At this Wednesday's Board meeting, an Introduction is on the agenda to end the contract with Teach for America. It was brought forth by a majority of Directors who were at the last Curriculum & Instruction meeting.
They need to decide on this issue by March 31st by the terms of the contract. Voting to end the contract means they would not hire any more TFA and the current TFA recruits would finish their contracts.
I don't know who wrote the item on the agenda but it says this:
Fiscal impact to this action will be zero. This is because the Teach for America contract does not include direct costs to the district; the $4000 teacher match requirement is funded by private donors through The Seattle Foundation.
The revenue source for this motion is N/A.
This is WRONG.
For the umpteenth time, TFA costs our district money. How? Well, as proven by district e-mails, it cost HR more time to process TFA applications, it cost principals/executive directors more time as they had to attend a completely separate meeting just about TFA and the district had to pay a sub to teach a class because the TFA recruit was not fully qualified by the time school started. It is hard to judge how long the sub was in the class but it was at least a week.
ALL those issues cost our district money.
As to the TFA fee, the Seattle Foundation confirmed to me that they were only funding this for one year. Now the district can go back and ask again but really, we are now back to "Who's Your Donor Daddy?" Are we going to see the district play coy again about who is paying? And again, under the terms of the contract, SPS actually does NOT have to pay the fee even if no donor comes forward.
Naturally TFA would not like other districts throughout the nation to know this so mum's the word.
Has TFA brought more diversity to our teaching pool? No.
Did our site-based hiring teams hire TFA in large numbers? No.
Did the South Shore principal, Keisha Scarlett, break School Board policy, not once but twice, in order to promote her TFA teacher? Yes, she did.
This is not a program that we need in our district. It is distraction we don't need. Dr. Enfield loves TFA and is now going to Highline and therefore can go promote it there.
I am aware that the Board is getting a heavy flow of pro-TFA (some from out-of-state!). Please send them the message that we want fully-qualified teachers and that our site-based hiring teams did not find the quality in TFA that was promised.
E-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 252-0040 to be on the Speaker list for Wednesday's Board meeting.