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Recent Comments

Re: “The Ask

And from Anderson, Roloff, or Deshais:
- nothing but crickets...

Posted by sju on 02/21/2012 at 9:00 AM

Re: “Drop the Pitchforks

Where, pray tell, am I wrong? Specifically, where are I wrong, and what about the previous person´s post was "wrong"? Please - be specific.
I think you will have a hard time doing that. It appears that all you´ve got are emotional appeals and generalizations.
You state that "Yes a failing levy would dramatically change how children are educated and how they are taught." But you follow that up with language that indicates you believe that outcome would be a negative for the children.
You wonder why administrative salaries are even a point of discussion. Here´s a question for you - If the Superintendent were being paid $250 million dollars, half the budget, and the board was saying "Pass this levy or the children will suffer, would you decide that administrator pay was suddenly an issue worth consideration?
Of course you would. Any rational person would. But, because we are not talking about half the budget - you think it is not worth discussing. So, what is the level of money being spent on adults, instead of directly on education of children, that merits pay becoming part of the discussion?
What is the level of failure, for you personally, that merits outcomes becoming part of the discussion on whether we continue to fund that failure rate?
This levy is NOT for the children. The levy money is not in a "box" that is restricted to being spent ONLY on the kids. It is being misspent, along with large portions of the rest of the money the district spends, on failed curricula, failed teaching methodology (or pedagogy, as the education wonks like to call it), Common Core alignment - a black hole of dollars and a loss of local control - and administrators that are grossly overpaid.
A vote of NO on this levy is a vote FOR THE KIDS. Failure of this levy is the last chance this community will have, for some time, to bring the board to the table and demand changes. Changes that are critical to reversing the poor outcomes this district produces; high remediation rates for our graduates in English composition and math at colleges, dropout rates that must now be calculated from middle school, the list goes on...
You are correct; the kids don´t get a redo. Shouldn´t you be advocating for them to get it right the first time? The available evidence, overwhelming evidence, indicates that they are not getting it right the first time. Shouldn´t you be working to change that?
And if you are working to change that, and you run into the brick wall that is the SPS board and administration, and you try everything possible to get the system to re-chart the course it is following - all to no avail, is it then time to use the one lever you have - the MONEY - to bring that board to the table, FOR THE KIDS?
“I encourage you to be more informed and do a little more research on school budgets before you vote no."
I assure you that I am quite informed; I´ve done hours of research on the Spokane Public Schools budget. I am networked with people that do nothing but research school budgets. Each of them shakes their heads at the SPS budget and its lack of clarity. They opine, and I´m inclined to agree, that to be that unclear must be a conscious choice - like the CIA budget - so that no sunshine can penetrate its dark recesses.
You have likely voted already. I encourage you to get a little more informed and then find someone that has not yet voted - ask them to please vote NO on the SPS levy, for the kids.

Posted by sju on 02/11/2012 at 1:11 PM

Re: “Drop the Pitchforks

"But instead of cutting 25 percent of the local schools’ budgets in some kind of selfish “send-a-message” fit, there are lots of ways to help — volunteer in a classroom, be active at school board meetings."
Been there, done that. Volunteer lots, been to the school board a number of times. No change available there because the public has no hammer with the school board. The public can´t overcome the board-union-adminitration trinity.
"SELFISH SEND-A-MESSAGE FIT" - Sending a message requires a sender and a receiver. Lots of senders - NO receivers at the board or adminitration.
"Without the levy, kids will get hit again — even less attention from fewer teachers."
Party line Pro-levy LIE! That is one possible outcome of a levy failure. Other possible outcomes include cutting the salary of the overpaid ideolouges on the adminitrative staff, redundant staff positions like area coordinators and the entire Department of Teaching and Learning, opting out of the Common Core Standards madness - all for a savings of MILLIONS - and not one teacher affected.
Stick to infotainment and entertainment. News is obviously NOT your paper´s strong area...

Posted by sju on 02/09/2012 at 8:53 PM

Re: “When the Levy Breaks

@Daniel Walters:
"That could mean the loss of sports, after-school programs, counselors, many teachers and administrators, and an increase in class sizes."
This quote from your story COULD be an accurate statement, but it is not THE TRUTH. It is one possible option that the Spokane Public Schools could exercise in the event of a levy failure. It is a COULD-BE truth.
I, and many folks I know, are not anti-levy. We are anti-THIS levy.
(And, NO, I´m not part of Mr. Alton´s group. I don´t know the man.)
What we are frustrated with is hearing from the current administration and board that:
"Everything is just fine, the children are learning everything they need to, we are doing great, we are raising the bar…"
"The only problems we have are Money, Money, and Money…"

When the TRUTH is quite the opposite. The TRUTH is available in the un-spun numbers from the colleges, universities, community colleges, and trade apprenticeship programs across our region.

Specifically, Spokane Public Schools graduates require remediation in math and other subjects at a rate that boggles the mind, at a rate that is far higher than the state average, that students (who’ve received A’s in Honors Algebra in a SPS high school) test into remedial math - not algebra - at SCC or SFCC.
Just this week a trustee of Spokane Community Colleges stated, with respect to the search for a new Superintendant for SPS, that a primary goal should be to find someone that can deal with the extraordinarily high remediation required of Spokane Public Schools graduates in math.
Levies DO affect students. Our levies have been used to sustain a failed approach to instruction, to pay the salaries of over-compensated administrators that insist on an approach to instruction and supporting curricula that are so ineffective as to be counterproductive, to fund a data system to support the federalization of education - removing our local control over what and how our children are taught - to fund curricula that has even been seen yet, much less tested... MILLIONS and MILLIONS of dollars that never get to a classroom.
Many parents & citizens have been to the board, been to the administration - asking that teachers be allowed to teach effectively and directly to their students, asking that the Common Core foolishness be scrapped (and we DON"T have to participate).
They have been dismissed as unknowledgeable in child education and dismissed as “untrained”. They have had the full gamut of eduspeak tossed at them, as if the words might convince them they are the only ones in the city with the problem they have, their child is the only one that is failing, that education is now done by professionals with their own language and “How dare you suggest we don’t know what is good for your child!”
People are taking the last measure of control they have and exerting it - the power of the purse - BECAUSE levies do affect children. Because by failing this levy the board will have to come to the table and say “What will get this passed?”
The answers will mostly be about how the district fails to educate our children by focusing on a failed instructional methodology, about the administrative bloat and waste of money, and about accountability to ensure these issues remain open to review…
"In our conversation, I told Daniel that -- rather than make the levy discussion about the people, -- he should do a little investigating of the district and its claims."
I would not hold my breath there Ms. Rogers. The Inlander - like the Spokesman review, GSI, Citizens for Spokane Public Schools, Yes! for Kids! - all have to much to lose by an actual investigation of the district, its educational outcomes, and how it spends the citizen´s money.
They all MUST focus on people. People are easy to demonize. As long as the focus is on the boogyman that wants to steal the children´s teachers and art and smaller classes and sports - it is NOT on the realities of the levy and the budget shenanigans required to support the bloated administration and poor outcomes.
I looked over your blog Ms. Rogers. I must say that what I found, while passionate, was informative. I found NEWS - information that has import for me, and my community.
I´d would have labled you an advocate, rather than a critic...

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Posted by sju on 02/09/2012 at 8:44 PM

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