THE Ave Endorses Suzanne Dale Estey for School Board

Suzanne Dale Estey Announces Campaign for School Board

 Thurs, Oct 31, 2013

Look at it this way.  In a District that represents a collection of intellectual super stars in our companies, our foundations, and our business world, no body considers the Seattle schools or its leaders as outstanding.

Dale Estey Endorsement
I am endorsing Dale Estey for the school board even though my own neighborhood seems filled with signs for her opponent, Sue Peters.
Frankly, our biggest problem is the amateur status of its members.  “Amateur” here does not mean a lack of the sort of experience Sue Peters touts …. we have had many, many PTA, parent activists.  All these good people try their hand at reforming the District.  None have succeeded for a simple reason … District politics is broken.  We need very different skills than Sue Peters has.  Suzanne, an accomplished business woman and government figure, has those skills.
She is quite different than the usual SPS board member. Rather than providing leadership to improve the schools, the board is preoccupied with internal District politics that is often more petty than a school yard fight.  Recruiting new superintendents has been a Gilbert and Sullivan musicale … with the outstanding candidates not applying here or even leaving for better run near by districts. Few if any board members have had the stature to represent the schools in meetings with the corpoatre ginats that will one day look to our schools to provide an education for their employees.’ kids
Union politics are even worse.  While Arnie Duncan, the Secretary of Education, has used ederal dollars to get charter school advocates and unions to work together, the local NEA is obsessed with fears that work rules will hurt their members and Seattle has been shut out of these funds from a liberal administration.  Parent groups that want charter schools to fit their needs, especially groups from immigrant and African American roots, are shut out of this debate while affluent citizens … of color or of no color … send the bulk of their kids to religious or other private high schools.
I can refer here to a very good friend, a liberal with strong feelings for the Seattle Schools … David Goldstein of The Stranger.  David lives in Seattle.  His daughter, however, by agreement with David’s ex wife ,will graduate from Mercer Island High School.  Even an great hearted liberal like David had to bow to the best opportunity for his kid!
Our own kids did got to the SPS.  They had great opportunities in elementary and middle school thanks to the APP program.  There was, however, a hidden cost.  As parents we put in huge amounts of work, usually with support from the teachers, fighting District administrators who had little interest in the best achieving kids.  This was especially true when I worked with African American parents to increase their kids chances to take advantage of programs like APP.  To be blunt, the administrators thought I was a pain in the ass.  Their only concern was for kids who could not achieve.  I share that concern, however in my opinion closing off opportunities at the top drives the strongest students out of the schools and deprives the rest of the goals they need.
One result of this is that  anyone coming from any other major city to  Seattle … the city of Bill Gates and  Jeff Bezos …. finds that e lack a single premier high school.  We have no version of the Boston Latin School or Bronx Science. How many of those who read this news letter send their kids to the Seattle High Schools?
Back at the candidates, I certainly do not now that Suzanne agrees with all of what I have just written.  However, her great background in business and government puts her in a position to lead the District toward the higher goals it has not had since we lost with the premature death of John Stanton.  I believe Suzanne has the ability and experience to provide the kind of leadersyhio JHohn Stanton brought to the superintendent’s office.

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