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Monday, October 14, 2019

Voting for Seattle School Board Candidates

Update: Can't make the Tuesday candidate forum?  There's another one on Thursday, October 17th at North Beach Elementary from 6:30-8:00 pm.


end of update

There is a Seattle School Board Candidate forum tomorrow night, Tuesday October 15th, from 6:30-8:00 pm at the John Stanford International School.
This event is hosted by JSIS PTA and sponsored by Seattle Council PTSA.
Moderated by current members of Superintendent Student Advisory Board.
This is a kid friendly event and students are encouraged to attend. Their voice and insight is powerful!
I love when kids ask questions because they tend to be direct.  I sure hope one question is about the commitment each candidate has to fulfilling a full term. 

It is important who sits on the Seattle School Board.  I have learned that sometimes it's picking the person you are just okay with rather than someone you believe will not do a good job/have an agenda you can't support.

As the years have gone by, I have ruefully realized a couple of concerns that I hope you take into account as you vote.

1) Candidates will sometimes present themselves as one thing but once they get on the Board, are not that director.  

A good example is Jill Geary. She practically ran on her Sped cred and yet, she has not been a champion at all.  I really thought this was going to be a good chance for Special Education issue to be daylighted and discussed by the Board.  Not really.

This is not to say she wasn't qualified or a good director - she just was not the director that she made herself out to be as a candidate.

2) Don't consider the individual; please consider how that person talks about working with others and not just people/groups that he/she/they are aligned with.  

Because being on the School Board means learning to work together with people you may disagree with on issues.  But, for anything to get done, there has to be teamwork. 

3) Beware of alliances.  

It's great to get group of smart, talented-in-different-ways people on a governing group. But you don't want people who will vote in lock-step.

I'm always pleasantly surprised when people who may seem allies on one issue, giving valid reasons for having differing views on another issue and voting accordingly.

4) Beware of candidates who talk a good game but somehow can't point to an achievement related to School Board work.

If someone is using impactful words like "impactful" or vague language without real statements of how to get from A to B on any given issue, ask yourself if this is what you want to hear for the next four years.

90 comments:

Anonymous said...

2. Beware of alliances
Thanks for bringing that up. Here is an alliance that can potentially set back this district for years (remember Don Nielsen and his Broad peeps? I do). A few usual suspects I will not mention here were at an event for a current candidate.
Here is the list of current board directors and candidates in attendance:
Mack
Harris
Blumhagen
Burke
Rivera Smith

Melissa, I wonder how many on the list are your personal friends?
(From the book of things that make you go hmm...)

PEACE

Anonymous said...

PEACE,

I’m sayin “hmm?” because your comment is vague.

Say It

Anonymous said...

Interesting, PEACE. I think that your list is a very good group of folks who would use real actual data and best practices to make decisions. I want a good balance of folks who can apply their critical thinking skills to the problems we have, think far enough ahead to identify the unintended consequences of any actions, who actually hold the district accountable to all kids AND TO MANAGE A $1B BUDGET responsibly, with measures and outcomes. This is not the PTA!
-long road

Anonymous said...

Blumhagen is trying to spin up some "SPED CRED", but in reality he knows very little about SPED. He knows nothing about solutions for the issues with SPED. His very vague in his story about helping a SPED parent, so I find it questionable and perhaps exaggerated.

If your interested in HCC then Blumhagen can talk your ear off.

I don't see a fighter in Blumhagen I see more of the rubber stampping we have had for over 4 years. I don't see how Blumhagen will advance AL in SPS.

I look forward to speaking with other candidates.

Ed Voter

Melissa Westbrook said...

You would have to define personal friend. I would say that most of those people are colleague friends that I have virtually never socialized with (except at campaign events). A few are friends but not close friends. The funny thing is that most people who run? I only become friends with afterwards, not before.

Ed Voter and where did you heard this about Blumhagen? How do you know he "knows nothing" about solutions for Sped issues? I just went to an event for him yesterday and HCC didn't come up at all. We talked about district property, superintendents, many things but not HCC.

Rubber-stamping? Blumhagen? Uh, he's the guy that did the data-crunching and told district officials who did nothing. He's going to be that guy on the Board who will then fight for change, not rubber-stamp.

And I could say the same for almost all the other candidates on Sped. Who do you think knows Sped?

Anonymous said...

I see what you are doing with the Geary endorsement. You are a AL activist and Eric Blumhagen is also. You are against anyone who doesn't see AL they way you do, fare enough.

Now why don't you talk about your support for Geary until this last year. You even made excuses for her lack of true oversight around SPED. Why should people trust your judgment?

If people think the LD groups endorsements are good for education, I say think again.

I just don't think Blumhagen will win and that possibly only leaves Mack left as the only openly pro AL board member.

It's looking very grim for AL.

--Never changes

Geary's Endorsement said...

It was bad enough that Geary brought us DeWolf. She now wants to add Rankin, Hampson and Mitchell. BEWARE.

Anonymous said...

Well if you have to ask me who do I think knows SPED then I think you don't know the candidates as well as you profess.

Sometimes you have to be willing to compromise to get what you want.

SPS has a sagging foundation and instead of fixing the foundation, SPS has been running around building crooked rooms. Do you understand?

I doubt crunching numbers fixes the foundation.

Ed Voter

Sp.Ed said...

The district's Strategic Plan and the plan to dismantle HCC has not addressed the needs of special education students. If this is what you want- vote Rankin.

Anonymous said...

@ Geary's Endorsement

And one could say that Westbrook's endorsement and support brought us Geary, so what's your point.

I'm not a SJW proponent, but the options are;

1. Slog along as SPS has for 10 years +.
2. Adopt the ideology that's going to be dominate on the board.

Option 2 will in my opinion yield the fastest results for all students, but if it fails then it's time to put the JSW agenda behind.

--Never changes


I would be happy with either outcomes for option 2.

Anonymous said...

Actually if you think about and if you know the "data" then implementing the Strategic Plan will be the fastest way to address the issues with SPED. It's crystal clear and brilliant. HHC failuers are in my opinion due to optics and constantly asking for segregation was stupid.

--Never changes

Geary's Endorsement said...

Geary's campaign revolved being a special education advocate. You can't blame Melissa for a candidate that doesn't adhere to campaign promises.

















NSP said...

Ed Voter, what makes you think that Blumhagen isn't a fighter? His last PTA called him Bulldog Blumhagen when he was legislative chair.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Ed Voter, that's just pathetic. Don't come in here and say that one candidate doesn't have credibility on one issue and then refuse to say why or who does.

Adopt the ideology that's going to be dominate on the board.

"Option 2 will in my opinion yield the fastest results for all students, but if it fails then it's time to put the JSW agenda behind."

No, that option will yield the fastest CHANGES, not results. I can practically guarantee that.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion Westbrook has poor judgment. I hear you say that Bulldog Blumhagen is a fighter, but on the other hand Westbrook writes that we don't need fighters we need people who will stay in their lane and work the process. So what should we expect from "Bulldog Blumhagen" I think you answered the question.

Westbrook, you were critical of candidates that didn't mention how they would work to implement the Strategic Plan, now you are against the plan. Which is it?

You are correct I can't but, I can for Westbrook defending her for 3 years.


--Never changes

Anonymous said...

Well my game theory has the plan with a 87% chance to work unless the teachers union blocks it. Of coarse the implementation details are yet to de defined and given SPS history there's a strong possibility that the odds will drop.

--Never changes

Melissa Westbrook said...

Never Changes, thought I might comment on your thoughts but I'm not sure what you are saying nor do I think you clearly read my opening post. You seem to draw conclusions that don't fit.

Anonymous said...

@ long road, let's not forget Mack, Burke and Harris HAVE ALREADY MANAGED SAID 1B BUDGET FOR YEARS. To think they will mentor Blumhagen and Rivera Smith to do it right is simply... ridiculous.

PEACE

Anonymous said...

@MW,
You supported Geary until she didn't do what you thought she needed to do to support SPED.
You supported DeWolf until he turned out to be whatever he is.
You could have sworn you were going to be successful blocking the Amplify adoption.
You could have sworn your pal JVA was going to be appointed.

You are not always right.

PEACE

Anonymous said...

Blumhagen is sharp, he was PTA legislative liason when our kids were in a NW severely overcrowded elementary school. I found him to be really sharp, data driven and focused on multiple issues. I also like the article he recently wrote about the messed up high school budget process that is affecting so many kids and staff negatively. He was also graded the highest by minority youth who formulated questions for the candidates at a forum. He is smart, sensitive and listens carefully to multiple voices, and support solutions to tough issues that work. I really trust him to advocate on multiple issues.
https://medium.com/@eric_93873/seattles-high-school-enrollment-fiasco-99fbf061fb4b
https://www.king5.com/article/news/local/seattle-area-political-candidates-face-questions-from-youth-community/281-b8a9f3a7-7621-4154-97c8-e4b6c9e0ebfb

Voter

Anonymous said...

I also want to add that I have been to Liza Rankin's website. She seems like a single issue candidate and seems more focused on public appearances about that issue, than actual solutions. To date, I have read nothing that tells me she is concerned about the multitude of persistent issues many of us are having with Seattle Public Schools. Maybe because her kids are young and other issues are not on her radar? Eric has been involved for a decade.I am not hearing anything from her that suggests for example she will hold the district more accountable with the flawed budget process, over-enrollment issues etc. The issues that affect all students and staff in the district.

Voter

Anonymous said...

DeWolf was the only choice by the election. If I remember correctly, the opponent was a really bad choice. DeWolf has been a huge disappointment but he was definitely the lesser of two evils.

I am voting for Blumhagen because I am hopeful that he will push back on the enrollment disasters that keep happening. I want someone that knows how the high school schedules work.

HP

Melissa Westbrook said...

Peace, you are mistaken. This is the first year the Operations budget has being at $1B. Between the Capital and the Operations budgets, yes, that was over $1B.

Peace, you seem to want to come here and needle me. I suggest staying the topic or you can go elsewhere. Also, I made none of the claims you suggest. Lastly, at least I DO admit when I am wrong (and do it at least on a monthly basis).

HP, you hit the nail on the head and it is what I was alluding to in the post - sometimes it's the person you think will do the least damage.

Anonymous said...

Rankin, Hampson, and Mitchell will just be rubber stamps for whatever Juneau wants. They won't conduct any oversight or independent judgement. If you like the direction this district is headed, vote for those three. If you want change, vote for their opponents.

Owlet

Anonymous said...

@Owlet and HP you are both 100% correct. @Voter, that was the experience I had with Eric.
I appreciate that Eric has the experience he has around data: capacity and boundaries challenges are just two of several huge misses by the district. These issues become much much more critical if not resolved for HS. And, I distrust any candidates like Rankin that needs to scrub their FB pages in order to run for an office. If you said it, own it and defend it, but don't try to portray yourself as something else. We've already had that in the likes of Geary.
-long road

kellie said...

I am a pretty single focused commenter and voter. I really care about the intersection of capacity management and budget management.

I truly care that every student in the district has a classroom and a teacher on the first day of school. The process by which our students are assigned a teacher (vs a string of substitute teachers) and whether or not schools have enough classrooms (portable placement) happens in this intersection.

The intersection of capacity and budget is a wonky place, as well as pretty darn dull. AND a lot of really critical things happen here. There have been several times when the only members of the public at a board work session were me, Chris Jackins and Eric Blumhagen.

Eden Mack is one of the most effective board members in recent memory, precisely because she has such a detailed understanding of this intersection. And prior to her time on the board, attended many of those tedious and critical work sessions.

Eric Blumhagen is another exceptional candidate. He truly understands the intersection of budget and capacity.

I don't know Eric socially. I only know his work. I have reviewed many of his detailed and insightful spreadsheets over the years. Eric was instrumental in highlighting how profoundly short-staffed high school would be this year. His article on medium about the budget challenges was both wonky and understandable.

If you care about getting teachers into classrooms and budget oversight, Eric Blumhagen is an exceptional candidate.



Anonymous said...

Lets get back on subject,

MW made a off handed dig at Liza over Liza's endorsement from Geary. MW doubled down against Liza by stating that Geary ran as a champion for SPED but failed to deliver. Go back over MWs 2015 -2018 comments and you will see nothing but praise for Geary.

So if we are talking about SPED then I think Eric Blumhagen knows almost next to nothing. If we are talking about implementing the district's strategic plan then I think Eric Blumhagen knows next to nothing.

If we are talking HCC then Eric knows probably the most. It's funny how people think SPS can just build new high schools at a drop of the hat, well folks it doesn't work like that.

You have your new HCC high school and several large additions to other high schools. As for the budget. This years budget was a bust and the board signed off as they will every single year like they have forever.

If you think Eric Blumhagen is going to somehow change that then I think you're in for a big disappointment. Eric Blumhagen seems a like Burke 2.0 and Burke accomplished very little in contrast to his what he said during his campaign.

I would bet that Liza will do better for SPED than any other board member has in the last 15 years.

It's nice to have 7 members to handle the variety of issues in our diverse district. Liza is best aligned with the strategic plan. Oh in my opinion.

--Never changes

Anonymous said...

I do care about getting properly trained special education teachers into SPS classrooms. You on the other hand do not appear to know a thing about what that takes or even care based on all your commenting. Eric seems very confused about what an IEP is and is not. Eric doesn't understand how the union interferes with fixing things in SPS. Those two issues along make him a poor choice for parents who really care about special ed.

Maybe Eric is just soft shoeing it for the campaign, I hope he addresses these issue in the next 2 forums. He might have some great ideas in his head, but I have yet to hear those great ideas come out of his mouth.

Oh again this is my opinion.

--Never changes

Melissa Westbrook said...

Never Changes, you seem to want to make some huge point.

Yes, I did support Geary when she ran and tried to when she became a director. But she certainly did not follow thru and, in fact, pivoted away from what she ran on. That's when I felt I could no longer support her.

It's fine if you think Blumhagen doesn't know Sped but you would be wrong on the Strategic Plan. He IS the person this district needs especially around Operations. Again, I have stressed diversity in talents/strengths and not those who would be lock-step with each other and/or the Superintendent.

What HCC high school? No such animal exists.

And every single high school that has had major renovations (but not RBHS) is very glad for those renovations. How is that an issue?

Actually NOT all the Board signed off on the Budget (do keep up). Mack and Pinkham, in what is very much not the norm for the Board, voted no.

It's fine if you like Liza Rankin; I think she's a good, decent person. However Eric would bring much more expertise to the table on many issues. No one candidate can cover all issues. I'm trying to understand why you are not raising this issue about other candidates.

Watching said...

Eden Mack has been an exceptional board director. It would be great to have Blumhagen work with Mack. Together, they would be amazing.

Eric's campaign has highlighted his work on bell times that increased student achievement at a school with high numbers of free and reduced lunch students, analyzing data that would have saved the district $60M, sitting on 2 district level committees, 11 years on PTA boards, being awarded the Golden Acorn Award etc.

However, many don't know that, as a maritime engineer, Blumhagen went to SBOC with immigrant and refugee students.. and Cleveland High School to help students build boats for a boat racing competition. He is a man of great kindness and humility.

Anonymous said...

I'm in district 1, so naturally I want someone in my district that can work on the issues that are of the most pressing in D1. If you look at the numbers, D1 and D7 have the most SPED students and FRL students. They both have similar percentages of failing or below level students.

I never trusted Geary long before she ran and my intuition was spot on, you poo pooed people's mistrust of Geary. I'm not saying Eric would not be a good member, I'm saying for the issues in D1 that Liza has a better understanding on how to effect positive improvements for the kids that are furthest from educational justice. I think she will again win D1 in a 2 person race and win in D7 which possibly will be enough to win the city wide vote.

--Never changes

I can't see myself ever contacting Eric for anything , but I could be incorrect in assuming he wouldn't be helpful. Like I said, he has a couple more forums to change my mind.

Anonymous said...

I find it funny that Never Changes uses that name. Never Changes is supporting candidates that will ensure that SPS NEVER CHANGES!

And Geary did run on SPeD and changed coats once elected, which is a shame because SPeD needed a champion...and still does. She then tried to change coats by way of SCC and lost that. So the lesson I see here is that she was willing to say or do whatever to get her foot in the political door.

Since HCC has been used as a tool to manage capacity, it comes as no surprise that Eric would know a bit about that, especially operationally. Other areas Eric has focused on:
-PTA legislative chair (focus on boundaries, statewide ed funding, counselors in every school)
-PTA Friends of Ingraham HS, VP
-advocate for stable district funding for IB programs (all of them)
-advocate for RBHS as part of 2019 BEX, for Native ed program, for grants to under-served populations
-anti-school building closure (and accurately predicted they would have to reopen in 2 years)
-Bell Times analysis/tied to transpo
-Capacity and assignment boundary studies/advisory committee and task force since 2009
-Champion for technical/trades education
-anti charter

Using data as a baseline for decision making is what needs to change at SPS. It's also being a critical thinker and collaborating across a wide swath of personalities. The school board job is to hold the Superintendent accountable for meeting the needs of all students. I believe Eric will ask the hard questions (he has already proven he is a collaborator). And asking those questions does not need to be adversarial. But they have to be asked.

I don't know Eric socially either but on big topics that this district needs to address, his name continually pops up.

I think there's a place in the district for a FB moderator and anyone who has the time and ability should get involved in their school or state PTA. But we need experience and not a rubber stamp for what the district wants to do.
-long road

Melissa Westbrook said...

Eden and Eric could out-wonk each other. They both have great skills and the ability to look down the road.

Never changes, except you forgot - School Board is a teamsport,not a single leadership role.

Also, sadly, D7 tends have a lower voter turnout so the vote is largely skewed by the north end. And, if you examine historical vote totals, when you have big races (see Mayor or City Council), the drop-off for School Board races is quite noticeable. In that way, every single vote counts in those races.

Anonymous said...

I also wonder if people with demanding full-time jobs can be successful on the board for their constituents? There's a difference in volunteering on PTA and having a legal responsibility.

We already saw Burke as no show on the budget vote with others calling in. I think that's a shame. We never had an explanation to Burke's MIA on the budget vote.

I agree that Mack is a wonk, but she very weak on SPED and unless you can be strong on SPED your going to run afoul with the new strategic plan.

--Never changes

Anonymous said...

@Never changes-I am sorry if I am being too harsh as a response to your comments and it's not meant to be personal. I do hope you will keep an open mind on Eric. I feel that anything he is asked to focus on really gets his attention, and so I also feel that he will learn and collaborate on SpeD, on top of what he already has been involved in. And more importantly, he could be part of a strong team that will hold SPS accountable. We REALLY need to see some changes in this district and I'm as frustrated as anyone. I have great respect for anyone who runs for these roles.
-long road

Rubber Stamp said...

Similar to Geary, I see Rankin (possibly Hampson) rubber stamping district proposals.

Anonymous said...

There is no one advocating for school closures, come on that was over 8 years ago.

HCC does not resonate with voters except those with children in AL which is a small group.
In fact I'm going out on a limb and say that HCC/AL is a turn off for those not involved. HCC/AL supporters have caused many disruption in boundaries and school assignments and come off as entitled.

The rest of the list I think most people support, so I think they are benign in peoples voting decision.

I also think a women with small children has leverage over a middle aged man who likes to play with rockets. His words not mine.

It's too bad that Eric doesn't live in district 2, because I think he could maybe win there.

--Never changes

Anonymous said...

I'm going to the forum's, so let's see what Eric has to say about the issues in the district and by issues I mean the day to day activities that effect learning in SPS for all children, not just those in AL.

--Never changes

Anonymous said...

Hampson is endorsed by Geary and DeWolf. Tells you a lot.

@never changes suggested, "HCC/AL supporters have caused many disruption in boundaries and school assignments and come off as entitled."

The placement of HCC/AL does create more challenges in boundary decisions, but HCC/AL has probably *minimized* the number of boundary redraws over the years, especially since it's historically been placed in schools that would otherwise be under capacity.

realist

NSP said...

Never changes, Day to day issues like there being food in the cafeterias? Eric spoke out, Liza was silent. Like having enough teachers for the students who show up? Eric spoke out, Liza was virtually silent. Like buses getting students to school on time? Eric has talked about how to fix this, Liza hasn't.

I know who I prefer on day to day issues.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Never Changes, having fun?

So if you check, every single Board member has missed a vote or two. DeWolf makes being a no-show a regular thing.

"I also think a women with small children has leverage over a middle aged man who likes to play with rockets."

Really? I don't and what's with the ageism?

Anonymous said...

The entire city votes on the candidates for school board not just the voters in D1. I live in D1 and I plan on voting for Eric. I think Liza is a good candidate too but I think Eric is the better candidate precisely because he has older kids and has been involved with the district for so long. SPS really needs an advocate for the high schools. I worry that Liza trusts the downtown staff too much and will just say yes without looking at things critically.

HP

Anonymous said...

K-5 are the make or break years and I think kids who are poorly served in K-5 are much less likely to succeed in SPS.

I don't think Eric has been through adversity because his experiences sound similar to Burke's gold plated SPS experience, you remember the one he rambled on about in his campaign. I know you like Rick and his wife for their AL leanings and that's ok.

I just think it's kind of weird for parents to lurk around high schools. Having younger folks with younger students might make for better for understanding today's 5-k issues.

It's just not very likely that a board member who doesn't have personally experience with the issues facing parents could fully understand how to fix them.

You keep bringing up ancillary issues like food and transportation and those are somewhat important however they are not that bad on the scale of furthest from educational justice. A subject that Eric seems to avoid.


--Never changes

Anonymous said...

Eric seems very cozy with the SPS administration.


--Never changes

Anonymous said...

@never changes

Kids who are hungry don't learn. Kids who are not in school because their busses aren't running on time (or at all) don't learn.

Kids furthest from educational justice will have the least flexibility with food and transportation.

Krab

Melissa Westbrook said...

Never Changes, you can stop now because this is just getting sillier. Just throw out a bunch of charges - with zero evidence - see what sticks. And this?

"...ancillary issues like food and transportation and those are somewhat important however they are not that bad on the scale of furthest from educational justice."

Krab, you took the words right out of my mouth.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous Anonymous said...
Rankin seems very cozy with the SPS administration.


--Never changes"

There. Fixed that for you.

Also-I agree that K-5 are make or break years and this is the foundation upon which all education is built for any given kid. But HS is where the rubber meets the road. The issues that impact MS into HS continue to dog SPS and I myself didn't really understand it...until I did because we were in it. Never Changes, maybe you don't have older kids? All high schools depend upon other adults in the building besides teachers and administrators. It takes adults to run alot of the programs that SPS can't manage. It's not weird at all so don't make it weird with a statement like that.

What I have seen from Burke is a pretty balanced approach using data and critical thinking, not feel facts. Why would his wife even be a factor here? And sorry but your idea that you can only help or relate if you been through the same experiences is really an outdated view.
-long road

Anonymous said...

Never changes who said "I also think a women with small children has leverage over a middle aged man who likes to play with rockets. His words not mine."

Eric has older kids, and has been involved for the past 10 years. He is very involved in the district with a deep knowledge of persistent issues. Compare that to other board members (not counting those leaving) majority who either have younger kids or no kids at all in our district.

NW Parent

Anonymous said...

Sorry but you are mistaken to think all kids are going hungry, the problem is not even close and kids are getting to school. In appears that many of the transportation issues from previous years seem to have been fixed.

There is a one off issue with food services and for you to make it sound like students are starving or that the issues food services are chronic is silly and not true.

The only reason that public schools exist is to teach children not feed them or bus them. Those are ancillary benefits, but not required.

Children should all walk to school with their packed lunch that fixes you busing problem and your obesity problem.

--Never changes

Anonymous said...

Ok then we agree that Eric might not be the best choice for SPED. I'm saying that we need someone at least one person on the board with elevated knowledge of SPED and how to work that understanding into the strategic plan in a way that benefits all students.

So Eric please answer that question tonight, because "a mom asked me to help with SPED" just isn't an adequate answer.

--Never changes

Melissa Westbrook said...

Never Changes, if you are a Liza supporter, I'll have just wonder what she would say to some of your statements. Hmmm.

Actually schools DO have provide transportation. You can look that up.

Funny how you offer nothing about how Rankin knows a lot about Sped or any other candidates but you just keep saying (over and over) how little Eric knows.

I've said this already - you need to move on with points and evidence. If not, we've heard enough.

Anonymous said...

Parents, please, please, please do not abandon our high schoolers. Classrooms with the largest differences in abilities, largest class sizes, least time spent with a single adult who can get to know you, biggest teacher workload,highest stakes decision making and least parental support. In high school students are trying to catch up everything they've missed in earlier grades, make strategic moves to set up their transition out of K-12, and navigate the maze of college/trade school/job application processes required while they are trying to keep up with classwork.

You are needed in high school.

Maybe not directing reading groups. But certainly there is a lot need for extra help in classrooms, in the counseling center, tutoring, Saturday school, backpack programs to address food insecurity, support for homeless students, college/scholarship/job application help. Xtra adults make clubs, volunteer programs, out-of-school opportunities accessible for more kids.

It may be hard to understand if your oldest is 10, but 17 year olds are still children and they really still need adult support, especially in our increasingly understaffed high schools.

-Tutor

Anonymous said...

@Tutor, People who move to Seattle from many European countries are shocked by how many parents are volunteering in classrooms. That's not legal or allowed from where they come from and they don't know what an unqualified volunteer might be saying or doing that might not be beneficial to their child. They are also shocked by the poor curriculum used in SPS.

2cents

Melissa Westbrook said...

Tutor, I second that ask. There are plenty of things you can do for high schools without any direct interaction with your own child.

2cents, well, the district does make volunteers fill out forms about their backgrounds. They don't just allow people to wander in off the streets. And the teachers do vet their abilities.

Elsa said...

Hey "Geary's Endorsement"

2 points:

With respect to Melissa, her bias can be seen in the fact that her "friends" have not (and will not) be criticized above or elsewhere on this blog. Even mentioning such a "friends" name in anything but a rosy light, gets "removed" in minutes.

Additionally, Geary didn't bring us deWolfe although I wish she could take that blame. Those who did come from a different political "swamp" but future stepping up was the goal and that's not a two person thing.

Anonymous said...

2cents,

As someone who went to school in Europe I know why they don't need volunteers in classrooms.

They don't have the number of homeless students, food insecure students, or reliance on parents for half of a student's education. Their upper school math teachers don't find out that half the kids can't multiply when they are trying to teach algebra. Their teachers don't have only one planning period a day to grade 170 research papers. European schools are not responsible for helping students apply to college. European colleges don't decide admissions based on yield rates ratio to website page clicks and test scores from private testing companies. Students don't need scholarships to attend. European schools don't need to have mental health counselors and nurses giving physicals.

Our closest Seattle experience is IB program. Most of our students are unprepared to complete an IB diploma. The biggest difference between those who do and don't in Seattle, aside from a developmental disability, is parental support. Because it is too much for our understaffed schools to make up that difference.

It seems unlikely that we will be hiring enough high staff to make up that difference.

None of my European friends and relatives would be able to navigate the American college application system without help. And they are adults. Many of our Seattle students do not have that help. Or even know how to find the training programs that they need for their next step when it is not college.

I am sorry if this seems off track but do not assume that school board members need to know nothing about high schools.



-tutor

Geary's Endorsement said...

Hey "Elsa",

Geary absolutely helped bring us DeWolf. She was one of his first endorsements and supported him throughout his entire campaign.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Elsa, your remarks about my "friends"? Completely untrue. And I already explained that most of those people are colleague friends, not social friends.

Peace, you might watch that tone.

Good insights, Tutor.

Anonymous said...

Does Eric have children attending SPS?

JS

Melissa Westbrook said...

JS, he has one graduate from Ingraham and one child still at Ingraham.

Also, to note, the Superintendent tweeted a column that former Board member, Stephan Blanford, has written about, well, himself. He claims that though he tried, no one wanted to do anything about racial equity. That's just not true and if he spent less time going off to conferences, he might have got something done.

"So, please take the time to read closely and learn the racial equity positions of each of the candidates on the ballot so that you cast an informed vote. And then, hold your school board accountable for demonstrable progress on its racial equity goals."

I do believe the equity work is the most important work but I wonder what his measure would be? Alas, he doesn't say.

Anonymous said...

What did Blanford accomplish on the school board?

Zilch

Anonymous said...

@tutor I sense you have not lived all over the US in making your comparisons between "America & Europe". WA state is not a fair comparison. Public schools in the US vary VERY widely in resources, curriculum, funding, class size and other factors. The public schools where I grew up are much more similar to exclusive private schools such as Lakeside in Seattle, but they are also spending twice the national average per student in that state. Regarding per pupil funding, some districts spend more than private school tuition in Seattle per pupil on the students.

East Coaster

Anonymous said...

Agree that Seattle is not typical of public schools across the US. There are also significant differences among suburban, inner city, and rural public schools. In my home state, receiving school districts could charge families for the cost of education if their children were to attend schools outside of their district. Want to go to a particular school, but don't live in the boundaries? You need to pay (but typically less than private school). Lie about your address? It's a crime and you could be forced to repay the cost and even serve jail time. In WA, you can request a district transfer at no cost (you just need to provide your own transportation).

yeah, different

Anonymous said...

Is Eric's daughter in IB at Ingraham?

JS

Anonymous said...

I thought that Eric lived in the Ballard HS attendance area?

JS

Anonymous said...

I never though of that. He lives in D1, but their attendee area High School is Ballard not Ingraham. Spends a lot of time at Ingraham and he seems biased towards HCC/AL so much he moved his children way over to Ingraham High school. There's nothing wrong with that , but he should be honest about his motivations.

Geary did they same thing!



--Never changes

Anonymous said...

Yep, Loyal Heights then ? and then IB at Ingraham. Could be good if you primary concern is IB/HCC and not so much if you have other concerns.


Toe walker

















Anonymous said...

Maybe his kids just wanted IB. You know like they have at Rainier Beach and Chief Sealth. Ingraham is the IB school in the north.

HP

NSP said...

Eric lives near the line between Ballard and Ingraham. His students went Loyal Heights > Whitman > Ingraham and LH > Hamilton > Garfield > Ingraham.

Anonymous said...

Uh, how can you live between a line?

JS

Anonymous said...

Peace, I think you need to change your name to Discord because you do not sow Peace.

Personally, I am sad that Pinkham and Burke are leaving. I appreciate their support for real math and science.

HP

Anonymous said...

JS, the line changes. Plus, sometimes you just want IB. I know several people from Hale's district that went to Ingraham for IB and I know several from Ingraham's district that went to Hale because they didn't want IB and they didn't like gen ed at Ingraham.

HP

Melissa Westbrook said...

JS, you seem determined to make a point about Blumhagen. If you are, then state it with proof. Otherwise, enough.

Toe Walker, next time, check and please do not leave huge spaces. You will be deleted otherwise.

Anonymous said...

The math turned out better than it could have. I just wish they could have stopped Amplify.

HP

Anonymous said...

I am happy that Everyday Math is gone and Math in Focus was chosen.

HP

old salt said...

Ah the sweet innocence of those who don't remember the move to the NSAP and annual boundary changes. The whole thing was driven by battles to get into Ballard, especially between those living north of Ballard and those in Magnolia & Queen Ann. Every single NSAP meeting for 2 years was dominated by that fight. How hard folks fought to avoid Ingraham in the first years of NSAP. Seems pretty funny that those who did go to Ingraham at that time are now accused of elitism.

Anonymous said...

What Old Salt said is precisely why I am voting for Eric. He knows the whole sordid history of SPS. Liza is a wonderful advocate for K-5 but she doesn't know high school or the history of the SPS like Eric does. Eric is fully aware of the multitudes of broken promises.

HP

Anonymous said...

Interesting you say that students didn't like gen ed at Ingraham, because parents tend to hear that a lot about Ingraham a school that Eric seems to be very active in.

Did Eric try and understand why there are so many disenfranchised students at Ingraham? Because there are and Ingraham students don't move to running start for classes, they do it to get away from Ingraham.

Do I have a point about Eric? Yes I do.

Eric moved his children out of their attendance High school for the IB program at Ingraham.

Which is what many parents do. Eric gave some BS story about running for school board because a Ingraham mother asked him for help to get services for her special education student. The problem with that is Eric doesn't have a documented history of helping SPED or attending SPED meetings, but he states that was the main reason for running. Come on!

Eric's primary focus has been HCC/AL/IB and that's fine, so my problem with him is what I perceive as a lie to why he said he's running.

I hope he comes clean before my ballot arrives.

JS

Anonymous said...

@ old salt...I think you must mean IB @ Ingraham. Have you ever asked a non IB student at Ingraham what it's like. Have you asked a non IB teacher what's it like. Why don't you then come back and comment.

JS

Melissa Westbrook said...

JS, your remarks on Blumhagen are slightly incoherent. His primary focus is not HCC/AL; I just went to another forum last night. I left early but there was zero discussion and he never said anything. Where's your proof of his focus? You aren't voting for him anyway so he has no need to "come clean" on anything.

Anonymous said...

No one wanted Ingraham before IB was put there. Families that prefer AP over IB pick Ballard.
Families that pick IB over AP pick Ingraham. Families looking for a smaller school tend to pick Hale. Families who don't think Hale is rigorous enough try to get into IB at Ingraham or Roosevelt for more AP classes. Families who think Roosevelt is too big and clickish try to go to Hale. Families have many reasons for picking the HS they want for their kid.

I see nothing wrong with Eric choosing Ingraham over Ballard for his kids. What will Liza do when her kids get to high school? Who knows. Liza's kids go to Wedgwood which is very white. Her kids will go to Eckstein which is also very white and preferred by many over JAMS. I don't know if her family is in the Roosevelt or Hale district.

HP

Anonymous said...

Why bring race into this?
Why dodge my main points?

I've read Eric's comments on this blog and he is no doubt a HCC proponent and that's ok, but there is zero evidence of Eric doing anything meaningful for SPED. He brings up SPED in his campaign video like he saw the light. He has also been noticeably absent from commenting here for months.

I don't trust this new found love of SPED by HCC proponents. I think you are playing games in hopes of more funding for AL.

JS

Anonymous said...

Wow that's a very elitist statement, " no one wanted Ingraham before IB was there" I would add that perhaps many did not want Ingraham once IB was there.

So what are you really saying about Ingraham?

JS

Melissa Westbrook said...

JS, have the courtesy to address whoever you are commenting about.

Again, why just him on Sped? Why not the other candidates?

And not commenting? Of course, none of them would comment; they are running for office.

Anonymous said...

I have repeatedly answered your question. I live in D1 and ERIC threw out SPED as the main reason he was running. Did yo not watch his video? The last think I will vote for is another Jill Geary.

Are we clear?

JS

Melissa Westbrook said...

JS, you might mind that tone. Vote for whoever you want to.

Anonymous said...

It's so frustrating how you don't answer questions.

JS

Melissa Westbrook said...

JS:

- "Does Eric have children attending SPS?"

I answered that.

"Is Eric's daughter in IB at Ingraham?"

Answered partially because I know she's there; didn't know about IB.

"I thought that Eric lived in the Ballard HS attendance area?"

I don't know but whereever he lives, it's in District 1.

"Uh, how can you live between a line?"

Sorry, no idea.

"Did Eric try and understand why there are so many disenfranchised students at Ingraham?"

I don't know; I haven't asked him. Why don't you?

"Why bring race into this?
Why dodge my main points?"

Didn't know who you were talking to.

I DID answer your questions but you did not answer mine. So you are done on this post. Don't comment again.

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