David Szatmary (a financial Vice-Provost) to Stritikus; he submitted a number of questions like:
- What assurance does UW have that the enrollments in TFA will increase to 50 in year 2? How long would we be willing to run the program at a loss if the increased enrollments do not occur?
- This is TFA's growth plan. They have hit their growth plans in virtually every district nationally. If I were a betting man (which I am), I'd say they'll hit it.
- First, it is more than a little terrifying for me to contemplate crossing rhetorical swords with the (highly respected) colleagues who have put these questions on the table in such a "loaded" way. I notice that I have this feeling despite enjoying a good measure of the privileges of gender, rank and race (not to mention the good will of said colleagues) that might ostensibly protect me from hard. (bold mine)
Professor McDonald goes on in another e-mail dated April 2011 to Professor Peck speaking of pushback from some other districts:
- The theme was that, in each case, the central office adm courting the project had not been in communication with their respective HR departments nor with their buildings. It's hard to gauge the severity of disconnect, because the folks that were talking to me about this are highly charged in their opposition but it made me worried about two things. That placements will materialize and the reception the corp members will get in the schools.
The next e-mail is is from Professor McDonald to Professor Peck about talking to a third Ed professor and is titled, "Gates precis" talking about - I believe - research around TFA:
- "Tom is hoping to pass this to Gates in a week or so -- we'll incorporate your feedback here before it goes out. The Gates conversation popped up fast between Tom and them. Let us know fast, though - my sense is the Gates folks have a pretty short attention span for TE work."
The next e-mail is in late April to Veronica Gallardo, SPS department of ELL, and Marni Campbell (Special Ed) from Professor Peck. To note from this one:
- We know that TFA is planning on sending folks in both Special Ed and ELL and we are particularly anxious to talk with each of you to begin thinking about how best to link, district, TFA and university supports for these novice teachers."
- He references talking to the local TFA rep: We talked a bit about SpEd. This is still going to need some massaging. They don't want to set up an expectation that the program will be a two-year-to-cert for some members and one year for others. Okay. On the other hand, as the certifying agent we aren't going to give someone a thumbs up for a cert twe are not comfortable recommending." He goes to say that the rep seemed to believe some of them might already have a SpEd cert. "Huh?" says I. "Well, it happens sometimes. They join because they want the cohort expereince but they may not need all the courses." "So how are they part of the cohort?" I think, but don't say." He goes on, "In any case, I think we need to keep at this. It's going to be very difficult to plan for this group in the abstract."
- Cap and I are wondering if it makes sense to send Robert and Janice an email regarding the possible sped and ell placements. We don't think we did a good enough job yesterday indicating that we fill (sic) confident in our ability to support such teachers in their second year and that we see a first placement for example in a special ed classroom as highly problematic." They then ask, "Would it be okay for us to express this to them?"
Then there's an e-mail in late May from Professor Isaac Gottesman in the Department of Ed at Iowa State University (and a grad from UW's COE and a member of the Alumni Advisory Board). Here's part of what he says to Stritikus, various other deans and faculty at UW:
- "As a professor at a public research university who teaches in a teacher preparation program and does scholarly work on the relationship between school and society, I also feel it is my professional responsibility to speak up. Put plainly, I am disheartened by this decision." His reason include: "the partnership is a betrayal of the COEs commitment to rigorous university-based teacher prep because it institutionally deems as equivalent and publicly deems acceptable TFAs shotgun approach to preparation; the partnership feels like a grab for Gates Foundation dollars because of the not-so hidden relationship between Gates and TFA; and the partnership is with an organization that consciously aligns itself with forces (including Gates) actively working to increase corporate influence on public education in deeply troubling ways. "
- "Overall, my nightmare is that TFA adopts an essentially 'two works' stance, hires someone with strong TFA/anti-university ideological/political commitments, operates independently of the University and takes up a lot of candidate time. All of which would operate to make it harder to carry out our work in a coherent and functional way. I know I am borrowing trouble here...the point is to get clear agreements early on about the nature and extent of collaboration."
Next up, what the e-mails between SPS and TFA show (one hint: someone up the food chain is a true ed reformer.)