I'm not sure if some of these facts have yet been spelled out on the blog. Maybe they have; maybe they haven't. Even if they have, they merit repetition.
1. Seattle Public Schools has hired a recruiter who is a former Teach for America corps member. There is reason to believe that this person views TfA favorably and may promote TfA corps members to schools making hiring decisions. I'm not entirely sure what a recruiter's job is, but it may include filtering the hiring pool and rejecting some applicants before the hiring committees at the schools get to see them. I am tempted to apply for a teaching job, just to see if I am rejected out of hand due to my lack of a teaching certificate. If I am, then I wonder why Teach for America corps members would not also be rejected out of hand on the same basis.
2. We have been told that Teach for America corps members will only be considered during the Tier 3 hiring period, after transferring and RIFed teachers have already been considered. This is a convenient bit of misinformation. The TfA corps members are only interested in teaching at Level 1 and Level 2 schools. Those schools go directly to Tier 3 for hiring. They don't have a Tier 1 or Tier 2 hiring period. Consequently, the restriction of TfA candidates to Tier 3 is no restriction at all. The Board didn't seem to be aware of this and the District staff didn't seem to feel any need to remind them of it.
3. There is a cost to the District for hiring TfA candidates, or any candidate who does not already have a conventional certification. The District, in hiring them, commits to providing them with a variety of assistance in obtaining their certification and the District commits to providing them with a variety of support and mentoring. These costs are not covered by the $4,000 the District would have to pay to TfA.
4. The District was not to hire any TfA candidates unless a private donor provided the money for the $4,000 fee for TfA. A private donor has stepped forward; Washington STEM will be acting as the Gates Foundation hand puppet to pass the cash directly from the Gates Foundation to the District. Washington STEM, however, will only make the payment for secondary school teachers for math and science or primary school teachers who have a math or science degree. There is no donor identified for any other candidates.
5. Even as the RIF notices are set to go out on May 15, some schools will also begin their hiring around that time. Does this strike anyone else as odd?
6. The District has intentionally low-balled the projected enrollment at schools for budget purposes. This has forced the schools to lay-off teachers. When the ridiculously low projected enrollment figures prove false, the schools will then have to re-hire. The teachers they laid off may have already found other teaching positions at other schools - they aren't going to sit around and wait for Seattle to hire them back. If the teachers don't get called back or don't answer the call then the District will have to hire quickly in September or October to fill positions. Traditionally certificated teachers may have found other positions by then, enhancing the opportunity for TfA corps members to find available positions. I know that one seems like a stretch - a real Rube Goldberg set of cause and effect, but the cause is the low-balled projected enrollments for the schools and the effect is more opportunity for Teach for America corps members to find a job at Seattle Public Schools.
7. The District DID NOT low-ball the projected enrollments at Level 1 and Level 2 schools as much as they did at Level 4 and Level 5 schools. Of the 11 Level 1 elementary schools, only 1 has a projected enrollment less than the current enrollment. The District expects a net increase of 237 students in Level 1 elementary schools. That means hiring about 11 new teachers into these schools. In Level 2 elementary schools the District expects a net increase of 96 students, that's another 5 teachers. Only two are not expected to grow and they are projected to lose only a total of 10 students between them. 715 of the 904 new students expected in Seattle elementary schools are expected to appear at the either newly opened schools or Level 1 or Level 2 schools. That's 24 schools accounting for the bulk of the increased enrollment.