On the Serving Platter: The NEA-Teach Plus “Partnership”
I think both national teachers unions have some skewed arrangement to “seek solidarity” by fastening themselves to privatizing groups. Perhaps such is an adult display of grasping to belong to the “cool kids” clique.
The “cool kids” are the ones exploding with reform philanthropy money to invest in ways to drain money from the teaching profession.
Never mind the destruction– even the looming destruction of the unions themselves.
A national teachers union’s alignment with organizations clearly opposed to traditional teaching (and non-standardized-measured “success”) must be in vogue.
A way to be “at the table”– a real “mover and shaker.”
Never mind that your “featured seat” is in the center of the table on a serving platter.
The NEA Decision to Align With Yet More Privatization
On February 20, 2014, the National Education Association (NEA) decided to seat itself on that serving platter by joining forces with the education privatization nest that is Teach Plus.
Here is the opener NEA uses to announce its decision:
For several years, the National Education Association has pressed for a shift in education that places educators in a position of leadership. After all, who would have more insight into the academic standing of your child or student? A. An educator. B. A policy wonk whose never stepped foot in a classroom.
Mind you, before the push to privatize public education had really taken hold of school districts across the country in just the last several years, the teaching profession promoted from within: A teacher who had a number of years of classroom experience would continue for a masters degree and perhaps a doctorate in education administration; would become an assistant principal, then maybe a principal, then an assistant superintendent, then superintendent.
However, individuals like Eli Broad and the American Enterprise Institute’s (AEI’s) Frederick Hess, and organizations like Wendy Kopp’s Teach for America (TFA) decided that education leadership “talent” should come from outside of the teaching profession.
After all, these education leadership robber barons insisted, true leaders are above belonging first to a particular profession.
So now we have NEA joining with Teach Plus “to give educators a better platform to lead their profession”:
The association (NEA) has partnered with Teach Plus, an education advocacy organization, and has created a fellowship program that has brought together 53 NEA members from 14 different states. These teacher leaders are passionate about the future of teaching and understand the integral role NEA must play in shaping the future. [Emphasis added.]
The CEO of Teach Plus is Celine Coggins. I first wrote about her for her membership on the advisory board of the non-accredited, self-appointed, pro-privatizing National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ). She is also connected to Mind Trust, yet another Gates-funded “reform” group that actually has what it terms its Charter School Incubator.
Both Hess and Kopp were on the NCTQ board with Coggins.
Coggins: VAM Is Good.
Coggins advocates for teacher evaluation based upon student test scores. This excerpt is from an Ed News Colorado blog entry authored by Coggins:
At Teach Plus, we are working with several states on the roll out of reforms similar to those in Colorado’s SB 10-191, the educator effectiveness law. It is complicated work with a number of interesting puzzles that are destined to make or break the impact of the legislation. [Emphasis added.]
Colorado Senate Bill 10-191 mandates that half of a teacher’s and principal’s annual evaluation be based upon student test scores (euphemistically called, “the Quality Standard that measures student learning over time”).
Notice Coggin’s description of the teaching fellows program:
At Teach Plus we work to break down the barriers that separate teachers and policymakers. We run two programs designed to give teachers greater input into the decisions that affect their classrooms. Our Teaching Policy Fellows program is a selective training program in policy and advocacy for classroom teachers in years 3-10 of their careers. It spans two school years. Our T+ Network, is a broad-based community for over 5,000 progressive teachers seeking a voice in education reform. At both in-person and online events, we use real-time polling to get feedback directly from teachers to policy leaders. [Emphasis added.]
Teach Plus teacher fellows are “selected” to lead schools based upon the usual privatization course of teacher value based upon student test scores.
Coggins calls this “building a coalition of the willing.”
This is what NEA is proud to promote.
Bill Pays Teach Plus
Bill Gates has paid Teach Plus $9.6 million in the form of two grants:
Date: September 2009
Purpose: to support the program’s expansion and create a national network of informed teachers
Date: July 2012
Purpose: to support Teach Plus’s Teaching Policy Fellows, Teach+ Network, and Turnaround Teachers Teams Initiatives
Once again, we have a national union aligning itself with Bill Gates’ agenda.
What is next for NEA? ALEC membership?
Teach Plus Leadership: A Corporate Reform Nest
Teach Plus leadership overlaps notably with Education Trust and TFA. Moreover, many Teach Plus execs are connected to charter school leadership.
Education Trust CEO Kati Haycock is credited as one who pushed for No Child Left Behind (NCLB), with its emphasis on student test scores as measures of teacher quality and school accountability. Consider this description of Haycock’s NCLB contribution from a 2008 San Diego Rotary Club press release:
In 2001, Haycock helped spur the creation of the No Child Left Behind Act.
Haycock played a major role in crafting the accountability and teacher quality provisions statues in this educational reform policy.
No one besides Bill Gates and President Bush has had greater influence on
American education reform policy over the past 10 years than Kati Haycock. [Emphasis added.]
Wow. And now NEA is endorsing Teach Plus, a pro-privatization organization that has Haycock’s fingerprints all over it.
(Haycock is listed as a board member on Teach Plus’ FY 2012 IRS 990.)
As for TFA: It is a teacher temp agency that seeks to replace traditional-teachers-gone-education-leaders with its neophyte, test-score-driven “talent.” (for a real eye opener on TFA, read this post.)
And now, for the Teach Plus leadership:
National Director of Educational Programs Heather Peske is formerly with Education Trust and Teach for America. Peske is listed as director on Teach Plus’ FY 2012 IRS 990. (UPDATE: Peske is now with the Massachusetts Department of Education in “educator policy, preparation and leadership.” A former TFAer is going to “prepare educators”??)
Washington, DC, Teach Plus Executive Director Candace Crawford is also formerly with Education Trust and is a trustee of Capital City Public Charter School.
Memphis, TN, Teach Plus Executive Director Lisa Watts has served as a consultant to the TN Department of Education in the Office of Achievement Gap Elimination (no kidding). She also is vice-chair of the board of directors for Circles of Success Learning Academy charter school.
Los Angeles Teach Plus Executive Director John Lee is so reformy, I just have to post most of his Teach Plus bio:John Lee… served as the Executive Director of Larchmont Schools, a network of charter schools in Los Angeles. He also served as the Director of Leadership for the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA), where he advised new charter schools on growth, training, establishment of program goals, strategic planning, data-driven decision making and leadership development. Prior to joining CCSA, John was the Founder and Principal of KIPP Los Angeles College Preparatory School, a high-performing (euphemism for high test scores) charter middle school serving students in Lincoln Heights and surrounding communities. ….As a Teach for America corps member, John began his career as a social studies teacher in Baltimore, Maryland. John earned his B.A. from UCLA and his M.A. from Johns Hopkins University where he was a learning team leader mentoring teachers on effective teaching strategies in the urban classroom. He also completed the KIPP School Leadership Program, an intensive year-long program that trains individuals to open a KIPP school. John serves on the board of two Los Angeles-area nonprofit organizations and is currently pursuing a doctorate degree at UCLA through the Educational Leadership Program. [Emphasis added.]
Indianapolis Teach Plus Executive Director Caitlin Hannon is also a former TFAer.
Boston Teach Plus Executive Director Lindsay Sobel is a former political journalist who later worked for Citizen Schools, “an organization focused on expanding (lengthening??) the learning day for low-income middle school students.”
As a finale, my personal favorite for her extensive classroom career:
National Teach Plus President Monique Burns Thompson was never a teacher in any capacity. She was, however, an assistant principal for one year. Her story is that of classic education reform placement of non-teachers in education leadership roles:
Monique has been President of Teach Plus since its incorporation in 2009. She brings experience as a social entrepreneur, management and human capital consultant and reform-oriented district administrator to the Teach Plus team. She started her career in the business sector (Quaker Oat Co.) in marketing and brand management before moving to the education sector as a consultant for McKenzie Group, opening model middle schools in Washington, DC. After spending a year as the assistant principal of one of those schools, Monique then worked as Special Assistant to the Superintendent of the Philadelphia Public School District, which informed her understanding of the need for quality training of urban school teachers and leaders. This focus on human capital development lead (sp) her to co-found, and co-lead as President and Chief Curriculum Officer, New Leaders for New Schools. She later worked as a consultant for Building Excellent Schools, supporting the leadership capacity of some of Boston’s strongest charter schools. Monique earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Dartmouth College, her M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, and her Master’s in Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is ABD for her doctorate in Education Administration and Social Policy.
So, NEA’s story is that it is joining with Teach Plus in order to avoid handing education leadership roles to “a policy wonk who has never set foot in a classroom.”
Teach Plus’ National President is one such “policy wonk.”
Irony, Irony, thou criest loudly from the rooftops!
Education Trust and Its Nonprofit Spawn
Education Trust is a privatizing entity run by CEO Kati Haycock. As previously noted, Haycock promoted the NCLB concept of gauging education success based upon student test scores. Haycock pushes “school turn around,” but only for select schools.
Haycock’s Ed Trust is heavily Gates-funded. Since 2002, Gates has given Ed Trust $41.5 million.
Over half ($22.8 million) was for “general operating support.”
Leave the money in the usual spot on the night stand, Bill.
See you next time.
Bill Gates has bought Education Trust, and he made his purchase the year that NCLB took effect: 2002.
Below are two particularly revealing Gates grants to Ed Trust. The first involves “substantively and politically” “pressure testing education finance reform solutions.”
Gates wants to exercise “political and substantive pressure” over education finance?? Playing god with school finances?
The second involves sending Haycock’s Ed Trust to influence state and local policies regarding the Gates-determined “value” of “teacher evaluation” (again with the euphemism for VAM).
Date: September 2012
Purpose: to begin pressure testing possible education finance reform solutions—both substantively and politically
Date: November 2012
Purpose: to inform state and local policies on teacher evaluation as a significant and valuable tool
Now, the Gates connection to Ed Trust does not stop here.
Thus, the nonprofit Ed Trust controls three other nonprofits. Edinnovations is just a shell– no money yet. The US Education Delivery Institute is functional; it includes the following mission on its 2011 990:
The US Education Delivery Institute (EDI) is an innovative non-profit organization that focuses on implementing large-scale system change in public education. Our mission is to partner with K-12 and higher education systems with ambitious reform agendas and invest in their leaders capacity to deliver results. [Emphasis added.]
One doesn’t get much more reformy than that.
Kati Haycock is secretary/treasurer for EDI.
Gates has paid $7.1 million to EDI, with $3.2 million devoted to getting the organization started in April 2010.
Next is the more intriguing Data Quality Campaign (DQC). Kati Haycock sits on its board as a “director.”
The mission of DCQ as stated on its 2011 990 is to “encourage” the collection of student data:
To encourage and support state policymakers to improve the availability and use of high quality education data to improve student achievement. [Emphasis added.]
I closely examine DQC, its board, and its director, Aimee Guidera, in this post.
Gates has paid DQC $12.7 million, with $2.3 million devoted to operating expenses.
Does NEA have anyone on the payroll to do what I have just done for free and investigate an entity like Teach Plus?
The key, Dennis, is to uncover the facts prior to forming the alliance.
On occasion, I have people tell me that my exposing union foolishness is “bad for the union.” I should just be quiet as a demonstration of “solidarity.”
Are you kidding me?
Time for an “empty chair” moment with NEA President Dennis Van Roekel:
Dennis, Teach Plus has no intention to promote sensible, seasoned, traditional teachers into positions of leadership. Teach Plus and its associates (not the least of which is Ed Trust) are seeking young teachers who might be molded into the corporate-reform mindset of test-driven reform– including test-based teacher evaluation and replacement of community schools with profit-driven charters.
Is this what you want? How can you not see though this?
Have you become consumed with the advancement of your own career, union be damned?
I really would like to know.
I would like to know why you have positioned your constituency on that death-to-the-traditional-teacher serving platter.