The magic of East Side Charter School is not magic, but merely a carefully crafted bit of smoke and mirrors. It’s an illusion, not what the citizens of Delaware think it is, but the oldest trick in the book.
Last night at the Imagination Delaware forum, held at the Chase Center on the Riverfront in Wilmington, Delaware, a crowd of over 700 people listened to a panel on not only Wilmington’s education, but all of Delaware. The forum turned into a debate about charter and traditional schools in the state with the two main members of the panel. Mike Matthews, the President of the Red Clay Educators Association and a special education teacher at Warner Elementary School on the side of the traditional schools and Dr. Lamont Browne, the head of school of both Eastside Charter School and Family Foundations Academy.
Governor Jack Markell gave the keynote speech, and left immediately afterwards for another engagement. He spoke about Eastside Charter School’s great job with closing proficiency gaps, and stated “they have gone from only having 15% of their 5th graders scoring proficient in reading to 66% in just three years.” If only this were true…
I will definitely say Eastside Charter does not perform in “cherry-picking” their students. They seem to enroll anyone who applies. I have never heard of a lottery for this school. They have a very high population of minorities and their special education populations are in line with the traditional school districts around them. So what is the issue? Continue reading The Recipe Behind the “Pixie Dust” at Eastside Charter: Very High Attrition Rates, Part 1
“If this board can’t stand for parents, what the hell can it stand for?” -John Young
After fiery debate by board member George Evans, the Christina Board of Education passed a parent opt out resolution by a vote of 5-2. The no votes came from President Fred Polaski and eternal board member George Evans. The amended resolution was scaled back to focus on parental right to opt out of the standardized assessment, which in Delaware is the Smarter Balanced Assessment.
Christina School District Board of Education Resolution on Parent Opt-Out of Standardized Testing
Be it resolved that the Christina School District Board of Education will support a parent’s decision to opt their child(ren) out of standardized state testing without any repercussions from the Christina School District; and, therefore,
Be it further resolved that the Christina School District Board of Education will support the Superintendent to provide direction to all affected schools to provide meaningful, educational activities to replace testing time for those students who will not be participating in standardized testing.
According to Fred Polaski, the Christina Board of Education President, he and Superintendent Freeman Williams met with Lindsey O’Mara, the education advisor for Governor Markell, in hashing out an agreement over the three priority schools in their district. The Delaware Department of Education was there at the beginning of the meeting, and left soon after. More details as they emerge…
I’m not sure if this was at this meeting, before, or after, but apparently DOE Officer of Accountability Penny Schwinn told Christina she already has three assistant principals already in mind for the three priority schools during the “transition”.
The Christina Board is getting ready to vote on the decision to follow this plan, developed not by Christina and the DOE, but Christina and Governor Markell’s office.
The Christina Board passed the Markell/DOE plan (still waiting to find out whose plan it was), by a 4-1-2 vote. For those keeping track, the yes votes belonged to John Young, Elizabeth Paige, David Ressler and Fred Polaski. Harrie Minnehan voted no, and George Evans and Shirley Saffer abstained. The board also voted unanimously for a second referendum on May 27th.