Yesterday at the Delaware State Board of Education unanimously approved the Teach For America led “Lead Delaware” program. At the September Delaware Professional Standards Board (PSB) meeting, the original application didn’t even get a vote by the voting board. TFA redesigned the application which was approved by the PSB and several schools wrote letters of support for the program. The highlights of the program can be seen below:
In listening to the State Board audio recording, Jeremy Grant-Skinner with TFA mentioned a partner called Teach For All. This is essentially an international Teach For America, led by Wendy Kopp, the founder of Teach For America. Grant-Skinner talked about how they will bring some of their cohorts (Principal trainers) to different regions to learn best practices.
Kopp’s husband is Richard Barth, the founder of the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) charter schools. While there are no KIPP schools in Delaware, my fear is the more embedded TFA becomes in Delaware, it is only a matter of time before they invade.
I have been very vocal about my feelings on Teach For America embedding themselves in Delaware education, and this new Lead Delaware program is not the best thing for Delaware in my opinion. First off, they will charge a $7,000 “service fee” to each program participant. While TFA is saying there will be no costs from the local education agencies (school districts), I have to wonder where these funds will come from. Perhaps Rodel or the Longwood Foundation? Both have donated heavily to TFA Delaware in the past. Here is the budget for each “cohort”:
Category Unit Cost ($)
Tuition/fees/related costs for partner courses (Harvard, WilmU, NAATE) 10,326
Costs for other partner organizations (Teach For All, TNTP, Jounce) 2,576
Principal Consultants 2,500
Excellent School Visits 1,750
Principal Mentors 1,000
Operating costs 17,024
Participant Fee (7,000)
I also cringe at TFA even developing a principal certification program. From their application:
Lead For Delaware’s candidate assessment process incorporates three types of assessment
data: (1) school leader competency ratings, (2) program completion and participation evidence,
and (3) standardized assessment scores. Cohort members must meet all criteria across these
three areas in order to be recommended for School Principal and Assistant Principal
certification (under Section 1591).
This program still has to be approved by Acting Secretary of Education Dr. Steven Godowsky. It is my fervent hope he sees past the obvious benefit for TFA and puts a halt to this leap-frog program for leaders in Delaware education.