Michael DeBell offered thanks to all district staff from the cooks and the carpenters to the janitors, principals, central staff and Superintendents and most of all, teachers.
Packed house, high tensions (although most people are being respectful). Interestingly, an almost even number of pro and con on TFA. Good points on both sides but as has been pointed out, TFA tends to use a lot of antedotal stories rather than concrete data. La Raza, Urban League, NAACAP are all have grave concerns. One high school student who had a student teacher and regular teacher in math and said the difference was so great they dreaded the student teacher days. She said she couldn't imagine someone with no classroom experience. One lone AS#1 parent speaking up for his school. The mood of the room is largely against TFA but I still have no doubt that it will pass.
8:10.p.m. break and then the vote.
Back with CSIPS vote. Jessica de Barros belatedly tried to explain the process but a little late. Steve is trying to ask if this is just pro forma and the quality of the CSIPs. Concerns that CSIPs are guiding documents that we want them to be high quality documents and in my district aren't complete. Affirmation tonight is just that they exist to State. Jessica said they are two-year documents and living documents. Quality might not be what you expected is that they weren't updated since March. (But Dorothy points out STEM had been approved in March and yet didn't appear on the document until now.) A lot of backpedalling so good on Charlie for holding their feet to the fire.
Carr said that she doesn't doubt that this is true but she looked last night and they weren't ready. She said I can't support it and she needs to look at th evidence before she votes.
Betty asked what are we doing to support schools that are in improvement plans?
Dr. G-J said it has been developed over last 2 years and aligns to school reports. Can't type as fast as Dr. G-J talks so sorry. Flip side of school reports has what is happening. There is also an intervention matrix that I haven't seen that she is referencing. "We do have tools and supports."
Maier: I want to understand the consequences of this item. If Board doesn't make certification to State, we don't get money. (Steve and Peter are so predictable - always backing the staff.) It should have gotten done so the district knew this and thought the Board would rubber-stamp this action.
Smith-Blum: I went to website last night and see variety of them. Unfortunately, couldn't do that and I can't vote and say we have plans if they are not readily available to review. The work didn't allow the Board to do their job of oversight. Jessica: regardless of quality, are compliant with state law. They are now updated and refreshed and the leap of faith you reference is there.
Dr. G-J, I understand the concern about not reading the plans. It's not a leap of faith and plans exist. Publicly apologize for not getting them done.
Jessica - more backpedalling on why they aren't done. Deadline was Oct. 29th and they weren't readable and been fixing errors over last two weeks.
Harium - Understand what is being done here is our CAO has reviewed and looked at them and has done due diligence and is certified them and that is what this vote is about.
Michael - looked and waited for the updates but I have tracked it but haven't seen latest version. I understand the hesitation but state asks us for an assurance that the work is done. (But they haven't seen them? Michael?) We need to make sure these are thoughtful and high quality; appreciate level of concern. Encourage public to look at and if not good, voice your concerns. This is a community process (we can express our concerns AFTER you vote?)
Next year, that 90 days should not run up against the vote.
Vote: Carr voted against. All other for. Good for Sherry and shame on the rest of them. Smith-Blum did pause before agreeing so I think this was one that was against her better judgment.
Teach for America vote. (Going to hear a lot of blah,blah here. Big fun.)
Presentation by staff first! Good grief!
Enfield is going too fast and I can't keep up, sorry. She tried to pull this stuff that their current corps is more diverse BUT she didn't say the candidates SPS would get would have that same diversity. And she can't guarantee it (and I was asked, and what other options do we have? We do have.)
Maier's amendment was read. He said this was to strengthen the proposal. By this required public report, the public could assess the outcomes of this intiative.
No questions on his amendment.
Vote: Patu - no, all others aye. Passes 6-1.
Smith-Blum question on main motion: phase III hiring,concern about candidates coming in, when they would enter, would TFA overwhelm the pool.
HR person answered: timeline is negotiated with SEA and no advantage to any candidate. "Even, level playing field". We in HR would NOT know they are TFA; only principal will know. (Yes, and I have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn. I'm sorry, the district isn't signing a contract and not hiring these people.) HR said same pool but no Holly Ferguson comes up and explains Phase I and II are internal candidates and Phase III is anyone who wants to apply.
Carr: FERPA issue, can Legal clarify? Compare what was originally there with what is there now.
Noel Treat: TFA could have student data and TFA could give it to third parties for PD, handling in accordance with FERPA. Feedback with people weren't "comfortable" with third parties having info. New contract prohibits this. End of contract TFA can destroy/return info (but he left off that district has to REQUEST this).
Smith-Blum : court decision?
Noel Treat: highly-qualified teacher under NCLB. 9th Circuit court of California, need to be fully qualified in state of issue. I know you received thoughtful e-mails that walked thru the WACs. It's up for each state to decide who if fully certificated. What I see in determinative factor from OSPI for compliance is written guidance, that doc states that conditional certificates are okay. (Well, let's go to court and see, shall we?) If you violate NCLB, you could lose Title One funding but substantially make mistakes. Would have to have a disproportionate number of unqualified teachers. We seem to be on safe ground. Even if 9th Circuit does apply, the Sec'y of Ed is the primary defendant in case and he stated the policy. So the Court ruled against Sec'y and full 9th Circuit court will look at this and Sec'y may take to Supreme court. Sec'y has indicated to CA that there is no change in DOE position on who they consider highly qualified. Even if his opinion is incorrect, it's very remote that anything could happen to our Title One funds.
Comments from the Board
Steve - go back to district's release of score cards. references Times' editorial and it is sobering data. As a parent, I cannot accept those outcomes. The line that divides this city and no school south has better than a 3 (and also the north edge of the city). That's where I start. No pancea, more hard work. We are working hard to try and engage the community leaders to move towards Harlem model. Challenge around how - money, coordination, etc. I look to principals for leadership and accountability. Over 90% of principals with TFA found them "helpful and useful". (Question is, were they hall monitors or teachers?) He seems to believe we will get more diversity but there is NO guarantee that will happen. SEA said no but he got an e-mail saying going forward maybe we can work this out. I welcome this in ADDITION to our work with TFA (if that is the vote). Seems to me to be a different path, to a similar place. Not to put an obligation but to give the district the opportunity to hire them. (We're paying them for the privilege of having them? Hiring them?) If principals want to look at them and willing to be accountable for "how that works", they should be able to. They need authority as well as accountability. Voting yes.
Betty - first, TFA is a wonderful organization and many corps members have done a great job. But we have laid off many great teachers who are here. I have worked with both kinds of teacher, good and bad. What is our commitment to our teachers? There is low morale. And students are graduating and going to college from SPS. We have an obligation to our teachers and stop undermining our teaching corps with support and belief in them. We have new standards and expect them to align themselves but how can we ask them of them if we don't seem to believe in them? Signing the TFA contract will tell our teachers we don't believe in them. No
Harium - lots of e-mails and blogging, looked at data and other places similar to us. Embracing TFA and results aren't quite in yet but principal reports have been positive. Important for me to explain that if we bring TFA that we disrespect other teachers who went thru traditional path. Many paths that lead to that one place, kids in individual classroom. TFA won't answer all our ills and "won't close achievement gap in our district." As a director I want as many arrows in our quiver as possible. TFA is just another arrow. Says that if we have qualified teachers they shouldn't feel TFA is a threat to them. (Again, the district is signing a contract with TFA - they will get hired.) If one classroom is changed, it's worth it. Yes.
Peter - number of communications, discussions with public (but not because you did your job and told people about this and explained it yourself). TFA is promising in area of expanding applicants of color and math and science. (Again, no guarantee that we will get any of them.)
Just expanding the pool. Peter just said it comes at "no cost to the district". (That is a complete lie and I can easily prove that.) Yes.
Carr: thank you to public for communications. definite split on this issue. Data is mixed. I don't see this as an 'either or' decision. It's about options. Referenced SEA contract. Alternative source of potential candidates. Point out that there is one source for best candidates. Employ an array of tactics. Principals will make decision that is "right" for their school. Yes
Kay: giving colleagues handout, Director Carr referred to principals being the final say in who comes in. After the 178 e-mails and from state legislators and people stopping her on the street. Went thru her principal survey (missed stats). 68% had over 100 highly qualified applicants for a position and most had between 15-25 qualified candidates. Do you want TFA? 49% said yes, 48% said no. Comments were equally mixed. She went over candidates. A shortage at some schools but that may be HR's fault for late hiring. She agrees. We need to get HR process in order and we have a wonderful new HR director. We need to get started in March, not June. TFA is simply another option. She said to TFA recruits if you don't want to be a teacher don't come to Seattle. Voting yes.
Michael - Address this issue of training. the 5 weeks seems to be a theme. Does initially seem small. Flip side is that is 5 weeks more than School Board directors (light-heartedly). Life experience is important (especially for a 22-year old). (Why do these directors believe that only young people have burning passion and idealism?) No illusions they will do great but willing to give them a chance. Helps bring them here for smaller districts.
(None of these people mentions that not ONE of them did outreach to the public. It is only thru the PUBLIC learning of this that they had to discuss it with constiuents. Shame on all of them.)
Vote - 6 for and 1 against (Betty)
So we have seen tonight - twice - the Board letting the district not do what the Board has said is important. The school reports were late and not available for review by anyone but the Board said naughty staff and voted yes. And then now, no public engagement, on a very serious issue - the teachers in our classroom.
As I said in my remarks - as you sow, so you reap. And if you sow the wind, you shall reap the whirlwind.
One good thing here - I don't have to go to any more Directors' community meetings. Totally not worth it. Anything I have to say will be via e-mail.