Wilmington City Council Votes For Moratorium On New Charter Schools In The City

Tonight, the Wilmington City Council voted for a moratorium on any new charter school applications for the city of Wilmington in the state of Delaware.  While this council does not have jurisdiction over state law, this is seen as a symbolic gesture to the Delaware Legislature to act on what many see as abusive powers granted to the Delaware Department of Education and the State Board of Education.  More information as it materializes!

Delaware DOE To Present ESEA Waivers Process To Delaware Legislators on 1/21/15

The Delaware Department of Education has been invited to present the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Waiver Process to the Delaware House of Representatives Education Committee.  The meeting is scheduled for 1/21/15 at 2:30pm.

This will be the first chance many of these legislators get to meet the DOE’s Chief Proficiency Officer, Mrs. Penny Schwinn.  Even though he is not on the committee, I’m sure John Kowalko will make an appearance!  Other DOE reps slated to attend are the following: Ryan Reyna, Challis Breithaupt, Chantel Janiszewski, Tina Shockley, and Mary Kate McLoughlin.

The Delaware Senate Education Committee has a meeting posted for 3:00pm the same day with no other information provided (but due to Schwinn’s often hectic and busy schedule, I’m sure it’s probably to meet with both the education committees at the same time).  Both of these meetings are open to the public.

Senator Townsend & Rep. Williams Submit Legislation For DPAS II Advisory Committee

Delaware Senator Bryan Townsend and State Representative Kim Williams have submitted Senate Bill #10 which would amend the Delaware Performance Appraisal System II Advisory Committee.  It is currently in the hands of the Senate Education Committee.  Here is the text of the bill so far:

SPONSOR: Sen. Townsend & Rep. K. Williams
  Sens. Blevins, Poore, Sokola; Reps. Barbieri, Bolden, Heffernan, Jaques, Kowalko, Lynn, Matthews, Osienski, B. Short

 

DELAWARE STATE SENATE148th GENERAL ASSEMBLY

 

SENATE BILL NO. 10

 

 AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 14 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE DELAWARE PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL SYSTEM II ADVISORY COMMITTEE.

 BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:

Section 1. Amend § 1275, Title 14 of the Delaware Code by making deletions as shown by strike through and insertions as shown by underline as follows:

  • 1275. DPAS II Advisory Committee.

(a) The Secretary shall convene and provide administrative staff to the Delaware Performance Appraisal System II Advisory Committee. The Committee shall consist of the following members:

(1) Three public school teachers appointed by the Delaware State Education Association; Association.

(2) Three public school administrators appointed by the Delaware Association for School Administrators; Administrators.

(3) One public school superintendent or his or her designee, appointed by the School Chiefs’ Association; Association.

(4) A member of a local school board appointed by the Delaware State School Board Association; Association.

(5) A parent with a child or children in public school selected by the Delaware Parent-Teacher Association; Association.

(6) A representative of higher education appointed by the Governor from an institution that offers a teacher preparation program authorized by the Department of Education; Department.

(7) A representative from the Office of the Governor; Governor.

(8) The Chair of the Education Committee of the Delaware House of Representatives, or the Chair’s designee; and designee.

(9) The Chair of the Education Committee of the Delaware Senate, or the Chair’s designee.

(10) One ex-officio representative from the Department, appointed by the Secretary.

(11) One ex-officio representative from the State Board of Education, appointed by the President of the State Board of Education.

(b) The Committee shall meet at least once a quarter each year.

(c) Annually the Committee shall designate a Chairperson and a Vice Chairperson from amongst its membership.

(d) The Committee shall review data produced by the Delaware Performance Appraisal System II, specifically whether the Department of Education is addressing the fidelity of system implementation statewide, that the data being collected is accurate and reliable, and that it is being used fairly for improving educator quality and professional development opportunities to determine specifically the State’s efforts to ensure fidelity of system implementation statewide, the accuracy and reliability of the data collected by the Department, and the State’s use of the data to improve educator quality and provide meaningful and professional development opportunities.

(e) The Committee shall review proposed new amendments concerning educator evaluation to the State’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act Flexibility Waiver prior to submission to United States Department of Education. The Committee shall review any aspects of the State’s ESEA Flexibility Application which involve the educator evaluation system and any renewal, extensions, or amendments to the Application that deal with educator evaluation prior to submission to the US DOE.

(f) The Department shall provide the Committee with the data produced by the Delaware Performance Appraisal System II, as necessary for the Committee and information necessary for the Committee to fulfill its responsibilities pursuant to the above subsection (d) of this section and to make recommendations regarding educator quality, professional development, and organizational improvement and system design and implementation.

(g) The Committee may provide comments in writing to the Governor, Secretary of the State Board of Education, and the General Assembly on subsections (d), (e) and (f) of this section subsections (d), (e), and (f) of this section.

(h) The Delaware Performance Appraisal System II Advisory Committee shall review any proposed regulations to be promulgated pursuant to this subchapter and shall submit written comments concerning the same to the Secretary and to the State Board prior to the State Board’s consideration of any proposed regulations.

 

SYNOPSIS

This Act makes technical changes to the Delaware Performance Appraisal System (DPAS) II Advisory Committee membership and meeting dates. Additionally, this Act clarifies language regarding the Committee’s duties in order to better provide advice to the Secretary of the Department of Education and the State Board of Education in the promulgation of regulations relating to DPAS II.

Author: Senator Bryan Townsend

UPDATED! Family Foundations Academy Fate Decided: Handed Over To Eastside Charter, Placed On Formal Review

Today at the Delaware State Board of Education meeting, it was decided the school would be handed over to Eastside Charter School.  The 6-1 vote by the Delaware State Board of Education renews the embattled school’s charter but does place them on formal review.

The room was packed with new board members and supporters of the school.  While the State Board did discuss many of the financial problems with the school, they did agree to give this new board a chance.  Board member Whittaker did not vote for the charter’s renewal.

The Formal Review is based on the charter’s Organizational and Financial parts of their framework.  State Auditor Tom Wagner’s office has not released their official audit at this point which could conceivably shed more light on the financial mismanagement at the Wilmington charter school while under the leadership of ex-heads of school Sean Moore and Dr. Tennell Brewington.

Updated: A lot more information behind the collaboration between the Delaware Charter Schools Network, Family Foundations Academy and Eastside Charter School can be seen here by the awesome WHYY/Newsworks education reporter Avi Wolfman-Arent: http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/local/item/77394-delaware-spares-troubled-charter-school?linktype=hp_topstory

I’m guessing the State Board of Education gave the charter a sixty day formal review for a couple reasons. 1) To see what may come out of Delaware State Auditor Tom Wagner’s office, and 2) To see if the Eastside crew can actually manage to do double the work for two schools.  None of the standardized test cheating I have written about, which has been reported to me by more than one source, was even touched upon by the State Board of Education.  Nor was the special education issues brought up by the prior board.  I guess since Markell’s Charter Love Child, Eastside Charter, swooped in and saved the day all is forgiven.  Don’t get me wrong, I would hate to see any child sent to a new school if they don’t have to.  But the charter system in Delaware has so much rot and corruption at so many of it’s schools, or just plain incompetence.  In FFA’s board minutes for 12/31/14, one of the board members actually asked about getting a Staples card to help with the technology to pay all the outstanding invoices.  It’s called a clue buddy…  I’m sure this Eastside board is much more experienced with these types of things, but I remain unconvinced that some of the administration will be able to carry the weight should Eastside ever exit this partnership.

New Location For Freire Charter School Upsets Local Wilmington Neighborhood

Freire Charter School, scheduled to open in the 2015-2016 academic year is already causing huge problems for the neighborhood it will be housed in.  According to one area resident, this small neighborhood of 220 will be faced with an initial 224 students being transported to the school via DART or walking to the school.  The school was previously going to be located at 920 French St. in Wilmington, but was moved to 201 W. 14th Street.

Nothing was done about what kind of impact this could have on this neighborhood, or even covered in their modification request with the Delaware Department of Education, as evidenced by their official request here:

Click to access Freire%20–%20Delaware%20DOE%20Charter%20Modification%20Application.pdf

118 of the citizens of this neighborhood have signed a petition opposing this plan until they see a documented transportation and parking plan.  Meanwhile, the school is continuing to recruit students to start in August.  Current estimates by the school are to have 560 students by the 2018-2019 year.

Academia Alonso Academy Charter Head of School Put On “Extended Leave”

This was confirmed this morning.  Head of School Peter Barry for Academia Alonso Academy has been placed on “extended leave” as confirmed by the school this morning.  No details have emerged as to the reasoning behind this, but multiple sources have confirmed this brand new charter school in the Community Education Building in Wilmington, Delaware is having many problems in developing a curriculum.

This would be the third charter school in Delaware in the past four months to have a head of school either put on leave or terminated, following Academy of Dover and Family Foundations Academy.  Barry had previously worked for the Christina School District.  This is in reference to the article I posted yesterday but was not able to publish until I got confirmation.

Who Shot The Blogger? The Final Four! Murphy vs. Markell, May vs. Schwinn! Vote NOW!!!

We are down to the final four!  On one side is two ladies from the Delaware DOE: Penny Schwinn and Alison May.  I have to honestly say I didn’t think May would make it this far.  I predicted the other round before I even started this: Governor Jack Markell vs. Mark Murphy.  Who will make it to the end?  You decide!  This will run for two days, and then the grand whodunnit will determine who ended me!  As usual, this is completely fiction and is for amusement purposes only and none of the “suspects” involved have been accused of a violent crime.

“Hey Teacher, Leave Them Kids Alone”, Another Delaware Educator Arrested For Sex Abuse

Yesterday, a Caesar Rodney wrestling coach was arrested due to multiple occasions of having sex with a 17 year old female student.  The exact charges against Richard “Dickie” Howell were continuous sexual abuse of a child, 15 counts of child sexual abuse by a person in a position of trust, and two counts of fourth-degree rape.  More details can be found here:

http://www.dailyjournal.net/view/story/fdb34cd02a964deb9f6adc8d48e11ec7/DE–Teacher-Sex-Charges/