Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Wow, Are We Low on Teachers or What?

There's a shortage of teachers at SPS, according to this report, that was attached to the UW's revised Form 2 A for their application for alternative certification for TFA.
(Thanks to Stop TFA for this info.)

Here's something else fun about it (from the Oompah's comment):

I love the report, page 2 of Appendix B under the title "Teacher Vacancies". The opening sentence reads as follows:

"In the 2009-10 school year, there were a total of 352 vacancies in Seattle Public Schools.(4)"

And then footnote 4 reads as follows:

4. The 352 positions included 1.0 FTE as well as partial FTE positions; there were not 352 total FTE vacancies.

So though "there were a total of 352 vacancies", in fact "there were not 352 total FTE vacancies."

The way this report is set up looks as if it intends to show the reader that SPS needed 352 additional teachers to fill positions in the district. One must wonder who it was that requested the information be presented in this fashion...

And Susan Enfield wrote a supporting letter for the application and included this line:

We believe TFA corps members that are hired, after competing for open positions, will be well-served by the experience and expertise the COE brings to bear on all of its teacher education programs.

Let's go thru that sentence.  One, "are hired"?  Oh, so now the district has backed off the "may be hired" or "could be hired" to "are." 

So we know that not only is the head of TFA, the Dean of the College of Education at UW, and the Gates Foundation so certain TFA will be in SPS but now we know the Superintendent is as well  despite the non-committal contract.  As they say in poker, all in.

Also, as the TFA recruits have access to the COE, keep in mind who gets less.   Yes, that would be the actual full-paying students already in the COE.  If you look at the UW COE-TFA agreement, it's pretty clear TFA expects those professors to be available a lot (they demand flexibility on locations, hours and days when TFA will get their instruction). 


StopTFA said...

From TFA Placement Policies (Appendix J):

"The Executive Director is responsible for initiating contact with the school district and, depending on district policy, individual schools. Within the district, the Executive Director will work with district Executive Directors and HR staff members. At individual schools, the Executive Director will initiate individual contact to ensure that principals have accurate information about Teach For America, offer context on the summer training institute, and highlight the development and support the candidate will receive as corps members. The Teach For America Operations Associate will maintain a log of district and principal contact to assist with relationship-building and demonstrate transparency. To further build these relationships, we will extend opportunities for school and district leaders to participate and attend various Teach For America induction and training activities....

Potential placement schools include Bailey-Gatzert, Hawthorne, Madrona K-8, Aki Kurose, and Rainier Beach. At Rainier Beach, only 55% of 10th graders scored proficient on the state reading exam (down from 68% in 07-08 and below the district average of 75%). 14% of Rainier Beach 10th graders scored proficient on the math exam (down from 29% in 07-08 and well below the district average of 45%). Only 58% of Rainier Beach students will graduate within 4 years; 68% will graduate in 6 or fewer. We are committed to placing corps members in schools with this level of need"

So now we see why Bree Dusseault is the Ex Dir for Rainier Beach. Can we say "brow beat"?

Anonymous said...

It would be a shame to forget that Susan Enfield is the Sarah Palin of Seattle--she is ambitious, talks the talk, walks the walk (except when she takes off her shoes to pose for pictures with--yuck!--children).

Like Sarah Palin, Susan Enfield will do whatever it takes to get ahead...even perform in a reality show for TFA, Gates, Broad, and, without hesitation, the "Alliance."

Signed, I remember when the Alliance wanted to buy supplies for students in poverty

Anonymous said...

Permanent superintendents, please submit your applications starting...now!


Steve said...

I wonder if the "352 vacancies" include those teachers who were RIF'd in Spring only to be re-hired in the Fall after the game of musical chairs the district sometimes plays. The "net net" is probably a lot less vacancies.

Anonymous said...

Bree Dusseault is going to be over Hawthorne, but not RB. Rememeber that the two "PreK-12 Executive Directors" have been split so that she has all the elementaries while Michael Tolley supervises RB, Cleveland, South Shore, Aki, Mercer, Orca and South Shore. Even though of course she only has secondary principal credentials and her building experience is her whopping less than a year as the principal of a 50 student charter middle school ...

Signed, Ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Are TFA to be covered by the Union? If so isn't there a place here to get every teacher the same level of compensation i.e. tuition via UW and the stipends they recieve? Even if not on a district wide basis then on a school by school basis? Two teachers doing the same job in the same building getting unequal perks?

-Totally Fair for All

A Parent Against Elitism said...

A friend that works at the COE stated that the professors and instructors are afraid to speak against TFA because the Dean is All In. Sounds something like when Microsoft thought Bob, the Kin, and berating employees was be a good idea. Who can stands against the bullies like Bill Gates and Eli Broad when so much is in their favor (money)?

Charlie Mas said...

I'm surprised that Teach for America lists just five schools. I would have thought that they would be interested in any Level 1 or Level 2 school.

Teach for America corps members are, to the District, just like any other teacher. They are paid according to the pay scale and they are members of the union.

I don't think the union can negotiate anything more for other teachers based on what the District provides the TfA corps members because the corps members' other stuff (mentoring, reduced tuition, etc.) all comes from Teach for America and not from the District.

Here's an interesting point:

Despite a predicted drop in high school enrollments across the District, Rainier Beach's projected 9th grade enrollment (the number used for budget and staffing) is nearly double. The District will provide Rainier Beach a lot of new teachers next year based on the presumption that the incoming freshman class will be about twice the size of this year's class.

Rainier Beach is already heavily staffed, with one staff person per five students.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm.... I tend to try not to subscribe to conspiracy theories as a general rule, but it's hard not to see a pattern here. Especially with the manipulation of vacancy data.

Besides writing to all Board Directors and Dr. Enfield, what else can we citizens do so the district this is a program we DO NOT need here in Seattle? Especially given the obvious ulterior motives behind it.

--a reader--

Melissa Westbrook said...

Reader, you should also write to the Times and to the Dean (and cc the new UW President who I believe is starting work just this week). All these people need to hear this and loudly.

Outside of that? I can't offer much because it clearly is a fixed done deal and it stinks.

But, there are other things to do after they are here. More on that later.

Disgusted said...

Appears Executive Directors have a lot of control over the principals.

Gee I wonder if they'll influence hiring decisions.

mirmac1 said...

A reader,

I would suggest writing Phyllis Wise and/or Mike Young at pres@uw.edu and the pesb@k12.wa.us.

The State and the UW must know that those that pay their bills, namely US, care about maintaining a certain standard of quality.

Of course, either the four School Board incumbents have either, already packed their boxes or, live in an alternate reality, we must in no uncertain terms let them know how we feel.

Anonymous said...

my that's a lot of vacancies for only 30 some jobs posted on the website. Especially considering that throughout the year the number has held fairy steady, though the jobs have changed (and have until recently been primarily sports coaching and applicant pools).

former teacher

Anonymous said...

Are the parents and students of these schools on board with TFAs at their schools? Do they know TFAs are coming? OR is the district goint to present a fait accompli to these communities and do a "community engagment" divide them up, chit chat afterward?

Have to say we miss our old friends and neighbors by Pratt Park, but not the TFA condescension on these (would have been our) schools.


Anonymous said...

I think part of the reason the TFAs are being sent to experiment on the the students in poverty (and disproportionately) people of color is so they can have "cred" in the ivory towers of the education establishment.

How many times does Susan Enfield have to cite Bree's experience (what three years total?) in the 'hood, only to tell everyone in a letter that Bree lives in SE Seattle?

This is insulting and, yes, very condescending. It's "I feel your pain" on steroids except it's not just talk. These people are experimenting on vulnerable populations, which has a long history and tradition in this country.

-Fed Up

Anonymous said...

Interesting that the greatest number of illusory vacancies is at level 3 and 4 schools (remember, level 5 is "highest-performing", yeah whatever). So, in your face with the "hard to staff" level 1 and 2 schools!

Mr. Ed

dan dempsey said...

The UW report refers to the National Shortage of Teachers in certain subject areas. The report completely fails to show any of those 352 positions went unfilled or were filled by less than qualified teachers.

This is clearly a fixed "deal". {[The document fails to make a case for TfA. Laws are ignored to satisfy the whims of the powerful.]}

This is a lot more about pushing the corporate agenda than anything else.

If it was about providing solutions, the place to begin would be examining the incredibly poor professional development in math provided by the UW CoE's grant funded Math Education Project.

Broad, Gates, Walton, et al. provided big money to the Obama campaign ... the result is the "Race to the Top", the "Common Core State Standards Initiative", and the ludicrous "transformation" turnaround models for "failing schools".

In Seattle the "2007" winning candidates spent $500,000 to get elected ... and they continually ignore evidence to vote in support of the wishes of their big money donors.

When one looks at the "evidence" board decisions are very puzzling.... but when one follows the money trail all is revealed.

dj said...

Ok, so Madrona is a neighborhood school in s majority-upper-middle-class-to-wealthy neighborhood, and the district thinks bringing in TFA teachers is the way to get neighborhood parents into the building and maybe deal with some capacity issues? Seriously?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Fed Up,
Neither the district nor TFA wants anyone to know they are TFA teachers. That's part of the deal; mum's the word.

Call attention to the fact that you have hired a first year teacher with 5 weeks of training working on their teaching certificate at the same time? That even with just 5 weeks they seem to think they are qualified to teach Special Ed? Why would anyone call attention to that?

Parents might rise up and say, "Why us? Why don't we get a fully certificated teacher like other schools or even other classrooms at their school? Why are our children guinea pigs? Is it because we are at a struggling school? Or because we are immigrants (who might not know how to fight back and complain)?"

Maybe these parents might luck out and get the one in a hundred (a thousand) TFA recruits who can manage a classroom and reach kids? Lucky them.

Of course, there is no way for either TFA OR the district to stop anyone else from telling those parents what they are getting. Nope, there isn't.

I think sometimes people forget that Seattle is a pretty good union town.

Ed Doc said...

In recent years the district has established a process for screening out qualified applicants for many positions in order to place individuals that will 'toe the line' and support the agenda of headquarters and corporate interests.

Principal positions that had candidates with extensive experience and advanced degrees were filled with whiz kids that have demonstrated an allegiance to the company line.

This insanity must stop....for the sake of the children as well as millions of taxpayer dollars.

seattle citizen said...

Is there any way to cross-check new hires' names with some list of TFAers?

Is there a way to find out if a newly hired "teacher" is an honest-to-goodness teacher or merely a five-week trainee from Teach For Awhile?

Sahila said...

Bree appears to have some trouble with her diary and/or her watch.... failed to turn up for a 4pm appointment with Board candidate Kate Martin.... no email, no phone message, and, as far as I have heard at this hour, no apology....

Other people who know her better than I, say that this is consistent with her behaviour as an Ed Director - MIA at various schools under her charge...

Bodes well for the future, doesnt it?

Anonymous said...

Email the new UW President whose primary is Gary Ikeada? I think not. Until he goes, anything that is said to UW about SPS is going to be heavily filtered.


Maureen said...

It's interesting to me that Bailey Gatzert is on this list and that West Seattle Elementary isn't. Seattle University is building a Youth Initiative based on Harlem's Children Zone around the kids at Baily Gatzert. Since SU didn't choose to enroll Teach for America CMs, I wonder that they would be welcome as part of SU's program.

West Seattle Elelmentary is (like Hawthorne) a SIG school and trumpeted the work of TfA alum Chrissie Coxon last year. It seems to me that would be a more likely placement for TfA. Maybe they just don't have any openings?

I'd be interested to know what the PTSAs at these schools think about being on this list.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Sahila, word is from Ingraham that Bree isn't exactly etiquette+ when it comes to meetings and being on time.

Anonymous said...

It's simply disgusting how the district has gone to any length to lie, cheat, and deceive the public while doing as much back-door, under the table dealing as possible to create a home for TFA in Seattle, along with LEV, Stand and the SCPTSA.

Corruption 101. Lying, cheating, deceiving, exploitation of the poor and disenfranchised for personal gain, paternalism, racism, condescension, arrogance, and all the rest.

The message is clear: Get ready Seattle, rather than filling a few empty slots here and there, SPS is about to be flooded with outsider TFA recruits while local, qualified teachers go jobless and hungry.

This is what happens when we surrender local control to imported, branded, widget-monkeys who rig the test score the game by narrowing curriculum to the point that performance increases are almost inevitable.

Oh how I pray for the families in the South East who are about to get taken for a terrible ride by a bunch of me-first profiteers.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, me again. WSEADAWG

Sahila said...

@Melissa... I heard the same thing from Ballard people...

Her actions demonstrate a lack of respect...

Anonymous said...


It's hard to be a lone voice on this blog, but I will tell you that there are unfilled teacher positions currently, and over time. I have seen positions where no-one applies, and then downtown just sticks someone there. I would LOVE to have an energetic TFA person, even if inexperienced, want the position and apply, vs. central ofice sticking in someone just before school begins.

Not everyone is against TFA. IMO the teaching schools are not stellar or terribly useful to their students. Many, many teachers say that they learned very little in teaching school, other than eduspeak. If we support alternative learning for kids, why can't we open and broaden the perspective for adults and embrace alternative paths? There are some schools where no-one really wants to work. If you don't believe me call the principals at our most underperforming schools (not the "hot" ones like Gatzert receiving lots of attention) and ask how many applicants they had for their last open positions? How many had to go to job fair because no-one applied? How many did not even find someone at job fair???? I just heard of that at one school. Please, don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. A TFA teacher may not be right for some schools. It may be just what other schools need at a certain grade level. I respectfully ask that the members of this wonderful blog community remember that school communities may have different needs, and may want the freedom to have a wider selection of candidates. Please remember that what you view as stopping a monster, we may view as hamstringing our ability to finally get someone good in the door.

Good Candidates Please of All Stripes

Bird said...

Good Candidates,

Could you give us the details on the unfillable job you are referring to?

What school? What grade?

StopTFA said...

From the SPS HR webpage:


•Negotiations between Seattle Public Schools and Seattle Education Association successfully concluded, resulting in the approval by SEA members of a landmark three-year contract
•Implementation of online application system is helping to attract quality applicants to work with our students and is providing management tools to guide our recruitment efforts:
•766 positions advertised for 2010-2011 school year
•18,688 applications processed (821 applications received on August 18 alone)
•568 positions filled

What, you're saying picking one out of 32 is not selective enough?

Good Candidate, of course we want good teachers. I take strong issue with the political sandbagging and cronyism at ALL levels. Recent events clearly demonstrate this.

I'm sure the caliber of candidates would increase if the allure of the job increased; namely, less abuse, more respect, an actual pay raise, more support. You know, that kinda thing.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bird said...

I have to agree with StopTFA on this as well.

If there are jobs that are as hard to fill, as Good Candidates, suggests, I have to wonder.

If there are jobs that can't be filled when there are so many teachers looking for work and so many applicants for a single position elsewhere, lowering the requirements for the job is not the solution. A job that hard to fill will also be almost impossible to keep filled even if you make the requirements zero.

Such a position requires more intelligent strategies. What makes the job so undesirable and how can it be made better. I shudder to think of a teaching situation so awful no one in this economy wants to take it. If a class is that miserable for the teacher, what must it be like for the students?

But once again, it's all a bunch of hot air without specifics.

Good Candidates, give us the specifics. Your comment borders on meaningless without them.

dan dempsey said...

"Good Candidates, give us the specifics. Your comment borders on meaningless without them."

Just a bunch of anecdotal reporting (??) with no substantive supporting data, exactly the kind of stuff some Board Directors site when justifying ridiculous votes.

"Good Candidates" have you tried running for Seattle School Director? ..... Your thinking should rake in about $100,000 in campaign donations from the well connected overlords that serve as masters to the "$500,000 Class of 2007".

Maureen said...

How does the SPS hiring process work? Is there a way to keep a current application in a pool so you are contacted when anything you are qualified for is posted, or do you have to constantly monitor the web site and apply for jobs in a small window? Is it easy or difficult to apply to multiple positions? Does HR process the applications or is that left to building admin? I think I have heard that current subs are not allowed to apply for open positions until Tier 3. Is that true? Does HR monitor whether certain principals have trouble attracting applicants? Do they do anything with that information?

dan dempsey said...

There are now 3.6 HS math jobs open at RBHS that just very recently appeared ... closing date is in about one week.

dan dempsey said...

It is increasingly clear that decisions are made as part of a long term strategy.

TfA will train leaders to advance a reform agenda. Look at how many decisions have ZERO to do with the intelligent application of relevant data.

Start at the top and examine the treatment that Obama/Duncan Admin give "failing schools" ..... Check out UW CoE Dean Stritikus's credentials to hold his job .... examine his TfA pushing into Seattle etc.

Look at the numerous "evidence lacking" approvals made by the Seattle School Board..... Check Bree D's background ....

As Salander pointed out ... if an experienced person knows something, they are not suitable for Admin in Seattle. ..... These days it is all about whistling the correct tune. -- Martin Floe are you listening.

Check the math scores, check the math coaches, check the math program manager...... Results are not important but whistling the "correct" tune is imperative.

The Teaching and Learning of Academic content is passe ... check the MSP results and WASL results over time in grades 3, 4, 5 .... Readers Workshop? Writers Workshop?

Low on teachers or NOT ... does not matter .... just following the correct centralized plan as laid out by the Experts ... will do the job.

seattle citizen said...

Good candidates,
You write that "school communities may have different needs, and may want the freedom to have a wider selection of candidates."

The problem with that statement is that it is obvious that no one high up, not SPS, TFA, the UW's Stritikus...not one of the "reformers" wants the community to have any input to these decisions at all. TFA is being stuck into schools, with community knowledge and input at a minimum.
This isn't about "community input" into who is hired, just as nothing else in the district is about community input. It's about "Reform" and it's about getting it done, contracting it, in fact, so it IS done.

Communities will have little say in the matter (even if they know what is going on, even if they know, which I doubt, that an applicant is TFA.

Anonymous said...


As far as I know Seattle doesn't do "open pools" for teaching positions. Each applicant applies for each position they are interested in.

Only people with continuing contracts can apply during Tier I and II. After all of the displaced teachers with contracts have been picked or placed THEN people who are substitutes or held one year contracts can apply.


Maureen said...

Thanks PT.

Only people with continuing contracts can apply during Tier I and II.

But I believe that doesn't apply to temporary placements as I helped interview several candidates for leave replacement jobs who were from outside SPS or had non continuing contracts. Subs tried to apply for these jobs but couldn't.

And of course Level 1 (and 2?)schools go straight to Tier 3, so the people with continuing contracts are thrown in with subs and TfA (and presumably new grads?) for those jobs.

Are they advertised any differently than Tier 1 and 2 positions?

suep. said...

I'm reposting this for Anonymous at 6/15/11 12:27 PM in case it gets deleted for lack of specific moniker:

Anonymous said...

Dear Lone desenter,

As a recent graduate of the UW's Masters In Teaching Program, I can assure you that we all (WA-state certified, Masters holding teachers) applied for any vacancies in the district last year. We received very few interviews/callbacks.

I personally have my ELL endorsement and my SPED minor degree, yet couldn't find work in SPD during the 2010-2011 year. I applied to every job that was posted, and interviewed twice; both times losing out to "more experienced teachers". I spent my year substitute teaching.

Now we hear that TFAs are going to come in, pay NOTHING, comparitively, and finish their program in 5 weeks, when it took us 2 years!?!?!?!

As such, I've left the district to work in a private school next year. After accumulating $90,000 of debt to the UW for my degree and not finding a job, I couldn't wait around any longer.

I am not the only one who is leaving the district out of frustration and outrage.

6/15/11 12:27 PM