‘Tis the season to be jolly! I was thinking about the proclamation Santa Claus issued last week supporting opt-out, and I wondered what would happen the next time Governor Markell and Santa Claus are in the same room. What would happen? Who would win if they actually got into a fight? Jack probably wasn’t happy about Santa supporting the constitutional and honorable rights parents have to opt their kids out of standardized testing. Santa was none too happy about the Smarter Balanced Assessment and Jack’s veto of House Bill 50. If these two got into a brawl, Jack has the weight of an entire state behind him while Santa has an army of reindeer and elves ready to rain hell on little old Delaware. Look at the pros and cons, and then vote in the poll!
One likes to give tests to kids, the other likes to give presents to kids
One likes to veto good opt-out bills, the other likes to opt-out of vetoes
One lives in the Northern part of the state, the other lives in the Northern part of the world
One rides the coattails of Arne Duncan, the other rides an open sleigh
One ignores parents while they’re awake, the other sees you when you’re sleeping
One has visions of 2025, the other has visions of sugarplums
One wants kids to be college and career ready, the other wants kids to be kids
One spends a lot of money for companies, the other spends time giving joy to the world
One helped Mark Murphy wreck education, the other helped Rudolph join the team
One has a budget deficit, the other has a bowl full of jelly
Last Monday, December 7th, the Delaware Met had their final formal review public hearing. Numerous students spoke out in support of the school, along with teachers, board members, staff, and parents. Upon reading the transcript, I could not find one negative comment about the school. Every single speaker, and there were many, wanted the school to stay open. Many acknowledged the issues but said those situations are getting better. Do you think the Delaware Met should close or stay open?
The public comment period ending at 11:59pm last evening. To read through the entire 82 page transcript from the public hearing, please read below:
The biggest Delaware charter school news this year definitely belonged to the three charter bandits: Sean Moore, Tennell Brewington, and Noel Rodriguez. The first two were the heads of school at Family Foundations Academy while Rodriguez belonged to Academy of Dover. Altogether, the trio managed to abscond over $300,000 of school funds for personal purchases. And that was just the verified amount. Over $1.3 million could not be verified as school or personal purchases by the Auditor of Accounts in Delaware. That is some serious coin!
Luckily, none of them are currently employed by the schools. *Brewington surfaced at Christiana in the Emotional Therapeutic Support classroom as a one-on-one teacher. Shortly before Thanksgiving she was no longer there. Moore and Rodriguez have been very quiet. Rodriguez was last seen at the Amazon Distribution Center in Middletown but he was let go around the same time the auditor investigation into Academy of Dover came out last June.
Many are wondering why the three are not in jail. Delaware Senator Greg Lavelle, a huge supporter of charters in Delaware, was wondering the same thing. Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn said his office is looking into the matter. This is why State Rep. Kim Williams House Bill 186 needs to pass, which would make all charter school audits go through Delaware State Auditor Tom Wagner’s office. Resistance from the Delaware Charter Schools Network reached a fever pitch last Spring, even resulting in the non-profit recruiting parents to fill out an online form on their website which automatically went to the Delaware legislators. The bill passed the House on June 30th, but every single House Republican voted no along with Speaker of the House Pete Schwartzkopf and Chair of the House Education Committee Earl Jaques. When the legislators return in January, this bill will be in the hands of the Senate Education Committee.
In October, Wagner’s office released a report that showed some other charter schools that had very suspect incidents of financial abuse. Kuumba Academy and Delaware College Prep’s incidents were not as egregious as those of Family Foundations Academy and Academy of Dover, but they are still a pattern that needs to change at Delaware charter schools. In years past, Pencader Business School and Delaware Military Academy were also investigated for misuse of state funds. While this is certainly not indicative of all charters in Delaware, it is far too many. Education is about students, not a personal ATM machine!
*This article has been corrected to give a more accurate read on where Dr. Tennell Brewington wound up. Apologies for the error!