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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

OK, So Here's Who's Running for Seattle School Board 2011

Posted by on Tue, Jun 14, 2011 at 3:06 PM

I have been trying to find the campaign websites for all the candidates running for Seattle School Board this year (candidate filings closed 5 p.m. Friday), and the final list looks something like this. Two things: there's like a ton of them and only four open seats; not all of them have a website yet.

Most of the new candidates are running because they are tired of the corruption and cronyism in Seattle Public Schools. Some want to focus on closing the achievement gap and raising test scores. Others are just sick of the influence a plethora of foundations have on education these days.

At least one of the candidates is a reluctant one who says he's running because he is tired of mediocrity in our schools and the "business as usual approach" of our school board. Another lists this thing as his campaign website. This one sued the district against its new high school math textbooks in 2009.

The incumbents say they are fed up of the same things their challengers are (of course, I mean there can only be so many problems in one district, right?).

They want to address the state budget cuts to education if re-elected, and other problems, such as over-enrollment, that are plaguing the school district right now. I've always found it really amusing how school board members—elected officials running for re-election anywhere in general—who rarely ever open their mouths at meetings get all chatty suddenly with the advent of election season. Their faces take on what I call the "Anderson Cooper look" (furrowed brows, etc.) and they make it a point to comment on things they never bothered to comment on before. Watch tomorrow's school board meeting to see for yourself.

Many of the new candidates are education advocates, some have degrees from well-known universities, others are professors, teachers, writers, former journalists, business owners, and moms and dads. And I know at least one of them is a Slogger. The one thing they have in common? They are tired of all the BS and want to see change.


Comments (19) RSS

Newest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
BTW--regarding the influence of money on candidates, see also…
Posted by Jack Whelan on July 4, 2011 at 7:36 AM · Report this
I hope that readers take the time to look at the websites. I am Jack Whelan, a candidate for Position 2, and so far most of my contact with the public has been in two-minute speeches given to political clubs. The website is the one place a candidate gets to develop his or her ideas. So check it out:…

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:…
Posted by Jack Whelan on July 4, 2011 at 7:26 AM · Report this
All four of these asleep-at-the-wheel School Board Directors need to be replaced before they can do any more damage.
Posted by Charlie Mas on June 14, 2011 at 11:55 PM · Report this
@15-Some places are better left unscorched.
Posted by HOT PUSSY on June 14, 2011 at 11:13 PM · Report this
Jubilation T. Cornball 15
@11, your name intrigues me. If you're for real...cocktails?
Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball on June 14, 2011 at 10:18 PM · Report this
In the West Seattle Race ... McLaren got the nod from the 34th Dems over Sundquist and McLaren also got the nod of the Seattle Education Association over Sundquist.

The four directors elected in 2007 spent $500,000 on their campaigns ... that Whelan fellow is spot on about the Big Money influence.
Posted by WestSeattleDan on June 14, 2011 at 8:13 PM · Report this
Busing left with the New Student Assignment Plan ... the plan will make every school a quality school. It will use transportation savings to make every school a quality school. [{ No I am not kidding that was the rationale presented for the NSAP.
Posted by WestSeattleDan on June 14, 2011 at 7:54 PM · Report this
I agree w #10. When people say the "achievement gap" they never address the HUGE gap between asians everybody else. Probably because it would make crystal clear what everyone really knows. It aint racism and "white priveledge" that's causing it. Asians do better then people in the same or higher socio-economic level then themselves. It's called good habits, high standards, self dicipince, parents who are devoted to their children more then TV, booze, etc.
Posted by the truth hurts on June 14, 2011 at 7:19 PM · Report this
@9-I was about to make the same comment, JTB.
Posted by HOT PUSSY on June 14, 2011 at 5:27 PM · Report this
" Live in a poor neighborhood with a bad school? Too bad - you're stuck with it."

Plenty of successful, talented people went to 'bad' schools. If your parents care and are hyper involved, you can succeed anywhere.
Posted by Education starts at home on June 14, 2011 at 5:22 PM · Report this
Jubilation T. Cornball 9
As always, I'm for Blomstrom.
Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball on June 14, 2011 at 5:18 PM · Report this
Matt the Engineer 8
It's true that forced bussing went away long ago, I was talking about the ability for students to attend a school outside their established boundary. I believe the change took place just this year. Now your school is strictly linked to your address. Live in a poor neighborhood with a bad school? Too bad - you're stuck with it.
Posted by Matt the Engineer on June 14, 2011 at 4:59 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 7
Good thing nobody's doing endorsements tonite ...
Posted by Will in Seattle on June 14, 2011 at 3:59 PM · Report this
Busing? What, do you think this is still 1976? That unmitigated disaster was thrown overboard by the Supreme Court and luckily using race in assignments was tossed out in the Ballard high School Supreme Court case in 2007 which gave us back our community schools. The only 'inequality' left is how Northend schools get on average $1000 less per student than south end schools.

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.
Posted by Bring back trade schools on June 14, 2011 at 3:52 PM · Report this
michaelp 5
These races are so incredibly important. This is about the academic achievement of our children.

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!
Posted by michaelp on June 14, 2011 at 3:38 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 4
I like bussing.

It's like french kissing, only quicker.
Posted by Will in Seattle on June 14, 2011 at 3:33 PM · Report this
Busing ended so long ago I'm not even sure it would register with parents today.

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.
Posted by westello on June 14, 2011 at 3:26 PM · Report this
Matt the Engineer 2
Has the end of bussing come up? I'm not sure how I feel about it (feels like a loss for social equality, but a gain for the climate), but I assumed it would be a huge issue. If nobody's fighting it then I guess it was well supported.
Posted by Matt the Engineer on June 14, 2011 at 3:15 PM · Report this
Vince 1
Posted by Vince on June 14, 2011 at 3:13 PM · Report this

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