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

Wilmington Education Improvement Commission

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  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.

15 thoughts on “The Wilmington Education Improvement Commission Membership & Committees Announcement, Two Major Things Missing

  1. Looks like more of the same. There are two education advocates in the city of Wilmington that advocate primarily for the city children and special needs students and neither is on the team. Seems superficial to me…


    1. That’s because they want collaboration and compromise. There are certain things that are non-negotiable: poverty and special education. As we have discussed, the two go hand-in-hand much more than most realize.


  2. I disagree. I see polar opposites on the same committee and that prevents what happened in the Senate on SB 51 (Sokola:–I have an amendment here that just clears up some language; can we get a voice vote on it with no discussion?) .. from happening again…


    1. Every teacher will tell you, the best way to handle a bully is put him in a social setting where he gets bullied… I think that was done… Someone has to have had blinders on, to take him seriously whenever he opens his mouth and people who know enough to counter his bull immediately are in place to do so…


  3. Committee is top heavy – meaning the top of the State of Delaware (New Castle) is heavily represented but not the middle (Kent) or lower (Sussex). Should be more representatives from the business community. Seems to be to many people on committees/boards which means lots of different opinions resulting in long and contentious meetings where little is accomplished.


  4. No matter who is on the committee (and there are some bright spots as well as the usual suspects), the central problem is the committee’s mission. If they are going to put forth a plan to hand over districts to Red Clay without first requiring legislation for needs-based funding, Red Clay is doomed to slow but inevitable failure as the dumping-ground for students the charters don’t want. Those schools were already failing their kids for years, and the per-pupil expenditure needs to be at least doubled. Parking the schools over a slightly wealthier tax base isn’t going to make discernible improvement.

    Meanwhile, as Red Clay finds itself with hundreds of newly eligible applicants for its current charters and magnets, parents will predictably demand more resegregation and expansion of white-flight academies within Red Clay. And history proves Red Clay will be happy to oblige.

    I do believe the wealthier suburbs have a responsibility to help fund city education to a successful level, along with needs-based funding from the whole state’s tax base. But re-shuffling the districts will only produce more elitist academies and more failing schools. If districts are to be consolidated, let’s go to an all-NCC district instead of trying to move the failure around.


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