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Recent Comments

Re: “Where School Bonds Go to Die

Paul Lindberg (& others):

“The erroneous assumption that voting down bonds provides citizen control of education spending is simply naiive…”

Equating control of the money (Levy & Bond) with control of education is far from “naïve”. It is, in our current system of governance, one of the few “controls” left to the citizenry. I think it naïve to believe that the school board would not come “to the table” and seek a way to get the Levy & Bond passed if it fails. It is at precisely that point where parents and taxpayers can exercise some measure of control.

“Taxes are unavaoidable for a working education system…”

No argument with you there. And I am far from anti-tax, or anti-Levy, or anti-Bond. We must pay for the education we expect – yet we are not getting value for the taxes we pay – at all levels of taxation.

A “working education system” is the goal – We do not have that. High remediation rates at colleges for math & English, lower scores across the board on the ASVAB (military placement exam), basic math facts teaching required of recent graduates for entry to trade & apprenticeship programs… All these issues point clearly to an education system which is NOT working. Reconcile the above mentioned issues with the following facts;

- Low student performance when measured by entities outside the local system (college placement exams)
- Stagnant teacher pay
- Exploding administrator salaries & positions

While taxes are unavoidable for a working education system - they simply should NOT be approved by voters to support a system that is NOT working.

“… and kicking the ball down the road only increases the eventual and inevitable costs.”

Two thoughts on this comment:

- Yes, it can – but does not have to.

- Kicking the educational can (being results for the children) "down the road" (to remedial classes at the college level) does, and IS, increasing the costs for both students & parents. This increase in costs is, however, not inevitable – if only we regain some control of the system of delivery.

“… Don't fall for the attractive, but truly false premise of citizen control.”

I’ve addressed this above but beating a dead horse seems to be my lot at the moment :)

Exercising control via the purse strings is not a "false premise". It is a basic tenant of our governmental system.

A NO vote on the Bond & levy is, however, only the first step in regaining control. The second step is to demand changes to the system in return for a Yes vote on a modified Levy.

I suggest baby steps:

- The Levy must be placed on a separate budget with each dollar spent accounted for by the program and specific salaried position it is spent on. Transparency & accountability.

If the average voter understood just how much of the money they approved “For the Kids” goes to pay Shelly Redinger $290,000 a year, Mark Anderson $190,000 a year, and the other 98-ish administrators that never stand in front of a classroom more than $100,000 a year apiece – I suspect they might suggest that the money be re-directed to IAs in the classroom, librarians, councilors, etc. Enrichment – of education, not to Administrators…

“ Delays in allocation only increase eventual expenses, you can pay now, or a lot more later.”

A delay in this allocation can DECREASE eventual expenses. By voting NO we can take control of the allocation of this precious resource (the money) and demand some changes that will avoid having to pay “…a lot more later.” in an average year + of remedial math & English classes at the collegiate level.

Vote No!

Demand change for a Yes vote.

9 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by justateacher on 02/10/2015 at 8:56 AM

Re: “Where School Bonds Go to Die

I don't know Alton's motivations but the end result he is seeking is worthy...

This article list the Spokane Public Schools Levy and Bond - I can intelligently address those:

I hope the voters in Spokane proper vote NO on the Levy and the Bond.

I'm not anti levy, or anti bond, I am pro-citizen control of the schools. We lack any effective method of change at the school board level - they have set the system up so that they are only up for re-election every six years, and never more than two at a time. So we can't seek change in that venue. And SO much change is needed...

We can seek change if we "grab them by the money" - that is, if we vote NO and force them to bring the issues back up for a second try. We can demand at least two things when they are forced to do that:

1. Levy money must go directly to enrichment activities for the students - not into administrator salaries and positions that are not directly related to educational enrichment.

2. Levy money must be spent on its own budget.

As for the "dire" consequences of a failed Levy

- the district can absorb the loss of levy dollars without cutting one enrichment program or staff member - they just have to let the deadwood go - all the Levy dollars that go into the salaries of administrators at the downtown office and across the district. (Yes - your Levy taxes go directly to the bottom line of our $280,000 a year super, the $180,000 Deputy super... "ad nauseoum")

- the district can eliminate those services required by the state that the state is not funding. Time to put the state legislators on the spot and force them to make good on the McCleary decision.

This is For the Kids!

Vote NO!

17 likes, 32 dislikes
Posted by justateacher on 02/05/2015 at 6:33 AM

Re: “Calling a Truce

First, allow me to congratulate you on taking a step in the right direction with this story. I have long viewed your work, and that of your paper, with respect to education issues, as little more than blatant shilling for the County’s largest employer – District 81. With this story it appears that you are beginning to dig a little deeper into the morass that is District 81.

I have a few suggestions for you if you desire to continue, in the finer traditions of journalism, to inform the public with respect to this vital issue:
1. Keep digging.
As you researched this story you must have come away from interviews with a sense of the nearly religious fervor with which District 81’s administrators promote the Constructivist approach to education. Equal to the administrations dedication to this failed pedagogy is the McCarthy-like dedication of the Dept. of Teaching & Learning to identifying and rooting out teachers who dare to actually teach directly to the children. In short, our careers are at risk should we be identified as “not on board” with the foolishness that comes from 200 Bernard Street – that “children learn best when they discover their own way to do things.”
Keep digging and you’ll find teachers who have been disciplined, teachers who have been let go, teachers who hide the fact that they teach directly to their students – because the administrators in charge of curricula and pedagogy believe that multiplication flash cards rob children of the “deeper conceptual understanding” that supposedly comes from “discovering” multiplication on their own… Karin Short and Tammy Campbell lead a veritable coven of “true believers” at the Dept. of Teaching & Learning in District 81 – and their philosophy of education has doomed more an entire generation of children to feeling inadequate with respect to mathematics.
Keep digging and you’ll find Dr. Redinger’s commitment to a dialogue about the next elementary math curricula to be disingenuous, at best. Why? Because our last Superintendent, Nancy Stowell, and the Board, in a pathetic gamble for more money, signed onto the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). So, regardless of the outcome of any public discussions on the matter – the next curricula will have to “align” with the CCSS. The curricula written to align with the CCSS are ALL slated to be “reform” in nature. So, while it appears open minded to display the intent to engage the public in a discussion of the curricula – it is just eye-wash to appease the masses. CCSS will define the standards, the standards are constructivist in nature, ergo – constructivist curricula it will be…
Keep digging and you will find that, as you closed your article, District 81 is about to “spend several million taxpayer dollars on untested, unproven, and largely unseen curricula based on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).” You will find that the District is spending millions on data programs to support this federal vision of cradle-to-career data tracking…
2. Engage with Mrs. Rogers and get the non-district approved, un-spun, and quite unpopular FACTS about the performance of the “discovery” revolution in Spokane’s schools. Based on what I’ve seen you and your paper print about Mrs. Rogers and her fellow education advocates – I suspect you might have to apologize to her, with sincerity, for you to get the level of effort she puts into her advocacy and research directed at any effort you make to publish “the rest of the story”, but I suspect you would gain valuable insights you won’t get from the District’s leadership. Many of us found your hatchet job on Mrs. Rogers, Mrs. Treffry and Mr. Lecoq in the article about Public Records Requests to be reprehensible. Yet, her obvious concern for the children appears to have allowed her to ignore your slights and give you permission to quote from her blog in this story.
Many of us who teach in Spokane’s schools read Mrs. Rogers blog. (The administration reads it as well – they are ever on the lookout for the leaks, always seeking to determine what they need to “spin” next…) She appears to have it about right with respect to Spokane Public Schools. Many of us have read her book – again, she’s got it pretty close to the truth. We applaud her efforts to get records of the District’s malfeasance via Public Records Requests. Yet, we must remain anonymous lest we lose our jobs. She seems to be doing what newspapers should be doing – putting information out there so that parents and the public can make informed choices. Mend fences with her, and other education advocates, and you’ll find story aplenty.

Posted by justateacher on 09/06/2012 at 4:56 PM

Re: “The Ask

I have not seen where anyone named Rogers, Treffery, or LeCoq opposed the levy.
I've followed Ms. Rogers' blog and I have seen here advocate for people to ask questions about what outcomes they are purchasing with the money that gets spent - but I have not seen her suggest a vote of no on the levy.
I have no idea who the other two are, Perhaps you could point me at some posting / article / group where they opposed the levy?
Otherwise, it seems that you are doing the bidding of the district by demonizing these people with no evidence to support it. Keep folks focused on personalities rather than the issue - sounds quite familiar...
I work in the district - do you?

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by justateacher on 02/17/2012 at 12:49 PM

Re: “The Ask

I am, as my screen name implies, just a teacher here.
I appreciate anyone that makes an attempt at getting to the bottom of things with respect to the district, city, county, state, nation, or the world.
I am appalled at this "story"
The associate superintendent of the school district has made a point - in this story - of calling out private citizens for exercising their right to ask for public records. He is implying that these three people are “abusive” requesters
What is the point of Mark Anderson’s comments about these private citizens other than to intimidate, to slander their character in the community with language such as “abusive,” and to excuse the district’s abhorrent effort to effectively eliminate the Public Records Act in Washington State?
The strategy seems to be to get the focus on someone – anyone – and keep the focus off of the district.
The POINT of the story, however, seems to be INTIMIDATION - a warning to every citizen in Spokane:
File a Public Records Request to find out what Spokane Public Schools is doing, JUST ONE REQUEST, and we will label you abusive - and “out” you to the public as a money and time wasting kid hater.
This would be bad law. But, as long as the district can make it about a person (or persons, however unfairly, however illegitimate the claim that they are “abusive” requestors), AND so long as The Inlander and other local media play their assigned role in keeping citizens focused on a person – instead of on the issues that person brings to light – the issues will ever get aired.
The issue here, in this story, is NOT the schools – the issue is the people’s right to know everything about their schools.
“They” don’t want to discuss that. “They” want us to ignore the man behind the curtain – please focus on the person “they” choose to demonize. “Bad” people hold our attention longer than bad ideas – this media fact-of-life is what “they” are depending on here.
“And there’s been no abuse from the media at all. It’s really about this small group of people,” says district spokeswoman Terren Roloff.”
--- And with that statement; Rogers, Treffery and LeCoq have been publicly labeled as “abusive”. A big scarlet “A” for them, they become the “bad” people in this “story” and you are supposed to forget and ignore the bad law the district is attempting to shove down our throat…
Abusive – What is the definition of that word with respect to Public Records Requests? Has The Inlander submitted any Public Records Requests this last year? Was the number of Public Records Requests by The Inlander the same, or less, or more than the three citizens identified in this “story”? MUST have been less, right, since the media haven’t been labeled as “abusive”…
This story is pure tactical gameplay by the district, with the obvious assistance of The Inlander. No parent in Spokane will dare file a Public Records Request now – lest they be pilloried in the kangaroo court of local media.
We screamed for information from the government when Bush sent the nation to war based on the WMD gambit. We decried the government’s denial of Request for Records relative to that decision. Investigative news stories were printed about the neo-con conspiracy to get us into that war – we printed in bold headlines “BUSH LIED!”
We demanded information and records when local police killed Otto. We investigated the documents trail, the internal memos and records, and then the facts GLEANED FROM RECORDS were reported.
Public records laws are designed, by the people and for the people -even the poor people who will not be able to afford this abortion of legislation. Public Records law is there for us, especially for those who would like to see some sunshine reach the dark cellars of this district’s ivory towers.
I never really thought I’d see the day that a progressive newspaper would tacitly support any law that makes it more difficult for citizens to know what is being done by public officials. Shame on you.
Shame on Lisa Brown for supporting such a fascist end-run around public accountability.
And shame on Mark Anderson and Terren Roloff. Those two should be fired for what they’ve done here – an obvious attempt to place a chilling effect on the citizens who pay their salary.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by justateacher on 02/17/2012 at 12:42 PM

Re: “The Nation of Idaho


Posted by justateacher on 02/17/2012 at 10:36 AM

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