Betty Patu, our longtime Seattle School Board representative in Seattle’s District 7, announced she would step down in May, just missing the deadline that would have allowed the Southeast Seattle community to elect her successor. Instead, the school board will appoint Patu’s replacement on our behalf.
That’s a big responsibility.
With Zachary DeWolf also hoping to resign as he runs for city council, plus four school board seats up for election in the fall, we have an opportunity to see six fresh faces on a seven-member school board before year’s end.
That’s also a big responsibility — one we need to take seriously. It starts here, with this decision.
The gaps in discipline and opportunity in our schools along racial and socioeconomic lines are among the worst in the nation. Under Leslie Harris, current board president, the gaps have continued to widen despite perpetual talk of equity. Good intentions, though appreciated, are not enough.
Harris received a letter last month signed by 38 individuals representing 35 organizations demanding a transparent, inclusive process to appoint Patu’s replacement. This should be our decision.
To help Harris remember what we’re asking for, I wrote her a song about it. I hope it gets stuck in her head.
Matt Halvorson, Seattle