Pasi Sahlberg: Why There Is No Teach for Finland

Diane Ravitch's blog

Pasi Sahlberg, the eminent Finnish scholar, writes here about why there is no Teach for Finland and why Finland is not a model for Teach for America. In his travels, he has heard people say that TFA is like Finland, because both recruit “the best and the brightest.” Sahlberg explains why this is not the case. While it is true that would-be teachers are carefully selected, those who are selected must meet a number of criteria, including a readiness and intention to make teaching a lifelong career.

Once they are admitted to a teacher education program at the end of their secondary schooling, future teachers must engage in a rigorous program of study:

All teachers in Finland must hold a master’s degree either in education (primary school teachers) or in subjects that they teach (lower- and upper-secondary school teachers). Primary school teachers in Finland go through rigorous academic education that…

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Breaking News! Kilroy’s Publius Supports Parent Opt Out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment!!!!

This just in, Publius from Kilroy’s Delaware supports parent opt-out of standardized testing.  Publius is ALL about choice, so he would have to support this because it’s a parent’s choice!  Isn’t that right Publius?  You’ve been very quiet since my replies to you last night.  I hope everything is okay and you had a super-duper Valentine’s Day!  I saw John Young made that comment on Kilroy’s, so I thought to myself “That could be the title of my next article”!  Thanks Publius!

Big Question Raised Regarding East Side Charter & Family Foundations Academy “Arrangement”

If East Side Charter School had no board meeting in December, and their January board meeting didn’t occur until January 28th, how in the world did their board approve the loaning out of four board members, their head of school, funds, and teachers to Family Foundations Academy?  Why has nobody else even brought up this question?  By the time the State Board of Education and Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy decided on the fate of FFA, the East Side board took over the FFA board and had their arrangement in place, with Dr. Lamont Browne serving as Executive Director of both schools.  But if the Board never voted on it, who made the decision?

Charles McDowell is the Board President of East Side Charter.  He is now the Board President of Family Foundations Academy.  He is also on the board of Early College High School in Dover.  That’s three charter boards he sits on.  Is he the one calling the shots?  If you read the last Early College High School board minutes (November 2014), it seems like he is in charge even though he isn’t the board president.

While the East Side/FFA arrangement is unprecedented in Delaware, I would think the East Side Board would have to approve a reallocation of funds of that magnitude and what amounts to a loan.  But that is nowhere to be found.  And how did the East Side board members take over?  Was there a quorum of the old FFA members?  Did they vote to add the new members and then resign?  Don’t new board members have to wait a month to vote on new items?  Hmm, more than meets the eye here.  And lest we forget, Kendall Massett at the Delaware Charter Schools Network set up this deal…

Holy Freire Batman! Prestige Academy & Moyer Had Highest Charter Suspension Rates, Over 60% of Students!!!!

With an astonishing 653 suspensions, Prestige Academy had the highest suspension rate out of any Delaware charter school.  176 out of the school’s 287 enrolled students for the 2013-2014 school year were suspended, for a 61.3% rating.  That means over 3/5ths of the school was suspended at one point in time during this school year.  That is insanely high!

Moyer came in second, with a 60.97% suspension rate, 138 out of 227 students, with a total of 338 suspensions.  The Delaware Department of Education ordered Moyer to close at the end of the 2014-2015 school year, despite a lawsuit by the City of Wilmington that was dismissed.

This makes the new Freire charter coming to town look like a mere detention!  I’m sorry, if you are suspending that many kids at a charter school, maybe the problem isn’t the kids!  Sounds like zero tolerance at Prestige and Moyer.  Freire is the new charter opening up in the 2015-2016 year that will actually expel kids for bad behavior right off the bat.  I’m sure a lot of kids will want to go to that school!

Community Education Building Deferred $250,000 In Rent For Academia Antonia Alonso

According to Academia Antonia Alonso’s board minutes for their December 2014 meeting, the Community Education Building sent the school a letter agreeing to defer another $50,000 in rent, bringing a total of $250,000.00 to date.  As well, it appears enrollment is down and they have applied for a major modification based on these lower numbers.  This was at an emergency board meeting on 12/26/14.  In addition, I reported in early January that Head of School Peter Barry “resigned”.  The DOE Charter School website currently shows Teresa Gerchman as the Interim Head of School, who also serves as the CMO for Early College High School at Delaware State University (at least as of their November board meeting).

I really wish my mortgage company would keep deferring my mortgage!  Hell, if they deferred a percentage of that, I’d have my house paid off!  Is it the CEB deferring the rent, or the Longwood Foundation?  Read about it below!

Academy of Dover Won’t Reimburse Paraprofessionals When They Are Substitute Teachers

I remember when I worked at Campus Community School a few years ago, they were very good at paying me when I worked as a substitute teacher.  When I transitioned to a paraprofessional role for about five months, I was paid a little bit less.  If I was ever shifted to a substitute role, they would adjust my pay based on that.  Apparently another charter school in Dover doesn’t seem to want to follow that type of decency.  In their December board minutes, Academy of Dover wrote:

“Para’s are subbing for teachers – wanted to know if they will be reimbursed for subbing for teachers. Para’s will not be reimbursed for their time subbing.”

Not a good way to take care of your personnel!  I would have loved to hear a digital recording of that conversation!  Oh wait, charters don’t have to record their board meetings cause they are afraid of what we might find out!  Maybe if they actually hired a Head of School, instead of having an interim one for the past five months it would soothe things over.  Don’t believe me on this pay issue?  Read it here: