16 To Watch In 2016: Henry Clampitt

Henry Clampitt served for years on the Charter School of Wilmington Board of Directors.  He left the board earlier this fall.  Since then, he has been at almost every single Wilmington Education Improvement Commission meeting, as well as many of the sub-committee meetings.  He served on the Enrollment Preference Task Force that looked at application practices, enrollment preferences, and specific interest for public choice schools.  He is a well-known advocate for school choice and charter schools.  As well, he has also attended meetings of the Red Clay Community Financial Review Committee.

As for why Clampitt is attending all these meetings, I don’t have a clue.  Perhaps he is just a concerned citizen.  As far as I know, Clampitt doesn’t have a blog.  Maybe he is gathering up research and insight to start one.  I’m really not sure, but my gut tells me when he makes his move, it will be a very bold one!  But to be that intimately involved in all things Red Clay tells me he will be a person to watch in 2016!  I would love some insight on this Mr. Clampitt!

Tony Allen’s TedX Video Is VERY Illuminating: “Fix Poverty, Fix Education, or Fix Nothing”

On October 15th, the Chairperson of the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission gave a TedX presentation on poverty and education.  I agree with Dr. Tony Allen on many of the things he said in this speech.  But in my opinion, this was a very harsh attack against the Colonial School District.  Whether Tony Allen was correct or not about Colonial’s standardized test claims, he used the argument to validate a district’s capabilities on a very flawed system.  Standardized tests are not a true indicator of any school’s standing as an educational institution.  There are many measurements and indicators of how good or bad a school district is and standardized testing should never be used as a measure of success or failure.  While I don’t disagree with Tony that education needs to change, especially in our current environment, using a flawed system is dangerous and further perpetuates the perception of what a failing school is.

WEIC Updates Their Draft Two Weeks After Public Comment Period Began, Major Additions Good & Bad

The Wilmington Education Improvement Commission released their draft of the plan for redistricting students in the Wilmington portion of the Christina School District to the Red Clay Consolidated School District on 11/17.  Today, the draft is updated with a lot of new information, including the actual resolution the State Board of Education will vote on at their January board meeting.  The updated draft gives no indication of the authorship of that resolution.  As well, there is a whole section regarding school choice and how many disadvantaged students are unable to fully utilize the choice process at certain charter schools and magnet schools.  There are many funding recommendations that have been added as well.  What is deceptive about this updated draft is the highlighting of new material added.  Most folks will first look at the table of contents to determine any new changes.  Certain sections have been added and are highlighted in yellow.  What is bizarre is the existing chapters that have many new parts added into them are not highlighted in the table of contents, including the WEIC Resolution (which can be found on page 23 of the below Scribd document).  I would think the Resolution would have been in the initial draft but it was not.

I applaud the section on school choice and barriers to at-risk students, but there is so much added to this draft that completely changed my perception of this initiative.  I believe any public comment period should not have changes to a draft at all.  Many people may think the 11/17 draft was the final one and may not be aware of the changes.  This is a classic example of a lack of transparency on this plan which has been my concern all along.  I strongly encourage anyone who has already read the draft to do so again.  Yes, it is 191 pages, but there are many changes to this that folks need to be aware of.  Especially since 3 out of the 5 public hearings have already happened!!!!