This should be interesting. The Delaware State Board of Education will be voting on the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission’s redistricting plan on January 21st at their regular meeting. Typically, their meetings begin at 1:00pm, but on this date it will begin at 9am. Governor Markell is giving his State of the State address this day based on the comment made on the State Board of Education schedule.
Teachers, educators, and parents have commented many times about the inaccessibility of State Board of Education meetings given that they occur in the middle of the day when parents are typically at work and teachers and educators are in schools. As well, this will be a very big meeting with the WEIC vote. For anyone from Wilmington to get to Dover, park, and get to the room by 9am, they would have to leave anywhere between 7:30-8:00am depending on traffic. I have a feeling based on history this is not going to make a lot of people happy. While the time has not been released for the State of the State Address, it is typically in the afternoon. State Board meetings typically don’t last longer than four to five hours, but this will not be an ordinary State Board of Education meeting. The agenda for the entire meeting will most likely go up on 1/14/16 and I will post it here as soon as it is up. I could picture the State Board shortening the meeting by not having too many other presentations or reports from the DOE. I won’t even begin to guess what would happen in the event of inclement weather. But all of this makes the State Board workshop on the WEIC plan on January 11th even more interesting…
Will Governor Markell have to change his State of the State address based on the State Board of Education vote on the WEIC plan? Unless he plans on showing up for the vote??? Maybe someone should try to convince the State Board of Education to livestream this important meeting…
Public comment, as always with the State Board of Education, is not allowed for any action item on their agenda. But as well, WEIC has a formal comment period which expires January 14th.
This video is making the rounds today on Youtube and Social Media. It is excellent and puts everything a lot of us bloggers have been warning about for a long time now. Parents, not just in Delaware but all over the country, ask your schools what data is being collected on your children. Ask them what is being shared. If they won’t give you the answer, keep moving up the chain: district, school board, state DOE, US DOE, as far as you want to take it. You may be able to FOIA this information depending on your state laws. This isn’t about helping kids become college and career ready. It’s about the data, and big, BIG money!
In reading the public comment for the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission’s Interim Redistricting Plan to be voted on by the Delaware State Board of Education on January 21st, I noticed many things. The first of which is Red Clay’s elderly population does not like this plan at all.
Many of the feelings in the public comments feel they have been taxed enough given that Red Clay just passed a referendum last year. Some even suggested that the full release of the Wilmington Education Advisory Committee recommendations taking place after the referendum was done deliberately. These public comments are through December 14th, 2015.
One of the most interesting public comments comes from State Rep. Charles Potter. In an earlier message, he states he fully supports the plan, but towards the end he backtracks and opposes it. His reason? He claims that Colonial School District, whose board voted to back out of sending their Wilmington students to Red Clay in October, has less than 200 students but receives $3.8 million dollars. He doesn’t specify where those funds come from or the nature of them. If anyone has any solid information on this, I would love to see it. I have heard some reference the fact that Colonial owns some of the property on the Port of Wilmington, but this has been a back and forth between both WEIC and Colonial for a few months now and I have yet to see something in writing indicating this one way or another.
Many of the Wilmington resident public comments are in support of the plan, albeit with some reservations. The Wilmington Education Strategy Think Tank even suggests Red Clay and the Brandywine School District merge.
There are numerous public comments in hear that are well worth reading, especially if this plan does get approved. There are valid points on both sides of the coin. Public comment will be accepted until January 14th.
The Delaware State Board of Education is having a workshop at 9am on January 11th concerning the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission redistricting plan. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss and review the WEIC Final Proposal. This is a public meeting as it appeared on the Delaware Public Meeting calendar. It does not state whether public comment is allowed or not. There is not an end time for the meeting either, but the final proposal is very long. At the December State Board of Education meeting, WEIC leaders Tony Allen, Dan Rich and Elizabeth Lockman, along with Joe Pika, presented the proposal to the State Board. There was a lot of discussion during the meeting about whether or not moving the Christina School District schools in Wilmington to Red Clay was the best for students. Later on in their board meeting, President Dr. Teri Quinn Gray was visibly upset about the Christina Priority Schools getting another planning year based on the recommendations of WEIC’s predecessor, the Wilmington Education Advisory Committee. This will definitely be an interesting conversation on the 11th. The State Board of Education will officially vote on the plan at their January 21st regular meeting.
In the plan, WEIC is asking for the state to chip in $6 million to fund the plan, which would bring the Christina students to Red Clay during the 2018-2019 school year. Typically, the Governor of Delaware does not release the following Fiscal Year’s budget until the final days of January. With the board voting on the plan on 1/21 and the budget not being publicly released until most likely a week later, how can the State Board of Education vote on this if they don’t know where the funding will come from? I would not assume the $8 million Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn is asking for from the foreclosure crisis settlement fund, which he would like to see go towards Delaware’s 16 schools with the highest populations of low-income students, would be allocated for the WEIC initiative. Though the funds Denn is asking for are similar in scope to what WEIC would like to see for this new Red Clay Consolidated district map, there are schools outside of that potential new district that would be included in the 16 schools he is requesting funds for.
On December 9th, Governor Markell appeared at the regular meeting of WEIC and announced Red Clay taxpayers would not have to pay for this. If the receiving district of the Christina students (Red Clay) taxpayers aren’t paying for it, then who is? The logical answer would be the taxpayers of Delaware, which by default would include the Red Clay taxpayers.
Oddly enough, this meeting does not appear on the State Board of Education website. Any state board meetings usually appear on there in advance, but it is not known when this meeting was scheduled. Delaware state law does call for any public meeting to have seven-day notification, and by it appearing on the public meeting calendar it did fulfill that requirement.
A gentleman by the name of Floyd McDowell is a huge Bernie Sanders fan. He wants him on the primary ballot so all registered Democrats in Delaware have the opportunity to vote for him should they choose. Here is the message from Mr. McDowell:
This message is a request for the assistance of all who are registered to vote as Democrats in the Delaware 2016 primary and general elections. As one helping to obtain the needed signatures from these registered Democrats to ensure that Senator Bernie Sanders is on our 2016 primary election ballot in our state. It would be a national shame for him or any other national candidate for President not to be on our Delaware ballot.
Signing a petition merely means the person signing agrees that Senator Sanders should be on our 2016 Delaware ballot. Here’s what we ask of registered Democrats receiving this message. If you or others contact me at (302) 832-2799 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for a petition sheet (or more), I will quickly mail one or more to you if you give me your name and postal address. Each petition sheet has space for ten signatures. I will include a stamped envelope addressed to me so the sheets can be returned. Even if you only give your signature and those of family members and friends, this will help our signature count. I will need to receive these mailed signatures by Friday, January 15th so I can get them to Dr. Philip Pollner of Newark who is leading this important project. He will then get all of these signatures notarized as required.
If anyone simply asked me to sign and get signatures to make sure candidates Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley were on our Delaware 2016 ballot, I would gladly help as our Delaware citizens need to have all national candidates for President on our state’s ballot as they decide who they want as our nation’s leader in the forthcoming election. One of the key reasons I fought in WWII and the Korean Conflict as a young enlisted man and officer, along with millions of others.
For those who have requested petition sheets to obtain signatures, I thank you on behalf of our movement to do what is right and just in this important civic responsibility area of our collective lives.
Editor’s Note: This is not an official endorsement for Bernie Sanders. This is just an attempt to get him on the primary ballot. This blog has not officially endorsed their candidate for United States of America President at this point in time.