Showing posts from March, 2022

Hampson VS Seattle School District No. 1

 I've now read both briefs for Director Chandra Hampson's lawsuit against the district to overturn the independent investigation finding that she used her positional authority to harass/bully/intimidate two senior Black staffers. I've uploaded both to Scribed; here's the link for her brief and here is the link for the district's reply.  I'll just give a brief analysis of both and then go in-depth with both. I'll state the obvious in advance - I'm no lawyer.  My take is that the Court will decline to offer relief to Director Hampson. I think this mainly because there isn't much there, there in her brief and I don't think any court really wants to get involved in the minutia of municipal oversight.  What makes the briefs so different is the amount of verbiage used in timeline detail in Hampson's brief versus actual case law cited by the district.  One key issue - that came up the night the Board took the vote to accept the findings of the inves

Heads Up on Fundraising Changes Coming to Seattle Schools

 Just a heads up.  The Board is having two Audit & Finance Committee meetings this week (one is tomorrow). Interestingly, the key topic are two policies around Sexual Harassment/Assault; one policy for students and one for employees. I will have a separate post on this topic as it's a huge one.  As usual, I requested the documentation for each meeting (you have to do that, otherwise all you see is an agenda with topics).  Buried deep in the documentation for the second meeting is this memo from A&F chair, Chandra Hampson. (See below.) To be clear, I believe this will affect not just PTA fundraising but any outside gifts like from booster clubs.  I also see that there are there grand phrases like "the values and vision of the community" and " acceptance of resources should be tied to demonstrated ability to impact student outcomes." Neither is really defined and that's troubling. I see no mention of any public engagement but I'm sure that when ma

Charter Schools - Public or Private (They Really Should Make Up Their Minds)

The New York Times reported back in June 2020 about the looming issue of charter schools that when given the opportunity, double-dipped to get more COVID dollars meant for small businesses. Like traditional public schools, they generally receive per-pupil funding from their districts, and as such, they were eligible to receive a share of billions of dollars in relief that Congress allocated to public education.   But because a vast majority are run by nonprofit companies, they also qualified for the Paycheck Protection Program.   The board chairman of one Oakland, Calif., charter school network, Education for Change Public Schools, said its $5 million loan would be a “cheap form of cash-flow financing.” And so (bold mine): Charter schools, including some with healthy cash balances and billionaire backers like Michael Bloomberg and Bill Gates, have quietly accepted millions of dollars in emergency coronavirus relief from a fund created to help struggling small businesses stay afloat.  

This and That

  First, congrats to the Garfield High School girls basketball team for taking the state championship for their division! What a lot of effort and practice and discipline; great job! The district also reports:  Rainier Beach and Garfield boys teams also scored top places but had no details at that webpage . Speaking of students, the Board is looking for three Student Board "Members." I am baffled by this effort because there are many ways for students to give input; this just looks like window-dressing. And, if you read the requirements, the new "members" have to go to two Board meetings a month (oh joy) and are assigned a Board committee and have to go to that meeting once a month (double joy - very dull meetings if you don't know what's going on or who is who in the room). However, they do get paid ($17.27 an hour). Lastly, if the Board members want shorter meetings, this is not going to help.  Next, I have a new Twitter account if you are a Twitter us

Zealots and Their Public Personas

Update at the bottom of this post. There isn't a lot to get excited about when growing old but one thing that is good is learning patience. I've been at this work for a long time and, from the start, was in it for the long game. I learned early on that nothing changes quickly in public education and you'll face heartbreak if you think it will. (This is particularly hard on parents who would like change to come before their kid graduates high school.)  One issue that is especially difficult to deal with is to see the parade of people in and out of SPS especially those who actually do damage . Very frustrating. But with people who are zealots and bullies, if you wait long enough, they end up hurting themselves. Here's the best example I can give you. Many, many people have contacted me over a recent story about the former head of Ethnic Studies at SPS. What might be a fairly shocking piece to some actually didn't surprise me at all.  I am not going to provide a lin

Seattle Schools and the Alliance for Education

When we last left this story, the Alliance had been mostly bounced out of SPS. There apparently had been too much push from the Alliance on the direction of the district and it made SPS leadership uneasy. So the Alliance was left mostly managing fundraising finances for various SPS groups like PTAs, booster clubs, etc.  So I was somewhat surprised to hear Superintendent Brent Jones name the Alliance as being a partner with SPS at his State of the District speech. But it appears that the Alliance is waaaay back in SPS good graces and, from examining the Alliance's website , I can see why. (Just a heads up - some of the Alliance's links are wonky and won't open.)  Item One I had forgotten that the Alliance was paying for the Seattle Teacher Residency Program which is important for SPS to grow their own teaching corps. The STR does bring in more teachers of color who tend to work at Title One schools. This program is probably more important than ever given that post-COVID, man

Seattle Schools and City of Seattle and the future of Memorial Stadium

Below is the one-pager on this ongoing process of developing an MOU between SPS and the City of Seattle per today's Operation Committee meeting. It does have some important and revealing thoughts. Memorial Stadium Seattle Public Schools and City of Seattle Status of Planning for SPS School Board Operations Committee March 17, 2022     Overview. With voter approval of the BTA V levy renewal, the district and the City of Seattle are exploring the potential to partner on a new Memorial Stadium, consistent with and informed by a 2017 partnership agreement between the district and the City. 2017 Partnership Agreement. In 2017, the City and the school district entered into a partnership agreement that envisioned collaborating around development of three potential projects: - a new Memorial Stadium; - district acquisition of land parcels as part of the Ft. Lawton Redevelopment Plan; and - siting new school facilities, including potentially an elementary school downtown. The 2017 agreemen

Seattle Schools Superintendent's State of the District

I watched it so you didn't have to and, after watching it, I'd say I saved you some time. There was 30 minutes allotted for the speech.  It started with Board President Brandon Hersey introducing Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell, calling him "a friend and champion for public education." Harrell spoke for about 5 minutes plus there was a short video at the end where he spoke about the City's pre-K program and Seattle Promise college program. Harrell referenced his 40-year friendship with Jones and that both have a long association with Seattle Public Schools. He also said that "process has its place in Seattle" (to laughter from the audience) and commended the Board for their "bold decision  "to keep Jones. Interestingly, he said that SPS was the City's "strongest partner" in their pre-K program and yet, at the his press conference this week, Harrell had nary an SPS representative there.  Jones' speech acknowledged and thanked the

THANK YOU to A Reader

 I had a great reader write with lots of suggestions for what the issue might be with the blog (I still am suspicious of what happened but that's in the past). The blog appears to be fully functional including...comments. So please DO chime in. The new look is not a thing of beauty but honestly, I'm going for functionality at this point and I will try to add more soon. Welcome Back!

Seattle Schools Left Out of Today's Press Conference on New Pre-K Spaces

I'm still on the Mayor's email press list and I got this one: Today at 2:00 P.M., Mayor Bruce Harrell and partners will announce the opening of applications for the City’s award-winning Seattle Preschool Program (SPP) for the 2022-2023 school year. This year, SPP will expand with seven additional classrooms and one Family Child Care Hub to provide 144 additional seats to Seattle three- and four-year-olds.    SPP provides free tuition for most Seattle families who apply, with rates calculated based on household income and family size to advance educational equity and reducing race-based opportunity gaps in kindergarten readiness.    WHO:  Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell; Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning Director Dwane Chappelle; Denise Louie Education Center Executive Director Susan Yang;   Parent Liling Kong.   Now those seven new classrooms are mostly in SPS. Plus, SPS has given over space in many buildings for this effort and at no cost to the City.  And the Cit

WA State Charter Group Used Uncertified Teachers...for an Entire School Year

Via KUOW : Teachers who lacked proper accreditation taught at charter schools in Seattle and Tacoma, in violation of state rules. This was discovered through an audit; State Auditor Pat McCarthy called these findings “unprecedented.” The state audit found that Summit Sierra and Summit Atlas, schools in Seattle, and Summit Olympus, a school in Tacoma, received nearly $4 million in funding related to the positions, which may now need to be repaid.   The Washington State Auditor's Office made the discovery in the course of routine 2019-2020 school year accountability audits of the three schools, which are the Washington locations of a California-based charter school network. Summit Sierra and Olympus are high schools, and Atlas includes middle and high school.

Technical Issues Update

 I did receive this email from a reader on the technical issues here: I deleted the Google ads script node in the source code and that fixed the problem, so it may be due to a Javascript error in the ads script. You are a more technical person than I am - I do little source code work. So please send me an email with perhaps a step-by-step instruction (I do have someone else working on this but I like to learn new things). Also Readers, whatever is happening is not allowing comments. Send your comments directly to me: And I can post them.  Thanks!

Upcoming Seattle School Board Meeting

 The next Seattle School Board meeting is this Wednesday, the 16th, starting at 4:15 pm. Agenda here . (Please note, I am still correcting issues from some apparent - and childish - hacker. Links may or may not work.) As I have reported previously, the Board is moving more and more Action items - meaning those they will vote on - to the Consent Agenda. For example, the Board will be approving two MOUs with SEA and both appear to affect some Special Education students.  The Board has changed from   having an introduction of a Board Action at one Board meeting and then having a vote of that Board Action at the next meeting. They are now seeming to do only Introductions with Board discussion at one meeting and then, at the next meeting, moving that Action to the Consent Agenda.  That means no further Board discussion of that issue AND that issue is lumped with every other issue on the Consent Agenda in a single vote.  The Board has moved 15 specific BARs to the Consent Agenda.  So, you