Teach For America, the University of Delaware, and Supporting School Success just began contracts with the Delaware Department of Education for their teacher-leader preparation programs. The contract began June 1st. It could just be me, but I see something inherently wrong with using Teach For America to shape the future leaders of education. If I understand these programs right, the teachers will be out of the classroom a lot, so schools will have to get substitute teachers.
Teach For America is getting $125,000 for their work on this contract, along with the University of Delaware. The FLEX program, operated by Supporting School Success, is only getting $50,000 for eleven months of work. Reading state contracts is like reading hieroglyphics, but I can’t really understand why the Teach For America contract is a five-year program that runs out in a year. Maybe I’m misreading something, but who pays for this after a year? The district or charter school? Would those payments go to Teach For America? Cause I’m pretty sure applicants for these programs have to apply through the Delaware Department of Education unless I’m thinking of some other teacher leader program. Are districts okay with getting invoices from Teach For America after a year? If someone could explain all this to me, please let me know. I’m not sure which program has this, but I did attend a Capital board meeting a few months back where the board approved a couple of schools to take part in this program. The district explained funds would come out of grants. Whether those are federal or state, I’m not sure. But in the end, we all pay for it!
This contract with Teach For America was actually very controversial about ten months ago, but the Professional Standards Board and State Board of Education eventually approved the application.
In the meantime, the contracts for each of the programs are below:
Last night, the Professional Standards Board, a committee that looks at regulatory matters with educators in Delaware, had their monthly meeting. Part of this meeting had presentations on two possible new school leadership programs. The first was by Teach For America and a program called Lead For Delaware. The second was presented by two educators from Sussex County, a program called Flex (Fostering Leadership Excellence). This is for pending Regulation #1595- Certification Program for Leaders in Education.
In the past, programs brought forth by Teach For America (TFA) were usually accepted right off the bat with very little argument against it. Last night this changed dramatically as the Chair of the Professional Standards Board (PSB), Byron Murphy, lambasted Teach For America for their arrogance and slamming of career teachers, as well as their tendency to use teaching as a stepping stone. Byron Murphy also came down hard on the individual who presented the program, Jeremy Grant-Skinner, who is also the Senior Managing Director of this TFA program. Murphy claimed Grant-Skinner had absolutely no school leadership experience. When it came time for a motion by the board to vote on the program, not one single member of the Professional Standards Board would enter a motion.
As a result, the Executive Director of the PSB, Chris Kenton, immediately went on to the next presentation and the educators from Sussex presented their FLEX program, and afterwards, the board approved it unanimously. This is a tidal wave in Delaware of huge proportions. It used to be a given that any TFA program would be approved, but last night’s decision is showing that perhaps Delaware’s love affair with TFA is coming to an end. It was widely assumed by the DOE this TFA program would be approved by the PSB, and even TFA’s Executive Director Laurissa Schutt did not attend the meeting. The Delaware DOE will NOT be happy about this decision.
*This article has been corrected. Chris Kenton did NOT leave the meeting after the first presentation and stayed until the end. My apologies to Mr. Kenton.
Below are the presentations from the PSB meeting last night. The first two are the TFA project, and the last is the FLEX from the Sussex educators.