Wednesday, August 24, 2011

New Education Blog in Seattle

We are always delighted when others start their own discussions about education in Seattle. There are a number of blogs - some more active than others, some more public than others - in addition to this one.

I would like to introduce a newcomer to the discussion: Let it Rain... Close the Gap. There is a mirror site at http://letitrainclosethegap4.blogspot.com/, but I think that the one without the "4" is the main one. It's hard to say. Also there is a little problem with duplicate threads - not sure if they will fix that.

The blog is administered by Jess Hasken who, I believe, is a TFA alum (2007-2009), and is now working as an organizer for Stand for Children.

In one of her first blog posts, Ms Hasken wrote that this blog was part of a "misinformation campaign". When I responded with a comment asking her to quote some of that misinformation, my comment was deleted. So I guess it's going to be like that.

Welcome to the conversation Let it Rain.

By the way, Stand for Children has a blog, but it is heavily moderated and does not accept comments it doesn't like.

The Alliance for Education has a blog, but it is so heavily moderated that it doesn't publish any comments at all.

21 comments:

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, my comment is still there so cross your fingers.

(I mentioned how Stritikus had told the UW CoE students that he would pick one of them over a TFA recruit for his own children.)

Apparently, that's a choice he would like to make and yet the parents at Aki Kurose aren't being afforded that choice.

David said...

Thanks for doing this blog the way you do, Melissa, Charlie, and others. Open discussion can get contentious at times, it is true, but at least it is open.

Sahila said...

MY editor's eye was rather surprised to find typos on the sidebar of our "teacher" friend's blog.... hope she does better than that in her classroom!

Kinda funny!

seattle citizen said...

League of Education Voters has a blog. It doesn't publish any of my comments, no telling how many others it blocks.

That's funny that a moderated blog, such as this new one Charlie mentions (LIRCTG), would accuse SSS blog of being part of a "misinformation campaign" when SSS allows everyone to post but LITCTG moderates its blog and deletes those it doesn't like.

Talk about misinformation: more like MISSING information that is unfavorable to their position...

seattle citizen said...

hmmm, I tried to comment on the new TFA blog, but got this response from the blogger system:

"Your current account (my email) does not have access to view this page."

sooo.....has my account been blocked from commenting already? If so, how was THAT done?

Anonymous said...

I think the scariest and strangest thing about TFA is how much they monitor/control media coverage and how they all sound alike. Every news article or blog says either, "The best and the brightest," or something about being "deeply committed." How do they come out of a five-week training program all sounding exactly the same? It seems so strange that people coming from an organization that supposedly tries to create leaders and thinkers seems to have such a hard time thinking for themselves.

-Watching in Hawaii

StopTFA said...

I thought the post about the "Brilliant Compassionate Citizen" was a bit over the top!

Yes, misinformation. All the documents on www.Scribd.com/SPSLeaks must be forgeries.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Stop TFA, I thought "Brilliant Compassionate" was a bit much too. It reminded me of this post:

http://laststand4children.blogspot.com/2011/05/meet-monica-caldwell-our-new-east-coast.html

from the spoof site "Last Stand For Children First"

Teacher/Parent

Maureen said...

I'm confused about Emily Ehrlich, who is described on the LIR...CTG blog as 1st year TFA Corps Member Seattle/Puget sound and says she will be Teaching for Seattle.

But she has not been granted a conditional certification by the Board (they only voted on Kendra Abernathy and Katie Schmidt). Does anyone know if she has actually been placed? I'll ask there if no one knows, just want to make sure I'm not missing anything.

Charlie, your "Good Luck!..." comment is still posted there.

Dorothy Neville said...

Maureen, regardless of the realities of the job market, the budget, the fact that TfA CM were only allowed in the hiring pool, TfA was solidly confident that it would place 35 CM in Puget Sound, at least 25 in SPS and 10 in Federal Way. So they selected 35 (actually a few more to allow for attrition during summer institute) to be the 2011 Puget Sound TfA corps. That's why the bios on that blog list folk who haven't yet been hired. TfA is positive they will be.

Maureen said...

Thanks Dorothy, I went back and read the earlier posts so I see they are highlighting CMs who may or may not actually end up "Teaching for Seattle."

It might be interesting to put together a blog highlighting the skills and backgrounds of the hundreds of certified teachers who have applied for positions this year and are hoping to be placed. Too bad there isn't any grant money out there to pay someone to do that!

Sahila said...

From another source:


A quick google search yields:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/jesshasken

East King County Community Organizer
Stand for Children
Nonprofit; Political Organization industry
October 2009 – Present (1 year 11 months)

7th grade Science/Math Teacher
Teach for America (TFA)
Primary/Secondary Education industry
June 2007 – July 2009 (2 years 2 months)


So she's a paid organizer, blogging as part of her job, promoting the
agenda of her funders. It's telling that before getting her job as an
organizer, she worked as a TFA teacher for 2 years and then gave it
up.

Stand For Children is the group that was recently embarrassed when its
founder was caught on video bragging about busting teachers unions.
And it's the same Stand For Children that received grants from the
Walmart billionaires' Walton Foundation last year of over a million
dollars

Anonymous said...

I posted there but nothing has shown up yet. Probably won't, either.

-CT

seattle citizen said...

Maureen, you suggest doing bios of the hundreds of actual certs who have yet to be placed. As I wrote earlier, it would be interesting to FOIA not the names, but at least the numbers of people who applied to positions then given to TFA, and also the credentials of those who applied but were passed over for non-certified TFAers.

We will see TFAers in many positions come fall, no doubt, and I wonder how they will get those positions instead of fully certified teachers being offered the jobs.

WV is a Seattle sitasit, which is better than being a citizen because you get to...sit...

Braessae said...

seattle citizen said: it would be interesting to FOIA not the names, but at least the numbers of people who applied to positions then given to TFA, and also the credentials of those who applied but were passed over for non-certified TFAers.

Yes. I agree. It WOULD be inteeresting. But what I want to know is -- why isn't the Board curious enough that they are already asking for this. AND -- why isn't the SEA interested in this. Frankly, I don't want biased, thumb on the scale analysis from the SEA any more than I want it from District staff -- but wouldn't you think that the teacher's union (which the TfA members are all part of now, right) would have an interest in which of its members get hired based on standard credentials and experience, and which come through the various alt paths (including TfA)? I would think it a darn sight easier for the union (than for a bunch of parent bloggers, armed with the FOIA) to get the "scrubbed as to identity" information that SO OBVIOUSLY should be gathered and disseminated so Seattle parents and other taxpayers have a clue as to how the TfA "pathway" is working.

I would ask where the Times is -- but alas, we already know. For the stuff they write, they don't need any facts.

Charlie Mas said...

Comments on the Let it Rain blog are now moderated. Your comment will appear only after approval.

So much for the stated intention of the blog:

"This blog should be venue to share the stories of the individuals who believe that all children deserve an excellent education, the achievement gap can be closed, and education is a social justice issue. I hope that this becomes a place for you to share big thoughts and connect with others who want to make that happen."

Aunty Broad said...

This "Let it Rain" is a bullshit blog.

It's run by a Gates/ Stand for Children phony.

It is advertising masquerading as actual discussion.

Try posting a critical comment.

mirmac1 said...

I guess their postcard party was a washout. I figured I'd share with them an email sent to all principals, and well-received by quite a few. Supporting documents were sent as attachments. Gee, do you think they'll ok my post?

Dear (Principal)

As parents of students in Seattle Public Schools, we want to express our appreciation for your diligence and strong sense of duty when selecting and placing teachers in your building. Our children deserve quality, experienced teachers who are prepared on Day One to teach and nurture their students. It is for that reason we want to express our concerns about evident pressures to place ill-prepared Teach for America (TFA) recruits as teachers in your building. As you well know, Interim Superintendent Susan Enfield is moving forward with the TFA plan despite having no evidence that TFA interns perform better than fully certificated teachers. Furthermore, neither the Professional Educators Standards Board, the University of Washington (see attached "No Shortage of Math Science Teachers"), nor SPS believe there is a teacher shortage in any area. Interestingly, OSPI 2009 data shows that SPS has NO conditionally or emergently certificated teachers in core subject areas. OSPI, the PESB and SPS are obligated under the Washington NCLB Highly Qualified Teacher Equity Plan to reduce or eliminate the placement of limited certificated teachers without endorsements ("out-of-field" teachers).

In response to our concerns, SPS central administration has simply pointed to this language in the TFA Memorandum of Understanding: “'Nothing in this Agreement shall be construed to constitute a commitment for Seattle Public Schools to employ any Teachers or any specific number of Teachers under this Agreement.' (see Section III.A.i.) Thus, per the terms of the agreement, SPS has not agreed to take any teachers at all. We will have to get through the end of the hiring process to see if any TFA candidates are indeed hired. (We) would also note that our hiring is school-based, so it would be a school’s decision as to what an appropriate position would be for any teacher candidate, including any TFA candidates." Yet we suspect that considerable pressures will be brought to bear on you and your colleagues to hire these minimally-qualified interns ("Pressure Those Principals"). TFA and its supporters anticipate placements in the areas of math, science, special education. and ELL. ("TFA Projected Staffing") This despite UW faculty's concerns about placing these inexperienced interns with special-needs students or english-language learners ("SPED and ELL need two years").

We respectfully ask that you and your building hiring committee not succumb to these outside pressures, and continue to apply your good judgement. As parents, we want teachers who are deeply committed to the profession, not (for the most part temporary) intern teachers who look at their two year commitment as a stepping stone to a career outside of teaching. Please know that parents support the profession of teaching and the principal's need to build a strong collaborative staff team that will remain together. We realize that it takes multiple years to build a collaborative team and that filling jobs with temporary conditionally-certificated teachers does not work toward such a goal. We ask that school hiring teams make the critical choices that support experienced, effective teaching and ameriorate the impacts that turnover, RIFs and churn have on the learning environment.

Sincerely,
(signed by six active parents)

WV: they must think parents are morions.

mirmac1 said...

Dorothy,

Actually there are two more that never showed up. Oh well, my feelings aren't hurt : )

higher education marketing said...

I love to watch this blog. I am happy with the information provide here and very much satisfied with it.

Please keep it up.

ChristopherXLRY said...

I love to watch this blog. I am happy with the information provide here and very much satisfied with it. Please keep it up.