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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

COQEBS supports Lastinger effort in Pinellas



Today's story about the stumbles with professional development in Pinellas mentioned that the Concerned Organizations for Quality Education for Black Students, whose leaders strongly support Superintendent Julie Janssen, issued a resolution in support of the teacher training contracts with UF's Lastinger Center. You can read the full resolution here.

The resolution was passed by the group's 7-member executive committee at an executive committee meeting at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg on Wednesday, according to president Watson Haynes.

The resolution will be put to a vote of the general membership when it meets Sept. 7, Haynes told The Gradebook. He said the executive committee felt it could not wait until the general membership meeting because the school board is scheduled to vote on the Lastinger contracts Tuesday. He said the executive committee meeting had been scheduled more than a month ago, and Lastinger didn't become a topic of discussion until the school board decided on July 26 to postpone a vote on the contracts.

Haynes said the executive committee doesn't necessarily support the Lastinger efforts per se, but supports incentives that can attract high quality teachers to high-poverty schools and/or keep them there. Teachers in the Lastinger master's program commit to staying in Lastinger partner schools (which are all high poverty) for five years, including the time it takes to earn their master's.

"It's not the only program" that can offer incentives, Haynes said. But "it's the one we have now."

Haynes also said the board would not necessarily be violating any of the legal agreements between COQEBS and the district if it shot down the Lastinger contracts. But it may be, he continued, if it didn't have something in place to improve teacher quality and teacher retention in predominantly black schools.

"Our thing is, what are you doing to improve those teachers working in struggling schools?" Haynes said. "It's bigger than Lastinger."

Janssen touched on the incentives issue at yesterday's workshop. After board member Linda Lerner suggested the district "spread it out more" when it comes to the Lastinger benefits, Janssen said this:

"What are we going to use to attract our best teachers and support our best teachers in our low performing schools?" she said. "You all have heard, 'I can't get any teachers in this school.' You've heard that ... This is one nuggest that we have to recruit."

[Last modified: Friday, August 5, 2011 10:56am]


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