Teach For America Rejected & Slammed At Professional Standards Board Meeting Last Night **UPDATED**

Last night, the Professional Standards Board, a committee that looks at regulatory matters with educators in Delaware, had their monthly meeting.  Part of this meeting had presentations on two possible new school leadership programs.  The first was by Teach For America and a program called Lead For Delaware.  The second was presented by two educators from Sussex County, a program called Flex (Fostering Leadership Excellence).  This is for pending Regulation #1595- Certification Program for Leaders in Education.

In the past, programs brought forth by Teach For America (TFA) were usually accepted right off the bat with very little argument against it.  Last night this changed dramatically as the Chair of the Professional Standards Board (PSB), Byron Murphy, lambasted Teach For America for their arrogance and slamming of career teachers, as well as their tendency to use teaching as a stepping stone.  Byron Murphy also came down hard on the individual who presented the program, Jeremy Grant-Skinner, who is also the Senior Managing Director of this TFA program. Murphy claimed Grant-Skinner had absolutely no school leadership experience.  When it came time for a motion by the board to vote on the program, not one single member of the Professional Standards Board would enter a motion.

As a result, the Executive Director of the PSB, Chris Kenton, immediately went on to the next presentation and the educators from Sussex presented their FLEX program, and afterwards, the board approved it unanimously.  This is a tidal wave in Delaware of huge proportions.  It used to be a given that any TFA program would be approved, but last night’s decision is showing that perhaps Delaware’s love affair with TFA is coming to an end.  It was widely assumed by the DOE this TFA program would be approved by the PSB, and even TFA’s Executive Director Laurissa Schutt did not attend the meeting.  The Delaware DOE will NOT be happy about this decision.

*This article has been corrected. Chris Kenton did NOT leave the meeting after the first presentation and stayed until the end. My apologies to Mr. Kenton.

Below are the presentations from the PSB meeting last night.  The first two are the TFA project, and the last is the FLEX from the Sussex educators.

Newark Charter School’s Greg Meece Boasting About High “Smarter” Scores After Meltdown Over News Journal Exclusion

cherrypicking

No less than five people sent me this email yesterday.  Apparently, Newark Charter School Head Greg Meece had a hissy-fit of epic proportions that NCS wasn’t included in the original News Journal story about the Smarter Balanced Assessment results.  As a result, he got this email out to parents yesterday:

From: Newark Charter School <notifications@schoolconnectsweb.com>
Date: Thu, Sep 3, 2015 at 12:00 PM
Subject: NCS Smarter Balanced Test Scores
To:

Dear NCS Families,

Yesterday the Delaware Department of Education released all public schools’ Smarter Balanced test results for the 2014-2015 school year. The News Journal printed a three page report of these scores in this morning’s paper. Unfortunately, for some reason they omitted all of Newark Charter School’s data. I understand they will print a correction in tomorrow’s paper. Also, the correct information is included on delawareonline.

Because of the omission in the newspaper I am sending you all of Newark Charter School’s Smarter Balanced test results in this attachment. It includes comparisons to the State of Delaware results. The wonderful news is that Newark Charter School’s average proficiency rates across all grades are the highest in Delaware!  Our students’ math scores are 116.8% higher than the state average and their English Language Arts scores are 79.4% higher than the state average.

WE are so proud of our students’ performance and very grateful to our teachers for all their hard work in preparing our kids to do their best.

Thank you for all you do to support this great school.

With much appreciation,

Greg Meece

I guess I would be upset too if my school got great results and wasn’t included. But you have to be careful what you ask for, because while his school did great, we have to add the charter school “special sauce” to the stew. On the DOE website, they list the school profiles for each school or district. This is Newark Charter School’s demographics. Compared to most Wilmington schools, these are very low percentages. With the exception being certain other charter schools and magnets in the area.

Enrollment by Race/Ethnicity
2013-14 2014-15
African American 11.0% 11.4%
American Indian 0.2% 0.3%
Asian 13.4% 12.9%
Hispanic/Latino 4.0% 4.4%
White 65.8% 65.2%
Multi-Racial 5.6% 5.6
Other Student Characteristics
2013-14 2014-15
English Language Learner 2.7% 2.5%
Low Income 8.4% 7.2%
Special Education 5.7% 5.6%
Enrolled for Full Year 100.0% N/A

I guess we could all do awesome on high-stakes testing with these kinds of students! And lest we forget, this school has a “lottery”. And I have a bridge in Brooklyn I’m willing to sell at a cheap price…

Say, isn’t the Enrollment Preference Task Force report coming out at the end of the month?

UPDATED, 2:23pm, 9/4/15: A commenter suggested I use Christina School District as comparison data, which is an excellent idea!  Keep in mind, most students who don’t go to Newark Charter School or other charters in the area would go to their feeder pattern in the Christina School District, which has their demographics below.

Enrollment by Race/Ethnicity
2013-14 2014-15
African American 40.6% 39.8%
American Indian 0.3% 0.2%
Asian 4.4% 4.4%
Hawaiian 0.1% 0.1%
Hispanic/Latino 18.8% 20.4%
White 32.8% 31.7%
Multi-Racial 2.9% 3.4%
Other Student Characteristics
2013-14 2014-15
English Language Learner 8.5% 8.3%
Low Income 43.6% 41.0%
Special Education 17.0% 17.9%
Enrolled for Full Year 100.0% N/A

World War III Erupts In Christina With Hiring Of Andrzejewski As Interim Superintendent

Last night, the Christina School District Board of Education voted 4-3 to hire former Red Clay Superintendent Robert Andrzejewski become the Interim Superintendent.  Last month, Superintendent Freeman Williams left on a leave of absence.  Apparently, allegations are already making the rounds on social media that this was just one board member’s pick.  No interview was held by anyone in the district and a motion was made to vote on Andrzejewski.  Another board member introduced an amendment to this and was pushed to the side.

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