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The issues for SPS today are:
- money (always)
- capacity management (they closed schools only to reopen 4 at a huge cost) because guess what? SPS is growing. There are huge growing pains in West Seattle (beware Steve Sundquist, here's where it gets tough) and NE Seattle as well as Garfield, Lowell and others.
- academic progress (when are we going to see some?)
- where we go with ed reform - are we all in with charters, TFA, more testing, etc. Or do we look at those trends and decide what is the best fit for our district
- following ed reform (as Riya stated), who does the Board listen to? Foundations and education power brokers or the voters who elect them, the teachers who teach the students and the parents who support public schools?
Also, what is the role of the Board Director? There are two camps. One, do due diligence and make sure you ask a couple of questions and then stamp "approved" on everything. Two, someone who asks questions and may sometimes say no (or I need more information) before approving everything put before them. Voters have very different ideas about what they want.
The incumbents are all bright, capable people. And yet we've had two financial crises, bad audits, a $500M+ backlog of maintenance and a capacity management problem. All have them had it in them to do better and the most they have done is get TFA into our district.
I wouldn't advocate "anyone but the incumbent" but there are some good alternatives running.
We can do better and we should.
It's like french kissing, only quicker.
I am of the belief that the conversations about teacher's unions and the administration are losing sight of the main focus: the kids. We should have school board members that aren't looking out for what's best for the union or the administration, but what is best for the students.
Luckily, in District 3, voters have an excellent option. A person who embodies the idea that the students should come first, and it's no surprise that it's not Harium "lowering standards to graduate kids" Martin-Morris.
No, we are lucky to have Michelle Buetow, and I am excited that she is running, and look forward to seeing her on the School Board!
Now, if the school district could stop giving school buildings to politically connected churches, using tax payers money to support them, we'd maybe make some progress.
Plenty of successful, talented people went to 'bad' schools. If your parents care and are hyper involved, you can succeed anywhere.
The four directors elected in 2007 spent $500,000 on their campaigns ... that Whelan fellow is spot on about the Big Money influence.
The SLOG poster is right--I am concerned about the influence of Foundations, but it's their role in promoting so-called education reform that is the real concern. Education Reform is shorthand for Republican talking points about how to privatize the American public school system, to blame teachers & smash unions, and to run school districts as if they were corporations. The voting record of the incumbents, especially Sundquist, Maier, and Carr, has aligned clearly with that agenda: http://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com…