It seems random events are not so random at Providence Creek Academy, the charter school in Clayton, DE. It now appears that the audit investigation into suspected fraud by a former employee was missing a lot of information. Two other employees were also taking funds meant for students for their own personal use. Head of School Charles “Chuck” Taylor covered it all up. Continue reading “The Hidden Secrets Behind Providence Creek Academy’s Bomb Threat & Audit Investigation”
Karma always comes back around. All I’m going to say for now…
Providence Creek Academy held their parent forum last night to address the threat made by a teacher when he was terminated last week. Parents were furious because of the lack of communication from the school and the fact that many of them heard about it through Facebook or other parents emails. The lack of transparency in this situation caused parents to rise up and demand answers.
I know charter schools like to keep things “all in the family”, but when parents are concerned about their child’s safety, all bets are off. Had parents been notified of the threat issued, they could have made up their own minds about having their child attend school that day. Had this been done in a public school district, the media would have been all over it, but in little Delaware, the charters are protected.
In the midst of all this chaos, Chuck Taylor has…
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The revolt at Providence Creek Academy is about to blow wide open. And at the epicenter of this is Head of School, Chuck Taylor.
Tomorrow night, Providence Creek Academy is holding their July Board of Directors meeting. I have no doubt one of the biggest items of discussion in their Executive Session will be how to handle the growing and mounting concerns of nearly half of their teachers and staff. These employees of the Clayton, DE charter school are not happy. Going by an anonymous group called “We’re Worried”, I’ve been in contact with this group for a month and a half. I went so far as to contact Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting about their concerns. I did so in the bounds of confidentiality and I did not name the school or the Head of School in the conversation. Dr. Bunting stressed that if there is a hostile work environment, the Delaware DOE needs to know immediately so they can take immediate action. Continue reading “Teachers And Staff At Providence Creek Academy Choose The Nuclear Option”
So I took a break over the last week and a half. I did cheat last Monday and popped two articles up. But whatever. It’s my blog. I’ll do what I please. It was a hectic week. Between work and the damn car. But I did have fun on Facebook on many of those days. Dug into an awesome collection of short stories by Neil Gaiman. I discovered MY song of the summer, “One Of Us”, by New Politics. I sold the last remaining vestiges of a forty-year old hobby, my comic collection. They are all digital today. I went for some walks with my music blaring. It was hot as hell most of the week. I tried to steer clear of education conversation. On the first day of my “break”, God bless them, no less than six people contacted me in some way about education stuff within an hour after my announced break.
I did think about education stuff, mainly what is coming up. Jotted some notes down…
Suckers! Governor Carney vetoed the 5 mile radius bill. Big deal. We all knew he didn’t really have a choice. But don’t think for one second Senator David Sokola and Newark Charter School Head of School Greg Meece didn’t plan all of this the second the bill went into circulation. Did any of you think for one second Meece would give up his beloved 5-mile radius for NCS? Come on! This is Delaware Politics 101 folks!
This was never about Wilmington students. This was ALWAYS about Newark Charter School. They do NOT want anyone outside of their 5-mile radius crossing that line. Sokola knew the bill had legs so he found the perfect amendment to kill it: exclude the Wilmington portion of Christina. It would get all the civil rights activists going off and it worked like a charm. Lest we forget, this is the same State Senator who messed around with the opt out bill every single chance he could. How many of us were there when he scheduled many bills during a Senate Education Committee meeting and the opt out bill, House Bill 50, was delayed for a week? Remember the whole “Assessment Inventory Task Force” crap? That was him. Remember the charter school audit bill which was fantastic under State Rep. Kim Williams’ original incarnation until he got his charter-dirty hands on it. And what about House Bill 399, the bill that would have given teachers a choice of using the Smarter Balanced Assessment or other tests for their evaluations? He put so much crap in his amendment and watered it down to nothing. This is classic Sokola.
Don’t believe for one second that NCS had issues with transportation logistics. They didn’t want the 5-mile radius to go away. Period. That’s all this was ever about. I have no doubt Sokola was cheering me on when I wrote about how his version of House Bill 85 would result in a massive lawsuit against the state. This is what he does. He turns gold into poison ivy. But all the clowns up in Newark keep voting him back in over and over again.
As for Meece, he is never going to change. He loves the fact that HIS school is the “best” in the state. He loves the fact it’s the biggest as well. And he has stacked the deck with the sibling enrollment preference. That way all his favorite families can keep bringing their kids there. He might throw a prize our way by taking in some special education kids. Make it look like he is trying. But he isn’t. He’s just playing the game. And with Sokola by his side, he always wins.
Everyone on social media is talking about Carney and Wilmington. How Carney did or didn’t help Wilmington kids with his veto. Do you really believe Carney didn’t know what Sokola and Meece were up to the entire time? See the game for what it is folks. It isn’t about change. It’s about the status quo.
Lucky for Sokola, he got to go on a cross-country bike ride with former Governor and good buddy Jack Markell. They are somewhere in middle America right now, sweating their hineys off in spandex. I have no doubt Meece is thinking “Yes, we win again!” while wondering if he should go for a threepeat on Blue Ribbon status so he can brag that they are 1 in 5 trillion schools who ever got the hat trick. They played all of us for suckers, again. And they will do it again. As long as Sokola has his little amendment followers and enough whine to go with his charter cheese, this scene will play out again. And again. And again. I don’t have a doubt in my mind that Meece and Sokola ever worried about this bill at all. Gravy!
Mike Matthews became the next President of the Delaware State Education Association today. Taking over from outgoing President, Frederika Jenner, Matthews will undoubtedly generate news over the next few years. After an actual tie in the election last January, Matthews won in a run-off election two months later.
With the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act in our schools, more personalized learning/competency-based education crap, the usual teacher evaluation based on Smarter Balanced, and all the budgetary/legislative stuff going on, look for Matthews to have his hands full the next few years. Today, he sent out a letter to Delaware DSEA educators:
A Message from DSEA President Mike Matthews
Dear Fellow Educator:
Today I begin a new journey as DSEA President. Throughout my career as an educator, DSEA has been the strongest voice to ensure our members and students have what they need to succeed. I look forward to continuing this strong tradition of advocacy, but will need your help to be successful. Stay informed by reading our e-newsletters Professionally Speaking, which covers all manner of education policy news, as well as Legislative Matters, which provides comprehensive coverage of the legislative developments impacting public education and educators. Also, DSEA maintains active social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter, and publishes an all-member newspaper, ACTION, on a quarterly basis. These are just a few of the many ways in which you can stay informed and continue to advocate for your students.
Over the next few years, working with our network of strong local leaders, I hope you will share your stories with me about what’s going on in your school. Share with me the good… Share with me the not-so-good. I intend for open and honest communication to be an important piece of my time as DSEA President. To that end, please feel free to contact me to share those stories. My email is Mike.Matthews@dsea.org.
Together, our unified, collective voice can speak up on behalf of our colleagues and the students we advocate for every day. I hope you are enjoying your summer and I look forward to working with you in the near future. Thank you for all that you do.
One of the most frequent questions I am asked is “What is going on with Sean Moore from Family Foundations Academy?” Today, I have some answers. It turns out Mr. Moore is awaiting sentencing and struck a plea deal to have the charges reduced. His next sentencing date is August 7th. This date has changed a few times. The other former Head of School from Family Foundations Academy, Dr. Tennell Brewington, actually had a court date today but I have not heard what happened at that one. Once again, no word on Academy of Dover’s former financial scoundrel, Noel Rodriguez except that he was charged by the feds as well. I also heard Shanna Simmens from Providence Creek Academy is working on some sort of “payment plan” to pay the school back in lieu of charges. Good luck with that one! I guess it’s okay for these people to be walking the streets when they took student money from schools.
Below are the court docs that pertain to Moore’s case. Other documents are sealed. If the gentleman who called me last February could please call me again, I would love to continue that conversation. Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UNITED STATES VERSUS SEAN MOORE
In an article from May in the Wall Street Journal, Dr. Aida Cerundolo warned parents that public schools may be psychologically assessing their children without consent.
“The mental-health information teachers are now obtaining, storing and tracking…is equally as sensitive as that which is collected in a pediatrician’s office,” Cerundolo says.
And she’s right.
Tests like the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment, which ask teachers to rate students on how often a child “carr[ies] himself with confidence” or “cope[s] well with insults and mean comments” are being used with increasing frequency in public schools across the country, without parental consent or adequate privacy protections.
But where did this sudden interest in assessing children’s “social and emotional” skills come from? Is it really nothing more than a “noble” endeavor, meant to identify students in need of intervention, as Cerundolo claims?
Or is there more to it?
As with most education fads that…
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Ed Reform 2.0 is a different variety of privatization from the one to which we’ve become accustomed. End-of-year high-stakes testing, imposition of value-added measures, alignment to Common Core State Standards, and destabilization of districts through charter school expansion, closures, and turnarounds were actually setting the stage for the final act that is now on our doorstep. Educators and parents can see the harm being done by 1:1 devices, Big Data’s domination of classrooms and the relentless deprofessionalization of teaching, but may have difficulty making sense of it, because it takes deep background knowledge to put all the pieces together. Hoping to make it more accessible, I’ve prepared a series of slide presentations called “Education in the Cloud.”
My goal is to introduce concepts I believe people need to become more familiar with as we navigate the post-ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) landscape. It begins with an overview followed by six…
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The dog day of summer are upon us! No better time for a shuffle post! Important news at the end of this! Continue reading “July Shuffle 3.0”
The United States Department of Education released their annual state determinations for special education the other day and Delaware obtained a “Meets Requirements” for indicators under IDEA Part B. For IDEA Part C, they were designated as “Needs Assistance”. Part B is for children ages 3 and up to 21, with disabilities, and Part C ranges from birth to 2 years old. I wrote last year how so many of these special education indicators are based on the state assessment: their scores and participation rate play a very heavy roll. I have neither the time or the patience to get into the nitty gritty with these determinations at a granular level. The feds don’t get it and our state doesn’t get it. I have no doubt the Delaware Department of Education will celebrate this and say “look how far we’ve come”. But since so much of this is based on the Smarter Balanced Assessment, I give it about as much legitimacy as a Mona Lisa forgery.
Every once in a while, stories do get a happy ending. Continue reading “Smyrna School Board Welcomes J Back Into The Smyrna School District”
The Delaware State Police began the 2017-2018 school year “Operation BACKpack” yesterday. This annual drive helps students who are unable to afford the essential supplies they need for school. If you have the means, please help out our students who need it the most. Here is their press release:
Good morning communities! It is hard to believe the next school year is right around the corner! To help prepare, the Delaware State Police Community Outreach Unit has established a program to assist elementary school aged children in need with the necessities for school. Troopers are asking for help with any donations to fill each child’s back-pack with school supplies. Troopers assigned to the Statewide Community Outreach Unit have initiated this program and are working with organizations in their communities to collect and donate school supplies for children in need. Donations can be taken Headquarters in Dover or to any Troop statewide by anyone wishing to help. Each Troop will have a box in their lobby for supplies to be dropped off for the project. The donations will be collected from July 10 to August 11, 2017 and the donations will be presented for the 2017-2018 school year, prior to school starting. A list of supplies needed for the students are listed below:
No. 2 pencils
Washable Crayola crayons box of 24
Large pink erasers
Loose leaf wide ruled paper
Highlighters Composition books
3 ring binders
Plastic folders with pockets
If you need to contact any of the Troopers in the Community Outreach Unit, their information by region is listed below:
Master Corporal Mike Austin (New Castle County) 302-365-8466
Corporal/1 Heather Imhof (Kent and Southern New Castle County) 302-698-8520
Master Corporal Rickey Hargis (Eastern Sussex County) 302-752-3804 Corporal/1 Juanita Huey-Smith (Western Sussex County) 302-232-3459
Please help the Delaware State Police give to the students who will need the essential supplies and materials for a successful school year. Thank you for your help.
The Smyrna School District Board of Education is meeting tonight for what they are calling a “reorganization meeting”. Meanwhile, Superintendent Patrik Williams has flat-out responded to my two requests for the email addresses of the Smyrna board. I actually called most of the members earlier today, but none of them picked up. I did not leave messages.
What kind of school board, in this day and age, does not provide email addresses? Seriously? Patrik Williams seems to think he doesn’t have to provide those even though he is the secretary for their board. What is the point of having just phone numbers if no one picks up? Most Delaware school boards and even charter boards provide email addresses for their board members on their website. I know he saw my request for this because he responded to me on another matter.
At the board meeting tonight, I expect a decent crowd. The board may discuss discipline issues including votes on current issues, former students, and potential litigation according to their agenda. They do have other items on their agenda. Most school boards go into public session at the start of their meeting and then adjourn to go into Executive Session. Then they return and go through the public agenda. Time is allotted for public comment this evening. Bring tootsie rolls if you wish. The meeting will begin at 6pm at the district office in Smyrna at 82 Monrovia St.
J’s mother will be there along with others who are not happy with his situation and how the district handled it. I will be there. You should too.
The optics are bad for Delaware Governor John Carney. After telling us you were going to “trim” the Delaware Department of Education, you went and created a whole new division of the Department and placed them in Wilmington. Yes, the new Office of Improvement and Innovation is just different letters for the same accountability machine. Located in Wilmington, this new DOE division, led by former Brandywine Assistant Superintendent Dorrell Green, will “support Delaware’s most in need with a focus on Wilmington’s struggling schools,” according to a press release issued today.
According to Atnre Alleyne, a former Delaware DOE employee who broke this news yesterday, “It downgrades the work of the Teacher & Leader Effectiveness Branch and rebrands it as Educator Support and Collaboration (to be more palatable to those less interested in conversations about effectiveness).” In fact, Alleyne’s post was mostly ripping on the Department he used to work for.
This is my real issue with this announcement. With the FY2018 budget cuts, teachers are going to lose their jobs. Carney’s response? Create a new division of the Department that needs the biggest cuts of all. Yeah, you can shrink down the TLEU and move people around, but setting up what will basically be a priority schools branch smack dab in the middle of Wilmington doesn’t show this DOE transformation. It shows the DOE will be closer to schools they want to “monitor”. While Carney says he wants the DOE to be more of a resource center for Delaware schools, who determines what resources are needed? The schools, the Delaware DOE, or the US DOE? I don’t picture this as a situation where schools say “we need this” and the DOE comes riding in on their white horse to save the day. This is the same color, just a different kind of paint to make it look more pretty.
I don’t know the first thing about Dorrell Green, but it sounds like he has a great deal of experience in Wilmington schools which is always a good thing. And I congratulate him on his new position, but now is not the time to be creating new divisions of the Department that most in Delaware want to see massive cuts. You don’t do this the second the ink is dry on your budget signature and not expect the people of the state to raise a big old stink about it. But, this is Delaware. Where the people’s voice just doesn’t seem to matter anymore.
Carve me up and serve me on a platter! I have seen a lot in Delaware the past few years, but this one takes the proverbial cake! On May 26th, I submitted a FOIA complaint against Early College High School regarding their Board of Director meetings. It was three-fold. The Delaware Attorney General’s office responded today. I get what they were saying regarding my first two complaints. But the third one. Oh. My. God. This is stuff kids on Romper Room know about FOIA! Continue reading “Delaware Attorney General’s Office Ignores FOIA Law In, Uhm, Opinion About, Uhm, A FOIA Complaint!”
When I do these, it is mainly to decompress. I thought this week was going to be light. Yeah, right! Social media has been on fire for me all week long. So this is my way of escaping from it all. No education tonight. No Facebook. No emails. Just chilling with some tunes and hoping things change soon. I always do the “read more” on these articles cause I know they aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. They tend to be long and I babble at times. Sometimes I reveal things about myself that most people don’t know. This one is no exception. In fact, I get very real on many different subjects in this one. Continue reading “July Shuffle 2.0”
Beneath all the hullaballoo of the Delaware budget, two bills passed quietly in the nights the legislature was attempting to hammer out a budget. Both bills dealt with the subject of human sex trafficking.
House Bill 164, which establishes the Human Trafficking Interagency Coordinating Council, passed the House on 6/27 and the Senate on 6/30. Senate Bill 75, which “updates Delaware’s human trafficking crime to prohibit the same acts that are included in the federal Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015“. This bill will go after the scum bags who put these victims up for prostitution on places like Craigslist, Backpage, and Kik.
When I first wrote about Human Sex Trafficking in Delaware a few months ago, I had just been to a presentation on it in the Red Clay Consolidated School District. It disturbed me greatly how grown adults can take advantage of minors and sell them off to perverts as sex slaves. It became one of my most-read articles so far this year and is still high up on that list. It is a crime that doesn’t get a lot of attention but affects each one of us. It is incumbent upon the citizens of this state to report these types of crimes if they even suspect it. You could be saving a life.
I don’t always give our legislators credit, but with these two bills they did the right thing. Both of these bills go into effect once Delaware Governor John Carney signs them. If only education were so easy…
We reach the end of our series. A new player joins the wide cast of characters with a very important role. And what is J’s final fate?
In the last chapter, J was getting pummeled by various state agencies: The Smyrna School District, The State Board of Education, The Delaware Department of Education, and The Delaware Department of Justice. For allegedly calling a girl a terrorist ten months earlier. He was up on truancy charges. The Delaware DOE rescinded the home school certificate four days after they approved one for her. Is this kid ever going to get a break? Continue reading “The Smyrna School District Zero Tolerance Pipeline Part 9: Criminal Contempt & Finale”
The State Board of Education had their next meeting on January 19th, 2017. The long-awaited answer to J’s appeal was set for a vote by the six-member board. Meanwhile, another growing threat was preparing to rear its head which would bear even more consequences for J and his mother. This is the time when other state agencies got involved at a lightning fast rate. Continue reading “The Smyrna School District Zero Tolerance Pipeline Part 8: The Delaware DOE Gets Nasty & A Game Of Quash”