Fate of Horace Mann, Class Sizes to be Debated at School Board on Weds

17 Aug

There are a number of important issues that will be debated at the Seattle Public Schools Board on Wednesday (the 21st) at 4:00PM at the John Stanford Center  (2445 3rd Ave., Seattle).  Please come out and show your support!

Teachers’ will likely be speaking in favor of smaller class sizes, in the context of the teacher contract negotiations currently going on.   The Seattle Educators Association (the teachers’ union) held a rally last week protesting district proposals to raise class sizes.  The district is claiming they need to do this in order to deal with the space crunch as enrollment in the district increases.  The union is saying they should find other ways to deal with the crunch.   As a teacher who works with youth who have dropped out of Seattle Public Schools, I can say that one of the main reasons my students often cite for why they dropped out was large class sizes and teachers being too busy to provide them with the support they needed to learn. We need small class sizes, and teachers and students should not have to sacrifice because of poor planning on the part of district administrators.

The space crunch is the same justification the district is using to try to move Black community members out of the Horace Mann building, where they have been developing educational programs for youth from the Central District community, called the Africatown Community Innovation Center (ACIC).  We had posted last week about the struggle over the future of the Horace Mann building, and supporters of the ACIC are mobilizing to attend the board meeting on Weds (see below for the call to action).

If you’d like to speak, here’s how you can sign up (info from the district website):

To sign up for public testimony, members of the public should e-mail boardagenda@seattleschools.org or call (206) 252-0040 and give their legal name, telephone number, e-mail address, and the topic they would like to address. 

—————-

Here is a call to action that supporters of the More 4 Mann campaign put out regarding the future of the Horace Mann building:

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/MORE-4-MANN/195014030579354

Website: http://umojapeacecenter.com

——-

A Seattle community is actively trying to protect its children from the school to prison pipeline. 

mann_school_01

 

They need your help Wed. 8/21 to stand with them at a Seattle School Board Meeting.

 

The black community around the Horace Mann Building at 24th and Cherry will attend a school board meeting with the Superintendent Banda in attendance at 4:00 pm to bring their plans and intentions.

On August 6th there was a confrontation. Superintendent Banda giving only 24 hours notice walked into the Horace Mann Building to confront the community that has been giving classes to its children this summer.   The curriculum was devised by the community for the community to grow their children into positive, healthy members of society.  They are mostly black, and the victims of the Seattle Public School school to prison track. These are people actively making the changes that the school is not making for them.

 

The building which has been abandoned by Seattle Public Schools for its use many years, has suddenly declared that it has been planning “since 2009” to do renovation for one year so that the old NOVA program can be brought back.  That program will by SPS regulations be predominantly white and not meeting community goals.  Mr. Banda insisted that the community leave the building by August 15th.  With strong speech and tears the community fought back making the event what many called the most heart wrenching event seen in years.  Mr. Banda, in the face of such courage and determination, backed down and offered a small reprieve.  The community is expected to leave by the 30th of the month.

 

In the meantime, the community has chosen to accept a meeting at the main office of the Seattle Public Schools, the John Stanford Building, on this Wednesday August 21st.  As those of us who have had some experience know, that building is one of the most inaccessible to average people in Seattle government, and may weaken the ability for a turnout.  Also the time is not conducive to 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.working people’s schedules.  

 

It may be a pivotal meeting for the black community to continue in peace and use the school it has created on its own time and funds to save its children.  Mr. Banda, Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools, is not recognizing the community or its educational needs, but we can be allies in this fight and are being asked to be there in support.

 

When: Wednesday, August 21st, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. School Board Meeting   

 

If you wish to speak see directions below.

 

Where:  John Stanford Center  (2445 Third Ave., Seattle) 

  

Driving Directions: Located at 3rd and Lander in Seattle,  south of Safeco Field. 

 

From I-5 south: Take Exit #164 – 4th Avenue South. Turn right on 4th Avenue South. Turn right on South Lander Street. Visitor parking lots are on Lander Street, 3rd Avenue South, and just north of the Stanford Center (enter off 3rd Avenue South).

 

From I-5 north: Take Exit #163 – Spokane Street. Turn right on 4th Avenue South and follow the directions above.

 

police-cars-near-school-buses--banner

JUSTICE & EQUITY NOW!

MORE 4 MANN

 

END THE SCHOOL TO PRISON PIPELINE

MORE 4 MANN!

 

WE ARE ALL TRAYVON

JUSTICE HERE & NOW

MORE 4 MANN

 

People can sign up to speak in support of ending the school to prison pipeline and/or of maintaining our community hub at Horace Mann via email or call in as early as 8:00 am on Monday before the meeting. From the school district website:

 

To sign up for public testimony, members of the public should e-mail boardagenda@seattleschools.org or call (206) 252-0040 and give their legal name, telephone number, e-mail address, and the topic they would like to address. (Since Seattle Public Schools is a public agency, this information will fall into the public domain.) If complete information is not provided, you will not be included on the list. Please note, only the person who will be providing testimony may request the spot.

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3 Responses to “Fate of Horace Mann, Class Sizes to be Debated at School Board on Weds”

  1. westello August 17, 2013 at 2:20 am #

    “The building which has been abandoned by Seattle Public Schools for its use many years…” – this is simply not true. Nova was forced to move out in 2009 and last year, the district realized, because of district enrollment growth, they needed the building. Nova had been in the building for nearly 20 years in constant use.

  2. Charlie Mas September 19, 2013 at 5:18 am #

    Wow! You wrote a lot of lies here.

    1. “The building which has been abandoned by Seattle Public Schools for its use many years” The building was never abandoned. The NOVA Project was moved out in 2009 and the District has leased the building since then. It was never abandoned. That claim is simply false.

    2. “has suddenly declared” There was no sudden declaration. The District has been clear about their intention to return NOVA to the Mann building for years. There is a large body of document evidence that has been in the public record about this for years.

    3. “That program will by SPS regulations be predominantly white and not meeting community goals.” There are no such regulations. Any student who wants to enroll at NOVA is free to do so. There are no race-based enrollment rules – not at NOVA, not anywhere in Seattle Public Schools. This is a pure invention and a damnable one.

    4. “Mr. Banda insisted that the community leave the building by August 15th.” Yeah, because that’s when their lease is up. It was the termination date on the lease. It’s an agreement that was freely entered into by the tenants of the building. Of course the ACIC are not the building’s tenants, they are merely the building’s occupiers, so maybe they didn’t know that.

    5. “As those of us who have had some experience know, that building is one of the most inaccessible to average people in Seattle government, and may weaken the ability for a turnout” The school district headquarters building is a block from the SoDo light rail stop and the busway. Anyone who can get either to downtown or to MLK Way South can easily reach the district headquarters by public transit. This claim of inaccessibility is false.

    If you have a real argument to make, then make it. Your reliance on lies weakens your credibility and detracts from your ability to convince anyone that you are capable enough and responsible enough to educate children. Will you teach them lies?

    • mamos206 September 29, 2013 at 6:51 am #

      I didn’t write the text you are criticizing, it came from other supporters of the ACIC. However, I’ll attempt to respond to some of your points:

      1. Yes, the building was leased, but the programs it was leased to used only a fraction of its capacity. For all intents and purposes, it was empty for several years. The folks involved in the ACIC have been trying to gain access to it for years; they did not simply wait until the construction deadline.

      2. Yes, the district has planned the renovations for a while, but I read that statement as saying that this information had not been shared with the community, or that the community was not adequately included in the decision making process around the building the past few years. Yes, the statement is confusing, but I don’t think it is intentionally misleading.

      3. I am not sure what SPS regulations the writer was referring to. As far as I know SPS doesn’t officially segregate any of the schools. Yet many of them end up segregated in practice.

      4. They may be tenants, they may be occupiers. I don’t judge any political action based on whether or not it adheres to the letter of the law. I judge it based on whether it increases creativity, equality, and freedom for everyone, especially for those most oppressed by the current system. Occupiers have accomplished quite a lot historically, from the sit-ins in the 60s to the Occupy Movement in 2011. I was part of Occupy, and it was one of the most educational experiences of my life; I learned more from that then I did pursuing both of my masters degrees. Daybreak Star Cultural Center and El Centro De La Raza both began as occupations, one of them of a school, and they’re still around today. Black community activists attempted to do so the same in the Colman School building, but were evicted at gunpoint.

      5. When you looked up the bus routes did you check how long such a trip would take? School board meetings are difficult to attend for folks working long hours or folks with kids, especially if one doesn’t have a car. People make the trip anyway if it’s for something important. Seems to me that the call to action text was trying to encourage people to make the trip despite the inconvenience, assuring folks it would be worthwhile.

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