So the Seattle Council PTSA sent an e-news bulletin labelled: "Debate Teach For America - Debate centers on certification churn need." They present an overview and some pros and cons.
They call TFAers "teaching candidates" which is better than teachers.
They explain about the costs but say:
HOWEVER, the district has pursued private funds to pick up those costs for this contract.
That's NOT true. There has been no guarantee that the "donor" is going to pick up for all three years of the contract. (And you do know - right - that TFA seems to have a sliding fee. They seem to have charged almost nothing for the teachers in the Delta area and are charging Federal Way $3k per teacher per year while they are going to charge Seattle $4k per year.)
They do well to raise the issues of student privacy and the loose interpretation of the state law on conditional certification.
SPS agrees to share student-identiable (sic) with Teach for America for the purposes of professional development. Normally, this would be protected information.
The contract uses a loose interpretation of conditional certification. In Washington, teachers must be certificated. HOWEVER, if they teach a subject where there are shortages of candidates, or the candidate is unusually talented, then teachers can be granted conditional certification. The state requirements are specific.
Seattle Public Schools would request conditional certificates for Teach for America candidates on grounds of "circumstances." Yet the contract specifically says TFA candidates will not be limited to critical or shortage areas, and it is not clear what unique talents the candidates will offer.
The last statement says:
eNews Bulletins do NOT go out to all members. They are sent to PTA/PTSA leaders, school leaders and community subscribers. Please share as appropriate.
Please let your PTA president(s) know that this information should be in kid mail and/or on your school's website this week.
While I have happy to see the SCPTA stepping up with this info, it is not going directly to membership nor is there any way to ask questions or have a real debate. I hope the Board isn't going to try to call this public engagement because it's not.