The Seattle Times editorial board’s lack of empathy and curiosity is on display once again, this time in a smirk of an unsigned op-ed that dismissively rolls its eyes at families fighting to save their neighborhood schools from closure.
WASHINGTON law allows those who feel wronged by school boards or school officials to seek legal recourse.
The statute gives legal cover to the four lawsuits filed this week against the Seattle School District over its school-closures plan. But it does not hide their lack of substance.
[…] When it comes to government, the public must have a route to appeal, and in the case of harm, seek remedy. But a foundation held up by taxpayers has a high threshold. Nuisance lawsuits and those that seek not to remedy, but to obstruct, should be swiftly ferreted out and dismissed.
Shorter Seattle Times: those who feel wronged have the right to seek legal recourse, you know, except when it gets in the way of saving money.
It is particularly irritating to see the Times pontificate on school closures knowing their credulous coverage of the issue over the past three rounds. The Times, which has been quick to criticize the district on other issues, simply accepts the school closure data—enrollment, budget, cost savings and performance numbers—as a matter of fact, while dismissing objections from parents as nothing but a “nuisance” and an effort to “obstruct.” And for a paper that is often so vociferously suspicious of government and government officials when it comes to property rights, public disclosure, transportation planning, the raising and spending of taxpayer dollars and almost every other issue, it is more than a bit ironic to see them urging parents to just shut up and sacrifice their own children’s education for the good of the district.
If the plan results in better-resourced schools, more successful students and district efficiencies that free up the money to pay for it, those children are being singled out for something good.
How very Mr. Spock of them. If I didn’t know better, I’d say this editorial was written by a goddamn socialist.
While I haven’t educated myself nearly as well on the specifics of this closure plan, I know from past experience how “arbitrary and capricious” the district can be in justifying one proposal over another, and then suddenly changing course. My own neighborhood school, Graham Hill Elementary, was slandered by the district during the 2006 closure process on nearly every metric evaluated. Academic performance, neighborhood support, even something supposedly as concrete as our enrollment numbers were intentionally deflated in an effort to justify our school’s closure. And when we presented our own numbers (including a detailed analysis from a forensic accountant) to the Times, they responded with public silence and private accusations of NIMBYism.
Had we followed the Times’ sage advice, and just shut up and accepted the district’s decision for the good of the many, Graham Hill would be shuttered today instead of over-enrolled and winning awards. But we didn’t. As with most aspects of our capitalist-inspired society, this is an adversarial process. So we fought hard for our school, and we won. And I applaud those communities who are doing the same for their neighborhood schools, in the face of overwhelming odds and the elitist admonishments of know-it-all editorial boards.
In fact, I’d argue that it is those parents who refuse to fight who deserve to be admonished, for if all parents fought as hard for their children’s education as those who are bringing these lawsuits, the needs of the many would surely be better served.