Energizing. Galvanizing. It was the largest protest march in Seattle’s history. I marched with Board Vice President Leslie Harris and scores of others. Vive La Resistance!
Category Archives: public education
From Small Acts of Heroism to Great Acts of History
On MLK Day, I was invited to speak to the community volunteers and City Year partners who participated in a Day of Service beautifying Martin Luther King Elementary School in Seattle. Here are samples of their work:
Here’s an excerpt from my speech:
Thank you for your service. Thank you for the honor and invitation to attend and share a few thoughts with you this afternoon on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
I recently had the opportunity to visit the Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, Georgia, the birthplace of Martin Luther King, Jr. It was a very moving and engaging experience.
Throughout the museum were examples of demonstrations of solidarity and bravery. Examples of heroism, from people of courage like the great Civil Rights leader John Lewis, alongside Reverend King.
On display were seemingly small acts of heroism – like sitting at a lunch counter, riding a bus, walking into a newly desegregated school. These were in fact great acts of history.
Small acts of heroism can happen every day in our own lives. Every student who braves doubt or misfortune, and picks up a pencil, a book, or turns on a computer and tries her or his best anyway.
Every teacher or helper who boosts a student’s confidence and helps them uncover their spark, their talents.
We remember MLK for his heroism. It is also important to remember what an erudite man he was. He was well read, and extremely, extremely eloquent.
At the museum in Atlanta, there was an exhibit of his papers and letters. There was a wall-size photograph of his personal library. This served as a reminder that he was a thinker as well as a doer. This is a message we must share with our children and students: Know your history. Read, write, think. Think for yourself.
Your education is something that can never be taken away from you.
Recent national events have offered a painful reminder of how much farther we have to go to achieve equality, humanity, justice in this nation.
There has been racial injustice we have witnessed in many forms – and hate speech thinly disguised as political campaign rhetoric.
But we are not fooled. We know that words matter, and such speech can divide and wound a nation.
In this way, these events also serve as a reminder of how important it is that we raise and nurture the next generation of thinkers, doers, so they will base their actions and their votes on facts and history, not ignorance and personal desperation.
Thank you for your work, for helping our students become the next generation of thinkers and doers. As the President of the Seattle School Board, on behalf of the Board and the District, I am proud to have such partners for the 53,000 students of Seattle Public Schools.
John Lewis marching with Dr. King.
Images from the Center for Civil & Human Rights: Father and son, and MLK quote
Honoring MLK, Jr. — We have much work to do
MLK Day March from Garfield High School to the Federal Building, Monday, Jan. 16, 2017 (“John Lewis is a Hero”)
I joined the MLK, Jr. March from Garfield High School on this crisp but bright winter day. There seemed to be a spirit of defiance as well as uncertainty in the air, on the eve of an unexpected and unfathomable Presidential inauguration.
Now more than ever it is important to remember Dr. King’s lessons and legacy in our ongoing struggle as a nation to achieve social justice and equality.
In many ways, those lessons begin with education. We must teach our children well.
“Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education.”
— Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Our struggle is a struggle to redeem the soul of America. It’s not a struggle that lasts for a few days, a few weeks, a few months, or a few years. It is the struggle of a lifetime, more than one lifetime.
— Civil Rights leader John Lewis
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: http://your.kingcounty.gov/elections/2016/feb-special/results/results.pdf
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
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 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.)
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.)
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.]
School 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.
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.
Celebrating the first returns with friends at the MarQueen Hotel, Tuesday night.
Dispatches from media around town…
Election Night: The Empire Strikes Back!
Posted by Stranger Election Control Board 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 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. “