Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Anti-Board Advocacy of the Seattle Times

Once again the Seattle Times is whipping up anti-School Board animus.

This is an old and discredited lie. And the "news" story is full of misrepresentations and omissions. I'll amend this post when I have time to list them all.

Aspiring athletes, take note of changes to NCAA eligibility

Prep athletes with aspirations to play in college and their families need to be aware of changes to NCAA eligibility requirements. They are stricter than they used to be and they are stricter than the district's requirements.

See this story on the Seattle Times web site for more information.

Monday, July 28, 2014

National PTA Sponsoring Common Core Ads on Facebook

Photo: Looks like PTA needs higher standards! This Common Core Facebook paid advertisement is missing an important verb. I would guess if you are a PTA member and on Facebook, these PTA-sponsored ads will pop up on your Facebook page.

Would be nice if someone had proofread it first. 

Disappointing that National PTA is going this direction rather than having a real conversation about the issue and parents' concerns.

Where's the problem?

Over and over again we see that the problem is not inadequate policies or procedures but the absence of any enforcement and the absence of any accountability for those who violate the policies and procedures.

And who has the job of enforcing policy and holding staff accountable? The Board.

Garfield Field Trip Assault: Continuing Questions

Update: So all I was trying to find out - from the FBI and National Park Service - is what was the date that  SPS asked them for their investigation report?  And what was the date that the district filed their FOIA request when the FBI/National Park Service said no to that request?

Those two groups now want me to file a FOIA to find out when SPS filed their FOIA. 

Kind of funny.  (I would ask the district but I'd like direct verification myself.)

end of update

1) There is a lengthy account at the Facebook page associated with the family of the student assaulted.  I do have a few questions but I'll wait and see if the family contacts me.  It is fairly well-fleshed out so they were clearly documenting as they went along (a very good thing for all parents to do should any type of school situation arise - document everything).

2) I called the Seattle office of the FBI.  The press officer sent me a statement; they aren't answering any questions.

The FBI and the National Park Service (NPS) investigated the allegations for possible violations of federal law. When we conduct an investigation we take all actions appropriate to the matter, such as interviewing witnesses, gathering evidence, and, if appropriate, referring the case to prosecutors at either the state or federal level. So, while we can’t give further details on the review of this victim’s claims, we can assure you that the FBI and the NPS have investigated the matter and pursued all appropriate actions.

Here is the page describing the process for FOIA requests: http://www.fbi.gov/foia

Thanks for your understanding about the limited scope of what FBI policy determines is appropriate to say on this matter.

3) I received a correction today from SPS Communications:

The District asked for both the FBI and National Parks reports. They said we had to file via Freedom of Information. We did, and were denied access. We know the family received a copy of the report and we asked them for a copy, but that was not provided.

I find this puzzling, not so much that the FBI and Parks wouldn't give SPS the report but that it took this long to explain the connection between SPS and the FBI.  (I did follow-up with the FBI just to ask if they could give me the date that SPS requested their investigation.)  

I have a call into the National Parks service.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Downtown School; Maybe Something Deeper Happening

There is nothing on the Seattle Schools calendar for this week.  Well, there is one meeting happening and yet strangely, it does not appear on the district calendar.  It's almost as if this meeting is really for one purpose or group. 

It's the meeting at the Downtown Library about SPS taking over the Federal Reserve building. (The meeting is at 6 pm in the "Microsoft" auditorium with a walk-thru of the Federal Reserve building around 7:15 pm.)  Again, this is billed as a "conversational" meeting so I will have to see what form that conversation takes.

I also see, at the notice at the district webpage, NO mention of how to pay for these renovations.  According to the Times, it would be something on the order of $53M (up from Flip Herndon's ballpark $40M) AND they would be seeking levies funds to pay for it.  No mention either of downtown businesses or foundations willing to help this effort for a school they all seem to so deeply need/want.

I hope all of you know that Charlie and I could never have this blog without you.  And not just as readers.  So many of you send me alerts, messages, info - truly, thank you.

Something Horrible Under Every Rock

People frequently ask me "What fuels your activist energy?" and I tell them "Outrage." "But how," they ask,"can you stay outraged for fourteen years?" "I can't." I tell them. "I'm newly outraged every couple days. And you would be too if you watched the District closely. There is something new that crops up - generally twice a week - that is a source of new outrage."

This story, of the rape on a Garfield field trip in November of 2012, is setting off outrage like a string of firecrackers. The more I look into it, the more horrible it is. As I follow up on every statement and review every action, there is source of outrage. Seriously. I know that if I turn over some rocks I will find bad things, but in this case every single rock I flip over reveals something horrible. Every time I look into any aspect of this case I am outraged anew.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Seattle School Board Speaks Out on Garfield Field Trip Incident

Update:  Both KIRO-7 tv and KING-5 tv have done stories on this issue.  I think that the story has legs and that they may continue on (especially now that the Title IX and the Department of Education has gotten involved.) 

I note that the KING-5 piece says that the district couldn't get access to the FBI investigation and that the parents of the girl refused to allow the district to talk to her.  (This because the girl had been out-of-state at a residential facility to help her.)  Therefore, the district "did not have the evidence to fully support her claims."  This seems to be a different story than below but I find the wording suspect below so I would need a timeline to decide.

end of update.

From President Peaslee:

Blather from Blethen

Sorry to pick on the Times but their publisher (and fearless leader), Frank Blethen, put up a speech that he gave recently to a Rotary Club. 

He makes a lot of claims without backing up his stats or explaining his thinking.

To whit, 

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Volume is Going up on the Garfield Rape Case

The Stranger has a very pointed article - with questions posed just as Charlie has - on the topic of the Garfield field trip rape incident.

There is also this from Monisha Harrell:

I’m an Alum of Garfield High School, and until yesterday I sang “I’m So Glad I go to Garfield High” with pride.  Please read the attached petition to understand why I believe we as a community need to push for new leadership.  We are giving the adults who were supposed to provide a safe environment a pass because we don’t want to be too harsh, but what should the penalty be for a lax school culture that encourages additional assaults through inaction?  When do we decide to stand up for our young people?

I’m asking you to draw a line in the sand, and send a message. We must have new leadership at Garfield High School.

On-line petition for a New Garfield Principal for 2014-2015.

Dr. Nyland has his work cut out for him.