The Crisis

African American children in the Seattle Public Schools are in a state of emergency. The crisis is particularly crucial in Central District schools. Examples of this state of emergency include Madrona Elementary School where 80% of black students are failing. Additionally blacks students are 3x more likely than white students to be suspended or expelled 52% of those discipline cases while advanced learning  is 4% black vs. nearly 90% white.

A snap shot of the schools that many of the youth/students and families we are servicing at the Horace Mann building:

  • Thurgood Marshall Elementary - 99% of white students at math proficiency while black students are at 26%
  • Madrona Elementary - 20% of black elementary and  29% of  black middle school students at proficiency.
  • Washington Middle School - 91% of white students vs. 33% of black students
  • Garfield High School  - 78% of white students at math proficiency 35% of black students

Our concern has deepened as the Seattle Public Schools are currently under investigation by the federal government for the mistreatment of Black students. Even more, the Seattle Public Schools has admitted that there is no specific plan to address the inequitable education practices and the negative impact this upon our children.

Furthermore, the Seattle School District wants to displace the vital community based programs addressing the crisis and relocate the predominantly white NOVA school to Horace Mann building. NOVA did not ask nor did they participate in the decision to relocate to the Horace Mann building and that there are other options to achieve a win-win situation for all students and impacted communities.  Additionally, the NOVA community shares social justice values recognizes the negative impacts of the districts decision pitting the interests of two vulnerable student populations and communities against each other.

The Hidden Opportunity 


While the situation is revealing of continued historical injustices, it is not without hope. The circumstances present a unique opportunity for the district to make a down payment on it’s high priority goal of closing the opportunity gap. The More 4 Mann effort aligns with the current strategic plan in many ways.

District policy No. 0030 Achieving Educational and Racial Equity states

  • Closing the opportunity gap, while raising achievement for all students, is the top priority of the Seattle School Board, the Superintendent and all district staff
  • Seattle public schools must address institutional racism and overcome this inequity…
  • To achieve educational equity, Seattle Public Schools will provide additional and differentiated resources to support the success of all schools

Other core beliefs and goals and in the District’s Strategic Plan include:

  • Realize the districts core belief that schools should be the heart of our communities
  • Create rigorous culturally relevant and responsive curriculum aligned to common Core State Standards and 21st Century skills
  • Create socially emotionally, physically safe and equitable school environment that meets the whole child family and community.
  • Identify, develop and implement culturally inclusive and effective school, family and community partnerships that enhance academic outcomes
  • Strengthen and build upon strategic partnerships with community
  • Achieving significant community partnership and family engagement
  • Provide professional development to teachers and leaders to increase culturally competency

The District further states:

  • Critical to this endeavor are the reallocation of existing resources based on these priorities
  • This may include the difficult decision to postpone, stop or slow things not aligned with the strategic plan

    There is no better place to start than at Horace Mann! More 4 Mann, and more high quality education for all students!


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