Thursday, November 4, 2010

Crappy! Chart! Thursday! Vintage Edition!: Closure 2008-09, West Seattle North

I got my start on doing crappy charts about public schools during the 2008-09 closure process. I know, you’re thrilled to learn about my scintillating crappy chart history.

Just wait! It only gets more exciting from here.

I saved my vintage crappy charts from back in the day (okay, not quite two years ago), because… there’s enough storage on the computer, and as often as not, once I hit "save," crud stays on the computer. I’m pretty sure I have saved grocery lists from 2003 on there somewhere, neatly saved in a folder labeled "misc2003."

Anyway. The other day, thinking about all the problems in the NSAP, it occurred to me to go back and see how my projections played out.

Warning: If you hate I-told-you-so’s of any stripe, now would be a good time to go check out the Don Cherry Jacket site.

If you’re still with me, take a look at the vintage crappy chart (the whole long presentation can be looked at here) and the then/now chart.

The thing is, I actually wasn’t completely right.

I was conservative.

Things are worse than I projected. So, please give me a brief moment to say: I knew it! I told them so!

Okay. All done.

There’s plenty of material here for me to snark away, but I have to be honest: I 'm really troubled.

Sure, my vanity got hurt a little bit when district staffers ignored my input, and pretty much said, “Oh, honey, this is terribly complicated. You just don’t understand. We’re professionals. We do understand. So don’t you worry. Everything's gonna be fine.” But the injuries to my vanity don’t trouble me (well, much).

What upsets, disturbs, troubles, frustrates, annoys and deeply, deeply angers me is that in the brief time I’ve been watching the district, I’ve watched many, many community members bring forth rational, considered issues with district projects. They all get the same response from the district as I did – total dismissal, without even a glancing consideration of the information they’ve brought forward.

If the work of SPS staff was uniformly sensational, that would be one thing. But it’s not. Not helping matters is that if a director has questions about issues raised by the community, that director asks... the same staff who wouldn’t consider the issue to begin with. And staff blows it off. Again.

On a snarkier front, it’s not, um… reassuring when the paid education pros are worse at making enrollment projections than a slightly deranged hockey-playing, goat-owning housewife who noodles with projections in her spare time.

Less snarkily, it would be utterly unreasonable to expect district staff to always be right just because they’re paid professionals. Most people do, at some point, make an on-the-job error. However, that staffers dismiss relevant information makes their mistakes seem idiotic.

It is one thing to miss an issue. We’ve all been there. It happens. It’s human. But it’s another to refuse to consider an issue when it’s brought your attention and then make a mistake that didn't have to be made.

Anyone from West Seattle have any thoughts on this one?


dan dempsey said...

"They all get the same response from the district as I did – total dismissal, without even a glancing consideration of the information they’ve brought forward."

On damn nearly everything this is true:

(1).. Elementary math adoption
(2).. Chris Jackin's constant parade of issues
(3).. New Tech Network Contract
(4).. MAP testing
(5).. Teach for America
(6) etc. etc.

The Auditor tells us the District continually violates state laws and Board policies.

What do the school directors do about it ... NOTHING.

Worse than nothing .. Sundquist recommended closing Cooper ... what a guy.

Problemchild said...


Having put rational arguments on issues before the board for many, many more years than you reference and getting the same (lack of) consideration and (physical and intellectual) blank stares in return, you are far from alone.

As Noam said earlier, don't ever leave us. You are super inspiring. And funny to boot.


Anonymous said...

I endured the entire "I told you so" PP presentation. Then, to relieve eye strain I scrolled, transfixed, by the many faces of DC. Yes, I just couldn't confirm in my own mind that it was really DC in those Madison Ave pinstripes. It was like those Escher inspired optical illusions where you stare at something long enough and then close your eyes: the image reverses and starts vibrating and Don McL morphed into DC. Quite disconcerting, actually. Flowers for me, having been one of those lost children way back then! (long before you were born...)

Meg I'll trade my Buenos Aires Air Tkt for DC's May 20, 2010 apparel. You won't even need to beat me up..Yes?
ken berry

Meg said...

problemchild - I think it'd be fair to say that almost everyone bringing issues to the board has been doing it for longer than me. I am amazed at people's persistence in the face of such indifference. I wish I could promise I'd never leave, but the truth is, I might.

Ken - It is weird when DC wears something normal, isn't it? It makes it feel like the balance of the universe has been thrown off. Sadly, I don't have an inside line to obtaining his jackets, or I'd have your tickets and you'd have a brain-boggling, eye-searing jacket that is good for camoflauging yourself in enthusiastically ugly flowerbeds.

Anonymous said...


"...enthusiastically ugly flowerbeds..." :

You're not casting aspersions on our esteemed School Board's public meetings, are you?

Ken "soon to be in Summer, again!" Berry