Category Archives: Seattle School Board

Best of luck to Seattle’s New School Board! (Their first legislative meeting is today 12/6/17)

On Nov. 28, election results were certified and Seattle School Board Directors Betty Patu (winning her third term representing District VII), Eden Mack (taking over from me as representative of District IV) and Zachary Pullin DeWolf (replacing Stephan Blanford in District V) were sworn in.

(All three won decisively. Mack defeated former educator Herbert Camet, Patu bested Teach for America alum Chelsea Byers Cremese, and DeWolf defeated Teach for America alum and Summit Sierra charter school board member Omar Vasquez.)

It was standing room only, one of the best-attended School Board swearing in ceremonies I can remember.

Guest keynote speaker was State Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal, invited by Board Vice President, Leslie Harris, who also ably MCed the event. Among the guests, State Representative Gerry Pollet and former Interim Mayor Tim Burgess.

Today, Dec. 6, at 4:15 pm. the new board will sit for its first legislative meeting. I wish them the best.

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Swearing-in of Directors Patu, Mack and DeWolf – Nov. 28, 2017

Guest speaker State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Chris ReykdalFormer and current School Board Directors for District IV (me and Eden Mack)

The 2017-19 Seattle School Board

(back row, L  to R): Scott Pinkham, Jill Geary, Rick Burke, Zachary DeWolf

(front row): Leslie Harris, Eden Mack, Betty Patu

 

 

Congratulations to Newly Elected (and Re-elected) Seattle School Board Directors Eden Mack, Zach DeWolf & Betty Patu!

Warmest congrats to Eden Mack and Zachary DeWolf and Betty Patu on their decisive wins in the general election on Nov 7. Results will be certified tomorrow, Nov. 28th, and they will be sworn in as official members of the Seattle School Board at 6 pm.

Welcome to the Board, Eden and Zach. And congratulations to Betty for winning her third straight election. She is now one of the longest-serving Seattle School Board directors in recent memory. She will bring valuable institutional memory and experience to the Board and District.

Eden Mack — 87%

Betty Patu — 68%

Zachary DeWolf — 64%

(as of Nov 22 vote tallies)

Thank you Seattle voters for choosing wisely.

 

 

 

Top 10 Reasons to Vote for Betty Patu for Seattle School Board!

Top 10 Reasons to Vote for Betty Patu for Seattle School Board!

  1. BETTY PATU is the only candidate with over 30 years of extensive experience with Seattle Public Schools. She has firsthand knowledge of the district’s communities, challenges, successes and goals.
  2. BETTY knows the job. With 8 years of experience overseeing the district’s $1 billion budget through good times and lean, she brings valuable knowledge and continuity to the Board.
  3. BETTY is focused on equity and results. She voted for the District’s groundbreaking Racial Equity Policy, supported a moratorium on K-5 nonviolent suspensions, helped  to align school start times to better meet student needs, and has brought programs like International Baccalaureate to Rainier Beach High School and Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) to Cleveland High School.
  4. BETTY has deep roots in the communities she represents. A native of American Samoa, she has lived and served in Southeast Seattle for decades.
  5. BETTY has skin in the game. All five of her kids graduated from Seattle Public Schools and she now has grandchildren following in their footsteps.
  6. BETTY has a proven commitment to student success. As a founder of intervention programs that helped hundreds of at-risk students, her work was featured in the New York Times, and earned the United Nations’ Humanitarian Award, Patty Senator Murray’s “Golden Tennis Award,” and many other honors for her valuable community service.
  7. BETTY is a proven civic leader. She has served as Seattle School Board President, Vice President, Chair of the Executive and Operations Committees, and the District’s City Liaison.
  8. BETTY is highly qualified. She has a Master’s degree in education administration, a degree in nursing, and experience working as a teacher.
  9. BETTY is endorsed by a broad coalition that includes: The Stranger, the Seattle Weekly, The Medium, Democratic and labor organizations, including the 32nd, 34th, 37th, 43rd  and 46th District Democrats, the King County and the Metropolitan Democrats, Local 609; State Senators Maralyn Chase and Bob Hasegawa, State Representative and House Education Committee Chair Sharon Tomiko Santos, King County Councilmember Larry Gossett, Head of  the City’s Dept. of Early Learning, Dwane Chappelle, five of her six colleagues on the School Board, education leaders including Estela Ortega (El Centro de la Raza), Rita Green (NAACP), Sebrena Burr (Seattle Council PTSA), parents, teachers  and students district-wide.
  10. BETTY is  committed to public education. Unlike her opponent, she does  not support diverting resources to charter schools.
  11. *BONUS REASON!* BETTY is the only candidate in the race not funded by corporate sponsors of charter schools and Teach for America, Inc. (Leaders in Education).

VOTE FOR BETTY!    

What colleagues, parents, former students & media say about Betty Patu

“As an African American Male who attended Rainier Beach High School in the 90’s, Betty Patu has always helped not only my African American peers but all kids who needed help with resources and opportunities. She didn’t see color, she saw students as a mother tending to her children. She dedicated her life to ensuring we graduated from high school on time and I am proud to let everyone know what she did for me. I am forever grateful and love this woman! She will represent your voice on the Board in a spirit of excellence!” – Jamal Crawford, NBA Sixth Man of the Year (3x) Minnesota Timberwolves

Betty Patu is a goddamned legend. As a South Seattle high-school teacher and tireless advocate for minority students, Patu waltzed into local gang meetings to get her students to go back to class and once even barked down a student who held another peer at gunpoint. NBD! Her work directly lowered high-school dropout rates in the community. Despite spending nearly a decade on the school board—seen by many education advocates as the soul-sucking home of single-issue candidates—Patu hasn’t wavered in her commitment to equity.” The Stranger

 “Betty Patu has been one of the most determined and effective leaders in Seattle when it comes to working for every child in our schools and dismantling the structural, pervasive racism in this district.” Sebrena Burr, parent, activist and President, Seattle Council PTSA

 “We are fortunate as a district to have someone of Betty’s integrity and experience as a public servant. What is especially remarkable about Betty is that her experience is real. She has helped get kids off the streets, encouraged them to stay in school. I am convinced she has saved lives. Even now, former students come to her and tell her their lives took a different path because of her. She is a woman of courage and conviction, an honest voice that speaks from the heart but with a solid sense of common sense. She has the strength of character to be humble, but is also fierce in her dedication to meet the needs of all the children of Seattle’s public schools.”  – Sue Peters, parent, activist and President, Seattle School Board

 Betty Patu for Seattle School Board, District 7
http://bettypatu.com/

Download! – Print­! – Pass it on! = > Top 10 Reasons to Vote for Betty Patu for Seattle School PDF

VOTE – PATU – MACK – DEWOLF for Seattle School Board! Keep our Public Schools Public!

Seattle School Board District 7 Director & “Legend” Betty Patu

Seattle School Board District 4 Candidate & ed funding champion Eden Mack

Seattle School Board District 5 Candidate & committed community advocate Zachary Pullin DeWolf

Remember to vote! Ballots are due (or postmarked) by the end of NOVEMBER 7
This is an important race; please be sure to vote. The next School Board will select the next superintendent (Larry Nyland will complete his 4-year contract in mid-2018), establish the next Strategic Plan, bargain with the teachers’ union, and guide the district through a time of enrollment growth amid budget challenges.

The Best Choices for our School District This Election Are:

Betty Patu for District 7

Eden Mack for District 4.

Zachary DeWolf  for District 5


I can vouch for and am supporting Eden Mack for my seat in District 4. In District 7 (South Seattle area) my colleague Betty Patu continues to have my longstanding respect and support. In District 5 (Central District), I now recommend Zachary Pullin DeWolf.

I have worked with Betty and Eden on public education advocacy and know they will represent our many diverse communities and students well. Zach has public policy and community activism experience and has worked with Native American students.

All three have been endorsed by The Stranger. Eden has also won the support of the Seattle Times. They have all also won the sole endorsements of all the local District Democratic organizations, community leaders and elected officials, the M.L. King County Labor Council and the teachers’ union (SEA), to name a few.


Why Eden Mack, Betty Patu and Zachary DeWolf for School Board

Magnolia parent and public education activist Eden Mack is running for my seat and she has proven to be a quick study, and a very intelligent and analytical advocate for public education. A founder of Washington’s Paramount Duty who has advocated tirelessly for the state to fulfill its constitutional duty to fully fund K-12 public education (McCleary Decision), an analyst by profession, she is already very engaged and knowledgeable about the district and its challenges. She understands capacity issues, forecasting, advanced learning and Special Education, among other important matters. She has 3 children in Seattle Public Schools, and will be a hard-working and thoughtful representative on the Board who will be able to take over my position readily. Please vote for Eden: http://www.electedenmack.com/

Betty Patu is running for a final term to complete the good work she’s begun. She is deeply connected and committed to the various diverse communities of her district and has over 30 years of direct experience working for Seattle Public Schools. She is the only candidate in the entire race with children and grandchildren who have attended Seattle Public Schools. She has a strong moral compass and institutional knowledge of the district, as well as longstanding relationships with district, city and state level officials and staff. Betty has also led the Board as president and vice president. On her watch, the district adopted a Race and Equity Policy, Rainier Beach High School graduation rates rose from 53 to 81 percent, she voted to bring International Baccalaureate to Rainier Beach and STEM (Science, technology, Engineering and Math) to Cleveland High School. At the primary level, she supported bringing STEAM (STEM plus Art) to Hawthorne Elementary School in her district, and the school has been thriving.  Betty supported both Board resolutions opposing charter schools, has supported preschool for many years — long before the City embraced the  concept (despite the false claims by her opponent and the Seattle Times), has advocated for an independent audit of the central administration, and voted for new Board policies governing testing which established student and parent rights, and granting more Board oversight to program placement decisions, to name a few key decisions she has led or supported.

A woman of courage and conviction, Betty Patu has also been unafraid to be the sole vote of reason and dissent when necessary, and was the sole vote against bringing under-qualified Teach for America recruits into Seattle’s high-needs schools (See Seattle Schools Okays Teach for America). For her decades of work helping at-risk students leave gangs and graduate from school, she received the United Nations Humanitarian Award, Patty Murray’s Golden Tennis Shoe Award,  UW’s Multicultural Alumni Partnership (MAP) Award and was featured in the New York Times. The Stranger calls her a “legend.” Please read my testimonial about Betty here: http://bettypatu.com/ testimonials/ Please vote for Betty: http://bettypatu.com/

It’s disappointing that my friend and fellow public education advocate, LEAN consultant (and SPS parent) Andre Helmstetter did not quite make it through the primary (though it was close). That also means, for the first time in 50 years, there will be no African American representative on the Seattle School Board. This is a disturbing development in a city that claims to care about achievement gaps, disproportionality and racial justice.
(The Seattle Times endorsed an all-white slate in the primary election, and the Stranger did not offer a dual endorsement to Helmstetter and DeWolf when it could have. Only the Seattle Weekly had the sense to endorse Helmstetter.)

But Zachary Pullin DeWolf is the clear choice in this race now. He has a background in homeless, immigrant and LGBTQ issues, has public policy experience,  a commitment to public service, has administered educational programs for Native American students, has earned an impressive array of endorsements, and is eager to serve constructively on the Board. Please vote for Zach:http://www.electdewolf.com/

Also see:  Vote Mack, DeWolf and Patu for Seattle School District — Seattle Weekly, Oct. 18, 2017
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Privatizers in the Mix. (“Follow the money.”)

Two candidates in Seattle’s School Board races this year are affiliated with the multimillion-dollar enterprise, Teach for America, Inc., and support the privatization of public education via charter schools (Chelsea Byers Cremese and Omar Vasquez). Until very recently,  Vasquez sat on the Board of Summit Charter Schools in Washington. Interestingly, while working as a TFA recruit, Byers herself recognized that the shortcut, short-term TFA program did not prepare her well:

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After six weeks of training with Teach for America program, recent University of Oregon graduate Chelsea Byers started her first year at the Melrose Leadership Academy in Oakland. Three of seven teachers were, like her, novices to the profession. “Even with one year of experience today, I would still not call myself highly qualified,” Byers said.  “Hayward Students Sue over Teacher Quality,” East Bay Times, Aug. 2007

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The campaign financial reports on Washington’s Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) site (which invites voters to “follow the money”) show that both Byers and Vasquez are being funded by corporate education privatizers like Democrats for Education Reform (DFER), Vulcan, Inc., and Teach for America’s “pipeline” organization, Leadership for Educational Equity (LEE). Vasquez has also received $1,000 from wireless billionaire and Seattle Mariners owner John Stanton, who supported 1240, the Washington State charter schools initiative, and contributed to an (unsuccessful) $900,000 retaliatory attempt, with Bill Gates and Paul Allen’s Vulcan and others, to unseat a judge from the State Supreme Court who rightly found 1240 unconstitutional.  See: Bill Gates, Others Donate nearly $1 million to Defeat Supreme Court Justice Wiggins

Similar to when I ran four years ago against a candidate backed by $240,000 of significantly corporate pro-charter money, voters need to ask: What do such funders expect in return for their investment?  — Two board directors who will push for charter schools, undertrained teachers via TFA, or teacher-less instruction via online  ‘blended, personalized learning’?

As an aside, I have never seen either of these candidates at a School Board meeting, committee meeting or Board retreat. Yet at various forums and in print, they speak disparagingly of the members of the board and their work with no evidence of real knowledge of either. (In fact, this is the most responsive, diverse and diligent School Board Seattle has seen in recent memory.) It is difficult to imagine candidates who demonstrate such disrespect for the office and the future colleagues they claim they want to join, contributing constructively to the necessary teamwork or demonstrating effective leadership on the Board.

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Thankfully, we have much better choices in  BETTY PATU,  EDEN MACK &  ZACHARY  PULLIN DEWOLF.  I urge you to join me in voting for them.

Pass it on!

— Sue Peters

Vote Andre Helmstetter – Eden Mack – Betty Patu for Seattle School Board!

Seattle School Board District 7 Director & “Legend” Betty Patu

Seattle School Board District 5 Candidate & authentic community advocate Andre HelmstetterSeattle School Board District 4 Candidate & ed funding champion Eden Mack

Remember to vote! Ballots are due (or postmarked) by the end of August 1st.

An atypically large number of candidates are running for School Board this year, some very good people among them. But only a few have the combination of experience, insight, professional skills, and connection to Seattle Public Schools that will equip them to serve our growing district and its many diverse communities well.

The best choices for our School District this election are:

Betty Patu for District 7

Andre Helmstetter for District 5

Eden Mack for District 4.

I can highly recommend all three candidates and urge you to join me in voting for them.

— Sue Peters

Passing the Baton

Dear Constituents, Families and Friends,

After serving four years on the Seattle School Board, I will not be seeking reelection. Other obligations and responsibilities beckon at this point in my life, in the realms of both family and career.

I have been honored and gratified to serve with this current Board of Directors, one of the most engaged, responsive, diligent and diverse groups of individuals to represent the Seattle schools community, as vice president and president, and to have had the opportunity and privilege to serve the district’s 54,000 students and families.

There is still much work to be done to ensure that every student has the necessary support and opportunity to fulfill their potential;  that teachers have the resources they need; that we establish a vision for the district that aligns with the values of the many diverse SPS communities; and to ensure that accountability does not stop at the doors of the John Stanford Center.

Our growing district has both challenges and opportunities ahead. I look forward to continuing to focus on a number of important initiatives for the remainder of the year.

And I believe good candidates will step up to carry on the important work of championing and strengthening public education in Seattle.

As a pillar of democracy, public education is increasingly vital in times such as these when knowledge, facts and critical thinking are under siege, and the forces of privatization aim to remove the public from this trust.

Sincerely,

Sue Peters


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).

20160302_Action_Report_Resolution201516-13_Charter_PACKET-1

https://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/School%20Board/15-16agendas/03022016agenda/20160302_Action_Report_Resolution201516-13_Charter_PACKET.pdf

https://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/School%20Board/15-16agendas/03022016agenda/20160302_Action_Report_Amendment_Geary_Charter.pdf

 

 

 

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

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

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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!

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