Hack Job, Anyone?

I mentioned previously that at the last School Board meeting, Liv Finne of the right-wing Washington Policy Center, got up to support TFA and used a lot of hyperbole to make her point (for example, the district was "banning" TFA).   Her latest epistle is off the charts.  Some excerpts with comments:

TFA educators set high goals for their students: a clear focus on math and science, 40 minutes of reading every night, and a desire to graduate and go on to college. In Seattle and other cities TFA is helping children raise their sights and reach for the stars.

Whenever I read this kind of uplift for one group, I wonder what they think about the other group.  Meaning, if TFA is this great, what do they think regular teachers (read: real teachers) are doing every day and expect to do in the future in their chosen profession?

Not everyone is happy, however. The teachers’ union sees opening schools to TFA graduates as a threat to their power within the system.  Union executives did not want TFA in Seattle in the first place, and now they are doing everything they can to drive these young instructors out of local classrooms.

No, I don't think the SEA thought a bunch of 22-year olds were any kind of power threat but rather a threat to decent teaching for students with high needs.  Also, SEA is doing NOTHING to drive the TFA teachers out.  I haven't heard one thing about that from SEA.  

What amuses me is this trying to blame the union for everything - next up, unions cause tooth decay in kids.  They don't want to acknowledge that no, the real pushback comes from parents and community members.  

The issue will be decided March 21st (tomorrow), when Seattle School Board members will vote whether to accede to the union and bar TFA teachers from city schools, or allow them to continue educating Seattle children.

Ban or bar, please make up your mind.  

How did this happen? How did we as a community get to a point where our own School Board may end up ousting some of the best-qualified teachers in the country where they are most needed? In October 2010, the Board invited TFA to provide trained instructors for some of the most-needy schools. In response, six young TFA teachers have been working in Seattle classrooms for nearly a year, impressing administrators and parents with their energy, ability and professionalism. Though demanding, they are popular with students, and set high expectations for what they believe kids can achieve.

Again, prove that "best-qualified" teachers issue?  Waiting because they are NOT some of the best-qualified teachers in the country.   And, she can't prove this particular group is any such thing.

I would love to talk to some parents of these teachers but I bet if I asked to at any of the schools, the answer would be no (just as Brian Rosenthal from the Times was not allowed in their classrooms).  Nope, we just have to take her word for it - parents love them.

Then the School Board changed. In the 2011 election the teachers’ union backed two candidates, Marty McLaren and Sharon Peaslee, giving thousands of dollars to their political campaigns. These candidates won, and in what some see as payback, they are now spearheading the union drive to oust TFA from Seattle schools.

This press release almost reads like a Wild West novel. "The election was over, the results known and the skies darkened over Seattle."  

Who had the most money in these campaigns, Peaslee and McClaren or Maier and Sundquist?  Who had ed reform big money from a small group of powerful citizens?   And where is her proof of this "spearheading" that she says McClaren/Peaslees are doing?  That they put it forth at an Executive Committee does not a spearhead make.

There’s more. The Seattle Times reports union-inspired activists are harassing TFA teachers at Aki Kurose Middle School and South Shore K-8, hoping to get them to quit. Their personal information has been posted online.  One teacher’s home was burglarized.

First sentence is absolutely not true and I'd ask for the proof.  Where did anyone say they wanted them to quit?  

Their information was GIVEN via public disclosure and yes, one person put it up but it was not published here.  

Last sentence, well, all I can say is the Times will soon be printing something new on that topic.  I'm hoping Liv will do the same when she sees the evidence.

The program is supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, but if the ban is imposed the Seattle-based charity would find it can fund TFA educators in Philadelphia or Boston, but not at John Hay Elementary up the street from their headquarters.
Again, not a ban but Liv seems to not understand the meaning of the word.  Also,  Bill Gates himself has opined that he wishes TFA teachers would work 3-5 years as teachers.  John Hay?  C'mon, Liv. 

Over 3,000 University of Washington graduates apply to TFA each year. If the ban is imposed these U.W. grads would find they are barred from teaching at schools in their own city.

This is one of her more unpleasant sentences, one that she repeats from two weeks ago.  (Again, NOT A BAN.)

And she seems to forget that UW has a College of Education that sends out many, many UW grads, each and every year to...teach.  Oh right, the only good UW Education grad is a TFA education grad.  Boy, that's a pretty disrespectful stance to take. 

If Seattle bans Teach for America it is not the adults who will suffer. TFA teachers will just move to schools in other cities. The real harm from this reactionary and mean-spirited campaign will fall on kids like Enrique, all because some grown-ups think protecting their privileged status is more important than helping children learn.

Again, disrespectful but when you can't win an argument on merit, go for the low blow.


StopTFA said…
Wow, they're gonna need to retread that unproven "burglary" and "harassment" crap. More whining than "WINNING!"
Anonymous said…
Ms. Finne's hackle is raised and sounds like you all got an earful of temper. Since the sky is falling for her, I suggest Ms. Finne and all the ed refomers open up their own school and fill it with TFA to teache their kids and grandkids to "raise their sights and reache for the stars." They can put all their own ed reforms ideas of large class size, endless standardized tests to those value added evaluation they love so much to action.

Those who live in S. Seattle have lived under "darkend skies" for sometime now. Things are far from perfect here, but the sky isn't falling either. We know we need to roll up our sleeves and work harder for ALL our kids, the vulnerable ones to the most advantage. There are no short cuts here.

"Enrique's" mom
seattle citizen said…
Wow. Unbelievable.
It's the union.
Marty and Sharon are union shills.
TFA is more highly qualified than a UW masters of ed with cert.
Anyone who is against TFA is against kids.

Don't they feel stupid repeating this propagandish boilerplate over and over and over? Doesn't the lying and th misrepresentation about this city's students, families and educators cause them any sort of remorse?

Have they no decency?
seattle citizen said…
Wow. Unbelievable.
It's the union.
Marty and Sharon are union shills.
TFA is more highly qualified than a UW masters of ed with cert.
Anyone who is against TFA is against kids.

Don't they feel stupid repeating this propagandish boilerplate over and over and over? Doesn't the lying and th misrepresentation about this city's students, families and educators cause them any sort of remorse?

Have they no decency?
Anonymous said…
Seattle Citizen said" Don't they feel stupid repeating this propagandish boilerplate over and over and over?

Of course they don't! Because a big portion of the country is buying this BS, hook, line and sinker. Condaleezza Rice is on PBS right now spouting on about the need for common core, standards and testing. People believe this garbage because it is being shoveled to them in large and ever-present doses.

It is getting more and more disheartening every day. We have met the enemy and it is us.

Anonymous said…
The contrast between Veltri's knowledge (and experience) and Finne's baseless diatribe is rather breathtaking.


--enough already
Anonymous said…
TFA and their ilk are all about data so they claim. Someone step forward to help Mrs. Finne because she forgot her graphs proving TFA works miracles. No data means Mrs. Finne is telling lies on the backs of children. The biggest insult is insisting that parents of students with so much to lose should believe this baloney about crushing the achievement gap.

Prove it or stop embarrassing yourself.

Mr White
Sahila said…
seriously folks... we are all enabling all that's wrong with the world ....stop enabling ed deform - just STOP IT... Stop It
dan dempsey said…
WOW I signed up to testify at 8:37 AM Monday Morning and wound up so far down the testimony list it won't be happening for me.

1 Karina Wallace, Erick Rendon-Dominquez, Rayneesha Charles, De’April Ball
2 Huoy Chen
3 Jonathan Knapp
4 Janea Marking
5 Jessie Hasken
6 Kenneth Maldonado
7 Liv Finne
8 Kevin Goldsmith
9 Jessica Clancy
10 Demian Godon
11 Timothy Schlosser
12 Alyssa Urish
13 Lindsay Hill
14 Matthew Halvorson
15 Susan Peters
16 Steve Milam
17 Chris Jackins
18 David Sandler
19 Melissa Westbrook
20 Margit McGuire
Wait List
1 Cecilia McCormick
2 Charlie Mas
3 Dawn Mason
4 Maria Strickland
5 Aimee Jones
6 Jean Bryant
7 Jessica Salvador
8 H. Scott Strickland
9 Dan Dempsey (8:37 and way too late)
10 Olga Addae
11 Paul Guppy
12 Anastasia Samuelsen

13 David Ruby
14 Andrew Pohlmann
15 Heather Christothoulou
16 Rosslyn Shea
17 Alix Hughes
18 Diane Eileen
19 Amy Christensen
20 Diane Steen
21 Jessica Young
22 Joe Szwaja
23 John Christensen
24 Paul Stewart
25 Naundi Perkins
26 Nick Esparza
27 Elise Olson
28 Steven Horris
29 Amy Thompson

WOW Chris Jackins at slot #17

I'd love to hear what Dawn Mason has to say.

Let us see.....
if everyone got 49 seconds for testimony ... the Board could have its 40 minutes of public testimony and hear from all 49 speakers.
Well, I did a quick check and most of the front end of the list are people who work for TFA or Stand. There are a few who I can't quite place (Matt Halvorson works for Seattle Met) and then the back end seems to be the crowd for real teachers.

I find it amusing to be considered a shill for SEA.
dan dempsey said…
Liv wrote:

ousting some of the best-qualified teachers in the country where they are most needed?

No, the current TFA teachers will not be ousted mid year. The contract will be terminated according to the provisions of the contract. If these teachers were best qualified they would have more than 5 weeks of training before becoming teachers of record in a classroom.

Odd how Ms. Finne completely ignores the fraudulent actions that took place to get this entire TFA fiasco rolling in Seattle.

The propaganda mill certainly stands in the way of evidence based decision-making. To hell with the facts.

It seems to be taking a lot more effort these days to keep this Giant Pyramid Ponzie Scheme rolling. ... Guess we need to ban the internet in the interests of Education Reform.
Anonymous said…
I recall from the testimony against the trash "Discovery..." math curriculum that she also testified against it ...

I knew that her opposition would paint the rest of us as right wing looney tunes, and bolster the self righteous zealotry of the math reform zealots.

oh well, back to plotting break ins of TFA apartments ... and telling my students that they're dumb and they don't have a chance and making sure they don't learn anything but how to be good corp-0-RAT toadies ... I mean good lazy union scum stooges.

Jack Whelan said…
Propaganda is ideologically driven, and it doesn't have to make sense. It just has to sound "turthy". The talking points that propaganda comprises don't have to be logical or fact based. designed to sway an audience that is uninformed and and overwhelmed by the complexity of things, and so makes decisions on hearing words and phrases that resonate with her or his biases.

The goal of Finne's piece is simply to work with the commonplace in the American collective consciousness that unions are the problem, that they serve adult interests and not kids' interests, and for a lot of people that resonates, and so the whole point of the the Finne piece is simply to encourage pro-TFA sentiment by linking it to pre-existing anti-union sentiment. It works.

But in this instance the only audience that matters is the seven people on the board, and it looks like they've all made up their minds, and it's going to break 4-3 in favor of continuing the contract. Maybe Kay or Sherry will surprise us, but don't bet the house on it.
suep. said…
I called in right at 8 AM and ended up 15th.

Hmm, I wonder what kind of time-warp magic gets a person those earlier slots?
seattle citizen said…
So Ms. Finne is going to regale us with her eloquent propaganda at the board meeting. I've got twenty bucks that says there is an op-ed from her in the Seattle Times Wednesday or Thursday.

Or maybe in Publicola or Crosscut?
I don't know, one of those Gates mouthpieces.
dan dempsey said…
So Sue that means that 13 folks got in ahead of you.

I know my email request for a testimony slot went at 8:37 AM

What time was yours sent or did you call in?
Anonymous said…
I am disappointed that the readers of this blog are so opposed to innovation and quality education. TFA has proven that lengthy training is unnecessary - indeed, it's an impediment - for bright, passionate students to become the most highly qualified of teachers.

I am excitedly waiting for the successor programs to Teach For America, such as Heal For America (doctors), Build For America (engineers) and Litigate For America (lawyers). We are wasting millions, probably billions of dollars teaching these people in expensive, multi-year programs, when a five week course will do, and will result in graduates much more highly qualified than anyone else in their professions.

-- Ebenezer
dan dempsey said…
-- Ebenezer

Thanks for setting me straight. I had been critical of Obama/Duncan for CCSS and RttT.

I had been especially critical of Obama care's failure to make any attempt to increase the supply of doctors. USA churns out 45,000 lawyers per year but only 17,000 doctors. Any increase in medical care needs to be accompanied by an increase in service provided.

Now it is all clear. When will the Gates Foundation be opening up "Heal for America" support center in Seattle?

Will Norm Rice and the Seattle Foundation cover any needed additional charges for the first year?

Of course these newbie 5 week Doctors will have complete control of diagnoses and operations and all the while being paid at the beginning teacher rate in the SPS.

Will Broad Foundation's "Healing Academy" be opening soon for training Top Level Medical Administrators?

At last, the changes I can believe in ... this gives me so much hope. When do we start laying off all the extra unneeded real doctors? Think of the savings.
Disgusted said…
"when a five week course will do, and will result in graduates much more highly qualified than anyone else in their professions."

Wow, Ebeneezer- you make broad sweeping generalizations. So much for your credibility.

There are places for TfA, but not in a place that has a plethora of teachers.

For me, I'll stick to Nationally Board Certificated teachers and conventionally trained doctors/ surgeons, cardiologists, pediatric cardiac surgeons, neurosurgeons, pathologists, oncologists etc.

It seems extremely unfortunate that government funding to compensate Nationally Board Certificated teachers is evaporating= while the government is providing millions for TfA.

I also take the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling seriously. You know, the one that states it is unconstitutional to put inexperienced individuals with high need students. But then again, we'd probably disagree. I suspect you prefer a five week trained Circuit judge and make your own opinion on that one.
Anonymous said…
Word is that over on Facebook Nick Hanauer is throwing another bomb at the school board on TFA.

Apparently his wording is: "Let's See if The Seattle School Board Can Pass This IQ Test"...and then he posts a link to Lynne Varner's Seattle Times editorial (You know, the editorial to which the actual community followed with 100+ negative comments about TFA being here. But I digress...)

So here is self-defined 'Patriot' and Ed Activist being, dare we say, petty and disrespectful to our elected school board? AGAIN?

Someone please put out a Civic Jerk alert and inform the Reform crowd, always quick to shout 'that's not nice', that their leader is not exactly a modeling their supposed style of leadership. Whoops, someone's true stripes are showing.

Disgusted 2 said…
I hear the Alliance For Education raised $5M for Teach for America. Is it any wonder Hanauer is throwing a fit???
Jamie said…
Ebenezer, thank you for making me giggle. Because all this nonsense usually makes me very depressed. Litigate for America - you are slaying me. Bravo.
Northseattleparentoftwo said…
Dear Liv,
I'll support a charter bill ... If it requires you staff those charters entirely with tfa corps. Proof=pudding.

Maureen said…
Disgusted 2, Do you have a link for that? I'm not seeing it on the Alliance News page, or their blog.
Charlie Mas said…
I wrote a long comment in response to Ms Finne's article. I wish I had saved a copy before clicking on SEND.

Here's the truth:

The TFA contract is superfluous. Even without the contract, Teach for America corps members are free to apply for teaching jobs in Seattle. Even without the contract, school hiring committees are free to hire them. Even without the contract the Board would vote to recommend the conditional certificate. The contract serves no practical purpose. It does nothing for students; it only provides a coup for Teach for America and for billionaire-funded Education Reform groups.
Disgusted 2 said…
My sincere apology to the Alliance for Education. I made a mistake. Actually, there is a different organization that raised $5M for TfA in Seattle. I"m looking into details.
Rufus X said…
suep. said...
I called in right at 8 AM and ended up 15th.

Hmm, I wonder what kind of time-warp magic gets a person those earlier slots?

Wasn't there some back and forth in the emails SPSLeaks posted where officials were "saving spots" on the list for pro-TFA speakers at one of the early 2011 board meetings? I seem to remember a principal recruiting folks from his/her school to sign up, promising a spot would be "held" for them on the list prior to when the general public could sign up.
SPSLeaks said…
I believe there are more emails on www.scribd.com/SPSLeaks.

Might I say that the contents of those public records are the express opinion of the individuals named and do not represent the opinion of Julian or SSS blog.
Sahila said…
Perhaps the Board could rush out and browse through this on their kindles...

From Amazon:

Learning on Other People's Kids: Becoming a Teach For America Teacher [Kindle Edition]
Barbara Torre Veltri (Author)

"This work captures the voices of TFA novices who offer candid accounts of their experiences in becoming Teach For America Teachers. Previously unanswered questions are addressed: Why do recent college graduates apply to Teach For America? How are they recruited, trained, and hired? How do they learn the culture (s) of the community, schools, grade level, curriculum, and children they teach? Is there a “culture” of the TFA organization? What recommendations do they offer to TFA donors, policy-makers, future corps members and the public?

Woven into this book, are perspectives from mentors who worked alongside TFAers, administrators who hired them, corporate C.E.O.’s who supported them, and policies (both local and national) that privileged TFA over non-TFA teachers.

Finally, a compelling series of eyewitness narratives introduces each chapter’s theme, documented from the author’s own, “Notes from the Field.” These accounts offer rich, descriptive vignettes that present the challenges TFAers faced, as they occurred. Schools reflect the multi-tiered and often non-level playing field that comprises America’s educational landscape.

Learning on Other People’s Kids:
Becoming a Teach For America Teacher provides readers a glimpse into the corps member experience in a rare ethnographic account."
Anonymous said…
Regarding the public testimony list for the board meeting tonight - how are the requests for a speaking slot documented? What is the protocol for logging requests? If requests can be made either via email or phone how is it determined "who got there first"?

How many of the speakers were on the list before 8:00 Monday morning and how did their names get there?

Anonymous said…
Just in time for tonight's vote: Goldy at The Stranger skewers TFA today for its press release announcing its alliance with the nation's biggest for-profit charter school chain.

Savvy Voter
I had dialed the SB phone number and watched as my computer hit 8:00 am and called. I ended up 19th.

I'm thinking that Teresa Hale in the SB office goes by timetags on the phone and e-mail.

Yes, there were e-mails where South Shore principal, Keisha Scarlett, alluded to spots being held for her staff. I kind of doubt she would have said that without believing it but I don't know.

I do note that there was one recent e-mail (and I'll put those up by Friday) where a parent of a former TFA railed at the Board because someone shouted something from the audience. This parent went on to complain about SB meeting protocol. He received a very nice reply.

I complained to the Board about Principal Scarlett saying she had places set aside on the speakers list AND that she addressed the Board - at length - on a personnel issue. The latter is against the policy up on the screen at every Board meeting.

Did I get a nice e-mail back saying they are aware of the situation and looking into it? Nope.
Rufus X said…
Wowzer, SPS Leaks - Page 165 & 166 are quite, um, well, disheartening. I wonder how many other teachers get notes of sympathy from Dr E for being "subjected to so much stress"? Or is that only reserved for the 5-weekers?

Holy cow, Holly F (pg123): "Oh and she needen't worry - I won't be thanking her!" Reeeoowwwww!

Melissa, I think the email thread you're speaking of begins on pg 109 of the Mar17 SPS Leaks batch.
Rufus X said…
RE: Reeooow - page 124, not 123
Sahila said…
School Board Directors.... read this before you vote tonight:

Teacher Turnover Affects All Students' Achievement, Study Indicates
Charlie Mas said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charlie Mas said…
My reply to Liv Finne can be seen on the Washington Policy Center blog along with a really funny response.
Sahila said…
Hullo Board members?????

Last reading assignment for you, before you decide whether to waste more time, energy, money on TFA and abuse our children in the process...

What Wendy Kopp Got Wrong With TFA

"What Wendy Kopp Got Wrong With Teach For America
In a recent essay, Teach for America's founder argues again that her teaching corps is good for America's schools. One long-time teacher offers his view on why that just isn't so. ....."
Anonymous said…
"My reply to Liv Finne can be seen on the Washington Policy Center blog along with a really funny response."

You must mean the walled garden reference. It was pretty choice.

seattle citizen said…
Charlie, your response to Liv Finne's deceptions is great. Well argued. Thank you.

They didn't publish mine. I guess I'm too inflammatory or something (I asked her if she had any decency, among other things...too much?) because your argument just tears her post to pieces in a way I never could.
seattle citizen said…
Charlie, your response to Liv Finne's deceptions is great. Well argued. Thank you.

They didn't publish mine. I guess I'm too inflammatory or something (I asked her if she had any decency, among other things...too much?) because your argument just tears her post to pieces in a way I never could.
dan dempsey said…
At 6:30 PM ...
I sent my response in that aimed at a criticism of the piece by Charlie Mas from Tim Coleman

My response should get published... we shall see.
seattle citizen said…
I have to apologize to the Washington Policy Center: They did publish my response to Liv Finne. I had responded to a slightly earlier thread of hers because I didn't see the thread quoted here. When I went back to their blog, I saw the newer thread without, of course, a comment of mine.
Thank you to the WPC blog for allowing comments, even if they are counter to your position. I was so used to LEV's cowardly rejections that I somehow assumed the same of you. My apologies.
Charlie Mas said…
Here's the funny part of the garbled reply to my comment: the guy didn't even notice that I said that they should hire the corps members.
StopTFA said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
StopTFA said…
Rufus X,

I know! I felt so hurt and stressed I thought I should write a note to Enfield for consolation.

Or how about pg 104 of the emails posted 3/10/12: Holly says "no principals I've talked has their (my) kids" Why do you wanna know? So you could harass and steal their lunch money?
Roger Ingalls said…
Thanks for the education on the issues surrounding TFA. Certainly cannot get this detail from reading the local paper, only that there is a controversy.

Loved the sarcasm from Ebeneezer...cannot imagine what it will be like getting a serious health problem addressed by a TFA style young MD!!

Pretty sure the wealthy folks behind this (TFA) are mostly about breaking the political entity that is public employee unions, but it is cleverly disguised as a concern for teaching poor kids. Gotta give them credit for a wickedly smart tactic, and resist accordingly.
HystericalHistory said…
Stop tfa & Rufus- i'm critical of dr E and tfa too, but I'm not sure why all the Holly F bashing? It seems she checked parents vs kids because principals were asking, and because the wording of the letter -quite cleverly- left open whether or not "their" kids were actually at that school. Also, principal job descriptions are to take care of their schools families, so it was pertinent. Was it a detriment to the letter? No.
As far as cat noises, I thought those crass kind of cheap (and sexist) personal attacks were beneath this blog.
So, she checks spin before it goes out - so what ?somebody has to or we'd be mired in litigious bs and siphoning money away from kids. I'd like to think I can read between the lines now and then, and Ms Ferguson, while she might have an unenviable job of delivering bad news , reading up on blogs like ours ( those emails confirm this) and assisting supes -whether they're good or bad supes- does lend the admin at JSC much-needed longterm perspective and local roots- she's not a corporate ladder climber trying to island hop from job to job, she's been working for us since the 90s and she's clearly invested. While she may have a questionable record supporting parents, she always goes to bat for teachers and principals.
Does anyone else in the top admins have her seniority? I'd hate to see who enfield would bring in if she left.
Anyway, no one sends love notes to hated jobs (IRS for example) but railing at them and throwing spitballs (shooting the messenger) is a waste of resources.
Frankly I'm surprised everyone isn't jumping on Kim fox's panicky emails. Those are the really revealing (and entertaining) part of that thread.
StopTFA said…
Yes, the wording WAS clever. Thank you. Personally, I see in Holly F someone who has no trouble standing in front of the board and artfully misinforming them. Leaving out info, leading by the nose, deflecting questions, acting like she's helping but really not. Seriously, we need someone with more scruples in that position.

As for the sound effects, I dunno, it made me smile and I'm usually VERY grouchy. And actually, you wanna hear angry cat sounds, hint that you're looking for my kid...
Rufus X said…
Re: the meow - It might be beneath the blog, but not beneath me to, you know, poke fun. And that's all that was - me being a smarta$$. (Rufus is female BTW.)

Reading through the 3/10 and 3/17 batch of emails, I'm just continually amazed at the level of disdain many of the admins (district and school-based) have for SEA honchos and parent activists who, by all accounts, are just trying to do right by their and their communities' students. It's disappointing to read the snarky, "harumph!" indignant, and sarcastic tone within many of these.

Seems almost all of the emails posted are correspondence that occurred prior to Dec2011. I'm wondering if there's been some education about the whole "treat every email as if it will be subject to a public disclosure request" thing.
StopTFA said…
Absolutely Rufus, Note the monosyllabic emails from our interim Supt. The many "can you come to my office to discuss X" cryptic statements.

At least I get my jollies figuring their shenangans are hamstrung w/o email at their disposal : b

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