LETTER: ‘An Ounce of Prevention…’ regarding ‘Kids and Cops’ Initiative

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I supported “Cops and Kids” initiative especially the “Kids” portion of the initiative. The reason is simple: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

The Highline School District is a wonderful district with great educators who have the best interests of our children at heart. They are dedicated to treating each and every child the same. In its pledge to support each child equally the district and HEA (Highline Education Association) are worried, among other things, about Burien providing more for their schools than the other cities.

This policy of “equality” is great while the kids are in school, but when they join us in adulthood it is very apparent who has slipped through the cracks. Frequently, they are a drain on our society because they are under-employed, on public assistance, or worse, breaking the laws society has set. They directly cost us money in Police, Courts, Jails, Property Values, and peace of mind. Indirectly, it is giving people the perception that Burien is unsafe. That PERCEPTION costs us money as well because who wants to live, work, or do business in an unsafe city.

The issue with this “equality” is that it is hamstringing the principals that see the unique issues at each school. As an example, one school principal would love to have in-class “after-school” time – that means snacks and busses. District and HEA budgets and policies would require that all schools be afforded that same privilege, rightly so.

The after-school time, for this particular school, would be used to improve the 3rd grade reading level and scores of our kids.

“Students reading at grade level in the third grade are more likely to graduate from high school. Students graduating from high school are less likely to wind up in the corrections system…” See: http://www.politifact.com/oregon/statements/2012/feb/13/ben-cannon/canon-gets-connection-between-reading-and-crime-ri/

The solution that the Burien City Council is offering is not one of trying to step on the districts toes but one of trying to seal the cracks that some of these kids fall through. It is the cities, and ultimately the tax payer, that directly and indirectly pay for those who fall through the cracks.

After attending many BEDP (Burien Economic development Program) meetings I can understand why the council wanted some agreed upon metrics. The metrics are there not to go over the School Boards authority, but merely to have something tangible to show the voters proving the program is working AND to have evidence of success when asking the voters to again support the levy as it expires.

For those reasons, I will ask the Burien City Council to again put this program forth as soon as practical.

– Joey Martinez

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6 Responses to “LETTER: ‘An Ounce of Prevention…’ regarding ‘Kids and Cops’ Initiative”
  1. Fred says:

    As I have said in the past, you appear to be a hired parrot for Mike Martin. Fom your letter to this blog, it is obvious that you did not go to the Highline School Board meeting and listen to the public comments from the Highline Education Association, Highline Citizens’ For Schools or the public. You know next to nothing about educational research on school improvement and quote one isolated article. This can hardly be called extensive research on the issue. Furthermore, Mike Martin admitted to knowing nothing about education at the Board meeting but he wants to take over Highline Schools because they are not doing their job. He did say something to that effect at the Council retreat in January. It was his rationale for why he invented this proposal without direction from the council to do this. Is he even supposed to be doing that?
    So why didn’t people go for his proposal? First off he meet with another agency’s employees without first getting permission from the Board or the administration-pretty darn pushy and rude. Second he demanded that he-who knows nothing about school improvement-be in charge of school improvement for these new tax dollars. He completely ignored working with the professionals that run the Highline School District. Third, he didn’t do his research on school improvement. He just invented how he was going to improve schools-by the way this is not his job. Fourth,he tried to put something on the ballot in a rush without consulting with the school district on how it might impact items they wanted to put on the ballot. Fifth, he invented a phony PR campaign that suggested that Cops and Kids-in the photos on the lead in to the PR campaign-were in someway going to be working together-not true. Sixth, he failed to research the mission of the Highline School District and how they try to serve all kids. And lastly, he did not try to partner with the other cities that are part of the Highline School District or the School Board. Mr.Martin was not a team player with other agencies. This is typical of how Mr. Martin does business and he is not even a team player with the citiziens of Burien. That is why this issue failed with the public.
    Please do not waste anymore taxpayer dollars by suggesting that this issue should be brought up again.

  2. John Poitras says:

    Joey… as the previous poster indicated. You seem to pretty much be a shill for Mike Martin.Political back scratching is my take on your position. I guess thats why you were appointed to the planning commission and you are now engaging in political payback. So since nothing gets done in Burien without Martins stamp of approval its easy to see why time and time again you speak as an advocate of Mike Martins positions.. I guess its easy to see why you think that your asking the city council to put this loser of a proposal on the agenda again will carry any weight. I think thats a little vain don’t you Joey?
    You obviously are completely out of touch with the vast majority of the citizens of Burien who saw right through this mismatched proposal and rejected it for many common sense reasons which I will not reiterate, since Fred already did a pretty thorough job of it.
    We don’t need fantasyland birds in the bush long term approaches to our current situation here in Burien. We need ACTION NOW. We need more police on the streets NOW. That should be priority #1 for Mike Martin and for our city council. Its also a proposal that would actually pass. Unlike Kids and Cops which is too controversial. Lets divorce the mismatched Kids part from this initiative and exercise common sense by accepting the reality that its a flawed proposal and PLEASE stop your pontificating because it just obscures the fact that we need more cops on the beat NOW, not later.

  3. Joey Martinez says:

    Fred and John, I get it, you don’t like Martin. I understand Fred’s points and agree that Martin stepped on toes in getting his information. He did cross the line when he met with those principals without permission…. alot of what you said was spot on.

    HOWEVER, the fact still remains that BURIEN school 3rd grade reading scores are below the State average. The school district has no immediate plans to fix that issue. From an Economic Development perspective THAT will continue to hurt Burien.

    The Principles have solutions NOW. With small investments THEY believe 3rd grade reading scores can improve rapidly. They all had different solutions for their schools.

    I cited the Politifact site because they are a nationally recognized fact checking organization. They themselves site 5 different peer reviewed studies proving that if a child is not reading on level by 3rd grade they are MANY times more likely to drop out of High School. Those studies also PROVE that drop outs are much more likely to turn to crime.

    Put the two together – and what do you get? You two tell me, what is your solution to that issue? John especially – you keep writing about that POUND of cure. Here is that ounce of cure instead.

    Lastly, you two knuckleheads OBVIOUSLY don’t realize how our system of goverment works. I was appointed by the Burien City Council to serve on the commission. And while I may have been appointed by the Council I am working for Burien residents.

    I invite you two to do as much reading as I have in that role. Have you sat down to read the comprehensive plan? I have – going on 3 times now. Have you read our Zoning regulations? I have – twice. Best Available Science document?

    This volunteer position – meaning no pay – is a challenging experience and a chance for me to give back the community. I want to give back to the community because in my time of need, after my house fire, the community gave so much to me and mine.

    Joey Martinez

  4. William Forest says:

    Joey… I understand it .. You are a PR man for Mike Martin. You really think you would have gotten a planning commission appointment if you were not cozy with him? Nothing happens in Burien without his nod.. He is like a small time Mafia Don and you have kissed his ring. I understand how government is SUPPOSED to work.. but in Burien its pretty obvious the majority of our elected officials here dance to Martins tune. A planning commision seat may be a volunteer position Joey, but it has power and its decisions affect everyone in the area. Plus I have no doubt you intend to use it as a stepping stone and tout it in your quest to get elected to the city council in the next cycle. Obviously you will also be counting on the support of Martin and his cronies on the council.
    As John mentioned you and Martin are putting the cart before the horse and sticking your noses where they don’t belong.. Let the school board handle school board business.. Mr Martin and the city of Burien should butt out of school business which they don’t understand. Its not like we have $$ to throw around.. Lets focus on the alarming fact that we don’t have enough police on the beat and put every discretionary $$ we have towards our immediate needs, rather than, as was mentioned before, being concerned about giving money away via tax increases with dubious benefits, so kids now in the third grade, don’t grow up to be criminals..
    Its pretty obvious what needs to be done and when you finish translating “Joey speak” and get to what the substance, there really isn’t much there but a lot of smoke and mirrors.

  5. Eaton B. Verz says:

    Joey, Maybe we should tie teacher testing to the $. Let’s make sure that our 3rd graders are really being taught. No amount of tax dollars will help a poor teacher. Also, what about the schools whose students come from two different cities? Should we only let the Burien students benefit? Should we give our additional tax dollars to the district as a whole? On and on and on…….Not a well thought out idea,huh? Eaton

    • Joey Martinez says:

      Eaton, excellent ideas. People smarter than I are working the issue on poor teaching skills.

      Also, I live in the North Hill service area and have a just graduating 6th grader (starts at Pacific in August) and one going into 2nd so I would be paying the tax without seeing the direct benefit of the “Kids” portion of this initiative.

      The studies done linking 3rd grade reading and future sucess in life are ROCK SOLID and haven’t been challenged by anyone commenting or otherwise.

      In case you’ve not noticed SeaTac, Des Moines, and Burien are pretty competetive with each other, goverment and residents both. If we can show the improved test scores I’m fairly certain they’d be emulating the kids portion of the initiative post haste. IF…

      Joey Martinez

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