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Sundquist’s alleged corruption taints Seattle Schools closure process

December 15, 2008

 

Doing my best to ignore those that don't look like me
Sable Verity is NOT my homegirl

 

1 word: discrimination.

 

The quintessential definition of discrimination is treating two groups (or in this case; schools) of equal circumstance differently.

 

I know many are likely thinking that the definition above is over simplified, that we need to take mitigating circumstances into account when making decisions.  Maybe you’re right.  However, that does not change the fact that the definition above stands, and stands true.

 

I have spent much of the past four days thinking about discrimination as it’s been defined here, and I have come to this: Steve Sundquist must be investigated for his discriminatory practices as an elected Seattle Public Schools Board Director for his treatment of students and families at Cooper Elementary vs. his treatment of students and families at Arbor Heights.

 

I wanted to jump right to Sundquist losing his seat, but that rarely happens without some sort of investigation, unless he was to resign, and well, that’ ain’t happenin’ any time soon.  Thus, he must be investigated by a panel that is NOT biased in favor of the District or the Board.

 

The plan “hatched” by AHPTSA members and Dir. Sundquist became public last week when a brave AHPTSA member stepped forward with internal messages between AHPTSA members (and despite the insistence that ALL of these communications were public, the ones referenced here and in other SV posts ARE NOT) that outlined not only how the fall of Cooper would come about, but the strategic targeting of Rainier Beach High School as well.

 

Sundquist’s behavior during the closure talks has been nothing short of unethical.  He has all but refused to meet with, talk with, or address the concerns of Cooper families (the little stunt with CPPS @ WS Elementary does NOT count as adequate contact with Cooper), staff and students in Board work sessions or meetings, yet he has been strategizing with AH families since before the Superintendent’s recommendations were made public.  Of course, AH has denied this, stating it only found out when everyone else found out, but we know this is not true.  We know because the tight knit AHPTSA family is unraveling, whether due to frustration, guilt or paranoia, the seams are started to tatter and folks are starting to talk.  The woman I met with Thursday night didn’t call or meet with me out of spite, or anger…it was out of guilt.  She knew her affluent, predominately White school was kicking the shit out of poorer, majority minority schools, and that those schools had no idea who was behind the beat down.  She wanted to be absolved of the guilt she was feeling, and while I’m not the all powerful White guilt absolver, I am a truth teller.  So I commenced to tellin’ it, as clearly and as loudly as I could.

Since all of this went public, a few have piped up and said “nothing was done in secret”.  I beg to differ, but it doesn’t matter if it was done in secret or not; it was done, simple as that.

 

I have to say that, when I first reviewed the documents, I was totally furious at the AHPTSA for their complete disregard for other children and families.  It wasn’t until I got to the details about their plans for Rainier Beach High School that I started shaking- yes Fam, I said shaking; a plan to sabatoge a school in black and white, read with my own eyes.

 

“If we can move Summit k-12 (again), from RBHS”, we can argue that the school close, saving the District millions, and saving Arbor Heights.  No mention of the students at tha Beach.  No mention of the teachers, the families, the history, the needs, the successes- just get rid of them.  Secure $2 million dollars for the District and save Arbor Heights.  Money in exchange for favor, for security.  At least in Chicago, they call that a bribe folks. 

It is crystal clear that AHPTSA was working in cooperation with Sundquist.  The repetitive use of “we” highlights the partnership throughout the communications.  In the real world, PTSA’s don’t have power like that, not over their own building, certainly not over other buildings, and certainly not over other buildings outside of their cluster, across the bridge and on the other side of town.

 

In an eye-popping and jaw-dropping interview on KUOW radio that made me pinch my damn self, the AHPTSA Co-Presidents admitted the entire thing.  They came together as a group and made the choice to target Cooper and RBHS to save AH, and they worked with Sundquist to solidify their arguments, backed up by data and dollars.  As if that were not enough, it was Sundquist who threw Cooper into the fire, and it’s in the fire where they still sit today, so do not tell me that they did not work together on this; they absolutely did.  The AHPTSA has NO power without a Board member.  The AHPTSA cannot get schools added onto or taken off of any list, only a Board member can do that.  Tell me then, why is it that the “hatched plans” in the secret documents mirror the efforts of Sundquist around closures?  Because they are one and the same. 

Some of you may be wondering “well why not send Pathfinder to Cooper?”  This has been vetted in previous closure attempts, and shot down by the Board.  It was recently shot down by the new Superintendent for those same reasons.  In fact, one of the PTSA members can be quoted as saying “the District is against us, the Board is not”.  So the District was not gung ho on Pathfinder to Cooper.  Yet and still, there sits Cooper in the fire, burning up, while AH sips tall glasses of lemonade over ice and pats themselves on the back for a (dirty) job well done.

 

Giving favor to one school over another (or all others, for that matter), requires one to discriminate, which is what Steve Sundquist has done as an elected Board member for the Seattle School District.

When AH found themselves on the list, to be dissolved so that Pathfinder could have a new home, they worked with Sundquist for a reprieve- and got it.

 When Cooper found themselves on the list (where Sundquist put them, in place of AH), they reached out to Sundquist for answers, for assistance, for understanding…and got ignored.

 

That folks, is the quintessential definition of discrimination. 

 

As if that weren’t enough, Sundquist worked to thwart plans to strengthen Rainier Beach High so that it would close, thereby saving Arbor Heights.

 

That’s called corruption.

 

If the closure process is unbalanced, unfair and corrupt, it must not go ahead.

 

Sundquist should be- no- must be investigated.  Until then, he has earned our “Rat Bastard of the Week” award.  Congrats.

 

###

 

See also:  https://sableverity.wordpress.com/2008/12/16/sundquist-got-english/

 

Update: 10:13pm Sunday December 14, 2008 (read the comments section)

I’d like to say this, before things get stupid ugly in the comments section and people think they can start talkin’ shit to me and I’m gonna fold up and go home. As anyone who has ever started a blog will tell you (including beat reporters); at least one if not THE ONE reason why they did so was to report on things via a sensative and rational perspective; their own.

There are millions of stories in the world that need to be told; depending on who is watching- through their eyes, frame of reference, bias and rationale is how the story is going to be told; it’s the same for the Sable Verity.

I know my perspecitve doesn’t mirror your own, and that is why I think it is so important. I am a woman of color living in Seattle, with children of color in the public school system. I am a minority in ways you’ll NEVER understand no matter how hard you try, how nice you are or how many friends and associates and coleagues of color you and your friends have and your children have.

We are different. We have different realities that run parallel to each other. Sometimes they cross, sometimes they connect for extended periods of time, sometimes they conflict and sometimes they compliment each other; but they are still different.

I am not a bigot or a racist-ass anything. I am well educated on school closures and have in fact attended board meetings and work sessions on school closures for- gosh- years.  I’ve sat and talked with many of you, you’ve shaken my hand and given me hugs and smiled in my face.  And here you come, completely oblivious to whom you are talking, showing your true colors.  I am not shocked at all.  Not one single bit.  Because when people’s comfort zones get threatened, they lash out in desperate ways, just as you all have done here, some via self righteousness, and some via hatred; all with a common thread.

Maya Angelou said, “when someone shows you who they truly are, believe them the first time.”

Well you’ve shown me, and I believe you.

As the tag line on this blog says, “you can disagree, but I’ll still be right”; that means, I don’t need you to agree with me for me to be right. As a person of color that is a lesson I have had to learn and embrace. I don’t need White people, brown people, red people or blue people to co-sign, for me to be sure that what I am bring is the truth.

Thankfully that is a mindset I was freed of a long time ago.

I know good and hell well that I am biased. Unlike other bloggers, I DO NOT TRY AND DENY IT OR HIDE IT. I don’t write for the Associated Press, I write for the Sable Verity Blog. MY BLOG. We are ALL biased; that doesn’t mean we can’t be fair, or that I cannot be fair. I openly offered space for Sundquist, the Board and the District to make comment; they have not thus far. That invite still stands.

Just because I am reporting information that makes people uncomfortable doesn’t mean that it’s not true or that it’s unfair or that I am somehow a bigoted racist out to get the good White people of Seattle. Nothing could be further from the truth. Just because it is something touchy and sensitive, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be talked about.

How else can we bring about true change?

By being challenged and pushed outside of our box?

To be challenged on those things (and people) that you think are true and right?

To do a self check to be sure that you are not complicit in things that negatively impact anyone else, simply because you aren’t paying attention, or you because you trusted someone else to do the right thing?

The answer is, (d) all of the above.

This battle in the comments section reminds me a lot of the presidential election. In the last few weeks of the election, Palin and McCain started pushing the envelope of respectability, using racial fear and hatred to turn voters, and their supporters shredded the very same envelope, screaming hatred filled rants at rallies and town halls across America. “Kill him!” “Traitor!”, “He’s not one of us!” “Treason!”

If you couldn’t figure it out, yeah, I just compared AHPTSA to Palin/McCain for their shitteous actions, and the commentors on this post to those that attended rallies, filled with anger and hate, ready to lash out no matter what the cost.

’nuff said. Comments such as the ones above will not be put through again. Rest assured there are plenty of OTHER blogs that are happy to have those kinds of comments, so find your audience there.

 

The voice of the minority is what we strive to prepresent here on the Sable Verity, and we do so in the spirit of truth, righteousness, and a lot of plain fuckin’ talk.  If you don’t like it, your constitutional right is to ignore it.

But you’ll never silence it.

 Update Dec. 15 2008- The KUOW Report http://www.kuow.org/program.php?id=16518

12/12/2008

How does a school save itself from closure? One way is to point the finger at other schools. And tell the District to close them instead. That’s what parents at Arbor Heights Elementary did in West Seattle. For now, it seems to have worked. KUOW’s Phyllis Fletcher has more.
IF YOU GO TO A SCHOOL BOARD MEETING, SOMETIMES YOU HEAR THIS:

IMPASSIONED APPLAUSE. USUALLY, IN SUPPORT OF A PARENT OR TEACHER WHO PLEADS WITH THE SCHOOL BOARD TO KEEP THEIR BUILDING OPEN.

BUT THIS APPLAUSE WAS FOR A PARENT WHO SAID, ‘GO AHEAD.’

IWAMOTO: “Show me and the general public that the district follows its own guidelines and logic by closing a high school.”

ERIC IWAMOTO IS CO–PRESIDENT OF THE PARENT–TEACHER–STUDENT ASSOCIATION OF ARBOR HEIGHTS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. HIS SCHOOL HAD BEEN ON THE LIST.

SO HE AND HIS FELLOW PTSA MEMBERS TOLD THEIR SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER, STEVE SUNDQUIST, TO LOOK AT CLOSING RAINIER BEACH HIGH SCHOOL AND COOPER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL INSTEAD.

THEN, BOTH SCHOOLS ENDED UP ON A CLOSURE LIST LAST WEEK. AND ARBOR HEIGHTS WAS SPARED.

SUZETTE RILEY IS CO–PTSA–PRESIDENT WITH ERIC IWAMOTO AT ARBOR HEIGHTS.

RILEY: “Uh, you know, it’s a really awkward position.”

RILEY SAYS THEY TALKED ABOUT IT.

RILEY: “Should we just try to defend our school? Or should we try to prove that other ones should be closed?”

RILEY: “Ultimately we decided that that was the safest position.”

AND SHE ADMITS: SOME OF THE FACTORS THAT LED ARBOR HEIGHTS TO POINT THE FINGER AT COOPER AND RAINIER BEACH ARE THE SAME THINGS THAT GIVE ARBOR HEIGHTS AN ADVANTAGE IN THE CLOSURE PROCESS.

ARBOR HEIGHTS DOESN’T HAVE A MAJORITY OF FAMILIES IN POVERTY. COOPER AND RAINIER BEACH DO. POVERTY AFFECTS A SCHOOL’S POPULARITY, WHICH IS A FACTOR IN THE CLOSURE PROCESS. AND RILEY SAYS POVERTY ALSO AFFECTS HOW EASY IT IS FOR PARENTS TO ORGANIZE WHEN THEIR SCHOOL IS UNDER THE GUN.

RILEY: “Demographically, we may have an advantage. Um, I think that may be true. But we’re all still working parents and just trying to do the best for our kids.”

RILEY’S CO–PRESIDENT SPOKE CANDIDLY ON A MESSAGE BOARD FOR OTHER ARBOR HEIGHTS PARENTS. HIS MESSAGES WERE THEN PUBLICIZED BY A SOUTH SEATTLE BLOGGER. ERIC IWAMOTO SAID TO KEEP THEIR SCHOOL OPEN, THE PTSA HAD TO OFFER UP A ‘SACRIFICIAL LAMB’–ANOTHER SCHOOL.

WILLIAMS: “That’s blasphemy.”

SHELLEY WILLIAMS HAS TWO KIDS AT COOPER. SHE WENT THERE WHEN SHE WAS A KID. SHE COMPARES THE CLOSURE PROCESS TO A BOARD GAME. AND SAYS A LOT OF PARENTS AT COOPER DON’T EVEN KNOW THE RULES.

WILLIAMS: “We have 6 parents I can think of right off the top of my head who have been in this country less than two years, and spent more than two years prior in a refugee camp. They don’t even know this system.”

SO SHE WONDERS, HOW CAN THEY POSSIBLY BE EXPECTED TO ORDER T–SHIRTS, SHOW UP TO SCHOOL BOARD MEETINGS, GIVE PUBLIC TESTIMONY, AND TALK TO THEIR SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS?

BUT BOTH SHE AND SUZETTE RILEY SAY THAT’S WHAT PARENTS HAVE TO DO IF THEY WANT TO GET THEIR SCHOOLS OFF THE LIST BEFORE THE SCHOOL BOARD VOTES ON IT NEXT MONTH. PHYLLIS FLETCHER, KUOW NEWS.

The RVP steps up with its own coverage of the AH/Sundquist/Cooper/RBHS debacle.

Seattlest notes “their may very well have been some fuckery afoot” with closures. 

 

See also: The Sundquist/AHPTSA Plan to kill Cooper, RBHS, Roxhill

See also: SPS to Cooper: We don’t have to listen to you

See also: SPS needs a lesson in equity

See also: SPS to RBHS: We do not have to talk to you

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40 Comments leave one →
  1. December 14, 2008 3:28 pm

    Hmmm…Sable, you make great points. To be totally objective, there actually SHOULD be an investigation on the grounds of collusion and coersion. Sundquist may not see it, but he has sold himself out. What would be most unfortunate would be if Sundquist received some type of compensation. An investigation by a 3rd party would be able to uncover that.

    THere is proof in written documents, internet posts, and even an unapologetic explanation on an internet radio show.

    The nation is outraged by the actions of Illinois’s governor; and yet this is the exact same thing. Sundquist has decided for some reason or another, his power and influence were for sale. What needs to be found out is what was his price. And if there IS no compensation, there can be no other finger to point except shear unadulterated racism. It is sad that this is what goes on behind closed doors, but as I stated before, this is just a microcosm of what goes on on a much grander scale.

  2. Just a Thought permalink
    December 14, 2008 4:06 pm

    (I meant to write the following comment in response to this post, but I accidentally posted it further down. I’m repeating it here because it actually goes with this post.)

    Hmm. So, although on the Save Seattle Schools blog, people are writing at length (104 comments on the latest closure-related post) about the merits of closing one school over another, a common thought about Cooper (vs.) Arbor Heights has been, “Oh, this closure process is never easy. It’s very complex, and it’s just a shame.” Other than that, the same “activists and editorialists” who write on that blog provide little or no attention to this situation. I am also really surprised that the Stranger (and other print sources) have not picked this up.

    But maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. As Sable writes, it is clearly about discrimination. I suspect that Steve Sundquist will soon issue some sort of statement attempting to clear his name from any sneaky, underhanded wrongdoing. But the facts remain:

    1. After their “extensive” data analysis, SPS decided to close the Arbor Heights program to provide a home for Pathfinder.
    2. The Arbor Heights community used its resources and quickly mobilized to fight the proposal. They worked WITH a school board member who is supposed to represent the whole of West Seattle to do so. They clearly targeted Cooper instead.
    3. Without giving ANY rationale, the board took Arbor Heights off the closure list and added Cooper.
    4. When Cooper staff/advocates reached out to Steve Sundquist, who is also supposed to represent them, he did nothing.
    5. The school district is not holding hearings for programs that are closing. So without special access, Cooper’s only recourse is to sign up for a few brief 3 minute slots to speak at the board meeting and at the Genesee Hill meeting.
    6. The Cooper community, although passionate, clearly does not have the same resources as AH, most notably, the resource of networking with a school board member who allowed his ear to be bent and then was somehow able to influence the rest of the school board without questions being asked.
    7. The worst part of all of this, in my opinion, is that SPS will move further away from closing the achievement gap. Instead of some former AH students attending Cooper, former Cooper students will be attending West Seattle and like schools, further segregating students living in poverty, and further exacerbating the current issues in meeting the needs of all students.

    My question is: WHY are mainstream media sources not acknowledging these obvious points, and why aren’t school board members (other than SS) asking these questions? (And I agree, the West Seattle Blog does not seem fair and balanced on this issue.)

    This isn’t about being snarky or oversimplifying the “complex closure process.” It’s about fairness, period.

  3. Big SV Fan permalink
    December 14, 2008 4:33 pm

    I too went over to the Save Seattle Schools blog. Total oxymoron that blog name. Should be Save a FEW, WHITE, AFFLUENT Seattle Schools.

    The mainstream media, and other blogs, just plain suck! How could they NOT tell this story?! This is like, HUGE!

    Thank you for having the courage to stand up and TELL THE TRUTH!!!!!!!!

  4. eJohnson permalink
    December 14, 2008 6:16 pm

    “The quintessential definition of discrimination is treating two people of equal circumstance differently.” However YOU Sable have done just that with AH and Cooper. You condemn AHPTSA for advocating for the closure of RBHS and Cooper. I agree. But you did NOT condemn the Cooper PTA and community for trying to do the EXACT SAME thing to WSE (and perhaps Rox Hill). What is the difference? Both are schools trying to save themselves and get a gun pointed at someone else that is poorer and less able to respond. If you think it is wrong, you must condemn them equally … or you clearly are practicing discrimination by your own definition.

  5. SolvayGirl permalink
    December 14, 2008 6:22 pm

    FYI…the lists are not being created by the school board but rather by Dr. Goodloe-Johnson and the staff at the District. The board at this point is asking questions and making recommendations and will have a final vote on the final list given by the District in January. The removing of Arbor Heights and replacing it with Cooper was done by the District. I’m not saying that Sundquist did not have some influence (I have no idea about that)…just wanting to make the process clear. At this point, the list is being formulated by The District Central Office—not the school board.

  6. Sable permalink
    December 14, 2008 6:26 pm

    Hi eJohnson, please provide me with secret memos from Cooper that implicate their PTA and a board rep in going after schools because they are affluent and White, and I’ll cover it. Until then, as it stands, while Cooper has talked about WS and others, they have not had meeting where their membership has AGREED to slit someone elses throat on purpose.

    What I think is wrong, and what I have condemned is the CONDUCT OF THE BOARD MEMBER. Don’t try and rearrange my words or my intent, it ain’t happenin’ here.

    Don’t bring that kinda crap my way, thanks.

  7. Big SV Fan permalink
    December 14, 2008 6:37 pm

    OMG yea, Sable Verity is discriminating against the good rich white people.

    GIVE ME A BREAK. The actions of Cooper could NEVER be equal to or even COMPARED to the actions of Arbor Heights, so NO, she is NOT being favorable towards one over the other.

    Ya’ll are funny. Real funny.

    Discrimination by SV; laugh.a.ble.

  8. Big SV Fan permalink
    December 14, 2008 6:40 pm

    SOLVAYGirl,

    What you have listed about the process IS INCORRECT.

  9. December 14, 2008 7:01 pm

    @ #8: Can you clarify? Or can someone who is familiar with the process explain it so that we’re no longer guessing and filling in the blanks?

    One of the things I love about the SV is that this is a space for truth telling and perspective bringing. The past few posts’ comments have not uniformly held true to that standard and instead devolved into attacks that do not advance our understanding of this really complex, heart-wrenching issue. I know that emotions are running high, but, as several folks have pointed out, IT’S ABOUT THE KIDS. Can we please attempt to turn this conversation to a clear-minded discussion about what makes sense educationally and for our community? Thanks, SV, for doing what you can to call it like it is and remind us that education and power are deeply intertwined.

  10. Sable permalink
    December 14, 2008 7:19 pm

    The list is generated by the District. The Board can ask to have it ammended. They have done that numerous times, as Sundquist did with Cooper for AH.

  11. Phyllis permalink
    December 14, 2008 7:42 pm

    Hello! I’m a mainstream media reporter who did a follow-up report to SV’s story on Friday. “Just a Thought” raised a question about why this hasn’t been covered by many of us. I can answer a corollary, which is, “why did I cover it?”

    I think it’s important for everyone (including me) to understand how schools get on and off the closure list. The events described in SV’s story, and verified by AHPTSA, shed light on how that happens. Therefore, to me and my colleagues, it merited coverage.

    Most people I’ve talked to expect the closure list to change more before it’s finalized. So, among other sources, I will continue to follow SV’s blog in search of developments.

  12. agree2disagree permalink
    December 14, 2008 7:56 pm

    Once again Sable you come through with not a shred of evidence to support your wicked accusations. Her bigotry, agenda and closemindedness are even more outlandish than her accusations. Sable, have you been to even one of the workshops or meetings during horrible process? I”ve been to all of the meetings and workshops. In all four workshops that I’ve attended, we were challenged with coming up with alternatives to the closure list. They make it clear that saying don’t close any schools is not going to fly. By your racist-ass logic every one of those participants that sat there and discussed things and came up with alternates was in cahoots too for hatching plans, pointing the finger and throwing other schools under the bus. That’s what people did at every one them. At the Filipino Center workshop not one person defended keeping Rainier Beach open. It makes no sense to keep that open and yet close three elementary schools. You are so off your rocker spewing your divisive vitriol. Be a part of the solution Sable, not an acidic blister. Show me the ‘secret meeting’ documents to support your nonsense about Arbor Heights. The district put Cooper and Rainier Beach on the closure list because of what the board members questioned during the public meeting and certainly NOT because of what some silly PTSA members said. Think of it, on the 25th, Sundquist and Maier both queried her on the Cooper idea, also that night DeBell questioned her on hight school in Southeast. Goodloe-Johnson and her staff had the slide deck with Cooper done before any one of Arbor Heights’ speakers stood up. Is Goodloe-Johnson in cahoots with them too? Grow up. Face it, if the parents wielded that kind of power that school would never have been on the list in the first place. You should be ashamed of yourself for calling the CPPS meeting at West Seattle Elementary the other night “a stunt”. Those of us there didn’t look at that way.

  13. Big SV Fan permalink
    December 14, 2008 8:08 pm

    Dang agree2disagree, I think the only term you left off of here was “Black Bitch”, or “nigger” or “Injun”.

    Why does Sable have to prove anything? Phyllis, who calls herself a “mainstream” reporter, verified all the info and ran a story last week.

    And as for the meeting at West Seattle Elementary, I WAS THERE, and it WAS A STUNT put on by Sundquist and his white friends to APPEAR TO BE GIVING COOPER time. But what about the 30 or so other public forums where he has REFUSED TO address Cooper or its students?

    this is what folks do when they get uncomfortable, they start accusing eeeeverybody else of being a racist. Keep tryin buddy. And why would you call yourself agree2disagree and then spew all that hatred at somebody? I’m guessing you’re a friend of Westbrooks.

    You’re disgusting. you also might wanna watch out, the last time someone called Sable a racial name she published their contact info; hopefully you entered a fake email address when you left your irrational rant.

  14. Parent in West Seattle permalink
    December 14, 2008 8:34 pm

    Another nigger protecting nigger bastards. Cooper doesn’t deserve to go on, the building should go to children who care about education. RBHS should burn. It’s full of nothing but filth.

    AHPTSA did the right thing!

    Go ahead and publish my email address, if you can.

  15. Just a Thought permalink
    December 14, 2008 8:58 pm

    Okay, so obviously the last post doesn’t even warrant comment.

    Let’s get back to the main point. @12, and Solvay Girl: from the information we have currently, do you think that Steve Sundquist has acted inappropriately?

    He has met on numerous occasions with Arbor Heights PTSA. He has not provided any advocacy or even real communication with Cooper staff.

    Again, there is no public hearing process for programs that are closing. And a three-minute comment period at a board meeting is in no way adequate. So the private things that happen behind the scenes are very important.

    All the name-calling in the world doesn’t change the fact that the process is not equitable. So, what is to be done about that?

  16. Sable permalink
    December 14, 2008 9:04 pm

    I just got an email from a reader demanding to know why I let comment #12 and #14 through moderation; damned if you do, damned if you don’t, I say.

    I let these comments through to make a point, and to let everyone know that comments like this, and on the other post (Westbrook is right) show the true nature of many Seattle residents.

    I am not a bigot or a racist-ass anything. I am well educated on school closures and have in fact attended board meetings and work sessions on school closures for- gosh- years.

    As the tag line on this blog says, you can disagree, but I’ll still be right; that means, I don’t need you to agree with me for me to be right. As a person of color that is a lesson I have had to learn and embrace. I don’t need White people, brown people, red people or blue people to co-sign, for me to be sure that what I am bring is the truth.

    Thankfully that is a mindset I was freed of a long time ago.

    Now that you all have seen the kind of “comments” being submitted, let me be clear, they will not be approved going forward, not because I can’t take it, but becausethey detract from the bigger issue. I have not attacked anyone, called anyone a bigot or a racist (though I did call Sundquist a jackass and a rat bastard), but that is my right on a blog I pay for.

    I know good and hell well that I am biased. Unlike other bloggers, I DO NOT TRY AND DENY IT OR HIDE IT. I don’t write for the Associated Press, I write for the Sable Verity Blog. MY BLOG. We are ALL biased; that doesn’t mean we can’t be fair, or that I cannot be fair. I openly offered space for Sundquist, the Board and the District to make comment; they have not thus far. That invite still stands.

    Just because I am reporting information that makes people uncomfortable doesn’t mean that it’s not true or that it’s unfair or that I am somehow a bigoted racist out to get the good White people of Seattle. Nothing could be further from the truth. Just because it is something touchy and sensitive, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be talked about. How else can we bring about true change?

    By being challenged and pushed outside of our box.

    To be challenged on those thing (and people) that you think are true and right.

    To do a self check to be sure that you are not complicit in things that negatively impact anyone else, simply because you aren’t paying attention, or you because you trusted someone else to do the right thing.

    This battle in the comments section reminds me a lot of the presidential election. In the last few weeks of the election, Palin and McCain started pushing the envelope of respectability, using racial fear and hatred to turn voters, and their supporters shredded the very same envelope, screaming hatred filled rants at rallies and town halls across America. “Kill him!” “Traitor!”, “he’s not one of us!” “Treason!”

    If you couldn’t figure it out, yeah, I just compared AHPTSA to Palin/McCain for their shitteous actions, and the commentors on this post to those that attended rallies, filled with anger and hate, ready to lash out no matter what the cost.

    ’nuff said. Comments such as the ones above will not be put through again. Rest assured there are plenty of OTHER blogs that are happy to have those kinds of comments, so find your audience there.

    I’d also like to say this, before things get stupid ugly and people think they can start talkin’ shit to me and I’m gonna fold up and go home. As anyone who has ever started a blog will tell you (including beat reporters); at least one if not THE ONE reason why they did so was to report on things via a sensative and rational perspective; their own.

    There are millions of stories in the world that need to be told; depending on who is watching- through their eyes, frame of reference, bias and rationale is how the story is going to be told; it’s the same for the Sable Verity.

    I know my perspecitve doesn’t mirror your own, and that is why I think it is so important. I am a woman of color living in Seattle, with children of color in the public school system. I am a minority in ways you’ll NEVER understand no matter how hard you try, how nice you are or how many friends and associates and coleagues of color you and your friends have and your children have.

    We are different. We have different realities that run parallel to each other. Sometimes they cross, sometimes they connect for extended periods of time, sometimes they conflict and sometimes they compliment each other; but they are still different.

    The voice of the minority is what we strive to prepresent here on the Sable Verity, and we do so in the spirit of truth, righteousness, and a lot of plain fuckin’ talk.

    If you don’t like it, your constitutional right is to ignore it.

    But you’ll never silence it.

    SV

  17. SolvayGirl permalink
    December 15, 2008 9:44 am

    To Just a Thought…I wasn’t commenting on Steve Sundquist’s behavior, I was just pointing out that the District is ultimately responsible for what ends up on the list. I did this because some of the posters seemed under the impression that the School Board was: initiating closures and/or creating the list of schools to be closed and/or moved and programs to be moved or discontinued. The whole idea has come from the District, and as Sable noted, the Board can and is asking for amendments; that’s why the list has been so fluid at this point. Arbor Heights/Cooper are not the only schools to have things stand on their heads. Many schools are getting jerked on and off the list. Who knows what it will look like tomorrow?

    I for one has been advocating that the District suspend all closures and moves at this point and instead concentrate on developing and finalizing an assignment plan with some teeth that would keep people at their neighborhood schools. The capacity issues could look quite different once it all shakes out. The District can save money right now by cutting admin at the Central Office. The auditor’s report that recommended closing schools also recommended staff cuts at CO because Seattle has 35% more staff at the CO than comparable districts. That’s a lot of paper pushers!

  18. Sable permalink
    December 15, 2008 9:47 am

    Very good point Solvay, can they FIRE some people dtown?! Sheesh!

  19. SolvayGirl permalink
    December 15, 2008 9:54 am

    I don’t know if the can “fire” people, but they can certainly lay them off. Unfortunately, a number of these paper pushers are inadequate principals and other school staff that cannot be terminated but need to be kept out of schools, so they end up being absorbed by CO to keep them out of trouble. SPS is truly a huge mess. I do not envy Dr. G-J in having to try and sort it all out.

  20. Sable permalink
    December 15, 2008 9:59 am

    Solvay, you’re so much more eloquent than I, particularly on a Monday morning when the kids are still home because of late arrival and I haven’t had my COFFEE yet. So I’ll just say “yeah, what Solvay said”.

  21. December 15, 2008 11:46 am

    KUOW’s Weekday is featuring the school closure debate during its morning talk show tomorrow, Tuesday, Dec. 16 from 9-10 a.m. Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson and Board member Michael DeBell will be among our panelists. We encourage all listeners to call in at (800) 289-KUOW or e-mail weekday@kuow.org to help get a healthy, balanced discussion going.

  22. Big SV Fan permalink
    December 15, 2008 11:53 am

    Sable are you going to be on Weekday or willyou call in?

  23. Sable permalink
    December 15, 2008 11:54 am

    Wasn’t asked. Not sure if I’ll call in.

  24. Big SV Fan permalink
    December 15, 2008 12:06 pm

    Uhhhh, WHY NOT?

  25. Sable permalink
    December 15, 2008 12:10 pm

    LOL; I don’t think the show is about the report on the blog, it’s on closures in general. I’m sure much of what is relevant to the SE will get brushed over or brushed aside by anyone on the District side- they want to give the appearance of being a team. Therefore “while closures may be tough, there is not favor being given, certainly there is no corruption”! Clutch the pearls at the mere THOUGHT! Some things never change…

  26. Sable permalink
    December 15, 2008 12:29 pm

    I will say though, if they do cover the blog report and district or board people address it/defend themselves to it, with no opp. for the blogger to have equal time on the report, that’s no good.

    I’m sure we’re all looking forward to hearing just how this all goes down tomorrow AM!

  27. December 15, 2008 12:32 pm

    Sable, as a North-end Lowell APP parent, I’m glad that I’ve found your site.

    APP is going to be split, period; the principal is sure of it, she’s told the parents that fighting the split is unrealistic. As you’ve mentioned already, the move to Hawthorne is not likely to happen; instead, ‘North’ APP will be @ Lowell and ‘South’ APP will be @ Marshall. IMO, this has the potential to be a disaster for Marshall, since there will only be space for one general education classroom per grade – Marshall would effectively cease to exist as a neighborhood school. Couple this with the emerging consensus that Montlake should be closed and merged with Lowell as the general ed. population, and it looks like the District really cares about diversity and access, doesn’t it? (It also looks like some (but not all) of the special ed. programs @ Lowell will stay in place, but I have no real sense of what’s going on there…)

    So… Some of us were thinking that if APP is to be split, instead of Montlake we should lobby for TT Minor to become the gen. ed. cohort @ Lowell. Yes, it has some of the same classroom/capacity issues as the Marshall move (to date, exactly zero of the APP proposals have dealt adequately with capacity issues), but bringing in TT Minor makes an effort to broaden access to APP.

    I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on this.

  28. Sable permalink
    December 15, 2008 12:34 pm

    I think Lowell should stay Lowell, period; APP and special ed included.

    I think there need to be APP programs in every cluster- or maybe “neighborhood” is a better term, because the whole cluster thing is twisted anyway. Can we get an APP program in Rainier Beach or Rainier Valley? Sheesh already. Also a period behind that one. Brilliant kids live all over the city- they just don’t have equal access. No one should have to get on a bus across town to get a good education. APP for ALL, I say.

  29. Sable permalink
    December 15, 2008 12:39 pm

    I’d also like to say to the Lowell parent, I think it is really great that ya’ll have figured out the capacity issue where APP is concerned. The district has to do more than just give the appearance of making APP more accessable, it has to actually MAKE IT ACCESSABLE. Putting it in a different school in a different part of town doesn’t mean anything if there are no more seats available.

    One thing their plan does do though, and that is help the test score data for those areas of the city.

    It’s about the appearance of making APP accessable, but it doesn’t actually make APP accessable. Make sense? Of course it does!

  30. December 15, 2008 1:16 pm

    One thing their plan does do though, and that is help the test score data for those areas of the city.

    That was our first cynical thought when we heard the initial Hawthorne/Marshall proposal. Cheap ‘n easy, and just watch those WASL scores increase dramatically even if there’s attrition among the APP cohorts.

    The capacity issue has been obvious to many of us from day one. Personally, I don’t think the current situation at Lowell is tenable – the building’s stuffed to the gills, to the point that all-school events are impossible due to fire code violations, and that’s just counting students, never mind staff, faculty or parents. But pushing neighborhood kids out of their schools isn’t a price I’m willing to pay, even more so when it isn’t going to address the stated issue.

    Re: putting APP in each cluster or neighborhood – agreed. I’d even go so far as to venture that the Superintendent probably rationalizes the split proposal as getting the ball moving in that direction.

    Something my wife and I were discussing was the idea that even with a split program, the PTA should probably stay APP-specific and not site-specific, with the funds split proportionally (or maybe most of the PTA funds to be split proportionally, and the remainder allocated according to the % of free/reduced lunch students per site). Equitable funding of a geographically-dispersed APP is going to be hard to achieve otherwise.

    Maybe that’s part of the answer: merging the Spectrum/APP/ALO PTAs into one so that advanced learning feels more like a cooperative, district-wide venture than many little us-them fiefdoms.

  31. Sable permalink
    December 15, 2008 1:35 pm

    Hmmmm, interesting idea…but then what about all the other PTSA’s? APP tends to be more affluent. What about those that can’t give in cash?

  32. Sable permalink
    December 15, 2008 1:48 pm

    To the person calling him or herself “Whitey” at the email address porterdedawg@XXXXX.com, you must not have read my comment about comments. Yours didn’t make it through. Neither will subsiquent name-calling comments from you or anyone else.

    Take that ish elsewhere. And to answer your question, no, you’re not the first. sticks and stones homie, sticks and stones…

    You think I don’t recognize this email address? Seriously? C’mon!

  33. December 15, 2008 2:15 pm

    Ideally, I’d like to see a world where schools weren’t fundraising and parent affluence was irrelevant. I’d also like to have the physique I had when I was 20, but that’s far more likely to happen than equitable funding…

    I don’t have an answer. APP is more affluent, there’s no denying it. I heard some off-the-record numbers comparing last year’s fundraising at Marshall with that of Lowell, and the difference was staggering, even given the difference in enrollment (2007: 482 @ Lowell, 292 @ Marshall) – if the numbers were accurate, Lowell raised roughly 20 times more than Marshall.

    I guess I was thinking that with advanced learning, you have somewhat of a chance of convincing families that they’re all in it together. Since parents typically have to actively seek out those programs, they are more likely to have an investment in advanced learning opportunities as a city-wide concept.

  34. Sable permalink
    December 15, 2008 2:20 pm

    I edited your comment to include the correction you submitted.

    Ideally, I agree with you; I don’t think your idea is a bad one if we just look at the APP PTSA idea.

    I just really encourage all of you to remember that you can be a part of developing broader solutions to APP that will impact children you may never lay eyes on. That is a powerful thing. Push for those district wide fixes whenever and however you can. It’s not enough for children in one part of the city to succeed and have every resource available to them if children across town don’t get those same opportunities.

    I think you’re on target.

  35. mylattebebe permalink
    December 15, 2008 4:02 pm

    Sable,

    We are a mixed-race family that very nearly didn’t sign on to APP even when our daughter passed the testing. While we went ahead with it, we know of several others who did not choose APP because of the lack of diversity and the perceived elitism and affluence of the overall APP population. They felt they “weren’t wanted” or “wouldn’t fit in.”

    After several conversations with Dr. Vaughan (who heads up the program), we came to understand that the long-term goal is to offer APP in each part of the city, so that everyone who wants to be a part of it will not need to travel city-wide to get there. We committed to working towards that as it got underway.

    However, you need to have parents who support a broader APP and don’t think of their kids being put into a school with “those minorities” where they’ll be shown “how inadequate they are”. Yes, we heard these comments at a Lowell meeting, and are second-guessing our decision to place our daughter there.

    But Dr. Vaughan says that Marshall will not just be filled with APP students to being up the scores on paper. An ALO (advanced learning opportunity) already exists at Marshall, and the plan will be to offer enriched learning to the entire school, not just segregate “those” kids from “ours”. Ideally, this would be replicated in other clusters-like you said, there are bright kids everywhere! To paraphrase a movie-if they build it, more will come.

    Many south and some West Seattle parents see the split as a positive thing, despite the many parents insisting that we ALL want to stay together no matter what. We don’t. Some of us never wanted to have our kids be one of the only brown faces in the room, but opted for the superior eduacation Lowell offers.

    We want to move forward by helping that kind of education become a reality for more kids in more places. The split didn’t come out of the air-it was bound to happen. You can’t run a good program from a single location forever unless you want to end up with no growth or growth to such a huge size no one building would work and kids can’t begin to know their peers.

    You can’t have insularity AND diversity. The split is a step in the right direction. It isn’t perfect and we have reservations. I certainly hope it doesn’t become “them” vs. “us” though, and it does have that potential, from PTSA funds to teachers. It’s up to us parents to see that that doesn’t happen.

  36. Sable permalink
    December 15, 2008 8:29 pm

    mylattebebe-

    Thank you for comments. I mulled them over for a little bit and have come up with this: with all deliberate speed. Those little four words, injected into the Supreme Courts Brown v Board ruling. To many it may have seemed like the phrase meant “do it and do it now”. But it didn’t. In fact, it ensured just the opposite. It allowed for time to be wasted, and for children to continue to suffer under a system of unequal education.

    I am fully aware that the split did not come out of thin air. This issue of inequality in APP at all grade levels is a long one. It’s been around for years. And while I respect the Director’s breakdown of how APP should look in the futre; it is more than just location, it’s access. There are system issues in and out of the APP classroom, so we have to deal with the whole thing.

    I encourage you to continue to share your thoughts and ideas on APP; we need to keep it going to get to solutions.

  37. December 16, 2008 5:49 am

    WOW @mylattebebe.

    Your school system situation is worse than I thought.

  38. Helen permalink
    December 16, 2008 1:58 pm

    Count me as another north-end APP parent who thinks a split is inevitable in the long run, but who, like protected static, isn’t crazy about the details of this proposal. (My youngest is in fifth grade, so I’m not immediately affected, though we would be by the proposed Washington/Hamilton split.) Also as another parent who is upset about the comments mylattebebe reports (I wasn’t at the meeting myself) and hopes they are not representative. Unfortunately such comments are all too often more memorable and therefore more powerful than more decent, considerate voices.

    I did cautiously support the B.F. Day/Thurgood Marshall idea, despite the lack of capacity at either site, because it at least met some other district criteria. I don’t see that a Lowell/TMarshall split meets enough criteria to be worth the trouble and expense. There is a formal survey on which I’ve voted for the decision to be put off a year, but that does NOT mean I think a split is in itself a terrible idea.

  39. Ben permalink
    December 17, 2008 6:35 pm

    I’m not sure there could be a big enough cohort to make the APP-site-in-every-cluster plan work. I agree that APP is not a diverse-enough program as it currently stands.

    Also, there will be capacity for APP at Lowell and Marshall (if the split goes through) because all kids who pass the APP test are guaranteed a spot in the program. This will have the effect of pushing out general ed kids.

    But Marshall is hardly a neighborhood school as it is. Only 15-20% of the Marshall student body lives in Marshall’s reference area.

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