Fuck the Seattle Times editorial board. That’s what I say… fuck ’em.
Generally, I try to be polite to reporters, columnists and editorialists, because I generally like them when I meet them, and because it’s kind of hard to be taken as credible by people who hate me. But fuck ’em anyway.
What I want to know is which one of them has such close ties to Montlake Elementary that they would be prompted to write such an indefensible defense of the CAC’s most blatantly bizarre decision:
Montlake Elementary School is an example. Manhas recommended shuttering the school and dispersing its students, an idea parents resoundingly and reasonably rejected. The current proposal would move Montlake to nearby Seward, keeping students together and a successful academic program intact.
Oh my God, gimme a fucking break!
If anybody has an easy case to make against the CAC’s school closure list, it’s the families of the TOPS program at Seward, who are being totally screwed to accommodate the selfish land-grab of the affluent, politically connected parents at Montlake.
“A successful academic program”…? Montlake isn’t a “program.” It’s a school that attracts wealthy professional class families from the neighborhood… families with the time and money to give their school resources most other schools can only dream of. And yet the district recommended closing it last year due to under-enrollment.
But not this year. No, this year they manage to put a Montlake parent on the CAC, and behold… not only is their school saved, it’s moved into one of the most beautiful facilities in the city, bumping out TOPS in the process, perhaps the most popular and sought after K-8 program in the district. Apparently Montlake also has a representative on the Times editorial board… and I’m more than a little bit curious as to who it might be.
I mean, let’s just look at how fundamentally stupid this proposal really is. According to the CAC’s own capacity analysis, Montlake currently has an enrollment of 247 students, while TOPS is bursting at its seams with 527 students — 6 more than the Seward building’s planned capacity of 521… a building that was specifically modified to accommodate the needs of middle school students.
Yet the CAC proposes moving Montlake into Seward — a facility more than twice the capacity it needs — while the over-enrolled TOPS is moved to Thurgood Marshall, a building with a planned capacity of only 422. To effectively handle the TOPS program in its current form, Thurgood Marshall is going to have to be expanded and renovated at great cost to tax payers, and with great disruption to the students. Yeah… voters are going to be all over that levy, especially after we just spent tens of millions of dollars renovating schools the district now wants to shut down (you know, like the $5.2 million at my daughter’s Graham Hill.)
If the Montlake “program” really needs room to grow, why not just move it to Thurgood Marshall, which is less than a 10 minute drive down MLK, and not much further than Seward? If Montlake’s high test scores are really the result of some special “program” rather than the money and parental involvement that comes from being situated in an affluent neighborhood, then surely it would flourish from its move into the larger (if rundown) Thurgood Marshall building on the edge of the Central District.
No doubt, Montlake’s a good school, its parents’ enormous contributions in time, money and passion are laudable, and there are plenty of good arguments to keep it open. But destroy the TOPS program in the process? That deserves being highlighted in the Times as one of the CAC’s better decisions? What the fuck?!
That alone is enough to completely destroy the Times‘ credibility on the school closure issue — they’re either not paying close enough attention to what is really happening, or they’re purposely spinning their readers. But they nearly top themselves with the following doozy:
The citizens panel appropriately stepped beyond closures to highlight equity issues, namely the scarcity of alternative schools south of the Ship Canal. The schools are popular, innovative and clustered largely in the northwestern section of the city.
And yet the CAC didn’t move a single alternative program into the South End, they didn’t provide a solution to the New School and Orca’s long standing (and long promised) aspirations to become K-8 programs, and they eliminated one of the only truly innovative, alternative programs in the region, the popular Montessori Pre-K through 5 at Graham Hill (not to mention the school’s special ed and autism programs.)
In case you can’t tell, lip service like this just really pisses me off. The Times‘ biased and premature editorial was a disservice to its readers, and a whitewash of a school closure list that is just as inequitable and inexplicable as the first… if different.
The Times should stick to subjects it knows well… like advocating for eliminating all taxes on the families of multi-millionaires. At least there they have their misleading rhetoric down pat.