The Arrested Development of SPS
Posted on November 22, 2013
Tuesday, November 18, 2013 around noon police arrived at the Horace Mann School with SWAT, paddy wagons, police in SPD cars, and police on bikes to clear the Horace Mann building of its occupants. At the time, only 4 people, running a small radio station, remained in the building. The police presence to extract 4 people could be called excessive with officers knocking down doors with rams and climbing in through roof top hatches. How much money did they spend on this exercise? video of the events)
More 4 Mann raided without warrant or eviction notice!
The arrestees were taken at gunpoint with more than 20 officers present. Putting up no fight, they were taken to the east precinct where they were released with threats from police of impending charges from Dan Satterberg, King County Prosecuting Attorney, and given a letter that banned them from SPS properties including public meetings.
Despite desperate media attempts to paint the occupants as violent, the More4Mann participants at Horace Mann have remained peaceful. Putting forth a message of equality and equity in Seattle Public School.
More for Mann’s main concerns being:
1) Disproportionality in discipline and racial inequity in Seattle Public Schools
2) The mismanagement of the 1.2 billion levy that is contributing little to no dollars to dealing with disproportionality and racial inequality in Seattle Public School and is allocating less than $20,000 to minority contractors for SPS capitol projects
3) Ronn English, an infamous school district attorney who continues to implement questionable practices and policies that border line corruption
While this story is traumatic and very real to black community it is not an isolated incident, but instead seems to be a part of the pedagogy and strategy of Seattle Public Schools to continue to allow black and brown students to be marginalized and disenfranchised.
After nearly 40 years of operation, the Seattle Public Schools (SPS) announced the closure of the American Indian Heritage Middle College High School, a.k.a. Indian Heritage, located at 1330 N. 90th Street, Seattle, WA.
José Banda the Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools presented a public statement last July 2012 expressing commitment to consult with the Native community on ‘next steps’ in consideration of revitalizing the Indian Heritage, the pending BEX Levy, demolition of the Indian Heritage facilities, and the preservation of the murals created by Andrew Morrison.
Instead the Indian Heritage and Native students suffered continued decline in 2012-2013 being reduced to digital learning, no Native-focused instruction, no Native-infused curriculum, and a new instructor unfamiliar to Native students, parents, and community.
The Native community proposals and concerns addressing these drastic changes have been ignored by SPS.
After the May rally to save the Indian Heritage program SPS had met with Native community members and said the Native students would be temporarily relocated to Lincoln High School during construction of the new school, that SPS would work with them in revitalizing Indian Heritage, that the murals would be preserved, and Indian Heritage would come back to the new school.
Instead SPS claims the Indian Heritage was eliminated because there were ‘not enough kids’, but SPS never contacted the students about the plan and made no effort to recruit new students, the Native students have now been forced to assimilate into an entirely different program and relocated to Northgate Mall.
It is unconscionable that resources been completely withdrawn from Native programming and services, while SPS acknowledges the statistical facts illustrating disproportionate academic performance, disciplinary action, and highest dropout rates for Native learners.
We want SPS to address why 30% of Native students are in Special Education, we want to know why SPS fails to comply with Individualized Education Program and 504 Basic Plan, and why Native students are underserved and over represented in this area of education. The trajectory for Native learners in SPS is of tremendous concern given the districts decisions to eliminate Indian Heritage and displace current programs functioning at the Indian Heritage facilities.
At this time we will again initiate and voice our opposition with Seattle Public Schools plan to eliminate Indian Heritage. We as a community will invite SPS to listen to our viable plan that includes our recommendations to revitalize the Indian Heritage program by:
• Temporarily relocate the Indian Heritage program to Lincoln High School as planned NOT to Northgate Mall until the new site has been completed in 2017.
• Revitalization of Indian Heritage program at Ingraham H.S. and West Seattle H.S. location
• As SPS is a recipient of Title VII federal funds for enrolled Indian, Native Hawaiian, and Alaska Native students, we ask that they comply with regulations that include:
(1) meeting the unique educational and culturally related academic needs of American Indians and Alaska Natives;
(2) the education of Indian children and adults;
(3) the training of Indian persons as educators and counselors, and in other professions serving Indian people; and
(4) research, evaluation, data collection, and technical assistance.
Thus as Title VII Part A states, “ensuring that programs that serve Indian children are of the highest quality and provide for not only the basic elementary and secondary educational needs, but also the unique educational and culturally related academic needs of these children.” Currently there is absolutely no demonstration of this in SPS relocation program.
• We recommend that all the murals that were made by artist Andrew Morrison (Apache/Haida) be preserved and incorporated in its original form into the new school (and not be replicated as Mr. Morrison requests).
• Rename the Wilson-Pacific School ‘Robert Eaglestaff School thereby keeping a promise made to the Native community in 1996 by John Stanford and echoed by Norm Rice.
• Provide support for new a ‘Native Heritage’ AS-I school with Native focused instruction/curriculum and culturally responsive services.
• Preserve the Sacred Site of the Duwamish Licton Springs.
Further, we continue to ask Seattle Public Schools to act accountably and quickly to remedy the impact of disproportionality and educational inequality upon black children and youth in SPS.
We continue to ask that SPS partner with Africatown Innovation Center for Education to develop culturally responsive and relevant curriculum.
We continue to ask that SPS partner with AICE to provide teachers in SPS with trainings that engage them around best practices and strategies for teaching black children.
We will not rest until every black and brown child and youth in Seattle Public Schools are educated at the level that all children deserve with the same opportunities and rights that are inalienable for all people.
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