This is my take on the story.

I was involved with this because a friend of mine is a teacher in the Renton School District and I followed it from the time the teachers in Renton, Washington got word that the superintendent was to bring to the board a recommendation to hire Teach for America, Inc. (TFA, Inc.) recruits for the following school year.

The teachers received word the Friday before the school board meeting when this proposal would be presented by Superintendent Mary Alice Heuschet. There was no notice of this besides a quick e-mail to a few union representatives. The proposal would come up to the board and the board would vote on it in the next public meeting.

In the next four days the teachers got organized.

I attended the school board meeting that Wednesday and listened to one teacher after another speak eloquently in front of the school board about teaching as a profession. They described exactly how teachers are trained, what they learn, their passion and pride in their profession and how even considering the idea of hiring recruits with 5 weeks of training was a slap in the face to them as professionals. I was impressed.

One woman said that even her beautician received more training before she could cut hair than these TFA, Inc. recruits receive before going in front of a classroom full of impressionable minds.

At the end of the meeting, a parent spoke in front of the board. She said that she had brought her son to learn about what the school board does and had no intention in participating but she said that after she heard about what the board was considering, she got incensed. She said that she was going to tell as many parents as possible about TFA and what the superintendent was proposing to do. She basically said “No way!”

The response that this parent had is the same response that I hear all of the time from parents. They don’t want their children taught by fresh out of college recruits with five weeks of training no matter how enthusiastic they are. No way, no thanks.

The local newspaper reported that  the district decided not to bring the proposal to the board for a vote because of the number of qualified teachers who had applied to the open positions.

I think that the decision was based on the response that the district received from teachers and parents. At least this superintendent and board took heed.

Dora