Friday, January 30, 2009

Heavy traffic from a 49er fan in Spokane.

I know there hasn't been a lot of new entries on the blog recently, but there has been a lot of traffic.

One heavy hitter comes from a dental office in Spokane, Washington. Network connectivity is provided by Apria Healthcare in Costa Mesa, California and the regular user of the computer is also a fan of the San Francisco 49ers. Just the other day the following post was made at

Posted by Longtime 49er Fan on 1/26/2009, 4:01 pm, in reply to "Paraphrase"

I am still looking at 2 years from now as being the possible true breakout season that speaks of some sort of national presence. This team will have a lot of size in the frontcourt by then with Richardson, Chang, Vantrimpont, Robinson, Montgomery, Phelps, and Wilson; and even good SG size with Anderson. All of them will have some to strong experience by then.

--Previous Message--
Paraphrasing Dansk AFTER the game:
We have a nice crowd, we're on local TV and we step on our &*%K$. Oh well, that's Long Beach State. The byword henceforth is realism. Be realistic about what this young team can accomplish THIS season. Many didn't think we'd win even 10 games much less be leading the pack in conference play.

And an even more recent post...

Posted by Longtime 49er Fan on 1/29/2009, 2:55 pm, in reply to "Re: Morris Game-Time Decision Tonight"

Robinson and Anderson have long since deserved to start. Now is the time.
Until Morris returns:
New lineup:

That lineup isn't too short.

Key subs become:

Lazdauskas really can only supply a minute here and there each game, as his game is severely limited for division 1.

This visitor has been focusing much of their attention on matters related to the Superintendent. However, most recently they have been spending time reading about the purchase of contaminated land and the blog's response to the parent letter sent out in an attempt to "circle the wagons".

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Parent asks the District to be part of the Solution.

The topic was raised that is a “one man show”. While I believe that this is patently false, I’ll raise the challenge to the District to “address the issue” as opposed to “point the finger”.

In these trying economic times, communication with the electorate is more important than ever when difficult issues need to be addressed. The cost of traditional mailings is very expensive and should be reserved for only the most significant issues. In order to save money and improve communication with parents and the community, the district should put a community forum in place that can put forward ideas and have the community participate in those ideas. There are a number of ways this can be done – the district can do something as simple as a moderated “google groups” page that can be moderated or host their own “blog” on wordpress or any one of a number of free services.

Now, here are a couple of objections that I’ll address up front

1. “We can’t do it because we are responsible for the content”. You have a moderated account that only puts up those items that meet your standards (and I hope your standards are about profanity, not the exchange of dissenting ideas).

2. “We can’t do it because it costs too much”. The hosting service is free. The cost is the manpower to moderate the exchange. Considering that the District spends $8000 for every mailing to communicate with parents, I would argue this is a cost savings.

3. “We can’t do it because not everyone is included because they don’t have internet access”. Aside from the fact that both Lynnwood and Edmonds have free internet terminals, this is not a reasonable argument. To view your student’s records, you go online to “Skyward”. Other services are online – why not this?

4. “We can’t do it because it allows anonymous comments”. We’ve been down this before. Ideas are the important part here – not the source.

5. “We can’t do it because government organizations can’t use computing resources we don’t control”. Please…. One word. “Skyward”.

I will be at the next board meeting and will raise this to the board for their comments. Are the leaders of our educational systems interested in a free exchange of ideas or is communication over the internet something we should ignore? Elections are coming up for 2 board members. Think about your answers carefully……..

Blog: I challenge those capable of free thought to question why this blog [] would openly advocate for the creation of such a forum. By posting this entry, we are actively endorsing this great idea. More open and free discussion is never a bad thing.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Nick Brossoit thinks the blog is a one man show.

I have been getting a lot of feedback from staff at the District reporting that the Superintendent thinks the blog is a one man show. I can see where he gets this impression. He appears to be a simple man and easily confused.

In the summer of 2007, the blog posted an email exchange between a woman named Kirsten and Nick Brossoit. That woman's name was actually a pen name that I used because I already knew that Nick would lie if I used my own name or, more likely, ignore me entirely. To improve my chances of getting a response, I used a female's name, thinking Nick would be more inclined to chat with a woman. I was right. Click here and read the following entry from the blog to see the source of Nick's confusion.

Whenever I make a comment on my own blog, I use my registered account name What "Nicky Suspenders" is hoping to create is a degree of uncertainty among the blog's many readers. If he can convince you that no one supports this blog, maybe you might grow tired of reading it and move on to something less challenging to District management. The many of you that read the blog and submit your comments know the strength of our forum.

The easiest way to demonstrate the high volume of traffic we receive every day is to provide our records from StatCounter. Unfortunately, I have the settings adjusted to only retain the last 500 entries and I periodically delete all of those records just to provide the added comfort to our many contributors that still work at the District.

How does Nick think the blog received information about the Piano Scam? What about the fraud in Human Resources regarding AFLAC? How would I ever get copies of the email sent by Cathy Birdsong that criticize Carmel@? How would I get the handouts that Cathy Birdsong distributed at a presentation to employees at the District? How would I get information about Pat Mason and what happened to her in Maintenance? How would I get an internal email from Laura Barney discussing the status of benefits for employees? How would I know about the small fortune spent on reconfiguring cubicles that now sit empty? How would I know that security staff that were hired after I left the District are paid full wages and benefits for sitting at home? I would I know about a deal struck between an employee, his union and the District? How would I ever know how bad the new Property Management Clericalist is? How would I know about Brian Harding's attempts to track my whereabouts during the last two weeks of my employment?

Fortunately, I don't have to prove anything to Nick. However, Nick believes that he has to convince staff that the blog is just the senseless tirade of one disgruntled employee. Well, Nick, the records speak for themselves and ultimately my peers will determine the strength of my allegations.

Blog: Thanks to the many unnamed members of district staff that forwarded their concerns about the Superintendent's statements. Apparently, he thinks you do not exist.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

District management embraces a culture of bullying.

These quotes are from a paper presented by Alan McEvoy of Wittenburg University to the Hamilton Fish Institute’s Persistently Safe Schools Conference in Philadelphia, September 11 - 14, 2005. Material is under copyright and needs to be properly credited. While this is a paper addressing teacher-to-student bullying, it is applicable also to teacher-to-teacher or administrator-to-teacher behaviors.

Teachers who bully feel their abusive conduct is justified and will claim provocation by their targets. They often will disguise their behavior as “motivation” or as an appropriate part of the instruction. They also disguise abuse as an appropriate disciplinary response to unacceptable behavior by the target. The target, however, is subjected to deliberate humiliation that can never serve a legitimate educational purpose.

This reflects on the principal/student bullying (removing students from school/dressing them in coveralls) that I witnessed on Monday March 6, 2006. The last two sentences are most appropriate-RR

Similar to peers who bully, teachers who bully may employ a number of methods to deflect anticipated or actual complaints about their offensive conduct. One common method is trying to convince targets that they are paranoid or crazy, that they have misperceived or misrepresented the behavior in question, or that it is all in their mind. It is also common for bullies to impugn the motives or performance of students, colleagues, and supervisors who register a complaint. For example, an abusive teacher may argue that a student who complains is simply trying to excuse his or her “questionable” academic performance. This shifts attention from the teacher’s inappropriate conduct to a discussion of “standards” and to the student’s motivation for complaining. This also has the minimizing effect of suggesting to others that what is at stake is merely a “personal difference,” rather than a systematic abuse of power.

This reflects on the treatment we endured. We were frequently told by administration and others that we had "misunderstood" the "if you don't like it here, go someplace else" comments directed toward me personally (Also the frequent use of the phrase "That's just your perspective" in the pejorative). It also speaks to the general perception that "you have to be crazy" to stand up and speak your mind and voice your objections to administration. Any disagreement with the administrative line leaves an employee open to bullying and possible charges of "insubordination" which in too many cases means simply that you disagree openly with policy.

Bullying by teachers produces a hostile climate that is indefensible on academic grounds; it undermines learning and the ability of students to fulfill academic requirements. In this it shares core attributes with more recognized abuses of power such as sexual harassment, stalking, and hate crimes, each of which is, in fact, a form of bullying…

I once asked the union for a clarification of "hostile workplace" thinking foolishly that I worked in one. I was told that it only had to do with sexual harassment. So bullying was OK but sexual harassment wasn't? The only difference as far as I can see is that the expected result of sexual harassment is having sex under duress; the expected result of bullying is that you mentally break someone in order to establish power over them so that they will do WHATEVER you want them to do; the same techniques are used, the same coercion is used.

Victims of bullying by teachers often feel emotionally distraught and fearful, with no place to turn for help. The victim’s distress is compounded by the inaction outright complicity of the larger group. The function of such inaction is to further enable the bully and to affirm his or her “right” to use professional authority in an arbitrary manner. By not defending the victim, others are confirming his or her selection as an appropriate target, thus endorsing and tacitly legitimizing the abuser’s mistreatment of that individual. Although not every member of the victim’s environment shares the abuser’s values, some do. Many bystanders remain silent or comply to avoid being targeted themselves.

Again, no one in higher authority did anything about our allegations; colleagues refused to walk in the halls with us; and support was given covertly so as to not be found out. Bullying works when no one else stands with the victims. We were frequently told, even by union leaders, that the principal could do anything he wants, leaving no room for dissent. This is very hard for social studies teachers who teach students that dissent has a legitimate and legally supported place in the American constitutional system.

Bullying by teachers raises the specter of school liability. For example, the Supreme Court's ruling in Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education 526 U.S. 629 (1999) provided a language and a set of principles that should give educational institutions pause…The court ruled that schools receiving federal funds, at all levels of education, may be held financially responsible where officials are “deliberately indifferent” to harassing behaviors that are “severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive.” If the Supreme Court found those principles an adequate basis to expand school liability in one arena, why wouldn’t they apply equally to a decision to expand school liability in another arena (i.e., to liability for teacher/student bullying)? [or administrator/teacher bullying?-RR]

I tried to raise this issue with Tam after the Virginia Tech shootings. If the district continued bullying, as I knew it was at the time, the district was leaving itself open to grave legal consequences. Rather than heed my warning, he/they took my concern as evidence that I was myself preparing an attack on MMS and used it as evidence in their issuance of a "no trespass order" against us because our "continued communication" was "deemed threatening and disruptive" as Limon wrote. This is naked use of power in an inappropriate fashion for inappropriate ends. Limon had never learned that the ends do not justify the means, much less that his ends were wrong in the first place.

This is not just us being crazy. This is an academic paper presented to a group of educators and scholars who are interested in keeping schools safe for learning. This includes everybody who works for the district, not just students. This is a big issue for a school district that continues to deny that it has a problem. How many of us have friends or relatives who deny that they have a drinking problem and then go out and engage in destructive behavior while drunk? Well, folks, that's where ESD is. It needs an intervention.

Richard Reuther

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Nick doesn't approve of anonymous comments.

The blog recently received an anonymous comment from a district computer. While the comment was one continuous series of statements without regard to punctuation, capitalization or paragraphs, I have clustered the sentences for ease of comprehension and adequate response.

You know how sorry i am for you? Very sorry.

There really is no need to be sorry. Aside from the fact that I was subjected to a lot of disturbing material while researching your IP address.

The fact that you have no life and seem to feel the need to "reveal the disturbing secrets" of ESD 15 is sickening. I mean come on. who really needs to spend this much time hating their job, when it isn't even their job anymore?

These lines appear to have nothing in common with each other. The responsibility to expose corruption when it is discovered has nothing to do with whether a person dislikes their job. While it could be said that I viewed my job with the District as being responsible for the efficient use of public funds under my control or influence, I am certain you are not describing that aspect of the work I once performed. The job I once had at the District was one that I enjoyed and did very well. At no time did I ever "hate" my job. The fact that the position has been inadequately filled by someone else would not change the manner in which I viewed the position.

I think that you have deep, psycological problems and need to take better care of your self. Why get stuck on something so trivial as a this? It's time to move on. You don't need to do this anymore.

Careful, that sounds like a medical diagnosis. While District management may think they know a medical diagnosis when they hear one, I suspect, like the vast majority of management, you lack the qualifications to make such a determination. Since you sent this comment from a district computer, I am left wondering if you are communicating on behalf of the Edmonds School District.

I do not consider the exposure of corruption to be "trivial". The money wasted by Marla, Nick and the Board is money that cannot be spent for the benefit of students. The students that sit in your classroom.

The effort you've put into this is spectacular, but think of the time you've put into this, and all for what? Make a few people angry and uncomfortable?

If the corrupt are angered by being called corrupt, so be it. I make no apologies. Accountability is not always comforting for those inclined to enrich their friends and business associates. The record on this blog speaks for itself.

All of this effort, which is really quite impressive, and use it to make this good in your life. I know that it's hard to let things go, but trust in human nature. People aren't bad. You can change this.

I am amused that you are impressed.

and please stop commenting your own blog.

I am not sure what you mean by this statement. Are you expressing a preference for me to stop blogging or would you like me to join the ranks of hundreds that comment anonymously, like you just did?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

More blog options if you care about education.


This week, "Betrayed" is addressing issues related to Washington's standardized tests. Soon to come are articles on WASL costs and issues with the WASL's statistical reliability and validity. Articles so far:

WASL is the "floor" of expectations
Washington State Superintendent "Spins" the Data on Education
Washington's Math Standards Failing the Students
Birth of Reform = Demise of Math Skills

Update on "Betrayed":
The blog settings were modified today to allow anyone to comment. Comments may also be anonymous. Please feel free to add your thoughts.

Education coverage in Spokane is weak, and the general public is not well informed. Teachers, parents and students have little voice, and the situation is dire. Thank you for the great feedback so far and for your suggestions. Please continue to let me know about education-related links you think I should add. I'm happy to do it. There is a lot of great information out there from advocates who have been working on this for a long time.

Knowledge is power.

Meanwhile, your feedback is very welcome. If you feel I have written something in error, please don't be shy. I'm trying to get this right, and I'm trying to get it out in this community in whichever way I can. If you think the articles are of value, please pass the link on to anyone else who might be interested. The election is just over a month away, and time is short. Together, perhaps we can turn this thing around.

Thank you very much.
Laurie Rogers

Blog: Thank you for sharing.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Edmonds School Board isn't smarter than fifth graders.

The blog was recently contacted by a fifth grade teacher from another school district. The teacher, who shall remain nameless, provided two board policies to her class for discussion.

Board Policy 6810 used to state that, "No person shall be employed by the district who is the spouse or dependent child of any member of the Board of Directors or of the superintendent."

Board Policy 1260 used to state that, "No member of the Board, or any spouse or dependent relative of such member, shall receive or accept any compensation or reward for services rendered to the District."

Even after lunch, the class, with minimal prodding, was able to make the distinction between these two different rules and conclude that they basically describe the same restriction. While the sentences had to be broken into sections, for ease of discussion, the concepts were fairly clear and straight forward.

Surprisingly, the task didn't take a lot of time and it wasn't too complicated for them to understand. It also didn't involve the payment of a small fortune in legal fees or the input from sluggish hacks from the State Auditor's Office. Clearly, the Board of Directors for the Edmonds School District is just too stupid or corrupt to follow simple rules that even children can understand.

Blog: Thanks to Mrs. J for her email.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Something is rotten in the Edmonds School District.

I will number them for ease of reference and for the convenience of our international readers.

1. Bruce Williams moved outside of his director district, the blog and its readers easily proved it and he was compelled to resign on September 11, 2007. I won't go into the reasons as to why he relocated, but they insufficiently justify the nonsensical retention of his board seat. His appointed replacement, Susan Phillips, reads the blog frequently but has no independent thought of her own.

2. Nick Brossoit lied numerous times to cover for Bruce Williams and yet his lies were easily dismantled by the blog and its readers. When Bruce Williams moved outside of his director district, Nick Brossoit asked Mark Zandberg to redefine director districts. Then, when Mark Zandberg asked about Bruce Williams, while using a pen name, Nick Brossoit concocted a ridiculous story about modernizing a rented apartment.

3. Marla Miller entered into a scheme with Arnie Tucker of Seattle Piano Gallery to buy pianos under the disguise of a "lease" to fool the State Auditor. Then, to make matters worse, Tam Osborne issued a check for just under the legally significant threshold of $40,000.00 to buy four of these pianos. Even Arnie Tucker's lawyer characterized the piano transaction as a "scheme" and the Audit Manager was still unable to connect the dots.

4. Gary Noble ran for a seat on the Board despite two different board policies that prevented it. Sure, when you run the first time you might be forgiven because technically the violation only occurs once you are elected. When Gary Noble ran for re-election, there was no denying the fact that he was in direct violation. Nick Brossoit and the Board repeatedly denied the fact that none of them can read and understand simple English and waited until after the State Auditor told them to follow or revise board policies to actually revise them. It doesn't change the fact that Gary Noble is currently serving under the rules of the earlier policies. His day in court is coming.

5. Pat Shields was actively involved in the formation of Powerful Partners. This organization then entered into a lease with the Edmonds School District and never paid a single cent of the required rental payments. In fact, it was just a use agreement, which excluded a base rental rate and came without any financial benefit for the District. Mark Zandberg attempted to collect the rent and was always turned away. Then Marla Miller stepped in and declared that she would take care of it. The way in which she "took care of it" was to give Powerful Partners a free ride.

6. The State Auditor is an agency of hacks. I have had the pleasure and privilege of knowing a few of their former employees and the stories they share would make any taxpayer shudder. In the case of the Edmonds School District, Sadie Armijo was unable to understand the concept of a property appraisal and how such devices can be easily used to defraud taxpayers. Chris Kapek was easily bamboozled by Powerful Partners changing their name to Powerful Tutors. Chris Kapek was also easily fooled by the words contained in the piano "lease" and couldn't see the intent behind the words. The State Auditor is not doing any favors for the taxpayers of the Edmonds School District.

7. Marla Miller also manipulated the process of appraising the property known as Old Woodway Elementary. While it resulted in a direct windfall to the City of Edmonds and her friends at Burnstead, the Edmonds School District lost a fortune.

8. Marla Miller also worked with Mike Raskin to convince the Board to buy a contaminated piece of property that had been rejected three times before. The fact of contamination is irrefutable, despite Nick Brossoit's statements to the contrary. The District's appraisal came in at $3,300,000.00 and the seller's came in at $5,800,000.00. The District paid $5,800,000.00 and will have to deal with the contamination whenever they make any changes to the site.

9. The Capital Partnerships Program was shifted away from Property Management, where the District was an actual project partner, to the Capital Projects Office, where the District charges for project management and every time staff moves a muscle or lifts a pencil. How is that fair to parents or community members that sell cupcakes to subsidize CPO staff salaries in addition to the increased property tax they have already paid and continue to pay every year.

10. There is also a swollen collection of imbeciles that are in positions at the District where they either have absolutely no meaningful experience or an utter absence of intellect that makes the completion of their job virtually impossible. These individuals are so arrogant that they even profess to their co-workers their amazement in how they were hired in the first place. What is troubling for the many of us looking in from the outside is that most of the District is so focused on saving the nickles and dimes in their sphere of control, they don't appear to notice the hemorrhaging going on everywhere else.

There are many other bone-jarring issues covered in the blog, but the ten points above offer a quick snapshot of what this blog is all about. We believe in public accountability and will not rest until the Board and Superintendent realize they are on the wrong path and make meaningful corrections - like resigning and moving on to a community that can more adequately afford the corruption they have allowed to take root here.

Richland outshines Edmonds on dealing with bullies.

If the Legislature adopted this as state law, we'd all be better off. Note that this policy includes all school district employees, volunteers, etc. They MEAN it.

A story was related to me of a district teacher who had called out a student for bullying other students; the student retaliated by starting vicious rumors about the teacher; the principal called the student AND her parents in and told the student that she WAS a bully and would have to apologize to the teacher and go around to EVERYBODY she told the lie to and confess to them that she had lied. Fairly strong response. This showed students and other bullies that they can't get away with it easily and bullying DECREASED. Imagine that!

Kansas and Florida provided "everybody" protection, too.

Little known fact-useful at your next party: In Arkansas, a parent or guardian who "abuses" superintendents, principals, teachers or bus drivers can be fined $10-$50.


Saturday, January 03, 2009

The blog has readers all over the world.

Someone in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan is searching for Nick's email address.

IP Address:
ISP: National Wimax/ims Environment
Entry Page Time: 3rd January 2009 11:24:50
Visit length: 9 mins 12 secs
Browser: Firefox 3.0
Resolution: 1024x768
Location: Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan
Returning Visits: 0
Entry Page: August 2007
Exit Page: September 2007
Referring URL:

My archives (of just the last 500 entries) also reveal a lot of activity in the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. A total of 18 hours, 48 minutes and 31 seconds.

Oddly, someone in Tabriz, East Azarbaijan, Iran has been reading about the Piano Scam.

Well, to our international readers... Happy New Year.