Red Clay School District takeover of Wilmington Christina schools does nothing to address de facto segregation

You don’t have to sell me on this Kilroy. I’ve seen warning signs all over the road called Redistricting Highway. As I’ve dug into the history of segregation in Wilmington schools, I don’t see anything happening to stop this trend from continuing. I only see it getting worse, and not just in Wilmington. Something that is beginning to have an effect in Kent County is the World Immersion Program our oddball Governor brought forth. This is the one where kids go to a different school in their district to learn Spanish or Chinese. The districts and the DOE have already said “not a good fit for special needs kids.” What it is also doing is drawing the “smarter” kids to different schools and leaving the schools they left with more low-income, minority, and special needs students. What kills me on this one is the districts are doing it to themselves!!!! And the school boards lap it up like it’s the best thing in the world. I know Capital and Caesar Rodney are starting to feel the brunt of this decision, and I know Appo is heavily involved in this program as well.

Why anyone is still listening to Markell is beyond me. I’m not going to sit here and say he cause all of this, but he has done nothing to stop it. In fact it has gotten progressively worse during his reign.

The only thing I take issue with on your post is damning Red Clay over their priority schools designation. Don’t forget, this was solely based on standardized test scores, which we all know are not a measurable unit of true progress. Nobody talks about actual grades these kids get, or their ability to read at a peer level. There are so many different ways to measure student progress, but we seem to take the worst way imaginable.

I truly believe we need a ton of replacements in our General Assembly, starting with Sokola and Jaques. You would have to be blind to not see who these two are hell-bent on destroying anything that is good about education. Here’s the scary part though with the Red Clay board saying no. The redistricting plans are already on the way. If Red Clay says no, and the State Board holds that power, and they can get the legislators to agree with what they come up with as an alternative, we are looking at an All-Charter Wilmington. And we know how well that worked out in places like New Orleans and Newark, NJ. I know, some will say that isn’t how SB 122 is written, but it also assumes Red Clay will just say yes and Christina will just automatically give the schools away. Much can happen between now and then!

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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!

14 thoughts on “Red Clay School District takeover of Wilmington Christina schools does nothing to address de facto segregation”

  1. “and the school boards lap it up”
    Yep!
    The state is not alone in “throwing whatever they can against the wall”.
    Teachers are usually first to see it for what it is.

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    1. I think school boards look at anything that is “innovative” or gives their district a chance to get a leg up on other districts, but they don’t always see the consequences of these types of things.

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  2. Ok I’m gonna say it again: Lay off the Race to the Top gripe. I know that’s kilroy and I’m commenting on excep del but the point is the same.

    Next, for heaven’s sake! We have seen neither hide nor hair of any sort of plan, yet we’re already crying foul on the end result? Be real for a second. We have way more supporters than detractors in Leg Hall. We know there are good people who will step up to the plate to work on the transition. You can’t have neighborhood schools and choice and charter and private and parochial – and possibly vouchers – all in the same place at the same time and not see some sort of segregation, be it racial, gender, socio-economic, or any other type. Hell, even neighborhood schools encourage segregation. Then when people complain about the violence in Wilmington, the response is “so move out”. White flight contributes to segregation, and all the other issues as well! Are we holding the white folks who can and do flee the city accountable for their part in further segregating the city? Shit no, let’s just blame the educational system and the unions.

    Sorry, I’m not buying that ridiculous nonsense anymore. We do not live or make decisions in a vacuum. Every SINGLE action spurs further actions, and we are all accountable.

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    1. Kevin posted a link to an article on “The Lost High Schools.” I commented on it in one of the posts on FB. You will find that it further shows that teachers, districts, and unions aren’t to blame for segregation in our schools. Here is what I wrote: I especially enjoyed the link to “The Lost High Schools.” If anything, it shows that people segregate themselves. And, I’m not talking in terms of race. The article shows Mayor Williams to have sent his children to St. Mark’s, because there weren’t any community schools like his P.S. DuPont High School for them to go to. Mayor Williams is quoted as saying, “You want to know why? Because I had no faith in the public schools.” Additionally, it shows that Charles Potter sent his children to Archmere Academy. He is quoted as saying, “It’s a proven fact that back then our graduation rate (in the black community) was at least 75 to 80 percent. Now we’re down to 30 percent or something. Something is drastically wrong that needs to be fixed.” I think this points to what I’ve seen all along: Those who value education will segregate themselves from those who don’t.

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    2. Jackie, we can blame some of this on white flight, but let’s face it, the education system has always played games with African-Americans. There is a lot of racism in this state. In the past few weeks, ever since the Confederate flag ruling, I’ve seen more pick-up trucks in Kent County with the flags hanging out of the backs. It’s almost as if white racists are saying “you can’t tell us what to do, so we are going to flaunt it.” I think this racism goes way deep and is a part of many white citizens of Delaware. I’m not saying all of them, but enough that some of them do hold power and they will do whatever they can to segregate those who are different. Hate is a powerful thing, and it’s even harder to destroy than to build tolerance and justice…

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      1. That’s called institutional racism, my friend, and it’s got everything to do with white people and the way they act, intentionally or not. We have got to become self-aware and recognize that a huge basis of this issue is perception. Whites who don’t want to be perceived as racist and refuse to acknowledge white privilege, communities that band together to protest a proposed development of Section 8 housing, folks who “choice” their kids to a school other than the neighborhood one and then bemoan the terrible schools in their area, people who pay for private school and feel they shouldn’t have to fund public schools, and I could go on. I’m just so tired of reading things like “Mark my words! I was right then and I’ll be right again this time!” when there is no accompanying action. I’m also tired of passing the blame.

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        1. I’ll assume this is directed at me Jackie, so I will respond. The things you describe as “whites” are not things I’ve been involved in. We made a choice to send my son to a charter based on a reputation the school had, not anything to do with race. Unfortunately, the school didn’t live up to that reputation. Most charters don’t, and those that do, get there by cherry-picking in various ways. You and Publius can come after me all you want for my comments, but I base my predictions on history, what I see going on now, and what’s coming down the pike. I firmly believe people can be racist and not even know it. And I’m sorry, but I believe Publius fits the bill. He is always promoting schools like CSW which is indicative of the problem. Whether my kid went to a public school or private school, I would still fund public schools because it is my civic duty. But I will never defend a place like CSW that got to where it is based on very specific techniques which give it 6-7% African-Americans, almost no special needs kids, and 28% Asian students. When Publius goes to a CSW meeting and gives comment to change their enrollment tactics so EVERYONE gets a fair shot, I will change my mind about him. It isn’t choice if not everyone can go there. I do take action on this as much as I can by calling it out and supporting things like the ACLU lawsuit. If you don’t like the conversation about passing the blame, don’t throw it on me. But those who are involved in these types of things ARE racist because they know the end result and they continue it. If that isn’t racism, then what the hell is?

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          1. No no, I wasn’t passing it onto you or accusing you! I’m just talking. It isn’t even entirely about education. It’s all of the institutions, and it has nothing to do with you personally. You’re doing exactly what you need to do to make sure your child is successful. I’m taking issue with the assumption that nothing is going to change without giving it a chance, but the rest is based on the broader society. Misplaced anger, and I’m sorry it seemed like I was coming at you! I wouldn’t do that here anyway 🙂

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          2. I think things are starting to bubble in the pot we call Delaware. I think Delaware education and many of the issues going on in the state are because of the faith the people have in giving things a chance. We have gotten burned way too many times in the past even when folks were warning us of the dangers inherent in whatever bill or act they were passing. I think we need to pause a bit, and reflect and truly look at what we are doing before we go rushing head first into something we may come back on in 10, 15, or 20 years and say “why did we try to get that done so fast.”

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  3. Those who value education will segregate themselves from those who don’t.

    That is a totally unacceptable excuse for allowing children to be segregated based on the advantages they have received in their young lives. The parents can segregate themselves all they want. But we are talking about children here. Giving up on them is unacceptable.

    Thanks to other political and economic decisions outside of the schools, we are now dealing with entrenched intergenerational poverty where children are starting school with 500-word vocabularies and live in broken communities with God-knows-how-much unemployment. And we made it that way. The parents you are expecting to “value education” are themselves broken.

    It is a cruel joke to dangle “choice” as the solution. The fact is “choice” necessarily creates lousy options, and lots of them. Every “premium” school requires a dumping ground for the children they don’t want,and sucks up resources from the dumping ground schools. That’s what segregation means in education.

    The thing is, we are creating this mess with public funds. It is not right to build elitist academies that drain funds and energy from the system. If Williams and Potter had the resources to send their children to private school, that’s fine. But that’s not what we’re talking about here.

    The solution starts with needs-based funding. Every choice needs to be an excellent choice. But history shows that in Delaware education, the arc bends away from justice unless forced by the courts.

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    1. Mike, you are preaching to the choir here. I taught in 2 entirely one-race schools in Louisiana during my first 7 years of my career. I was mystified at how these schools came to be. When I researched it, I found that “magnet” schools were taking all of the academically gifted students, which left the neighborhood schools with the average and low students. It was what I called “legalized segregation.”

      I believe that the only choice that taxpayers should have in terms of public education is this: choose to send your child to the neighborhood school (or move to a different neighborhood) -OR- spend the money to send your child to private school.

      My point with my previous post was to show that it is more of a “class” problem than a race problem, especially with Williams and Potter choosing to send their children to private schools.

      Oh, and I just happened to work at a predominantly one-race charter school when I first started teaching in Delaware. That also mystified me, as it was not the white race that was prevalent. I kept wondering why these parents were segregating their children by choice.

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