Elizabeth Weise

What can parents and communities do to create socioeconomically integrated schools?

The maddening ‘Blank Stare of Bureaucracy’

It’s not just SFUSD that has this problem….


Seattle Public Schools’ maddening ‘Blank Stare of Bureaucracy’

Guest Opinion: Seattle Public Schools has a customer service problem.

Two years ago, my son took a battery of tests at the expense of Seattle Public Schools qualifying him for a special program. When we inquired a few weeks ago about enrolling him, we were surprised to be told that he wouldn’t be able to participate because we hadn’t submitted a form back in the fall to apply for another set of testing.

Two months and a long string of email exchanges later, everyone agrees that my son didn’t actually need any additional testing. But he still would not be admitted because there is only one process, and “no exceptions.” There is no appeal or recourse.

As the director of an education think tank focused on national issues, it feels indulgent to write about my own kids’ experiences in the public school system. But there’s no better way to illustrate one of the reasons my organization pursues the work it does on behalf of students.

The ease with which Seattle Public Schools neglects or dismisses the needs of families — through what I call the “blank stare of bureaucracy” — is one of the primary elements driving parents, in this city and throughout the nation, to seek alternatives.

The percentage of children attending private schools in Seattle is more than double the national average. When charter schools come to town, SPS faces even more attrition. If the school system wants to compete — and, more importantly, if it wants to do right by the children who stay — it must adopt a customer service mindset.

Please read more here.



Written by Elizabeth Weise

June 17, 2014 at 12:19 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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