Geobop: Sunday, June 20, 2000
Seattle Teachers Sabotaged Their Contract!
Bergeson’s Fan Club
Magnolia/Queen Anne High School
Blaine’s New Principal
Gatewood’s New Principal
Christine Gregoire’s Race to the Ground
Deborah Senn Screwed Up, Too!
Weekend Traffic Jam
Seattle Teachers Sabotaged Their Contract!
At yesterday’s staff meeting, our schools union representative announced a union meeting the following meeting. She said the meeting was for teachers to sign or extend their contract. That confused me, because SEA President John Dunn recently announced that they were going to simply extend the contract another year (apparently without consulting any teachers). Or perhaps that was just the party line, but teachers still had to sign the dotted line to make it official.
Or maybe the meeting just focuses on salaries. I think teachers were supposed to decided how they were going to allocate salary monies. If I sound confused, I’m not alone. Our SEA rep was angry because she said she lacked some important paperwork, and our fearless union had chosen that day to go on a retreat. I smelled something fishy.
Later, I found an issue of our “Unity” flier in my mailbox, announcing the meeting at Ingraham High School. Ingraham is one of Seattle’s northernmost schools, hardly a central location. That only heightened my gut feeling that the union was trying to discourage teachers from attending this meeting.
Last night, I called some teachers from other schools to ask if they were going. Some said it was too far too drive. Others said that knew nothing about it. So I decided to skip it.
Today, I was sitting in the library when our SEA rep walked in. I asked, “Did you go to the meeting?” She just stood there and glared at me, finally retorting, “Did YOU Go???”
Apparently, it was very poorly attended; I think she said about 25 teachers showed up! And this was no trivial meeting. She said if teachers don’t ratify the contract, they will lose their contract in its entirety! She got mad when I commented on the meeting being poorly publicized, saying it had been mentioned in several issues of “Unity.”
Yet the very fact that just 25 teachers (not even 1% of the total workforce!) attended says otherwise. I read every piece of union propaganda I get my hands on, and I don’t recall seeing anything about this meeting until yesterday. Even yesterday’s notice didn’t really cut the mustard. During the last few days of school, teachers are typically wrestling with emotions as they madly scramble to close shop and prepare for summer school, summer workshops, or vacations. If you have an important meeting to advertise, you don’t just scribble a note on a flier from a union nobody trusts and shove it in mailboxes crammed with other items. And holding the meeting way up north at Ingraham was UNSATISFACTORY. And why was there no one at union headquarters to answer the phone yesterday? I called twice today and couldn’t an answer.
As I understand it, teachers will get one more chance to decide if they want a contract at a meeting scheduled the day before school starts. Will the meeting be held at 5 a.m.? Will it be Tacoma?
Below is a copy of the meeting notice from yesterday’s flier, followed by my comments:
June 20 at Ingraham H.S.: Vote on your future
At this printing, the SEA and School District Bargaining Team were scheduled to meet late into the evening on Friday, June 16 to hammer out details of a compensation package.
The memorandum of understanding clarifying and strengthening site-based decision-making language is all but finalized. The new language indicates how disputes in school decision making can be resolved and clarifies the minimum composition of the Leadership Team.
One year extension is an opportunity
“The recommendation to extend the contract for one year is truly an example of finding the best opportunity in a difficult situation,” said SEA Vice President John Dunn. “Our 3 year Collective Bargaining Agreement expires this August. Last February the District’s Chief Bargainer passed away and that was about the time our Chief Bargainer (Roger Erskine) was beginning his transition out of SEA. I feel strongly that the best thing to do is bargain what must be in place for September and extend the rest of the contract for one year. The teams can then contribute the quality time it will take to resolve complex problems that our members have identified in the surveys.”
On June 20 at the General Membership Meeting, the proposal for a one-year extension of our current collective bargaining agreement will be part of the tentative agreement. Please spend that last school morning with your colleagues, discussing and voting on your future!
* * * * * * * * * *
BS and Ph.D. (“piled high and deep”). If John Dunn and his flaky reform troops had a clue about politics and an ounce of backbone, they’d see this situation as an opportunity, not an excuse to tuck their tails between their legs and extend and pathetic contract that is only encouraging teachers to leave the district.
Is Dunn aware of the BIG ELECTION this fall? If teachers organized, they could exploit the campaign shamelessly. Imagine 1,000 teachers staging a public protest, borrowing my tactics and criticizing derelict school officials by name? Imagine if they campaigned for either me or Arthur Hu? That would scare the hell out of the district, bringing the bums to the bargaining table mighty quick.
Oops, I forgot. Dunn wasn’t even aware of last fall’s momentous school board campaign. Nevermind; go back to sleep, John.
If I could make Seattle teachers wake up and care, I’d organize a massive protest at the August 30 back-to-school rally at SAFECO Field, boycott the contract ratification, then refuse to go to work until Joseph Olchefske is ready to come crawling to the bargaining table on his hands and knees. In fact, I wouldn’t even sit down at the bargaining table until the two-faced bastard FIRED several derelict principals, then fired himself.
P.S. Here are the members of the bargaining team:
Roger Erskine, Chief Negotiator (to be replaced by Nancy Murphy in 2000-01)
John Dunn, Chair (to be replaced by Wendy Kimball in 2000-01)
Blake Beers, Viewlands E.S. Cert
Marianne Bratsanos, Beacon Hill E.S. Cert (PCP)
Yvonne Dowell, Hale H.S. Cert (PCP)
Jennifer Hall, Cert Substitute
Julia Peeler, Denny M.S. Cert
Mary Katka, Northgate Head Secretary
Richard Katz, Washington M.S. Cert
Delfino Munoz, Sealth Instructional Assistant
Paulette Thompson, Garfield Cert
Bergeson’s Fan Club
Some time ago, I received a tip that Seattle School Board Vice President Don Nielsen bankrolled Terry Bergeson’s 1992 Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) campaign. Nielsen had reportedly planned on running for office himself, but supported Bergeson after he changed his mind.
Last night, I examined some records from the Public Disclosure Commission and learned that Don Nielsen did indeed contribute a lot of money in 1992. But that wasn’t the most interesting discovery.
During the 1996 SPI campaign, Bergeson’s Treasurer was Judith Lonnquist! (Address: Lonnquist, 1218 Third Ave., #1500, Seattle, WA 98101 (206) 622-2086) Lonnquist also made at least one donation ($1,100 on 5/22/96). Lonnquist is also listed as the Treasurer during the 1992 campaign (1523 11th Ave. W, Seattle 98119 (206) 283-1610) and made at least one donation of $500 on 3/3/92.
Judith Lonnquist is the attorney who the teachers unions hire to attack teachers, then hires herself out to teachers who are generally let down. She defended the WEA from the Evergreen Freedom Foundation in their epic battle. The woman is a W-H-O-R-E! A number of people have told me that Lonnquist is very political, one claiming that she used to be associated with George McGovern in my native South Dakota. (Sheez, I wonder if Lonnquist is from South Dakota!)
I received a second shock when I spied Joseph Olchefske’s name among Bergeson’s 1992 donors. Hmmmm…. the newspapers have been telling us that Olchefske stumbled into education when he bumped into the late John Stanford in an elevator (or on a treadmill, according to one version) a few years ago. Yet he made several donations to Terry Bergeson’s campaign way back in 1992. I also spotted the names of Barbara Peterson and Steven Brown, whom I suspect may be the two recently elected school board directors. (However, their addresses are different than the addresses listed during their school board campaign.)
Below is a list of names that caught my attention. The microfiche from the 1996 campaign is very blurry, and I could only read a tiny fraction of it. Many of these people made more than one donation, but I didn’t have time to record every instance.
Not every individual listed below is “bad.” I included the names of a couple people who I think really care about education and may have supported Terry Bergeson in the belief that she would do a good job.
Salary Campaign Manager: Amy Kurtz, 1220 Boren Ave., #305, Seattle
Treasurer: Judith Lonnquist, 1523 11th Ave. W, Seattle 98119 (206) 283-1610 $500 3/3/92
Poll Taker: Hamilton & Staff, Washington, D.C. $6,000
School Officials, etc.
Don Nielsen, 123 Commonage Dr., Great Falls, VA 22066 $1,000 4/21/92
Don Nielsen, Virginia $3,000 10/19/92
Don Nielsen loaned her $5,000 on 10/27/92? (blurry)
Shirley D. McCune, 10428 East Weaver Circle, Englewood, CO $250 (Shirley’s now an assistant superintendent.)
Joseph Olchefske, 2030 Western Ave., Apt. 412, Seattle, WA 98121 $50 9/8/92
Ben Kodama, 8217 Riverside Rd. E., Sumner $50 5/22/92 (Husband of International School Principal Karen Kodama?)
Robin Pasquarella, 3333 South Plum, Seattle 98144 8/19/92 (Now the president of Alliance for Education
Steven Brown 6216 31st NE, Seattle 98115
Nideo & May Sasaki, 1709 S Angeline, Seattle 98108 (I think May Sasaki is or was a Seattle Schools official.)
Washington Schools Admin.,. PO Box, Olylmpia 98507 $600 8/19/92
Washington School Principals, PO Box 553, Olympia $1,000 10/19/92
Foster, Pepper & Shefelman PAC
Chris Van Dyk, PO Box 21812, Seattle 98111 9/2/92
The Boeing Company
Jon Runstad, 1201 3rd Ave., #2000, Seattle 98101 $250 10/19/92
Donna Gogerty, 1501 4th Ave. #2900
J. Shan Mullin, Perkins Coie $125 12/30/92
George Scarola, 810 NE 50th St., Seattle 98105 $50 12/18/92
Senator Nita Rinehart (a frequent contributor)
Citizens for Cheryl Chow
Sharon Tomiko Miyake, 3022 61st Ave. SW, Seattle 98116 (Probably today’s Sharon Tomiko Santos, a legislator whose mother was a Seattle Education Association bigwig.)
Jan Drago (Seattle City Council)
Norm Rice (former Seattle Mayor)
Friends of Martha Choe 9/2/92
Sue Donaldson (former Seattle City Council member?)
Tom Weeks, 9201 Fauntleroy $400 8/21/96 (Former Seattle City Councilman who later worked for Seattle Schools’ personnel department until he mysteriously abandoned ship without warning; he was allegedly frightened by or disgusted with the late John Stanford.)
Representative Gary Locke $100 12/18/92
Catherine Butler, 1119 N & 4th St., Seattle 98103 (Catherine was one of the most frequent contributors.)
Dee Dickson $1,000 3/5/92, $1,000 4/13/92 (I think that’s supposed be Dickison, or Dickinson, another of the most frequent contributors.)
Judith Lonnquist, 1218 3rd Ave., Suite 150, Seattle 98103 4/3/96 $200
Don Nielsen $1,000 5/10/96
Ellen Punyon – Principal of Whittier Elementary School was involved in what may be the most serious persecution I’ve ever heard of. The poor guy told me the police broke into his home one night and arrested him at gunpoint. He sued (the school district, I believe), and he claims his attorney told him to skip town until the trial, feeling that the establishment was playing some awfully dirty tricks. Mr. Mak told me that Ellen Punyon ran for office with the teachers union before becoming a principal.
Ruth Davenport, 749 Noctor Road, Goldendale, WA 98620 $50 1/30/96 $100 11/11/96
Chris Farrell, 1945 Summit Blvd., Manson, WA 98831 $50 2/26/96
Cladia Allan 6/1/96 (blurry)
Tomio Morigachi, Uwajimaya Executive $250 8/5/96?
Judith Runstad $150 8/5/96
Barbara Peterson, 20634 6th Ave., Seattle $250 5/22/96
John W. Ellis, PO box 97036, Bellevue 98009-9734 $400 2/6/95
James Ellis, 5400 Columbia Ctr, Seattle 98104 $50 11/19/95
Carol Reed, 2208 14th Ave. W, Seattle 98119 $50 12/11/95 (frequent donor)
Robert Griffith, 1014 E. Roy, #28, Seattle 98102 (Made several loans; I THINK this was from the 1996 campaign)
I think I saw Robin & Lee Pasquarella and Barbara Schaad-Lamphere (blurry)
Magnolia/Queen Anne High School
“If there’s no room for Magnolia and Queen Anne students in nearby Ballard High School, why not open a new school?
“That was one of the first questions scores of parents began asking last month, after they learned their teenagers would be bused to Ingraham, Franklin or other distant schools.”
Is that what really happened, or was the idea initiated by the Seattle School Board, which organized a sham parents’ group to create the illusion of a grassroots movement? At a recent meeting at Blaine, a teacher bitterly complained that a citizens’ group had been meeting without his knowledge. But another teacher countered that their intent wasn’t to meet in secret; they were simply an independent group that had jumped in headfirst.
“Parents have made common cause with a group of teachers who were already developing a plan for a small, academically rigorous high school somewhere in the city. Together, they are working to persuade the school district to open a school for about 500 students in September 2001.”
One teacher mention is Garfield High School language-arts teacher Gaynelle Derr.
Buckle your seatbelt: “They [Derr and other teachers] came up with a number of ideas, starting with a smaller school offering more personalized attention to students. It is an idea that is gaining currency among educational theorists and reformers around the country.”
The idea that smaller, more personalized schools is just now catching on with educational theorists???
Possible locations include Magnolia School - temporary home of the African American Academy - and Catherine Blaine K-8 School. “Under the Blaine option, kindergartners through fifth-graders would move to Magnolia School, and sixth- to eighth-graders would share the Blaine building with high-school students.”
“Magnolia resident Kathleen Brose joined the task-force executive committee after her eighth-grade daughter was assigned to her fourth-choice high school, Franklin.”
This may be the most intelligent thing Supt. Joseph Olchefske has ever said: “I’m also a realist in knowing that you don’t snap your fingers and - poof! - a school appears.”
School Board member Nancy Waldman was more enthusiastic about a new school than Don Nielsen, saying “I would love to see it happen because I think it would be neat to have a school there, and God knows it would help the situation we got ourselves into.”
Derr said she thought the school would be a strong candidate for support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which supports the creation of smaller high schools.
“Discussion of a new high school comes 19 years after Queen Anne High School was closed because of declining enrollment. The school building has been converted to apartments.
Districtwide enrollment rose after the closure of Queen Anne High but is falling again as baby boomers’ children grow up. The total capacity of Seattle high schools is adequate for the population, and some schools are having difficulty attracting students.”
“A group called the Chrysalis Foundation has spent the past 1 1/2 years discussing a grade-six-through-12 school of about 300 students.
“Deborah Moffit, a Chrysalis co-founder and a teacher in the district’s Interagency Programs for at-risk youths, said she envisions a school in which teachers would act as facilitators ‘instead of demigods,’ and student learning would be based on projects.”
Frankly, I suspect there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes maneuvering going on here. But it may be almost hopeless trying to figure it all out, and the Queen Anne/Magnolia neighborhood is pretty much a lost cause politically anyway. The Queen Anne/Magnolia High School Task Force’s website is at http://www.orgsites.com/wa/mqahs/
Reference: “Proponents of another high school gain allies,” Keith Ervin, Seattle Times, June 19, 2000
Blaine’s New Principal
Today, I overheard someone say that Hawthorne Elementary Principal Carol Coram is interested in several schools, including Blaine. I had only heard one person say that name – a teacher who she had viciously stomped. I told the story to some Blaine teachers. I told one teacher that Coram is currently at Hawthorne, and she said that school has a lot of troubles. Someone else told me that Carol Coram is married to former Garfield High School Principal Ammon McWashington.
THEN, a teacher from another school told me that Carol Coram was fired from her position with the University Preparatory Academy.
I got a laugh at work when a white teacher leaned across her desk and told a black teacher that Carol Coram is African American. The black teacher lowered her head and laughed.
Gatewood’s New Principal
Gatewood Principal Dan Barton will now have to share his harem. The school was just assigned an assistant principal, to work 260 days at a salary of $62-68,000.
I sent Seattle Times goofball Nicole Brodeur a nasty e-mail after she wrote some stupid, pointless article about Leon Harris, a nice, elderly man who volunteers at embattled T.T. Minor Elementary School.
The very next day, the Seattle Times printed a meatier article that raised a lot of issues.
“Critics still question the motives of T.T. Minor’s benefactor, a white businessman with no prior involvement in education before he adopted this largely black school.
“Some longtime residents fear Sloan’s experiment will turn T.T. Minor into a ‘white school,’ fueling the gentrification already under way in their neighborhood.
“And some still bristle at the ‘have and have-not’ feeling of two programs in one school, with Sloan’s gift focused mostly on the youngest children.
BUT, others are more optimistic. “Parents, particularly those with younger students, say their children are prospering and enjoying extras, from Chinese classes to swimming lessons, more typical of private schools.” Chinese classes? Really?
But “Why the hostility?” asks Houtz.
“Sloan seems as mystified as anyone by the controversy.
“He and Seattle schools Superintendent Joseph Olchefske attended a sometimes-tense community meeting at T.T. Minor last month to address questions about Principal Sherrill Adams’ removal.
“One community member then asked about Holly Miller, Sloan’s representative at the school.
“‘What is her role? What are her qualifications? Or does she represent corporate interests?’ Sloan shifted in his seat impatiently.
“‘There is no corporate. It’s me. And Holly Miller is very educated. But you know what I don’t get here? This seems to be a pretty hostile crowd, and I don’t get it. It seems negative.’”
“Those who support [former Principal Sherrill] Adams believe she wasn’t given a fair chance to make it work.
“Adams, who is appealing her demotion, said she felt her authority was constantly undercut by Sloan’s representatives.
“The result was confusion over who was in charge.”
Gosh, were Sloan’s representatives the ones who hid pencils from T.T. Minor teachers?!
“Adams, who is African American, believes her personality and her race also were factors in her sometimes-strained relations with staff. The majority of teachers in the school are white, although the staff as a whole is more diverse.”
“‘My style is direct, and that’s hard for people to take, particularly for Caucasian teachers,’ she said.”
“Adams is now on medical leave for the remainder of T.T. Minor’s school year, which ends July 26. The district is continuing its search for a new principal, and Olchefske has named Assistant Principal DeWanda Cook-Weaver the interim principal.”
“T.T. Minor appears to have become an emblem of the demographic changes going on around it, a lightning rod for some people's fear and anger.” (More whites are moving in as housing prices increase.)
“For now, T.T. Minor remains predominantly African American - 76 percent of its 220 students are black. About 85 percent are from low-income homes.” . . .
“But some wonder how long black students will continue to be the majority. And in a climate of mistrust and poor communication, some see conspiracies and intentional manipulation.”
“‘Unfortunately, I think T.T. Minor is a pawn . . . being used to attract certain elements of people or classes of people," said Connie Gaines, a neighborhood resident and school volunteer.
On one hand, Gaines believes the school is improving and students are learning.
Yet, she said, ‘I wonder if we aren’t being played like chess pieces . . . to prove a point. It's like someone else is in control of the game.’
“Rumors fly about Sloan and his motivations. Some charge Sloan has ‘driven out’ African-American teachers and students. Others wonder if Sloan’s ultimate goal is to turn T.T. Minor into a ‘white school’ and take advantage of the gentrification. Some even say it’s Sloan himself orchestrating that gentrification.
“Some people distrust Sloan’s program ‘because they don’t control it,’ said Adams, the outgoing principal. ‘It’s another example of people coming in and dictating how it’ll be run instead of putting power in the community’s hands. It’s a familiar story in the black community. . . .
‘This is two years in, and he still hasn’t won the trust of the community,’ Adams said. ‘He runs the risk of failing in this project.’”
This is really pretty funny. Stuart Sloan spends millions on his new hobby and helps select a racist derelict as principal, and she turns around and calls him a racist.
“Poor communication also has plagued the school.
“Most community members learned about Adams’ removal from the newspaper, not from her or the district.”
Well, blame Adams for half that problem!
“Staff members organized an afternoon tea last month to honor some of the more than 250 volunteers who have helped out at the school this year.”
250 volunteers??? Wow!
The article ends with nothing but good news: District officials expect little or no teacher turnover next year, and the school will soon get a new paint job.
“In new role he is: ‘one of the solutions to their problems,’” Nicole Brodeur, June 18, 2000
“T.T. Minor: A school both blessed and cursed,” Jolayne Houtz, Seattle Times, June 19, 2000
It was a resounding victory for SPI candidate Arthur Hu, an embarrassment for the Republican Party, and a wake-up call for Terry Bergeson. The Republican rally in Spokane, that is. The Seattle Times reported,
“Former President Ronald Reagan figured prominently yesterday. The convention’s nearly 1,300 delegates sat attentively through a 20-minute Reagan video. Reagan pictures, buttons and T-shirts were the biggest sellers at a souvenir stand outside the convention hall.
“But an even hotter commodity was Arthur Hu.
“Arthur who? Hu, a Chinese-American Republican from Kirkland who is running for state schools superintendent, drew yesterday’s biggest ovations with his rapid-fire, joke-riddled campaign speech. Hu held up a photo of himself and Gov. Gary Locke, and said to the crowd, ‘I’m his mirror image in reverse, from left to right.’
“He called Washington’s public-education system, and particularly state standardized tests, Orwellian.
“Hu, wearing a Dilbert tie and handing out Beanie Babies and other McDonald’s Happy Meal treats as campaign trinkets, then spent hours holding court.
“Hu, a software engineer, said he has a chance of becoming the underdog story of the year and announced that he would use the top educator’s post as a stepping stone toward becoming the nation’s first Republican Chinese-American governor.
“‘This could be really big,’ he said. ‘I’m a total nobody going in.’”
This event says a lot about the Republican Party, which, from what I’ve heard, has scarcely acknowledged Hu’s existence, let alone endorsed him. The fact is, almost every political group in this state trembles in fear of the education mafia and is afraid to touch education activists.
It will be interesting to see what happens next. Will John Carlson endorse Hu? Will we see a tug-of-war between King County Democrats (Terry Bergeson) and Republicans (Arthur Hu), leaving me stuck in the middle with little significant support? Or will a lot of liberals desert Terry Bergeson for the militant middle?
Reference: “Republicans issue call for unity,” David Postman, Ralph Thomas and Dionne Searcey, Seattle Times, June 17, 2000
Christine Gregoire’s Race to the Ground
Our Attorney General is lucky no candidate has emerged to campaign against her. Today’s Seattle Times reported,
“State Attorney General Christine Gregoire said in an interview last week that as far as she knew, her office hadn’t lost a civil case in 27 years due to a missed appeals deadline.
“Make that 20 months.”
Then Seattle Times columnist Nicole Brodeur rubbed it in:
“Hey, kids! Wanna run for state attorney general?
“Just prove that you can count to 30, locate a date on the calendar, and circle that date nice and big.”
And Nicole tells us another candidate IS challenging Gregoire:
“Seattle attorney and physicist Stan Lippman sees Gregoire’s blunder as his shot. His Medicine Party aims to create public awareness of the dangers of vaccination. It is also, as Lippman put it, ‘into the unity of all things.’
“Want to hear more? Head down to Westlake Center next week for his convention, where he will try to drum up enough signatures (at least 25 a day) to get his party on the ballot.
“‘Hopefully, people will start taking me a little more seriously now,’ Lippman said.
“Can he count? Yes. Can he follow a calendar? Absolutely. Can he file an appeal on time? You bet.
“Medicine Party. May be just the elixir we need.”
“Costly error not the first by Gregoire’s attorneys,” Eric Nalder, Seattle Times, June 20, 20000
“A perfect antidote for missed date,” Nicole Brodeur, Seattle Times, June 20, 2000
Deborah Senn Screwed up, Too!
“Apparently, Deborah Senn has been focusing her attention more on her next job than her current one. As she has been running for U.S. Senate, her office has lost its accreditation from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.”
Reference: “Senn drops the ball,” Seattle Times or P-I Editorial, June 20, 2000
Weekend Traffic Jam
What else could the establishment screw up?
Well, they’re going to close a bridge the weekend of the opening of Paul Allen’s Experience Music Museum. That same weekend will lure thousands of people to SAFECO Field.