Seattle Education

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Who Is Backing Teach for America, Inc. in Seattle?

From Publicola last week.

The school board tabled a motion earlier this week to hire two Teach for America recruits. Teach for America sends idealistic young folks to teach in inner city and low-income districts all around the country.The board didn’t go for it because one prerequisite the board had set for hiring TFA teachers (a controversial move to start with because TFA teachers aren’t certified) was disclosing where the funding comes from. TFA charges a $4,000 fee for every teacher they deliver and private donors who support getting TFA teachers in Seattle schools said they would cover the cost.

Under questioning from board members Michael DeBell and Sherry Carr, Superintendent Susan Enfield couldn’t say where the money was coming from, so the board unanimously tabled the idea.

Watch the action here. The motion is introduced at the 116 minutes mark and DeBell gets the runaround from Enfield around the 118 mark.

Since this blurb was published, I was going through the Scribed website where people have been uploading documents anonymously since the time of Dr. Goodloe-Johnson. There is lots of interesting information there in terms of e-mails and other documents.

What I found of great interest recently was an e-mail exchange between our interim superintendent, Dr. Susan Enfield, and the Teach for America representative, Janis Ortega, in October of last year when Dr. Enfield was then the Chief Academic Officer doing her best to push for Teach for America, Inc. recruits competing against highly qualified certificated teachers.

The e-mail communication was about the $4,000 per TFA, Inc. recruit that was being charged to the district. Dr. Enfield stated in an e-mail dated October 14, 2010 sent to Janis Ortega,

“I need to talk with you or someone about how to talk about the funding stream—they want us to be transparent with the public about who is providing the funds.”

Interesting. Dr. Enfield was fully aware of the fact that she would have to provide the information of the funding source almost a full year ago and yet for the last year has kept the school board members and the public in the dark on this matter.

So why the big secret Susan and Janis?

Since the last board meeting, it was announced by Norm Rice of the Seattle Foundation that he was funding TFA, Inc. This is the same foundation that in 2010 received almost $6M in grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The same Bill Gates who last year gave TFA, Inc. $2.5M to open up an office in Seattle.

Coincidence that the Seattle Foundation has stepped up to the plate? I think not.

Dora

One comment on “Who Is Backing Teach for America, Inc. in Seattle?

  1. Kate Martin
    September 19, 2011

    It’s disappointing to me that Norm Rice would make that promotional video for TFA with so many fact-challenged claims. These well-intentioned recent grads should consider taking a gap year or two to volunteer in classrooms helping the teacher of record, not taking their jobs away. Can we encourage Wendy Kopp to pay their college loans while they do that? Overall, it would be great if we approached the idea of improving our teacher corps with well researched models such as Finland’s perhaps. 20 years later we can say that Finnish education reform has been a resounding success and they are continuously getting better and better. Real learning and real teaching. No secret donors required.

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