Seattle School Board Passes Resolution that Reaffirms Commitment to Public Schools & Opposition to Charters

On March 2, the Seattle School Board approved a resolution reaffirming its commitment to public education and its opposition to charter schools.

This updates a resolution passed by a previous Board in 2012 in response to Initiative 1240 (which established charter schools in Washington State and which a majority of Seattle voters did not support), and now reflects a number of new developments, including:

  • The State Supreme Court’s September 2015 decision which found the charter law unconstitutional;
  • the Court’s September 2014 ruling that found the State in contempt for its continued failure to meet its paramount duty to amply fund K-12 public education in Washington State, as reaffirmed by the 2012 McCleary decision;
  • Recent efforts by the State and local districts to continue to publicly fund charter schools by reclassifying them as Alternative Learning Experiences (ALEs) and channeling their funding and oversight through the Mary Walker School District in Eastern Washington.

The vote was 5-2 in favor, and included an amendment from Director Jill Geary (Burke, Geary, Harris, Patu, Peters; Blanford, Pinkham).





Thank you, Seattle! Both 2016 school levies pass by wide margins!

A big thank you to Seattle voters for supporting the two education levies on the February ballot by significant margins! Until our schools are fully funded by the state, school districts rely on the support of our community of voters.

It is now up to the District and School Board to live up to the public trust and be responsible and smart stewards of these funds.

Official Final Count, as certified by King County Elections:

Ballots Counted: 120,849

Registered Voters: 422,727     (28.59% voted)

See all School Districts’ results here:

Prop. No 1 – Operations Levy

Yes  72.44% – 87146 votes

No   27.56% – 33,156 votes


Prop. No. 2 –BTA IV Capital Levy

Yes  72.10% -86915 votes

No   27.90% -33,630 votes





Congratulations & Welcome to Seattle’s New School Board Directors-Elect!

Election Night on November 3 delivered four new members to Seattle’s School Board — Rick Burke, Jill Geary, Leslie Harris and Scott Pinkham.  An engineer, a judge, a paralegal and a professor, all with children currently or recently in Seattle Public Schools, they bring a high caliber of professionalism and skills to the Board.

Their swearing-in ceremony will be held at the John Stanford Center on Tuesday December 1. Their first Board meeting will be Wednesday December 2. Look for their updated information on the district’s School Board Web page soon.

I look forward to working with them all.


Rick Burke – School Board Director-Elect for District II


Jill Geary – School Board Director-Elect for District III


Leslie Harris – School Board Director-Elect for District VI


Scott Pinkham – School Board Director-Elect for District I

Remember to VOTE by November 3! School Board and City Council seats on the ballot



An important general election is upon us! Please remember to get your ballot in the mail or into a drop box by the end of Tuesday November 3.

Where to find a 24-hour drop box near you!

In addition to all 9 City Council seats, 4 out of 7 School Board seats are up for election this year. Three incumbents are leaving the board, one is running for reelection.

This election is important. It will determine the direction of the School Board at a time when our district is growing but our state continues to fail to meet its paramount duty of fully funding our schools (as reestablished by the McCleary State Supreme Court decision). Consequently, the district needs to prioritize and manage limited resources well and respond to the needs of our families. We need conscientious oversight to ensure that happens. This new board will also select the next superintendent.

So get your ballots in!

Happy New Year! My campaign mentioned in Diane Ravitch’s “Best of 2013;” Plus, a chance to vote on new math for Seattle’s Schools!

Best of 2013 & Promising News for 2014!

With Dr. Diane Ravitch when she spoke in Seattle on tour with her new national best-selling book, in Sept. 2013 (an event the Seattle Times curiously ignored).With Dr. Diane Ravitch in Sept. 2013 when she spoke in Seattle, on tour with her new national best-selling book, "Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools"

Dr. Diane Ravitch included the School Board victories of Steve Zimmer, Monica Ratliff, candidates in Bridgeport, CT, and myself among her “Best of 2013” list:

“9. Some of the candidates opposed by the “reformers” managed to win their elections, despite being overwhelmingly outspent by corporate funders (in many cases, the corporate funders lived thousands of miles away). Among the winners who fought off the “reform” money machine were Steve Zimmer and Monica Ratliff in Los Angeles, Sue Peters in Seattle, and the winning candidates who took control of the school board in Bridgeport, Connecticut, signaling the end of the Paul Vallas era in that small city.”

(From: The Best of 2013: the Great Awakening about the Status Quo, Diane Ravitch’s blog, Jan. 1, 2014)

The Garfield High School teachers’ stand against the MAP test also made many Top Ten and Best Of lists for 2013.

With the momentum for a $15/hour minimum wage, a socialist City Council member, a gay mayor, progressives on the School Board,  and courageous teachers, Seattle continues to make both local and national news! (The inauguration of Councilmember-elect Kshama Sawant and Mayor-Elect Ed Murray at City Hall on Jan. 6 is promising to be a standing-room only event.)

Math News!

Public input sought on new math adoption program for kindergarten, Grades 1-5 — Seattle Public School District

Through Jan. 8,  the public has the opportunity to review new K-5 math instructional materials under consideration for adoption, currently on display in the school district headquarters library.

A final two or three options will then be made available to the greater community for review at select locations throughout the city, resulting in a final recommendation which will come before the School Board for a vote. The new materials will replace the controversial Everyday Math textbooks which are overdue for review.

Those who are interested in bringing solid math to our elementary students should weigh in.  If you can’t make it to the JSCEE, you can have a look online for information, sample texts and input from others.

You can share your feedback with the district online by completing the simple survey form located on the K-5 Mathematics Instructional Materials Adoption Committee web page.

Meteorologist, UW Professor and math advocate Cliff Mass also discusses the K-5 math options for Seattle’s schools in his Weather Blog. See: Seattle Public Schools Faces A Critical Decision on a New K-5 Math Curriculum, as does the Seattle Schools Community Forum Blog. See: If You Care about K-5 Math in Seattle Public Schools…

Best Wishes for 2014 to all!


Sue Peters Joins the Seattle School Board

New Seattle School Board: (front row L to R): Stephan Blanford, President Sharon Peaslee, Vice President Betty Patu, Harium Martin-Morris; (back row: L to R): Sherry Carr, Sue Peters, Marty McLaren – December 3, 2013
(Source: Seattle School Board web page)


Taking the oath of office, Sue & her father, Dec. 3, 2013
(photo by Melissa Westbrook)

We Have a New Seattle School Board Seattle Schools Community Forum blog, Dec. 3, 2013

Community Meetings with Director Peters:

I will hold my first community meeting in January 2014. I will also host meetings specifically for students. Please check my district web page for updates.

In the meantime, please join me at Couth Buzzard Books in Greenwood, Friday, Dec. 6,* at noon,  for the kick-off Seattle Education Meetup, hosted by the Seattle Education Blog and Parents Across America, Seattle.

(*please note corrected date.)

Happy Holidays!



Seattle School Board Election Update: Sue Peters Wins by Decisive 10-point Margin!

Since Election Night, our margin of victory has grown steadily.

On Nov. 5, we led by 51-48 percent. 

As of Nov. 19, the results are 55-45% (54.76% – 44.86%)—a 10-point difference! (Current vote total: 92,197-75,538).

Save the Dates!

Newly (re)elected school board members — Betty Patu, Sue Peters and Stephan Blanford — will be sworn into office  on Tuesday Dec. 3,  5-6 p.m. at the John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence (district headquarters).

First board meeting with the new board: Weds. Dec. 4.

[CORRECTION: Please note correct date for oath of office is Dec. 3, not Nov. 3, as originally posted.]

sp&jhSchool Board Director-Elect Sue Peters Celebrating Election Night with award-winning* Garfield High School teacher  (& friend) Jesse Hagopian

*(“Secondary School Teacher of the Year” )


We Did It! Sue Peters Wins Historic Seattle School Board Election

We did it! With fantastic, community-wide support, we managed to win an  historic election for Seattle School Board.

Election night, we led by 51-48 percent, and with each day’s new ballot tallies, our margin has grown. As of this afternoon, the results are 53-46—a 7-point difference.  Wednesday night, my opponent, Suzanne Dale Estey, conceded.

[UPDATE: I have just updated the results to reflect the new numbers posted by King County Elections at 4:30 p.m. today. My margin has grown to 7 percent.]

[FURTHER UPDATE: As of Nov. 8, my margin has increased to nearly 9 points, 54-46, an 11,492-vote difference.]

Why Our Win Matters

This is a victory not only for my campaign, but for communities, families, and educators everywhere who are the key stakeholders in public education, but whose voices are not always heard in the current national debate over education reform, or in our own local school district policies.

This is also a victory for authentic, grassroots democracy. Seattle voters did not allow a small group of moneyed interests to buy this election. My opponent’s campaign and political action committee (PAC) spent a record-breaking $240,000+, a good portion of it on negative campaigning. This amount of money and such tactics are unprecedented in Washington State for a school board race. Yet voters were not fooled by the distortions and diversions of the PAC which attempted to smear my candidacy.

I am proud of my fiscally responsible, volunteer-driven campaign. I am also grateful to everyone who helped us stand up to this barrage of misinformation, and to those of you who promoted my candidacy personally. I want to particularly thank Dr. Diane Ravitch, who recognized that my campaign represented a national battle over the integrity and future of public education. Her support gave important legitimacy to our campaign and to my effort over the years to engage on education issues, as both a journalist and parent.

I have already begun to reach out to my opponent’s supporters. To those who share my commitment to public education, I welcome both discussion and action on the issues raised by my campaign, and I am committed to work together to meet the needs of all our students without resorting to privatization models.

Thank you for giving me this opportunity to serve as your elected representative. I promise to be engaged on the issues and represent all of my constituents who share the goal of strengthening our public schools.  I am committed to serving the best interests of all our district’s 51,000 diverse students, families and school communities.


Sue Peters


Election Night Results — Sue Peters leads by 51-48 percent!

Election Night brought good news for my campaign — a 51-48 percent lead! More ballot tallies will be announced each day by 4:30 p.m.

We had a great party at the Tin Lizzie Lounge in the historic MarQueen Hotel.

electionnight3Celebrating the first returns with friends at the MarQueen Hotel, Tuesday night.

Dispatches from media around town…

Election Night: The Empire Strikes Back!
Posted by on Tue, Nov 5, 2013 at 6:49 PM
It is a dark time for rebellious liberals. Although they won the mayor’s office and school board in elections past, wealthy forces seek to drive the interlopers from City Hall. Mayor Mike McGinn, Council Member O’Brien, and brave school board hopeful Sue Peters are running formidable campaigns to maintain their progressive foothold. But state senator Ed Murray, the rabidly conservative police guild, and grazzilionaire Nick Hanauer—obsessed with the politics of division and a scourge of crime—have deployed wealthy PACs to stop the insurgency and reclaim the government.

KUOW 94.9 FM

KUOW reporters are on the ground at several campaign sites in Seattle, sending back snapshots from the scenes as the ballot countdown nears an end.

8:15 p.m. School Board Candidate Sue Peters Ahead With 51 percent
Seattle School Board candidate Sue Peters is wearing her lucky blue feather boa tonight, and it appears to have paid off.

When King County released its first round of vote results, she was ahead of opponent Suzanne Dale Estey. Estey received 48 percent of the vote.

At Peters’ party, it’s a mostly middle-aged crowd milling about the room, drinking wine and cocktails. There are purple balloons, sandwiches and cured meats. It’s a festive mood.

It’s less festive at Estey’s campaign party, where there’s a sparser crowd and most of the guests appear to be drinking water.  

–KUOW’s Ann Dornfeld

Kind words from a friend:  “Mazel tov, Sue. Your campaign reflected your values and it        resonated with the voters. “


On Credibility & Conspiracy — A Letter to Voters

A Letter to Voters

As Good as Our Word

Dear Voters,

In a recent Seattle Weekly article, my opponent’s political consultant, Christian Sinderman (pictured), accused my campaign of ‘insinuating’ that Suzanne Dale Estey supports charter schools.Csinderman

But the fact is, many people, both inside and outside my campaign, locally and nationally, have asked this legitimate question:  If Suzanne Dale Estey opposes charter schools, as she claims, why have all the major proponents of charter schools, the wealthy individuals who also bankrolled last year’s state charter schools Initiative 1240 (which 60 percent of Seattle voters rejected), and other corporate ed reform agenda items, invested a record amount of money into her campaign, and into the political action committee (“Great Seattle Schools”)  they created on her behalf? (For an unprecedented total of $240,000+) And why did they attack my candidacy repeatedly, if she and I are both opposed to their main agenda item?

What are we to believe?

Often, all we have is a candidate’s word on an issue. But what if someone’s words don’t add up? During the course of the last six months, on the campaign trail, both of us have had many opportunities to speak the truth on issues.

So at a forum in September, when we were asked by an audience member to identify our top five donors, many were surprised when my opponent claimed not to know who her top contributors were.  Yet,  Dale Estey’s top donors include the CEO of one of the biggest corporations in the world, Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer and his wife Connie, the CEO of one the largest foundations in the world, the Gates Foundation’s Jeff Raikes, real estate developer Matt Griffin,  and former Microsoft executive Christopher Larson (and now venture capitalist Nick Hanauer) who currently have contributed a combined total of $83,000+ to Dale Estey’s PAC and campaign.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE 37th District Democrats endorsement meeting, Sept. 9, 2013 (resulted in sole endorsement for Sue Peters)

Q: from the audience: Will you please tell us who your the top five contributors are?

SDE: You know, honestly, perhaps I should know that, but I don’t. I’ve received over 400 contributions, many, in fact the last time I checked and run the numbers, I haven’t run them recently, I have more contributors below $50 than my opponent has in her entire…. A senior citizen handed me $7 in cash the other day. I value each and every contribution. But no, I can’t name my top contributors. I could probably take a guess. My parents signed up right away. I have quite a few people who are absolutely fed up with the status quo of the school district and I’m very proud to have all of their support.

Sue P: Well mine is very much a community based campaign and I’m funded by a wide range of people and so my top contributors are teachers and parents and families who support me.

I can help my opponent out a little bit. Here are your top contributors: Steve and Connie Ballmer, I think they both contributed the max; Jeff Raikes, from the Gates Foundation and his wife. And then Matt Griffin and Christopher Larson, as you know, created a political action committee whose goal is to elect you and Stephan. They’ve already spent $32,000 in the primary to help you, and during that time they went negative against me and spent $16,000 on two negative mailers against me. So these are the contributors to my opponent’s campaign.

I am very proud of my campaign. We are grassroots, community based one. I represent the people. I believe in representing all the community. I believe the school board should be a democratically elected body representing all the people, elected by the people, not by the people with the most money.

In the last month of the campaign, my opponent started to claim in public forums that she “ran Governor Gary Locke’s D.C .office.” But there is no mention of this significant role on her resume.  I checked, and was unable to find any record of Suzanne Dale Estey being on Governor Locke’s payroll.

Education blogger and activist Melissa Westbrook researched this and other related issues and discovered that Dale Estey worked in Governor Locke’s office for just three months, as a paid summer intern from June-August 1998. Nowhere on Estey’s resume or in those public forums does she mention the word “internship” or mention the brevity of her experience there. Instead, she has said:

“(…) I’ve got significant public affairs experience in working in education policy at every level of government, from the Clinton White House, when I ran the conference on mayors on public schools, Governor Gary Locke, where I ran his D.C. office, and I’ve worked on education and human services issues for both the City of Seattle and King County Executive Ron Sims….”
– Suzanne Dale Estey, Eastlake Community Council forum, Oct. 15, 2013

And then The Stranger has reported that, in 2004, while serving as a lobbyist for Washington Mutual, Dale Estey sent an email to 9,000 employees urging them to vote against the Monorail, while at the same time, serving as a member of the Transportation Choices Coalition, a pro-Monorail organization. Did she support or oppose the Monorail? Both? Who knows.

Why does all of this matter?

Because one of us is going to be elected to the Seattle School Board. And I believe that honesty, integrity and the truth matter.

As a professionally trained journalist, I am committed to facts and the truth. I will bring such scrutiny to my role as your school board director. I will aim to oversee and safeguard our resources and help steer our district in a positive direction that corresponds to the needs and realities of our communities, and to the facts.

I have a proven history of researching and standing up for issues, and being on the right side of them. In 2009, I spoke up against the school closures. Eight months later, the district had to reopen schools at a cost of $48 million. In 2010, I advocated against the weak Discovering Math textbooks. The court agreed and declared the district’s decision to adopt these books “arbitrary and capricious.” In 2010, I analyzed the MAP test in a blog post called “15 Reasons Why the Seattle School District Should Shelve the MAP Test–ASAP.” In 2013, Garfield High School teachers spoke up about the flaws of the MAP, informed by my article. Their courageous action made national news and led to the discontinuation of MAP at the high school level.

Even the so-called “conspiracy theory” that Dale Estey’s PAC accused me of in a clumsy (but expensive) smear attempt last week, merely highlighted my focus on facts and commitment to understanding the bigger picture of education policy, reform and funding.

I will bring such insight and oversight to my role on the board.

I give you my word.