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Teach For America Coming To Seattle

Phyllis Fletcher
11/18/2010

Teach for America (TFA) is getting ready to come to Seattle. The Seattle School Board approved a contract with TFA Wednesday night. KUOW's Phyllis Fletcher reports.

TRANSCRIPT

TFA is like a domestic Peace Corps for public schools. Recent college grads are trained in the summer and start in the fall as teachers with a two year commitment. TFA wants its teachers placed in poor and minority classrooms to help close the academic achievement gap.

Many parents and teachers spoke against TFA at the board meeting. One reason was TFA teachers will be certified under state rules designed to address teacher shortages. The Seattle School District acknowledges that Seattle has no teacher shortage. But like many urban districts, it does have an achievement gap.

School Board member Harium Martin–Morris voted in favor of TFA. He acknowledged research isn't clear on the program's effectiveness. But he also mentioned survey data that shows principals like it.

Martin–Morris: "If even one classroom is changed, improved or goes farther than they would have gone any other way, that to me is worth it. I'm willing to do that because that's making a difference in that classroom."

TFA teachers could end up in about 25 Seattle classrooms.

TFA will charge the district $4000 a year for the first two years of a teacher's tenure in Seattle. The district will only approve a TFA hire if it can get private money to cover those fees.

The Federal Way School District has also made an agreement with TFA. TFA will come to Seattle next year if another school district and a university get on board.

I'm Phyllis Fletcher, KUOW News.

© Copyright 2010, KUOW

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