Category Archives: Sue Peters

My Farewell Statement from the Dais

November 15, 2017 was my final legislative meeting as a School Board Director and Board President. It was bittersweet because I know  board directors have an opportunity to accomplish significant and important good work for the district and there is much more work to be done. But I also know that Seattle School Board Directors are not given the tools, compensation or respect they need to fully do their job as well as they could. So serving on the board, especially for those with younger families, can be a hardship we simply cannot afford.

I was still honored to have the opportunity to serve the students and community of Seattle these past four years. Here is the statement I made at the final meeting:

Farewell Statement at my final board meeting

Thank you to staff for the beautiful flowers, and to Clover and Cashel for your kind words.

So I want to thank the people of Seattle and the Seattle schools community for the honor of serving you these past four years. I am proud and humbled to have been able to serve you and the district as your president, as your vice president, as the chair of the Audit and Finance Committee, and the Executive Committee, and to have  served on the Curriculum and Instruction Committee for two years, including during the elementary school math adoption. I have also been able to serve on the Scholarship Committee, and serving as a liaison to and from the community.

I joined the board with the objective of connecting district policy to the communities, to our families, establishing greater respect for the many voices of our communities, for establishing  greater fiscal responsibility, to invest in curricular materials, beginning with math, because we were behind in our curricular materials,  embracing the diversity of our district and valuing and helping all our students fulfill their potential.

I believe I have been true to those objectives.

I aimed to share with you all my skills and experience as a journalist, a parent, a researcher, a public education advocate, a former fact-checker for Consumer Reports, an advocate for public education, my background in communications and, to some degree, a background in education, and a longstanding commitment to social justice in all its forms.

When I think back to four years ago when I ran for office, towards the end of the campaign, when people would ask questions like “Why are you running?”  — you get tired toward the end, but you also have some clarity — I didn’t want to repeat the same talking points. So when I was then asked why was I running, I simply said: “I hope to do some good.”

It’s my sincere hope that I have been able to do that: Some good.

Another more sardonic friend, who’s actually with us this evening, suggested a campaign slogan of: Vote for Sue Peters – She’ll make things less worse! I hope at minimum, I’ve at least done that….!

It’s a sport in this town to beat up on the School Board, regardless of facts, information, regardless of who’s on the Board, it seems.  It’s a shame and it doesn’t serve anyone well. I honestly believe this current board is one of the best, most dedicated and skilled we have seen in many years. It’s also one of the most racially diverse.

And progress has been made in these four years. Of course, though, it’s never enough.

I would also like to tell the people of Seattle that there are good, dedicated people working in the John Stanford Center. Please support the district when it’s doing good work, and let us know when it isn’t – constructively would be helpful.

I also want to take a moment to thank the staff members who helped me do my job. Yes, I ask a lot of questions; I am trained to do that. I need to have facts on which to base these very important decisions because the buck does stop with us. Whatever happens, the people hold the School Board accountable for any decisions that are made.  It’s a huge responsibility which I take very seriously.

I also want to thank all the families who have come to me over the years, to my community meetings, who have emailed me; families, students, community members — your input has been invaluable and it has helped me do my job.

I’ve been advised that I should list accomplishments, some of things that have happened in the last past four years, so I will do that. But I do acknowledge that it’s never a solo act. It’s necessarily a team sport here. We work together as colleagues on the board, we work with staff, we work with the superintendent, we work with the community.

These are actions I have been fortunate to be a part of these past four years. I am proud to have authored or cosponsored policy and amendments that established or addressed many important issues large and small, from balancing a budget during a time of fiscal crisis to selecting more environmentally safe, nontoxic surface material for our tracks and fields.

I am proud to have a hand in:

  • Granting students and parents rights regarding assessments, including the right to opt out.
  • Passing resolution calling for a replacement to the Smarter Balanced assessments with assessments that are less discriminatory, more fair, and less draining of the resources of our schools and students precious time
  • Passing a moratorium on k-5 nonviolent suspensions
  • Passing a resolution that affirmed our districts commitment to our district’s rich diversity and our immigrant students.
  • Passing a resolution reestablishing our board’s commitment to truly public – not charter—schools.
  • Passing a resolution recognizing the indigenous people of the land we are on, the Duwamish Tribe.
  • Passing a resolution establishing Indigenous People’s Day – which earned us a mention and faux mockery on Stephen Colbert’s satirical show, The Colbert Report….!

I have consistently advocated for mitigation funds for the start of the school year – I’ve referred to it as the “Student Stability Fund.”

I have supported an efficiency review (audit) of the central administration so we can be fiscally responsible and can make sure that we are directing as many resources as possible to all our schools.

I have supported funding for International Baccalaureate at all of our three of our high schools that offer it.

I have supported advanced learning – acknowledging the need, investing in opportunities, increasing diversity, and simply defending these children from the unseemly and irrational prejudice that is fomented by too many in this district.

I have supported our teachers. And sometimes that means — I’ll tell this to our new directors who are joining us– sometimes  you are going to find yourself all alone with a vote. You might be the only one in a 6-1 vote. Everyone one of us up here has been that position. Don’t be afraid to do that. I was the only one to vote against an injunction against our teachers during the teachers’ strike. To our new directors, don’t be afraid to do that.

I am proud of being a member of the Board majority that advocated for adding a special ed mandate to city’s pre-k program and maintaining EEU program at the University of Washington.

I was part of the board that passed the belltime initiative that better aligns student school schedules with their biological needs, making Seattle a national leader in this area, as other districts follow suit.

In my four years on the Board we have increasingly developed a Board majority that values curriculum and understands that a key component of equity and is offering every student a fair chance at success.

To that end, we have adopted K-5 math materials, we are piloting middle school math, adopted social studies middle schools materials, supporting  “Since Time Immemorial” and now a commitment to Ethnic Studies. I am proud of this work. It is fundamental work.

I am also proud to have been part of a board and district that for four years has:

  • Had clean audits.
  • Has balanced the budget through good times and lean.
  • That has transitioned to superintendent leadership peacefully and will continue to do so.
  • That has recognized that the district can no longer close or sell schools and buildings, but has instead committed to opening and building new schools almost every year I have been on the board.

I am part of a board that has voiced a commitment to every student of every race and every gender. But we must make good on that promise.

I am proud to be a member of a school board that knows we owe it to our students and families to get things right, crucial components like:

  • The student assignment plan.
  • School improvement plans.
  • Funding as many educators and counselors as possible for our schools.
  • Recognizing that we have many students of various needs and there are gaps in outcomes that we can and must impact.

There is still much work to be done, no question about it. We need to create a district with more vision, more imagination, greater stability for our students and predictability for our families, more options not less, in our schools—more joy, less stress.

I would like to extend my best wishes to my continuing colleagues Leslie Harris, Betty Patu, Rick Burke, Scott Pinkham and Jill Geary. They are conscientious, intelligent and understood their role and duty they have to the public that elected them. Each brings valuable skills and insights.

I congratulate my longtime colleague and friend Betty Patu on her decisive re-election to the school board for a third term and an opportunity to complete her value decades of work on behalf of the students of Seattle Public Schools.

And I welcome newly elected members Eden Mack and Zachary Pullin DeWolf. Thank you for stepping up. The district is fortunate to have you. This is a rewarding job and, of course, challenging.  Your decisions will matter to so many, and will have a lasting impact. I know neither of you take the job lightly.

But I can also assure, you will be in good company. And there will be moments of laughter and joy. –I found it amusing on the campaign trail this time around, on behalf of other candidates,  there was a candidate who erroneously claimed this current board doesn’t even speak to each other. I had to laugh when I think of how many times at meetings I’ve wished the Board talked less to each other– myself included.

My tip to the new directors is: Do your homework. There is a lot of reading and thinking to do. Vote your conscience. And don’t be afraid to be the sole vote if that is where your conscience and intelligence lead you.

The day must come when we treat the job of Seattle School Board Director with the respect and resources it deserves and requires, so that it does not have to be hardship and sacrifice to serve. After all, we directors are called upon to oversee the largest school district in state and a $1 billion budget.

And no, the mayor and city should not be called upon to take over. It’s crucially important that the people of the city have elected representatives on the school board who are answerable to them, directly. Research has shown that this is still the most accountable model of school district governance.

In terms of compensation, the board’s maximum stipend of $50 a day – only on days when we have meetings — has remained unchanged since the 1980s. Adjusting for inflation alone, it should at least be $100/day. That still doesn’t take us very far. Board directors are only compensated for meetings. We are not paid anything for hours spent researching and reading.

Directors do not have their own direct staff or office space, other than two shared staff members and shared space.

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The day must come when we treat the job of Seattle School Board Director with the respect and resources it deserves and requires, so that it does not have to be hardship and sacrifice to serve. After all, we directors are called upon to oversee the largest school district in state and a $1 billion budget.

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I find it interesting that no one has made a point of the fact that we are now going to have four mayors in four months. Meanwhile the Seattle school district is entering into its fourth year with the same superintendent. So again there is a lot of information out there it would behoove us to correct.

I wish Supt Nyland well as he completes his work with the district.

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I find it interesting that no one has made a point of the fact that we are now going to have 4 mayors in four months. Meanwhile the Seattle School District is entering into its fourth year with the same superintendent.
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Above all, I want to thank my family – my children and my husband – who gave up more than I realized they would, to lend me to you. Thank you for your patience and love. You know more about. You know more about the complexities of a school district than any than any teenager should ever have to know.

Thank you all very much.

# # # # #

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


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)

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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!

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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” )

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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.

Sincerely,

Sue Peters

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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. “

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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.

Sincerely,

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Desperate Suzanne Dale Estey PAC Strikes Again — 3 negative attacks in one campaign

Signs of Desperation?

As my campaign predicted, the political action committee (PAC) created to get political lobbyist and consultant Suzanne Dale Estey elected to the Seattle School Board, has stooped to yet another low, and attacked my candidacy yet again.

Their latest dishonest mailer arrived in mailboxes citywide Wednesday.

This is the third time the PAC for Dale Estey has launched a smear attack in this campaign, unprecedented for a Seattle School Board race. (See: My Opponent’s Side Goes Negative: My Response.) It’s also very disappointing.

Demonstrating the negative influence of excessive money  in political campaigns (a hot topic in Seattle right now, where we have two initiatives addressing campaign funding on the current ballot), the “Great Seattle Schools” PAC has amassed over $100,000 from a small group of wealthy individuals (with no children in Seattle Public Schools) who are apparently desperate to buy the election for my opponent and will resort to any means they think necessary.

What’s more, their latest claim is absurd. They refer to a factual flow chart created three years ago by Seattle Education Blog co-founder Dora Taylor and myself, in which we illustrate the flow of money from two of the largest private funding sources in public education: The Gates Foundation and the Broad Foundation.

They label it a “conspiracy theory.”

It is neither. In fact, the primary source of the information for this chart was the Gates Foundation itself. Its informative  online database of awarded grants lists where it has invested its money. It’s no secret that education is one of the foundation’s key areas of focus.

Called “The Lines of Influence,” when we posted our diagram three years ago, we received an overwhelming positive response nationwide, for it connected various dots. It documented the role and influence of private foundation money  in public education.

If this is nothing more than a “conspiracy theory,” then the New York Times is also a conspiracy theorist. See: Behind Grass-Roots School Advocacy, Bill Gatesby Sam Dillon, May 21, 2011, The New York Times

Rick Wilking/Reuters Bill Gates's foundation spent $373 million on education efforts in 2009, the latest year for which its tax filings are available.
Rick Wilking/Reuters
Bill Gates’s foundation spent $373 million on education efforts in 2009, the latest year for which its tax filings are available.

(…) For years, Bill Gates focused his education philanthropy on overhauling large schools and opening small ones. His new strategy is more ambitious: overhauling the nation’s education policies. To that end, the foundation is financing educators to pose alternatives to union orthodoxies on issues like the seniority system and the use of student test scores to evaluate teachers.

In some cases, Mr. Gates is creating entirely new advocacy groups. The foundation is also paying Harvard-trained data specialists to work inside school districts, not only to crunch numbers but also to change practices. It is bankrolling many of the Washington analysts who interpret education issues for journalists and giving grants to some media organizations.

“We’ve learned that school-level investments aren’t enough to drive systemic changes,” said Allan C. Golston, the president of the foundation’s United States program. “The importance of advocacy has gotten clearer and clearer.”

The foundation spent $373 million on education in 2009, the latest year for which its tax returns are available, and devoted $78 million to advocacy — quadruple the amount spent on advocacy in 2005. Over the next five or six years, Mr. Golston said, the foundation expects to pour $3.5 billion more into education, up to 15 percent of it on advocacy.

Given the scale and scope of the largess, some worry that the foundation’s assertive philanthropy is squelching independent thought, while others express concerns about transparency. Few policy makers, reporters or members of the public who encounter advocates like Teach Plus or pundits like Frederick M. Hess of the American Enterprise Institute realize they are underwritten by the foundation.

“It’s Orwellian in the sense that through this vast funding they start to control even how we tacitly think about the problems facing public education,” said Bruce Fuller, an education professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who said he received no financing from the foundation. (…)

Bloomberg is in on the “conspiracy” too

And apparently Bloomberg BusinessWeek is a “conspiracy theorist” as well. See: Bill Gates’ School Crusade, July 15, 2010.

(…) Now a new generation of philanthropic billionaires, including Gates, homebuilding and insurance entrepreneur Eli Broad, members of the Walton family that founded Wal-Mart Stores (WMT), and former hedge fund manager Julian Robertson, want public education run more like a business. Charter schools, independent of local school districts and typically free of unionized teachers, are one of their favorite causes. “We don’t know anything about how to teach or reading curriculum or any of that,” Broad said last year at a public event in Manhattan. “But what we do know about is management and governance.”

Diane Ravitch also joins this group of ‘theorists’ with her best-selling books about corporate ed reform, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education (Basic Books, 2011) and Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools (Knopf, 2013).  So I am in good company.

Jabe Blumenthajabel

This ‘conspiracy theory’ theory was first circulated last week  in emails by two supporters of my opponent, Jabe Blumenthal, who was           felisamDFERatured in the Seattle Times last year for threatening to vote against his own political party’s gubernatorial candidate over education policy (Dems draw fire from top donors in rift over education reform — Several well-heeled Democratic Party donors have split with the state party and legislative leaders over education reform), and Lisa McFarlane (pictured),  formerly of the League of Education Voters, who now works as a political and charter school lobbyist for the controversial  national political enterprise, Democrats for Education Reform (DFER).

Dora Taylor dissects their absurd claim here: “Lisa McFarlane of WA DFER, and now Suzanne Estey, with their conspiracy theories.”

Already I have gotten responses from people around the city who received this mailer, ranging from utter disgust with the Estey campaign (always the risk with negative campaigning), to compliments for the informative flow chart.

Clearly Dale Estey and her backers are worried that they cannot win this race on her own merits. In fact, there is increasing evidence  that my opponent’s alleged merits are not all that they seem, as her credibility has come into question on various counts.

Disappointingly, Dale Estey’s supporters are apparently not interested in discussing the real issues facing our schools, families and students, like serious overcrowding, class sizes, policies that are out of touch with the realities of our communities, curriculum, excessive testing, and equal resources and opportunities for our district’s 51,000 students, just to name a few.

I urge voters to sort through the facts themselves and not be swayed by the distortions  of a small group of wealthy special interests (and a candidate who fails to denounce them) who are desperately trying to buy this election, by any means necessary.

I believe the Estey PAC has underestimated the intelligence and integrity of the Seattle electorate.

As a trained journalist and public education advocate, I remain committed to facts and the truth, as I have demonstrated in the past, and will continue to demonstrate this commitment if I am elected to serve on the school board.

Thank you for your support. Please remember to vote. Clearly the stakes are very high in this election.

–Sue Peters

UPDATE: The Dale Estey PAC mailed yet another dishonest flyer to Seattle voters on Friday, for a total of four such attacks on my candidacy since July. This one is truly bizarre. It falsely attributes to me words and images that were posted on the Seattle Education Blog last year from, I believe, the No on 1240 (anti-charter schools) campaign. The title is “Evil Doers” and it is truly tabloid-esque. My opponent has yet to denounce the mendacious tactics of her supporters. Sadly, some people will say or pay anything to win an election.  11/3/13

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A Week in News: Two Themes Emerge — The ‘Hottest Race in Town’ & Follow the Money!

It’s been quite a week of local (and national) news coverage of my School Board race!
Here’s an overview:news&bills

Live radio interview/debate with Sue Peters and Suzanne Dale Estey on KBCS 91.3, hosted by Sonya Green (tune in at 4:09 p.m during “Music + Ideas”). — Oct. 15.

Disturbing developments from some of (my opponent) Dale Estey’s supporters, reported in the Seattle Schools Community Forum Blog (“Seattle School Board Campaigns – What Does a ‘Positive’ Campaign Look Like?”)  (Oct. 14) and The Stranger  (“How Low Can You Go in a School Board Race?”) (Oct. 15)

School Board District 4: The Hottest Race in Town
Even Steve Ballmer is dialed into the campaign for School Board District 4 Seattle Weekly, Oct. 15, 2013

The Stranger announces its General Election Endorsements & and Cheat Sheet! “Vote for Sue Peters!” — Oct. 16

Seattle School Board Candidates Clash on Testing, State Standards – KUOW 94.9 FM, Oct. 17, 2013

Could a Wealthy Few Decide Seattle’s School Board Races?– KUOW 94.9 FM, Oct. 18, 2013

Who Raised Over a Quarter  Million Dollars for Local School Board Races? — Diane Ravitch’s Blog, Oct. 18, 2013

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If the Seattle Times Told the Truth…

It might look like this:sp4Sue Peters

greyquotesSue Peters has a solid track record in education advocacy, not only at the school level working in her children’s classrooms and schools for the past 9 years, but at the community level, with recent work on two district task forces, as a co-founder of the Seattle Math Coalition and the Seattle Education Blog, and at the national level as an education journalist and founding member of Parents Across America. Peters is the only candidate in the race with extensive, recent experience with the Seattle School District, and has researched and written about local and national public education policy for the past five years, as a professionally trained journalist with a Master’s degree in Communication from Stanford University. Peters has two children who have attended district schools for the past 10 years.
Instead of this.

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