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KUOW Prescribes Chill Pill for Story Backlash

January 30, 2009


Well here is a testiment to how much KUOW heard from certain folks about the story done by Phyllis Fletcher about Rose and some of her experiences in APP:

Dear xxxx,

Thanks for your comments on Phyllis Fletcher’s story on the APP student at Lowell Elementary.  It’s generated a lot of response, both positive and negative, and we appreciate your feedback.

KUOW stands by the story and commends Phyllis for producing it.  Her story supports our mission to produce programming that meets the highest standards of journalism.

KUOW has given a lot of coverage to school closures over the last few months.  We’ve talked to administrators, board members, teachers and parents.  We issue regular requests for listeners to call in and discuss their schools.

Phyllis’ stories this week on the closure plans focused mainly on students – the ones most affected by the decision.  In the case of Rose at Lowell, the aim was to hear about her experience and thoughts on what would happen if the APP program splits.

Neither Rose nor her mother accused the school staff of allowing or condoning the other students’ remarks.  For that reason, it was not necessary to have the principal or anyone else defend Lowell’s program.

Phyllis offers these thoughts on her story:

“My bosses, colleagues, and I have received many thoughtful responses from those who identify themselves as members of the Lowell PTA.  Several of them state unequivocally that the ‘official Lowell PTA response’ to Rose’s story does not reflect their position.

“I’m an alumna of APP (then called IPP).  I’m very familiar with its fantastic qualities, and how it can change a child’s life for the better.  I am also aware of some of the program’s problems.  I hope listeners appreciated Rose’s excitement for the program, which she conveyed with both adult and child-like language.

“Rose did not use the word ‘racist’ at any point in our conversation and I did not use that word in my story.  I believe her situation, and our human condition, is more complex than ‘is that racist/is that not racist.'”

Phyllis was not assigned to address the all of the complexities of Lowell’s APP in her story.  However, she did an excellent job of portraying one aspect of the Lowell program as it relates to the school board’s decision.

We’ll continue to follow the results of the school changes and closures.  If you have any information to help our coverage, please contact me.


Guy Nelson
KUOW News Director

6 Comments leave one →
  1. January 30, 2009 8:44 pm

    The thing I loved most about my friend Phyllis’s story was that it featured an actual SPS student. Imagine! I don’t remember seeing a single other school closure story that quoted one of folks who’ll be affected the most by all this.

    It’s funny that some parents thought Rose was lying. Don’t those parents remember kids occasionally saying shit like that when they were in school? I sure do. To me, her commentary really rang true.

    I also loved the math dance. Hurray for geek girls!

  2. The Spook Who Sat By The Door permalink
    February 1, 2009 10:30 am

    —You know I’m stealing that “chill pill” graphic.

    The Superintendent and the Board pretty much treated the whole proposal like it was a foregone conclusion from the start. Lowell parents, as well as parents from every other affected school, fought hard (and sometimes nasty) thinking that they might be able to sway the decision or influence some amendments, even a little, when every indication was that they were gonna’ get rolled.

    So; now that the deal is done, everyone does seem to be takin’ a chill and gettin’ ready to get down to business.

    I don’t really know how many people are checking this site, but I want folks (especially at T.T.Minor and T. Marshall) to consider that what you saw and heard represented the extremes – and that the truth lies somewhere in between.

    People at Lowell (and at T.T.Minor and T. Marshall) are gonna’ come into this thing with all sorts of different attitudes, opinions, and misperceptions. Please believe me when I say that there are some good people from Lowell who “get it” and want to put that other mess behind them.

    Find each other. They may not always be like you. But, they do care about your children as well as theirs. They are aware of many of the pitfalls that lie ahead – even if they don’t have all the answers. (Yes, I know some of them think they do.) No one wants to repeat Madrona – to have two separate communities, with all the in-fighting and divisiveness that occurred.

    The district put the burden of this goal on all our backs, so far without any real plan as to how we will achieve it. They gave us a bigass truckload of lemons. It’s on us to find some sugar and water.

  3. Sable permalink
    February 1, 2009 12:02 pm

    Spook, when you say “what you saw”, are you talking about me? I don’t think “represented the extremes” is a proper representation of what I saw, so I’ll have to disagree there.

    Additionally, you still seem to think that I think that Lowell people are evil. I do not, nor have I ever. Just like you stand my your comments on the other thread, I stand by mine.

    I think you’re fab, by the way. Keep your comments coming.

  4. The Spook Who Sat By The Door permalink
    February 1, 2009 1:15 pm

    Quite honestly, I wasn’t even thinking about what you wrote when I posted that. I know you can see this from multiple perspectives and don’t believe for a second that you “think Lowell people are evil”. I expect we are more in agreement on the big picture here, than not.

    That was more about what folks saw from other people in other places, some that you might not have had access to. You know, the kind of stuff that gets up on the Seattle Times, other blogs, the Lowell website, other email groups – stuff directed at Rose Sanders or her family, mean stuff, the stuff we wouldn’t print.

    I don’t yet have an “in” at Minor or Marshall, so I was trying to make an appeal to parents from those schools (or any other families that might be considering the new arrangements) who might be following these discussions.

  5. Sable permalink
    February 1, 2009 1:39 pm

    Oh okay. Thank you for that clarification- makes perfect sense.

  6. Shannea permalink
    February 6, 2009 3:49 pm

    I think the story was great; where most of the adults took it in their interpretation and response….so sad.

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