In reading Matthew Albright’s News Journal article on the Priority Schools from Thanksgiving, it’s very clear there are some “read between the lines” parts of the article. The most glaring is the parts by Deputy Superintendent Hugh Broomall:
“We’ve been able to work collaboratively with the Department of Education and our school communities to come up with a plan that we think is in the best interest of these schools and their students,” Deputy Superintendent Hugh Broomall said.
This sounds good, right? The key words are “school communities”. This does not show the overall community. Part of the whole reason for needing more time was to work with the overall community. Something Christina School District has done. But Albright goes on to say this:
Broomall encouraged anyone in the affected schools’ communities to read the plan and reach out to the district if they have concerns.
So Red Clay is going to write their plan without any input from parents and members of the community? This sounds absurd! It tells me they are going to comply with the Delaware DOE as much as humanly possible. I think Markell would relax a bit on the $160,000 requirement for a school leader but I highly doubt he is going to allow these schools to keep their complete staff. It is my opinion that unless these schools comply with the original Memorandum of Understanding, Markell is going to take all six schools as soon as possible after December 31st.
If I were a teacher at any single one of these priority schools, especially in Red Clay, I would be very worried. I have to believe Red Clay Educators Association President Mike Matthews would absolutely refuse to sign onto anything that would involve teachers losing their jobs or even reapplying for their jobs. But are Markell’s demands, based on Federal ESEA regulations, a union-busting move? Markell, despite what I think of him, is a very shrewd and calculating man. I doubt he would go into this without thinking he has all his bases covered. Adding to that notion is something else Albright wrote based on Broomall’s words:
Broomall said the district needs to iron out an agreement with the union that would determine what happens if a teacher wants to stay at one of the Priority Schools but the school leader or district doesn’t think they would be a good fit.
No matter what Red Clay decides, it sounds like authority would be given primarily to the school leader. Depending on who this leader is, if they are like most of the DOE “leaders”, it will be someone from the charter school industry or the fast-track teacher companies the DOE is obsessed with these days. If Red Clay’s agreement agrees to cede all the power to this school leader, it will be very harmful to the existing teachers.
We will find out in the next month what the fates of these schools might be. I sincerely hope something happens in the meantime that prevents any action Markell may take. Mike Matthews did a public FOIA request for any email containing the names of the priority schools, turnaround school, parternership zone school, and more a couple weeks ago at the DOE State Board of Education meeting. He received a response from the DOE indicating an overwhelming amount of money to comply, with a $300 start-up fee. Matthews is looking at another source to help cover funding for this.
Should the DOE, Markell, and Murphy take all six priority schools AND Gateway Lab School, expect a public outcry like this administration has never seen. Other school districts in the state will be even more untrusting of this cabal of terror. Parents will know without any doubt no school is safe, and it is all a power grab.