Renton School District hires Teach for America candidate
By TRACEY COMPTON
Renton Reporter Staff writer
September 13, 2012 · Updated 5:37 PM
The Renton School Board authorized the hiring of Teach for America (TFA) candidates for teaching positions at its meeting Wednesday night.
So far, the Renton School District has hired one U-ACT/TFA candidate of the more than 125 teachers hired this summer.
More than 50 people showed up to protest the move at the school board meeting. The group included teachers from the Renton Education Association, as well as teachers from Seattle, HIghline, Clover Park and Bellevue who had experience with TFA. They wore "No TFA" labels and more than 10 speakers got up to testify during the public comment period.
"I'd say we are dismayed, saddened and beyond disappointed that they have chosen to take this action," said Phyllis Silling, president of the Renton Education Association on Thursday.
There was no clear understanding of why the district chose to go this route, she said.
"I think it will be an ongoing source of conflict," Silling said. "It certainly changes the way we have worked together. You don't show that kind of disrespect and expect things to return to normal."
The school district will now enter into an agreement with Teach For America that allows candidates who enroll in the University of Washington's Accelerated Certification for Teachers (U-ACT) program to apply for teaching positions in the district.
The previously the board held a study session to learn about the district's proposal to hire alternative-pathway candidates enrolled in the U-ACT program in partnership with TFA.
The TFA program has received its share of criticism in Renton and around the country because it helps to employ professionals who don't have teaching certificates in positions traditionally held by certified staff.The U-ACT program provides these professionals or teacher candidates over the course of a year of study with the core practices, instructional strategies, content knowledge, student engagement techniques, classroom management and other skills associated with being an excellent teacher, a district release stated.Contact Renton Reporter Staff writer Tracey Compton at email@example.com or 425-255-3484, ext. 5052.