Las Americas Aspiras Lies To Parents About Opt-Out & Federal Funding Cuts

Unbelievable.  Just when I thought I had seen it all.  Las Americas Aspiras has never been on my radar for anything.  Tonight I learned their Head of School, Margie Lopez Waite, is telling parents through their PTO organization the school would lose ALL federal funding if they don’t hit the 95% participation rate for the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  This is a complete lie, and she knows it.  Need proof?  Here it is:

lasamericasaspiras

For parents of children who go to this school.  If you want to opt your child out, go ahead and opt them out.  200,000 students opted out in New York last Spring.  Do you know  how much Federal funding got cut from those schools? Zero.  Not one penny.  Schools are obligated to make sure THEY do not opt kids out.  There is absolutely nothing in the law that states parents cannot opt their child out.  It is your Constitutional right.  This is a bullying tactic by charter schools and certain school districts in Delaware.  The DOE tried this last Spring, and I called them out on it.  Governor Markell has tried this as well.  Didn’t work then either.  Now what a charter may lose if too many students opt-out is bragging rights.  That’s right, your child has become not only a victim of standardized testing madness, but also bragging rights. Newark Charter School sent out an email within a day after the Smarter Balanced results came out about how great they are.

Delaware parents, especially those who have students in charters, a school cannot kick your child out if you opt them out.  They cannot make your child take the test.  Anything they do as a result is retaliation.  Which you have many legal rights to protect you and your child.  Let them say no.  Let them tell you why you can’t opt your child out.  But if you want your child to be opted out, do it.  Stand your ground and educate other parents about their rights.  As well, contact your legislators to override Governor Markell’s veto of House Bill 50 so our schools don’t spread lies like this and bully parents into having their kids take a test they don’t want their child taking.

This test has NO bearing whatsoever on your child.  It is not counted for retention.  A school cannot legally make your child go to summer school if you opt them out or your child does bad on it.  They cannot make your child spend Spring Break on test prep.  If they are telling you this, they are way out of line.  Let your child be a child.  Not a guinea pig.  Let them enjoy their summer and Spring Break.  They were designed for that purpose!  But whatever you do, do not let ignorant school leaders tell you what you can and cannot do for your own child.  Shame on them!  They can and should know better.  What message is that sending about your school leadership capabilities if you are blatantly lying to parents?  REFUSE THE TEST!

Updated, 8:51pm: I just sent the following email to Margie Lopez-Waite at Las Americas Aspiras-

Opt-Out and Truth

From: Kevin Ohlandt <kevino3670@yahoo.com>
To:
“margie.lopezwaite@laaa.k12.de.us” <margie.lopezwaite@laaa.k12.de.us>
Sent:
Tuesday, November 3, 2015 8:40 PM
Subject:
Opt-Out and Truth

Good evening Miss Lopez-Waite,
I wanted to contact you in regards to the horrible lies parents of children who attend your school are being told in regards to opt-out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  As you know, Federal funding threats have NEVER been used against schools for not meeting the 95% participation rate for state assessments.  The law is written so that schools do not opt-out kids, not parents. 
Please contact all your parents and let them know the truth about this so they can make informed decisions without complete falsehoods.  I have already written about this tonight on Exceptional Delaware, but to ensure all parents know the truth, please send out a reply to the school’s PTO generated email that went out to all parents.  Thank you.
Respectfully,
Kevin Ohlandt
Exceptional Delaware

Delaware Charter Schools Network Annual Award Winners

Last month, the Delaware Charter Schools Network celebrated their annual IDEA awards.  Not to be confused with the Federal IDEA program for special needs students, their IDEA stands for Innovation, Dedication, Education, and Admiration.  This years big winners were charter leaders, legislators, teachers, and even students.  Here is a list of the winners, direct from the Delaware Charter Schools Network website.  I know quite a few of the individuals on this list, either through writing on this blog or actually meeting them before.  Some I have never heard of, but congrats on your award.  While I have been a teeny tiny bit critical of charters on rare occasions (okay, a lot), at the end of the day, it is about the students.  And if the traditional school districts can have a teacher of the year and all that comes with that, the charters should be able to have their own shindig.  While I may not agree with many of the funding issues with charters, some of their enrollment practices, financial issues, and special education issues, they are still schools with children in them.

2015 IDEA AWARD WINNERS

COMMUNITY TIES AWARD

Charles S. McDowell, Esquire, EastSide Charter School

CORNERSTONE AWARD

Henry Clampitt, The Charter School of Wilmington

GIVING BACK AWARD

Caroline Dowd, Providence Creek Academy

Johnny Means, Delaware Military Academy

Jagger Peck, Gateway Lab School

Eric Long, The Charter School of Wilmington

Hannah Cote, Campus Community Charter School

IMPACT AWARD

Ed Emmett, Positive Outcomes Charter School

Sally Maldonado, Kuumba Academy

IMPACT AWARD TOO

Denise Parks & Kathryn Standish, Odyssey Charter School

INNOVATION AWARD

Elementary School

Kristen Egan, Las Americas ASPIRA Academy

Middle School

Kelly Hanson, Providence Creek Academy

High School

Robert Lingenfelter, Delaware Military Academy

DEDICATION AWARD

Elementary School

Trina Willey, Providence Creek Academy

Middle School

Great Oaks Charter School Wilmington Founding Tutor Corps, GOCS-W

High School

Cathie Kennedy, The Charter School of Wilmington

FOUNDERS AWARD

Kuumba Academy; Sally Maldonado, School Leader; Joan Coker, Board President

Newark Charter School; Greg Meece, School Leader; Stephen Dressel, Board President

STATE LEGISLATIVE LEADERSHIP AWARD

Senator Brian Bushweller

Representative Joseph Miro

FEDERAL LEGISLATIVE LEADERSHIP AWARD

Senator Tom Carper

Senator Chris Coons

Congressman John Carney

a smoldering wick

The Buzz is back! I haven’t heard from this blogger in a long time, and I am very happy they are posting again. This blogger comes from a tough district where sometimes it seems like the entire state wants their heads on a spike depending on the day. I have nothing but respect for the teachers in this district as the things they have to deal with are unparalleled anywhere in Delaware.

The Buzz

I am weary. beaten down. mocked. ridiculed. disparaged. but you can just call me ‘teacher’.  Other than the endearments of ‘wife’, ‘mother’, ‘sister’, ‘friend’,  I’d most like to be remembered as teacher.  it is my calling. My vocation. What i was meant to be. What I was meant to do.

And i love doing it. From the very first day over twenty years ago, when I lost my composure the minute the last student left, to the PLC that had me in tears a few weeks ago, and even today with a challenging student in my last class, I have known that this is it for me. I do it because it changes not only the students with whom I interact, I do it because it changes me. I am a better person for it.

I graduated from the University of Delaware’s education program well prepared.  As confidently as I began, I knew there was much to learn…

View original post 180 more words

Delaware Met To Face Delaware DOE Tomorrow…A Sneak Peak At Their Response

At 1:30pm tomorrow, the Delaware Met will appear before the Charter School Accountability Committee to answer questions surrounding their Formal Review.  At the October Delaware State Board of Education meeting, the board unanimously agreed to placing the brand new charter school on formal review two months after they opened.  The school wrote a response to the allegations surrounding the Formal Review.

The school has also submitted many documents, which can be found here.  But I thought a peak at the financial information they submitted to the DOE is warranted for this article.  These documents confirm their current enrollment at 218 students.

DelMetFinancial2016

DelMetFinancial2016_2

DelMetFinancial2016_3

DelMetFinancial2016_4

Also in these documents are charts showing which traditional school districts their students are coming from along with their estimated unit counts for funding from Delaware:

DelMetEnrollment1

DelMetEnrollment2

DelMetEnrollment3

Last week, Wilmington Mayor Williams and the police went to the school to address matters as well.  An advocate well known in Wilmington by the name of CEO Hope attended as well.  This will be a very interesting meeting tomorrow as a formal review this early in a charter school’s history is unprecedented.  Note to attendees: there is no public comment at these meetings.  That will occur on November 16th, and this is listed on this blog’s Education Meetings and Events page:

11/16: Delaware Met Formal Review Public Hearing, 5pm, Carvel State Office Bldg., Auditorium, 820 N. French St., 2nd Floor, Wilmington

The final recommendation by the Charter School Accountability Committee will not happen until their 11/30 meeting.  After that, Secretary of Education Dr. Steven Godowsky will submit his final decision to the State Board of Education at their December 17th meeting where the board will vote for final action.