Legislation to arm teachers fails to gain momentum

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Speaking at the annual meeting in Dallas, Donald Trump reaffirmed his support of arming teachers as a way to combat school violence. Apparently the NRA has made it their top priority. “Trump endorsed a top NRA priority to allow trained teachers to carry concealed weapons in schools and to install more armed security guards. Signs declaring a school as a gun-free zone, Trump said, were essentially invitations to attackers to ‘come in and take us’ (Washington Post).

“Your second amendment rights are under siege but they will never ever be under siege as long as I’m your president” (Washington Post).

Since the mass shooting in Florida, ironically Florida is the only state to support legislation to arm teachers. The school safety bill passed allows some employees, such as counselors and coaches, to become armed marshals. Twenty four other states have unsuccessfully tried to pass similar legislation.

The NRA supports teachers having guns because arming even a small fraction of the United States’ 3.2 million teachers would be a financial gain for gun makers (Washington Post).

In response to arming teachers, National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen Garcia said, “The idea of arming teachers is ill-conceived, preposterous and dangerous. Teachers should be teaching, not acting as armed security guards, or receiving training to become sharpshooters” (NEA.org).

For a brief period of time, Trump tweeted support for stricter gun measures such as raising the legal age to purchase AR-15s and similar types of rifles to 21 and expanding background checks to guns sold at shows and online. However, his support was brief.

After meeting with members of the NRA, Trump was quick to back step support, instead calling for “more modest gun-related measures such as legislation to improve information sharing for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System” (Washington Post).

Eskelsen Garcia said, ““Our students need more books, art and music programs, nurses and school counselors; they do not need more guns in their classrooms. Teachers should be teaching, not acting as armed security guards, or receiving training to become sharpshooters(NEA.org).

In the ill-fated interview on 60 Minutes, DeVos was vague when Lesley Stahl asked for her stance on arming teachers. First, she argued it “should be an option for states and communities to consider,” but went on to say that she would hesitate to think of “my first grade teacher, Mrs. Zoerhoff…having a gun and being trained in that way.” She then changed tack again, adding, “but for those who are capable, this is one solution that can and should be considered, but no one size fits all” (Fortune.com).

Results of a NEA Poll found teachers opposed to the idea of carrying guns. Among their findings:

82 percent, say they would not carry a gun in school, including sixty-three percent of NEA members who own a gun.

64 percent, say they would feel less safe if teachers and other educators were allowed to carry guns.

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“The White House and Congress owe it those victims of gun violence and survivors across the country to work together to implement common sense solutions that really will save lives. We need to listen to them.”(NEA.org).

We used to be able to engage in conversations about controversial topics with respect – and agree to disagree. Now controversial issues are polarizing, with an attitude of, ‘I’m right, and you’re an idiot.’ I certainly have very strong opinions on this topic, and tend to share my opinions with like-minded individuals. I’ll admit it, it’s easier.

My hope is for more conversations to take place. Conversations. Dignified people who can come to a consensus; compromise. Lately that seems to be asking too much. High school students are reminding us how it’s done as they lead by example. We could all learn a thing or two from them. They’re inspiring.

These are my reflections for today.

5/18/18

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Vainglorious Steven Schwarzman

A vainglorious person is not a very likable person and is often annoying to be around. Vainglorious people are excessively boastful, and have swelled pride. The base word, vainglory, dates back to the 14th century and means “worthless glory” (vocabulary.com).

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Today’s blog is about the vainglorious Steven Schwarzman, who is currently the Blackstone Group chairman and CEO. He was a graduate of Abington High School in Abington, PA where he was on the track team and served as student council president. In 2004 Schwarzman donated $400,000 to the school for a new football stadium – so named the Schwarzman Stadium.

Recently Schwarzman announced he was donating $25 million to Abington High School, saying this investment “yields one of the best returns imaginable – a new generation of creative, capable and collaborate future leaders…” (Philadelphia Inquirer).  This is the largest gift ever given to a public high school.

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What wasn’t immediately revealed in this announcement was Schwarzman wanted, among other things, the high school to bear his name – Abington Schwarzman High School. While many parents and alumni reacted negatively to this level of egotism, the School Board didn’t immediately find issue with it. Superintendent Amy Seichel, a friend of Schwarzman’s only responded after over 1,300 people signed a petition opposing the deal, saying that because of concerns raised “by a minority in the community” the school would not be renamed (Philadelphia Inquirer).

According to (Philly.com) Schwarzman asked for:

  • The new name — the Abington Schwarzman High School — and, “for the avoidance of doubt,” officials would make sure the name was displayed, “at a minimum,” at the front and above each of the six entrances.
  • An increase in technology classes
  • Parts of the campus would be named after his brothers, former high school track coach and two friends on the track team.
  • Schwarzman’s portrait would appear “prominently” in the school.
  • Schwarzman would have input into the construction of the new campus, which is set to be done in 2022, including the right to approve contractors.
  • He would receive regular reports on the progress of a computer literacy initiative.
  • The agreement would be kept secret unless Schwarzman approved its release.

Controversy erupted at the meeting when parents learned just exactly what was going on. Abington parent David Judge, attended the board meeting with concerns the public wasn’t told about the change until the day of the board vote (Philly.com). The board waited a few weeks after approving the contract to release this information to the public. When parents found out, the board rescinded the agreement and promised to vote on a new pact with most of the earlier demands stripped out.

Valerie Strauss of the Washington Post wrote, “The new pact gives Schwarzman a far reduced role, and the school will no longer be named after him, though the new science and technology center will be, and new gym facilities will be named after his former coach and track team mates. Demands were dropped for contractor approval, portrait hanging and regular reports on computer literacy”.

By comparison, in 1992 a local South Jersey businessman and philanthropist by the name of Henry Rowan donated what was at the time the largest amount of money to a college or university – $100 million. Rowan and his wife, Betty, said their gift was meant to express their gratitude to the state where he grew up and where they created a global conglomerate (NY Times). Two months after Rowan announced his gift, the university was rebranded from Glassboro State College to Rowan University. However, unlike Mr. Schwarzman, Hank Rowan told the NY Times, “I didn’t ask for the name change… It was offered to me.” (NY Times).

Harry Truman once said, “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” Perhaps the vainglorious Mr. Schwarzman could heed Truman’s advice and learn a lesson from Mr. Rowan as well.

These are my reflections for today.

4/27/18

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Oklahoma Teachers: “It’s not just about the money.”

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In an effort to save money, ninety school districts in Oklahoma worked a four day week because of a severe cut to school funding. While this made many students happy, it outraged teachers and parents.

Teachers pay in Oklahoma is the third lowest in the country, driving many teachers to work two jobs- at Walmart on weekends or in restaurants at night. Many argue even with a drastic decision to move to a four day week will do nothing to make up for the significant budget shortfalls (The Economist).

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“The real reason why so many school districts are resorting to a tighter calendar is that it is the only true perk they can offer to poorly paid teachers, whose salaries start at $31,600 and who have not received a rise for ten years. The exodus to Texas and Arkansas, which included Oklahoma’s Teacher of the Year in 2016, continues unabated. A 20-minute drive across the border often results in a $10,000 increase. Dallas’s school district has unashamedly set up booths in Oklahoma City to poach what talent remains” (The Economist).

The issue is not just salary. Teachers have expressed concerns over the high cost of health insurance. “Under the cheapest plan on offer, monthly premiums are $400 for a single person. The cost of adding a spouse is another $470 per month; a child is $208”(The Economist).

So last week they went on strike, impacting more than 500,000 students statewide. In early negotiations, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin offered teachers a $6100 pay raise, but the teachers said no. To read just the offer, an outsider would think teachers were crazy to pass that up, and selfish to move forward with the strike.

That wasn’t enough for the teachers, who are seeking $10,000 over three years. Even with the $6100 pay raise approved by lawmakers, their mean salaries would be still be lower than teachers in every neighboring state, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data showed.

This according to Alicia Priest, President of the Oklahoma Education Association:

“This package doesn’t overcome a shortfall caused by four-day weeks, overcrowded classrooms that deprive kids of the one-on-one attention they need. It’s not enough,” Priest continued. “We must continue to push for more annual funding for our schools to reduce class size and restore more of the 28 percent of funds they cut from education over the last decade” (The Hill).

Last Friday the Oklahoma Senate considered proposals to expand tribal gambling and tax certain Internet sales that would generate roughly $40 million annually.  Lawmakers approved the state’s first major tax increase in a quarter century, a $400 million revenue package (Reuters.com).

According to NBC News, Governor Fallin has faced the brunt of criticism from teachers, many of whom blame her for supporting subsidies for businesses and tax breaks  granted to the energy industry, which were worth $470 million in fiscal-year 2015 alone. When energy prices declined a few years ago, so did the state’s tax revenue, leading to deeper cuts in education spending. Teachers are seeking $200 million in increased annual education funding.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos criticized Oklahoma teachers telling them to “serve the students,” according to the Dallas Morning News.  “I think we need to stay focused on what’s right for kids. And I hope that adults would keep adult disagreements and disputes in a separate place, and serve the students that are there to be served.” This from a billionaire who never had to work, never attended public schools, surrounds herself with a security detail costing taxpayers millions of dollars, talking to Oklahoma teachers  who have an average salary of $42,460, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, placing them at 48th in average U.S. classroom teacher salary (Dallas Morning News)

Oklahoma’s teachers are following the same path walked in West Virginia, where teachers secured a pay raise, and Kentucky, where teachers rallied Monday and are threatening to do so again if the state government doesn’t meet their demands. There’s grumblings Arizona could be the next to see a teachers strike.

After nine days of striking, which led to tens of thousands of people – including students- filling the capitol building, the strike ended Thursday night. OEA President Alicia Priest said, “After getting $479 million in funding for the next school year, the OEA decided to end the walkout, though the funding falls short of what we’d hoped to achieve” (CNN).

The OEA polled its members and by Thursday, 70% of respondents indicated they were unsure of continuing the walkout (CNN).   Teachers agreed that while the strike may be over, the fight will continue to restore funding and improve conditions.

I applaud teachers who stand up for better working conditions for themselves and better educational opportunities for students. I hope talks will continue past the strike, but it shouldn’t have come to this.

These are my reflections for today.

4/13/18

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“I was just there to be there.”

As I have many times since last January, I am compelled to write about the Secretary of Education as she has once again drawn negative attention to herself. Following are two recent events where Betsy DeVos showed who she really is.

Last week she spoke of how the structure of public school classrooms hasn’t changed since the industrial age. In her words, “Students lined up in rows. A teacher in front of a blackboard. Sit down; don’t talk; eyes up front. Wait for the bell. Walk to the next class,” she tweeted. “Everything about our lives has moved beyond the industrial era. But American education largely hasn’t” (The Hill). To drive her point she included a stock photo of a current classroom.

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Teachers were quick to fire back.

“Don’t you know that stock photos aren’t real? How many classrooms have you visited in the past year? Classrooms don’t look like that anymore. Students don’t work like that anymore,”

“Rows and lectures are NOT the norm in public school,”

“It doesn’t look familiar at all. Have YOU even looked in a public school classroom in the last 10 years?”

“Come visit our school and classroom! We spend 75% of our day in small-groups, independent reading, researching our interests, learning about the world, and engaged in play. We love learning in hands-on ways and would welcome you any day!”

“How many classrooms have you visited in the past year? Classrooms don’t look like that anymore. Students don’t work like that anymore. I would think that as Sec of Edu you would be celebrating us, not putting us down(The Hill)

Most teachers criticized DeVos for not having visited public school classrooms. If she had, she would see the reality is largely contradictory to her stock photo analogy. One would think the Secretary of Education would support and advocate for the roughly 3 million public school teachers in the US , rather than demean and devalue them.

Last Wednesday the Secretary visited Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School (MSD) in Parkland, FL and students were not pleased. DeVos met with a few students, “and gave “BS answers” to their questions about what she plans to do to address gun violence (Huffington Post).  A small group of student journalists grew increasingly frustrated as the Secretary dodged their questions (Time).

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According to Alyson Sheehy, “It was a publicity stunt, really. There was no point to it,” Sheehy said DeVos didn’t meet specifically with any students. “She was kind of just walking around the school and not talking to anybody,” the high school senior said (Huffington Post).

When a student asked DeVos how she plans to stop school shootings, DeVos showed reluctance. “She kind of gave us simple answers and didn’t really answer the questions we asked,” Sheehy said. When the students pressed her for an answer, DeVos told them officials were “working really hard on things” and that she didn’t “think this is the time to really ask those types of questions” (Time).

During the press coverage, she defended Trump’s call to arm teachers, but quickly walked away from the podium when asked about it (New York Daily News)‘I think to say ‘arming teachers’ is oversimplification and a mischaracterization really,’ DeVos said later.  She continued, ‘I think that the concept is to, for those schools and those communities that opt to do this … to have people who are expert in being able to defend and having lots and lots of training to do so” (CNN).

At the end of her press coverage, she called for elevating ideas that are ‘done well.’

‘Like what?’ asked a reporter. ‘Any specific things?’ asked another.

‘Thank you, press,’ said an aide off camera, as DeVos walked away. ‘Five questions, that’s it?’ said a reporter as she avoided a follow-up about arming teachers (Daily Mail).

If DeVos’ plan was the connect with students at MSD High School, she did not do a very good job. She met with only a few students, did not answer their questions, and walked out of the press conference without addressing any specific concerns. As Kyra Parrow said,“She wasn’t informative or helpful at all. It’s nice that she came to give us condolences, but we are so done with thoughts and prayers. We want action… She didn’t come to inform us or talk about how we are going to fix this issue; she just came to say that she came. That disappoints me.”

DeVos spoke with reporters following her visit, saying, “I was just there to be there, to be with them. I would love to come back sometime, in an appropriate amount of time, and just sit down and talk to them” (CNN).

Later the same day, Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade made a surprise visit to the MSD, meeting with students and staff. Speaking to students, Wade said, “I just wanted to come and say I’m inspired by all of you…  As someone out here in the public eye, I’m proud to say I’m from this state because of you guys, because of the future of this world” (Huffington Post).

While I am encouraged by Wade’s thoughtful comments to students, I am appalled by DeVos’ lack of self-awareness.  If this was a publicity stunt, it wasn’t even done well.

“I was there to be there.”

That says it all.

***This blog was written prior to DeVos’ abysmal interview on 60 Minutes last Sunday night. I am compelled to respond, but I need to spend some time on it. Next week’s blog will be about DeVos’ interview with Lesley Stahl.

These are my reflections for today.

3/16/18

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Ill-logic

In this blog I write about the inequities of  public schools and how so many are underfunded, understaffed, and lacking technology and resources equal to suburban schools. Urban schools lack updated and complete series’ of textbooks, music programs, art programs, athletics, guidance counselors.  School buildings are dilapidated, with toxic water fountains, lead paint, asbestos, and no functioning heating or cooling systems in place. There is a lack of sustainability in teachers, principals and administrators; a revolving door of leadership.

Schools boards are being taken over by politicians and billionaire philanthropists who believe charters and vouchers are the answer. Yet, almost daily I read stories of the corruption in charters, and the inequity of vouchers. Even Pastor Charles Foster Johnson believes these are not viable options and do not support the separation of church and state.

I have written about how urban schools are more segregated now than they were 40 years ago. Efforts by Betsy DeVos are underway to privatize Puerto Rican public schools, similar to what happened in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. That, too was a failure.

Teachers are unfairly scrutinized in the US; they are underpaid, overworked, pay for supplies and materials out of their own pocket, and expected to serve the academic, social, psychological needs of ALL students. “At the most dilapidated and underperforming schools, teachers are blamed for stagnant graduation rates, students are derided for low tests scores, and parents are chastised for not being involved (The Atlantic).  Teachers, parents, and children are blamed for the shortcomings of failed government policies, the absence of living wages, and access to affordable healthcare.

According to an analysis by the National Education Association (NEA), the current proposed education budget would, over the next 10 years, blow a $150 billion hole in state and local revenue earmarked for elementary and secondary schools, putting more than 130,000 education jobs at risk.California would lose more than $35 billion in funding, New York $31 billion. Individual schools will have to come up with millions of dollars to make up for the shortfalls; those in poorer districts will be hit the hardest, as they already receive insufficient funding to begin with (The Atlantic).

Many Republican governors have already slashed billions of dollars in public-school funding, often redirecting education funding toward programs like vouchers, although recent research suggests that vouchers may not have the unequivocally positive impact that its proponents espoused (The Atlantic).

Imagine if every single school in this country had every resource needed. Schools need books, special education teachers, counselors who can address growing mental health issues in children and teens, a visual and performing arts program, an after-school program, the ability to feed children who are hungry, and treat sick children who have no health insurance. Every child in America should grow up to believe he/she can go to college without incurring a lifetime of debt, go out and earn a living wage, contribute to our economy, and provide for family.

Imagine if the millions of dollars in donations from national organizations to influence presidential and congressional candidates was given to schools? Imagine if the government used federal funding to support equal educational opportunities…a free and appropriate public education.

As a nation, if we want to see changes in public education that will impact everyone, then arm teachers with what they really need; new schools, effective leadership, support services, resources, supplies, technology… everything they need to do their job effectively. Not guns.

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These are my reflections for today.

3/2/18

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Will work for school supplies

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I attended public schools from Kindergarten through 12th grade. So have my children. The majority of my classroom teaching was in public schools. I teach at a public university.  I am a strong advocate for public schools, and in my work I try to recruit and train pre-service teachers to teach in urban public schools.

I believe the very foundation of our democracy is reflected in offering every citizen a free and appropriate public education. We benefit greatly from a well-educated, informed electorate (which is questionable these days…but I digress).  I also firmly believe the quality of an education should not be determined by zip codes or income levels. That is not equal. Wealthy parents who want to send their children to private schools, have the prerogative to do so, but this should not have any bearing on the quality of education offered to every child in this country attending a public school. Not ever. That is not equal.

As I have so often written in my blog, I have such great disdain for charters and vouchers- because that money is taken away from the very students who need it the most.

Let me get to the point. Like many of you, I’m trying to get my head around this proposed tax scandal being considered in Washington.  As far as I can understand, this is how it will potentially impact public education:  The current bill being considered would offer incentives to private school parents while at the same time cutting the deduction for state and local taxes that fund public schools. That means the wealthiest people in this country would be able to divert their tax dollars to pay for private and parochial school tuition, possibly even before a child is born.

“It’s crazy that we’re eliminating the ability of people to deduct their state and local taxes that go directly to local services, including schools . . . while at the same time providing a $10,000 incentive for folks to send their kids to private schools,” said Sasha Pudelski, assistant director for policy and advocacy at the American Association of School Administrators, which represents public school superintendents across the country (Washington Post).

What else is in the tax bill? This from the Network for Public Education:

  • Both the House and Senate bills dramatically lower the federal deduction for state and local taxes, making it tougher to raise funds for public schools. This means you will be taxed on part of your income already taxed to support public schools.
  • The House bill also eliminates the tax deduction for student loan interest, taxes tuition waivers as income, and eliminates the small tax credit for teachers to buy school supplies.

Before the bill was passed, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) said, “This change will have real and significant effects. Your vote will expand options for parents and children spending their own money, and will prioritize the education of the next generation of Americans” (Washington Post).

If I could paraphrase, “Your vote will expand options for wealthy parents spending their own money on private and religious schools, and will take from the poorest (and largest) percentage of families, further expanding the level of income inequality for the next generation of Americans”.  

One more thing this tax bill proposes is to eliminates a $250 tax deduction for teachers who spend their own money on classroom supplies. Really???

Rather than further pontificate on this bill, or this Congress, I am asking for your advocacy for public education. Here’s a link to voice your opinion. Please sign and share. Tell this deplorable Congress that taking funding away from the poorest children and eliminating $250 deduction for teachers is absolutely ridiculous.

These are my reflections for today.

12/8/17

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Finding Common Ground with Teach for America

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As a teacher educator, my stomach roils at the very mention of Teach for America (TFA), yet for some reason it keeps coming up in my life. My argument against this organization stems from my belief that the most effective urban teachers come from traditional teacher preparation programs, which include a solid foundation of theory, pedagogy, and fieldwork experiences in urban environments. Training effective teachers to work in urban classrooms may bring sustainability to these schools, and bring teachers who understand how to narrow the achievement gap that exists between high and low income schools. Staffing schools with college graduates who aren’t required to have a degree in education or a teaching license, and have only five weeks of training, as is the case with TFA is a disservice to students in urban schools. This is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

About a year ago, a former student who was about to graduate from our teacher education program asked if I would serve as a reference for TFA as she was beginning to seek employment after graduation. I told her I would, but she had to listen to me for five minutes while I explained why I wanted her to have a very clear understanding of the organization before she applied. She came to my office and before I even spoke, she said, “I know you don’t like it, I know it’s not good for urban schools to hire inexperienced teachers, but I think I can do this and I would like the opportunity to try and change their approach.” Knowing my opinions should not impact her choices, I found the common ground and agreed to write a glowing recommendation. I completed the online recommendation, and being a good sport, on the form I checked yes they could contact me with additional questions, but no they could not contact me for networking opportunities. I’m all about supporting my teacher candidates, even if they feel strongly about pursuing employment with an organization I do not support. But discuss networking opportunities with TFA? No, thank you.

This student accepted a position in New Orleans, and came back to campus to visit me at Thanksgiving. I asked how it was going, and her response was, “It’s worse than you think.” I was disheartened, but not surprised.

Last spring I attended accepted students day with my son at the university where he would attend. During the day, two people from two different programs offered this to parents and students, “We encourage our students to take advantage of service opportunities, such as Teach for America.” Each time, my son looked at me as if to say, “Mom, please don’t stand up and debate this.” The voices in my head are screaming, don’t those children deserve the best trained teachers, and not just college students looking for service opportunities?” But for my son, I swallowed the urge to stand and scream in protest, and mentally began writing a letter to the president of the university.  The letter is written in my head, but that’s as far as it’s gotten.

The next encounter was while I was attending a post-memorial service luncheon in honor of my godfather. I was introduced to one of his granddaughters. In casual conversation I mentioned I am a college professor. She asked what I teach, and I told her I am a teacher educator. “You’re not going to like me very much, then,” she said. I tell her I’m sure that’s not true, and she goes on to tell me she was a TFA corps member for two years, worked in staffing for a while after that, and now is co-founder of a program bringing early childhood education programs to urban children in a large metropolitan area. I begin pontificating on the research my colleagues and I have done, our recently published book and how we feel so strongly about our work. I tell her the book comes from work each of has done in providing urban field experiences for our students, paralleled with course work, and activities, which support how our students need to first understand themselves and the cultural lens through which they see the world. In order for teachers to be effective in an urban classroom, they must also understand the students and the environment from which they come. It is only then they can begin to understand their students, and how the culture of these children differs from their own upbringing. She appears to be intrigued by this. Sadly this was news to her.

Somehow what happened next even surprised me. We found a way to reach common ground. She left TFA because she didn’t completely agree with the organization’s plan, said she didn’t need to read any of the exposés written by disgruntled former corps members who admitted to being ill-prepared to teach these students, and in this environment. She already knew about it first hand. I was happy to hear this. She made a point of saying not all corps members are horrible teachers, and I agreed, but countered with why our most needy students deserved our very best teachers. She agreed. We agreed that suburban schools would never be staffed with TFA corps members, and we recognized the issues surrounding why only urban schools employ them.

At the end of the conversation, she told me she would read the book on the flight home. She mentioned a friend who is the Director of Corps Member Development and after reading our book would speak with her friend about our conversation and the book.

I begrudgingly acknowledged I would be willing to discuss the book with her friend, and how it might be implemented in TFA training (still only 5-weeks, but whatever).  In this conversation I learned how something good came out of her work with TFA. I would like to think something good might come of my conversation with her. This got me thinking further. Perhaps the common ground is more approachable, than the defining line in the sand. Am I selling out by agreeing to have a conversation with TFA? Could I be like my student who believes maybe she can affect change within the organization in New Orleans ? I don’t know. But the fact that I found common ground and we could agree, disagree, and agree to disagree was tremendous growth for me.

My most recent encounter was last month when I reached out to TFA looking for data on the growth of charters in New Orleans pre- and post- Katrina – specifically the number of TFA corp members were in the New Orleans Schools. Honestly, the information I was looking for was for research purposes only. I got a response from the Managing Director of External Research asking me to complete a research partnership request. “Once you’ve submitted this request, we will review the information provided and make a decision as to whether or not to release the data.” On the same day I submitted the form, there was a lot of search activity on my research publications from…. guess where? New Orleans. Not sure how they felt about my research, but I guess I can understand the hesitation to provide the data to anyone, as most of it is used against the organization.

This week I got a response. “We are happy to provide historic placement data for TFA in New Orleans.  I am working to assemble those numbers now and should have them to you soon.” 

I will only use the information I receive for the intended use- research for a book. For as much as I take issue with TFA, it keeps coming up in my life. Maybe some day I’ll understand why.

Sun-Tzu wrote, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”

These are my reflections for today.

7/28/17

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