The Reynoldsburg Education Association (REA) released a statement today about the state of their negotiations with the School Board and Administration:
“This is the latest disappointing action taken by the Board. It’s a shame that rather than focus their energies on reaching a fair agreement that addresses reasonable class sizes and unprecedented teacher turnover, the Board chose instead to file a charge against us today. I can only imagine what our district would look like if the Board spent it’s time working with the teachers in the best interest of high quality public education, rather than finding new ways to attack us and negotiate through the press. The REA is prepared to go to the table on September 5 and make every effort to reach an agreement that is fair to our teachers, students, and community.” [emphasis-added]
The statement was prompted by the Reynoldsburg Board of Education filing an unfair-labor-practice charge against REA, claiming that the union basically walked away from the table and, essentially, changed their minds about some of the components.
The School Board and District Superintendent have, from the very beginning, been negotiating in public — a practice that is typically “frowned upon” to be polite. REA was prompted to file an unfair labor practice charge against the Board last month to try and stop the district from posting the specific details and proposals publicly on the school district website. You can still find the Board’s propaganda on the website and it doesn’t appear as though they have any desire to take the information down.
But a recent post to the Reynoldsburg School District website now makes it even clearer where Superintendent Thomas-Manning and the School Board’s allegiances lie — with the Mission and Vision of Michelle Rhee and Teach For America.
The Board cites a “New Report” titled Shortchanged that was recently published by The New Teacher Project.
The site states the “The rationale [of the report] echoes the reasoning behind Reynoldsburg’s recent teacher contract proposal.” Interesting. So who, exactly, is the organization behind this report?
Let’s take a look at The New Teacher Project’s website to find out…
TNTP was formed in 1997 as The New Teacher Project with the aim of giving poor and minority students equal access to effective teachers.
Led by Michelle Rhee for its first 10 years, TNTP initially focused on helping urban districts improve the way they recruited, trained and hired new teachers. In 2000, our highly-selective Teaching Fellows and TNTP Academy programs began preparing professionals without a traditional education background to become effective teachers for high-need schools.
Sound familiar? It should. The New Teacher Project is an organization that operates in the same way as Rhee’s more well-know organization, Teach For America. You also won’t be surprised to learn that the organization’s leadership is filled with non-educators and former TFA employees:
- Ariela Rozman, Chief Executive Officer: Under Ariela’s tenure as Chief Executive Officer, TNTP has nearly doubled in size and tripled in revenue. She holds a BA in Political and Social Thought from the University of Virginia.
- Timothy Daly, President: Before joining TNTP, Timothy served as a Teach For America corps member at Northeast Middle School in Baltimore.
- Karolyn Belcher, Executive Vice President, New Teacher Effectiveness: Karolyn began her career as a charter corps member of Teach For America, teaching science in New Orleans. She later joined the national staff of Teach For America, leading its pre-service training institute in Houston.
- Lara Oerter, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President, Technology, Talent & Operations: Lara is a member of Charter Board Partners, a network of business leaders focused on education reform. She earned her MBA from Harvard Business School and her BA from Georgetown University.
- Layla Avila, Executive Vice President, Partnerships: Layla started her career with Teach For America in 1997, working as a bilingual and ESL teacher at August A. Mayo Elementary School in Compton, CA
- Ana Menezes, VP, Teacher Training, New Teacher Effectiveness: Ana began her career in urban education as a Teach For America corps member and elementary teacher in New York City.
- Crystal Harmon, VP, Strategy & Operations, Performance Management: She began her career teaching first grade in Baltimore City through Teach For America.
- Dottie Smith, VP, Expansion and Training, New Teacher Effectiveness: Dottie started her career as a 2nd grade teacher in Compton, California. After leaving the classroom, she held several positions with Teach For America, where her work focused on new teacher development, management and development of teacher coaches and the design of teacher coaching models.
- Lesley Guggenheim, VP, Strategy & Recruitment, New Teacher Effectiveness: Lesley holds a BA in political science from Union College and an MPA in non-profit management from NYU’s Wagner School.
Michelle Rhee’s organizations are famous for denigrating public schools and promoting a false need for “school choice” and “school reform” and The New Teacher Project is no different. Just like Teach For America, TNTP charges their “clients” to find teachers for them:
TNTP is a revenue-generating nonprofit organization that utilizes a blended revenue model to sustain and advance its work nationwide.
The majority of TNTP’s revenue comes from its work with clients on a fee-for-service basis. This approach incentivizes TNTP to meet the needs of its clients while continually assessing the value and cost-effectiveness of its services. The fee-for-service model also encourages TNTP’s clients to be motivated, active collaborators by literally “investing” them in the success of their partnerships with the organization.
It’s no real surprise to learn that Michelle Rhee’s brand of education reform is the driving force behind the Reynoldsburg School District’s single-minded focus on destroying the teacher’s union. If the connections between Supt. Tina Thomas-Manning and the Governor’s office weren’t disgusting enough, this revelation by the School Board that they are following the teachings of the unqualified “Education Reform Prophet” Michelle Rhee should make your stomach turn.
With the Board entrenched in this mindset, it’s all of Reynoldsburg who will be Shortchanged.
P.S. The Reynoldsburg Board of Education will meet to continue negotiations on Friday, September 5 at 4:00pm at the Columbus office of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS). The two sides have been working with a federal mediator to resolve the collective bargaining agreement. This will be the first bargaining session since August 5, 2014. The teachers have started the school year with a contract that expired on July 31, 2014.
Reynoldsburg Board Members on the District Negotiation Team:
Andrew Swope, President
(614) 864-1175 (home)
(614) 882-8297 (work)
Reynoldsburg Superintendent Tina Thomas-Manning
Evening Office Hours
Mrs. Thomas-Manning welcomes comments, suggestions and questions from parents, staff, students and the community. Contact her office, or stop by the central office between 6 and 7 p.m.. Mondays when school is in session. No appointments are necessary during her evening office hours.