in Houston, Texas
Nonprofit to hire teacher recruiter for Houston ISD while school system lays off nearly 1,000 teachers
Monday, Apr 25, 2011, 01:40PM CST
By Lynn Walsh
Help wanted sign

Help wanted: Director of teacher recruitment for a school system that just laid off nearly 1,000 teachers.

A nonprofit that is trying to help improve Houston's public schools is hiring six full-time employees -- including a person in charge of recruiting teachers.

This is the same Houston Independent School District that has notified 950 teachers that their positions are being eliminated next school year, with roughly 75% of them losing their jobs due to massive state budget cuts. (The rest are being laid off for performance issues, the school district says.)

Taxpayers aren't picking up the tab for the six new hires. They'll be on the payroll of The New Teacher Project, a New York-based nonprofit that has been working with HISD for more than a year to help fine-tune its hiring practices, which HISD hopes will lead to better teachers.

But the timing -- and the irony -- weren't lost on the head of HISD's teachers' union.

“I just find it a little distressing,” said Gayle Fallon, president of the Houston Federation of Teachers. The school system is "bringing someone in for recruitment when we have over 700 teachers that will not have jobs next year.”

Salaries for the open positions range from $70,000-95,000 a year, according to the postings on the nonprofit's website. All of the positions are full-time, and include a benefits package and the possibility for bonuses based on performance. The recruiting director would be paid $73,000 a year or a salary commensurate with experience, the nonprofit's online listing says.

The open TNTP positions include a communications director, business analyst, recruitment and staffing director, a director for implementing teacher evaluation systems, a senior director of teacher compensation strategy and a senior director of teacher evaluation system design.

“All of the positions are being funded by private grants,” Andy Jacob, spokesman for The New Teacher Project, said in an e-mail. “None (of the positions) are being paid for with taxpayer money.”

HISD has received more than $7 million in grants to help fund its effective teacher initiative -- $6 million in September from the Houston-based Laura and John Arnold Foundation and $1.5 million in November from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

In February of last year, HISD estimated that the project would not cost more than $8.4 million.


Contact Lynn Walsh at 713-228-2850 or or on Twitter at @lwalsh

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Photo by flickr user bgottsab, used under a Creative Commons license.

Deb Hall
Monday, 04/25/2011 - 04:25PM

So what about the existing personnel in the HISD employment office? Are they being riffed? Or are we adding additional staff? And what about the hiring freeze?

Monday, 04/25/2011 - 04:49PM

Mind you - HISD's Human Resources department hired a large team of teacher and leadership recruiters just last year .... They are not being laid off ....

Travis Mc Gee
Tuesday, 04/26/2011 - 07:57AM

What about the children as I said before HISD has misused and will continue to miuse our tax dollars,unless we clear house in November. This not all Rick Perry's or the State fault.

Tuesday, 04/26/2011 - 09:53AM

You forgot to mention that The New Teacher Project actively recruits non-education majors into teaching jobs -- TNTP was founded by Michelle Rhee (former Teach for America teacher before she was chancellor of DC schools) and acts as a funnel for TFAers/non-traditional-route teachers into public schools.

In other words, TNTP will replace existing teachers (those being RIF'd) with TFAers and others who are entering teaching w/o a degree in education -- in other words, younger, cheaper... less experienced...

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