Hey Stranger, this is all interesting, we can't wait 'til Tuesday, but where's your report on the hijacking last Wednesday of the Seattle Public board by Teach For America?
Man, you HAVE to watch the video
of the board meeting: All the testimony, first hour or so, and then the "discussion" about Teach For America at about hour Three to Four.
So here's the deal: State law says that in order to have a conditional cert instead of a qualified, full cert in a classroom, there needs to be a shortage for the position, or it needs to be a special skill. SPS itself says it will not use TFA Conditional certs in shortage areas, and "unusual skill" refers to things like auto mechanics class, where there is no program to certify a teacher for that.
Now, the district has to have tried to exhaust all possibilities to get a full cert into a position before it tries to use a conditional cert. But the district wants to allow TFA conditional certs to apply along with all the regular certs in open hiring.
So it turns out, according to SPS Legal, that, get this, Conditional certs are certs, so they can apply with anyone else during regular hiring! Get it? "Conditional Cert" has the word "Cert" in it, so they can apply along with the qualified full certs!
It is the most ridiculous abuse of logic one could ever see.
Also, it turns out that the superintendent sat, until very recently (probably until just before trying to bring TFA in SPS) on the Broad board, along with president of TFA, Wendy Kopp! And then the superintendent didn't do any research about what problem they face that TFA might supposedly fill, didn't research solutions, didn't research other contractors if we supposedly have to contract out, then went ahead and sole-source contracted with TFA! I mean, they're buddies, she HAD to give the contract to TFA!
They say it doesn't matter, because the district doesn't have to pay...it costs SOMEONE $40,000 per TFA candidate to train them, TFA says, and they get $36,000 from "local foundations" (can you say "The Gates Foundation", the ones paying for performance management and all the other reformers' wet dreams they're bringing to Seattle? ) and then they need someone to pay $4000, ten percent, which is usually paid for by the district, but in this case SPS has generously said it will ask for donors, and hey, there's already an anonymous donor all lined up to pay! Regardless, this is a public entity, and they have to use due diligence and research before they bring the superintendent's Broad agenda into SPS....don't they?
So the superintendent, who sat on the Board of NWEA, the company SPS is paying millions to for the "MAP" test (more reform that keeps money out of the classroom), and didn't tell the board she was on the NWEA board as she sold the board on NWEA's product, this same superintendent was sitting with TFA's Wendy Kopp on the Broad board, and here she is giving Kopp a sole-source contract.
It's crazy. And the kicker is, when you watch the meeting (the discussion about TFA) is that they said, no worrries about sole-sourcing, the superintendent has some sort of board policy, designed just for her, I guess, that allows herself to grant herself an exemption from policy! She can do whatever the heck she wants! With our public district, the one ruled by our elected board...she can just exempt herself!
Go git 'em, Stranger, it's the biggest warping of democracy we've seen around these parts since...since..well, it's been a LONG time!