Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Links to Latest SPS/TFA e-mails

For your reading interest:

TFA 1

TFA 2

TFA 3

TFA 4

TFA 5

TFA 6

One last thing for anyone from SPS or anyone who works for a government entity - your work e-mails are public e-mails.  That means anyone, at anytime can ask for them.

Food for thought.

26 comments:

mirmac1 said...

And if you send public business to a private email address, than that account is subject to search and disclosure.

Not too long ago a county councilperson sent public business to her home account, stripped off some of the address information and provided that for public disclosure. She lost the legal battle that ensued. The metadata (IP address, document properties and native format) is considered part of the public record that must be preserved.

Anonymous said...

mirmac1 - you sound kind of knowledgeable about this public disclosure stuff -

so if a teacher has some info about public school SITUATION A in their non-school yahoo or gmail or hotmail ... account - it actually doesn't strike me as terribly unreasonable that SITUATION A emails in the non-school account are open to public disclosure -

however - that doesn't mean that ALL the stuff in that 8 year old non-school yahoo account can be put on a blog ...??

JuticeForTheLittleGuyhahaha

mirmac1 said...

LittleGuy,

The public agency would ask that employee, relative, friend, whoever (remember Palin's hubby getting Alaska business emails?) to search for the records in a public disclosure request. Some agencies may redact personal email address on the basis of privacy concerns but that can be challenged.

The MRSC website has alot of helpful information on the subject.

Anonymous said...

The shock of the emails is this: It was not Goodloe-Johnson pushing for TFA. Not at all. In her emails, she was all business and in no hurry when TFA approached her to expand to Seattle.

The True Believer and Champion was Enfield. She put priority on this project. Very interesting.

-skeptical-

Anonymous said...

Food for thought indeed.

From J. Ortega (TFA) to S. Enfield:

I also read on one of the blogs that Harium wrote back to a community member in full support of Teach for America, which is great!

further on, still from J. Ortega:

It really bothers me that politics has to take time away from what really matters.

and earlier:

I've been connecting with our alumni in the classroom across the region and gearing them up to advocate on our behalf...[TFA] is really just about channeling additional leadership in education..."

-member of Melissa Westbrook and co.

Dorothy Neville said...

We have how many teachers? 6,000? 8,000? How many openings each year?

TfA's goal is to fill ten to thirty percent of all openings in a school district. That's not just one year, that's every year. (It's on a mission statement that I ensure gets up on SPSLeaks soon, if anyone cares to see it.)

Think of the long term implications. Sustainability? What model of teaching and learning would we have, as a district, as a country? Right now 20% of Harvard graduates apply to TfA. If TfA does grow as they want, won't they eventually have to accept all 20%? And more?

Anonymous said...

Ugh - lots of Janis Ortega/Susan Enfield mutual admiration society.
Why does TFA feel the need to contact the media so much? When a group feels the need to control the message to such an extent, I automatically get suspicious. Love the parent push back in the final set of documents, complete with citations of peer-reviewed research that TFA couldn't control.

It may be time for me to place an order with Amazon..
http://www.amazon.com/Learning-Other-Peoples-Kids-Becoming/dp/1607524422/

-CT

Melissa Westbrook said...

One thing to note from a previous batch of e-mails is a reference to Bill Gates saying he wished that TFA would be a 3-5 gig so that those who truly wanted to be teachers would be weeded out from those doing it as a short-term job.

Anonymous said...

Thank you to the folks that have read through these emails and posted them.

I have not looked them over thoroughly, so I may be missing something. I see at one point a district staffer (Holly Ferguson?) remarks that there are lots of teachers hired during Phase III, as if this will create an opening for TFA hires. There never seems to be a recognition by district staff that while, yes SPS hires lots of people, they also have 100 or more applicants for every teaching position during Phase III. Are district staffers really that out of touch with how this district works?

Why would a site-based hiring team, which almost always includes credentialed, university trained teachers recommend TFA hires? I was expecting to see district staff strategizing how to get principals to circumvent the recommendations of site-based hiring teams but I see nothing.

Am I missing something? I am pleased at how few TFAers were hired (and I would like to know how those folks at Aki got hired), but it is concerning to see how inept district staff is at getting their priorities accomplished. This just makes district staff seem clueless.

BTW - I started reading this blog last summer during the SERVE proposal debacle. Teachers were getting communications from the Board and Supt. that violated long standing protocols with lots of misinformation, putting everyone in a tizzy. I asked my building principal if she knew what was going on and she said that she read this blog to find out the scoop as the downtown district staff was notoriously unreliable.

Thanks,
Teacher/Parent

details, details said...

Not Bill Gates. See set 6 for the discussion of the Great Lakes meta-study. Janis refers to the studies included as "dubious" while the author points out that they were the peer-reviewed ones. HE said if TfA had a five year commitment it could be a great thing.

Anonymous said...

My favorite is the e-mail from Rebecca Neale of TFA, which says "I wanted to give you a heads up that Lynne Varner at the Seattle Times is working on a piece for Wednesday about the SPS-TFA partnership. We know so far that Lynne has spoken with the League of Education Voters, and they indicated she seems to be "all in" and wants to rebut some of the criticisms."

I know, I know. We already know the Times is mostly in the lap of union-bashers, plutocrats & oligarchs, but seeing it in print is still incredibly satisfying.

Thank you MW. Once again, I appreciate your efforts. WSDWG

zb said...

I'm really quite sad about these emails, more so than some of you who were cynics already. I do really (even now) believe that those in charge of SPS want the children to do well. What these emails show, though, is a completely cavalier attitude towards the possibility that anyone else might have any answers at all.

The point I find the most frightening, is that group of "anyone else" includes the teachers. I, personally, try to do my research so I understand, but I also know I'm not an expert. It doesn't horrify me if someone with a lot of experience approaches my comments with caution. But, the teachers really are the experts. It's ugly seeing Enfield respond positively to a comment that dismisses SPS teachers with cheerleading "Kimberly rocks."

I hate having people knock my rose colored glasses off (and it's not easy to do -- they're pretty firmly fixed).

Melissa Westbrook said...

Details, I was referring to a comment in a previous batch of e-mails (not this batch) about Gates' comment.

Teacher/Parent, some of us have checked in with principals and they mostly say they were not told anything about TFA and hiring them. As you see from the e-mails, TFA had wanted some sort of flag put on those resumes.

It is to the credit of the Board that they said, okay, TFA can apply for these jobs but only apply. It's up to those candidates to get interviews on their own merits and then be offered the job based on those merits and interview.

This is NOT the usual model for TFA and I think it is quite the setback for them. They do believe their recruits are the best and don't realize that for hiring committees, they are looking for someone who is good AND will be part of a teaching corps (not leave in two years or less).

Again, I still believe more will get placed because we will have some overcrowded and understaffed buildings on the first day of school (Michael DeBell said this himself).

But for now, I appreciate the careful thought that SPS site-based hiring teams are giving to each position.

Anonymous said...

The arrogance and disrespect from those who think they have all the answers, while the hard data staring them in the face says they don't, form the roots of my harshest criticisms of the Ed Reformers. It's been referred to as "class-based arrogance," but it might also be called "credential-based arrogance." Even though you can't teach, or haven't, a graduate degree or fancy college experience in something makes you better than a 30 year veteran.

Welcome to the backroom politics of the cowardly, ZB. It's what many of us have been watching, listening to, and uncovering from the get-go. And it represents the factionalism that our founding fathers feared and warned us about.

What's really rich is how they all move from high salaried job to higher salaried jobs while claiming to be "all about the children."

Have you all seen Sundquist's "putting students first" campaign signs, btw? Talk about "code-speak" and "dog whistle politics." Many over here believe he desires higher office and this is his "I'm your guy" signal to the moneyed interests in town. I can't disagree based on what I've seen. Oh well. WSDWG

Reader who hates cursing said...

On a separate note, do you really think that people search your posts using bullshit as a key word? Couldn't you choose a more appropriate term?

StopTFA said...

Melissa,

I think you give the Board way too much credit. They got their sit-down with Janis. She fawns over them and throws her imaginary numbers around (internal metrics, mind you).

Meanwhile, she's meeting the Glenn Bafia at SEA and writing language for Holly Ferguson to put in the Board action report.

All it takes to get something done at SPS is to have dinner with the CAO at swanky restaurants (with BIG glasses of WINE), and schmooze the Board Directors. Thank you Betty Patu for seeing through that phoniness.

Anonymous said...

mirmac1 at 11:08

thanks thanks for the link.

while my commingling of work and home hasn't been iron clad berlin wall clear - my home email has nothing nada zip about school personal issues cuz ... I purposely keep all that stuff on school computers for CMA!

however ... I had this ... 'brilliant' ... ?? idea a few years ago that when I did work at home, if I emailed it to my school account from my gmail account, as long as I could get to the internet, the file wouldn't be gone at 6:50 a.m. ... for any one of the 6 million reasons email barfs when you're depending on it, cuz at 6:50, when I'm trying to print it, so I can beat the copier rush, so I can be ready for kids at 8:00 --- the printer is on the fritz, or the toner is gone, or the ...

oh well. thanks again for the link -

I was worried that because I made a word doc about throwing dice for a probability lesson, 8 years of my personal email would be on a blog!

that only seemed logical from the perspective that the legal system too frequently only works for the big guyz.

LittleGuy

mirmac1 said...

We're all about enacting justice for the little guy here. Doubt there are that many Ph.D's and CEO's reading the blog...yet!

Chris S. said...

I have an anecdotal comment I want to share. There's this wonderful guy at the community center summer camp where my kid is going, and my dad heard him say he was finishing up at UW and planning on getting a masters and teaching. And I said to my dad, you know, most of those kids (young adults, but you know, I'm old) in those camp/afterschool care jobs (and as far as I can tell, ALL of the really good ones) want to be teachers.

I just like that people who obviously love working with kids, are good with working with kids are available! And I just wonder - how many TFA-ers spent their college summers with kids? I think that would be another great way to distinguish between real teacher wanna-bees and teach-for-awhiles.

ps: I tried to post something like this over on the new TFA blog (asking for short bios on this mythical corps of 35), but failed - problem with my google account. Feel free to quote me other there.

Anonymous said...

Susan Enfield spent inordinate time and, particularly, energy
during her tenure as Chief ACADEMIC Officer currying favor with a group with a political agenda that has shown no signficant gains for students.

In the meantime, the achievement gap widened, the math scores plummeted, and scores of young students were put into the fast track for underemployment and jail.

SHE DIDN'T THINK OF THESE STUDENT AT ALL IN THESE EMAILS. Instead, she was using a highly paid job to promote a political and personal agenda.

She then has the gall to fire a highly regarded principal because of the achievement gap at his school.

This demonstrates a character that has no business leading our school district.

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

Andrew Davidson said...

By the way, SPS folks:

As public employees, it is not only our email messages that are subject to requests for public disclosure, but also any footprint data we leave on our district computers.

This includes things like a list of websites that we visit while logged in on district accounts.

.andy

mirmac1 said...

Andy,

You're typing this off the clock, right?

ConcernedSPSParent said...

Can a Board member's email be
subject to a FOIA request?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Concerned SPS, I believe if it is under the seattleschools.org address, yes you can.

Dorothy Neville said...

Concerned parent, yes, what you send to the board is public, but up to a point. If you share personal details of your child, that gets redacted under FERPA. Likewise, your home phone and address would most likely be redacted. But in this batch, Joan Sias's email address wasn't redacted.

If you were to discuss something of a personnel issue, that would probably be redacted as well. At least names would be (although, humans do the redaction and I have seen names accidentally get left in).

Andrew Davidson said...

"You're typing this off the clock, right?"

Off the clock, off the SPS email, and most definitely off the furlough day!