Friday, July 5, 2013

Did Superintendent Vitti insult Duval County’s teachers?

I have to say over the course of an interview things can get misconstrued or taken out of context and who hasn’t written an e-mail that they thought was perfect but as soon as they sent it and then reread it they saw several glaring mistakes. So I would like to give the super a little latitude. I wasn’t there so I don’t know everything that was said or how it was said. Now that being said, I found his quotes about Teach for America in the Folio very insulting to teachers. 
The first thing he said was, “It’s an upgrade in human capital,”
Literally reading that means he thinks that taking non education majors putting them through a five week access course and then playing them in our neediest classrooms is better than putting professional teachers there. I honestly don’t know how else to read that.
Then he said, “We need to change the notion that you have to have a certain number of years of [classroom] experience to transform schools. I’m looking for a skillset and a willset. That defines leadership.”
Since he spent only 4 years in schools it’s not inconceivable that he feels that way but the jury is still out on what type of leader he will be. As for a skillset and a willset, is he saying teachers don’t have the skill or the will to succeed or to be leaders? Is he saying that only TFA recruits have those characteristics? If so first I can tell you he is wrong but I can also tell you type of leader he is going to be. One that marginalizes teachers the very people doing the job and one that won’t be successful. Experience by the way does matter and hopefully when he gets a little more he will realize that.
Also blech to skillset and willset, did he read that in a TFA recruiting flyer?
I will tell you why I don’t like TFA and in the very same piece that I am quoting Vitti from I said the TFA has a role to play. I don’t like TFA because it turns my profession into a service job, they say experience and training don’t matter and they say anybody can be a teacher.  All of those things insult me, almost as much as what our Super said in the Folio does.