The Wilmington Education Improvement Commission Membership & Committees Announcement, Two Major Things Missing

I know a lot of these people, but some I don’t.  All have an enormous task in front of them.  Without further ado, this is the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission:

Tony Allen, Chairperson, Bank of America Senior Executive

Kenny Rivera, Vice Chairperson, President of Red Clay Consolidated School District Board of Education and teacher in Brandywine School District

Elizabeth “Tizzy” Lockman, Education Advocate, Wilmington Parents, and Public Allies alumna

Eve Buckley, Parent and Education Advocate, Christina S.D.

Nnamdi Chukwuocha, Chair of Education Youth & Families Committee for Wilmington City Council

Rosa Colon-Kolacko, Chief of Diversity Officer, Christiana Care

Karen Eller, Teacher in Christina S.D.

Reverend Meredith Griffin, Chairperson of the Education Committee for Interdenominational Ministers Action Council

Frederika Jenner, President of Delaware State Education Association

Yvonne Johnson, Delaware PTA Parent & Education Advocate, Red Clay S.D.

Joseph Laws, President of Colonial School District Board of Education

Margie Lopez Waite, Head of School for L’Aspira Academy Charter School

Aretha Miller, Executive Director of the Community Education Building

Harrie Ellen Minnehan, President of the Christina School District Board of Education

Joe Pika, PhD., former President of the State Board of Education

Chandra Pitts, Executive Director of One Village Alliance

Delaware State Rep. Charles Potter

Vicki Seifried, Teacher in Red Clay Consolidated S.D.

John Skrobot, President of the Brandywine School District Board of Education

Delaware Senator David Sokola

Michelle Taylor, President of the United Way of Delaware

A High School student from Red Clay Consolidated S.D.

A High School student from Colonial S.D.

As well, support is being given by the University of Delaware’s Institute for Public Administration and the following employees:

Dan Rich, PhD., Policy Director

Kelly Sherretz, Project Manager

Elizabeth Burland, Administrative Coordinator

Jerome Lewis, PhD., IPA Director and Senior Policy Advisor

Ed Freel, Senior Policy Advisor

Liz Farley-Ripple, Policy Advisor

Neil Kirschling, Policy Advisor

Sarah Pragg, Communications Advisor

The following committees have been announced with the following as Committee Chairs:

Redistricting Committee: Joe Pika, Henry Harper, PhD. (former Superintendent of Appoquinimink S.D.)

Charter & District Collaboration Committee: Eve Buckley, Aretha Miller

Meeting the Needs of Students In Poverty Committee: Chandlee Kuhn (former Family Court Chief Judge), Michelle Taylor, Jackie Jenkins Ed.D. (Education Advisor for Office of the Mayor of the City of Wilmington)

Funding Student Success Committee: Jill Floore (Chief Financial Officer for Red Clay Consolidated S.D.), Mike Jackson (Deputy Comptroller for the State of Delaware)

Parent, Educator, and Community Engagement Committee: Yvonne Johnson, Chandra Pitts

At first glance, this is a very diverse group in this.  But I have a major new concern, as the below document will clearly show, the website for this, still under construction but will be available on September 1st, is http://solutionsfordelawareschools.com.  I thought this was a Wilmington thing.  I know, some of the recommendations from the Wilmington Education Advisory Committee can help all of Delaware, but if they are doing this, why is there NO representation from anyone in Kent or Sussex Counties?  I think excluding representation from the whole state is very dangerous in this political climate, especially for a commission that will be meeting for the next 5-6 years.

As well, they need to make an entirely separate committee to cover special education.  If special education is not improved, nothing they do will make any difference for students with disabilities who represent anywhere from 16-20% of the student population affected.  I actually advised Tony Allen of this twice.  Once at the House Education Committee in February, and last March in private.  I know there will be sub-committees, but this needs to be its own committee.  I have to say I’m very disappointed, but then again, special education doesn’t seem to be a priority anywhere these days in Delaware.  We keep making the same mistakes over and over again and then we are left scratching our heads wondering why these children don’t have better outcomes.  Meanwhile, disabilities are on the rise and funding is going to become a huge issue, especially with Autism.

I don’t like the idea of Senator Sokola being in WEIC at all.  This is a man who has done more harm than good for all the students of Delaware, specifically in Wilmington.  Most don’t see it that way, but he was the spearhead behind a lot of legislation that has further segregated Wilmington schools.  I know, I’m biased cause we went head-to-toe on House Bill 50, the parent opt-out bill, but I wasn’t a big fan of his before that.

Questions To Ask The “New Guy”

kavips

A)  To Whom do you see as most representative of what the people want in educational policy.  The Governor or the Legislature?

B)  As you know, as people discover what Common Core really is, it is disappearing state by state as fast as free beer at an all-school kegger. Are you prepared to offer a new plan if asked to by this legislature?  What are your ideas on what it should do?

C)  Do you read kavips?

D)  Have you yourself taken the Smarter Balanced Assessment?  If so, which grade?  Which test?

E)  If there becomes a war between the Federal Government and State Government over who is responsible for a child’s education, which side will you be on?

F)  You have a budget of $1.3 Billion.  Yet your schools are all operating above maximum efficiency.  How good are you at convincing Legislators to provide more revenue? (Now is a good…

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Time For Delaware Charter School Teachers To Form A Union!

Currently, no Delaware charter school teachers belong to any organized teacher unions.  As a result, the charter school leaders are able to do whatever they want with teachers and due process is a bit of a  joke.  This could all change if charter school teachers join the union.  I have seen many a charter school teacher fired for no reason other than they disagree with something a charter leader says.  Boom! Just like that!

Last night, Red Clay Educators Association President Mike Matthews posted the following on Facebook:

Fascinating story of the day: In our Know Your Contract training today, the always wonderful Laura Rowe provided the attached state law regarding sick leave. We had some good discussion on this topic.

Totally UNRELATED to this morning’s training, I received three messages from charter school teachers who told me that they were told that they can take no more than seven sick days per year and that “the charter trumps state law.” From THREE different sources with the SAME story.

Wanna know their names?  No way.  My lips are sealed.  You see why charter school teachers deserve some due process protections by the union? Constant. State. Of. Fear.

My suggestion to those charter teachers? Your school is breaking the law. Your fellow teachers must band together and take a stand. Solidarity. Strength in numbers. Let’s start organizing now. My number is 302-547-4774.

And any of you charter school leaders reading this who THINK you know who talks to me and you want to try and intimidate them? Think again. Ever since those two op-eds I wrote in The News Journal were published last year, teachers at a dozen charter schools have been regularly coming to me sharing horror stories just like this.

And he posted the following pictures:

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When are charter school leaders and boards going to realize they don’t rule the universe?  Just because you have a charter doesn’t mean you are immune to state laws and regulations.  Charter school teachers deserve the same protection as regular traditional school district teachers.  I don’t care what my stance is on charter schools in general, teachers are teachers no matter where you teach.  What say you Delaware?  Is this something you can get behind?  I would love to hear from charter school teachers on this as well, and despite my post last week about a certain employee in the Townsend building, all communications or comments on this blog are confidential unless you play games with me over a long period of time!

Delaware DOE Plans To Make Teachers Scapegoats For Smarter Balanced Scores, Don’t Fall For It Parents!

The spinsters at the Delaware DOE are at it again.  They have the Smarter Balanced scores, and they know they are terrible.  So how do you get the public behind you?  How does a State Department remain unscathed in the whole debacle?  You blame.  You scapegoat.   But it won’t work.  One, because I know.  Two, because parents aren’t as dumb as you think they are and you have ALWAYS underestimated them.  And Three, it makes absolutely no sense at all.

A couple years ago, the DOE wanted teachers to submit potential material for the Smarter Balanced Assessments.  This is not a lie.  This happened.  But it’s what American Institutes for Research (AIR) and their psychometrics division did with that material that made the Smarter Balanced Assessment what it is.  The devious ways in which questions were created, the whole “wrong answer is right but a right answer with a bad explanation is wrong” came from the demented people who created this test.  The folks behind AIR have been crafting public policy for three quarters of a century.  Did you really think they wouldn’t create a test that served their perverted worldview?

Teachers are NOT to blame for what so many of us parents opted our children out of.  That rests solely on the Delaware DOE and their contracted vendors.  Like the one we have spent $38 million on the past five years, AIR.  Delaware teachers also did NOT set the benchmarks for these tests.  That was done by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.  They set the cut scores last November.  And I’m sure the states will adjust them accordingly to serve their own purposes.

The spin that is about to be thrust upon this state most likely didn’t even come from the DOE or Governor Markell, but one of the consultants the DOE loves to hire.  Here is a novel idea DOE: if you want to solve the whole problem with the Smarter Balanced scores, just get rid of the test.  Problem solved!