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Bill Gates is Stealing Our Lunch Money

Susan Notes:

Of course outrage inspires this action, but the action is very Good News. Parents are showing educators how to get things done. This is both breathtaking and important. Join this action.

by Great Schools for America & Parents Across America

In January of 2011, Bill Gates gave Teach for America $2.5 million to open an office in Seattle. He also gave University of Washington STEM $10 million on the condition it "support" Teach for America (TFA) there. Seattle doesn't have a failing school system, and parents are furious because they don't want amateurs teaching their children.

Great Schools for America (GSA) and Parents Across America (PAA), two recently formed organizations, intend to challenge TFA for teaching jobs. GSA is a cash-strapped, all volunteer, nonprofit organization fighting for education equity. We can't even imagine having one-tenth of $2.5 million to open an office. We also can't imagine what TFA does with the hundreds of millions of dollars it collects from donors and taxpayers. We do know that not one cent of TFA money reaches the classroom in the form of equipment, supplies, programs, or projects for kids.

We are inviting the Daily Kos Community and Save Our Schools to support us in ensuring that all children have access to quality, credentialed teachers and that education dollars be spent on children.

On April 6th, 2011, parents, teachers, and other concerned citizens will gather at the Seattle School Board meeting to oppose the hiring of 50 Teach for America (TFA) recruits. Below is a letter sent from Great Schools for America to the Seattle Board. (A similar letter is being sent to Boards of Education in each of the placement regions where TFA operates.)


To: Members of the Seattle Public Schools Board of Education

From: Officer, Great Schools for America

Re: The hiring of Teach for America recruits instead of certified teachers

We have the resumes of 22,982 certified teachers from Washington state alone (nearly 800,000 nationwide) who want the jobs you are offering Teach for America recruits. The question now becomes, "Do Seattle's children deserve professional teachers?"

We think it is the civil right of children to have a professional teacher when one is available. We think those who have acquired the knowledge, training, and skill to teach should be given top consideration for teaching jobs.

According to the Heilig study,Teach for America: A False Promise, TFA recruits, who are not teachers, do real harm to children and budgets.

1. Students of novice Teach for America teachers perform significantly less well in reading and math than those of credentialed beginning teachers.

2. About a third of Teach for America’s operating costs are paid by federal, state, and local funds.

3. More than 50 percent of Teach for America teachers leave after two years and more than 80 percent leave after three years.


By hiring Teach for America recruits, Seattle students will do significantly less well on tests, taxpayers will pay significantly more than for professional teachers, and a significant number of those recruits will be gone in two years. Is that the type of education Seattle wants to provide to its students?

The study offers these solutions to policymakers and school districts:

1. Support Teach for America staffing only when the alternative hiring pool consists of uncertified and emergency teachers or substitutes.

2. Consider the significant recurring costs of Teach for America, estimated at over $70,000 per recruit, and press for a five-year commitment to improve achievement and reduce re-staffing. (Emphasis added.)

3. Invest strategically in evidence-based educational reform options that build long-term capacity in schools like lower class sizes, universal pre-school, and mentoring programs that pair novice and expert teachers.


Hiring 50 Teach for America recruits will cost Seattle students and taxpayers dearly -- a learning deficit for children and $20,000 more per recruit than certified teachers, or $1,000,000 over two years, not to mention costs associated with filling recurring vacancies. The overall cost, according to the Heilig study, is much, much more. Great Schools for America is offering a pool of highly effective, fully-certified teachers at little or no charge to you. Wouldn’t Seattle Public Schools rather spend its money on promising programs that are much more cost effective? To do otherwise would be pure folly.

It's not just about employing amateurs to do a professional's job, it's also about plugging the pipeline to power. To reiterate on Joanne Barkan's analysis< in Got Dough? How Billionaires Rule Our Schools, hiring Teach for America recruits is merely fueling the pipeline created by Bill Gates, Eli Broad, the Wal-mart family, and the other Billionaire Boys to positions of power. This must stop.

We are challenging the Seattle School Board to find its good common sense and to use it. Hire professional teachers for the children of Seattle because every child deserves a great education.

Officer
(contact information)

These are our children. They can't protect themselves from the whims of the extraordinarily wealthy. They depend on us for that. Consider also the damage done to young, naive TFA recruits. They are beginning to speak out about TFA here, here, and here. So, we are saying to Bill Gates, Eli Broad, and the rest of the Billionaire Boys: You can't have our children, and you've had just about enough of our money.

From Parents Across America Seattle, A Simple Petition to Bill Gates:

Dear Bill Gates,

Please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please,
please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please

stop experimenting on our kids, their schools their teachers.

Signed,
The Parents of America

We want to organize more PAA affiliates to be prepared to challenge school boards everywhere TFA operates. Parents are the key. Detroit is begging us to help them. And, we need a Milwaukee connection to start there. If you live in Seattle, join us on April 6th at 6:00 p.m. We need your ideas on how to proceed and succeed in placing quality educators in our schools. Please help.

— Great Schools for America & Parents Across America
Daily Kos

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/04/02/962592/-Bill-Gates-is-Stealing-Our-Lunch-Money


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