborhood schools." However, AL services and HC services are different. AL is essentially SPS's new term for Spectrum, and it makes complete sense that any neighborhood school should be able to deliver services to a student working about a year or two above grade level. It's when we get into those capable of working 2, 3, 4, 5+ ahead that things get a lot more complicated. Most schools and teachers just don't have the capacity to teach those kids effectively given all the other constraints (e.g., class size, ability range, focus on bringing kids "up" to standard, lack of advanced curricular materials, etc.)

Personally, I care 0% about the skin color of who gets HCC, or how many kids are included. Find a bunch of non-white kids who might be able to work at that same level and put them in the mix and call it good. If they can't keep up, they can leave--if they can, great. But to effectively deny appropriate learning opportunities to some of our most intellectually/academically gifted students--because that IS what will happen if they are sent back to their neighborhood schools--is not equitable. Those students are just as deserving of a chance to learn as is a student operating below grade level. That some candidates seem to not be concerned with the learning of a subset of our students is upsetting.

case open

Melissa Westbrook said...

Cease and desist - I mean that.

Anonymous said...

Most of what is being said is not true? I feel that you allow the comment from reader you like to stay and those that don't get deleted or attacked.

Hey it's your blog. I think I have seen enough.

Good luck

Anonymous said...

Hey Melissa-this seems like a good time to say thanks for this blog and all of your advocacy around an accountable SPS over the years. Seems like things may be feeling a little hot for SPS and others close to SPS which is why so many trolls are here. But the elections will be over soon and I expect most of those folks will go underground by feeling they either won or lost. I will continue to use this blog as a resource but I, like many others, will probably throw in the towel on that ever so often mentioned FB page. What a shame that a good idea from the strike seems to have rotted at the core.

Anyhow, thanks for the blog and please don't stoop to the level of baiting out there.
-long road

Transparency Please said...

Melissa has exposed the underbelly of the district for over a decade. I'm not going anywhere. Thanks for your work.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Good luck, I did leave some comments but ones that are not accurate, I'm not going to keep up.

Thank you for the support.

Anonymous said...

@Wayne Au

You smeared yourself with the following statements:

"...So, again, “LGBQT dad” you are just trolling if you think that I or Liza or Chandra do not support LGBQT kids and communities. That is far from the truth you ignoramus. Instead, check your BS, and recognize that you just can’t make meaningful comparisons using the SEAMAC questionnaire and grades because they did not treat the candidates equitably.”

But I’m pretty sure none of this matters to you, Melissa. You seemed to have lost any sense of ethics in your blogging by using anonymous hot takes to guide your work. Literally, at this point, any random person saying anything to under whatever name seems to be reported seriously here."

@Wayne Au, I certainly hope you are not part of the Ethnic Studies mess that is happening at SPS. When people don't agree with your opinions on identify politics, you flame out. Publicly. Just like TCG, and others within the SPS Administration.

Melissa allowed you to flame out on her blog, without being deleted for your profanity and personal attacks.

I don't blame her for not wanting to meet with you in person.

Mirror

Anonymous said...

In my opinion Dr Au is right on. I am surprised he came here to post. Waste of his time.

Fed up

Anonymous said...

MW routinely deletes posts she doesn't like. Nothing new under the sun.

The election is about HCC because HCC and its privileges have become the defining political issue of the district.

The NMSF scores in SPS are pathetic and so is the current program--a self-contained system within a system that admits virtually only the children of highly educated parents.

Change is inevitable and way overdue.

This blog has been abetting rhe HCC status quo for years, accentuated by MW's mantra: "HCC is open to everyone."

William

Anonymous said...

Melissa conveniently avoided addressing the lack if ethics involved by publishing a personal email be Wayne Au and the FACT that she was banned from the Facebook site for publishing dialogue from the site on this public blog.

Both are ethics violations.

The way that LGBTQ issues are being used by Westbrook to denigrate her unflavored candidates may be a new low.

Low bar

Fortune Teller said...

Failing to hand in a questionnaire has become an equity issue. There will be more of the same over the next four years.

Melissa Westbrook said...

"MW routinely deletes posts she doesn't like. Nothing new under the sun."

How come I didn't delete Au's? Or the other critical ones? I delete ones that are nothing more than deliberate needling. It's fine to disagree but it's not fine to write to harass. Look, I'm not deleting yours, am I?

"The election is about HCC because HCC and its privileges have become the defining political issue of the district."

No, that's the narrative you and other want to put forth when the election is about the many OTHER issues in this district that seem to be getting short shrift. Makes it easier to shut down discussion AND take the focus away from other problems.

I published a bit of that email and unless you tell me something is off the record - when you write to my blog email that is only for blog business - then you should realize I might use it. Au's a grown-up guy and I'm sure he knew that.

And I was NOT banned from Facebook. Ever. I was kicked out of one group for publishing comments. Well, friends, Facebook is a pretty open public square and I'm astonished anyone would think they are in a private place. The only time I would not do that is, for example, at sensitive Facebook pages like Seattle Special Education. They have no problem with me posting there.

Ethics violations by...your standards. Sure.

I don't know how "unflavored" any candidate is; you'd have to ask them.

But I'm not using LGBTQ issues; I'm reporting just what candidates running for the Board have said. That's called news.

Maritza said...

@Low bar...do you not understand the nature of FB groups? Anyone can have one. I administer one myself. And I can decide who I let in and who I remove. FB has zero involvement. In fact, they would prefer less removal, as it means removing valuable eyeballs from their site.

So getting kicked out of a group that is adminned by an ally of Castro-Gill is really more of a badge of honor than anything. And the people there (I'm in and I know) are crazy if they think anything they say will remain private. They've chosen to create a playground for some of the ugliest bullies that SPS has to offer and not surprisingly, they are getting some less than friendly pushback. In this case, it's richly deserved as the admin there is allowing some really awful behavior to go on unchecked.

Anonymous said...

@LGBTQ Dad

Thank you for calling out @Wayne Au. @Wayne Au had the chance to clarify his inappropriate use of laughing emojis in discussing the political endorsements of SEAMAC. Instead, he choose to attack you, and denigrate you as an "ignoramus".

@Wayne Au, you should look at yourself in the mirror. You publicly tried to humiliate a parent who is very concerned about their LGBTQ child, as well as other LGBTQ children. The mere fact that LGBTQ Dad questioned your motives in using laughing emojis set you off. Perhaps it is you who have a sense of political entitlement, given your academic rank and position.

You still have the opportunity to apologize to "LGBTQ Dad". Place yourself in his situation, the parent of a vulnerable child, and you will see that you are in the wrong. Your short fuse shows that your heart is not in the right place. Getting your friends elected to the SPS School Board does not excuse your insensitive attacks on the parent of a LGBTQ child.

Take this opportunity to admit your mistake, and move on. It would be helpful for certain SPS Staff to see you do this.

Mirror


Anonymous said...

Just because someone has a account "Wayne Au" doesn't mean it's who you think it is. You had better be careful not to defame anyone.

LOL

Melissa Westbrook said...

LOL, it's Au. He was pretty specific in his remarks.

I think on that note, we'll close the discussion.