Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Testimony TfA on 11-03-2010
likely even more violations
of competitive bidding laws

First off here is a link to the entire submission to the Seattle School Board with links.

Here is the three minute version.

Directors, I am Dan Dempsey. 11-3-2010

Should TfA receive a non-competitive bid contract? The Seattle Times reported the following:
Despite their reluctance to commit, Seattle administrators say they are confident they would have places for 20 to 25 Teach for America teachers.

"We believe strongly that there will be positions open in our schools, because there always are," Ferguson said.

That means a TfA contract for $80,000 to $100,000 yet an exemption from competitive bidding is not requested. Why NOT?

The Auditor reported on July 6th that the District frequently violated School Board policies and state laws.

Recently at the Superintendent’s recommendation the $800,000 NTN Contract was approved without competitive bidding and without a legal exemption from competitive bidding. Legal action is pending. A recall filing for Four Directors was filed on October 21. I await requested records from SPS legal affairs into possible "evidence tampering" by the Superintendent.

Currently in Seattle 199 of every 200 classes is taught by a Highly Qualified teacher. That ratio is virtually the same whether in a low-income school or not. There is no demonstrated need for minimally trained teachers to be employed. Why would only low-income students be subjected to this unproven apparently illegal experiment?

TfA has NEVER demonstrated they can produce positive effects when compared with a Highly Qualified Teaching Force like Seattle’s.

The closing of Achievement Gaps is supposedly the reason for this TfA contract. Achievement Gaps have closed over the last decade in Seattle except in Mathematics. Why are teachers receiving the blame when the District insists on using defective math materials and pedagogical practices?

To close the achievement gaps in mathematics begin by ridding the District of UW’s Math Education Project and all the other counterproductive UW interference that now produces worsening math results in Southeast Seattle’s schools.

Check the data and check the research. Central Administration is responsible for the widening math achievement gaps by spending money and accepting grants for things that DO NOT work.

Read the latest in the notices of the American Mathematical Society:

A lack of empirical evidence supporting the teaching of general problem-solving strategies in mathematics is telling, there is ample empirical evidence of the validity of the worked-example effect.

Studying worked examples is a form of direct, explicit instruction that is vital in all curriculum areas, especially areas that many students find difficult and that are critical to modern societies.

Stop violating state laws and Board policies. Do something positive and legal.

Thank you,


Dear Director DeBell,

Please see my attached testimony for tonight.

Consider the following carefully:

The District is entering into a contract for employment services with TfA in excess of 40,000 dollars.

To do this requires competitive bidding for employment services unless an exemption is sought from competitive bidding. That requires following State law and board polices that govern exemptions from competitive bidding.

The District would begin the exemption process by submitting a "Sole Source Justification Form", which they have not done.

Also in regard to the state law and conditional certificates.

The granting of conditional certificates is done on an individual basis.
1. The lack of a qualified applicant must be shown
2. The qualifications of the particular individual must be examined.

The District has shown no lack of qualified applicants and it is attempting to put forth a group of unidentified folks rather than individuals for examination.

Further the District will place these individuals only in low-income schools and yet the district lacks an NCLB HQ teacher in only 1 of 200 classrooms. If this is a shortage, that shortage is the same in non-low income schools as in low-income schools. Why do only the low-income schools get stuck with the conditional certs?

Here comes the District's Next big lawsuit.

Why not actually address the reasons for the math achievement gaps rather than participate in yet another of MGJ's diversions from the reality of our situation?


Dan Dempsey

An earlier letter to Director DeBell about TfA.

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