Student Achievement and Support Committee Report: February 20, 2020

Will Board Keep Funding Edu-Vendor Contracts–or Spend More to Solve the Environmental Crisis? 

By Diane Payne

Present

Co-chairs Angela McGiver and Chris McGinley, Committee members Maria McColgan, Julia Danzy, and Mallory Fix Lopez. Board president Joyce Wilkerson and Board member Leticia Egea-Hinton also attended.

Committee approved the January 16, 2020 Minutes.

[All videos of meetings, agendas, and powerpoints can be viewed on the SDP website by visiting the Board of Education page. ]

Does the District Want Highly Qualified Teachers–or Does It Want TFA?

District Chief Talent Officer Larisa Shambaugh began this presentation by addressing questions, raised by Board members at the last Committee meeting, on what the District is doing both to reduce the number of teachers with emergency certifications and to fill hard-to-staff positions.  Shambeau narrated a power-point presentation on the District’s pathways to hiring teachers and supporting diversity in the workforce, including contracting with Teach for America (TFA) to place recruits in the hard-to-staff schools. As APPS co-founder Lisa Haver pointed out in her testimony, TFA has been the “lifeblood’ of the corporate disruption of public education and that it has pivoted from a teacher-training organization to an education management launching organization.  The privatization of public schools drove many teachers out of the profession–while TFA replaced through its teacher-lite program. Why would the Board want to bring people with minimal training and no experience into District schools, especially struggling schools? McIver said the District has to keep “all doors” open, but shouldn’t we be concerned about who comes in those doors? TFA recruits go through a brief training program before being placed in a classroom–as opposed to certified teachers with advanced degrees. Why should children in certain schools have to settle for this?   In addition, TFA recruits rarely stay in the classroom beyond their 2-year commitment, frequently moving into positions relating to education in think tanks, non-profits, and leadership roles (even though they have limited coursework background in education and few years of actual teaching.)  When questioned, Shambeau did admit that teachers who came to the District through traditional routes stayed longer than five years at a much higher rate than TFA recruits. Not a great track record.

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