The school board has been a dysfunctional impediment to progress for too long in Seattle, presiding over one of the worst opportunity gaps in the nation.
Last month, our longtime school board director, Betty Patu, stepped down after 10 years of service. She’s my rep in Southeast Seattle, and she explained her resignation by saying it’s time for someone new. I agree. But if Patu’s resignation had taken effect last month, we the public would have voted to choose her replacement.
Instead, the school board appoints Patu’s replacement.
This year, Patu and the recently elected Zachary DeWolf are both hoping to vacate their seats (DeWolf is already running for city council). We also have four seats up for election in the fall. That means we could have six of seven new board members before year’s end.
We have a great superintendent. Let’s back her, for once, with a great school board — one with a knowledgeable and unapologetic focus on equity. This year. Now.
This decision, over which Leslie Harris presides, is where it all begins — the same Leslie Harris who has never addressed her use of the term “ghetto school” in an open board meeting.
Many of us in the community have already been advocating for an inclusive, transparent process to choose Patu’s successor. Just to help drive that point home, Ms. Harris, I wrote you a song about it! I hope you love it.