Thursday, February 16, 2012

Motion to Cancel TFA Contract

This evening the Board Curriculum and Instruction Committee met as a committee of the whole. Five board members were in attendance. A majority of them want a motion to terminate the district's contract with Teach for America. The motion will appear as an introduction item at the March 7 board meeting and as an action item at the March 21 board meeting. The deadline for terminating the contract for next year is April 1.



If the contract is terminated the six Teach for America corps members who were hired this year will continue as teachers for at least another year. After that, they will continue as teachers only if they have acquired their certification. Of course the teachers can resign at any time if they so choose.

Director Peaslee spoke in favor of termination saying all of the usual things said in opposition of using Teach for America corps members as teachers in Seattle: she cited studies that show that Teach for America corps members are no more effective than other novice teachers, and that novice teachers are the least effective. She also noted that we have plenty of experienced, fully certificated teachers to choose from and that novice teachers are a burden on their colleagues.

Director Patu also spoke in favor of terminating the contract saying that she never supported the idea and that the decision to hire Teach for America corps members offended our teacher corps.

Director Martin-Morris said that he wasn't much interested in data from other cities. He regarded all of the studies about Teach for America as inconclusive. He said that we did not yet have any data on the effectiveness of Teach for America corps members here in Seattle and that he wanted the board to make data-driven decisions. He said that it made no sense to decide to terminate the contract in the absence of any data. He advocated continuing the contract.

Director DeBell also spoke in favor of continuing the contract. He, like, Director Martin-Morris, pointed out that all six of the Teach for America corps members hired in Seattle schools were hired through the regular competitive process. He noted that whatever the perceived short-comings of their training, they were the choice of the hiring committees that selected them. He said that Teach for America was an experiment and that we shouldn't terminate it without seeing the results.

Director McLaren, the committee chair, spoke in favor of terminating the contract and echoed some of the reasons provided by her colleagues - the teacher corps were insulted by the contract, novice teachers are a need a lot of support from their colleagues, and we have plenty of teacher candidates without the Teach for America corps members in the candidate pool.

I noticed that neither Director Martin-Morris nor Director DeBell mentioned the expanded candidate pool as a rationale for continuing the contract. Nor did either of them suggest that the Teach for America corps members were among the "best and the brightest". Director Martin-Morris did refer to them as "talented and gifted" but not in a way that suggested that other teachers were not so. Neither Director Martin-Morris nor Director DeBell mentioned the impact of Teach for America on the diversity of our teacher corps.

Finally, as a personal observation, if the absence of local data makes Director Martin-Morris think that we have no basis for taking the action of terminating the contract, then isn't it equally true that the absence of local data gave no basis for taking the action to start the contract? I understand that this was an experiment, and we do not yet have data from it, but that doesn't preclude us from asking the more basic question: "Should we be conducting this experiment in the first place?"

66 comments:

Patrick said...

Woohoo!

I know, we still have to hear from the whole board, but it's still cause for optimism.

Eric M said...

Director Martin-Morris said, " We will ignore data if the data points to a conclusion we disagree with, based on our directions from our corporate sponsors in the Alliance for Education."
I paraphrase...

I looked Mr. DeBell right in the eye when I said last night at the School Board meeting that Teach for America was an insult to working teachers.

He renewed the insult.

StopTFA said...

The board is on its way to applying district resources in practical, effective ways, not based on backroom deals and in cahoots with regulators who ignore their own WAC. It is never too late to begin acting with integrity and wisdom. Director DeBell continues to disappoint, however.

David said...

We do have data on TFA, the data from other cities that say they are no more effective than other novice teachers and novice teachers are the least effective. Director Martin-Morris' claim that Seattle is unique, that we need our own data here in Seattle, that we cannot learn from the experiments and experience of other cities, is absurd.

I am very sympathetic to their goals around improving education, but I wish the Gates Foundation would act like intelligent, rational, thinking scientists rather than ideologues. They should be seeking to experiment, build on what works, and stop doing what does not. The data says TFA and charters do not work. They do not produce results. Stop trying to push through things that don't work.

There are things that have been shown to work, such as eliminating summer vacation (summer learning loss) and longer school hours (Harlem Children's Zone). How about supporting experiments around those? Or, if you'd like something nice and local, how about experiments around math curriculums (such as replacing Discovery Math with, say, Singapore Math, as many parents have been begging for and as been shown to produce great results at the few of our schools that have been allowed to do it)?

StopTFA said...

How much you wanna bet this will make national news. Just like Cobb Cty and Sacramento that said no thanks to TFA.

Melissa Westbrook said...

David, that is exactly the point.

NO ONE wants the status quo but there are other things that can be done.

SPS hired 7 TFA. They added costs to the district, in time and resources. They are only funded through this year. If the district can't find the funding for next year, they will tell TFA sorry (they can according to the contract). I'm sure TFA wouldn't want it to get out that districts can get TFA teachers without the pricetag.

Enough.

Disgusted said...

Patrick, Don't be too optimistic. I'm expecting a 4-3 vote to retain TfA.

DeBell can no longer hide behind Maier and Sundquist. He is firmly planted in the reformist and politico camps.

Dorothy Neville said...

There's a whole other reason to consider terminating the contract. Not only do novice teachers require more of their fellow teachers, the conditionally certificated teachers require much more hand-holding from the district central staff and much more work for HR. We are in the second year into a multi-year hiring freeze, when central staff really has been cut, when the Audit and Finance Committee has serious reservations about pushing staff to move forward with necessary Risk Assessment work, necessary changes in management procedures for ensuring ethical behavior and audit compliance, all because they are worried that there just isn't enough staff available to adopt the changes with integrity.

Director Carr and the rest of the A&F committee have listened to Mr Staudt of Risk Assessment explain how the whole district can improve by adopting Risk Assessment models. They know that this is a much needed change. If the district had a culture and expectation of risk management, we would have had objective and honest reports of the risks associated with under or over predicting capacity, with missing projections on attendance boundaries, with understanding whether or not Transportation changes really would save the expected money. Yet they are worried about proceeding because without enough staff time to implement it wholeheartedly, it will be a sham and will damage the district further.

So in that context, can they really support a handful of conditional certificated employees hired each year? With all the extra paperwork and levels of attention needed to stay in compliance? Hasn't HR proved themselves not up to the task by not submitting the applications for conditional certificates until November? How many TfA teachers were working under emergency substitute certificates? How many of them were out of compliance, since emergency sub certs have a very limited lifespan?

How can the board, responsible for oversight and compliance, justify the extra burden put on central staff to obey the laws regarding the handful of conditional certificates when there are alternatives, plenty of fully certificated teachers to hire?

StopTFA said...

And my soon to be filed public records lawsuit against the UW will reveal the fat donors the lowly UW went to hat in hand. The trash and scuttlebutt isn't over.

Principals who were, along with their handpicked hiring teams, willing to "select" TFA were Mia Williams, Keisha Scarlett, Jeff Clark, and Dwane Chappelle (the latter did not seem gungho on this, like the others). At least one crossed an ethical line and should be called on it.

The Washington State Executive Ethics Board is investigating Jennifer Wallace of the PESB. Next would be state employee Tom Stritikus.

Then I may ask for Tim Burgess' public records on some of these matters.

There are many layers to this stinky onion.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever observed a new TFA teacher in Seattle teach?
Do you know any of the teachers' data so far?
Do you know how other staff members feel about the new TFA staff?

I would like to see your proof (from Seattle) that supports your claims. "Not only do novice teachers require more of their fellow teachers, the conditionally certificated teachers require much more hand-holding from the district central staff and much more work for HR."

You've made a claim, now show us the proof from the district or the schools themselves...

-Evidence Required (just like we teach our kids)

Dorothy Neville said...

I will allow the school board directors, as shared by Charlie, to answer the bit about teachers in the building needing to help novice teachers out. As for all the central office work, the amount of time Holly Ferguson has had to spend, the lack of follow through of getting conditional certificates in a timely manner, the insistence on TfA recruits to apply for special ed positions even though HR said it was illegal to hire a conditional certificate for special ed, the need to hire a certificated sub while waiting for the emergency substitute certificate to get processed (isn't that ironic?) all of that is available on Scribe.com via SPSleaks. http://www.scribd.com/SPSLeaks

StopTFA said...

Here's your evidence, take your pick

Since the case was never made that TFA worked, that they actually provide superior teaching and raise the quality of the teacher core, it is incumbent upon them to make their case. Out in the open. Not in restaurants over BIG glasses of wine. Of course something that can stand on its merits doesn't need such a sneaky process, now does it.

Anonymous said...

I've read every email on spsleaks, but you still fail to provide evidence of the extra work at the school level. Saying that board members can speak for you; shows me that you don't have the evidence.

Let's also remember to try to answer the question that was asked. Answering off topic will earn you a zero on the MSP, don't you know? Better practice what we teach...

-practice

Dorothy Neville said...

Note I pointed out novice teachers as requiring more help, all novice teachers. So,why would I assert that? From having been a novice teacher, from having worked with novice and experienced teachers, from observing the novice and experienced teachers at my son's schools. From the fact that the SPS SEA collective bargaining agreement calls for providing for mentors for novice teachers. From reading many blog /diaries on the TfA teachforus site and others. Teaching is hard and I don't know of any novice teacher, including myself, that managed it all well without time and support from colleagues.

But of course we will always have novice teachers, that's why experienced teachers are willing to help and The district is willing to agree with a CBA and budget to provide star mentors. The time and effort pays off when that novice becomes experienced and contributes to the profession.

Anonymous said...

Dorothy about "Evidence..."

New people to any profession require more hand holding, training, resources ...

There is an intern in my building who is spending 6 months on site to get her masters in teaching - to think that person will need the same level of training and hand holding as someone with a 5 week wonder crash course isn't worthy of rational response -

Hello "Evidence...", evidently a TFA shill. Get to your point - how Wendy Kopp is saving the world, and isn't just another know nothing 6 figure a year parasite assisting the aristocrat class in their attempts to ruin anything that is beneficial to the serfs.

ShillsShill

Anonymous said...

Shillshills, really? Again, off topic and way out of context. All I keep hearing is broad generalizations about TFA as a whole. You have TFA teachers in your district and now you want then gone; however, you have yet to look, see, or have proof of hearing anything about what these teachers are, or are not, accomplishing.

-evidence

dan dempsey said...

"Director Martin-Morris said that he wasn't much interested in data from other cities. He regarded all of the studies about Teach for America as inconclusive. He said that we did not yet have any data on the effectiveness of Teach for America corps members here in Seattle and that he wanted the board to make data-driven decisions. He said that it made no sense to decide to terminate the contract in the absence of any data. He advocated continuing the contract."

=======================
As usual HM-M is the king of smoke and mirrors. It does not bother him when the law is NOT followed. He ignores that FACT.

The SBARs on TFA conditional certs failed in a variety of ways to comply with WAC requirements and Enfield did not file applications in a timely manner NOR did she apply for the conditional certs using the reason the SBAR authorized.

TIMELY? Introduction and Action on September 7th is in the best interest of the district because it will allow the candidates to receive their conditional certificates sooner than if action were postponed until September 21st. ... Yet Enfield delayed into November before filing the applications.

Sec VI: Bringing forward a request for conditional certificates is specifically contemplated in the Teach for America agreement, Section I (C), which states “Seattle Public Schools agrees to request conditional certificates for all Teach for America corps members on the grounds that circumstances warrant the issuance of such certificates, as permitted by WAC 181-79A-231.”

Enfield made application based on the the statement that these TFA CMs were unusually talented. (Which they are NOT.) The SBAR did not authorize such a claim.
============================

SBAR states: In the case of Teach for America corps members, the conditional certificate is being requested because circumstances within Seattle Public Schools “warrant consideration of issuance of a conditional certificate.” The option to hire Teach for America teachers is one strategy that the district is pursuing in our efforts to close the achievement gap which, according to the Public Educator Standards Board, is an appropriate circumstance for seeking conditional certificates.

===================

dan dempsey said...

WAC 181-79A-231 sec 1(a) (a) The purpose of the conditional certificate is to assist local school districts, approved private schools, and educational service districts in meeting the state's educational goals by giving them flexibility in hiring decisions based on shortages or the opportunity to secure the services of unusually talented individuals. The professional educator standards board encourages in all cases the hiring of fully certificated individuals and understands that districts will employ individuals with conditional certificates only after careful review of all other options. The professional educator standards board asks districts when reviewing such individuals for employment to consider, in particular, previous experience the individual has had working with children.

BUT the district NEVER conducted a careful review of all other options to using TFA to close achievement gaps. The BOARD was well aware of this run around and evaded their responsibility. This question about when the required careful review occurred was repeatedly asked in testimony and in letters. Carol Simmons received a response from Holly Ferguson in which it was clear that this required careful review was never performed.

BUT six members of the Board and Enfield DID NOT CARE

HM-M continually evades a discussion of his failure to look at TFA data through an OBJECTIVE LENS ... choosing instead the "inconclusive label"..... BUT when it comes to actual compliance with WAC 181-79A-231 he is completely silent .... just like all six were silent about the lack of the required careful review of all options to close achievement gaps.

IT IS REALLY CLEAR .... when there is no justification for an action the pseudo intelligent "data based" leaders trot out the achievement gap. This time they cried "ACHIEVEMENT GAP" but failed to perform the required legal action of conducting a careful review of all options to close the gap.

SEE Holly Feguson's answers to Carol Simmons' questions #4 and #5 HERE.

TFA Legal Appeal of Board Action

This appeal might have effected Enfield's eventual filing of conditional cert action. Enfield checked the first box on the "Conditional Cert" applications rather than the second box which she had been authorized to check as it is for "Circumstances Warrant". SEE page 4 HERE

================
Summary:
(1) The requirements of WAC 181-79A-231 were not met and the 6 members that voted for this action to Authorize Enfield to seek conditional certs knew the WAC requirements had NOT been met.

(2) Enfield made a bogus claim to OSPI in requesting the conditional certs.

(3) IMO any director who votes to continue the TFA contract is voting for legal violations as a method for getting the work of the Oligarchs' work done. This seeking of conditional certs for TFA CMs was completed in an illegal manner.

dan dempsey said...

Director DeBell also spoke in favor of continuing the contract. .... He said that Teach for America was an experiment and that we shouldn't terminate it without seeing the results.

Did Director DeBell let parents know initially that the SPS was conducting an experiment upon their children and seek written permission from "fully informed" parents to conduct an experiment on their children?

Or was this just business as usual?

These "teacher trainees" did not even have conditional certificates when this SPS experiment began. Were parents made aware that for several months their children would be taught by teachers with "Emergency Substitute Credentials".

WAC 181-79A-231:
(3) Emergency certification.

(a) Emergency certification for specific positions may be issued upon the recommendation of school district and educational service district superintendents or approved private school administrators to persons who hold the appropriate degree and have substantially completed a program of preparation in accordance with Washington requirements for certification: Provided, That a qualified person who holds regular certification is not available or that the position is essential and circumstances warrant consideration of issuance of an emergency certificate:

We know there were a considerable number of regularly certified "Subs" available ... but the district ignores laws and runs around laws. Acountability and transparency are huge fairy tales.

Apparently the SPS does not give a hoot about legal requirements or informing parents of students in high minority/ high poverty schools that their children are experimental subjects.

The Sky is falling, the Sky is falling ... it is all about the achievement gaps and anything goes.

Anonymous said...

Evidence, your evidence is right there in front of you. If a 5 week TFA trained teacher is great and the answer, then schools, districts, and parents would be clammering for them. Thing is a new person in any profession need on the job training. It is an investment by the people and organization that hire them. Talk to people, even ed reformers type will telll you, it takes about 5 years for teachers to become good at what they do. To develop some expertise in their profession. That isn't what TFA is about. There maybe some great TFAs out there and hopefully they will stay in teaching, but that isn't the premise TFA is based upon. So when you talk about where to spend limited education dollars and resources, the concerns about TFA is quite valid.

The discussion here is about teachers and its profession and TFA's goal isn't to develop teaching as a profession. It is a novel idea I'lll grant you that, but its more of a luxury than a "must have" for Seattle schools. Unfortunately, we can't afford TFA.

-counting pennies and dimes

dan dempsey said...

Hummm so I am wondering about

Anonymous Disgusted said...

Patrick, Don't be too optimistic. I'm expecting a 4-3 vote to retain TfA.
===================

Yet directors are obligated to uphold the constitution and the laws of the state.... Failure to support the provisions of WAC 181-79A-231 ..... seems like it may be time for another RECALL attempt for the "Four" if this goes 4-3 to keep on TFAing.

suep. said...

@-pracice/evidence -- This much we do know: Two TFA-trained teachers who worked for SPS and have been highlighted by the local media have left already. Chrissy Coxon, who was featured in a series by the Seattle Times, left West Seattle Elementary and SPS after only one year. The ubiquitous Chris Eide, who gets quoted often by the Seattle Times, quit his teaching job at Mercer Middle School to become a lobbyist/activist for the Gates funded non-union "Teacher's United" operation.

Aside from that, I agree what others have written about all new teachers needing extra help and mentoring from more experienced teachers. The trouble with the TFA,Inc. model is these recruits are only required to stay in the profession for two years -- making them permanent novices during their TFA stint. Apparently only about 32 percent of them choose to stay in the classroom after their third year (a higher rate of attrition than professionally certified teachers).

TFA, Inc. likes to say that as many as 65 percent or so of its trainees stay "in education" -- but that mostly means in administration, ed related businesses or politics.

Even TFA, Inc. CEO Wendy Kopp openly states that the purpose of TFA is not to create teachers but to create "leaders."

suep. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
suep. said...

Also -- It's entirely possible that the 7 TFAers who were hired by SPS in the last year or so will remain in the profession and mature into great teachers. But the question is, was all the time, effort, money and clandestine activity that went on, on the part of our current interim supt, previous supt, certain school board members, and UW Dept of Ed leadership, to get those 7 teachers into our pool of 3,000 SPS teachers worth it?

Even Sherry Carr admitted not long ago that 'too much political capital had been spent' on bringing TFA, Inc. to SPS.

Anonymous said...

Sue P. has it right. Like everything else SPS needs to start looking at opportunity cost here. TFA has divided this city, angered the majority of the teacher corps and led to actions in the central offic that border on the unseemly. There are better ways to strengthen our teaching corps.

-critical-

SP said...

TFA hiring & expanding the Seattle-Tacoma market again? (from idealist.org)
"The Temporary Operations Coordinator will support the Seattle-Tacoma Specialist, Regional Operations
in the ongoing work to build strong regional logistics, facilitate the expansion of the Seattle-Tacoma
corps, and support regional projects."

dan dempsey said...

Charlie wrote:

I understand that this was an experiment, and we do not yet have data from it, but that doesn't preclude us from asking the more basic question: "Should we be conducting this experiment in the first place?"

--------------
Charlie knows it is an experiment and DeBell says it is an experiment. Oddly there is not a statement about this being an experiment in any Action Report on TFA. There is an experiment being run ... but it was unannounced.

How would any parent know their child was in an SPS experiment?

This was a strategy to close achievement gaps according to the Action Reports. There was no mention of it being experimental.

Did Director DeBell make sure that all the subjects of this experiment were informed that they were subjects in an experiment? Did they sign consent forms?

The children could have had the fully certificated individuals as teachers and the parents might have believed that the SPS would employ individuals with conditional certificates only after careful review of all other options. It was another SPS FAKE OUT.

DeBell and Martin-Morris are disgusting on this one. The 1% runs these two on this item. ... The laws and policies mean nothing.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Debate all you want. Does not matter. This will come down to 2 votes: Carr and Smith-Blum. DeBell and Martin-Morris are clearly pro, and the others are no.

When was the last time Carr voted against establishment wishes? And now with huge pressure on her?

Smith-Blum has to know she's the swing vote here. Bet she natters on and on at the meeting, but votes to retain them. That's what she did the first time. Why change the second time? Her peers are the downtownies. They know it and she knows it. Wouldn't help to lobby her and Carr, but don't be surprised to be relegated to the D list of priorities in favor of the A list of Alliance-types.

Eyes Wide Shut

cascade said...

Peter Maier in what I deem his only shining moment asked that data be gathered on the results of TFA in Seattle. Where is it? What does it say? If there aren't enough recruits to gather data, that should be a datapoint too. Do we want this experiment to continue?

Take that and add the expenditure of emotional and physical effort to deal with this organization. I read the SPS Leaks documents and note that this organization is exhausing in its assumption that this district will drop everything for it.

Take those data points and make a decision.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Evidence, I would refer you to my thread, TFA - The Give that Just Keeps on Giving."

There is documentation from e-mails among HR staff and senior staff about the time it was taking.

Documentation that the district had to pay a real teacher sub to babysit one TFA recruit because he did NOT have the necessary documentation.

Documentation that the principals and ex directors ALL had to go to a separate meeting before school started to learn about TFA (even if they had no TFA recruits in their school).

We have all these e-mails and there's no confusion about what they are saying. That Holly Ferguson, the district's Governance person, wryly said that TFA is just the gift that keeps on giving, should tell you something.

Anonymous said...

Agreed that this is the biggest vote KSB will have in her remaining term on the board.

It's true colors time. She can speechify, but her vote will define her.

I also hold out faint hope that Sherry will vote no. Very faint but not impossible.

Savvy Voter

StopTFA said...

Eyes Wide Shut,

Why change the second time? I would say KSB has read and learned much more of the TFA machinations. Carr should be concerned about more embarassing audits.

As "business-types" they should realize that our time and money is better spent elsewhere.

If they think I am done with the big reveal, uh sorry no.

Charlie Mas said...

Evidence is, of course, correct. So, too, was Director Martin-Morris. We do not have any data on the performance of the six Teach for America corps members now working in Seattle Public Schools.

But the performance of these six teachers is entirely beside the point.

First of all, six teachers do not make a statistically significant sample. It's just too few. Look at Federal Way where, I believe, they hired four teachers and one of them has already resigned. It would be irresponsible to try to derive any kind of larger conclusion about the efficacy of Teach for America in Washington from the performance of these ten corps members. I wouldn't want to put that kind of pressure on them.

Also, the call for local data and for data-based decisions is a sham. If only local data matters to Director Martin-Morris then he had no data to support the contract in the first place.

All of this reminds me of the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. The rationale keeps changing as each reason offered is proven false. First we were told that Teach for America corps members were the "best and the brightest". Then we were told that they were especially dedicated. Then we were told that they had a special focus on closing the gap. Now we're told it's an experiment. I'm not saying that it isn't an experiment, but my trust is eroded by the shifting rationale. I know what experiments look like, with controls and measures, and I don't see any evidence of that sort of thing.

Even if it were an experiment, it is perfectly legitimate to ask whether it is an experiment that we want to continue. Just because we can do something doesn't mean that we should do it.

Charlie Mas said...

It's always tricky to predict a vote.

It's clear that Directors Peaslee, Patu, and McLaren will vote to terminate the contract with Teach for America.

It's equally clear that Directors Martin-Morris and DeBell will vote to continue the contract.

It's less clear how Directors Carr and Smith-Blum will vote. They both voted to approve the contract last year. They both said that they wanted to give the principals every option possible and that they relied on the principals to make the right choice - a corps member is that person were the right hire or a certificated teacher if that person were the right hire for their school.

Of all of the rationale for opening our teacher candidate pool to Teach for America corps members this is, without a doubt, the weakest.

Hey, if we really believed this, then we would allow anyone - absolutely anyone - to apply for our teaching jobs. Certificated or not, if you think you have what it takes to be a teacher, come on down. I understand the rationale for limiting the candidate pool to certificated teachers, but once we can justify expanding it beyond that set of people, where is the justification for drawing another line which includes only the 35 people in one specific program - especially when there are a number of similar programs all around the state? There are a plethora of alternative certification pathways. The people in each of them should all have equal access. If you're going to make this about alternative certification then make it about alternative certification, not about Teach for America.

StopTFA said...

I absolutely agree, Charlie. I've seen apps for conditional certs for science or math teachers with 20 years work in industry, advanced degrees, years of volunteer work tutoring or mentoring students. I would, in no way, oppose their selection and hire. Take this experienced, but not fully certified Math/Science teacher at Highline: B.A. Physics, B.S. Engineering, M.S. Engineering, Cornell, UPS, Microsoft test engineer, currently enrolled at SPU. Yeah, he looks good (understatement). I wouldn't even mind two or three emails from Ferguson, Treat, or Apostle to get him. : )

Pressure Mongers said...

I suspect the civic elite and political forces in this town will be pushing for TfA in Creative Approach Schools. Don't underestimate pressure and fear tactics.

Dorothy Neville said...

It's hard to believe that anyone would question the fact that novices to a profession require more work and support of their colleagues than experienced folk. That's to be expected in any profession. What is unique here for TfA novices is the amount of administrative time needed to deal with the compliance issues of hiring non-certificated employees and turning them into conditionally certificated staff. That's where Seattle has demonstrated failure. The HR department this year demonstrated that they did not have the manpower or the knowledge to comply with the regulations for emergency subs and conditional certs. That is an element of fiscal impact (and potential audit finding impact) that was not acknowledged by the board or staff in Fall 2010, even though it was brought up in public testimony. Public testimony proved to be right.

Let's see what board members have said when other decisions are made without considering fiscal impact. Last week at the Transportation Oversight Worksession, Transportation revealed that they projected they will be going over budget by two million dollars this year. Believe me, the board was not happy. Why the shortfall? Well, one of the main reasons offered was that they had an elaborate plan for efficient use of buses -- we all know about that and the three tiered bell schedules. Well, the preschools determined on their own that they wanted to change their bell times, that it would be better for the children. So they did, without any pushback from Transportation or general discussion or mention to the board (unless this came up in Ops, did it?). And that completely wiped out efficient use of special ed buses. As Sherry Carr, chair of A&F, said, Every decision needs to consider fiscal impact.

New TfA recruits cannot be hired until August at the earliest. As we saw this year, some were hired after school started. This means that there will be ongoing issues with getting conditional certs at the last minute, with getting emergency sub certs and with having to hire certificated subs to stand in for TfA hires that don't have their paperwork in hand. Our district simply does not have the resources to handle the extra work.

And, both the new internal auditor Andrew Medina and the SAO have listed HR as one of the top priorities for audits this year.

Melissa Westbrook said...

PM, I have no doubt of it. And that's a big reason to pass charter legislation. Charters hire lots of TFA (you should see Louisiana).

UW desperately needs more TFA for their program or they will have a hard time explaining their subsidizing a program when the rest of the university is making deep cuts (with more coming).

So yes, the pressure is on.

Pressure Monger said...

o"UW desperately needs more TFA for their program or they will have a hard time explaining their subsidizing a program when the rest of the university is making deep cuts (with more coming).

So yes, the pressure is on."

Absolutely. Creative Approach schools would provide an excellent opportunity for TfA.

Jack Whelan said...

The main thing that matters now is where KSM stands. She'll be the swing vote, and it's important to think which of these arguments against TFA will get her to change her previous support. I suspect she'll make the "experiment needs more time argument."

And on hyper-political issues like this one, are facts really relevant, or is it more about what your primary constituency wants? It's clear who HMM's, SC's, and MDB's primary constituency is and what it wants. Not sure which constituency has the most influence on KSM.

Anonymous said...

"Absolutely. Creative Approach schools would provide an excellent opportunity for TfA."

Here that teachers? Jonathan and Glenn looking out for you once again.

Mr Ed

Anonymous said...

Charlie or other board meeting perennials, this seems one for you: The COMMITTEE pushed forward a motion to cancel TFA. How often does the board as a whole overwrite a committee recommendation?

I can't remember it happening period, but admittedly I don't watch that minutely. It's more a feeling that it would be odd to overrride a committee recommendation. Bad Board Appearance and all that. Isn't that what DeBell is all about? Smooth and professional board operations?

EdVoter

StopTFA said...

It does not surprise me that Evidence may not feel TFA novices require more support than other novice teachers. This study demonstrates that TFA corps members did not feel teacher training was useful.

So NOT Amazing!

“I think some of the activities were busy work or seemed below us. We understand the value of practice but we are also educated adults.”

"I want an instructor who understands where I’m coming from. My education is secondary, and since we are actually teaching real students, I would appreciate an instructor that understands that and can cater to my needs."


There are some that view knowing how to teach is an intrinsic quality, that any "educated adult" should have. Hey, having helped my child with her math, I KNOW I would suck at teaching.

Dora Taylor said...

An EXPERIMENT! That's just great, it's OK to experiment on our students? What on earth for!?

And Harium not wanting to look at studies, studies that have been peer-reviewed? Oh that's right, let's not learn from the mistakes of others. Let's just keep marching down this road and make the same mistakes all over again.

That argument is as lame as the first one he had about another tool in the toolbox.

If that's the best that DeBell and Harium can do to support keeping TFA,Inc. here, I would say that's just not enough.

dan dempsey said...

One thing for sure .... Seattle State Auditor's Office investigator Tony Martinez will have a lot of information for his next report of findings in the SPS by the time the Board gets done ignoring WAC 181-79A-231 and the real requirements for conditional certs and emergency sub certs.

As to cost .... how much has the district sunk into Freimund, Jackson, Tardiff etc. in Olympia defending its TFA action?

Does it make any difference to DeBell, Carr, KSB, or HM-M that the evidence is continually ignored to continue this ongoing sham?

This is part of the destruction of teaching as a profession in WA State.

With the cut backs in funding in WA State came a Supreme Court decision that said "The constitution is being violated" ... but we really won't care much until 2018.

Here are direct examples of what is happening ... and the WEA are helping it to happen. Teachers in special education classes who had had 3 paraprofessionals in the past now have only 1. These same highly skilled professional teachers are unable to do the job and are being forced to resign.

How many teacher resignations occurred in Seattle each year over the last 5 years? Most of these resignations this year will appear voluntary .... but some of what appears voluntary is NOT.

Some Highly skilled experienced teachers are being forced out ... that is part of the experiments in WA State.

The real experiment is how often those in power can violate the written laws of WA. "Too often" is the answer.

The charter bill and the teacher evaluation bill do a great job of diverting attention away from those responsible for providing effective leadership.

There certainly are problems ... but the biggest ones are at the TOP. Most of the proposed "changes" are NOT "solutions".

TFA was never a solution for anything in Seattle ... but the Gates Folks and the other 1% crowd want it.... so of course it is necessary to have SPS directors that sing the right tune.

If Carr, KSB, HM-M, and DeBell who all voted for TFA initially and have no problem with violation of WAC 181-79A-231 ... continue with such support for TFA ... they should each have a recall sufficiency hearing in Superior Court.

So where is that careful review of all options for closing achievement gaps in Seattle Schools ... guess that is an action the Board has no interest in pursuing. ..... So TFA is supposedly a Strategy for closing achievement gaps ... but the SPS has NO Interest in conducting a careful review .... instead it is pin-the-tail on a strategy.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I have been quite confused by the SEA response to TFA. Even before it was approved, it did not look like they put up much of a fight (which seems odd given the number of fully-qualified and unemployed teachers there are out there).

Then, Jonathan Knapp contacted me at one point about some information that came out from the public disclosure e-mails about TFA. He was advocating for something to be removed on behalf of one of the TFA recruits.

I was quite puzzled as this TFA person never contacted me or Charlie. Why this person, who I assume is an adult, never came to us but had a handler do it is a mystery to me. I wasn't even sure which TFA post it was and neither did Jonathan. It was like the TFA person wanted us to do a lot of work but didn't want to lift a finger.

Why TFA teachers always have handlers, TFA or otherwise, is something I don't get.

dan dempsey said...

MW wrote:

Why TFA teachers always have handlers, TFA or otherwise, is something I don't get.

J Knapp originally testified in strong opposition to TFA ... and then disappeared from the opposition.

His original argument was that there was no teacher shortage and that conditional certification was inappropriate in this situation. These were not candidates that had strong qualifications for something like Auto Shop etc.

Olga also was an opponent of TFA .... and them mysteriously they both disappeared.

The WEA does a lot of string pulling from the top. Note the WEA leadership decided to strongly support Common Core State Standards and Race to the Top, NOT the membership.

Most of education in WA State is controlled by the string pullers at the top .... so the TFA handlers will handle it. This is not an exception to standard practice.

The legislature wrote a law for Randy Dorn that said he shall submit a report on CCSS to the legislature on or before Jan 1, 2011 ..... the report came in on Jan 31, 2011 which provided no time for review by legislators or the public. The Superior court had no problem with this legal violation and did not even view it as a legal violation.

Patrick said...

Dan, you make it sound so sinister as if TFA is having their opponents rubbed out. Relatively few people can keep up political involvement long-term, esp. if they're not paid.

Anonymous said...

Kay Smith Blum's learning curve will at issue in the TFA vote.

--Blindly followed Enfield (believing she was the anti-MGJ)--then was thrown under the bus by Enfield during the Mercer math debacle and was stunned by Enfield's decision not to pursue superintendency

--Thrown under the bus by DeBell's media blitz over muzzling women colleagues on the board

--Witnessed principals who were in the RTT to suck up to Enfield during TFA hirings--this is what her reasoning (the result of giving principals more control in hiring--her TFA vote rationale)

Question: Has Smith Blum learned that her role as director is to follow state laws, ethics and data?
Or is she still letting personal relationships rule determine her decision making (as she and McLaren admitted to doing when they objected to the MOU and then approved it last week).


Time will tell.

(The fact that it has been publicly defined as an experiment on children by DeBell--and we know it is an experiment on the most vulnerable children in the district--is one of the most disgusting things I have heard in a long time.

--enough already

Anonymous said...

Sorry about all the typos above--still not wearing much needed glasses most of the time

--enough already

SP said...

EdVoter,
You have a good point- I have been attending C&I meetings for many years (and way back when it was called SLC- Student Learning Committee) and I cannot recall any recommendations coming out of that committee "against" anything. This includes all the years that Harium has been chair and even before him. Rubber stamping all the way... It's a breath of fresh air to have new membership!

Dorothy Neville said...

I believe that the original MOU with TfA came out of Executive Committee, not C&I as one might guess. So that means this is even more weird, since the C&I committee is moving to withdraw from something that the Executive Committee started. Frankly, I think the A&F committee should have touched the original one as well, to ensure that there really was no financial or audit risk. Better late than never, A&F committee, perhaps you should also consider a motion to withdraw from MOU on fiscal responsibility grounds.

Along the lines of directors stepping into other committee's territory, KSB's amendment to the Series 6000 adoption seemed to fall into that situation. I still don't get what significant things changed with her amendment rewording Policy 6000.

dan dempsey said...

KSB in her election campaign stated that she viewed the job of director as to direct the superintendent.

Wonder if she has much memory of that or of her obligation to legal practices?

----
Patrick said...

Dan, you make it sound so sinister as if TFA is having their opponents rubbed out. Relatively few people can keep up political involvement long-term, esp. if they're not paid.
==================

TFA does not need to lift a finger as those monied forces that brought TFA here will do any heavy lifting needed.

Patrick ... I've been (un-paid) in this for 5-years and am getting out. Note you have not seen me at a School Board meeting in a while. I've made no visits to the legislature even though it is only 1.5 miles from my house.

I am thoroughly disgusted with the actions of the public officials involved in the destruction of public education and the teaching profession.

Enfield, DeBell, and HM-M are three folks that have done nothing for educationally disadvantaged learners. --- These are folks who apparently think their knowledge is so great that legal actions are an impediment to the correct actions. In other fields that would meet the definition of criminal ... but not in WA State education.

==========
As for CCSS and RttT and this whole world of direction from the Top is best .... consider the following:

WWC Quick Review of the Report “Middle School Mathematics Professional Development Impact Study: Findings After the Second Year of Implementation”

What is this study about?

This randomized controlled trial examined whether a professional development program for seventh grade mathematics teachers improved the teachers’ knowledge of rational number topics and the performance of their students on a rational number test.
What did the study find?

The study found no statistically significant difference in teacher knowledge of rational numbers or student achievement between treatment and control schools.

This was designed by the smartest folks out there and 114 hours of PD produced a complete ZERO.

Now the whole nation can throw massive amounts of money away ... instead of having skilled teachers teach.

When the k-12 math program is crap .. as in Seattle ... PD is not going to change anything. NOW ramp that up for the nation.

Wondering said...

Would the Creative Approach MOU eliminate school based hiring decisions? Is this one of Collective Bargaining rights that could potentially be given away? The MOU was very vague.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Wondering, I did point out to the Board there was a LOT of vagueness in the documents and MOU attached to the Action Report. Your question would be one of them.

I recall that the principal has to be able to stay for 3 years and if a teacher is in the minority for the plan and is still against it, there is some mechanism to leave.

I would assume someone coming in would have to buy-in to the program to be in that school.

But ask Jonathan. He's the leader of all this.

Charlie Mas said...

While the MOU for Creative Approach Schools makes them sound just like charters, and you might wonder if they will act like the scariest charters promoted by Education Reform, hire Teach for America corps members, refuse to serve students with IEPs and 504s, refuse to serve ELL students, and force out under-performing students, and such, that's not how they are going to work in reality. Not at first at least.

The first Creative Approach Schools are going to be the current alternative schools and the MOU is going to be used just to codify what they are already doing.

The folks who run these schools are not going to do any of the things you fear.

Later, down the road, there may come someone like that who will whip their school staff into a reform frenzy and try to take it in that direction, but that 80% bar is incredibly high. I don't really see it happening much or soon.

suep. said...

Um, Charlie, how can you speak with such certainty about how these "Creative Schools" are going to be run?

I don't think any of us actually know how this is going to play out; how the MOU will be used or abused and to what ends.

That's the problem with the document. It's vague enough that it can be interpreted and used in a variety of ways, some good, some not so good.

I wouldn't play Pollyanna about any document that emerges from the political cesspool that is SPS, even if some good intentions may be in the mix.

Kathy said...

Yes, the MOU pertaining to Creative Approach Schools is very ambigous. Don't forget- the board has NOT written an over-arching policy. From my perspective, I was hearing too much trusting going on from Martin-Morris.

DeBell likes to claim "we" don't have knowledge etc. to make decisions. I guess he forgot Betty has decades of experience, Sharon has a Masters of Ed. and Marty was also a teacher.

I remain concerned about 1620. There will be SO much language, policy and procedure that it will render the board helpless in the hands of the district.

dan dempsey said...

About this idea of Trust and current school directors ... why would anyone trust DeBell, KSB, HM-M, or Carr?

Try the actual written law
WAC 181-79A-231


"The professional educator standards board encourages in all cases the hiring of fully certificated individuals and understands that districts will employ individuals with conditional certificates only after careful review of all other options."

It repeated voting these four directors knew that the required careful review had not been performed and yet they chose to ignore the WAC and experiment on students in high minority/ high poverty schools. .... TRUST these folks? You must be kidding.

So will all four vote to continue the TFA farce? My guess is yes .... because big money rules and trumps laws. These folks and Enfield are living proof.

Kathy said...

"I wouldn't play Pollyanna about any document that emerges from the political cesspool that is SPS, even if some good intentions may be in the mix."

You bet.

From Brian Rosenthal's twitter account:
Tim Burgess says he came to School Board mtg last night to see vote on Creative Approach Schools, "a topic of great importance to the City"

It appears Tim Burgess is more informed than the general public. From my perspective, the creation of Creative Approach Schools has been less than transparent.

I think CA Schools are a good idea, but I strongly suspect there is more to be learned about a potentially larger agenda.

Similar to MGJ's Strategic Plan..language is extremely vague and lacks transparency. Get the board/ teachers sold and move on with a larger agenda.

dan dempsey said...

Getting back to the "Experiment" .... with 6 TFA CMs teaching in Seattle as Charlie points out the sample size is way too small for relevance. There is nothing that can be learned.

This once again tells us that any director that expects to learn anything from continuing this experiment is "blowing smoke". <=HM-M is an expert at this.

Next question:
if the directors that are intending to vote "Yes" do so, are they planning on complying with the law first and having a careful review of all other options for closing the achievement gaps before deciding that "conditional certs" are the best option? .... Please remember the precise language of WAC 181-79A-231.

Do these directors intend to keep ignoring laws and authorizing the Superintendent to make false statements to OSPI in seeking conditional certificates for TFA CMs? ... that is exactly what they have been doing so far.

Of course they refuse to talk about any of this because this is currently in litigation.

Melissa Westbrook said...

From the LEV website and Chris Korsmo's ever-entertaining weekly posts:

"Rumor has it that Teach for America in Seattle will be shown the door. The unceremonious reality of a new school board. Not even a year into its stint here, TFA has had nothing but shade thrown at it from the haters whose only plan seems to be “no.” No charters, no TFA, no data driven decision making in hiring, no superintendent with a vision, no, no, no. Time to say yes to some change, people."

Interesting that she would say this so soon. I'm not sure what "shade" means but obviously it's something not good.
Again, with the "haters" and the middle-school mentality.

And if she talking about hiring TFA because of "data-driven decision making in hiring", I think the problem is that WE did look at the peer-reviewed data (the studies TFA doesn't like) and used the wisdom of our site-based hiring teams who said no to most of them. I'm not going to fault people at a school who are trying to build a cohesive teaching corps (and don't want a revolving door of teachers).

I have no idea where this "lack of vision" for a superintendent comes from. I think a lot of people don't want someone who comes in and turned the place upside down based on a "vision". Tell us where we will go and how you plan to get us there. We don't need another MGJ.

Anonymous said...

I have recently read some of the columns by Chris Korsmo--and
am quite astounded.

Inappropriately using out-dated hip-hop phrases, telling readers
to support poor Native Americans
from her hotel room in Miami, and referencing pop culture like
Hello Kitty and staple guns in painful attempts to be funny...

How does this group expect to be taken seriously when headed by such a voice?

Who has been lying to this woman?

--enough already

dan dempsey said...

About Harium and his desire to appear data driven....

Go back to the New Tech Network $800,000 contract approved 4-3. I presented massive amounts of data showing that New Tech Schools were under performers.

Harium spun an anecdote about New Tech Hillside High in Durham North Carolina and all the kids headed into calculus.... then voted for the $800,000 contract on Feb 3, 2010

My the time of the revote in April I had provided all Board members with the actual math data from NC showing how poorly this New Tech school was doing... BUT Harium did not care about that data. (nor did Carr, Sundquist, and Maier).

There is an interesting article in the NY Times on Mooresville NC and the school system's use of computers in all classrooms.

I went to this NC web site:
http://accrpt.ncpublicschools.org/app/2011/disag/

Checking out Mooresville schools...

Try that above url and select
Durham School District
New Tech Hillside High
Algebra II
all tests

You can look at the change from 2009-2010 to 2010-2011

Economically Disadvantaged students Algebra II pass rate = 28% both years at New Tech

If you check out regular Hillside High for Economically Disadvantaged students in Algebra II
pass rate is 57.4% and then 42%

Then do the same for Algebra I

New Tech for Economically Disadvantaged in Algebra 1
40% then 44%

For Hillside High Algebra I
45.5% then 47.2%
========================

Harium is the ultimate cherry picker .... data driven he is NOT.

New Tech or TFA or pretty much anything ... Harium makes a decision and then goes fishing for how to support his pre-made decision that alway supports the big money oligarchs positions.

This guy supports the violation of the WAC and then spouts off about needing to continue an experiment with 6 teachers to its conclusion because he's data driven.

So where is Harium's concern for the "Discovering Math" experiment in SPS high Schools ... look at the OSPI algebra EoC results .... if you were data driven you would stop that now (the sample size is huge).... rather than think TFA will close the achievement gaps.

Ditto for EDM results from Spring 2008 to present... they suck. Data on TFA in situations like Seattle is not mixed ... TFA data is lousy.

Harium is a data evader .... He is hardly data driven except in his public rhetoric about himself.

Anonymous said...

My little post script to the complete and erudite vetting of the TFA issue above: since when does ideology trump common sense? Certificated teachers have already spent a year more or less in one way or another in classrooms observing, teaching and having mentors before they become certificated. That does make a difference.

TFA "teachers" are de facto not equal to novice certificated teachers.

Certificated teachers are in their second year of teaching. There's a lot to be learned in a year of teaching. We cannot devalue the work done and the learning internalized by those who went through the academic and practical training.

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