Community group sues to keep Teach for America out of Seattle

Dec 17, 2010

A group of Seattle parents and community members has filed a lawsuit to stop Seattle Public Schools from bringing Teach for America to the city.

The Seattle School Board voted last month to allow the national program to expand into Seattle as part of an effort to help struggling students.  Teach for America recruits top college graduates and places them in low-performing schools for two-year contracts. 

The program has drawn controversy, as KPLU reported in November, because teachers don't have traditional certifications when they start teaching.  They earn them along the way.  The teachers union also says the program will take jobs away from other teachers in the city.  

Appellants in the lawsuit argue that the School Board's vote to allow Teach for America violates No Child Left Behind (NCLB).  They claim that the program's recruits do not meet the legislation's requirement that all teachers in Title I schools be "highly qualified" and hold full state certification.

The lawsuit was filed at the King County Courthouse by Joan Sias (SPS parent), Cecilia Palao-Vargas (SPS parent), the Seattle Shadow School Board and Parents Across America - Seattle