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Teach for America on the School Board Agenda

Update October 4, 2010 at 4:45 PM.

I was notified that discussion regarding the agreement with Teach for America is being removed from the meeting agenda for October 6th.


News Flash October 4, 2010, 7:30ish AM.

The superintendent here in Seattle is trying to quietly submit an item on the agenda for this week’s school board meeting regarding hiring Teach for America, Inc. recruits.

Oh, well, so much for that subterfuge. The word is out now.

There’s a placeholder item about Teach for America, Inc. and it won’t be available to view until the end of Tuesday.

Someone found it anyway. It states:

“Agreement with Teach For America – Approval of this item will allow TFA candidates to apply for open positions during the Phase III hiring process – This item is a placeholder. Documents should be posted by close of business Tuesday.”

The board meeting is Wednesday evening and sign up to speak in front of the board is this morning, Monday morning.

This news was first announced on the Save Seattle Schools’ blog yesterday.

My response to the news as posted on the SSS blog was as follows:

TFA was mentioned in SERVE in the small print. I spoke about that in a previous board meeting.

There was a clause, and I don’t know if it’s in the new contract with the teachers’ union, that if TFA is brought in, the contract with the teacher’s union is to be renegotiated.

Any teachers out there know if it made it into your contract?

This is the testimony I gave in August:

“Much in SERVE has to do with tying the performance of a student on the MAP test to the evaluation of a teacher. Salaries can be based on a student’s performance, but worse than that, SERVE goes on to propose that when there is a rif, the superintendent can then fire teachers based on their evaluations. This is referred to as high stakes testing.

Do I want my daughter’s teacher to be that concerned about how she does on a single test or do I want them to teach the whole child a broader view of the subject, helping her to develop her creative and critical thinking skills?

It would be human nature that a person who is concerned about their livelihood and career would want to focus on ensuring that their students know the correct answers to a multiple choice test, drill and kill as some people call it. Make sure the student knows simple answers to simple questions and kill any desire on the part of the student to want to learn more, subverting any sense of curiosity or wonderment about the world around them. Teach to the test and nothing more.

And who cares about seniority and knowledge of teaching gained from years of experience when you can hire Teach for America recruits on the cheap, another item on the SERVE agenda.

Hiring Teach for America recruits straight out of college and placing them in the classrooms for a stint of two years is the latest rage among ed –reformers, particularly with for-profit charter schools that can hire TFA recruits, keep their cost down and make a profit. Remember, charter schools do not hire union teachers.

Hiring Teach for America recruits works well for charter franchises but not for the students. These recruits, who are planning to go into other fields once the economy picks up, commit two years to teaching, receive six weeks of training, go into the classroom, do their thing and then move on to their chosen fields. Most do not continue on into education. That creates a high rate of churn, as well as a lack of stability with the students, the school and the community.

There is no long-term commitment on the part of the teacher to the school or the community and leaves students who have developed bonds with these teachers with nothing at the end but the broken promise that the teacher would be there for them forever.

These elements of SERVE would not work for our students or our community and should not be accepted by the teachers. And teachers, even though you are being bombarded by messages brought to you by Broad-backed and Gates funded faux roots organizations, such as the Alliance, Our Schools’ Coalition and Stand for Children, know that we as parents support you during these negotiations and consider you a precious resource in the development of our children.”

The supe was placed here by the Broad to do their bidding. That is her intention and she is following through beautifully.

This has been well-orchestrated by a few with a lot of money and therefore some power. Power is taken, not given though. We can let a few take the power from us of determining how our children are educated in Seattle or we can let them take it from us.

We do have the power still in our hands to push back and keep this sort of thing out of Seattle.

It’s up to everyone reading these words to do something about it. It really is up to all of us at this point.

Call your board members, council persons, particularly Burgess who has now stepped into the debate with his lame editorial,go to the board meeting and speak or just sit there and applaud for those who do, bring signs to the board meeting, just generally make it clear, painfully, obviously clear, that this is not what we want for our children.

6 comments on “Teach for America on the School Board Agenda

  1. seattleducation2010
    October 22, 2010


    Actually, we do have our facts accurately described.

    The facts are as follows:

    Teach For America: A Review of the Evidence

    Julian Vasquez Heilig
    University of Texas at Austin
    Su Jin Jez, Ph.D.
    California State University, Sacramento

    While the debate about the impact of TFA teachers on student achievement
    continues, there is little disagreement across the research literature regarding
    the attrition of TFA teachers. Reporting on TFA’s longitudinal national survey of
    alumni, Miner30 suggests that “all one can say with certainty is that in 2007, at
    least 16.6 percent of those recruited by Teach For America were teaching in a K-
    12 setting beyond their two-year commitment.” A number of research studies examining
    TFA in localities nationwide looks more closely at the retention rate using
    administrative data, which are more accurate for this purpose than TFA’s partial
    survey data. Findings from those studies are no more encouraging than Miner’s

    In a New York City study, teachers from traditional college teacher education
    program teachers were found to have the lowest short-term and long-term
    turnover rates, followed by temporarily licensed teachers; attrition was “substantially”
    higher for TFA members.31 By the second year, the study found TFA attrition
    in New York City to be triple the rate of college-recommended teachers, and
    double that of teachers from other alternative routes. By the fourth year, 85% of
    TFA teachers had left the district, compared to 37% attrition for the traditionally
    educated teachers—alternatively phrased, only 15% of TFA teachers remained,
    while 63% of the college educated teachers stayed.

    An analysis of six years of Houston’s primary school data similarly found
    that very few TFA teachers remained in the district for the long haul.32 Attrition
    rates for TFA teachers were about twice those of non-TFA teachers. Of teachers
    who entered Houston schools in 1998, 85% of TFA teachers had left after three
    years, compared with about 45% of non-TFA teachers.

    A study of teacher attrition in Baltimore from 1999-2004 found that TFA
    teachers were marginally less likely (<3%) than traditionally and conditionally
    certified teachers to leave in the first two years, but far more likely to leave left
    thereafter, with about 60% having left after three years and 80% after five.33
    Noell and Gansle34 found that in three TFA cohorts in Louisiana (entering
    2003-2004, 2004-2005, and 2005-2006), the percent of TFA teachers remaining
    by the fifth year ranged from 4% to 20%. By comparison, for all three cohorts,
    about 65% to 70% of teachers who had received standard certification remained
    after five years. The authors relate that “the persistence in teaching data clearly
    demonstrate that a small minority of Louisiana of Louisiana TFA Corps members persist to the fourth year in teaching and beyond.”

    And from the National Education Policy Center:

    "More than half of TFA teachers leave after two years, and more than 80 percent after three. So it's impossible to know whether those who remain have improved because of additional training and experience – or simply because of "selection bias:" they were more effective than the four out of five TFA teachers who left."

  2. Brandy
    October 22, 2010

    MOST Teach For America recruits do remain in teaching….60%, in fact. I’d just like for the facts to be accurate.

  3. Sahila ChangeBringer
    October 6, 2010

    So, we have non-education discipline Teach for America recruits in classrooms after 5 weeks of training, we have business-degreed Broad fellows and residents in senior school district management, we have military and corporate experienced Broad superintendents, and very soon (within the next 10 years), we shall have 50,000 Bush Institute trained principals, drawn from the sports, military and business arenas…

    “Laura Bush, Hinojosa and others stressed that the effort should not be interpreted as a threat to educators who want to become principals through traditional channels. But they said they will actively search for job candidates with business, military and sports backgrounds.

    “Make no mistake, there are good principals and teachers today,” said James Glassman, executive director of the Bush Institute. “Our work will examine what made these people successful.”

    The collaboration, called the Alliance to Reform Education Leadership, is the first major initiative of the Bush Institute.

    School districts in Dallas, Fort Worth and Plano are among the six initial pilot sites. Bush Institute officials say they expect to have 25 sites across the country by 2012. And they aim to have half the country’s principals – roughly 50,000 – trained in the new curriculum by 2020.”

    what of public education will be free of corporate influence?

    • seattleducation2010
      October 11, 2010


      Reading your post is sounds like they want a male dominated school system. The military, sports…


  4. seattleducation2010
    October 4, 2010

    As we quote from Frederick Douglass on this blog,
    “Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them.”

  5. Sahila ChangeBringer
    October 4, 2010

    The Deformist Agenda is almost completely implemented here in Seattle with this underhand move… all that’s left is legislation to let charters into the state and that will be coming out of Olympia this next legislative session… it sucks… what is it with Seattle people that they wont get mad!!!!! Where’s the “hell no, we wont go” mentality!!!

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