This unusual appointment process presents a quandary for the six sitting board directors, who were all in attendance at the forum. Patu announced her departure just before the elections deadline, effectively blocking District 7 voters from choosing her successor. Instead, the six school board directors, and not the Southeast Seattle community, will choose who represents the district on the school board for the remaining 2 years and 3 months of her term.Read More
I’m thrilled with the depth of this candidate pool and impressed with every candidate’s passion and good intentions. They are standing before us volunteering their time and souls to service on the school board. And they’re opening themselves up to everything that comes along with that process, including being considered by people like me who have thoughts and opinions. But the fact also remains that we have to choose one person, and that we don’t get to just take the whole field.
So, as we seek an equity champion, a change-maker with an unshakable sense of urgency and possibility and love, a hero with an understanding of the relationship between systemic oppression and public education, here are my first impressions of the candidates — my takeaways from the District VII Candidate Forum. I look forward to seeing how tonight’s forum at RBHS shapes my thinking even further.Read More
Rebeca Muñiz is a candidate for Seattle School Board District 3. She holds a Masters in Education Policy and Leadership from the University of Washington. During her time at UW, she conducted research on the Seattle Public Schools racial equity teams, which informed her understanding of systemic disparities in schools and ways we can address it. Rebeca now serves as a volunteer with One America and the Gender Justice League.
Learn more about Rebeca’s campaign at www.ElectMuniz.com.Read More
Over the weekend, the Seattle School Board finally released the applications of the 12 Southeast Seattle residents who filed to replace Betty Patu on the board. The District 7 seat, which Patu held for 10 years, was vacated July 1 and will be filled when the six remaining board members cast votes for their preferred applicant at the Aug. 14 board meeting.Read More
The portal is now open. Our time is at hand.
It sounds like science fiction, but alas, the portal is online rather than interdimensional, and the opportunity we now face would allow us to completely revamp our school board before the end of the year.
So the machinations of the Seattle School Board might involve fewer lasers than you were hoping for, but it’s important nonetheless.Read More
Betty Patu, our longtime school board director in Southeast Seattle, will resign her position at the end of the month, but the timing of her announcement has cast doubt on the integrity of the entire process.
Patu announced her resignation at the May 15 school board meeting, which wouldn’t be remarkable except that if the announcement had come three days earlier, her replacement would have been elected by voters.
As it is, the school board will take applications from the public, and the board will have the final say in appointing Patu’s replacement.Read More
Above all, if we don't know what impact this will have on marginalized communities in the district, then we need to find out. If we're serious about wanting to close the opportunity gap, then the first and most important question we need to ask about every single decision concerning our students and our schools is what impact it will have on Black students. What impact will this have on low-income families in Seattle? What impact will this have on Seattle Public Schools’ indigenous students? What impact will this have on the kids we talk about wanting to uplift?
If our outcomes are ever going to change, then our decision-making processes have to change. Otherwise, we will continue to end up in the same places again and again and again.Read More
Critics of the current school board note that it spends too much time focused on issues that don’t improve student achievement and don’t resolve opportunity gaps. In fact, actions the board has taken in the past have made those gaps worse. And though it made an impressive hire, appointing Denise Juneau as superintendent last summer, it has also hampered her and the professional educators that she leads in addressing these issues.
So, could you do better?Read More
The opportunity gap, as we all know, is a byproduct of systemic oppression playing out in our schools. The way to upend systemic oppression is to find a way to turn the system on its head. Targeted universalism applies that table-flipping mentality in a constructive way. I’m so surprised and pleased to hear this idea mentioned as our schools’ strategic north star.
Tracy Castro-Gill, the ethnic studies program manager for Seattle Public Schools, posted on Facebook today that “Garfield administration has chosen to displace Jesse Hagopian.”
“Jesse teaches less than half time at Garfield because of his work with Rethinking Schools,” Castro-Gill wrote. “He authored the course description and curriculum for the only board approved ethnic studies course. His leadership in the BLM@SCHOOL movement has strengthened the fight for ethnic studies. And now the district is not willing to pay the 0.4 FTE to continue his work at Garfield.”Read More
I ask humbly for your help. What else is happening that I should know about in our schools? Can you give me more reason to be hopeful, more stories about the progress our district is making? Can you tell me more about the teachers meeting with inmates, or about something that gives you hope for the future?
And if not that, are there more areas we need to shine a light on? What else is happening that also needs to change?
Thank you for your thoughts and your optimism as we look ahead, and thank you for doing what you do in important times like these. It’s going to be a good year.Read More
Yet again, charter schools and the principle of school choice prevailed this week in Washington’s courts.
Great, wonderful, fine, etc. This is important, but at the same time, we’ve had this conversation before. It’s time to dig deeper.
Why has all this been happening? Moving beyond talking points and rhetoric, why have people and organizations really been fighting charter schools so vehemently?Read More
It doesn’t feel like we’ve found a savior. We’ve got Wedge Antilles here, not Luke Skywalker. Wedge is nice, but he’s just one good pilot, you know? He’s a quiet leader, an accomplished rebel, but we need to blow up the Death Star, and we all know he’s not going to be the one to do that.
With Juneau, it feels similar, like we’ve found a good, highly qualified public school superintendent who will be committed to doing more than just paying lip service to the need for equity. She's all in. That much is crystal clear within a few minutes with her. But because she doesn’t have a fully revolutionary track record, I don’t believe she will make a difference in time for my kids. I don’t think she’s going to move to Seattle and blow up the Death Star.Read More
The Seattle School Board chose our new superintendent last night, and it’s going to be Denise Juneau.
Juneau became the first openly gay candidate for federal office in Montana when she ran for a seat in the House in 2016, and she will become Seattle’s first Native American superintendent when she officially takes over for Larry Nyland on July 1.
She was the clear choice among the three finalists, and while Juneau is certainly a traditional candidate in one sense — she has been a classroom teacher, administrator and the elected superintendent of Montana’s schools — I applaud the board for bringing a genuinely new perspective to the office.Read More
We met the three finalists chosen by the school board — Jeanice Swift, Denise Juneau and Andre Spencer, in that order — and each candidate spoke with Keisha Scarlett of SPS for 45 minutes in a question-and-answer format.
Here are my brief-as-I-can-be thoughts about the three people we’re choosing between to lead Seattle’s schools.Read More