Following in the mode of the Bellevue School District, new Seattle Schools

Following in the mode of the Bellevue School District, new Seattle Schools Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson is inclined to prod all of the city’s high-school students to take a college-level Advanced Placement course. “At least one,” she said yesterday in a get-to-know-you chat at district headquarters during her fourth week on the job. “It would be premature to say whether they should have a requirement,” she said, but added that taking an AP would be an “appropriate expectation.” She intends to look at the matter within the next three months. Fast-talking and all-business, continually emphasizing her need to look at the “data” before passing judgment, Goodloe-Johnson also said she is in the process of reviewing the performance of individual schools. While superintendent of Charleston County, she closed down–or “reconstituted” in her words– two underperforming middle schools and made all the teachers reapply for her jobs. She said yesterday that those schools had been failing for 10 years, whereas “the research says it takes three to five years to improve” a school. When looking at applying possible interventions to Seattle’s schools, she said she would asses how long they had been troubled, whether one to three years, three to five years, or more than five. She also noted that the Seattle district’s reputation had waned in recent years because of its financial crisis some time back, alluding to the multi-million shortfall discovered under former Superintendent Joseph Olchefske. She said, however, that the district was considered “doable.” By her judgment, the district was now in good financial shape, with $26 million in reserves. While she is still trying to figure out what “institutional racism” means to people in Seattle, she says she has not yet encountered any.


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