Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Bad Public Schools in Seattle

The Seattle Times reports:
After months of searching, the place seemed the glorious end of a torturous road: 2,000 square feet in Rainier Beach. A manageable commute. Even a studio where her husband could work.

The $415,000 price gave Valerie Peck pause, but it was the neighborhood school that was the deal breaker.

"On a scale of one-to-10, one being terrible, everything was a one — everything," said Peck, 39, who moved to Seattle from Colorado Springs in January with her husband and daughter to work as a DJ. "It was disheartening."

It was also enough to cause Peck and her husband to drop out of the Seattle housing fracas. They're renting in the Central Area until they can muster the courage to try again for an affordable home with a decent public school nearby.

Good luck, I told her. In this town, it's not easy to get one with the other.

It's something newcomers learn not long after landing at Sea-Tac. Seattle is Bill Gates and coffee, mountains and water. We hold records for reading and rain and attract some of the biggest brains in the world.

But the Seattle School District doesn't measure up to all that success. Once again we're looking for a new superintendent, the graduation rate is unacceptable, and the School Board? Disarray.

The dirty little secret is that our lack of confidence in the school district adds to Seattle's cost of living. Many people, myself included, have chosen private schools — adding thousands a month on top of their mortgage payments.

"People who are from out of state are very surprised at the state of the schools," said Susan Phillips, a real-estate agent in South Seattle. "They want to know, 'How did this happen? Seattle seems like a progressive, well-educated city. Why can't you get it together?' "
No wonder families are leaving Seattle which has half the children in their school system than 40 years ago.A Blue American story.