Monday, August 22, 2011

If You Knew Susan...

...like I know Susan Enfield on the subject of TFA, well, like me, it will give you pause.

It took awhile but I finally got through all the SPS/TFA e-mails that I received.  In a separate thread, I will post some additional quotes that will show a timeline of discussion, laughter, friendship and an almost absolute irritation/disregard for the public's input and for public process.  Don't you know that if the public didn't keep asking questions and writing to elected officials and public officials that a lot more could get done at SPS and TFA?

This thread is to talk about themes and impressions.

  • I'll say upfront I like Susan Enfield and I have always thought better of her than Dr. Goodloe-Johnson.  However, after reading these e-mails, I certainly will be more cautious, more wary and definitely more circumspect of her.   Ditto on Holly Ferguson,  the governance and policy person for the district.
Why do I say that?  Because the e-mails make it pretty clear that Dr. Enfield was go to go on TFA right from the start.  The e-mails I have, from 2009 on, don't show any kind of "let's get all the facts before we make a decision" on Enfield's part.  She may have come into SPS believing in TFA (despite the fact that there are no TFAers in Oregon where she originally came from).  So I don't know the source of her deep belief in their work.  But she makes very pointed and repeated promises of support. 

Holly Ferguson may have just been doing her job but her enthusiasm, especially for asking for TFA's input on every single bit of the Action Item for TFA in November 2010, is very telling. 
  •  Originally, TFA said that 50% of the recruits for SPS would be math, science and SpEd teachers (out of 30).  
  • Dr. Goodloe-Johnson, in this entire episode, is very hands-off.  It seems her natural style spilled over here as well.  
She got contacted about TFA (from this batch of e-mails) in Oct 2009.   Most of the e-mails here are between her and other members of her Broad Superintendents Academy class (some of whom are TFA).   But it did turn up some interesting quotes.  Talking about SPS, she said to them in April 2010,   "My check is in progress on a reform agenda contract, and a balanced budget that doesn’t eliminate our reform agenda and work with Jemina (TFA) on some up coming key notes."  (Interestingly, they all went to private e-mail after this.)
  • TFA leaves nothing to chance.
They go out of their way to make sure that the Board knows who is a former TFAer in SPS (it seems West Seattle Elementary is a school of choice for them so look for TFA placements there).   They also like to control the message to the point where their national communications person says about local coverage of TFA, "I’ve given this some more thought, and think best to forego proactive outreach to TVs so as not to prompt additional coverage (not great to have comments of negative testifiers broadcasted on local news!"  (Darn, if only we could tell the local media how to cover a story.)
  • TFA wanted (and still wants) more push for their candidates during hiring.  
Holly to Janis Ortega (local TFA) in September 2010:
"So from what I’m hearing so far, we would also have to bargain guaranteeing an interview.  It appears that doing anything outside our hiring process would have to be bargained – so what we can agree to w/o bargaining is putting them in the pool like everyone else.  I realize this isn’t the answer we wanted, and I’m still hoping to get a different answer today but thought I should pass this on ASAP."

Janis writes back to Holly asking questions, this one among them:

“The district is willing to work with their HR depart and their principals to flag all TFA applicants as priorities during the Phase III hiring process but can’t state that in the PSA without bargaining."
 
 Holly to Janis

"With the state’s new focus on allowing alternate routes to certification, we will be working with HR over the next year, as we bring in our new Chief Talent Officer, to ensure that the hiring process does not accidentally weed out any candidates who are otherwise qualified."

 Janis to Holly

“As we discussed, considering we are unable to guarantee interviews or placements for our CMs we would love to re-open the CBA in the coming year to include stronger language in our PSA.  She continues,  “As you know, this is important because, ultimately, the language provides us with the confidence we need to bring corps members into the region."

I think confidence here means guarantee.
  • It's pretty clear that TFA knew Harium, Steve, and Peter were pro-TFA.  Michael, Sherry and Kay must have asked a fair amount of questions (especially Sherry).  And Betty?  Well, they thought they had her all locked up but apparently Betty went out and actually talked to people and came away from those discussions with a "no" vote.  I'm sure that came as quite a surprise to Janis Ortega.  
  • Charlie gets mentioned a couple of times.  What's interesting is that he sent two calm, rational e-mails to the Board about the TFA decision.  And yet he elicited a laughing response from Enfield and Ortega.
  • I get mentioned a couple of times and I find that, big surprise, I'm not particularly well-liked (and some of you are "the usual suspects"  according to Enfield which I find funny given how many of you don't use your real names).  
But if you are Kimberly Mitchell from the Gates Foundation writing in support of TFA?  Well, according to Enfield " A nice one for a change.  Kimberly rocks."  
  •  How the district and Board handle Action Items is troubling. 
I asked a couple of Board members about having a group/entity review an Action item and their take was it is important to get things factually correct.  I'd agree but you can do that without giving them the entire Action item to shape.  I think for an outside entity, it's kind of like showing your hand and not allowing the opposing side the same opportunity.  I'll keep this in mind for the future if I would like to see an Action Item before it becomes public.

But it's not just TFA.  Here's Ferguson to Ortega, Enfield and Treat in Oct. 2010 discussing various ideas of getting the contract signed:

“Gets signature done before candidate deadline; public may view this as acting outside the public area”  This was district’s preference for the contract.

Holly to Janis about the Action Item:

"Also we’re supposed to have a section on community engagement.  Could you maybe list the various groups that you have talked to through this process?   Something like “Presented to the Alliance for Education, the Leauge of Education Voters, etc."

Susan to Janis
“Also could you please be in touch with Sherry Carr?  She is concerned about the 9th circuit ruling and the fact that we have not had a public meeting about TFA (The other board members are comfortable with our intro at Nov. 3 meeting as being the start of public comment). "

The other Board members were okay with no public engagement except for what TFA had done, NOT the district.  The district and the Board knew going into the vote that they had done nothing to inform the public or parents.  
  • The issue of money is constantly on the minds of Enfield and Janis Ortega (local TFA) 
TFA said they needed $6.9M in commitments (mostly private) to bring TFA to the Puget Sound.  There's no explanation for that amount but it seems like a lot.   

Over and over, Enfield tells Ortega they need to talk about the $4k fee.  

A national TFA person, Iffy Offor, tells MGJ she talked with Glenn Bafia of SEA and "his biggest concern was financial and how the district would cover the investment piece with a deficit and a RIF."
 Megan Wyatt at the Bezos Family Foundation (one of TFA's local funders), in early Nov. 2010, asks about the $4k. 
"Will it be private?  Has TFA done this before with districts that don’t have financial skin in the game (granted the budget scenario is bleak, I get it)”  

Janis e-mails Susan:
“Can we find time to talk funding sources for the $4k in more detail at some point?  I want to make sure we’re on the same page since it looks like it is a point of concern with our funders.”
  • Enfield not interested in parents' input?  There's a saga in this batch of e-mails of a group of parents trying to understand TFA's claims.  Doesn't get much traction from Enfield and the Board and apparently this public input annoyed Enfield and Ortega no end.  
I'll try to get all these e-mails up and have an additional more fleshed out thread (because if you read some of what was written it can be fairly upsetting and jawdropping).
What is clear is that the district has its mind made up, it's no use going to Enfield.  She's not going to listen.  

What's more is that if members of the Board receive information, they will pass it onto staff.  This is not wrong but just to explain - unless you tell the Director not to pass something on, someone may do so.  Additionally, anything you send to staff on a subject, may get passed on to any outside entity (either to act on or laugh at). 

What is also clear is that the Board, as we all may have suspected, probably has its mind made up way before the vote.  So the testimony?  Mostly theater and pro forma public duty.  

67 comments:

Po3 said...

Well with over 40 applicants for that Supers job in FL that MGJ is applying for it is clear that we can do much much better in terms of a super here in Seattle.

Just need to vote the board off the island first.

provide the source! said...

What candidate deadline? What is PSA? Why aren't these primary source documents uploaded and available for all of us to read without your interpretation and point of view.

StopTFA said...

First, there IS no private email in the realm of government. If public business is transacted via home email and computer, the contents of same are open for search and disclosure.

Second, I'm sure these documents will be on spsleaks shortly...

Anonymous said...

Enfield came into focus for me during the Nov (I think 17th?) 2010 school board meeting when TFA was discussed and voted into SPS.

During the portion of that meeting when the board asked questions, Steve Sundquist asked Enfield about "Dueling Studies." He said that he had read the information from district staff praising TFA but then he started receiving lots of emails from the community with studies showing TFA to be a negative factor. He asked Susan for suggestions for evaluating the contradicting data. Her poor response was something vague about remembering what your professors told you in college and just use your own judgement.

I think this response was disingenuous of Enfield and shows that her intentions all along were to bring in TFA. She was never interested in making the best decision for the children in Seattle. If Enfield had told Sundquist what I'm sure she must know (or SHOULD know as CAO) to be true, she would not have been able to remain on the TFA bandwagon.

She should have told him that not all data is equal. Some questions to ask about data or studies would be:
Is the data from a policy paper or from a study?
If a study:
Is this a "peer reviewed" study?
Is the study published in a reputable journal?
Have the results been replicated?

If it's from a policy paper:
look to the original studies the paper is based on and see if they are reputable.
Also ask, who is funding the study? If a group has a political agenda and then fund a paper or study that proves their agenda, it may be suspect and deserves further exploration.

Based on the discussion (or lack there of) when TFA was approved, I do not have confidence in the staff and board to make thoughtful decisions in the best interests of kids.

Teacher/Parent

someone said...

Huh - none of this terribly surprises me - after all "money talks" is one of the oldest truisms on the books. Enfield has always struck me as someone who knows how to play to the "right" audience - how else did she get to where she is so quickly?

I wish there WAS a TV, major media outlet locally willing to take this all on - and show all the sides of this situation. Doubtful in a market where certain large entities hold nearly all the finanical cards.

While this blog's interpretations of the emails has generally been accurate, I do tend to agree that being able to read for ourselves is a useful thing. Hopefully SPSLeaks will follow-thru on posting as in the past.

They can laugh at me all they want, but I vote and so do all my friends and family - time will tell who has the last laugh

dan dempsey said...

To recap....
Here is the Susan that I know.

RCW 28A 645.020 = Within twenty days of service of the notice of appeal, the school board, at its expense, or the school official, at such official's expense, shall file the complete transcript of the evidence and the papers and exhibits relating to the decision for which a complaint has been filed. Such filings shall be certified to be correct.

In November 2010 declarations to the Superior Court all four directors running for reelection wrote:

That this obligation fell on district staff not on them.

----
Susan Enfield filed the transcript of evidence but did not certify it to be correct in the appeal of the $800,000 New Tech Network contract.

What she filed was NOT correct. It supposedly contained a document that the NTN Action Report was based upon. .... Except....

The memo from Dr. Eric Anderson to the Board to which the action report referred was not contained in the evidence. Masquerading as the memo sent to the board was a different version that SE gave the court.

The fraudulent facsimile was a kinder gentler version of the memo sent to the Board by Dr. Eric M. Anderson of SPS Research Evaluation and Testing.

Each version of the memo incorrectly mentioned NTN STEM schools in CA. There were no NTN STEM schools in CA. In fact of 41 NTN schools only 10 were STEM.

--------
Like the TfA situation when all the evidence was examined in regard to NTN schools and the $800,000 purchase ... there is no way any individual could intelligently select NTN to provide services on which to base a STEM school.

Again this is yet another example of the selling crap to the public by the Superintendent MGJ, CAO Susan Enfield, and the four school directors who voted for this ... Sundquist, Carr, Martin-Morris, Maier.

----
Link to details of the forgery by MGJ and Enfield.

LINK Dec 10, 2010.

-----------
The TfA decision like the NTN decision was an example of the Central Administration and at least four members of the Board completely ignoring the evidence to stick with a predetermined decision.

This has become a hallmark of how the SPS operates.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Uh, Provide the Source, the source is Seattle Public Schools. Also, this is not a newspaper (something to keep in mind if you continue to read here). Last, I try really hard to work on this blog as much as I can but yes, I do have life. I'll do my best to get those uploaded soon.

Teacher/Parent, more on that subject soon.

Po3 said...

Here's what I don't understand, why the alliance to TFA? What does Enfield gain from bringing them here? It reminds me of MAP; MGJ sat on their board so I would have thought that her bringing the company such a big contract would have benefited her somehow. But here she is,almost 7 months unemployed and appears to be pounding the pavement, just like many of us. So her associations, her greasing the wheels did not appear to benefit her, post Seattle.

So what does Enfield think she will gain from this same sort of behaviour?

Anonymous said...

Look at the Martin Floe decision(s)
and the aftermath, where Susan Enfield still keeps insisting that she was right, and and she basically placated an outraged public against her better judgment. It looked very obvious that she had an agenda (i.e. a new principal hand-picked) for Ingraham but the community got in the way.

She did not do anything to help the achievement gap as CAO but has decided that it is sudddenly her big issue. In the meantime, she pushes through TfA for the schools that most need experienced teachers. Is she going to hold the principals of the TfA hires accountable for the achievement gap?

She is the advocate of MAP because it appeases the reform crowd--hold teachers accountable!

See the pattern--she looks for the biggest players and forms her agenda around their issues. We deserve someone who is an advocate for children, not an advocate for herself.

--Susan's Race to the Top Show

Po3 said...

That's my point, we keep getting these supers who align with the big buck reformers; but once they are told to move along, the big buck reformers don't seem to help establish them in a new postion.

So I have to wonder why these people can't figure out that they are being used...

seattle citizen said...

Po3,
MGJ benefited from almost three quarters of a million of our dollars. This money might possibly been a direct result of her being the sort of superintendent she was - she was hired to do a job, she did it, she's much, much richer than she was four years ago. She can coast for awhile, even. Now, if the edu-business shrinks, she might in a tough place later. If the Reform pyramid collapses, she might be outta luck. But if Reform grows, well, you know there is a place, perhaps some other rewards, for one of Reform's first generals, eh?
My hope is that the Reform employment pyramid (i.e. TFA and its incestuous career advancements) is crumbling, that as people wake up and say, hey! we need to think locally, figure out how to help individual students, and the money we're pouring into these national Reformers' coffers is being wasted! then the opportunity for those who merely mouth, "charters! tests! accountability via test scores!" will dwindle to nothing.

Po3 said...

It will be interesting to see who gets the job in FL...

and yes she can coast for awhile, but I still have to wonder why nobody has offered her a job, with all those alliances and associations.

And remember that post-SPS interview where she hinted that the phone had been ringing. Where are those offers she alluded to?

I am just not convinced that the best course is to follow the money, that impacting student achievement may actually be a better career move.

Sahila said...

another BROADIE TOADIE - Arlene Ackerman - has just been let go as superintendent in Philly... and it cost Philly half a million to get her out of there; that payout was funded partly by school district money and partly by by private funds..

The deform agenda is being played out nationally and is firmly embedded here in Seattle.

Until we get a Board which will stand up to that and clean sweep the district, we will not get any change...

UNLESS the community gets up and fights back...

Sahila said...

@Po3 .... part of the reason she didnt get the Florida job is because some of us made a point of publicising widely her undesirability and her history in Charlotte and Seattle...

I've sent out BEWARE notices all over the country, accompanied by proof of her MO...

Melissa Westbrook said...

Po3, I think my next thread on this issue might help illuminate how this helps Enfield. Keep in mind about MGJ that she didn't leave - she was forced out and yes, for a justifiable reason. Her own inability to oversee the district and create a district that works don't exactly endear her to ed reformers no matter how she toed the line.

She thought if she kept clicking her heels together, she could make it work. But it was a house of cards.

Enfield, though, if she doesn't end up Super here, she's been a good foot soldier and there are ALWAYS jobs at TFA.

Po3 said...

Sahila, MGJ has applied for another job in FL, this time as super, there are over 40 applicants and all resumes can be viewed. Will be interesting to see how that plays out.

Melissa, I would have thought there would have been a job waiting for MGJ at the MAPs headquarters. But maybe you're right, Enfield could go from SPS to TFA.

Looking forward to more good reading! Thanks for all your work.

Sahila said...

Yes I know Po3.... I sent out warning notices to all the Floridian/Broward County contacts I have three days ago...

Anonymous said...

But, read some of those resumes in Fl. Evidently, absolutely anybody can apply. Because the resumes include all sorts of people who are clearly, completely unqualified, who are small time managers with no experience in education, even from foreign countries. The real running in FL must be way, way less than the number of resumes would suggest. I wouldn't be surprised if MGJ was near the top of the list of real candidates.

-read them

Charlie Mas said...

One of the emails I sent about TFA was ridiculed by Dr. Enfield because I used the word "epistemology". Apparently that's a funny word.

I noted that the testimony in support of TFA was all personal stories, single case anectdotes and breathy inspiration while the testimony against TFA was all studies, research, and data. I said that it would provide us with a clear indication of how the Board made decisions: based on emotion or data.

The TFA person took it seriously and asked if she should send results from studies. Dr. Enfield told her it wasn't necessary. They didn't need data or studies; the vote was in the bag.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. Perhaps the wrong people are being lobbied. If Ensfield, MGJ, etc are really just pawns basically powerless against the reform agenda, then why lobby them at all? Same of the board. If they really aren't going to go against the reformists, or operate independently, then why not go straight to the top? To the reformers themselves. For example, why not directly lobby Bill Gates against TFA? He does look at numbers. Anecdotes? Not so much.

-Reform the reformers

seattle citizen said...

Reform the Reformers hit is right on the head: To address the multiple problems with Reform, we should skip the pawns and go right to the Reformers themselves.

Yes, Gates et al, but....who is REALLY pulling strings, that is what I want to know. As I noted a year or so ago, the quick formation of Our Schools Coalition, out of whole cloth, pointed to politicos in hig places. Tim Burgess was the fisrt to add his name to the OSC Wall of Shame (along with the many minority groups, the usual "alliance/coalition/laegue" suspects, and the few business roundtables...

WHO is directing Reform in Washington State, with Seattle as the prime target (as it is the biggest district AND as Seattle goes, contituency-wise, so goes much of the state)? Who benefits? Why are they doing it?
A handful of state legislators stand out, but even them, they are often short-termers...

Who is a long-time education figure who has the ear of the legislature?

We need to pull back the curtain. While the "pawns," such as the board and some admin, are free-agents and do some of the damage themselves, who is up there pulling strings (besides our friends over at the Gates Foundation)?
Any guesses?

Word Verifer suggests we goexa, go out? but I have no idea what WV means by that.

Sahila said...

I think it may be time for people here to deal with the idea that public education is in the hands of the oligarchs...

Its going where Bill Gates wants it too... in fact, a couple of weeks ago, he was reported in an interview saying he wanted privatisation of education, but the "atmosphere" was not right for that yet, so he was making himself be content with the push for charters, vouchers and alternatively certified "teachers"...

It aint about education, people... its about the money... $600Billion/year in taxpayer-funded public education money up for grabs by the oligarchy....

lassen said...

One of the most disturbing things about this for me is Holly Ferguson's apparent involvement and her rise in the SPS organization. When these are the people giving legal and ethical opinions, we, and to be honest, Enfield, are in serious trouble.

I am beginning to think this is Orwell's 1984 where the titles of the leaders are ironic: the Minister of Peace is in charge of War. Holly Ferguson, the new "Executive Director of Partnerships, Policy and Strategic Communications" is actually in charge of strategic MIScommunciations. "Strategic Communications" apparently means "bending the message to fit the reformers and corporations who are buttering your Superintendent's bread."

And the worst thing about is the Board buys it hook, line, and sinker.

This is absolutely disgusting. STRONG leaders want people around them who will tell them the truth that they DON'T want to hear - not "yes-people" who will manipulate communications to fit the leader's needs. But of course, Enfield is no strong leader.

We can only hope the truth will out. Thank you to Melissa for trying to daylight this.

someone said...

Well yes - anyone who didn't think it was about the profit potential was being naïve. Until one can get a board and/or Supt willing to say "no thanks" to grants/groups bearing financial gifts with strings nothing will change.

Forgive me but it's also incredibly naïve to think anyone here can get an idea directly in front of Bill Gates without contacts - seriously - you don't actually think he reads his own mail or emails do you? Trust

seattle citizen said...

@someone said...
There are quite a few people on this blog who have proved quite good at tracking down communications, particulary public communications such as emails of elected officials, et al. I think there exists a "paper" trail of disgusting backroom manipulation, that, when daylighted (remember, it's all about transparency!) will turn people's stomachs and change the tide of Reform. No need to email Mr. Gates himself; merely expose the backroom shenanigans (as Melissa has done with this thread, at least as far as it pertains to TFA)

WV is tired of it all and is starting to wheesio

Sahila said...

ed deform on blog radio

dan dempsey said...

Charlie wrote:

"The TFA person took it seriously and asked if she should send results from studies. Dr. Enfield told her it wasn't necessary. They didn't need data or studies; the vote was in the bag.

This is standard operating procedure as the $500,000 four are in the bag.

This is almost an exact replay of the NTN contract. In a 4-3 vote the Board approved an $800,000 contract, in spite of the evidence.

Try this piece from NTN (TfA was almost an exact replay):

Here are some data on New Tech Sacramento the school that Enfield, Sundquist, and Martin-Morris visited under the assumption that it was a STEM school.

The more interesting info comes from emails in which it is noted that I am raising questions about math performance at NTN schools and have data to back up my assertions, the request is to have New Tech respond to my claims. New Tech never responded..... but that is OK because MGJ, Enfield, Carr, Sundquist, Martin-Morris, and Maier just DO NOT CARE, if it is a reform agenda item they pass it (No REAL QUESTIONS asked).

The emails in question involved then Math Head at Cleveland Terry Cornelius and Principal Princess Shariff.

There was little effective analysis of results before NTN became the PICK.

---
Here is what little regard the deciders have for the law.
----

Note the transcript of evidence is to be used in making a decision... In the SPS a bunch of documents are collected after the decision has been made and called the transcript. Often the transcript is not submitted on time and in the last few years the transcript is never certified to be correct.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Reform the reformers, if I could get an audience with Gates, I would tell him. I tried to meet with Kimberly Mitchell but she said no.

Anonymous said...

Melissa, send him email. Early and often. You don't know what he reads or not. Find another way. I don't buy into the conspiracy theorists. That theory is, extremely wealthy people are "in it for the money" and stand to gain big from annihilation of public education. That oft repeated line simply causes those who hold it to lose credibility and clout. Bill Gates and Eli Broad are not in it for the money. Education isn't even the primary focus of the Gates Foundation. But, most assuredly, others have their sights set on that money and have lobbied these foundations in an organized and thorough fashion. They do indeed have money as their objective. There are plenty of credible, UW School for Reinventing Education types these foundations rely on for their information. They sound good and have cred. They knew the right people to lobby and have done so effectively. They have gained the trust of the wealthy. So, where is the other side? Where is the real UW school of ed? Where are the others with credibility? As near as I can tell, the big guns think they're too good for that. And the run of the mill citizens are off sending email to MGJ (then), Enfield(now), board members, maybe the Seattle Times. But those are the wrong trees to be barking up. True, these wealthy patrons don't know squat about education, really. But nobody is really educating them either. It's true that a change in the board might make a small difference, might change something. But, it is unlikely to make a big dent.

Reform the Reformers

Sahila said...

correction - it cost Philly almost $1milllion to get rid of Ackerman... half of which is being paid by private funding (BROAD maybe????)

Ackerman paid $900,000 to step down

Guess we got off lightly....

none1111 said...

Reform the Reformers,

What an outstanding post. Yes, who are the real gang leaders in this war? I wouldn't go as far as to let Broad off the hook, but there's no way Gates is in this for the money. Somehow he (or his Fund leadership) have been convinced that (little-r) reform is worthwhile, and the (big-R) Reform agenda is worth supporting financially. I suspect many of the real thought leaders are hiding in the shadows.

I do think you're minimizing the importance of the Board, however:

It's true that a change in the board might make a small difference, might change something. But, it is unlikely to make a big dent.

I think a strong change in the Board (more than just one seat, which would likely give many 4-3 or 3-4 votes) where at least 2 or more incumbents get the boot will be effective in slowing things down here in Seattle.

- If the new Board is steadfast in blocking Reform agenda items, and is very clear about their intent, that alone will be very effective. Funds can be withheld from pet projects, etc. It will take time, some policies may need to be rewritten, but they can effect some changes fairly quickly.

- Don't forget, Dr. Enfield is interim superintendent, and the new board will be the ones to decide whether she stays or we bring in new blood. That's powerful as well.

Anonymous said...

Po3 - following the money is difficult because the rules are set up to make it difficult.

1 of the ways the game works is that someone like, let's call them 'Wendy The Legal Crook', or 'Wendy Crook' for short, calls 1 of her buddies who runs a ...

ha ha ha ha ha ha

"not for profit" in bumblebee or san fran, and the buddy calls MJG and says 'come out and give us a leadership seminar!'

here are 4 business class tickets in whatever name you want,
here is 4 nights at a nice place downtown,
here is $200 / day for food,
here is 7 or 9 or 12 grand for an "honorarium" for your incredibly valuable time ...

do this 8 times a year for different groups in the vast ed deform conspiracy, and you have an extra 70 or $100,000 of pocket money a year, until the smoke clears, and all those lunatics in Seattle have moved onto the next windmill, and you get a real job.

Oh yeah - if you followed these people around with a private investigator for 3 years, you'd probably find that the seminars weren't in Fall River, MA. over December school break, but in Aspen, and Tampa in Jan., and San Diego in April, and Boston in Sept. ...

It Isn't Corruption, It is BETTER Than You Live.

WilburMills

Melissa Westbrook said...

None 1111, I agree with you.

Any thought I might have had about just keeping Enfield on are gone. They need to do a full superintendent search with an eye towards more home-grown talent (not someone looking for the next tick mark on their "on the way up" list).

If we had a Board that enacted the policies written, that challenged staff on their information as part of their oversight duties, that looked at national trends thru a lens of what is best for OUR district and a Board that selected a superintendent dedicated to OUR district, we'd be a lot better off.

someone said...

Interesting column in today's Boston paper on Gates Foundation

What if the Gates Foundation rewarded results?

mirmac1 said...

Melissa,

I am in agreement. It appears Enfield's public persona is phony as a two dollar bill. Her allegiance is with someone other than her clients, students and families. I'm tired of admin that lies and laughs about it later. Hasta la vista, baby.

Sahila said...

they're not in it just for the money... they're in it cos they think they can shape the world in whatever way they see fit... and they think they know how it should be.... but everything ultimately comes back to benefitting those already in power...

Its called plutarchy....

Sahila said...

and following money is not hard.... check tax filings, find out who funds what... check conference attendees. check alum lists from various entities...

takes time, but is not hard...

Anonymous said...

Sahila, somebody's got to be the boss and do the shaping. Who should it be? MGJ? Susan Enfield? Raj Manhas? Why would anybody just give money and not want it to be used to shape a vision? Why would anybody want to just give money for more status quo? Wealthy and/or ambitious people, and these foundations, do want to have an impact and make a difference. The fact is, the un-Reformers haven't made much of a case to them about the problems for reform, or the provided convincing alternatives to it. And, they really should have and should be. Complaining about influence will get you nowhere. And, it has gone on forever. Gates Foundation has a blog. Where are the posts?

-Reform the Reformers

mirmac1 said...

Reform the Reformers,

Let us know how your meeting with the Gates etc foundations goes.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous;

somebody's got to be the boss and do the shaping. Who should it be? MGJ? Susan Enfield? Raj Manhas?

that would be "we the people" doing the shaping - it's our tax money and our kids and our schools, after all...

Why would anybody just give money and not want it to be used to shape a vision? Why would anybody want to just give money for more status quo? Wealthy and/or ambitious people, and these foundations, do want to have an impact and make a difference.

Exactly. Have you been following the news in Wisconsin with the Koch Brothers buying themselves an entire state? Is this really what you want? The Washington State of Microsoft?

The fact is, the un-Reformers haven't made much of a case to them about the problems for reform, or the provided convincing alternatives to it. And, they really should have and should be. Complaining about influence will get you nowhere. And, it has gone on forever. Gates ...

Gates may well be the new Pharoh. But do you really want the best "government" money can buy? Or do you want the best government?

And, good grief, complaining, marching, voting , etc. does work. The entire history of civil rights in this country is all about complaining - votes for women and lunch counter desegration and wheelchair bathrooms and gay marriage rights and native fishing rights.

Wisconsin is taking their state back. And we can do the same.

(Are you sure you are not a LEV in disguise?)

Charlie Mas said...

I'm going to reckon that "(Are you sure you are not a LEV in disguise?)" is a signature, so I won't delete the previous post.

Please make it more obvious in future.

It is the policy and practice of this blog to delete unsigned anonymous comments. If you do not wish to register with Google or Open ID, please select a Name for use with your comments. Your identity will be protected. Please sign your comment (with a pseudonym if you like) if you select the Anonymous function for leaving comments.

suep. said...

The Enfield-Phillips (& TFA-Gates) connection

Could Enfield's allegiance to TFA, Inc. have anything to do with her connection to Vicki Phillips of the Gates Foundation?

Gates, as we know, is heavily behind TFA, Inc., paying for any STEM candidates through his Washington STEM enterprise, and supporting TFA behind the scenes, a significant player in helping them set up shop in Seattle (Linda Shaw confirmed this, btw.)

Enfield appears to have been Phillips' protege, following her from Harrisburg to Lancaster, PA, to Portland, OR, and now to Seattle (via Vancouver, WA), where Phillips is now a head of Gates' ed dept. and Enfield now heads SPS.

http://www.gatesfoundation.org/leadership/Pages/vicki-phillips.aspx

In PA, Phillips was the state ed secretary, and then school supt. for the Lancaster school district. In PDX, she was also school supt. Enfield worked for Phillips at all three locations. It wouldn't surprise me if the two were working together again here in Seattle.

Along the way, their work has been controversial.

In 2007, Portland's Willamette Week named Phillips "Hurricane Vicki" and her churn-filled tenure there sounded very similar to that of our own 'Hurricane Maria' here in Seattle.
Hurricane Vicki
Portland Public Schools Superintendent Vicki Phillips has huffed and puffed for nearly three years now. Will she blow the city's schoolhouse down?
http://wweek.com/portland/article-6580-hurricane_vicki.html

Cronyism, the overuse of costly outside consultants and other issues apparently cropped up for Phillips in both PDX and PA, according to this article: Calls of cronyism add to concerns over core curriculum

http://www.portlandtribune.com/news/story.php?story_id=117339349292820000

Is Enfield doing Phillips' and/or Gates' bidding?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Why would anybody want to just give money for more status quo?

Name me one person who, out loud, says the status quo is working.

Opposing the ed reform agenda is NOT the same as saying the status quo is working.

I'm thinking Reform has read this blog much because we've offered plenty of ideas and solutions.

I don't know what Dr. Enfield's plan is. She has come in and sensibly tried to right this ship. That her work now seems to be taking another direction, well, that's to be expected. But it would be nice if she laid her cards out on the table for ALL to see.

She'll have to do that if she plans to apply for superintendent because the vision thing is one of the first things anyone would ask.

Charlie Mas said...

Here's the thing.

The email correspondence revealed two sides of Dr. Enfield's character which had not previously been seen:

1. The facet that points and giggles at community engagement while trying to stifle it. Her contempt for community engagement is clear and wide. This alone makes her unfit to be the permanent superintendent.

2. Her gushing (almost creepy) affection for the Teach for America folks. Reading their back and forth emails as they made lunch arrangements wasn't like reading professional correspondence. The tone was more like old sorority sisters getting together for cocktails. Dr. Enfield was obsequious.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what "she's tried to right this ship" means, other than the ethics protocol to deal with the Silas disaster. This was a no-brainer.

As far as the direction of the ship goes, it's adherence to the same same of core issues as Maria Goodloe-Johnson--pro MAP, TfA, and no teacher involvement.

According to this thread, Enfield has shown herself to be duplicitous--friendly to your face/backstabbing behind closed doors.

Sue P.'s piece was very informative and should be taken seriously. Enfield has laid her cards on the table but has not done so "transparently"--which was her mantra. She has aligned herself with the most powerful players, and (for those who choose not to see these obvious cards) that may lead you to the "fool me twice, shame on me-syndrome." She has already demonstrated that she is two-faced and ridiculing, according to the emails you just reported--isn't that enough information?

--ethics is how you behave when you think no one is looking

Anonymous said...

BTW, don't put sororities down to this level, Charlie. That's not fair.

No, this is the middle school in-crowd here. TfA is the popular group and Susan is the girl trying to prove herself to them by putting down the competing group the in-crowd trying to cast-out.

I hope Melissa and others have gotten wise to this sophomoric woman, and stop trying to appease her (i.e. "I've always liked Susan Enfield, etc.).

This is not a popularity contest, and if you are going to be serious about keeping somebody like Susan Enfield from becoming the permanent leader of this school district, it's time to stop with the apologizes and ingratiating comments.

--keep up the good work; please stop being fooled

Jan said...

Keep up the good work --

I am another who has been guilty of liking, or wanting to like, or trying to support, Dr. E. I stand rebuked. Your point -- that we have to stop giving away kudos where time and performance now demonstrate that they are not merited -- is a fair one.

I am hoping to hold onto my support for Kay (Betty seems pretty safe for now -- c'mon Kay, dig in here. Thousands of Seattle kids are counting on you to NOT be a bobblehead! It is more important to "speak truth to power" than to be "included" in and "liked by" the "in crowd.")

Maureen said...

For anyone who wants to read along: here's a link to SPSLeaks. I'm not sure if everything Melissa and Charlie have referred to is posted.

Anonymous said...

@Jan

Kay Smith-Blum was quoted in the Seattle Times saying that Susan Enfield was the best superintendent candidate Seattle has had in twenty years.

I hope Smith-Blum reads these pathetic emails that show the true character of Enfield. If Smith-Blums reads them and still thinks this is the best Seattle can do, then she needs to be replaced, too.

--time to get real

Sahila said...

Re Gates/Broad et al:

“Somewhere in your neighborhood, a corporation is preparing to take over your children’s public schools. In the minute it takes you to read this, corporations all over the country are using their money and influence to destroy your child's literacy, prosperity, and future. Corporations care passionately about their profit line and rejoice that their agenda to vilify teachers and schools in order to profit off of public funds will soon be accomplished. Repost if you haven’t been brainwashed into thinking corporations care about your children.”

someone said...

Just read thru the emails for myself - a little tough to follow the timelines (and new ones were being posted as I read) - but... just appalling to me just how totally arrogant these people - especially Ms.Ortega and Dr. Enfield come across. And, how much of the TFA contract was clearly a done deal waaaay before it ever hit the SPS Board room.

So - it's horrible to feel, well, "co-opted" in this way - but where to we go from here? Do we continue to write to Enfield & current board members, banging on the issues behind the lack of need for TFA in Seattle? Or???

I'm just...confused... on where to put my personal energies right now - except to write checks for each and every Board candidate challenger!

dan dempsey said...

Time to get real,

I sure have a hard time understanding what directors believe their jobs to be.

Seems like the belief is 95% sales. Selling the public on what has been decided and Blowing the horn for the great job.

KSB must have been in sales mode when she made those Enfield comments.

I agree that Enfield definitely needs to go ... any director who believes otherwise needs to go as well.

Betty Patu had it right when she opposed Enfield as interim Supt. and said a clean break was needed.

Enfield is the typical politician that is completely unable to make evidence based decisions.

TfA = wrong
$800,000 New Tech Network = wrong
k-12 Math = wrong
etc. etc.

Board and Enfield ignore the policies and laws as well as the evidence. SAO is likely getting worn out.

Voters need to wake up and bid these folks a big Bye-Bye.

Anonymous said...

@Charlie Mas:

I'm going to reckon that "(Are you sure you are not a LEV in disguise?)" is a signature, so I won't delete the previous post.

Please make it more obvious in future.
----------
yep - thanks for letting my "signature" stand! I know the rules but was pushed for time and simply forgot. And remembered last night around midnight and then couldn't sleep. how's that for "good scout-itis"?

-JC.

none1111 is curious said...

TfA-related question:

Reading through some of the emails via SPS Leaks (thank you, whoever), I see a comment about "Retention Report" which says:

"Teach For America corps members are more likely than other new teachers to return for a second year of teaching. Ninety-two percent of our 2008 corps returned for a second year of teaching. In contrast, about 82 percent of new teachers in low-income communities and 86 percent of all new teachers return for a second year."

I don't doubt these statistics (although I wouldn't mind seeing a source), but it reminds me that I've been interested for some time in seeing more data than just how many TfAers quit after exactly 2 years. And how the numbers play out in low-income communities vs. overall.

They are obviously cherry picking data in the quote above, but is the oft-quoted 2-year mark also cherry picked? Is there a reputable source of info contrasting TfA "corps member" (I hate that term) retention vs. non-TfA after 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 years? In both low-income and otherwise?

One would think if the data reflected positively for TfA that they would be publicizing it every chance they get, so my gut says it's not positive, but I'd still like to see it. Anyone?

StopTFA said...

I've seen a lot of fanciful pronouncements from TFA marketing, I mean, research. No bonafide documentation. UW researchers have this report (from 2006) that discusses retention for novice teachers. Your guess is as good as mine whether the bad economy led teachers to stay put (if they weren't riffed) versus pursuing a different career.

Rufus X said...

Reading through these emails - oy vey. None should be surprising, but they are still very disappointing. The back and forth "LOL you're so right! That's so hilarious! I need a BIG glass of wine!" between Ms. Ortega and our Temp Supe - good lord.

You can almost taste the disdain dripping from this one:

Enfield: "I spent some time this weekend doing something I am loathe to do, but felt it was important. I checked out Melissa's blog and the usual suspects are mobilizing against TFA. No surprise, but given that they are also directly emailing board members, I want to be sure I have really tight talking points for Wed and that I am able to respond to the questions/concerns that board members will undoubtedly raise."

WV agrees - we should COUST this supe, which I'm guessing is slightly more cordial than to oust

dan dempsey said...

In regard to:
Retention of TfA vs. other beginning teachers after one year.

Note a beginning teacher operates under a one year contract.

A TfA member signs a two year agreement.

Is it surprising that more TfA members begin a second year at their assigned school than other beginning teachers?

This is typical of cherry-picked crap statistics.

Anonymous said...

Re: TFA retention rates

A recent study of TFA in Texas shows low retention rates after their two-year commitment is up (see page 22 of linked document).

Texas TFA Study

Of course many corps members return for a second year - they've made a two year commitment.

TFA skeptic

Jan said...

none 1111 -- maybe I am missing something. BUT -- I thought that the "commitment" that a TfA teacher makes to the program is a two year commitment (no one will force them to stay if they jump after a year, but just like the Pease Corps, the commitment is for 2). AND -- they have a 2 year program, during that time, to earn their regular certification (in an alt program, not offered to others, that takes WAY fewer class hours to get the cert, AND for reduced "fees" that aren't offered to anyone else.) If this is so -- of COURSE virtually all of them would stay for the second year -- to reap the almost free benefits of being a corps member. (In fact, one might wonder why the drop out rate after one year for TfA is so HIGH). But to compare it to regular first year teachers (who already got, and paid for, regular certification the regular old fashioned way) seems disingenuous at best. I think the right numbers to look at are years 3 through 5 (and by year 5,in the Tenneessee study, the retention number was down around 8%, if I recall correctly).

Whitney said...

Is it a surprise to anyone that the two TFA hires are at Aki Kurose? Isn't Aki under Bree Dusseault's new assignment as Ed Director?

How many certificated teachers applied for those two Aki jobs and were rejected for these TFA candidates? They should file suit.

I heard that these two TFA candidates applied at another school and were rejected out of hand. But surprise, surprise -- Dusseault's school miraculously finds them the most qualified for the positions.

Anonymous said...

Wow! So glad that we have an educated city like Seattle ready to stand up and fight for the kids. It is absolutely ridiculous that TFA thought they could set up camp in a city where so many teachers are fighting for jobs. Now we know why TFA was so confident.
-Watching in Hawaii

That Passionate Teacher said...

Whitney Said: "Isn't Aki under Bree Dusseault's new assignment as Ed Director?"

No, Whitney. In point of fact, Ms. Dusseault is in charge of the elementaries in that area, while Michael Tolley is in charge of Everything Else.

Not particularly a fan of Ms. Dusseault's after the "Eight Days In May" episode, but I do like to see the facts accurately reported.

none1111 said...

To those talking about the 2-year commitment by TfAers, yes of course, that's why I was talking about the cherry-picking.

The two studies listed (WA and TX) are great, thanks StopTFA and TFA skeptic. The WA study has lots of interesting (non-TFA) data about retention in our state, and the TX study is more comparative about TFA vs. non TFA, and has a chart of almost exactly what I was looking for on page 21. It's better to just go look at it here, but the bottom line is after 5 years it looks like Texas keeps a bit less than 70% of their non-TFA teachers and only about 25% of TFAers.

In WA state, our retention after 5 years is about 75% (nothing to do with TFA), and it's useful to note the 25% that move on includes retirees, and teachers who move to teach in another state, so some portion are not leaving for another profession.

StopTFA said...

Talking about cherry-picking. I found it especially amusing when, after pawning off crap anecdotal information about their super-effectiveness to KSB, Janis Ortega has to qualify her statistics when Kay wanted to forward it to critics. "(these are) our internal metrics...although we always see to bridge to our validated studies." Validated by whom, their moms?

Dorothy Neville said...

Yes, StopTFA, I read that TfA defines 1.5 years of growth as achieving 80% on grade level assessment that they create. Janis' internal metrics gives a bigger picture of why they would do that. Fascinating.

Valid? Peer-reviewed? Meaningful? Not so much.

So EVERY TfA person who claims enormous and amazing growth in their classrooms, now you know how they are measuring it.

Sahila said...

I just want to know what it will take to get SPS parents, teachers, community out in the streets, saying ENOUGH IS ENOUGH...

full on testing boycotts

full on rolling stoppages at schools - students and teachers

mass publication of what is going on

picketing John Stanford Center

picketing all the astro-turf groups - their offices and events..

handing out flyers

pooling money and taking out ads in the media - print, radio, tv...

CHASE ED DEFORM OUT OF TOWN/THE STATE....

ACTION - LOUD AND LONG - make it onto the national scene....

IT WILL NOT BE IGNORED....

StopTFA said...

Dorothy, that must be the "New Math", part of TFA's Math Science Initiative they keep yammering about. Got one math major in the Seattle group. How's that initiative workin' for ya?