"I am really taken aback," said school board director Harium Martin-Morris. "We are looking at America's best and brightest and saying don't come here?"
This was in the most recent story at the Stranger Slog about TFA. (And just as an aside, some of the comments at the Slog make it sound like this is about the SEA. This is absolutely NOT about the SEA. They can spin it for themselves but for me and others, I don't care.)
When Harium ran for office I was really pleased to see a bright guy with a solid background who had stepped up to run. He listened and he seemed to be nuanced in his thinking.
But I have to say over the last year, I just don't see the same guy. I don't know what has changed or happened. But he seems different (and I don't mean in how we interact - he's always nice).?
But he's changed and for me, not for the better. That statement above is crap and he knows it. What is TFA's vetting process? He knows every step and he's completely sure that the people in TFA's roster are the "best and the brightest"? Is there some special list out there in the ether that has the best and the brightest who graduate from our colleges and universities every year? I'm thinking that a lot of those people are going to grad school or have started businesses. Some may have gone to TFA but I'm not taking TFA's word for it.
So what's next after "5 weeks of summer training" being enough and TFA's word that they are truly the best and the brightest?
Are we to believe that 5 weeks of training is enough to put a 21-year old college graduate in a middle school special ed class? (Because yes, that's what they did and as the parent of a special needs child, it simply would not be something my husband and I would accept.)
Are we to believe that TFA will go out of their way to protect the rights of students? Meaning, do they make sure that districts tell the parents of these students at low-performing schools the nuances of opting out so that their student's identifiable data is protected if that is their wish?
You know, there are two things that TFA could do and I would accept their presence (if we had the money and if parents were fully informed about this program). One, TFA teachers can be hired in ANY school that has an position to fill. I don't care if it's Roosevelt or Rainier Beach. Two, take out the clauses about using student identifiable data. Gone.
And, there is one thing I would want from the district - let parents pick if they want a TFA teacher. There seems to be plenty of people (at least on this blog) who say they would be fine with it. Just send out a note explaining the difference and let parents sign up.
Yeah, then TFA is welcome to come in.