Murray to hold Education Summit on April 30

This spring Mayor Ed Murray will host an Education Summit to guide the City in its work supporting Seattle’s students, families and schools. The Summit will be held on April 30.

“Perhaps the greatest challenge we face in addressing the opportunity gap is the persistent disparities in our public schools,” said Mayor Murray. “This is not just the responsibility of the Seattle school district. All of us have a responsibility to support the success of these students. These children are our children and we must not fail them.”

Mayor Murray’s Education Summit seeks to build on that partnership to address the disparity in educational opportunity and outcomes that disproportionately impact students of color and those from lower-income families. Community voices and local leaders will share what’s working well in our schools, where more support is needed and what strategies the City should support to help all students succeed in Seattle’s schools.

“I am excited and hopeful you will see an entirely new conversation on how we can improve our local public schools,” said Council President Bruce A. Harrell, Chair of the Education, Equity, and Governance Committee. “I want to get our children, parents, and teachers more resources. We have an incredible opportunity with our high tech companies and philanthropy in this city. I am where I am today because of education. Education has always been in the center of my life and it was education that became my strongest weapon against bigotry, racism and hate.”

The four co-chairs of the Summit are:

  • Ron Sims, former Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Brad Tilden, President and CEO of Alaska Airlines
  • Sheila Edwards Lange, interim President of Seattle Central College
  • Kristin Bailey-Fogarty, a teacher at Eckstein Middle School and recipient of a KCTS 2013 Golden Apple Award

“Listening to our parents, students, families, and community is the only way we can ensure that the strategies we propose will resonate, and ultimately yield success for our students,” said co-chair Ron Sims.

Murray is also assembling an advisory group of education and community advocates, educators, and business and philanthropic leaders to help guide development of the Summit. The group will develop recommendations about how the City can best align its resources and efforts around closing the achievement gap. Seattle Schools Superintendent Dr. Larry Nyland and Seattle School Board President Betty Patu will participate. Other members of the group will be named shortly.

“The broader community has an important role, and responsibility, to assure a high-quality education for all students,” said Dr. Nyland. “Engaging all members of our community for their perspectives strengthens us as a community, a school system, and thus our ability to support each student to success.”

In the weeks leading up to the Summit, the City, Seattle schools and several community agencies will be co-hosting a series of community conversations to listen to Seattle’s families, students, and community. Locations and dates will be announced in the coming days. These conversations will be open to all, with interpretation and childcare available when appropriate.

“It is clear that students deserve better. Through strong partnerships with Seattle Public Schools, community, families, and students we can improve outcomes for students,” said Dwane Chappelle, director of the City’s Department of Education and Early Learning.

In 1990, Mayor Norm Rice held an Education Summit that established a deeper partnership between the City, Seattle Public Schools and education advocates. City residents came together to propose a new support for students and educators, the Families & Education Levy.