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Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Busy Day, Busy Board Meeting

Not enough time to do this justice but some thoughts from yesterday at Denny/Sealth and today at Lowell at Lincoln (and McDonald) and key points from the Board meeting.

Denny/Sealth
It's a pretty big campus and I feel for the security guards.  It's a lot of ground to cover.  On a good note, they are going to keep the galleria area (the common area for both schools) closed off from each other.  (I had asked Dr. Enfield about how fast they could close that off in a lock-down and she didn't know and referred me to a staff member.)  I have to say, though, it must be pretty noisy at lunchtime with two schools eating at the same time. 

Sealth got "modernized" but it is obvious which is the new building  (Denny).  Some interesting things at Sealth, though.  Upstairs there are two areas in the long hallways where the lighting is different colors.  In one place it glows orange and the other purple.   I have no idea why it's like that but very groovy.   They also have a very nice art facade of Chief Sealth on the front of the building.

Denny is new so it's nice but not a really distinguished building.  They use shades of a calming green color throughout.   The library was still being worked on.

I actually got confused as I walked thru the buildings but one of them has a lot of flat wood railings.  I can see those things scratched and carved up in just a couple of years.  It's beyond me why anyone would do this at a middle or high school.  The other thing was that in one outside area - sort of a commons - they had some nice blue benches.  Then, for some bizarre reason, there are sets of three chairs, grouped in a manner of speaking,  and they all are mounted on a metal circle so they twirl.  Why?  Who thought this was important enough to spend money on instead of more benches? 


Lowell at Lincoln/MacDonald 
Kind of confusing there.  I walked in and thought I was in the Lowell area but nope, it was MacDonald.  It is bright and cheerful in the building that is the main area for MacDonald.  Parents were all greeting each other and the Japanese teacher was showing the students their lockers with their names in Japanese. 

Outside in front, the Lowell parents and children had massed.  Apparently MacDonald starts at 9 and Lowell at 9:30.  I guess this is because they don't want a mass of buses and kids all at once.   (I was told by one parent that he thought the MacDonald staff didn't want Lowell coming in while MacDonald's day was starting.  This all begs the question that the Lowell kids will have to come in earlier at some point.  I mean it does rain and even get cold here.  They can't stay outside until just before the bell.

Now Lowell had this odd set-up where certain grades when in a side door on one side of the building and the upper grades in through the front door.  That means the kids on the bus have to get off and walk along half the building on the side and half in the front to get to the front door.  If that bus is late, don't count on that kid getting in the building in less than 5-7 minutes.  It's a walk.

Also, they had bus zones but also car zones next to it and boy, people are really going to have to be careful.  None of the buses I saw for Lowell had more than 8 kids in them (full size buses) but maybe more parents brought their kids to school for the first day. 

The Lowell parents all seemed very enthused and determined to make this work.  The theme I heard was "as long as we are all together."  Good attitude.  There were at least 100 parents at the coffee hour that Dr. Enfield attended.  It was stated that Greg King is the principal of record but Reena is the site administrator.  No other administrator was mentioned. 

Board Meeting
It looked a a crowd but it was mostly people there for the presentation.  The presentation was to thank and acknowledge the partnership with Pacific Northwest Ballet.  In the past decade over 5,000 SPS students have been in their outreach program in the schools at low or no cost.  It is available at 6 elementaries and two K-8s.  There was a great short video featuring 3 students who talked about what a difference it made and one child said, "Dance is my happy place."  Me, too. 

I'll do a wrap-up of the testimony later but just to let you know there were two quite interesting things that happened (both related to my previous thread about my testimony).

One was a bit odd.  Peter Maier said he wanted to take the Sealth elevator item off the Consent agenda but then it was discussed and voted on.  This was about the "emergency" renovation of Sealth's elevators and the staff using a Board policy and state RCW to do the work before getting permission from the Board (it cost over $250k which is the cut-off for permission; the work was $375k).

The issue for me was not that the elevators shouldn't have been fixed but that the staff used the RCW as their reasoning to not ask the Board and yet didn't comply with all of its directives.  So Ron English, our Chief Counsel, comes to the mic to say that it was only a "small" noncompliance.  They were required to give notice within 14 days and they did it in 19.  He said that the next opportunity to tell the Board was in 19 days. 

Really Ron?  Because the key word here is "emergency."  If it was an emergency, then you tell the Board and the public in the legally required time. 

See, the staff has this bad habit of not complying with laws.  Like for two audits not following federal code requirements for the Native American funds.  Like spending almost $1M extra on Cleveland and THEN telling the Board.  And now, again, it was "minor."  This is the kind of stuff that keeps our State Auditor in business and you'd think the Board would have had just about enough but nope.

The only one to speak up was DeBell who said he would have thought that any moderization would start with life safety equipment first.  No kidding.  And they all agreed and said they would do that in the future (sure they will).   Our interim Capital manager said he would have expected that to happen here  but didn't (and poor guy, it wasn't his fault).

But even though watchdog Chris Jackins pointed out that in the agenda it stated that it wouldn't do any good for the Board to not approve it, that maybe the Board should just not vote to approve it to prove to staff that they could.  That got a good laugh.  The Board did, of course, approve it.

Then on Transportation there was this discussion of how, over the last 5 years, the ORCA pass has gone from $18 to $27 to$36  and may go to $45 next year.  Tom Bishop of Transportation said as long as the state will pay for it, they would go with the increase.  There was also a question about monitoring its use on weekend (I guess to make the price go down).  Mr. Bishop said they would study that for next year.  That got voted in.

Then we came to TFA and it got very interesting.  Holly Ferguson, our Governance person, came forward with the names of two more TFA, one for South Shore and one for Aki Kurose.  Both had passed the necessary tests.  She explained that this was an intro/action item so they can get certified sooner by OSPI.  (The one at Aki is already an emergency sub there.) 

Not many questions and I really felt surprised.  I had asked, again, in my testimony who the TFA donor was.  Dr. Enfield (and this is on tape) said at the last Board meeting that when there were TFA hires, she would say who the donor was.  I asked that it be done tonight.

So with little discussion, there was a pause.  Michael DeBell, bless his heart, spoke up.  He said he had a conflicted attitude about TFA as he was happy to go with candidates who made it through the SPS process.  He said however he was not comfortable with anonymous donors with unclear objectives.   He said something about the Supreme Court and how money seemed to buy speech and access.   He said he did not want to go down this road and not be transparent.

He then said he could not vote yes until we have a transparent process and called it a slippery slope. 

Lots of stone-faced staff.  He said he encouraged any colleagues who were inclined his way to vote to postpone.

Carr asked why, if we have donors, they did not want to be named.

Enfield said a lot of blah, blah about how they didn't know the total amount the donors would have to pay (not saying there will likely be more TFA hires but that was the implication).  That was NOT what she said at the last meeting.  She said nothing about getting any final head count and a total for the donors at that meeting.

Smith-Blum said well, school has started.  We know the number so why not come forward?

Enfield said well, she really didn't know who they are.  Really, Susan, and who does?  The Alliance?  The Seattle Foundation?  Who is holding back this information from her (as she is implying)?

Then I did something I have never done in all my years of activism at  Board meetings.  I spoke out loudly and said, "Nonsense."  Steve said it was the Board's time to talk.  (I've rolled my eyes, shook my head and muttered under my breath but never spoke out.)

De Bell said he knew it was an awkward situation but he said they had been assured there was a funding source.  If not, then how can we be hiring these TFA recruits?  He said it was an "either or" situation.

Steve reiterated his support (as he does each and every time TFA comes up) and said he wanted to keep the process moving forward.  Ron English rushed forward to tell Holly something.  Carr said could this motion just be an intro and they will act on it at the next Board meeting.

The Board then took a 5-minute break to discuss it and the legal eagles conferred as well.

They came back and Steve suggested Sherry's suggestion.  Not happy faces from the staff.  Ms. Ferguson said they could "accommodate" that request.  Michael said he appreciated that and they should resolve to work towards a solution.  All the Board voted to intro the item tonight and vote next Board meeting.

I'm sure the Board will be getting a cheerful little earful tomorrow from various talking heads in this town but too bad.  It is a public district and the taxpayers and parents of this district have a right to know where money is coming from that is paying for a certain type of teacher. 

Why Enfield is now lying and stalling is a mystery but it does not look good on her part (and she has built so much goodwill among the Board and parents that it's sad she would act in this manner). 

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Melissa, for being so ON IT and helping to keep the
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ from completely taking over the school district.

Michael DeBell was truly disturbed by Enfield's blatant deceitfulness.

--and so were the rest of us

dan dempsey said...

Gee I wonder how Steve and Susan are doing with restoring public trust in the SPS?

Why Enfield is now lying and stalling is a mystery but it does not look good on her part ....

What a way to build trust?

The Superintendent is a liar ... not a lot different than her actions as CAO.

Good thing Steve wants to keep the process going ... NO transparency required anywhere.

I am sure that Steve will be rewarded with massive campaign contributions to print glossy brochures for his reelection push.

SAY STEVE who are the TfA mystery donors ?

Dorothy Neville said...

This is definitely one to watch at home once the video is available.

Michael was referring to the supreme court decision that has allowed more anonymous money in campaigns.

“The Supreme Court has completely lifted restrictions on corporate spending on elections,” said Taylor Lincoln, research director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch, a watchdog group. “And 501(c) serves as a haven for these front groups to run electioneering ads and keep their donors completely secret.”

From: NYT article

Charlie Mas said...

Several speakers, myself included, noted that the 4000 Series policies were not ready. The Board and the staff told some weird story about how this was just Phase I for those policies (in which they were all just getting re-numbered) and there would be a Phase II (in which they would be re-written). They all acted like this was the plan all along. If so, it's a stupid plan. Why handle the policies twice? Also, why believe that they would ever come back and do the Phase II work when they have such a horrible track record on that sort of thing?

The motion was amended so that only the new policies were adopted and the old policies remained numbered as they were until the Phase II work is done. The amended motion was approved.

Anonymous said...

It's simply unthinkable that the SPS could accept money from "unnamed" donors. For example, would it be cool for the TFA teachers themselves to pay the 4000K? What about a foreign government? If either of those things were happening, wouldn't we have a right to know?

My guess is that they're hoping for some scheme where the money doesn't go through SPS and somehow goes directly to TFA, that would avoid the disclosure issues for SPS. It doesn't, however, avoid the issues that the Bezos Family Foundation person is raising -- that the point of the 4K was supposed to be to make sure that the school district had an investment in promoting the success of the TFA teachers (though paying them seems like it should be enough investment). I guess this would put the SPS in the game for supporting the TFA, rather than just the teachers.

If, as we suspect, the donor is one of the standards in Seattle, the Gates or Bezos foundations, I don't even understand why such a big deal is being made of keeping the info non-transparent. I wonder if it has to do with TFA's policy that the school district must invest in TFA; that TFA doesn't want to set a precedent that outside investors will fund TFA, because they want school districts to fund it.

(zb)

Anonymous said...

PS: the school district probably also has sources of money that they're not allowed to use to pay the headhunter fee of TFA (for example, Title I funds, I would guess, and the Native American funds, almost certainly).

(zb)

mirmac1 said...

My my, this WILL be interesting to watch. Thanks Melissa for being our eyes and ears (and sometimes MOUTH) at the meeting. : D

Catherine said...

Regarding the busses at Lowell @ Lincoln: they are arranged to be packed to the gills with 3 students in every seat on the bus. A lot of parents drove yesterday, but are planning to put their kids on the bus in the next day or two.

The traffic set up is a bit nerve wracking with children crossing in front of cars. Scary.

Jack Whelan said...

There's no question that this board likes Susan Enfield. I think she's smart, and she knows how to say all the right things until someone pins her down. I think it's going to be tough to dislodge her. But she has to go. She's too complicit in the dysfunction mindset of the last decade, Her ties to TFA and Gates, and the patronizing way she handled the Martin Floe firing disqualify her, and it's all the more reason to motivate us all to get board members in there who don't things she's "so wonderful". Susan Enfield is a campaign issue because nothing is more important for the long-term health of the district than changing the staff mentality from the top down. This can't be done overnight, but it can't be done at all if you don't have the right person as superintendent.

Carol Simmons said...

Did anyone notice that Director Patu mentioned that there had been no public input on the adoption of the Policies? No one seemed to care. Director Smith Blum evidenced some interest in the testimony which Ms. Barker provided regarding military recruiting. Director Patu was once again the only board member who had the courage to break rank (to use a military term) and abstain. The Policies are pushed through without public input most of the time (Introduction and Action Items at the same meeting) and when public input is presented it is ignored. The obvious difficulty of locating the policies and then discovering at which meeting public input will be allowed is as mysterious as the cloak and dagger drama which surrounds the anonymous donors to TFA.

Anonymous said...

More Byzantine/Trojan Horse tactics by Enfield and staff, and, of course, Sundquist is absolutely fine with it. We'll disclose the donors...after the horses are out of the barn... Nice transparency! What a joke.

That no one on the board is aghast and outraged at this clandestine but obvious coup d'etat by the local oligarchs is disgusting. Shame on Sundquist for endorsing and supporting the takeover of our public trusts by private interests. Is there any question who he works for? WSDWG

Anonymous said...

Again with the "tool-like" behaviors...

Mr. Ed

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, I don't like name calling but yes, there was a big of tool-like behavior on the part of Sundquist.

Two of the RBHS PTSA had come to testify. One gave her time to the other and then vice versa (I think they were trying for a connected stream of thought but were on the speaker's list in the opposite order).

When the second speaker gave her time to the first speaker, Steve piped up and said, "Please sign up in the order you want to speak." At least one Board director and some in the audience said what we who go there a lot all know - you can't pick where you are on the list.

But it was so dumb because what did it matter? They were following Board directive on ceding time and yet Steve just had to tsk, tsk them.

Anonymous said...

Newbie Asks...

Where do I find the link to the board meeting video on the district site? I cant figure it out.

Anonymous said...

Newbie, it will be on the Seattle channel in a day or two, usually. You can find the link on the board's page at the SPS website, or go to Seattlechannel.org (I think it is..) WSDWG

dan dempsey said...

Newbie,

Video is now available.
Look HERE

=====\The place you could not find is\
Seattle Schools => District =>School Board

Then right hand cloumn
=> Additional Links => IBC/SPS-TV

-- Dan

dan dempsey said...

Kathy Barker begins testimony at time 12:30

Maureen said...

Newbie, you can also try to watch Board Meetings steamed live from your computer but I always have trouble finding the right link for that and the video tends to shut down off and on throughout the stream (maybe a problem on my end?) Anyway last night I eventually found the link on the Instructional Broadcast Center page. You click the link that says "Stream SPS-TV Live" right above the "School Board Meetings" subsection.

dan dempsey said...

68:25 Enfield reports on State Test scores.

=====
Note... as OSPI testing scores vary from year to year,
to learn much about actual progress requires comparison with the state averages. (Note OSPI reading scores sky rocketed from 2000 to 2005 .. whereas IOWA reading scores were flat)
=====

The SPS Math EoCs can be evaluated by using the state averages.

74:00 What is P. Maier talking about? The 10th grade ... he wants a more carefully analysis ... Enfield will pursue a more careful analysis.

DeBell at 74:00+ gets it. He knows BS when he sees and hears it.

Michael refers to SPS in comparison to State Averages.

Such a comparison shows that Math MSP results in grades 3, 4, 5 are down and falling.

Also while the SPS has been scoring above State Averages for All tenth graders on tenth grade testing the last few years => The EoC's showed that for All students who were enrolled in an Algebra Class and tested as well as for All students who were enrolled in a Geometry class and tested. ==> The SPS scored below state averages.

someone said...

Wow - that woman is smooth but it's so obvious from her tone and body language that she is TICKED off to have the TFA donor thing questioned. There is a very interesting little eye glance exchange between her & Sundquist when DeBell asks the question - wonder what that was about?

Way to go Debell - about time someone finally stood up and said wait a minute - what is going on here - he is absolutely 100% right about the slippery slope concept.

Will be interesting to see what the ultimate outcome will be.

dan dempsey said...

Note at 88:00 KSB addresses the need to involve the public in policy development. She appreciates those community members who testified about policy this evening. ... mentions "How we should fund and govern our schools in an ever changing world".

dan dempsey said...

92:20 ... Carr "I get the message from the public about how the district needs to maintain objectivity"

So now we can wait for the culture change ... don't hold your breath waiting.

94:40 Sundquist mentions "we are running a little long here" (???)

dan dempsey said...

Part I at 115:30 TfA begins with Holly F. at 116:00

Test Law about requesting conditional certification specifically states:



(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.

Did the Board request information about each candidate in regard to previous experience the individual working with children?

dan dempsey said...

DeBell on TfA at 118:30

Not comfortable with Anonymous donations with specific policy objectives. .. HOORAY

We have been moving in a direction in this country where dollars are classified as speech ... thus diminishing the influence of the less wealthy.

dan dempsey said...

122:25 Enfield responds to the outside sources of finance ... very ambiguous ... I do not have those names.

I just do not have those names right now.

123:30 KSB so why do we not know the donor ... TfA payment due the end of October.

DeBell 124:00 .... so we are assured of funds ... so we should know the source of funds.

Sundquist 125:00 ... I support this program.

=======

HERE is the big pickle....

How can this wish for not letting Big Money interests dictate the direction for school programs be realized... when the donors names are disclosed after the program begins.


NO matter what the decision is at this point .... the SPS Board pushed this cart down the road for over half a year with no idea who was providing the money.

=======
The Board continues to ignore state laws.

Jack Whelan said...

DeBell at 74:00+ gets it. He knows BS when he sees and hears it.

Yes--he seems to get it. And I appreciate his challenge on the anonymous TFA donor issue. But he also made a statement last night about how much better things are now than they were a year ago and other noises about how they were well on the way to changing the culture. Are they? Does Enfield offer a substantive leadership difference, or is just a style difference? I think the answer is obvious.

Refresh my memory: Was DeBell one of the directors who voted against renewing MGJ's contract? I hope so. If not he seemed then to think that things were just fine a year ago, and even six months ago.

mirmac1 said...

I want to commend military veteran Michael Dedrick for his powerful testimony regarding military recruiters in our schools, talking to minors. Both he and Kathy Barker sit on the board of Washington Truth in Recruiting at www.watir.org. Why don't they enjoy the access to board members that TFA seems to command...?

Anonymous said...

@Jack Whelan re: DeBell's vote for MGJ's contract extension...

Yep, he sure did vote for it. I noted on the other thread (mistakenly replying to your question there) that DeBell draws an occasional line in the sand but can be counted on to follow the majority in terms of the overall trend.

Nice that he did the right thing tonight. But I'm not holding my breath.

Maybe you can run against him when he's up for re-election because you continue to demonstrate good judgment and decency.

--give credit where credit is due but not waiting for Godot

Charlie Mas said...

I have heard people wonder what Susan Enfield has done that the Board finds so damn wonderful.

They believe that she has been working to improve the dysfunctional culture of the District. They believe that she has fired a number of the folks who were among the major contributors to the dysfunctional culture and has replaced them with folks who are not tainted by that culture.

I would say that this is absolutely true... in every department except Teaching and Learning.

It's too bad that Teaching and Learning was just as dysfunctional, just as polticiatlly driven, just as much a battlefield of warring fiefdoms, as every other department.

At least Dr. Enfield talks about culture.

That's what they see and that's what they love.

The question remains, however, if that perception reflects reality or if it is just a public relations effort.

I think it actually reflects reality... in every department except Teaching and Learning. Dr. Enfield does not subject herself or her team to the same standards that she demands of other departments. If it were Facilities who were trying to keep donors secret I don't think she would allow it. That said, I don't think the new Facilities people would even try it.

Anonymous said...

Enfield's emails with TFA and the lying behavior clearly on display last night (along Dan Dempsey's chronicles of Enfield) do not indicate a character worthy to lead the students in Seattle Public Schools. These children deserve an honest superintendent who is looking out for their best interests, not her own.

Enfield's "clean ups" have been no-brainers on her way toward becoming permanent superintendent. This stuff had to happen--remember the auditor's report?

However, Teaching and Learning is the mission of schools! MAP--as in make those teachers accountable, TFA, romancing the Alliance and other "private groups of citizens"
--these are her pet issues and projects...and they just "happen" to be the focus of politics and big money.

Gee, I wonder why this is the area where she is having some ethical problems?

The board loves Enfield because she looks, acts and talks like them, right down to the NPR dialect
(excepting Betty Patu, the only non-group-think member).
Notice how much DeBell and Company try to sound like talking heads on the Jim Lehrer News Hour. It would be funny were they not further ruining the district.

By the way, she literally ignores teachers, except when she can use them as a sound bite in a media event...teachers don't have anything she can use to get ahead.

Yes, the teacher deserves much better, too.

--Seattle's Tea Party (I mean Wine Soiree)

mirmac1 said...

Wine Soiree

Love it! Make mine Chardonnay, BTW!

WV: Temperance is fine for others, but I'll untempum if you please....

ArchStanton said...

Mostly because it seems more pertinent to the upcoming election and partly because DeBell appears to have a few vertebrae; I updated my earlier Gang of Five poster to focus just on the Gang of Four.

Share and Enjoy!

Gang of Four (med jpg)
http://tinyurl.com/3cna8vk

Gang of Four (large pdf)
http://tinyurl.com/3s677uq

peonypower said...

Wine Soiree-
yep- you got it right on ignoring teachers. This whole TFA thing stinks and Enfield is at the crux of it, and from the email it seems like from the beginning. Glad to hear DeBell said something about it. He promised when the TFA thing started that the donor would be disclosed publicly, and I'm glad to hear that he is uncomfortable with how things are going.

Sahila said...

A bit of light relief...

ed deform is spreading like a virus around former British colonies...

The Aussies have their own vernacular for the stuff we have seen happening here:
Naplan vernacular


and the land of the long white cloud (Aotearoa/New Zealand) isn't too keen on what's the ship's brought in...
from Nanny State to Big Brother

StopTFA said...

I especially liked her canard "...a few months ago, when TFA first got on our radar..." Let me see, she was dishing with her BFF Janis Ortega in Spring '10. They were scheming on the $4K fee in October '10. So, last night she says she's been too busy to think about it.

BTW, it takes NOTHING to become an emergency substitute (at least they do a background check, so I might even qualify). Certificate? we don't need no stinkiin' certificates!

Believe it or not, the emergency sub application has two check boxes where the applicant can note:

- I have not been employed in an educational setting for the last ten years; and

- I have not been employed in a non-educational setting for the last ten years.

At least regulatory language governing conditional certificates notes that experience with children is desired (but clearly not required for most TFA), emergency subs without certificates can have crawled out from under a rock and be teacher of record in your kid's classroom (presuming your child attends a high-need school).

Yeah, there's a culture change for ya...

dan dempsey said...

We now have a situation where it is quite clear (as Charlie points out) that the Superintendent is clueless about making effective plans to improve academic performance.

In her time as CAO she repeatedly ignored relevant data to push proposals based solely on politics. As interim-Super this has not changed.

From TfA Wiki-leaks it is abundantly clear that the entire formation of the TfA proposal had "ZERO" to do with closing achievement gaps.

I suspect that the same crew that guided Sen. Rodney Tom and Rep. Eric Pettigrew to introduce bills in the House and Senate that called for riffing teachers based on student performance, is behind the TfA proposal.

Note Sen Rosemary McAuliffe correctly stated that there are no tools to validly use student performance for the evaluation of teachers ... that made no difference to TOM and PETTIGREW ... they knew what their backers wanted done.

There are a pack of emails going back and forth between Ortega (of TfA) and Wallace (executive director of the PESB) .... This one stinks to high heaven.

It is quite clear when one reads the law that as planed and currently devised this TfA proposal is illegal.

#1: There is no shortage of certificated teachers

#2: The circumstance that supposedly warrants TfA is the Achievement gap (so says SPS)

#3: 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.

What review has this district performed??

To the best of my knowledge there has been no review of other options for closing the achievement gap.

The has been no statistical analysis performed that could possibly justify TfA as a means to close the achievement gap.

#5: 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.

Has the Board even inquiry what previous experience each of the TfAers has in working with children?

#6; Michael DeBell is now concerned about the influence that monied individuals have in determining School District decision making. This has arisen out of the fact that the donor is anonymous. ... So why was this even considered initially when the donor was anonymous?

#7: If the Board submits a request for conditional certification for any TfA candidate .... the Board is likely guilty of Fraud. By making that application the Board is essentially saying:

a: We have exhausted all possibilities for closing achievement gaps.

b: We have performed a review that examined all other options and leads us to the conclusion that continuing to employ only fully certificated teachers will not be as productive as hiring some TfA 5-week wonders.

c: We have reviewed each candidate and find that each has had adequate previous experience working with children.

dan dempsey said...

================
The above is simply preposterous as the District has continually ignored relevant data and made bone head decisions that have enlarged achievement gaps for many ethnic and economic subgroups of children.

Again the Achievement Gaps are not nearly as difficult a problem as the District has made it. Other districts have made much better progress than the SPS ... but the SPS leaders refuse to intelligently apply relevant data.

Dr. Enfield was an incompetent CAO and is a dishonest leader.

The Big MONEY was behind TfA from square one and Dr. Enfield knew it. She pushed this and continues to push it. ... This is not about the achievement Gap and therefore is an illegal action and violates state law. The fact that the PESB may have been complicit in this illegal act does not shield the Board from accountability.

The District has no real plan to do much of anything to improve academics.

The achievement Gap remains a bad joke ... in that it is ignored ... except when some kaka idea needs justification like TfA.

=========
The TfAers should not be in the hiring pool. The TfAers should not have conditional certs. Only the Fraud perpetrated by Enfield and cronies has allowed some TfAers to get conditional certs.

Charlie Mas said...

New drinking game:

Every time Steve Sundquist says "at this point in time" everyone has to take a shot.

Charlie Mas said...

I saw a lot of positives in this Board meeting. The Board deserves some credit.

1) The Sealth elevator item was removed from the consent agenda and discussed. The explanation about how and why it got done as it was and the timeline presented wasn't ideal, but there were some admissions that things weren't handled correctly and some assurances that they will be handled better in future. That's about all we can hope for.

2) The conditional certificates for the TFA corps members was TABLED until the donor's names are made public. That's a freakin' victory. The Board withheld approval until their conditions are met. Yay team!

3) The Series 4000 policy approvals was heavily modified. The whole Phase I, Phase II explanation was dreadful. It made no sense and it was essentially rejected. Again, yay team! The Board withheld their approval until the work is done properly.

Anonymous said...

Aye takashot schwhenever enFild saysh "So"

Mr. Ed

Jan said...

Charlie said: "but there were some admissions that things weren't handled correctly and some assurances that they will be handled better in future. That's about all we can hope for."

My word, Charlie -- you have gone all mellow and reasonable! I will grant you #2 and #3. But on #1 -- as you have often pointed out before, assurances by staff mean nothing. They all but hum Brahms's Lullaby as they say them. ("La la laaaa, go to sleeeep Board, you'll all forget this before the next time. . . ." -- you have to supply the tune yourself) The task is NEVER done for District staff when they simply declare they will do it differently (it might be different, if they had a track record of keeping their word). This one dangles out there unless and until there is some evidence that they have actually changed the way they operate.

Melissa Westbrook said...

"That's about all we can hope for."

Maybe in this district but they can do better.

That Mr. English, general counsel, can sniff at "small noncompliance" issues and he's in charge of our legal issues? I wonder what would fall on his radar.

I'm sure the State Auditor won't see it that way because laws generally don't have flexible rates of compliance. Whether it's 4 days or 4 weeks or 4 months, if you don't comply, you don't comply.

That this district can have multiple audits where non-compliance has repeatedly been called out (like the Native American program) and the Board just blithely accepts his explanation, well, you can see how we got to the state we are today.

Linh-Co said...

I just read a posting from another blog that Chase is funding TFA. Is this true? If so, why would Chase fund this?

Anonymous said...

I just read a posting from another blog that Chase is funding TFA. Is this true? If so, why would Chase fund this?

----------

They ran out of fraudlent mortgages...?

-JC.

Jan said...

Big corporations travel around to top college programs hiring every year the "best and brightest" they can find. As Melissa's post on benes for TfA kids shows, they are all connected with each other. If in fact Chase is doing this, I am sure they think of it as good pr/marketing/name recognition with folks like Mr. Bezos, the Gateses, and other wealthy folks who are enamored of Big Ed and ed reform. They get to look like they are doing good, charitable things for education, they keep their oar in the water with the "very special" TfA grads, etc. etc. Directors Meier and Sundquist could both explain this with much more clarity, I expect.

What would REALLY be great would be if Chase allowed its employees (those who wanted to) to take 2 to 4 hours a week to volunteer/tutor/help out in the nearest school -- and paid them for it. Or if they would volunteer to replace the funding that the State cut last year for the salmon program (unless someone else has already stepped up, and I just missed it). Ah well. Manus manum lavat, as my old Latin teacher used to say.

StopTFA said...

What's amazing is how UW grads became the "best and brightest" seemingly overnight! Wow. The state's disinvestment in higher ed is working!

The 400% (or so) jump in applications/admissions was purely a fluke of nature...or simply strategic marketing on the part of recruiters...

StopTFA said...

Cripes, my cynicism is making me nauseous

Melissa Westbrook said...

What's also interesting is that UW had a diversity day last year with various speakers. One was a TFA guy talking with a Peace Corps worker and his promo stated how UW has "zero" diversity and TFA can help with that. I thought it most insulting thing ever and I wondered how he got picked to talk about diversity.