Delaware Charter School Network’s Kendall Massett says ACLU Complaints are “Myths”

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Kendall Massett, the director of the Delaware Charter Schools Network, has a lot to say about the ACLU complaint. A lot more than the DOE. In an article on WDDE, she gave a lot of comments to them about these charter school issues.

Delaware Charter Schools Network executive director Kendall Massett says many of the issues raised in the complaint have been heard before. “These complaints are not new to any state that has a charter school law. These allegations, myths – we actually call them myths – are actually talked about all over the United States,” said Massett.

Are the minority, low-income and special education statistics on the Delaware DOE School Profiles website myths Kendall? http://profiles.doe.k12.de.us/SchoolProfiles/State/Default.aspx Yes, this is talked about all over the United States. Want to know why? Because organizations like yours and the Delaware DOE allow it to happen and ignore it by calling them myths.

Massett adds charters in the First State face plenty of scrutiny and oversight under the state’s law…

But it takes a complaint by the ACLU to the OCR for these types of issues to be addressed…

…and there are examples of charters that serve large minority, low income and special needs student populations and are succeeding – including EastSide Charter in Wilmington and Positive Outcomes in Camden. Massett says Delaware has a number of charter schools, including Wilmington’s EastSide Charter School and Kuumba Academy Charter Schools, and ASPIRA Academy Charter School in Newark that enroll a majority of African American and Hispanic students, and low-income students, and these schools are doing well or have seen improving test scores.

Aren’t you kind of throwing a grenade on defending these schools against this complaint with these comments Kendall? If this does go to trial, I’m sure the ACLU attorneys would love to get you on the stand!

She also pointed to Positive Outcomes Charter School in Camden which serves at-risk children with physical, mental, and emotional challenges and is meeting state standards, based on their Academic Framework.

You still can’t say the words special education, can you Kendall? I know I was banned from your Twitter account for saying this exact same thing last summer. Too bad you can’t ban me on my own blog! How is that other special needs charter school in Delaware doing? The one you didn’t mention in the article? The one your organization has stabbed in the back by not standing up for them against the DOE? It’s called Gateway Lab School.

Massett says its simply untrue parental involvement issues or fees and costs are a barrier to a student attending a charter. “Our schools are not allowed by law to prohibit any child [from attending] based on an inability to fundraise or pay for a uniform – just like any public school,” said Massett.

Just because a school is not allowed by law to do something means they are following the law. Otherwise you wouldn’t be commenting on allegations that these schools are breaking the law. Interesting how you never brought up the actual applications these charter schools have.

– See more at: http://www.wdde.org/70472-aclu-delaware-files-federal-complaint-state-charter-schools#sthash.QREgRuky.dpuf

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Kevin Ohlandt

I am a proud parent of a son with Tourette's Syndrome and several other co-morbidities. I write on this blog to educate other parents so they know a bit more about not only special education, but all the really bad things that are happening with public schools in Delaware and the USA. We are all in this together, and if our children aren't able to advocate for themselves it's up to us parents! We need to stop letting companies run our schools, and demand our children get a proper education. Our Departments of Education in our states have become weak with fear from the bullying US DOE, and we need to take back our schools!

16 thoughts on “Delaware Charter School Network’s Kendall Massett says ACLU Complaints are “Myths””

  1. I laugh. Circumstances being what they are… Am I the only one to notice a parallel in the excuses of K. Massett and the Bill Cosby legal team?

    “many of the issues raised in the complaint have been heard before”. “These complaints are not new”

    Implying therefore we should just dismiss them and forget about it since these complaints have been happening for almost forever… they must therefore be unfounded…..

    What other option could there be?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Please provide proof of any school that is not following the law, as would be necessary in a court system. Interesting how you only make allegations with no specific examples. Do you have any actual evidence of a cheater school denying special education students enrollment. No doubt some will fail to effectively meet the needs of some students, as their traditional counterparts also fail in some cases. However, your last paragraph indicates actual violations of the law – proof please?

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  3. Hi “Guest”. I wasn’t referring to applications being declined. The only reason I have a strong belief for that are things I’ve heard from specific schools as well as the numbers speaking for themselves. If you know me “guest”, then you know exactly what I am referring to. If you don’t, ask around. I don’t get many “guests” over here, so I have to assume you don’t want me to know who you are, which I’m cool with. But we both know what is denied, often, at many charter schools in Delaware. And if you know me, that has been the sole reason I have become so vested in everything having to do with education in Delaware. Please tell Chuck I said hello!

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  4. Seriously… How can anyone in Delaware who knows how to read, by now not know every detail of all the parts of the law that the DOE is violating…

    LIke… duh….. Didn’t know we had rocks like that in Delaware to hide under…..

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  5. I don’t know you or Chuck. However, as you and kavips have apparently come to some kind of conclusion as to my identity and intelligence, please enlighten me regarding the violations of law. Throwing grenades randomly hoping that one hits the enemy is hardly an effective way of waging a war. Too many innocent casualties result. Again, please be precise as to what particular law is being broken and by whom.
    P.S. Kavips, attempting to attack someone asking for evidence says far more about you than it does me. As you saw in my first post, I was respectful to the blogger and simply asked for specificity. I hope you recognize this and respond in a more dignified and respectful manner in the future.

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    1. Charter schools very often violate key aspects of IDEA law regarding special education of students with disabilities. My own son was denied an IEP based on the fact that he was “too smart” even though his disability clearly impacted his educational outcome. The school cited behavior issues for years and did not perform their obligatory child find duties. I receive many emails from parents regarding the exact same thing. I have met them at the IEP Task Force and support groups. The charters like to counsel out these kids, or in some cases, expel them. They also violate regulations regarding the IEP Team. Any decisions are made by the entire team, not the school.

      I can’t and won’t speak about specific issues where a child with a disability was denied entrance to a charter school because that is up to the parent to tell that story and naming the schools could cause problems. This is the heart of the problem with special education in Delaware, because these children tend to wind up back in the public school system and are already wrecked from their experience in the charter system. It’s very hard to get them back on board.

      In my defense, and Kavips as well, your initial post certainly came off as an attack on a statement I made without knowing the specificity of it. If Kendall Massett doesn’t know about the situation, then she might want to understand who I am as I’m sure our paths will cross in the future.

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  6. Waste of time… you guys really suck at this. Take all of this energy and put it into improving the traditional public schools you claim to love vs trying to knock something down that is actually improving education in the state of DE.

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    1. It’s hard to improve traditional public schools when they are constantly under attack by the DOE and corporate education reformers. How have charters improved education in DE? Scores haven’t gone up that much to say education is great. The charters are the ones in the hot seat now, and you are all deflecting from the issues. It’s become painfully obvious to many in this state what the charters are accused of, and while some may disagree, the proof is in the pudding. Until I see equity in ALL public schools, I will use my energy to change this. I don’t hate charters, I hate what a lot of them do.

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  7. I can only speak about NCS… 1 of the best schools in the state and it is open to all based on the laws on the books. Open lottery based on a 5 mile radius. I think the waiting list tops out at about 2k each year. Sounds like others are dying to get in as well but just don’t get their # called. Sorry you lost out but others did not. Why do you want to destroy progress? Spend this time and energy fixing CSD vs destroying a great thing like NCS.

    I am sure there are bad Charters out there… but NCS and WCS are some of the top in the state. I am sorry the demographics in those schools upset you. Maybe you should help advertise for them!!

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    1. They are the best in the state because most of the students they select are already proficient. How can you boast when so many students are cherry-picked resulting in top-rated scores? Release publicly all application information and when we know the prior DCAS scores of all of the applicants going back the past two years, along with all identifiable race, economic status and special needs information of the applicants, then we can have this conversation. Until then, it’s all lip service.

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  8. I’m not sure how my first post came off as an attack, certainly not my intention. Taking your statement as the gospel truth would be the act of a fool. Asking for proof is the only way to consider the veracity of your claim.

    I am sorry that you had such a bad experience at your child’s school. It is an unfortunate reality that this can happen in a regular public school as easily as it did at your child’s charter school.However, making blanket statements as you did in your reply “The charters like to counsel out these kids, or in some cases, expel them.” is inaccurate at best and an outright lie at worst. Some charters are very effective in identifying and teaching special education students as are some regular public schools.

    As to your last post, I would suggest that the main factor in the lack of improvement in education in Delaware is that the school districts are not interested in trying to duplicate the successful programs that some charter schools have established. By the way, you deflected in exactly the same fashion as you accused Greg and others of doing. I didn’t deflect – I challenged you to provide proof of a charter violating the law as you claimed. Without dismissing your frustrating experience, it is still an anecdotal assessment and doesn’t prove a violation of the law. That is not to say a law was not violated. It is to say that it is an allegation that is being used to attack all charter schools rather than an individual school. How does that help reach your goal of “equity?”

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  9. In the interest of confidentiality, I’m sure you know why I cannot post specific examples. Some of these are pending legal cases, some are about to be, and some are closed legal cases with certain, ahem, restrictions. I can speak about a parent who really wanted their child to go to a certain charter school in the county of Kent. Her child would be considered moderately impaired. They specifically told her they would not be able to accommodate her son. She enrolled him in the local public feeder school and they were able to just fine. So what is it that the charter was unable to provide that the public school does? He didn’t need a one-on-one aide, nor did he need to be in a specialized program, like DAP or Kent County Community School. And this isn’t a case where the child is completely out of control all the time. When any charter says we can’t accommodate, even for basic to moderate services, they are breaking the law. Specifically, they are breaking the clause of IDEA, Section 504, and ADA by not entitling that child to a free and appropriate education. If a student is able to be placed in an inclusive least restricted environment, no public school should say we can’t handle it. This is a clear violation of the law. This is where many charters are missing the boat.

    Take CSW for example, with their .2% population of special needs students. Would CSW come out and say how many applications they received where a student was on an IEP, prior to the choice deadline last January? Until the charters release that type of information, the suspicion is there. With 900 applicants last year, and a slot for 400, I understand how decisions have to be made. But to have academic assessments done to determine placement when applicants have a specific interest already established just by applying, this is a disservice to the public. As someone said recently, if all the students coming into a school are already proficient, how can that school be top-rated if they only picked the proficient applicants? Out of those 900 applicants, how many were African-American? How many were white? Asian? Special Needs? Low-income? And what equal percentages of these groups were selected by the school? All of this should be made public if the charters in question want to prove the case they are not participating in discrimination and causing segregation.

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  10. I’m surprised to see this ACLU “attack” toward charter secondary schools. With the admissions practices discussed so thoroughly, it would be reasonable to reference institutions that have been engaging in “admissions” with public and federal funding for decades: public universities.

    I would encourage you to take a look at the demographic breakdown of public universities, particularly those that are the flagship in their state (e.g. University of Delaware, Penn State University, University of Maryland, University of Virginia, etc.). Time and again these universities have come under similar scrutiny, and their admission practices — though controversial and maligned — have withstood similar “attacks” from ACLU, etc. Some of these universities may practice levels of affirmative action, which it certainly would seem Kevin is suggesting charter schools should follow suit (“What equal percentages of these groups were selected by the school?”)

    It would be fascinating to see how public universities would fair if they merely offered a lottery for admission: no test scores, no grades, etc.. If universities are simply further down the line and the secondary schools should be addressed first, then so be it, but then we may also want to look at elementary schools, pre-schools, etc. I’m not sure where this stops/starts, but it likely begins with the nurturing that occurs from birth, the environment in which students live at home, with whom they associate during their developing and adolescent years, and then access to educational opportunity is of course a key component as well.

    To address access at a secondary school level is interesting when the supposed pinnacle of education, a university education, has been systematically admitting students in ways that clearly lead to some level of “segregation” along lines of class, color, and ability/disability. The ACLU would need to go after the “big universities” before any of this can be taken seriously, but perhaps that has already been done — so they’ll try with lesser or “newer” foes in the charter schools. Very interesting.

    Like

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