Nearly two years after a group of parents and community members tried to stop Seattle Public Schools from bringing Teach for America to Seattle, two of the organization’s teachers have been assigned to Aki Kurose Middle School, a high–poverty school in the Rainier Valley.
Teach for America – a national program designed to help struggling students – recruits top college graduates and places them in low-performing schools for two-year contracts.
The Seattle School Board voted in 2010 to bring the program here, but the decision has been controversial with detractors concerned that the teachers don’t have traditional certifications when they start teaching, but earn them along the way.
SPS parents Joan Sias and Cecilia Palao-Vargas filed a lawsuit on this basis, arguing that the School Board’s vote to allow Teach for America violated No Child Left Behind and that the program’s recruits didn’t meet the legislation’s requirement that all teachers in Title I schools be “highly qualified” and hold full state certification.
And while a 9th Circuit Court panel said that it was indeed discriminatory to place conditionally-certified teachers into poor and minority classrooms, Congress subsequently changed the legislation so that TFA teachers are considered “highly qualified,” even when their certifications are conditional.
The Seattle School Board has approved two Teach for America teachers for Aki Kurose Middle School, a struggling, high–poverty school in Southeast Seattle. Photo/Rainier Vally Post
- People in Your Neighborhood: Brighton Neighbor & Aki Kurose Principal Mia Williams (2/19/11)
- Governor Uses One of City’s Poorest, Lowest-Performing Schools as Backdrop for Speech on College Tuition Hikes (1/5/11)
- Group Sues to Keep Teach for America Out of Seattle’s Low-Performing Schools (12/22/10)