TFA educators set high goals for their students: a clear focus on math and science, 40 minutes of reading every night, and a desire to graduate and go on to college. In Seattle and other cities TFA is helping children raise their sights and reach for the stars.
Whenever I read this kind of uplift for one group, I wonder what they think about the other group. Meaning, if TFA is this great, what do they think regular teachers (read: real teachers) are doing every day and expect to do in the future in their chosen profession?
Not everyone is happy, however. The teachers’ union sees opening schools to TFA graduates as a threat to their power within the system. Union executives did not want TFA in Seattle in the first place, and now they are doing everything they can to drive these young instructors out of local classrooms.
No, I don't think the SEA thought a bunch of 22-year olds were any kind of power threat but rather a threat to decent teaching for students with high needs. Also, SEA is doing NOTHING to drive the TFA teachers out. I haven't heard one thing about that from SEA.
What amuses me is this trying to blame the union for everything - next up, unions cause tooth decay in kids. They don't want to acknowledge that no, the real pushback comes from parents and community members.
The issue will be decided March 21st (tomorrow), when Seattle School Board members will vote whether to accede to the union and bar TFA teachers from city schools, or allow them to continue educating Seattle children.
Ban or bar, please make up your mind.
How did this happen? How did we as a community get to a point where our own School Board may end up ousting some of the best-qualified teachers in the country where they are most needed? In October 2010, the Board invited TFA to provide trained instructors for some of the most-needy schools. In response, six young TFA teachers have been working in Seattle classrooms for nearly a year, impressing administrators and parents with their energy, ability and professionalism. Though demanding, they are popular with students, and set high expectations for what they believe kids can achieve.
Again, prove that "best-qualified" teachers issue? Waiting because they are NOT some of the best-qualified teachers in the country. And, she can't prove this particular group is any such thing.
I would love to talk to some parents of these teachers but I bet if I asked to at any of the schools, the answer would be no (just as Brian Rosenthal from the Times was not allowed in their classrooms). Nope, we just have to take her word for it - parents love them.
Then the School Board changed. In the 2011 election the teachers’ union backed two candidates, Marty McLaren and Sharon Peaslee, giving thousands of dollars to their political campaigns. These candidates won, and in what some see as payback, they are now spearheading the union drive to oust TFA from Seattle schools.
This press release almost reads like a Wild West novel. "The election was over, the results known and the skies darkened over Seattle."
Who had the most money in these campaigns, Peaslee and McClaren or Maier and Sundquist? Who had ed reform big money from a small group of powerful citizens? And where is her proof of this "spearheading" that she says McClaren/Peaslees are doing? That they put it forth at an Executive Committee does not a spearhead make.
There’s more. The Seattle Times reports union-inspired activists are harassing TFA teachers at Aki Kurose Middle School and South Shore K-8, hoping to get them to quit. Their personal information has been posted online. One teacher’s home was burglarized.
First sentence is absolutely not true and I'd ask for the proof. Where did anyone say they wanted them to quit?
Their information was GIVEN via public disclosure and yes, one person put it up but it was not published here.
Last sentence, well, all I can say is the Times will soon be printing something new on that topic. I'm hoping Liv will do the same when she sees the evidence.
The program is supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, but if the ban is imposed the Seattle-based charity would find it can fund TFA educators in Philadelphia or Boston, but not at John Hay Elementary up the street from their headquarters.
Again, not a ban but Liv seems to not understand the meaning of the word. Also, Bill Gates himself has opined that he wishes TFA teachers would work 3-5 years as teachers. John Hay? C'mon, Liv.
Over 3,000 University of Washington graduates apply to TFA each year. If the ban is imposed these U.W. grads would find they are barred from teaching at schools in their own city.
This is one of her more unpleasant sentences, one that she repeats from two weeks ago. (Again, NOT A BAN.)
And she seems to forget that UW has a College of Education that sends out many, many UW grads, each and every year to...teach. Oh right, the only good UW Education grad is a TFA education grad. Boy, that's a pretty disrespectful stance to take.
If Seattle bans Teach for America it is not the adults who will suffer. TFA teachers will just move to schools in other cities. The real harm from this reactionary and mean-spirited campaign will fall on kids like Enrique, all because some grown-ups think protecting their privileged status is more important than helping children learn.
Again, disrespectful but when you can't win an argument on merit, go for the low blow.