Odyssey Charter School And Other “Successful” Charters Want Money To Grow

Matthew Albright with the Delaware News Journal wrote an article today about Delaware charters, and centered on Odyssey Charter School.  Delaware charter schools face obstacles to growth is the name of the article.  I think it’s funny, because many disadvantaged students face obstacles to getting into these “dream” charters like Odyssey, Charter School of Wilmington, Newark Charter School and Sussex Academy.  Their student populations always have less African-Americans, students with disabilities and low-income students than those around them.  And their cheerleaders always say the same thing: “Their lotteries determine who gets in.”  Yeah, and I have a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you.

School leaders and parents at successful Delaware charter schools say the state can and should do more to help them grow.  While understanding that the Department of Education has to crack down on charters showing evidence of financial mismanagement or a failure to provide high quality education, parents and educators wonder: If a school has top test scores, deep community connections and parents clamoring for expansion, can’t the state help?

Did Publius from Kilroy’s Delaware write this article?  If a charter school has “top test scores”, which doesn’t mean squat to me because I don’t value any standardized test score as a true measurement of any school, than they have trimmed the fat and picked the better students and essentially recruited (stolen) them from their local districts.

Albright talks about Odyssey’s latest money problems, something I wrote about six days ago.  But of course, Albright, being a reporter for a somewhat major metropolitan newspaper would get more information.  I’m just a blogger!  Should Odyssey get more money from the state?  Hell no!  Charters wanted to have it their way, but when they can’t get things their way, they call the State.  Enough.  They get more financial perks from non-profits and loop-holes in the budget to make up for what they don’t get from the state.

Charter skeptics maintain that the state shouldn’t spend a cent more on charters while traditional school districts cry out for more resources to serve at-risk students. They argue charters don’t serve enough of the kids who need the state’s help the most, and every dollar that goes to a charter is a dollar less for districts charged with that mission.

Damn straight!  Some schools are literally falling apart, and Odyssey and other charters want more?  After they have siphoned money and students away from their local districts?  Sorry, you missed the boat.  Why don’t they call the Longwood Foundation?  They are always giving away money to charters.  Delaware State Rep. John Kowalko got the Albright call and didn’t mince words:

“Until you can prove to me, and I mean show me proof on a piece of paper, that these schools are taking in the same kind of students as our districts and doing a better job, then maybe we have a different discussion,” Kowalko said. “Until then, it is unconscionable for us to be sending additional taxpayer dollars to them.”

Why would we give more money to a school that is facing this on their latest financial framework with the DOE:

The problems reported include deficits, high debt-to-asset ratios, low cash reserves and negative cash flow over the past three years.

So we give them a get out of jail free card while Christina bleeds?  I don’t see the state rushing to help them.  And the article even has Kendall Massett with the Delaware Charter Schools Network joining the fray!  I’m not sure when she finally figured out there were other schools in Delaware aside from charters, but I’m not sure I buy what she wrote:

“If any public school, not just a charter, is doing great things for kids, we should be enabling them to do more of it,” Massett said. “Odyssey is a great example of that.”

The timing on this is impeccable.  The DOE and Donna Johnson will be presenting to the State Board on the Statewide Review of Educational Opportunities.  This is the strategy to “determine how charters operate in Delaware” along with all the other great programs our schools offer.  Another US DOE non-regulatory non-Congressionally approved “suggestion”.

During the last legislative session, lawmakers approved a moratorium on new charters until June of 2018, or until the state finishes a comprehensive strategic plan that would address how charters fit into the state’s overall public education system.

If anyone really thinks there will be a moratorium on charters until 2018, they are smoking something funny.  Once the State Board celebrates Donna and the DOE’s hard work and does their high-five party, the charter applications will flow.

Lily Eskelsen Garcia, Why Are You Telling Members To Vote Yes When Final Product Isn’t Out Yet? #StopESEA

I wrote a plea to the National Education Association earlier today to wait until they see the final product before urging members to vote yes on the ESEA reauthorization.  So can someone please tell me why their President, Lily Eskelen Garcia, is doing the exact opposite?  This was sent to all NEA members across the country earlier this week:

An ESEA Update from NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia

Admit it, I’ve been telling you since July that we were getting closer to the finish line of ESEA Reauthorization and you have been thinking, “Yeah right!” 

Well, as you can read in this statement from the House Education and the Workforce Committee or NEA’s statement, the House-Senate ESEA conference committee has voted to approve the framework agreement for ESEA reauthorization!  

What’s next? While we will not see official bill language until November 30th, this framework agreement does seem to address our core goals of closing opportunity gaps, giving students more time to learn and teachers to teach, and includes educators’ voices in the decision making process.  

The House is expected to vote as early as December 2nd followed by a Senate vote the week of December 7th. As usual, this is where you come in to continue the incredible work that has moved ESEA Reauthorization this far down the road. Go to GetESEARight.com  to send an email, or call 1-866-331-7233 to urge your members of Congress to VOTE YES on the ESEA conference agreement!

I would seriously question the wisdom of your President!  This is foolish and hasty at best…

The Education Polls For Delaware…Those Running For Office- Take Note!!!

 

#StopESEA @DelawarePTA @DSEA1 @gacecoffice Don’t Drink The Kool-Aid!!!!

Delaware PTA, DSEA & Governor’s Advisory Council for Exceptional Citizens:

You  hold a great deal of power in your groups.  We the people need you to band together and unite for the students of Delaware.  The ESEA reauthorization is all about more testing, more federal mandates and waivers, and even “social impact bonds”.  I know your bosses in the National PTA, NEA and Governor Markell are all behind this federal legislation.  But that does not mean you need to endorse legislation that has not even been seen by the public yet.

Delaware PTA: You know I love you for your support on the opt-out movement and House Bill 50!  We need you to take a serious look at the personalized learning models and competency-based education supports embedded in this legislation.  These are not good for students over the long-term, especially those students who are most in need.  This bill is big on accountability systems created at the state level, and we all know what that kind of power can have in a few corrupt minds in our state.  Please, do not endorse this bill and let your National PTA know they shouldn’t either.

DSEA: I have to admit, you folks are an enigma to me!  From my perspective, the best words I can think of are this- you always want a seat at the table but don’t realize you are actually on the table as the main course.  I’ve seen this with the Delaware School Success Framework, teacher evaluations, and Race To The Top.  I know you wish there didn’t even have to be opt-out, but the plain simple fact is that it is here and it is necessary for parents to do this.  I get that teachers endorsing opt-out could put them in rough waters, but they are already in that position because of the state and federal mandates coming down.  Please do not endorse this bill that will make sure teachers lose even more voice.

GACEC: You are a Governor’s council run by the state, which puts you under the shadow of Governor Markell.  But your mandate is to look out for exceptional citizens, those with disabilities.  Please tell me how supporting the Governor against opt-out helps those citizens.  Please tell me you truly want the best outcome for children with special needs.  Please tell me you do not support this latest edition of the ESEA reauthorization.  We’ve seen the outcome of Smarter Balanced for our children with disabilities.  They are now further behind.  That isn’t progress, and I’m sure you have seen how Delaware wants these children to go from 19% proficiency to 59% in six years.  That is insanity, brought on by Governor Markell.  Please stop siding with the DOE on matters that only negatively impact our kids.

 

#StopESEA @NEAToday @AFTunion @BadassTeachersA Do Not Endorse This Reauthorization, Very Bad For Teachers

To the members of the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teacher, and the Badass Teachers Association:

I know many of you are torn over the latest edition of the Elementary/Secondary Education Act reauthorization.  It looks great on the surface.  But embedded within are numerous “easter eggs” designed to steal your jobs right out from under you.  It won’t happen tomorrow.  It won’t happen a month from now.  This is the long con.  This bill will eventually replace the jobs you rightfully deserve, and will put data facilitators in your place.  Students will be plugged into their personalized learning modules, striving to pass their current unit standardized assessment.  K-12 will become a thing of the past.  The need for teacher instruction will be gone.  I’m going to take a wild guess that most of you don’t see this as a great leap forward in your profession.  So I have to ask, why are the leaders of the NEA and AFT urging members to endorse this reauthorization?  Why are they considering this the great change that will bring back the respect and standing you have lost over the years?  Start at your local level and bring it all the way up the food chain straight to NEA President Lily Eskelen Garcia and AFT President Randi Weingarten.  Let your locals know you are not happy with this.  The devil is in the details, and while many of you are glad teacher evaluations are being looked at in different lights, do not think for one second that the entire profession of teaching as you know it is not in serious jeopardy.  And I would urge Garcia and Weingarten to look out for their members and not play politics with so much at stake.  Our children’s teachers deserve better than this bill, and I think you both know this.

To the Badass Teachers: you are all awesome and I love your dedication to education!  Don’t change a thing about what you do, but do not endorse this horrible legislation!

#StopESEA @JohnCarneyDE @SenatorCarper @ChrisCoons #netde #eduDE #Delaware Our Children Are Not Lab Rats

Rep. John Carney, Senator Carper and Senator Coons:

We need you to vote NO on the ESEA Reauthorization.  This is not about children.  It is about companies, and their endless invasion into public education.  They want to turn our children into their testing guinea pigs with their personalized learning and competency-based education.  We know this is just an even more invasive method for them to break up Common Core and standardized tests into micro-chunks through their digital platforms.  We know lobbyists in Delaware and across America have been pounding you and your offices with all the reasons you need to vote yes.  We know the Delaware DOE, the Delaware State Board of Education, the Rodel Foundation, the Delaware Charter Schools Network, and Governor Markell have most likely been calling you non-stop to vote yes.  That is not good enough to sell the souls of our children down the river.  You represent the people of Delaware.  Not companies like Schoology and Achieve.  Not American Institutes for Research and all their sub-companies.  Not the Council of Chief State School Officers.  Not the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and the University of California.

I am quite sure all three of you have aspirations to continue in government, whether it is at a state or federal level.  The people of Delaware are fast becoming aware of the dangers in this legislation.  Those in the know don’t want this.  They don’t want their children broken down into data points and tested incessantly.  This is what this bill is all about.  It is not about the students.  It will only serve to kill the illusion of helping those who need it the most.  Vote with your conscience, not your future prospects.  Vote with the knowledge that if you let this bill pass, your chances of re-election or your campaign for Governor will meet with very serious resistance.  This is not a threat, this is a fact.  When you start messing with children, you hold your fate in the hands of parents.  The same parents who press buttons at the voting booth.  Some of you may think it is a foregone conclusion that your political lives will continue based on voting patterns in Delaware.  This smoke and mirrors is evaporating faster than you realize.  The polls may say one thing, but the reality is a parent’s love for their child is bi-partisan.

Do the right thing for the children of Delaware and America.  We the people are counting on you.