Excerpt From an Open Letter to Arne Duncan from Herb Kohl

"...I discovered then, in my early teaching career, that learning is best driven by ideas, challenges, experiences, and activities that engage students. My experience over the past 45 years has confirmed this.

We have come far from that time in the '60s. Now the mantra is high expectations and high standards. Yet, with all that zeal to produce measurable learning outcomes we have lost sight of the essential motivations to learn that moved my students. Recently I asked a number of elementary school students what they were learning about and the reactions were consistently, "We are learning how to do good on the tests." They did not say they were learning to read.

It is hard for me to understand how educators can claim that they are creating high standards when the substance and content of learning is reduced to the mechanical task of getting a correct answer on a manufactured test." (Summer 2009)

Nova High School Relocated

Nova High School Relocated

Merit Pay

"I would like to know who in our country would like their pay to be based on the actions of a group of children."

Laurie, in response to R. Weingartner, On Point, 1/26/10

Merit pay is an issue that is closely associated with charter schools and is a reiteration of the No Child Left Behind Act.

Basically, it requires that teachers pay be based on how well their students perform on standardized tests. For our students, it could be the new MAP test. With the No Child Left Behind Act, teachers and staff were pressured to teach much of the class work to the standardized tests. With so much focus on the test, many other parts of knowledge building, creativity and understanding of subjects and their synthesis with other knowledge had to take a back seat. For many students, teaching to a test meant that they were not able to reach their full potential which would have been far beyond the level of the tests.

No one wins in this situation.

Part of the fallout also is that if a teacher's pay is based on how well their students test, many teachers will want to teach in a school where they know that the students will perform well. Those schools are, for the most part, not the schools that are predominately minority in population.

Some students do not perform well on standardized tests for many different reasons and yet a teacher's pay can be tied to that student's performance. High stakes testing also puts pressure and stress on the students who become burdened with the thought that they need to perform well on one test. The test becomes a focus with little opportunity to explore and have fun learning, creating and synthesizing new thoughts and ideas.

Update: The Governor of Texas has decided to opt out of the Race to the Top funding because of the ineffectiveness of the merit pay program that was in effect for three years inthe state.

Update: March 8, 2010 Principal to be removed from school in Wasington State due to low WASL scores.

What Is a Charter School?

The basic difference between a traditional public school and a privately run charter school is that with a charter school there is complete control of the school by a private enterprise within a public school district. Although taxpayer-funded, charters operate without the same degree of public and district oversight of a standard public school. Most charter schools do not hire union teachers which means that they can demand the teacher work longer hours including weekends at the school site and pay less than union wages. Charter schools take the school district's allotment of money provided for each student within the public schools system and use it to develop their programs. In many systems, they receive that allotment without having to pay for other costs such as transportation for students to and from the school. Some states, such as Minnesota, actually allocate more than what is granted to public school students.

A charter school can expel any student that it doesn't believe fits within its standards or meets its level of expectation in terms of test scores. If the student is dropped off the rolls of the charter school, the money that was allotted for that student may or may not be returned to the district at the beginning of the next year. That is dependent upon the contract that is established by each district.

Also, according to a recent (June 15, 2009) study by Stanford University's Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO)
, charter schools do not necessarily perform any better than public schools. In fact, 37 percent performed worse. Forty-six percent demonstrated "no significant difference" from public schools. Only 17 percent of charter schools performed better than public schools.

"In a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."

Thomas Jefferson

The Broad Foundation

The Broad Foundation claims to be a philanthropic organization, created by billionaire Eli Broad.

The Broad Foundation supports privately run charter schools and actively develops a system of charter schools in urban areas.

Broad claims it engages in "venture philanthropy":
"Our Approach to Investing: Venture Philanthropy. We take an untraditional approach to giving. We don't simply write checks to charities. Instead we practice 'venture philanthropy.' And we expect a return on our investment."

Many of us have discovered the Broad Foundation's presence within SPS and are requesting an explanation for why it is here and what its' objectives are.

Seattle has three "Broad Residents", and two Broad graduates now working within SPS. One of them is our superintendent who is a graduate of the Broad Academy which trains superintendents, and is also on the Broad's Board of Directors.

Another Broad graduate and a onetime Broad resident in SPS, Brad Bernatek, is now Director of REA, Research, Evaluation and Assessment within SPS. That department is responsible for student statistics including enrollment, demographics, evaluation and standardized testing.

The Broad Foundation provided Dr. Payzant, also a Broad graduate, to be a part of our superintendent’s yearly review in 2009.

Broad recently gave SPS a $1M "gift." That money is now in the hands of the Alliance for Education and no one knows how the money is being spent.

All in all the Broad Foundation has been quite generous to the Seattle Public School system and as Eli Broad states himself, he expects a return on his investment.

Broad also supports and actively promotes mayoral control of school districts. Eli Broad's preferred model of mayoral control means that the mayor selects the school board members and superintendent who are therefore unelected and are beholden only to the mayor, not the people of the city. It then becomes a school district that is run by one person, the mayor, with heavy influence by the Broad Foundation through developed relationships with that individual.

Update: A Detroit School District employee found accepting money from the Broad Foundation.
"Let the games begin: Detroit Teachers vote to unanimously join the current Detroit Public School District in their suit against Robert Bobb".

Update: The Broad - Rhode Island connection.
Rhode Island has had the dubious distinction of making national news recently for the draconian firing/scapegoating of an entire school of teachers. Is it a coincidence that the new education commissioner for R.I., who is pushing the state to do whatever it takes to qualify for federal "Race to the Top" dollars, is a "Broad Superintendents Academy" graduate, Deborah Gist?
"This is the point, and why mayoral control and Eli Broad, Gates, The Fisher family and the Walton family (and a host of other such charitable capitalists) along with Green Dot schools and other EMO's who seek to privatize all of education are so giddy. Creating a sub-prime school system that breaks the backs of the teacher's union is the goal of the new managerial elite who seek only to turn over public schools to private operators and entrepreneurs. This way they can reduce teachers to at-will employees, de-skill them with the "best practices," force them to work longer hours for less pay and less benefits and of course eliminate collective bargaining; that will then give the new managerial elite and their corporate masters, control over the entire educational enterprise - from curriculum development to the hiring and firing of teachers."

Dan Weil

Dollars and Sense

December, 2009

What the Gates Foundation Is Doing: The MAP Test

The Gates Foundation supports, and pays for, high stakes testing which is tied to merit pay.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has given Seattle Public Schools a total of $9M this year for additional testing. We have not been able to find out the details of this testing yet. We don't know what the test is, what the test is to determine, who is administering the test and how the results of the tests are to be used.

UPDATE: We have heard that the Gates "gift" is funding the new computerized, standardized "MAP" tests the district is administering this year to all students, from as young as kindergarten to grade 9. MAP stands for "Measures of Academic Progress™" (yes, it is a trademarked product) and will be administered to the kids three times during the school year. The test can take as much as two hours each session, according to the district's official announcement letter.

A number of questions come to mind: Is this the best use of the students' school time? Is it appropriate to make children as young as five who can't read take a standardized test on a computer? Is this the best use of such funds? Or would parents, students and teachers prefer to see money channeled more directly to the classroom, to create smaller class sizes, more enrichment opportunities, or to purchase new textbooks?

A SIDE NOTE: Another interesting connection is that our superintendent, Dr. Goodloe-Johnson, is on the Board of Directors for the company that has created and distributes the MAP test. There is $4.3M in the levy to pay for additional use of this MAP test in Seattle.

The Cooper Building: Program DIscontinued, 2009

The Cooper Building: Program DIscontinued, 2009

Regarding Arne Duncan's Renaissance 2010

" The purpose of Renaissance 2010 [in Chicago] was to increase the number of high quality schools that would be subject to new standards of accountability - a code word for legitimating more charter schools and high stakes testing in the guise of hard-nosed empiricism. Chicago's 2010 plan targets 15 percent of the city district's alleged underachieving schools in order to dismantle them and open 100 new experimental schools in areas slated for gentrification.

Most of the new experimental schools have eliminated the teacher union. The Commercial Club hired corporate consulting firm A.T. Kearney to write Ren2010, which called for the closing of 100 public schools and the reopening of privatized charter schools, contract schools (more charters to circumvent state limits) and "performance" schools.

Kearney's web site is unapologetic about its business-oriented notion of leadership, one that John Dewey thought should be avoided at all costs. It states, 'Drawing on our program-management skills and our knowledge of best practices used across industries, we provided a private-sector perspective on how to address many of the complex issues that challenge other large urban education transformations.'

Duncan's advocacy of the Renaissance 2010 plan alone should have immediately disqualified him for the Obama appointment."

Henry Giroux & Kenneth Saltman,

Obama's Betrayal of Public Education?


The African American Academy: Closed 2009

The African American Academy: Closed 2009

Alternative Schools in Seattle

Alternative schools in Seattle have a rich and varied history. Established in the 1960's by parents and educators and based on the principles of Summerhill, the programs that have developed over the last four decades in Seattle offer an opportunity for all students to succeed within the Seattle public school system.

At this time, the alternative and nontraditional schools in Seattle are basically under siege. Many schools have been closed, marginalized or split apart, including the Accelerated Progress Program (APP) for highly gifted kids, the Center School, Nova, Summit, the African American Academy, SBOC and AS-1. There is also a plan for an Alternative School Audit by SPS in October, 2009.

We see these alternative programs as viable options to the traditional school approach to education. For this reason many of us believe that with the support of these programs, there is no need for privatized charter schools.

Governor Gregoire and our state representatives are speaking to Arne Duncan about our alternative schools and that they meet the requirement of charter schools and should be considered in providing Race to the Top funds to our state.

Summit K-12: Closed 2009

Summit K-12: Closed 2009
An alternative school

Please Note

All of the schools and programs that will be shown on this page were closed or split in 2009 for an alleged total savings of $3M for the year. A drop in the bucket considering the $34M budget shortfall claimed by School Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson. Was it worth it? Let us know what you think. Enrollment for the fall of 2009 is 1,200 students more than the district anticipated. With schools closed based on capacity and financial management issues per our superintendent's statements, where will these students be seated?

Meg Diaz, a parent, did a brilliant presentation to the school board in January regarding the school closures, the demographics of Seattle and why it didn't make sense to close the schools.
See: http://sites.google.com/site/seattleschoolsgroup/meg-diaz-analysis

Unfortunately, the school board paid no attention to Ms. Diaz or their own reports and instead chose to believe the numbers presented by the superintendent's CFO, Don Kennedy who previously worked with our superintendent in Charleston, and Brad Bernatek our Broad graduate and Director of REA, Research, Evaluation and Assessment who also handles the demographic data for SPS.

Two schools were closed that, per their own report, would see an increase in school aged children of anywhere between 31%-100% between 2008 and 2012. See page 11 of the DeJong report titled "Seattle Public Schools: Enrollment Projections Report". Those two schools were TT Minor Elementary School and Meany Middle School.

After the closures, Ms. Diaz decided to investigate the administrative cost within the Stanford Center and came up with surprising results. While the superintendet was rifing teaches and staff and closing schools, staff was growing within the Stanford Center and particularly in our superintendent's office where yet another Broad graduate was hired as one of the superintendent's administrative assistants.

Posted on October 6, 2009: The new assignment plan just came out and the proposal is to re-open five school buildings. Between closing five school buildings, shuffling students to different schools and now proposing the re-opening of five buildings within a year's time speaks volumns about the lack of competency of our superintendent and her chosen staff.

We have now wasted money closing five schools, moving students, equipment and materials around just to re-open five school buildings.

The cost of re-opening five of these buildings is as follows:

Sand Point: $7M
Viewlands: $11M
Old Hay: $7.5M
Mc Donald$: $14.9M
Rainier View: $7.4M
Total so far: $47.8

The superintendent, along with the school board, plan to take the next capitol levy money, BEX III, to be voted on in 2010 that was to go to the maintenance and seismic upgrades of our school buildings, which would make them safer, and instead use the money to re-open these previously closed buildings.

The decision to close schools last year and close or relocate programs came down from our superintendent's office quickly and there was little time for debate or understanding of what the ramifications would be. It is my opinion that again, we need to have time to evaluate what cost can wait and how these cost can be phased so that we can not only make our existing buildings safer but also provide adequate space for all of our students.

There is also stimulus money that other school dristricts have been able to acquire to upgrade their school buildings through FEMA grants. These grants, part of a Disaster Mitigation Fund, are being used to make school buildings safer. I had presented this information to the school board and superintendent but no action was taken at the time.

I will provide updates on the effort to once again get SPS to pay attention to this opportunity.

Please send comments or ideas to us or share your opinions below. We want to hear from you. All positive and constructive input is of value.


"I think it high time Congress enact similar mandates for other professions that utilize a single measure to determine success. Dentists should be evaluated on how many teeth they save, doctors should be evaluated on how many patients they save, lawyers should be evaluated on how many cases they win, accountants should be evaluated on much money they save clients, and engineers on how many buildings they've designed get built. Congress should also enact national, comprehensive standards for each profession without any input from members of said professions since we know they can't be trusted to make informed decisions or contribute to the discussion in any meaningful way. Anyone who won't come on board should be fired and labeled a dissident. Conformity and control are a must, so teachers should be thankful they are first in the firing line."

Priscilla Gutierrez, Huffington Post comment

Lowell Elementary

Lowell Elementary
The Lowell APP program was split with half of the students sent to Thurgood Marshall.

Our Declaration

In the current national discussion about education reform, the loudest voices are not necessarily those of the people who are directly affected by what happens in our schools – the students, parents, teachers and school communities themselves.

We are parents with children in public schools. These are our kids, their teachers, our schools. And we would like to be heard.

What’s more, the message coming from the current league of reformers is largely negative, much talk about what’s wrong with our schools, but little discussion of what public schools and teachers are doing right, and what they could do even better if given full support.

Can our public schools be improved? Absolutely. But that begins with fully funding our schools and believing they can work.

We believe they can, when given the chance.

We also believe that too many of the latest proposed education reforms are too punitive and are not changes for the better.

We believe there are valuable aspects of public education worth preserving and supporting, beginning with the very principle itself – free public education for every child in the country. We believe this has always been a noble goal and one that we’re not willing to give up on.

So we have created a
Declaration of Support for Public Schools.

We invite others across the nation who share our vision for public education to sign on to our statement, to send a message to the president, education secretary and school district officials throughout the country.

The message is simple:

Let’s fix what’s broken, but don’t break what isn’t.

And do not impose detrimental changes on our schools and children in the name of “reform.”


Sue Peters, Dora Taylor

Seattle Public Schools parents
May 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Can Seattle’s Schools Afford Many More Years of Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson?

Seattle’s school superintendent is due for her annual review in early June.

Here is an attempt to outline her accomplishments and leadership while in Seattle so far, drawn from input from various parents, teachers and bloggers in the community. I invite readers to add or amend this list.

First, a bit of history:


Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson came to us from the school district of Charleston, South Carolina, in 2007, where she had been superintendent. Before that, she spent time in various education administration positions in Colorado and Texas , and her home state of Nebraska , where she also once taught.

After just one year in Seattle (2007-08), the Seattle School Board awarded the superintendent a 10 percent pay raise. This brought her $248,000 salary up to $264,000. The superintendent makes more than the mayor of Seattle ($150,000), the state superintendent of public instruction, or even the governor of Washington ($163,618). (See: “School chief gets big 10% raise – Her $264,000 salary is more than even the governor’s” and “Seattle schools chief awarded 10% pay raise”)

The district also gives her a $20,000 annual retirement contribution and a $700/month car allowance. Some of us wondered if it was prudent to increase an already generous salary before any measurable work had actually been done. She had presented her “Strategic Plan for Excellence,” but nothing had been implemented yet. Apparently the board also failed to follow its own rules that allow public input into such decisions, as longtime public school activists and watchdogs Chris Jackins and Charlie Mas have pointed out. So there were no voices of the public or dissent permitted at this meeting where the school board voted 7-0 to raise the superintendent’s salary and extend her contract a year (to 2011). This seemed a premature and expensive vote of blind confidence to many of us.


The superintendent’s second year in Seattle was marked by the contentious turmoil of her “Capacity Management Plan,” which resulted in controversial school closures, co-housing of potentially incompatible schools, the splitting apart of the district’s highly gifted program, questionable cost savings, the laying off of 172 teachers and educators, a protest rally of parents, teachers and students, a petition opposing the closures that garnered over 1,700 signatures across the district, and growing dissent against the superintendent’s plans and methods.

Her evaluation was overseen by Tom Payzant, who is affiliated with the Broad Foundation, the venture philanthropy enterprise of L.A. billionaire Eli Broad which strongly supports the privatization of public schools via charters and has been quietly involving itself in the operation of Seattle Public School District, unbeknownst to most parents. As has been mentioned many times here and elsewhere, Supt. Goodloe- Johnson is a graduate of the Broad Foundation’s “Superintendent’s Academy” and currently remains on Broad’s board of directors, which many of us still consider a conflict of interest.

For the Seattle School District to allow someone not from our district and who is also affiliated with the Broad Foundation to be involved in this Broad-graduate superintendent’s evaluation struck many of us as highly questionable and not likely to be objective. Many also felt it would be inappropriate for the board to award the superintendent yet another pay raise in less than two years when the district claimed to be in severe budget crisis and had laid off teachers, closed schools and asked our children to make do with less. The superintendent was not awarded a raise, and her review criticized her lack of communication and interpersonal skills and failure to engage with the parents and community of SPS. (See: “School Board to Give Mixed Review to Supe”) However, later in the year, she was awarded a controversial “merit” based bonus of $5,280 for meeting only 4 out of 20 performance goals (see below).


A major focus of this year has been the results of the closures and splits, and the development of the new student assignment plan (SAP). There is also a focus on the teachers’ contract which is being renegotiated. Some time in the last year, the board extended Goodloe-Johnson’s contract again, to 2012. It is not clear that any community input was sought in this decision.

Here is an attempt at an overview of Supt. Goodloe-Johnson’s tenure in Seattle . Though I am trying to list positive accomplishments, I am coming up short.

On Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson’s watch, there have been the following positive or promising accomplishments & developments:

The new student assignment plan, which assigns students to their local schools, potentially encourages the valid concept of neighborhood schools. But this may be overshadowed by various negative impacts of the plan — such as overcrowding in some schools, under-enrollment in others, resegregation, and attrition from the district to private schools as a direct result of the SAP, and the fact that not all Seattle schools are equal, so the assignments will necessarily be unequal.

There have also been the following questionable or negative accomplishments & developments:

Overall, these past two years have been the most chaotic and disruptive in recent SPS memory. Many feel this chaos was unnecessary and destructive. There have also been a number of appeals and lawsuits filed in response to district actions, an entire new school building suddenly closed because it was emitting toxic fumes and making children and teachers sick, irrational layoffs and then rehires of teachers, a constant churn of principal assignments, and a new student assignment plan that is overfilling some schools and leaving others half-empty, and sending some public school families to seek more a predictable and positive environment for their schoolchildren in private schools.

The superintendent has failed to create genuine community engagement with the parents.

She closed schools over community protest at a time when enrollment was increasing.

She closed, merged, split and moved schools without allowing all affected parties a public hearing. (This has resulted in legal appeals against the district that are still pending.)

She closed, merged and moved schools before the new student assignment plan was established, which was widely considered an illogical and potentially wasteful sequence of events. The district’s recently released enrollment numbers for the 2010 school year are bearing this out.

She announced her “Capacity Management (school closures) Plan” during the busy and narrow window between the Thanksgiving holiday and Christmas/winter break, thus preventing full community response and participation in the deliberation process. (This was widely viewed among parents as a dishonest effort at “community engagement.”)

The school closures disproportionately uprooted, evicted or affected underprivileged children, kids of color or kids with special needs. The closures of the African American Academy, T.T. Minor and Cooper Elementary, in particular disenfranchised the district’s African American school community. This resulted in a discrimination legal action against the district supported by the NAACP.

She failed to heed demographic trends that showed a need for more schools. Thus, she closed schools to allegedly save $3.5 million a year, only to announce eight months later that the district needed to reopen five schools at a cost of $48 million.

Closures have resulted in severe capacity problems in parts of town like West Seattle where schools are overcrowded, while the reopening schools in the north end of town are failing to attract many families, making these costly to run.

In the closures, some schools (like Nova High School and Secondary Bilingual Orientation Center) were evicted from their buildings (Horace Mann and Old Hay) supposedly in part for safety reasons, only to be moved to a building which is fact less safe (Meany Middle School) and inappropriate for high schoolers.

The superintendent promised “equity” between the split Accelerated Progress Program schools, but that has not happened. Enrollment numbers, resources and cohesion are not equal between the four elementary and middle school locations.

She gave layoff notices to 172 teachers and educators on Teacher Appreciation Week (May 2009), despite growing enrollment. (All but 30 or so were eventually hired back, leaving many to wonder why the RIFs were imposed in the first place.) (See: “Rotten Apples: Some Seattle teachers who maybe expected a nice gift during Teacher Appreciation Week got something else instead: pink slips.”)

She sent an illegal letter to the district’s 3,000 teachers unilaterally canceling their contract, bypassing regular negotiation rules and practices. This was sent via Certified Mail at an estimated cost of $15,000 to the district.

She laid off 25 more teachers in 2010, thus failing to insulate teachers and classrooms from deleterious budget cuts.

She proposed lowering the high school graduation grade average from a C average to a D average, over wide community opposition.

She commissioned audits of various programs and elements of the district, only to disregard the recommendations of the audits.

She ignored the recommendations of the APP review that she commissioned, and split the program twice in ill-advised ways.

She punished two SPS teachers for following the wishes of their Special Ed students’ parents. Once publicized, she and the district rescinded the punishment.

She imposed a new student assignment plan that appears to be resulting in overcrowding in some parts of the district (West Seattle), severe under-enrollment in other parts (McDonald, Sand Point, Queen Anne Elementary), and without ensuring that all schools are equally “quality” schools, as promised, and appears to be resegregating the schools.

Recommended a flawed and controversial math textbook (Discovering series), ignoring hundreds of community letters and testimony opposing it.

This decision was appealed by a group of parents, teachers and UW Professor Cliff Mass. The school district lost in King County Superior Court and was directed by the judge to reconsider the decision after finding the district had excluded evidence submitted by the public and deemed its selection of the math textbook “arbitrary and capricious.”

The superintendent refused to comply with the judge and instead appealed the judge’s order, which will incur more costs for the district.

She offered a language arts curriculum alignment survey that was poorly advertised and was accessible for only a short period. Again, this was viewed by the community as a disingenuous effort at “engagement.”

She joined the board of the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), a vendor that sells its trademarked MAP assessment tests to the district, thus compromising her own ability to objectively analyze the educational and fiscal value of the MAP product.

She oversaw the purchase of a costly $4.3 million subscription for the MAP tests, which are being administered to children as young as five years old three times a year, and proving to be time- and resource-consuming, and whose value is still not certain. The MAP test is in addition to the MSP (WASL replacement) test for older students, directing even more time and resources to testing than has been deemed necessary in the past.

She promoted the creation of STEM at Cleveland High School with little community buy-in and at a cost of $800,000 for a program from an outside vendor (New Tech Network) which has a mixed record of success. This may be challenged in court.

She raised the threshold for Title I funding eligibility, causing some schools (such as Thurgood Marshall Elementary) to lose vital funding for underprivileged students.

“She oversaw the botched rollout of special education overhaul (Integrated Comprehensive Services delivery model) that: 1) ignores the recommendations in the external peer review audit; 2) fails to provide training and resources to buildings to support special needs children in the general education setting; 3) has demoralized highly qualified special educators who work with children in inclusive settings and 4) fails to provide a true continuum of placements as required by federal law. The district’s actions have created an environment where children that need extra support are now destined to fail, experience misdirected discipline, and potentially regress or suffer emotional damage.” – SPS Special Ed parent

Canceled transportation for some schools (like TOPS) which parents are concerned will negatively affect the demographics and diversity of the student population.

Laid off elementary counselors and cutback full-time librarians, over vocal opposition from parents and teachers who consider these two roles very important.

Presides over a central office that is significantly larger than any similar district in the state. A state audit and report by parent/analyst Meg Diaz found the central office to be significantly bloated. Yet, she has requested even more central staff, including more “Broad Residents” from the Broad Foundation, which cost $90,000 each.

On her watch, the new building for the New School at South Shore opened last September and was constructed in only 17 months at a cost of $69 million, only to be closed mid-year as the result of mysterious noxious fumes that made children and teachers ill with respiratory and other illnesses. Apparently one teacher was hospitalized. As a preschool-8th grade school, very young children were exposed to these fumes, which is very troubling. While superintendent appropriately closed the building for the rest of the year in April, some have questioned why she didn’t order it closed sooner, considering that problems were reported as far back as January (and especially considering the superintendent’s own daughter attends the preschool). At the time of writing, it remains unknown what caused the fumes, but if it was a rushed project or if the closure was too slow, both are the responsibility of the superintendent and something obviously went terribly wrong.

She established and then canceled the Southeast Initiative, an attempt to strengthen schools in the south end of town which apparently was not successful.

She met only 4 out of 20 performance goals — and yet received a “merit”-based $5,280 bonus from the school board in 2009, over parent opposition and even that of the usually uncritical Seattle Times (“Seattle Schools Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson: Tis not the season for a bonus”) (Also see: “School Board Proposes Yet More Money for Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson”)

She failed to deliver the quarterly report on the Strategic Plan to the City Council’s education committee on time in the spring of 2009.

She bumbled the reopening of Jane Addams K-8, which failed to attract more families than the school she had closed that had been there before, Summit .

She fumbled the rearranging of bell-times and bus routes, leaving parents in confusion and prompting many to write letters of protest.

She made the unhealthy decision to save money by discontinuing on-site freshly made lunches for middle and high school kids.

She moved or replaced nearly a third of the district’s principals in less than year, in an unprecedented amount of upheaval, most often without allowing any community input. This has further disenfranchised parents and school communities.

Here’s the list:

Principal shuffles on Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson’s watch 2009-10:

May 2009: Roy Merca from Summit (closed) to AS1, Ernie Severs from AS1 to Sanislo, Debbie Nelson from Sanislo to Jane Addams, Chris Carter from African American Academy (closed) to Jane Addams to Hamilton Middle School, Dewanda Cook-Weaver from Lowell to McGilvra Elem. to ??, Jo Shapiro from McGilvra Elem. to assistant principal at Hamilton Middle School, Wayne Floyd from John Stanford Center central office to Loyal Heights, Cashel Toner from Loyal Heights to Leschi Elem., Jo Lute-Ervin from Leschi to TOPS, Linda Robinson from Bryant to Whittier, Cothron McMillian from Whittier to Brighton, Ed Noh from Lawton to Hawaii?; Beverly Raines from Brighton Elem. to Lawton Elem. to retirement?, Gregory King from TT Minor (closed) to Lowell, Julie Briedenbach from Lowell Elem. to Thurgood Marshall Elem., Winifred Todd from Thurgood Marshall to Dunlap, Greg Imel from Dunlap to Bailey Gatzert, Norma Zavala from Bailey Gatzert to Concord, Sandra Scott from Concord to Hawthorne, Stacey McCrath-Smith was moved from Meany.

July 2009: Jill Hudson to Nathan Hale High School , Henterson Carlisle assigned interim principal of Madison Middle School .

Jan 2010: Kaaren Andrews from Madrona K-8 to the Interagency School, Cheryl Grinager from Green Lake Elementary to McDonald Elem. (to be reopened), David Elliott from Coe Elem to Old Hay (to be reopened)Dan Warren from John Hay to Sand Point (to be reopened).

Feb/March 2010: DeWanda Cook-Weaver from McGilvra, Beverly Raines from Lawton . May 2010: Oksana Britsova to the Center School, Karen Hanson to John Hay Elem., Farah Thaxton to Madrona K-8, Mary Lane to McGilvra Elem. Joanne Bowers from North Beach Elementary to Green Lake Elementary. (Of these, I believe only one replaced a retiring principal, Clara Scott from TOPS, and one who went on leave on her own accord, Katie Cryan Learie from Hamilton, and then two who may have been forced out: D. Cook-Weaver and B. Raines. As of May 14, 2010, Coe Elementary and Lawton Elementary remain without principal assignments for the new school year.)

Sources: Seattle Times, Seattle Public Schools , and Seattle Public Schools Community Blog,




The district slogan under this superintendent has been “Excellence for All. Every student achieving, everyone accountable.”

Has this superintendent lived up to her own motto?

Above is a fairly significant list of grievances that the Seattle public schools community has with the superintendent, leaving some to ask: “Where’s the excellence?”

And can we afford many more years of this?

- sp.

1 comment:

Steve said...

Thank you for this amazing summary.