SFUSD HR contracts with Walton Foundation-funded Bellwether Education Partners for “evaluation and performance support services”

SFUSD spark minutes 10 2017 re bellwether HR evaluation closeup.jpg

This screenshot (shown above) is from the minutes of the Nov 9, 2017 meeting of  SPARK-SF Public Schools.   According to their website:  “Spark*SF Public Schools serves as a central structure for investing directly in the big changes we need to prepare our students to compete and thrive in today’s world.”  In other words they coordinate the funding for SFUSD’s Vision 2025.   More on Vision 2025 later.  Its first stage is the Middle School Redesign being rolled out this year.

The above item from the SPARK meeting minutes is disturbing because:

ONE:  SFUSD Human Resources will be receiving “evaluation and performance support services” from Bellwether Education Partners.  Here is a blog post on the Bellwether website under Issues > Teacher Quality, that calls for MORE teacher evaluation based on test scores!   Briefly looking around under their Issues menu heading I can see they support for many other right wing initiatives, for example, “pension reform”.   When I look up Bellwether Education Partners Inc. at littlesis.org (opposite of Big Brother), I find that  they are wholly funded by the Walton Foundation.  No friends of ours!

TWO.  “Evaluation and performance support” is a “key initiative prioritized by” Superintendent Matthews.  Why is this a priority?  Where does this priority come from?  A priority for whom?  I think other issues are a burning priority, for example, adequate staffing.

THREE:   The sequence of steps goes like this:  Corporate money comes in (from LinkedIn), SPARK chairperson requests that $25K of this money go to meet SFUSD HR’s “need” for “evaluation and performance support services”, HR has already identified Bellwether through “appropriate procurement channels”, HR signs contract with this anti teacher organization to “improve” teacher evaluations, which means make evaluations dependent on student test scores, SPARK pays Bellwether directly and then HR reports outcomes directly to corporate sponsor.   Why report the outcomes directly to the corporate sponsor?  Are they determining policy?

FOUR:  What exactly does “evaluation and performance support” mean?  When does it roll out?   We need to see these documents!  UESF needs to be part of this decision to possibly change how evaluations are carried out.   Maybe UESF has been , but I doubt it.  AND UESF members and UBC’s need to be fully informed what to look out for.  Does this violate our contract?

FIVE:   While claiming poverty, somehow SFUSD has the money to hire the administrators to coordinate things like this.

SIX:  This seems sneaky and like a good reason to keep a close eye on Superintendent Matthews.  Are these our priorities?  The tax-payer’s priorities?  SFUSD parent’s priorities?  Our elected School Board members priorities?  I don’t remember being part of this decision.


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