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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Seattle School District No. 1 Director District No. 4

The Seattle School Board's responsibilities include: hiring and evaluating the Superintendent; establishing policies for governing the school district; adopting a balanced budget each year; having legal and fiduciary authority for the school district; adopting instructional materials; and, serving as community representatives to the district and on behalf of the district. District Four consists of lower Ballard, Queen Anne and West Seattle.
  • Candidate picture

    Herbert J. Camet, Jr. (NP) School Principal (semi-retired)

  • Candidate picture

    Eden Mack (NP) Volunteer Education Advocate

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Biographical Information

What are the three most urgent issues facing your district?

How would you propose your district address the one you consider the most urgent?

What is your position on Charter Schools as a part of your public school system?

What is your position on testing of your students?

What is your opinion on "start times" for elementary and secondary school?

How can the on-time graduation rate be improved?

How should bullying be addressed?

What would be your plan to see that your school district students earn their civics credit required by the new state law?

What is your opinion of student suspension for classroom disruption?

What can your district do to address cultural sensitivity, social justice, and racial equity throughout the district's overall culture, and student curriculum?

Phone (206) 397-4751 206 852 6677
Town where you live Seattle WA
Experience (300 characters max) Master of Arts (M.A.) - Education Administration, University of New Orleans (UNO) Graduate Studies - Teacher Education Program (Teacher Certification), Tulane University Graduate Teaching Fellowship in History, Rice University Bachelor of Arts (BA), University of New Orleans
1. Improving Instruction = The Board must authorize and mandate a teacher training/re-training program in highly learner-centered learner interaction-based classroom instructional methodologies that put the learner as the participating actor or doer in all learning activities.

2. Improving Student Achievement = Currently 23% of Seattle school students do not graduate or complete K-12 education. That failure rate itself indicates that the public school system is dysfunctional in not meeting the individual needs of students nor enabling their learning achievements. The Board must mandate new or additional efforts to identify why these failing students are not succeeding and then have the District Administration develop specific programs to meet their particular learning needs.

3. Improving School Board Oversight & Direction of the School System = The School Board has been made into an inactive bureaucratic rubber stamp which mostly only handles or decides minor matters.
The School Board must authorize and mandate the District Administration to immediately develop an effective up-to-date teacher training/re-training program in highly learner-centered, learner interaction-based instructional methods and techniques required for all instructional staff. Such a program will both improve teacher effectiveness in enabling student learning and also improve student achievement outcomes.
I do not support individual charter schools themselves as they are not adequately supervised, monitored, nor held to specific student learning experience (curricula) guidelines or models, nor to their student learning outcomes and achievements, and the potential for inadequate or insufficient learning experiences for their students is too iffy and uncertain to justify their unverified, and only 'supposed' or 'claimed', K-12 "educational" programs, and thus may mislead or dupe innocent parents and students.
Testing of individual student achievement attainments and accomplishments must be appropriately included and incorporated into every K-12 school system everywhere for the information, use, analysis, and legitimate inquiry of parents and students and teachers and school administration.

The particular types and kinds of student testing should be varied, and attend to all aspects of a learner's self-development and learning attainments to give a complete and accurate readout of every learner's educational and academic progress at each grade level and in each subject area.
The matter of school "start times" and "belltimes" must be handled by the District Administration after adequate internal studies conducted under a Deputy Superintendent determine the optimum times for both parents and school staff. It is not for the School Board to be involved in such a minor bureaucratic matter which calls only for adequate District Admin discovery and justification.
As I noted previously, a very serious endemic failure rate of 23% of enrolled students afflicts the Seattle public schools now, and that huge failure rate for innocent learners (students) proves the dysfunctionality and ineffectiveness of the public education system, and of its failures in maintaining and imposing the existing classroom non-learner-interaction-based instructional environment and individual student classroom experiences upon our children and youth.

The most effective and useful solution to this very high endemic failure rate among our innocent youth in the public schools of Seattle is the authorization and mandating by the School Board of a requisite District Administration teacher training/re-training program into highly learner-centered and learner interaction-based instructional methods and techniques which make the learner (student) the center and focus of all classroom learning activities, especially using in-class pairwork and small group work assignments.
I have already stated in my candidacy announcement that I will both initiate and support all School District anti-bullying efforts and programs to protect the inalienable rights of ALL students - regardless if they are male, female, LGBTQ, ethnically-identified, racially-identified, or culturally-identified - to equality and justice in every K-12 school learning and personal experience, interaction, and situation any time always. As a K-12 school principal in 4 countries, I NEVER tolerate any bullying, intimidation, threats, or violence against, or targeting of, any student by any other student, teacher, staff, or visitors anywhere. I will implement my own anti-bullying policy in this context as a School Board member.
I myself have developed, implemented, and required K-12 social studies (history, geography, government, civics) courses in every K-12 school I have served as school principal in 4 countries, as well as advocated and supported such sociocultural studies in all schools I have worked anywhere.

And I myself have an undergraduate university degree (B.A.) in History/Government and I know that these social studies and sociocultural courses are requisite to any individual's education and learning attainments, and to his/her perspectives on historical human experiences in diverse cultures. As a School Board member, I will initiate, support, authorize, and mandate social studies courses as a requirement for all public school students at elementary, middle school, and secondary levels.
I do not believe suspension of a student is effective as "discipline' nor works for the student nor the teacher nor the school. Basically, suspension indicates failures by the teacher and the school administration to appropriately handle a student's particular behaviors and to provide the student with effective counseling and alternative interventions. Any 'offending' student should be referred to school counseling resources immediately upon exhibiting his/her need for such intervention before the behavior is allowed to worsen. As a school principal myself I do not suspend students but mentor or counsel both the teacher and the student and refer them both to the school counselor for immediate intervention.
As I myself have worked and lived in 10 very diverse sociocultural human environments worldwide (including the USA, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Yemen, U.A.E., Vietnam, Cambodia, Germany, Turkey, Iraq) for over 35 years as a K-12 school principal, teacher, ESL/ELT Program Manager, K-12 Common Core & ESL/ELT curriculum specialist, Peace Corps Volunteer, and university instructor, I already possess the cross-cultural and inter-cultural personal experiences and professional knowledge and understanding from all of these variant sociocultures which far exceed the knowledge, experiences, information, and understandings of any person ever served on the Seattle School Board, and which particularly far exceed the current other candidates for this District 4 post individually and all combined. Also I am the ONLY candidate who has ever served as a K-12 school principal and as a K-12 Common Core curriculum specialist in the USA and in other countries/cultures.No other candidate can compare in any way.
Phone (206) 701-1508
Town where you live Seattle
Experience (300 characters max) MPA from UW Evans, Parent of 3 in SPS, Legislative chair for Seattle Council PTSA, founding President of Washington's Paramount Duty, 8+ years of board service (including a trade assoc.), served as the Youth, Schools and Education chair for Seattle CNC, and the SPS Capacity Management Task Force
1. Chronic underfunding by the State and school budgeting challenges 2. Racial and economic inequity 3. Lack of urban planning for school buildings and the school capacity crisis
Seattle Public Schools was the first district to sue the State in the 70’s when the levies failed, and we need to continue to push for full and fair funding especially now when the McCleary deadline is here and the legislature only provided about ¼ of what was promised and what is required. SPS needs a stronger lobbying presence in Olympia, and to be even more publically vocal about the impact of the underfunding. SPS also needs to counter the false narrative that that McCleary is “solved” and to continue to be an active member of the Network for Excellence in Washington Schools (NEWS).
Public education is the cornerstone of our democracy, and public funds need to remain publically governed. There is no need to privatize our public schools in order to give students choices. Seattle Public Schools has many great option schools, programs and services. We need, instead, to actually fully fund the schools we have and invest in our students and public education. Charters are not the solution to the challenges we have in being able to provide every child with a great education. The solution is to invest in our public schools and build on already successful programs.
Assessments are important so that we can take stock of what students know and what gaps remain. However, they need to be relevant and appropriate. We need to focus more time and attention on student learning and not overburden students with too much testing. We need to be careful not to reduce children, schools and educators to test scores while still building on our successful strategies that help students succeed. Standardized assessments scores should not be tied to teacher pay, or used as a barrier to a school receiving funds that are needed. The recent adoption of school board policy 2080 is a good step forward to clarifying the role off assessments in SPS, and confirming that students have the right to opt out. Additionally it appropriately says that “Students who do not participate in district or state assessments for any reason have a right to appropriate learning activities and shall not be subjected to punitive or exclusionary treatment for nonparticipation.”
While I was legislative chair for the Seattle Council of Parent and Teacher Associations (SCPTSA) in 2014, we adopted the resolution “ALIGNMENT OF SLEEP REQUIREMENTS FOR OPTIMUM HEALTH WITH SCHOOL START TIMES” which “Resolved: the Seattle Council PTSA will encourage and support secondary school start times of 8:30 am or later, which meets the optimum health requirements for adolescent sleep needs” I’ve been deeply active in organizing Seattle PTA’s advocacy for healthy bell times, and for the most recent switch to two tiers so that all students have healthy start times next school year, because elementary students also need reasonable bell times.
There is much we can do to improve. We need to ensure that high schools are provided with sufficient budget so that the master schedule has sufficient course offerings for students to take the classes they need to graduate. The State needs to fully fund the twenty four credit requirement and we should consider providing seven periods instead of 6 so that students have the opportunity to get all of the credits they need to graduate even if they struggle with a class or two. And, we need to provide more counselors to assist students in planning and managing their courses, as well as ensure that student supports are accessible.
It is vital that school leadership establish a school-wide culture of inclusion and acceptance, and that educators and administrator effectively promote respect and consideration for all. Bullying is often hidden from view and students need to know that they have trusted adults they can turn to that will address the problem. Hosting assemblies that bring awareness to the issue, identifying staff and educators that are available to support students who experience bullying and peer support groups are all interventions that help combat bullying. Additionally the Social and Emotional Learning programs already being used in many elementary schools are important to help kids developing successful strategies for dealing with challenging emotions.
Civics education is incredibly important and I’m excited by this new law. I am not clear yet at this point what steps the Superintendent and school board needs to take to ensure that it is implemented, or if there is board policy that needs to be updated or established. The first step is having the Superintendent report to school board curriculum and Instruction committee on what needs to happen in order to provide the classes, and what steps need to be taken to implement.
Suspending students for classroom disruption does not help them to access learning, nor does it help them develop successful skills for managing difficult emotions and situations. Schools need to establish Positive Behavior Intervention Supports that will provide struggling students with support to address the issues they are facing and help them engage in learning. These include being able to connect with a school counselor, psychologist or family resource staff to help identify what issues the student is experiencing and to identify resources and services that will help continue to engage them in learning.
Seattle Public Schools and many of the community partners are engaging in a deliberate effort to address these issues in a wide variety of ways, and we need to continue this work and build upon it. The school board just passed an ethnic studies resolution, which I supported. Every school board action is required to go through the Race and Equity tool to evaluate the impact of the policy. PTAs, the Seattle Education Association and school communities are establishing Race and Equity teams which are helping to engage communities in sometimes difficult conversations but help to move us toward increased cultural sensitivity and racial equity. Professional development and trainings like what is offered by the Multicultural Education Rights Alliance and other organizations are also very important. Through a wide variety of strategies, we need to ensure that the District keeps focusing on taking steps to end systemic racism and foster inclusive school communities. logo


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