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NY Success Academies Is Relying on TFA-Spinoff, TNTP, to Fill Teaching Vacancies

June 16, 2018

On June 12, 2018, Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academies (SA) posted this job ad for middle school math and science teachers. Moskowitz is using Teach for America (TFA) spinoff org, The New Teacher Project (now known simply as TNTP) to “run the hiring process” in order to fill those teacher vacancies.

SA suffers from high levels of teacher turnover that SA doesn’t care to address, according to multiple comments by former employees on Glassdoor. Commenters also note that due to high attrition, promotion comes quickly, outpacing competence.

quit job

More teachers are always needed– which makes the services of a teacher pipeline useful.

The SA ad begins, “TNTP has partnered with Success Academy….” That’s what TNTP does— it sells its services to school districts, supplying “both vision and manpower.”

The SA job ad describes TNTP as “a national nonprofit founded by teachers.” Well, that is a stretch. TNTP was founded in 1995 by former TFAer, Michelle Rhee (with TFA founder, Wendy Kopp, serving on the TNTP board “as needed”); Rhee left TNTP in 2007 to become DC chancellor. (Note that Rhee’s DC assistant superintendent, Kaya Henderson, was also a TNTP “partner,” as noted on TNTP’s 2000 tax form.)

The year of Rhee’s TNTP departure (2007), current TNTP president, Karolyn Belcher, began to show up on TNTP’s tax forms as one of its “highest-compensated employees.” In 2015, Belcher became TNTP president; her 2017 total compensation was $301,882.

Like Rhee, Belcher also hails from TFA, having taught only two years (1990-92).

In December 2015, I wrote a post about Belcher’s rise in TNTP— and the fact that Belcher operated a Harlem-based charter school that had its charter revoked; a 2004 report by the Charter School Institute indicated that Belcher’s school, Reisenbach Charter School, received a negative report, including issues of low 8th-grade test scores, high teacher turnover, and fiscal problems.

Despite Reisenbach’s negative history, as a city councilwoman in 2004, Moskowitz argued to keep the Belcher’s school open.

Once again, it seems that Moskowitz might be trying to lend a hand to Belcher, a fellow corporate reformer. And since SA experiences high teacher attrition, one might think of the SA-TNTP agreement as one corporate reformer hand washing another.

But will SA provide enough soap?

According to TNTP’s tax forms (see end of post for links), TNTP revenue is finding it difficult to keep up with TNTP expenses:

  • 2012: total revenue: $50.3M; total expenses: $50.8M
  • 2013: total revenue: $57.9M; total expenses: $55.5M
  • 2014: total revenue: $57.2M; total expenses: $63.4M
  • 2015: total revenue: $83.5M; total expenses: $62.7M
  • 2016: total revenue: $49.7M; total expenses: $61.7M

In 2015, the unusual increase in revenue was from unusually high “contributions and grants”, with “program revenue” falling from the previous year:

  • 2012: contributions and grants: $18.2M; program revenue: $32.1M
  • 2013: contributions and grants: $21.3M; program revenue: $36.3M
  • 2014: contributions and grants: $20.1M; program revenue: $36.9M
  • 2015: contributions and grants: $48.8M; program revenue: $34.5M
  • 2016: contributions and grants: $16.6M; program revenue: $32.9M

The 2015 revenue boost looks like a philanthropic bailout. But there was no such boost in 2016….

Note that on its “our finances” webpage, TNTP advertises itself as follows:

To ensure the long-term sustainability of our work, TNTP is a revenue-generating non-profit.

However, TNTP’s program revenue has been on the decline since 2014– which defies TNTP’s statement about revenue generation ensuring TNTP’s long-term sustainability.

Whether adding Moskowitz as a client will help TNTP’s questionable finances remains to be seen. But TNTP may help keep Moskowitz’s SA teacher revolving door turning, at least for a while.

revolving door

 

TNTP Tax Forms:

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Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

9 Comments
  1. Christine Langhoff permalink

    It doesn’t really matter to the reformsters if all these reformy organizations fail. Disrupters gonna disrupt when the first grift goes bust. In the meantime, they’ve topped off their bank accounts nicely.

    Of course, to the kids, parents, teachers and public school systems caught up in the maelstrom, it matters very much.

    • The ten words most transparently able to explain long, long years of chaotically changing test-score school “reform” invasions: “In the meantime, they’ve topped off their bank accounts nicely.”

  2. Jack permalink

    The Success Academy / TNTP job posting is its first since the notorious legislation that was past allowing charter authorizers such as SUNY to self-certify its teachers — requiring new teachers almost ZERO requirements or training before being put into a classroom.

    Thanks to that notorious legislation, BELOW is Success Academy’s new, revised job offering — in cooperation with TNTP — that’s now on-line (as of June 12th, when it was posted).

    Success Academy teachers now have to meet a mere 4 requirements prior to hiring:

    ” – Bachelor’s degree, with an outstanding record of academic achievement and leadership;
    ” – Flexibility and openness to feedback;
    ” – Grit and perseverance;
    and
    ” – Interest in working in a collaborative environment.”

    As Porky Pig used to say …

    “Thuh- thuh- thuh- THAT’S all folks!”

    No certification or credential of any kind required, nor even one hour of college credit in education, nor any credits in “Science” or “Math” (the postings are for new middle school “Science” and “Math” teachers) nor any training in education, nor one day working in education, or any prior experience working with children in any capacity.

    Apart from the Bachelor’s Degree, Eva’s new teacher-disruptor Math and Science teachers may as well be applying to work at McDonald’s.

    Thank you, Joe Belluck & the rest of the charter-authorizing folks folks at SUNY!!!

    (NOTE the posting’s cliches about how these new, untrained teachers whom Eva hires will be “disrupting the status quo” as they work in “a revolutionary K-12 school model that is nationally recognized for achieving outstanding academic results for students,”

    You mean that “Got-to-go List” model where 80% of S.A. students get kicked out or get (COUGH! COUGH!) “counseled out” prior to graduation?

    https://garyrubinstein.wordpress.com/2018/06/07/the-case-of-the-missing-scholar/ )

    Again, here’s Eva’s job posting:

    https://jobs.chalkbeat.org/jobs/middle-school-math-science-teachers-2/

    • Jack permalink

      One thing that someone mentioned to me off-line is something that’s missing from the job posting:

      *Salary*

      *How much money* is the $600,000-year-salaried Eva paying the untrained folks she will hire for the respective positions:

      *Associate Teacher*

      *Lead Teachers*

      etc.?

      Unlike the vast majority of teacher job postings, the salary that Eva will pay is conspicuously absent.

      If Eva’s not including this in the job posting, it can’t be all that great, and thus what caliber of folks will she be able to hire at these presumably miserable salaries?

      Now combine that with the dreadful reputation of the working conditions at Eva’s schools. Read here for some details on that:

      http://www.schoolsmatter.info/2014/08/citizen-jacks-compendium-of-teacher.html

  3. Jack permalink

    But seriously, how the frickin’-frick do you justify hiring folks to teach middle and high school math who have ZERO university Math or Science education, certification, or prior training?

    Would Success Academy Board Member Campbell Brown be happy if the rich kids’ private school where she sends her own kids (Heschel) lowered the bar to freakin’ China when it came to the requirements for its teachers? The same goes for the rest of the corporate ed. reform folks.

    No, but it’s okay for the Success Academy students.

    BELOW is the video where SUNY’s Joe Belluck is confronted with the question: “Would you want this for your own kids?” and Belluck promptly blows a gasket at being asked the question, but never answers it.

    Somebody secretly videotaped a meeting of the SUNY Board of Trustees meeting — a meeting where the controversial measure to allow uncertified teachers to work in SUNY-authorized charters such as the Success Academy charter chain was discussed.

    It’s now on YouTube.

    Included in this meeting was a community leader not happy with the new regulations — one Maria Bautista.

    This is truly explosive stuff.

    SUNY Board Chairman Joseph Belluck claims that he is livid at the tweets and overall “smear campaign” that has been portraying him as “racist.”

    In response to this, Afro-Puerto Rican activist Maria Bautista of the Alliance for Quality Education is not buying Belluck’s attempt to fabricate victimhood for himself. She then proceeds to unload on Belluck, saying that Belluck’s new policy is most certainly “racist” in its effect, even if it’s not inherent in Belluck’s intent.

    Would you want YOUR OWN kids taught by these uncertified teachers? Bautista asks him, and this sets Belluck off. Unfortunately, this is when the video cuts out.

    Enjoy!

    x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
    TRANSCRIPT
    ( 0:13 – )

    ( 0:13 – )
    MARIA BAUTISTA: “Well, I just want to clarify that this ISN’T a smear campaign against you. Right?”

    JOSEPH BELLUCK: “Okay.”

    MARIA BAUTISTA: “That this has EVERYTHING to do with black and brown children – ”

    JOSEPH BELLUCK: “Right.”

    MARIA BAUTISTA: ” – and THEIR access to high quality education, and second of all, if the teachers’ union wanted to be here and talk for themselves, they WOULD be.”

    JOSEPH BELLUCK: “Okay.”

    MARIA BAUTISTA: “So I’m here to talk about the Alliance for Quality Education.”

    JOSEPH BELLUCK: “Well, I’ll just … I’ll just say to you that, when I look at my phone, and someone tweets the following:

    ” ‘ @JoeBelluck is willing to allow this RACIST policy to persist.’ ”

    MARIA BAUTISTA: “That’s RIGHT!”

    JOSEPH BELLUCK: “I take – ”

    MARIA BAUTISTA: “Cause you ARE!”

    JOSEPH BELLUCK: “I take umbrage at it.”

    MARIA BAUTISTA: “‘Cause you ARE!”

    JOSEPH BELLUCK: “Okay?”

    MARIA BAUTISTA: ” ‘YOU”RE the Chair – ”

    JOSEPH BELLUCK: “I take umbrage at it.”

    MARIA BAUTISTA: ” ‘YOU”RE the Chair, and you’re allowing it to proceed – ”

    JOSEPH BELLUCK: “Well -”

    MARIA BAUTISTA: ” – so that’s NOT a smear campaign. It’s ACTUALLY WHAT’S HAPPENING, and whether or not you feel defensive about that – ”

    JOSEPH BELLUCK: “I’m NOT defensive about it.”

    MARIA BAUTISTA: ” – but this is YOUR responsibility.”

    JOSEPH BELLUCK: “I’m NOT defensive about it.”

    MARIA BAUTISTA: “Exactly. You ARE defensive about it. You’re saying that this is a SMEAR campaign, and it’s NOT. We’re calling … we’re calling the cards for what they ARE.”

    JOSEPH BELLUCK: “What I’m suggesting to you is that – ”

    MARIA BAUTISTA: “THIS is the card that YOU are ALLOWING to move forward — THIS idea …THESE regulations for people to give comments on, when we know that they *(classes taught by uncertified teachers) *are going disproportionately impact black and brown children.

    “You would NEVER have uncertified teachers teach YOUR children, so WHY is it okay for black and brown children? Why is THAT okay?”

    JOSEPH BELLUCK: “Okay – ”

    MARIA BAUTISTA: “It is NOT okay!”

    JOSEPH BELLUCK: “What I’m suggest – ”

    MARIA BAUTISTA: “That is the point.”

    JOSEPH BELLUCK: “What I’m saying to you – ”

    MARIA BAUTISTA: “This is NOT a smear campaign.”

    JOSEPH BELLUCK: ” “What I’m suggesting to you is that the things that are going to MOVE this committee to ACT are going to be the SUBSTANCE of the regulations, and WHETHER OR NOT they are the BEST for educating the kids who are in our schools.”

    MARIA BAUTISTA: “Would you want THIS for YOUR children? No.”

    JOSEPH BELLUCK: (angry) “I’m not going to speak to you about MY children -”

    MARIA BAUTISTA: “I would love that -”

    JOSEPH BELLUCK: ” – because frankly .. because frankly – ”

    MARIA BAUTISTA: ” – because what you would want for YOUR children is what you should want for EVERY child in this city.”

    MALE SUNY BOARD MEMBER: “Alright. Can I just – ?)
    x x x x x x x x x x x x

    Video CUTS OUT

    • Jack permalink

      Fully certified NY state teachers have to “reach seven teaching standards,” a “rich, deep set of standards that is at odds with the new legislation” that has resulted in, among other things, the Success Academy / TNTP job posting that is the subject of this thread.

      Watch this video response to SUNY and Joe Belluck’s insane lowering of the bar for Success Academy charter school chain teachers:

  4. Laura H. Chapman permalink

    Another long post.
    The forthcoming Educator Summit (July 2018, Philadelphia) is co-sponsored by the Relay Graduate School of Education (RGSE) and Dr. Angela Duckworth’s Character Lab. The conference program is replete with “experts” who promote TFA and charter schools. I have taken some time to examine the program.

    First, managers of key sessions in the two-day conference are doctoral candidates and current Deans of RGSE Programs. If they complete their degrees, these will be the first RGSE leaders with doctorates. Here are the doctoral candidates.
    –Jennifer Francis, is senior dean of Relay New Orleans. She earned a M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction and an Ed.S. from National Louis University, as well as a dual B.A. in Black Studies and American Studies from Scripps College. Her doctoral studies are at the Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California (USC).
    –Rebecca Good is founding Dean of Relay Connecticut. She earned a B.A. in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley, and M.A. in Educational Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University. Her doctoral studies focus on Global Education at the Rossier School of Education, USC. Key scholars at Rossier examine charter-friendly policies and are funded with grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (among others). See for example https://rossier.usc.edu/faculty-and-research/directories/a-z/profile/?id=66
    –Mayme Hostetter, Relay’s national dean, oversees teacher preparation programs at all Relay campuses. She has an A.B. from Harvard, an Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is a doctoral candidate at Teachers College, Columbia University. See https://relay.edu/news/2018/31/05/relay-announces-leadership-transition

    Dr. Angela Duckworth’s Character Lab is best known for promoting three major and seven specific character “strengths” as central to success in school.
    WILL includes:
    —Grit (identifying with experts as models of endurance, seeking mastery based on practice),
    —Self-Control (will-power is achieved through a WOOP strategy (picturing Wishes & Outcomes, Obstacles, and Plans) and
    —Growth Mindset (believing that you get smarter with hard work, optimistic goal-setting).
    MIND includes:
    —Curiosity (pursuing interests) and
    —Zest (showing enthusiasm, seeking joy).
    HEART includes:
    —Purpose (knowing your special goals and often omitted from the Lab’s marketing),
    —Gratitude (thinking about positives, showing appreciation), and
    —Social Intelligence (adapting behavior to context, regulating emotions, understanding others).

    The Character Lab sells teaching resources for these strengths. The Lab is now offering coaching for the Relay Graduate School of Education where most Teach for America candidates are trained for five weeks before entering schools with teaching responsibilities.

    I do not know how the Character Lab training will mesh with the tradition of requiring Relay students to master Doug Lemov’s no-nonsense techniques for teaching. Lemov’s techniques emphasize compliance with rules. Even so, it is not hard to discern that Character Lab’s contribution to Relay, evident in the program for the 2018 Educator Summit, will focus on “character” as a matter of (a) self-discipline, (b) intensive practice, and (c) aspiring to be “the best.” The models for being ”best” are champions in competitive sports, and CEOs in the corporate world.

    Major speakers at the two-day Educator Summit include:
    —Geoffrey Canada, Harvard graduate who established the Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ) in 1970. HCZ is now serving about 13,000 low-income children and their families from birth through college, all enabled by federal and private grants, an endowment of about $145 million and annual income of $75 million.
    —Dan Heath, a skilled self-promoter and social entrepreneur, and Senior Fellow at Duke University’s Change Academy. Dan has an MBA from Harvard’s Business School and is co-author, with his brother Chip (Graduate School of Business at Stanford) of three New York Times business bestsellers. DECISIVE offers a four-step process for making decisions (Widen Your Options, Reality-Test Your Assumptions, Attain Distance Before Deciding, and Prepare to Be Wrong). SWITCH offers three steps each for three main tasks in planning change: Telling others getting others exactly what they should do, insisting they do it, and instilling habits of compliance. MADE TO STICK: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. This book offers six chapters on how to sell ideas, products, and services. The secret (I kid you not) is stripping away the “Curse of Knowledge” (scholarship, research, facts).

    Also featured on the program are:
    — A three-person consultancy on “Bravery in Action: Practicing Assertive Behavior as a Way to Increase Competence, Confidence and Courage.” One consultant holds a Master’s degree in communications from Boston University and Bachelor’s degree in electronic media from Southern Methodist University. She is a PR expert and coach of a national qualifying middle school step team. Another has an undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and a Masters in Public health from George Washington University. She is former Division One collegiate athlete, and currently a high school coach of lacrosse. The third is a graduate of Princeton University, a World Cup lacrosse player, former owner of several lacrosse companies, and successful university lacrosse coach.
    –A speaker whose bio features his collegiate accomplishments in football and work as a coach before earning a Ph.D. in experimental social and personality psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a Research Associate Professor in the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia, where he directs the Motivate Lab. He is a fellow at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and former fellow at the Center for Advanced Study of Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.
    –Two speakers will address “expert performance.” K. Anders Ericsson, is co-author of Peak: The Secrets from the New Science of Expertise” (2016). I have not read the book, but Ericsson’s research has focused on measuring “expert performance” achieved through “extended deliberate practice” and “cognitive mechanisms.” see for example http://projects.ict.usc.edu/itw/gel/EricssonDeliberatePracticePR93.pdf
    –Gabriele Oettingen, Professor of Psychology at New York University and the University of Hamburg, author of “Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation” (2014). Her Ph.D. is from the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Behavioral Physiology in Seewiesen, Germany. She is best known for work on Mental Contrasting, a self-regulation technique tied to positive attitudes, high self-efficacy, and a strong goal commitment with expectations of success. Behavior change also depends on having a goal attached to a highly valued incentive. See http://woopmylife.org

    Based on the programming for this Educator’s Summit, I conclude that the alliance between the Character Lab and Relay Graduate School of Education will continue to offer fast-track training of Teach for America recruits and booster shots for TFA’s at various stages of their careers. The tradition of honoring Doug Lemov’s no-nonsense techniques of classroom management depends on absolute compliance with rules set by teachers. That regimen is justified by claims about setting high expectations for students, error-free compliance with rules, and mastery through repeated practice of a kind not distant from being an athletic “champion. Lemov’s book, titled “Teach like a Champion,” strikes me as gaining some scholarly fortification from the speakers selected for this summit. The ideologues from TFA and Relay will parade their claims of being well-trained in the orthodoxy of Duckworth’s Character Lab as the key to success in school and life.

    I have not found a clear place for truth-telling in the Character Lab’s list of character strengths. https://www.characterlab.org/ed-summit

  5. Sabrina Adaba permalink

    Very interesting! I was recently contacted, several times, via linked in, by a Harlem Success Academy human resources person. I am a recent graduate, but have only informal education experience; I am also not certified and have no formal “education” training, yet was told I seemed like I’d be the perfect fit at the charter. I’m anti-charter (after having worked as an after school program aide at a very dysfunctional one), so I declined the offer, but I found it so odd they’d consider me given my (lack of) experience. Just thought you’d find that interesting 😊

    Best, Sabrina Adaba Hair & Makeup Artist 917-359-7423 http://www.sabrinaadaba.com IG: @sabby_adabby

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