Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Teach for America - "The Gift that Just Keeps On Giving"

Well look at this - a Broad superintendent going behind a School Board's back to hire more TFA (as they lay off more real teachers ).  This is in Cobb County Georgia.   Unbelievably, they are paying $8k per TFA per year (as opposed to SPS's $4k per year and Federal Way's $3k per year).

(Thanks to all who posted links or wrote to me.) 

From the blog, The Art of Teaching Science:

It was revealed that Kumar met with three influential Cobb citizens, including Shan Cooper (general manager of Lockheed Martin Marietta), Barry Teague (executive developer Walton Communities), and Sam Olens (Georgia’s State Attorney General), all of whom agreed to find ways of funding the effort.

Went to business folk up the food chain to find money.  Check.  From The Marietta Daily Journal:

Still, the agenda item for the issue emphatically stated: “Funds have been raised in the community to offset these expenses so there will be no additional costs to the District,” prompting the question of whether Hinojosa misled his board or at least overstated the financing facts.

Saying it wouldn't cost the district any money?  Check. 

It was assumed by TFA and the superintendent that the deal would be approved by the school board, but the board was unaware of any of the negotiations, or how the contract would be funded.

Superintendent thinking that the Board would do his bidding.  Check.

As superintendent of the Dallas ISD, Dr. Hinojasa was an advocate for TFA, and indeed, TFA has a big presence in Dallas.

Superintendent who liked TFA in one job and brought it to the next place?  Check

Well, we will have to see if Dr. Enfield gets/takes the job in Bellevue or Highline but I hope those School Boards know it's coming.

But Dr. Hinojosa really has the Broad nerve:

The Open Records documents also show that the district and TFA had jointly applied for a Race to the Top grant from the state worth $350,000 per year for three years, though they did not win the money. This is the second time in recent months the district has applied for Race to the Top money with a private partner, even though the board itself never discussed, let alone voted on, whether to seek some of the federal money for its own use. 

That this pattern of action between some superintendents and TFA has occurred in place after place in the country leads to believe TFA wants to get itself into as many districts as possible in any way possible.  It's more than a little unseemly.  AND that locals go along with their shenanigans is troubling.

More e-mails from within SPS that discuss TFA issues show a couple of things quite clearly:
A lot of extra work done in HR because they had to figure out who was TFA (and finally asked them to  disclose this in their applications) and they had to let TFA know that SPS would NOT be hiring any Special Ed TFAs because they were not qualified.
  • Extra work from other staff including principals and Executive Directors who had to attend at least one meeting dedicating to explaining TFA to them.  TFA also asked senior staff for a meeting for TFA recruits and for someone to speak about SPS.  This during summer vacation and the request was for the meeting in the next couple of days.  Who does this?
  • Finally, the district had to hire a sub to babysit one TFA recruit in the classroom because the TFAer didn't even have an emergency sub certificate.  From the e-mail:
"Kenneth Maldonado is waiting for an emergency sub cert to be issued in the next few days.  In the meantime, a substitute teacher has been assigned to the classroom. Kenneth may be on-site as an observer in that classroom."

Again, there should ALWAYS be a cost-to-benefit formula applied.  I would say with the low numbers of TFA hired by our site-based hiring teams, the extra costs (that Peter Maier said over and over would not materialize) and that some of them weren't even qualified (the jury is still out on the qualifications for yet-another recruit), why are we bothering with TFA?  

I'll end with what one district senior staff member said in an e-mail last September:

"TFA is just the gift that keeps on givin', isn't it?"

Indeed it is.  Enough.

3 comments:

StopTFA said...

Some of the comments in the Marietta Daily Journal article:

***
We now have a loose cannon which/who is out of control. Send him packing!

***
If a teacher at any Cobb school violated their employment contract with the district the way Hinojosa has, he would be gone in a heartbeat.

When I questioned various board members upon Hinojosa's hiring, asking them about his past in Dallas, their rationale was clearly: "if he steps out of line we will fire him."

Well, he's out of line, about as big as it gets. Maneuvering behind the scenes to apply for grants without the knowledge or permission of the board and with no public discussion.

He has shown Cobb teachers and administrators the ultimate in disrespect, and colludes with the business community no doubt because promises are being made for the future.

When will the Chamber butt out of our education system? If they want to run things, let them become elected officials. I'm tired of them pulling the strings in the background while all their kids attend ritzy private schools and some of them don't even pay their own homeowner's association dues because they think they're above everyone else.

***
Hinojosa told the same lie in Dallas in 2006-2008.

We ended up laying of 300 teachers because he couldn't 're-direct' grant money from one project to another to pay for what he wanted.

Thank you Cobb County. Dallas ISD is still shedding Hinojosa's friends that were promoted to top administrative positions.

Guess you'll be seeing a lot more Texans soon!

If HYA shows up with a resume from Dr. Hinojosa, can we give them the bums rush?

Anonymous said...

I'm seeing the $en$e of it in Washington - the WEA / whoever gets their dues, and, they get teachers who are cowed and complacent ... if they stay in the profession.

WinWinBaby

Anonymous said...

$8,000 is the total Seattle will pay too; $4,000 per year... or that is what it used to be.

-$$$$