At Garfield High education forum, 8 candidates warm up in run for Seattle mayor

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Ed Murray: “It’s an opportunity gap”

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Kate Martin: “Disparity between the haves and the have nots is probably biggest threat to education.”

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Tim Burgess: ” If kids are not ready very very early in life, they’re going to have a rough time.”

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Bruce Harrell: “I’m worried about a program that’s just neighborhood based. I want one Seattle.”

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Mike McGinn: “Every kid deserves an equal chance.”

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Peter Steinbrueck: “Growth needs to pay for growth.”

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Omari Tahir-Garrett: “It’s a waste of time as long as you’re putting bad money behind good money.”

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Charlie Staadecker: “We have to dream big,” as he invoked example of a “1937 high school in the Bronx.”

In a sort of spring training for the 2013 election run to become — or stay — Seattle’s mayor, eight candidates took the stage inside Garfield High Tuesday night for a forum on education. It seemed like mostly a warm-up.

“We need to catch these kids younger doing things right,” Council member and Garfield graduate Bruce Harrell said. With his campaign headquarters just down the street at 23rd and Union, Harrell was the most active candidate on the night and found plenty of opportunities to drop his “One Seattle” theme as he discussed worries about possible renewed threat of segregation with the shift to neighborhood schools and his hopes of bringing more private business involvement into the Seattle Public School system.

“We have to tap into the business corporate community,” Harrell said.

Harrell also found an opportunity to throw the only jab of the night, criticizing incumbent Mike McGinn for his excitement about a “green” program at Rainier Beach High when “our African American students are 8% proficient in math.”

In his defense, McGinn said he attended the Rainier Beach event at the behest of the community.

In addition to inspiring some of the few smatterings of applause from the audience and organizers from Community and Parents for Public Schools, Harrell’s effort also caught the attention of his fellow candidates.

“Let go, Bruce,” fellow Council member Tim Burgess quipped at one point when the stage mic became hopelessly tangled as he tried to lean to speak into it.

Burgess, for his part, was one of the only candidates to provide an example of an existing Seattle Schools program that is helping. He’s a fan of a West Seattle program to assign seniors to help 9th graders make the transition to high school.

These early forums are also a chance for State Senator Ed Murray to transition to city politics from his time in Olympia. He did so with a swipe at changes at the state level for Washington’s education system. “It’s a disgrace that we’re going to use public funds for what are private schools,” Murray said about the coming Initiative 1240 charter schools.

Longtime Central District activist and mayoral candidate Omari Tahir-Garrett also kept things interesting with attacks on the “apartheid” history of the United States mixed with street wisdom: “You learn according to how you pay attention” and “youth don’t drone people.”

Despite Garfield’s place at forefront of Seattle pushback on the MAP standardized testing program, none of the candidates made the issue a major talking point on the night.

Through it all, the eight had to chuckle as they attempted to answer questions about solving public education in 45 seconds or less. Others spent some of their time explaining that a Seattle mayor doesn’t really run the schools here.

Next up for the candidates is another forum with connections to Capitol Hill and the Central District as the politicians head to the North and Central Seattle Mayoral Candidates Forum in Wallingford Thursday night.IMG_9367

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5 thoughts on “At Garfield High education forum, 8 candidates warm up in run for Seattle mayor

  1. “He’s a fan of a West Seattle program to assign seniors to help 9th graders make the transition to high school.”

    Seriously? Nearly every high school has a transition op for 9th graders. This is not new or big news.

    It doesn’t sound like they got to it but Burgess is a fan of mayoral control of school districts AND mayors getting the authority to appoint some or all of a school board.

    Mayoral control has NOT changed the playing field for cities that have it. I urge voters to consider carefully a candidate that would support those kinds of changes. The mayor has many jobs but running schools should not be one of them. And, while you might like what one mayor does, you might not like the next person.

    Burgess is out for me for that reason. (McGinn also supports mayoral control but only under crisis circumstances.)

    • Melissa you are definitely correct. As far as I know all the high schools give attention to transition programs for 9th graders. The question about Mayoral control was asked. However, only two candidates answered any question last night, and the two assigned to that question (I think Steinbrueck and Murray.) do not advocate Mayoral control of schools.

  2. I am very pleased that there are so many strong candidates in this mayoral race, as this will ensure that McGinn doesn’t get a second term.

  3. Omari on July 10, 2013 at 1:49 pm said:

    IF ALL OF THE EUROPEAN COLONIAL SETTLER “JUDEO-CHRISTIAN” TERRORIST FOLLOWED THEIR ANCESTORS BOAT LIFT AND BACK TRACKED TO EUROPE, I AM SURE THE NATIVE AMERICAN “INDIANS” WOULD BE VERY HAPPY AND DO MUCH BETTER? WHAT IS SO DIFFICULT ABOUT RETURNING STOLEN PROPERTY PARTICULARLY WHEN “IT IS AGAINST THE LAW TO BUY OR SELL STOLEN PROPERTY”? IS ASIA FOR ASIANS? WHY DON’T EUROPEANS GO BACK TO NORTH KOREA, VIETNAM OR EVEN CHINA??? PLEASE READ YOUR HISTORY AND THEN GO LOOK IN THE MIRROR?????

    TO PLEASE EVERYONE THIS QUOTE FROM MAN’S RISE TO CIVILIZATION PAGE 6 “There is great difficulty in finding a fitting word t describe the various peoples, mostly from Europe but also from parts of Asia, who came to the New World, made contact with the native inhabitant, and ultimately destroyed their cultures. Some writers describe the explorers and settlers as “Europeans,” but such a word would include such peoples as the Swiss who obviously were not a European colonial power; the use of “Europeans” also ignores the important influence of Asiatic Russians who made early contacts with Eskimo bands and Indians from Alaska southward to California. Other writers have used the word “white” (spelled with a lower case “w”), but that is unsatisfactory also. In this book I am not pointing an accusing finger at all members of a particular race; that would be quite unfair to Caucasoid population of Ceylon,for example, who of course played to part in the conquest of North America. So, with much reluctance (and with an avowal that no racism is intended), I have settled upon “White” I hope the fact that I have spelled it with a capital letter imparts to the reader that I am really not talking about any particular Caucasoids but about an abstraction–a composite of social,political and economic attitudes by certain people, whose skin is usually whiter than most of the world’s population and who behave in a certain way toward primitive peoples wherever they were encountered around the globe. The White is a colonizer who early developed an advanced technology; he is an exploiter of human and natural resources; he has destroyed, often intentionally, almost every alien culture he has come in contact with; and he has imposed an iron rule on the remnant peoples of these cultures.” WAS JUST READING THIS TODAY IN BOOK MAN’S RISE TO CIVILIZATION BY MR. PETER FARB. “Mr. Farb for the past several years has been serving as consultant to the Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C. and is Curator of American Indian Cultures at the Riverside Museum in New York City.”

    JUST SO YOU WON’T THINK A LITTLE IGNORANT COLORED BOY IS MAKING THIS “EUROPEAN COLONIAL SETTLER ‘JUDEO-CHRISTIAN’ TERRORISM ” HIS-STORY UP??? WHOSE STORY??? Omari Tahir, FOUNDER VICE PRESIDENT AFRICAN AMERICAN HERITAGE MUSEUM AND CULTURE CENTER AT THE FORMER COLMAN SCHOOL SITE
    Reply ↓
    98122 on July 10, 2013 at 3:02 pm said:

    .
    thank you jamesintheCD for sending the poem
    .
    the question posed by
    .
    still who alive
    .
    exposes, as you said, the crass understanding of the way things are that some people desperately cling to
    .
    .
    Reply ↓
    a little off topic on July 10, 2013 at 4:41 pm said:

    You know, Omari used to be my top nominee for “most annoying writer” on CD news. He’s got a lot of smart things to say, believe it or not, but they’re buried deep beneath the many layers of crazy ramble. And the caps. Can’t forget the all-caps. Still, you can see a mind working there, with a consistent position and philosophy.

    But 98122 has moved into the number 1 position. Sure, he or she has some contributions to make: I like the social justice focus. But the whole periods-as-line-breaks-between-sentences thing, the no capital letters (c’mon, can’t you share with Omari?), the two-periods-at-the-end thing–this is killing me.

    It’s like the writing of a high school kid who discovered a way to be special with punctuation, almost all precious affectation, though with a few genuine ideas thrown in for flavor. I did it in 11th grade. Maybe you did, too.

    Who’s going to step up to the plate and take down 98122 for the title? There’s room for someone to try something different here: some Marx? Hegel? Freire? Rehash liberation theology with a CD twist? Let’s go, people.
    Reply ↓
    Omari on July 10, 2013 at 4:51 pm said:

    During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, much of the world was under the control of the United States and Europe. From islands in the Pacific to the jungles of Africa, the white man created colonies for his economic benefit. In nearly every case, spreading western civilization was given as justification for these conquests. This would later become known as the elusive “White Man’s Burden.” This term originated in a popular poem written by Joseph Kipling in 1899 (a copy of the poem is found in Appendix A). For this paper I refer to “White Man’s Burden” as the perceived duty of Americans and Europeans to spread their culture onto the other people of the Earth. In this chapter I argue that this concept originated from the racially prejudiced thought of the Victorian era, and that “White Man’s Burden” was abused by westerners for their own profit. The chapter concludes with a brief discussion of what the practice of cannibalism symbolized to the United States in the 19th century.
    In 1859, world renowned scientist Charles Darwin published his revolutionary work The Origin of Species. Darwin’s concept of evolution is complicated, and the public’s understanding of his theory is somewhat different than what it actually is. However, I present the popular understanding of evolution for reasons that become evident in my argument. After Darwin proposed his theory, the common understanding of Darwin’s theory was that creatures evolved due to their habitat, where the dominant species changed and the inferior remained the same and became extinct.1 Shortly after Darwin published his work, evolution was applied to the different human races. In Victorian society, it was thought that because there were multiple human races there must be an inferior and a superior race. Many Europeans wrote on the subject, and concluded that the white man was superior to the Asian and African man.
    Count de Gobineau, a French aristocrat, expressed his thoughts about the superiority question in The Inequality of Human Races. He deduced that “The Negroid variety is the lowest… . The animal character, that appears in the shape of the pelvis, is stamped on the negro from birth, and foreshadows his destiny.” On the contrary, there is the white race, whose people “are gifted with reflective energy, or rather with energetic intelligence.” Gobineau also wrote that the white man continually looked for ways to overcome his obstacles, whereas the other two races accepted things the way they were. Due to the white man’s perseverance and ingenuity, Gobineau concludes that “all civilizations derive from the white race, [and] that none can exist without its help.”2 Here the French aristocrat seems to imply that the white man had attained an evolved society, whereas the other races of the world had not.
    Following the opinion of Gobineau, more and more westerners began to think that they were superior because they had “acquired civilization.” According to the common perception of Darwin’s theory of evolution, the more advanced species struggled to survive, and then changed, or evolved, to better adapt to their environment. The simple species remained the same, unchanged. Then, in comparison to tribal Africans, Europeans and Americans had evolved from their original “savage state,” and continued to change by means of invention and improved scientific logic, whereas Africans and Asians held onto out dated customs.3 (It is worth nothing that Darwin only used his theory to explain the adaptations of species. Aristocrats like Gobineau eventually applied evolution to the human races, not the infamous biologist). Though it may not have been Darwin’s original intent, the theory of evolution provided westerners with “scientific proof” that they were superior to the other cultures of the world.
    These conclusions gave way to the ignorant ethnocentrism of the Victorian era. Westerners began to think that, because they had acquired civilization, their culture was superior to eastern culture (and everything in between). Christianity, capitalism, liberty, and small competitive states were superior to believing in spirits, Buddhism, and large empires controlled by one man. Furthermore, there was nothing of value in the lower race’s culture. As F.D. Lugard, a British soldier, wrote in 1893 “It is the greatest possible mistake to suppose that a European can acquire a greater influence by adopting the mode of the life of the natives. In effect, it is to lower himself to their plane, instead of elevating them to his.”4
    Finally, Europeans and Americans also felt that they were also morally superior to the other races of the Earth. Western Christian ethics urged them to spread their gifts and thoughts to the rest of the world. This idea became praised as the “White Man’s Burden,” which, in Kipling’s poem (Appendix A), described American missionary efforts in the Philippines during the late 1800s. The “moral obligation” behind “White Man’s Burden” was abused by Europeans and Americans during the 19th and 20th centuries. Imperial governments used the concept as justification for their conquests and using the “inferior races” to their benefit.
    This justification was put to words by Theodore Waitz. In 1863, he wrote in his text Introduction to Anthropology:
    If there be various species of mankind, there must be a natural aristocracy among them, a dominant white species as opposed to the lower races who by their origin are destined to serve the nobility of mankind, and may be tamed, trained, and used like domestic animals … Wherever the lower races prove useless for the service of the white man, they must be abandoned to their savage state, it being their fate and natural destination. All wars of extermination, whenever the lower species are in the way of the white man, are fully justifiable.5

    This quote provides the reader with an eerie foreshadowing of the unjustifiable act of genocide, but Waitz merely combined the belief that the white man is the superior race with the idea that the dominant species has a right to use the inferior for benefit. As he points out, since a man is superior to cattle and he can use it to his benefit until he kills it, what is different to say that because a western man is superior to an African man a European can use an African and then exterminate him when he is no longer useful?
    Another example of a European who made this connection was Jules Ferry, the prime minister of France. In 1884, he made a speech to parliament regarding Imperial policies (the author refers the reader to Appendix B for this paragraph). Ferry began by discussing the need for France to find more export markets. He later stated “the higher races have a right over the lower races.” Immediately afterwards, the prime minister said they have this right because they have “the duty to civilize the inferior races.”6 Because Ferry discusses the need for export markets and then states that the higher races have a right over the lower ones, the French prime minister inadvertently claims that westerners have the right to use Africa and Asia as colonies for exports. Furthermore, Ferry seems to connect this concept with spreading civilization. In other words, because Europeans were aiding the lower races by bringing them western culture, the white man had the right to use the inferior race for his economic benefit.
    The British Government made the same conclusion in 1886. In that year, a charter for the National African Company established a trade operation in Africa. The charter specified that the Niger region was given to the company because the “Kings, Chiefs, and peoples of the various territories in the basin of the River Niger” agreed being under British direction would be beneficial to them as Africans. The charter also gave the company the power to “acquire and take by purchase, cession, or other lawful means, other rights, interests, …, or property in the region aforesaid, and to hold, use, enjoy, and exercise the same for the purposes of the company” because they were benefitting the natives.7 The charter explicitly uses spreading civilization as a justification for taking over the area, and then says that they have the power to “acquire other rights” in exchange for bringing improvement to the region.
    In summary, “White Man’s Burden” came to be a rallying cry for imperialism. Defined as spreading the civilization of western culture to the rest of the world, the powers of Europe used “White Man’s Burden” as a justification for their conquests. This concept evolved from the ethnocentrism of the Victorian era. Thanks to Darwin’s theory of evolution, the white race had “scientific proof” behind their claims of being the dominant species. These racially prejudiced ideas were then abused by politicians and businessmen to justify using the lower races for their financial ambitions.
    These abuses would later become responsible for the death of an estimated 10 million Africans in the Congo region, but before I move onto the foundation of the Congo Free State, I would like to discuss how cannibalism falls into this picture. Specifically, I am focusing on what the practice of cannibalism symbolized to the American public and how it related to “White Man’s Burden.” I use the following points in one of my arguments in chapter three. Most Americans of the 19th century felt they were advanced in comparison to the cultures of Africa. This was especially true with slavery having a strong presence in the southern states. After the end of the Civil War, Americans searched for proof of their superiority over their former slaves.
    To the aid of racist southerners came P.T. Barnum, an American showman. He hosted a traveling exhibition of people from exotic locations across the globe. His show took place from 1871-1873, and one of the highlights in his show were the Fiji Cannibals. According to Jeff Berglund’s Cannibal Fictions: American Exploration of Colonialism, Race, Gender and Sexuality, Americans were attracted to the cannibals in the show because it allowed them to come to grips with their civilized heritage.8 That is to say, viewing the “savage” appearance and customs of cannibals allowed Americans to distinguish themselves and their “superior culture” from the inferior. Being “morally superior,” Americans viewed cannibalism as an unspeakable taboo. In fact, the practice of cannibalism was the definition of barbarity and savagery for many Americans.9 Finally, Berglund states that American’s linked the barbarous practice of cannibalism to the location it took place. That is, if a location of the world had people who practiced cannibalism, the entire location was labeled as savage. So, if part of the world was reported to be filled with cannibals, Americans would immediately symbolize that location as being void of civilization.10
    After the civil war, Americans desperately searched for ways to assert dominance over their recently freed slaves. P.T. Barnum’s American Exhibition of Fiji Cannibals helped assert this dominance, as citizens of the United States viewed cannibalism as a synonym for barbarity and savagery. Furthermore, Americans tied the savagery of cannibalism to the location that it took place. In context of “White Man’s Burden,” any place that was reported to practice cannibalism was also a keen target for sending missionaries and bringing civilization. Though these points seem somewhat unrelated at the moment, they will be used later to help explain the United States’ recognition of Leopold II as sovereign of the Congo Free State.

    Chapter Two: Foundation of the Congo Free State

    Figure 1: King Leopold II of Belgium

    The Congo Free State, or the Belgian Congo, was approximately eleven million square miles and was located in the heart of Africa. As its name suggests, this region became a Belgian colony, but it did not happen overnight. It took King Leopold II of Belgium nearly twenty years to bring this area under his possession. In large part, it is thanks to Leopold’s keen political insights that he is successful. However, there were other reasons. This chapter provides a brief overview as to how Leopold II gained sovereignty over the Congo region, and identifies the key reasons that made it possible. These factors were the support of Henry Shelton Sanford and Henry Morton Stanley, the United States’ recognition of the International African Association, and the complicated political negotiations before the Berlin Conference of 1885.
    Belgium had only become independent in 1830. During most of the mid 19th century, the small country focused on being a neutral entity in the center of Europe. As its three powerful neighbors, Germany, France and Great Britain, put forth their energies into imperialism and empire, Belgium was only concerned with domestic affairs during the reign of Leopold I. His son, Leopold II was born in 1935 as crown prince of Belgium, and he inherited the throne from his father upon his death in 1865. Unlike his father, Leopold II was obsessed with business and colonial expansion. He firmly believed that a country needed a colony to be successful. Leopold’s feelings for expansion were not shared by his countrymen however, and essentially as the figurative leader of a small country ran by a parliament, the ambitious King was left with very few options. To make matters more difficult, Belgium had a small army. Leopold was not going to gain his colony successfully by force. Leopold would have to acquire his colony through nontraditional means. Instead, the Belgian monarch would have to disguise his colony quest as a humanitarian venture that was beneficial to all of Europe.11
    Leopold’s choice of location for a colony was limited as well. The only continent unexplored and unclaimed (besides Antarctica) during the second half of the 19th century was sub-Saharan Africa. The only knowledge of the area were reports of Arab-slave trading. This region was of little interest to Europe at this time because Africa was thought of in terms of coastline. Travel into the heart of Africa was difficult, especially on the Congo River. Violent cataracts were located near the coast, making navigation from the coast into the interior impossible by boat. Thick jungle made travel by foot slow and troublesome. Furthermore, hostile African tribes and tropical diseases made the area undesirable. This location, however, was the one place Leopold II could make his dream of a colony come true.12
    The region was dominated by the mighty Congo River and its tributaries. The waterway remained unexplored until 1877, the year Henry Morton Stanley reemerged from his two year long survey expedition through Central Africa.13 After he finished his expedition, Leopold immediately contacted Stanley to see if he would like to start opening the interior to the global trade market. Stanley initially turned Leopold’s offer down, hoping that his home country Great Britain would be the country to benefit from his exploration. However, England was too preoccupied with a recession at home, colonial problems throughout the world, and not interested enough in Central Africa to add the Congo to its empire.14 Nonetheless, Stanley wanted to open up Central Africa to civilization and global markets. For these reasons, Stanley decided to open up the Congo under the direction of Leopold II. (A map of the Congo region is shown in Appendix C). Between 1879 and 1884, Stanley built a road around the rivers impassable cataracts, reassembled steam boats above them, and created numerous trading posts on the Congo River.15
    Though Stanley was directed by Leopold II, he was never really sure who was paying him. In actuality, it was King Leopold himself, but the crafty king told the press and Stanley that the International African Association (the IAA), an internationally represented board of explorers and geographers, was paying for the operation. The IAA was founded by Leopold II shortly before Stanley returned from Africa in 1877. The goals of the association were to bring civilization to central Africa, stop the Arab-slave trade, and open the interior to international trade. To deceive his ambitions, Leopold made it clear that that he founded the organization to bring civilization to Africa, and that he had no intention of ownership over the region.16 The committee met once in Brussels, elected Leopold II as president, and never met again. It was funded by British and Dutch businessmen, but the largest contributor was Maximilien Strauch, a man who put in Leopold’s money under his name.17
    Due to the IAA sponsoring Stanley’s expedition, and Leopold not being listed as one of the financiers of the IAA, Leopold’s economic ties to the operation were covered up and his true plans were not revealed to the general public. By carrying out things in this crafty way, the Belgian King deceived most people into thinking that Stanley’s work was for the humanitarian gains of scientific exploration and opening the interior to trade. The gimmick worked, and soon after Leopold sent Stanley to work for him in Africa newspapers printed articles that linked Leopold’s actions to the advancement of geography. “The King of the Belgians is the president of scientific society, of which Mr. Stanley is the agent.”18 As a side note, the geographers who attended the conference in Belgium were not naively tricked by Leopold’s philanthropic agenda. They were educated explorers from the finest countries of Europe, and were not fooled by the King’s humanistic goals. All attending knew that if Leopold could conquer the area by sheer force he would. So the geographers of the IAA were not blindly fooled by the Belgian King.19
    To further deceive his connections to the operation, Leopold confused the public and political leaders with organization names. After the one and only meeting of the IAA, Leopold created another organization called the International Association of the Congo (IAC). Unlike the IAA, this organization was linked to Leopold’s name and was directed by him. To deceive the public and politicians, Leopold interchanged the names of the IAC and the IAA when discussing the Congo. As a result, people were confused as to who was really behind the work in Africa: the King of a country and not an internationally recognized board of geographers. To further confuse the two, Leopold made the goals of the IAC identical to the ambitions of the IAA. As stated in a copy of the declaration exchanged between the United States and the IAC, the IAC stated that the Congo would “levy no custom house duties upon goods or articles of merchandise imported into their territories,” and
    Guarantee foreigners settling in their territories the right to establish commercial houses and to carry on trade. They pledge themselves never to grant to the citizens of one nation any advantages without immediately extending the same to the citizens of all other nations, and to do all in their powers to prevent the slave trade.20

    The IAC pledged to allow free trade and equal rights to all nations. In other words, under the IAC the Congo would be a neutral trading zone that would prevent the slave trade. Leopold’s scheme worked, and very few people realized that the IAA and the IAC were different organizations.
    While Stanley was working hard for him in Africa, Leopold II advertised the IAA to the rest of the western world. He seemed to know exactly how a crowd would best like to hear about the organization, and tailored his description based on the audience. The trading posts were aid stations for scientific and missionary purposes to Americans, and knights and crusaders to the Germans. He also told Americans that the Congo would become a republic of united African states.21 To the British, Leopold compared his work to the Red Cross. “The IAC, as it does not seek to gain money, and does not beg for aid of any state, resembles in a measure, … , the society of the Red Cross.”22 In November of 1882, Leopold wrote that “The IAC is an association of rich philanthropists and men of science who, with a disinterested goal of civilization, and for the love of progress, seek to open the Congo Basin.”23
    Leopold’s claims were met by a warm audience. Many people were persuaded by him, and he began to be viewed as a saint-like figure. During late 20th century, the standard politician was not heralded by an international audience for improving the world, but then there was
    Reply ↓

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