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Monday, November 08, 2010

The Board Should Not Vote on TFA Contract

The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that the Board should just dismiss the motion regarding the Teach for America contract without voting on it.

First, this is not a Board matter. The hiring decision is a management decision, not a governance decision. The Board should stay out of it.

While the Board could establish a policy about who is eligible for consideration for a teacher job, no such policy now exists. Approving contracts one at a time is not the proper way to set that policy. The District's Careers web site says that all certificated jobs require a valid Washington State teaching certificate, but that rule was not set by the Board. The Superintendent is free to change it.

Second, this contract does not require Board approval because the dollar amount is within the superintendent's authority. The District will be spending zero dollars on this contract, an amount well with the superintendent's authority to approve and well below the amount that requires Board approval.

Third, the contract is superfluous. There is nothing in this contract that could not and would not happen without the contract.

Teach for America corps members are free to apply for teaching jobs at District schools with or without the contract - and they could and would in exactly the same numbers even without the contract.

Principals are free to hire Teach for America corps members for teaching jobs with or without the contract and they could and would in exactly the same numbers even without the contract.

The superintendent is free to request conditional certification for Teach for America corps members hired to teaching posts by principals with or without the contract and she could and would in exactly the same numbers even without the contract.

The third party philanthropic organization is free to pay Teach for America $4,000 for each teacher hired with or without the contract and would in exactly the same numbers even without the contract.

Likewise, all the way through the contract, every section and clause of it could be and would be fulfilled with exactly the same result with or without the contract. The contract is completely superfluous.

The Board should simply dismiss the motion without acting on it. They should dismiss it because it is not a Board matter and it would be improper for the Board to interject itself into a management decision.

38 comments:

mirmac1 said...

Not to mention the guaranteed lawsuit that will be filed in support of disadvantaged and disabled children in "high-poverty" schools who will be subjected to non "highly-qualified" teachers (in the sage opinion of the Ninth Circuit Court).

gavroche said...

Charlie, I agree the contract is unacceptable and strongly biased in favor of TFA's interests over those of SPS, but I think you're focusing on the wrong detail here. The contract is only one part of what's wrong with the whole TFA proposal.

How it came about and how it's being rigged to happen reeks of corrupt, backroom manipulations.

If what you say here is true:

Second, this contract does not require Board approval because the dollar amount is within the superintendent's authority. The District will be spending zero dollars on this contract, an amount well with the superintendent's authority to approve and well below the amount that requires Board approval.

(...)

The third party philanthropic organization is free to pay Teach for America $4,000 for each teacher hired with or without the contract and would in exactly the same numbers even without the contract.


then the third party organizations (Gates, Seattle Foundation funded by Gates) that are claiming they will pay TFA's annual $4 k fees appear to be making it possible for the Superintendent to attempt an end-run around the normal democratic process that requires School Board approval.

However, I don't believe it is accurate to say that TFA will cost the district nothing. If TFA has a contract with SPS, it will bill SPS. Only if TFA has a contract with Gates or the Seattle Foundation would the costs bypass SPS.

Even if SPS gets reimbursed by Gates or Seattle Foundation, the costs are still in the contract between TFA and SPS and therefore must be considered by the Board.

That's how I read it.

wseadawg said...

How many more pieces of evidence must people see before they realize that MGJ is devoted solely to "reforming" the district by disenfranchising the teachers and parents, force-feeding the community all of her cronies and their wares, and turning out the old "democracy & community" model, superseding it with the Broad inspired market-based solution filled "Business Model?"

Many of us are not surprised at all, and saw TFA, high-stakes testing, and the rest on it's way to Seattle simply by looking at what's transpired in Chicago, New York, L.A. and D.C. over the last decade.

The opposition's case (mine) has been eloquently and convincingly by the likes of Gerald Bracey (deceased '10), Diane Ravitch, Ken Wiel, and numerous others. Yet, MGJ and Co go on citing only their research while ignoring piles of valid contra-research as they maraud and pillage our schools.

Nothing MGJ & the Board do is based on any principle other than doing what the Ed Reform movement wants, be it testing, busting unions, or getting their hands on the dollars that should be going to classrooms, but instead go into corporate pockets, whether non-profit (what a joke!), or extremely profitable businesses.

zb said...

"However, I don't believe it is accurate to say that TFA will cost the district nothing. If TFA has a contract with SPS, it will bill SPS. Only if TFA has a contract with Gates or the Seattle Foundation would the costs bypass SPS."

And Gates/Seattle foundations don't have the authority to make contracts on hiring SPS teaches. I think the key point is the obligation to pay TFA $4K for the privilege of hiring TFA teachers. It seems to me that the rest of what you say is true -- TFA teachers could apply, be hired, and then the superintendent could apply for conditional certification. But my guess is that this contract would obligate SPS to pay TFA headhunter costs. That they plan on collecting those costs form other bodies doesn't change the obligation of the SPS to pay. That's why the Board should reject the contract. The school district could then go ahead on the rest of the plan as you suggest.

The purpose of the contract is to obligate the SPS to pay the "headhunter" costs for TFA.

Who is in charge of conditional certification in WA? Does this contract purport to create an obligation on their part? or an does it create an obligation for the superintendent to apply for the conditional certificate?

chunga said...

Whoever has the hiring authority, it seems the bigger issue than the $4k is the long term costs of the significantly higher attrition to be expected with TFA recruits. Moreover, I thought conditional certification was only supposed to be used as a last resort when there is either a shortage or when there is an "unusual" skill needed. Even the district acknowledges there is no shortage and I have seen no argument that TFA's are being considered for any special skills. Hiring standards should mean something.
So, whoever has the authority, I fail to see the case for considering TFA recruits.

seattle citizen said...

Here's WAC 181-79A-231- Limited certificates
on Conditional certs:

" (1) Conditional certificate.

(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.

(b) Conditional certificates are issued upon application by the local school district, approved private school, or educational service district superintendent to persons who meet the age, good moral character, and personal fitness requirements of WAC 181-79A-150 (1) and (2), if one of the following conditions is verified:

(i) The applicant is highly qualified and experienced in the subject matter to be taught and has unusual distinction or exceptional talent which is able to be demonstrated through public records of accomplishments and/or awards; or

(ii) No person with regular teacher certification in the endorsement area is available as verified by the district or educational service district superintendent or approved private school administrator, or circumstances warrant consideration of issuance of a conditional certificate."

And it goes on. Note the last sentence, "or circumstances warrant consideration of issuance of a conditional certificate."

So while no shortage or unusual need is apparent, the district will apply for conditionals on the basis of "circumstances warrant," the circumstances, being, apparently, a desire to "broaden the candidate pool" because of a "partnership with TFA to address the achievement gap." In other words, the district will use this loophole, probably with the state's blessing, to argue that that dang it, the fully certified candidates in the hiring pools just aren't qualified enough to address the achievement gap, so the district needs these hlaf-certed Supermans we've been waiting for because, you know, THEY know how to address the achievement gap.

This argument will be used to bypass the reasonable "shortage" and "unusual skill" conditions in the first part of the WAC, thereby opening the door for any district to get whoever it wants in the hiring pools (with the concurrent pressure from the superintendent to hire them - the argument that schools are free to hire who they want seems disingenuous: What happens if the district sets up this contract with the superintendent's Broad board seatmate, Wendy Kopp, and then no TFA is hired? THAT would be a slap in the face, and we can be sure that TFA are hired even when there are qualified certs at the same interview, including recently riffed, wonderful new teachers, such as those who received their National Board certifications, which I guess are meaningless in this paradigm, now that we have SuperTFA to the rescue.

The First Arnold said...

"hiring decisions based on shortages or the opportunity to secure the services of unusually talented individuals"

I'd always taken that to mean language teachers etc.

TFA and the district twists language to their benefit. Then, we have board members, politicians, TFA etc, that insist TFA recruits are "highly qualified".

How do you feel about the Emperor's clothing?

Melissa Westbrook said...

The contract's term and who pays seems to be the issue. The district has not said how long the "donor" will pay and therefore it is a district matter (and a Board matter). I think there is some need to have the Board stamp of approval to make TFA happy.

seattle citizen said...

In the grand scheme of things, it matters not what the board does or doesn't do. Policy is routinely not followed; the board rubber stamps; the state is on board; no one is paying attention, anyway: Most people react viscerally to the Times articles and the propaganda of Waiting for Superman, NBC's "Education Week," etc, and aren't interested in board policy, procedure, or who is responsible for what: They want what they've been told to want, and democracy be damned. The state will grant conditional certs based on "circumstances," which are, according to the district, the lack of a broad pool of candidates who can fix the achievement gap. The board can vote on it (they'll vote "yes," of course) or not vote on it, it matters not a whit, it's all been designed and engaged backstage anyway, and hardly anyone will say, "boo" because they'll be convinced by the Times and by the School Reports that what we've needed all along is TFA.

And so it goes.

dan dempsey said...

Charlie stated:
"The superintendent is free to request conditional certification for Teach for America corps members hired to teaching posts by principals with or without the contract and she could and would in exactly the same numbers even without the contract."

Could the TfA folks get into the phase III hiring pool when the are in fact NOT certified? (NO WAY without this TfA contract, which runs around state law to provide conditional certification to an entire group of individuals for no valid apparent reason.)

Any TfA candidate would not become a conditional cert until after having been selected for filling an open teaching position position.

In the highly competitive climate for teaching positions today, how could someone get into the phase III hiring pool without full certification unless such person had vast experience in a vocational skill area or extensive experience working with children and extensive teaching experience but no Washington certification.

This smacks of what the Auditor described ... "Disregard for Washington State Laws". The Superintendent has blown off the audit with this proposal. Any SPS Director who votes for TfA on Nov. 17 will be blowing off the audit despite any rhetoric about taking the audit seriously. Such a Director would have no shame.

Recall sufficiency hearing will be on Nov. 18 the day after the TfA vote for Carr, Maier, Martin-Morris, and Sundquist.

Director DeBell has years to run on his term as do Smith-Blum, and Patu.

dan dempsey said...

Dear SC,

Everything you say about the complicity of the State in backroom deals is likely true.

However several do care, several people largely without the "Financial Clout" to be players do care.

We guarantee that this decision will be appealed, if the Board votes to pass this "Discriminatory" end run around the law.

Let's see a Board Action Approved on Nov. 17th ... needs to be appealed on or before December 17th.

If the District wishes to spend less time in court, I suggest they follow laws instead of attempting to run around them.

Major Problems are looming ahead:
(1) Recall Action
(2) High School Math in WA Appeals Court Division I ... Spring 2011
(3) NTN appeal .. initial brief is already filed. ... DeBell received his own hard copy from the appellants. This copy to Board is not required by law but perhaps the Board should pay attention to how badly screwed up this 4-3 approval was from the "git go".
(4) NWEA/MAP appeal ... initial brief has not been filed ... it is coming.

Anonymous said...

What's the big hurry?

Besides the fact that TFA said that they have a deadline to get a certain amount of districts on board in our state to make it worth their while financially. That in itself is saying something about an organization that paints itself as being an altruistic "non-profit".

We don't need to adhere to some deadline determined by TFA.

The union is to provide due notice to all teachers before an item comes to a vote. That means in Seattle 30 days for information to be posted before it is voted on.

SEA has acquiesced to the board's timeline and was to vote today on this matter, providing the leadership with less than a week to get the information out to all teachers.

This is being pushed through without adequate time for teachers and parents to understand what the full impact could be on our students and our community.

wseadawg said...

I hate to say "I told you so" but again, any time we sign petitions for CPPS that run contrary to the protections our teachers don't just have, but NEED AND NEED BADLY, if we want to truly keep the good teachers we have, or put forth "Community Values Statements" that insert "a desire for a 4 part evaluation system" while Olympia has legislation laying on the politicians desks - written by the Ed Reform lobby - containing relaxed requirements for "Alternative Certification Route Teachers" and "4 part evaluation systems", well, you know what, we all get not what we want, but ultimately what we deserve.

Dora, JoanNE, and many others fought valiantly to get others to rise up and stop the House and Senate bills that opened the door to all this crap last year, but too many folks treated them like they were tilting at windmills.

Well, they weren't, and here we are.

All is not lost, and much can and should still be done to beat back these initiatives one by one, but if the cost of preserving our democracy is "eternal vigilance" then I hope everyone who sees how the CVS and CPPS petitions got co-opted, twisted, and bastardized by the Olympia pols and the Seattle reformers have learned their lesson.

It's been quite a love-fest between the LEV, Stand for Children, etc., etc., and etc., and now the bulk of our kids have gone from having great teachers and schools to being thrown into the pot of "we think this shiny new reform idea might work."

Yeah, I know, some schools stink and others struggle. Save it. West Seattle N went from 4 great primary schools and an Alt to 3 primary schools stuffed to the gills & operating like refugee camps, and one Alt with swanky new digs where a great elementary once lived.

And we still have no money for anything meaningful.

wseadawg said...
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seattle said...
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seattle said...

I don't know whether TFA needs a contract or not, so I can't comment on that, but Charlie makes some excellent points that should be explored.

I do have a couple of thoughts on allowing TFA in SPS though.

Are there ways that we can legitimately benefit from having TFA?

Peonypower recently posted "The average time a science teacher works is 2.5 years one of the lowest retention rates in the profession."

So could we use TFA recruits in the fields of science? Their churn would be no greater that what the churn already is.

Despite hearing that there were 800 applicants for a position at WS Elementary, I understand that the districts main excuse for not opening new language immersion schools is that they can't find enough bilingual teachers. Could we recruit bilingual TFA teachers? My sons HS had a very difficult time finding a Spanish I teacher this year, and almost started the school year without one. They are in high demand, and there aren't many out there.

How about Montessori? Since candidates continuing their education and are working towards becoming certified, can we find out if there are any recruits working toward a Montessori certification?

Are there other hard to fill positions?

If we could use TFA recruits only in those already hard to fill positions in SPS, wouldn't that actually be helpful?

seattle citizen said...

FLL, the use of TFA in shortage positions might be a stop-gap band-aide, but the district wants to put TFA into the general hiring pools where they would compete with fully certified teachers.

Additionally, if schools have trouble keeping science teachers or filling bilingual positions, shouldn't they look at retention and hiring practice that would draw and keep fully certified teachers? That is board policy, and we have seen no sign of effort to study the issue of retention or hiring, which one would think would be the proper study BEFORE just throwing non-certified people into classrooms, particularly classrooms with many poor students in them.

Dorothy Neville said...

FLL, science, especially lab science, is one of those classes that IS going to take extra time and work for a teacher. There would definitely be a learning curve for all but the most hyper-organized of new teachers in order to stay on top of grading, be aware of where each student is academically, make sure labs run smoothly AND are pedagogically sound. So I am not surprised that science has a smaller retention rate than other subjects. But I also would bet that for a lab science class, a fifth year teacher would be a lot more effective overall than a first year teacher -- especially if that fifth year teacher has been in the same school for a while, knows the supplies, knows the schedules, etc.

So instead of trying to accept the churn and repeatedly stocking high school science classes with new teachers, I think we'd do our students better by figuring out better ways to get teachers better mentoring, reduced course loads, or some other ideas to help them improve with the more complicated organization and classroom management tasks.

From the SCPTSA backpedalling letter:

No niche recruits

There are no commitments in the contract to screen candidates for desired qualifications - i.e. recruit bilingual or minority candidates, especially from Hispanic, Vietnamese, Pacific Islander, African-American and African immigrant populations.

The contract specifically says TFA recruits will be hired for vacancies across the full range of grades and subject matters and not restricted to so-called "critical" or "shortage" subjects or grade-level vacancies.

Dorothy Neville said...

I do believe that there are some certification programs where IAs can become certificated teachers. I suspect that this sort of thing would be a great way to increase diversity and to gain teachers who are culturally competent. Someone here reports that teachers with that similarity and/or cultural competence can be more effective.

I suspect that TfA teachers are not going to be so diverse and culturally competent right off the bat. There's another way in which I suspect most are not "culturally" competent, and that is in dealing with struggling and unmotivated (or de-motivated) students.

I suspect that the majority of these math and science majors did not struggle with elementary and high school material. How many people end up majoring in math after struggling and really hating it in elementary or high school? How many math majors got a C or D in algebra 2? If these "best and brightest" math and science TfA folk have never struggled to add fractions or balance equations, most will find it really hard at first to teach. A good teacher needs not just one way of explaining a concept, they need multiple ways to explain a concept and they need the experience of sussing out from each struggling student exactly where the difficulty lies.

(I actually DO know a couple of math majors who did hate math and did poorly in high school. And they have become excellent teachers, which they attribute at least in part to their own struggles.)

Bird said...

I understand that the districts main excuse for not opening new language immersion schools is that they can't find enough bilingual teachers.

I have to say I've never heard this excuse from the district, and I don't think this is why there aren't more language immersion schools. I don't think the district values the language immersion schools -- at least not as much as parents in the district do.

This is purely anecdotal (and somewhat of a rumor), but JSIS had to hire additional immersion teachers year and, what I heard from parents involved in the hiring is that they had very strong candidates for those positions. I heard that it was easier to find really outstanding hires for those jobs than it was to fill the English only positions.

Indeed, my kids immersion teachers, so far have been really outstanding teachers, very dedicated and thoughtful about what they are doing. To be honest, I think they benefit to some extent from the fact that they have to some extent design their own curriculum. That appeals to smart, dedicated folks.

Now, I may not have the whole picture. There may be places in the district where hiring a bilingual teacher is impossible.

I would say, however, that if the learning curve is steep for a teacher, it's steeper for a immersion teacher. Once again I'd really want to do everything to get a teacher who is planning on staying a long time.

Additionally, as Dorothy noted the Teach for America contract specifically calls out that these teachers will not be restricted to hard to fill positions.

From the contract...

Teacher candidates will be hired for vacancies across the full range of grades and subject matters and not restricted or limited to so-called “critical” or “shortage” subjects or grade level vacancies.

seattle said...
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seattle said...
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seattle said...
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seattle said...

"I understand that the districts main excuse for not opening new language immersion schools is that they can't find enough bilingual teachers."

This is exactly what families in NE Seattle were told by MGJ and Harium when we advocated for an immersion school at JA K-8 a couple of years ago. And didn't Sandpoint (or was it Macdonald) get the same answer when they asked for immersion this past year?

seattle said...

"but the district wants to put TFA into the general hiring pools where they would compete with fully certified teachers."

Crossing your arms, plugging your ears, and screaming "no TFA", just causes the district to consider you unreasonable and shut you out. Perhaps a better idea would be to advocate FOR TFA, with limits? Advocate that SPS contract with TFA for only hard to fill positions like science, foreign language, Montessori, and I hear some art positions are hard to fill too.

And yes, of course, as a long term strategy, we should find out why the retention rates for science teachers is so short. However, that doesn't fix the immediate need for a body in a classroom right now. My sons high school almost started the year without a Spanish I teacher because there were so few in the district. Jane Addams K-8 school opened two years ago with 8 long term subs. They could not find teachers to fill all of their new positions (probably due to the districts threat of closure after three years). But TFA recruits would have taken those positions, and in my opinion, they would have been a much better option than the long term, revolving, subs that wound up in those classrooms for months.

The TFA contract is for what, 3 years? Three years would buy the district some time to research why science teacher retention rates are so low, and come up with some strategies to improve them. Three years buys time to improve recruiting strategies to attract new cert teachers for those hard to fill positions.

It could work. But you need to have an open mind.

SolvayGirl said...

I think the cost of living in Seattle has got to contribute to any difficulty we might have in finding and keeping teachers—especially those coming in at the first tier. Though a starting teacher salary is not horrible, it's not a lot when you consider what rent and/or housing costs are in Seattle. Food is pretty expensive here too. Add in a hefty student loan to pay back and teaching in Seattle becomes less cost effective for the new teacher.

It seems the economy in general is a driving force in much of this. Would many of these "best and brightest" even be interested in TFA if they could walk into jobs in their fields right out of school?

Dorothy Neville said...

FLL, I think the problem is that there is no way the district has the will or the way to modify the contract. It looks like this is TfA's deal and they are not willing to negotiate to change so that we might expect them to refer only hard-to-fill candidates.

And I doubt any would go to Jane Addams no matter how many long term subs are there, because it does not fit with their mission of high poverty, minority schools.

Bird said...

Jane Addams K-8 school opened two years ago with 8 long term subs. They could not find teachers to fill all of their new positions (probably due to the districts threat of closure after three years). But TFA recruits would have taken those positions, and in my opinion, they would have been a much better option than the long term, revolving, subs that wound up in those classrooms for months.

TFA recruits may have been a better option than long term subs, but, unfortunately sending TFA teachers to a new Jane Addams school doesn't match TFA's underlying mission.

TFA is all about addressing the achievement gap. That's why the TFA contract specifies that they only be sent to high poverty schools. See the TFA website

TFA doesn't really see it's mission as finding staff for hard to fill positions in school districts.

They see their mission as pulling into education young people with high leadership potentional and no teaching experience and even perhaps no prior interest in education. To a large extent, the hope is that these recruits will move on to leadership positions throughout the education system and elsewhere to positions of power.

TFA isn't the way to solve general gaps in teaching pool across the district.
It'd be great we could use them for that, but that's not what they are about.

seattle said...

How does you theory account for the report that 800 applicants applied for one position at a West Seattle elementary school recently? I don't think SPS has any teacher shortage. But I do think there are some specific "hard to fill" positions and/or positions with high churn. For those positions I don't see why we wouldn't consider TFA?

Dorothy Neville said...

I find it ironic that all the folks who really like the new teachers contract because they think that using test scores to evaluate teachers and remove bad ones also like TfA.

The test-score evaluation will use a two year rolling average. TfA teachers will be here for two years.

Also, something that seems weird to me and not addressed enough is this curriculum alignment and professional development alignment.

Also from the SCPTSA backpedalling:

Professional development appears to stay separate
The ongoing support that TFA recruits get is lauded by many, but it is separate from professional development that the rest of Seattle's certificated staff would get. There doesn't appear to be any built-in mechanism to share the expertise or make sure the system as a whole benefits from the partnership.


We've seen the Alt schools told "No, you can't do that alternative thing anymore, you must conform." And now "We have no diversity in schools so let's bring in charters because they have more autonomy and diversity!"

And we have seen teachers and schools being told "No you cannot teach it that way or use that material, you must follow this book and this pacing guide." But now they are praising TfA as a way of getting teachers who are exempt from that and will teach using different materials and materials provided by TfA (and their own best and brightest educational experience).

Bird said...

This is exactly what families in NE Seattle were told by MGJ and Harium when we advocated for an immersion school at JA K-8 a couple of years ago. And didn't Sandpoint (or was it Macdonald) get the same answer when they asked for immersion this past year?

I can only speak on Macdonald because that's the only school I followed closely. It's our neighborhood school.

Maybe someone can chime in with a different answer, but I don't think Macdonald was told that it was the lack of immersion teachers that was preventing it from becoming an immersion school.

I think the parents were told that they ahve to wait. It won't happen in the intial year and the next year will be the "exploratory" year and after that they will make a decision.

In truth, I think the district was just using this excuse in hopes of shaking off the pressure from parents for an immersion program. I don't think they would make Macdonald an immersion program because it's next door to JSIS.

If the district really wanted to create more immersion programs and hiring new teachers is the barrier, the new schools would have been the perfect venue for program creation. The new schools are starting with just a few classes and building out from there. It would have been the perfect oppotunity to grow the immersion staff slowly.

Likewise, I bet that the hiring of immersion teachers was less of an issue in creating an immersion program at Jane Addams than the district's expectation that they will need to convert Jane Addams into a middle school when the demographic bulge of the NE hits sixth grade. Why build an immersion program when you'll just have to dismantle it ultimately. (Caveat: I don't know for certain that they will actually dismantle JA. This is purely speculation on my part.)

SolvayGirl said...

All 800 applicants might leave after a year or two once they find out how expensive it is to live here. I'm just trying to find out why "science teachers leave after 2.5 years." If they can get higher paying jobs in science fields and stay in Seattle, or move to teach at cities with a lower COL, then that might be a reason.

Bird said...

Is this 2.5 years number specific to Seattle? Or is it for science teachers everywhere?

seattle said...

"Why build an immersion program when you'll just have to dismantle it ultimately. (Caveat: I don't know for certain that they will actually dismantle JA. This is purely speculation on my part.)"

They built an Environmental Science program at JA, so it's not like the district didn't want to invest in the school. And, the district just announced (someone posted a link recently) that they will not be closing JA K-8 and are looking at making the MS a mushroom model.

As for TFA not going into JA...hmmm. It is Lake City, the most diverse, and low income neighborhood in all of North Seattle. And the school got the lowest test scores of all schools in it's attendance area. Might fit TFA's mission?

seattle said...

Bird, peonypower, who I believe is an SPS teacher posted the 2.5 year science teacher churn rate a few threads ago. Peonypower care to comment? Is that number district wide? Or national? Thanks.

Bird said...

Might fit TFA's mission?

Acutally, I see that TFA is 50% FRL. I didn't know this. Maybe it does qualify. I don't think "high poverty" schools is defined anywhere.

Melissa Westbrook said...

"Crossing your arms, plugging your ears, and screaming "no TFA", just causes the district to consider you unreasonable and shut you out."

Haven't heard one person advocate this tactic.

"Perhaps a better idea would be to advocate FOR TFA, with limits?"

Is that like advocating for levy spending AFTER we pass the levy?

Read the contract. There is NO, I repeat, NO way the Board will change it for parents (The only thing I see changing is maybe the privacy issues but I'm doubtful about that.)

And also if anyone has any proof/data that the "donor" is covering all three years, please let us know. I'm hearing one to two years and we DO NOT have the money for any new initiatives like this.

Charlie Mas said...

The District staff can't have it both ways.

They cannot tell the Board that the District will not have to pay any of the potentially $300,000 due to Teach for America over the next three years and, at the same time, say that the Board needs to approve the contract because it obligates the District to pay up to $300,000.

Also - IMPORTANT POINT - will the District's budget office assess the usual 10% overhead charge on the money that flows through from the Seattle Foundation to Teach for America on this deal?

If not, why not? If so, then wouldn't it be cheaper and easier for the Seattle Foundation to just pay Teach for America directly and save themselves 11% of the cost?