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Sunday, March 06, 2011

Mystery TFA Donor Revealed

There was something of a mystery about where the money was going to come from to pay our TFA "teachers" their fee ($4k per year for two years) for Seattle Public Schools. The story from the Times is the Washington STEM program grants funded by - wait for it - the Gates Foundation and other donors.

This is quite charming given that the other grants DO have something to do with work around STEM. TFA, not so much (maybe TFA will get to Cleveland High's STEM program). But the money had to come from somewhere.

Of course, that doesn't cover all the money SPS will have to now find for TFA (in addition to finding the extra cash to pay off MGJ and Kennedy). There is overhead for tracking these "teachers" as well as mentorship costs for all of them (especially for those who may teach - shudder - Special Education).

21 comments:

Eric M said...

Unbelievable.

Mr. Gates has also been speaking about how we need to "streamline" teachers' healthcare.

See, some teachers and districts have better health care than others. And Mr. Gates thinks that's "unfair".

A better system, according to him, will be to have the state manage teachers' healthcare, (using the bar set at the lowest notch, as cheaply as possible)

Another race to the bottom.

It'll be for the kids.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if he thinks the teachers at the private schools his children attend should also have their benefits streamlined?
I wonder if he has mentioned to the admin at his kids private schools if they only increased class size they could be more cost-efficient, providing of course there is a quality teacher in every classroom.

I wonder if he has offered to pay for MAPS testing to determine teacher performance in the private schools his children attend?

Po3

Jet City mom said...

I wonder if he thinks the teachers at the private schools his children attend should also have their benefits streamlined?

Don't forget the bodyguards.

anonymous said...

"A better system, according to him, will be to have the state manage teachers' healthcare, (using the bar set at the lowest notch, as cheaply as possible)"

Hmmm.....bar set at the lowest notch....kinda like the rest of us who work in the private sector, huh

"I wonder if he thinks the teachers at the private schools his children attend should also have their benefits streamlined?"

Private school teachers benefits are already streamlined. They have no unions. They get paid less. They get far less benefits than public school teachers. They get no pension plan either.

Anonymous said...

Peon,

In fact, my husband works at St. Thomas School, the elementary school that Gates' children attended. He receives higher pay and benefits than teachers do in the public schools.

In addition, he has TIAA-CREF for retirement, a plan to which St. Thomas School contributes 200% of his contributions.

Signed, In the Know

Unknown said...

Comments like Peon's sadden me. Peon, leaving aside the question of whether or not teachers are as well-off as they are being presented to be, don't you want good health care? Don't you want workers rights for all? Do you really look forward to a day when more and more working people will be stripped of their rights and benefits and the rich will continue amassing wealth beyond what most people can even begin to imagine? I mean, is making teachers even poorer really going to make you feel any better? Sad.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Maybe one of his kids went to St. Thomas but I know for a fact his daughter didn't for elementary. I know this because the school she did attend had a grandparents/special friends day that I attended for 3 years (for a special young friend) and Gates' daughter was there every year.

Melissa Westbrook said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cascade said...

They went to UCDS. Not a secret, but they did try to minimize the publicity due to security concerns for the kids.

I have zero problem with people who put their kids in private school but still want to support public schools. Welcome. We need you. They should do it with money and volunteerism and pr support, though, not from a position of "we know what works" because, of course, they haven't been in the trenches in the system.

Anonymous said...

The Gates' children went to St. Thomas for a time, and then they sent them elsewhere.

In the Know

Jet City mom said...

Does it really matter where his kids went to school?
I don't expect Obama or Gates or Bezos or even that luvable curmudgeon Dale Chihuly to put their kids in public schools if there is something else that works better for them.

But- I would like the average blue collar family ( like moi) to have a choice of schools for their kids as well.

Yes class size does matter & if all instruction is for linear learners & my kid needs hands on- then they are not going to do so well & even if we each had the personalities that would enable me to fill in the gaps after school- that is not what we should depend on as a community.
( besides that didn't work so well)
:o
Ya know what just occurred to me?
Did MGJ set herself up so she could leave the area & have her daughter in another school?
Maybe one with smaller class sizes?

- my daughter had Ms Frizzle ( from magic school bus) for 3rd through 5th grade( that's how I think of her anyway)- she is a wonderful & inspiring teacher & I am not surprised the Gates wanted her to teach their kids.
But my younger daughter has also had some wonderful & inspiring teachers in public school.
The kind of teachers everyone should have in their K-12 experience.
I think there would be more of them, if we could lower class size & put good principals in place who can mentor teachers.

I also think this would cut the " dead wood" teachers who are burnt out, because smaller classes would be much more manageable for everyone.

Maureen said...

(I originally posted this under the 2/25 Open thread, but it got buried what with all of the excitement.)

I listened to Bill Gates' talk before the Governors Association. It raises so many questions for me. His major point is that evaluating teachers and finding the best ones will mean that we can get better results with less money because those teachers will be able to effectively teach larger classes.

He references a bunch of graphs, one of which shows that in 1960 there were 40 'teachers' for every 1000 kids, now the corresponding number he says is 125. That sounds awful until you think about what the changes in state and federal requirements have been in that period. When I was in elementary school, kids with Downs syndrome did not go to school. Now they do. I would like to see his cost graph displayed next to trend lines for the number of special need/ELL/poor kids who are being identified and educated, with footnotes about what the staffing requirements are for those kids. Alternatively, they could just pull out general ed kids and look at them over time. ALSO I would like to see them track the cost of private school over time (teaching is labor intensive, increased productivity throughout the economy means the return to any type of labor has increased over time and disproportionately increased the costs for labor intensive industries.)

The people at Gates are supposedly experts on education. Do they really believe these exhibits properly explain what has occured in American Education over the last sixty years?

At about 26 Minutes, he indicates that his projected cost savings are based on going from a class size of 20 to 26 or so (*), well, how many general ed kids in public school are in classes of 20 now? In effect, we have already realized whatever savings he is projecting because we are already running classes at (or above) the upper limit he thinks can be effective. The Gates Foundation is physically located about a mile south of my kid's school. I wish someday some of them would stroll up the street and see what's going on in the real world.

((*) at 27 minutes he says ...class size above thirty is clearly detrimental. He clearly does not live in our world and apparently the people who do his research don't either.)

Chris S. said...

FIELD TRIP to the Gates Foundation! Preferably a middle-school sized class.

peonypower said...

Nah- a field trip with my 31 mixed age, full inclusion, multi-lingual, multi-grade level math ability, mostly male high school physical science class kids. That would shut up Billy boy.

Every time I hear how much bigger classes were 30 years ago I think about the how our class demographics have changed- and to a more inclusive and democratic mix I would add. Sure I could teach 40 kids if they all sat in their seat and their craniums flipped open and I could dump information into them. Of course I don't consider that teaching or learning, but if I could implement a software program that would do that then the sky is the limit.

wvv says headalsh

hschinske said...

I'm not sure what kind of class sizes I had growing up, but I sure didn't get much of an education in Seattle public schools in the 1970s, even in the relatively upper-class elementary school I attended. I consider myself essentially homeschooled through seventh grade (after that I was at a private school, with tiny classes). As I've said here before, I think Seattle schools, with all their faults, are actually much better now than they were then.

The research on class size that Gates keeps quoting is severely flawed, in my opinion.

Helen Schinske

skeptic said...

Once again, I have to note that Gates didn't send his kids to a school with 40 kids in a class.

I wonder why not?

anonymous said...

"well, how many general ed kids in public school are in classes of 20 now? "

Actually Maureen there are a lot of states with class sizes under 20. Unfortunately, Seattle is not one of them. We rank very low on class size, so we shouldn't use our ratios when we look for a comparison.

The other thing is I bet back in the 1960's there were many more low income students than there are today. Many many more middle class students than there are today. And far fewer wealthy students.

anonymous said...

"I don't expect Obama or Gates or Bezos or even that luvable curmudgeon Dale Chihuly to put their kids in public schools if there is something else that works better for them."

Mayor McGinn's son attends a public SPS high school, and so does the prior mayoral runner up, Joe Mallahan's son.

As well as MGJ's daughter.

Why not expect public figures to have their children in our public schools?

seattle citizen said...

Peon, REAL public figures, as in public employees (the mayor, the superintendent), are poor compared to the mega-uber-super-wealthy people who purport to have all the answers about public education but send their children to private schools. Eli Broad and Bill Gates have billions, send their children to private schools, and pontificate about what's right for public education.
Go figure.

skeptic said...

I can't say I've noticed a significant positive difference in my kids teacher/student ratio compared to my own education in the 70's.

When I was in first grade I had a ratio of about 20:1. My kid has 31.

The main difference between and then and now is that we didn't have teaching "coaches". Are they included in Gates' teacher ratio?

Jet City mom said...

Why not expect public figures to have their children in our public schools?

Lots of children who attended private elementary with my daughter, attended public high school. They either attended Washington, so they could admit to Garfield, or they moved to Bellevue.
Big whoop.
D would have attended those schools as well- or Summit K-12- if it was up to us, but while she received a scholarship for private ( based on test scores)- she didn't qualify for the gifted program in Seattle public schools & Summit was so popular that you couldn't get in.

When she worked at a school where some of the kids had bodyguards, I was nonplussed & kinda freaked out.
I think it is appropriate that they be in private schools- I sure wouldn't want those headaches in a public environment.
Thats all we need.