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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:
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?
“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.”
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.