State Board of Education Having “Workshop” On WEIC Ten Days Before They Vote On The Plan

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.

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5 thoughts on “State Board of Education Having “Workshop” On WEIC Ten Days Before They Vote On The Plan

    • A new year and new way of doing things? Not SBE. They like the way things are done, why change their MO now since they’ve been so successful as far. They know they must keep their activities under wraps until the last minute so they can limit public scrutiny. They don’t want any critical comments from people reviewing their programs. They announce what they are doing, not because they want constructive discourse but rather they know they’re required to publicly notify stakeholders. They’re just going through the motions. Until everyone is removed from their position(s) you will continue to have the same problems and results.
      As noted by Albert Einstein, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

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  1. Kevin: Can you catch me up? I have been in the “weeds” with the Met for the last few months. Where is the evidence that Red Clay is any better equipped to raise achievement than Christina? I thought Red Clay had some high poverty schools that were cited as Priority Schools. I also recall the vote to close Delaware College Prep recently. If Red Clay had the institutional capacity to raise achievement in high concentrations of poverty and trauma- then why haven’t they demonstrated it? If we spend a penny on “plans” and not on reducing class size, hiring qualified reading specialists that include both multi-sensory and direct instruction and accessing instructional materials based on the research from Race to the Top- then we are being damn fools.

    When Thomas Edison Charter School became a Superior School ( 2006-2007) with 90% Free and Reduced Lunch, 90% African American from the City and 90% proficient in some grades, we had oodles of Reading Teachers and a boat load of money for supplies. I think Chuck budgeted over $1,000 per teacher for instructional supplies….maybe more. The teachers were able to choose their supplies so there was no “top down shopping.”

    I remember asking the 7th and 8th grade math teachers what they needed to raise achievement to over 50-70% proficiency and they said: “consumable workbooks so we don’t have to spend all day at the copier”; all of the “add on” products for our curriculum including the games; two “real-wood sharp pencils” per kid per day; a 200 dollar pencil sharpener in each classroom; snacks and money for field trips for the after school clubs.

    They organized the students by ability and had the low class very small- under 20 kids and the high flyers very small- under 20 kids and I think over 80% of the students that were considered high risk met the standard.

    I know the teachers in the early grades wanted new carpet, tons of baskets of books; bags of non-fiction books with lesson plans aligned to the standards so they did not have to spend all weekend with lesson planning in science and social studies and fresh white board markers delivered monthly. They wanted a black marker and individual whiteboard for each student to reduce the amount of paper they had to grade and increase the amount of immediate feedback. I went to Home Depot and had the plain white paneling cut into small squares and bought 2X4’s and drilled holes for pencils so each student could have an extra pencil in inventory.

    Each teacher, individually, sat in the basement and obsessed over their data and were self-reflective. They needed some support, but they owned their data whether it was MAP; SRI; Dibbles or DSTP.

    As their coach, I think I made sure they had the data, highlighters, and coffee and encouragement to be self-reflective when the data showed they were on the right path and collaborative when it showed they were busting their ass but the students were not learning. It was a collaborative, team oriented respectful approach-with money on staff and supplies, not on plans. Seeing 6 million dollars and the word “plan” in the same sentence has set my hair on fire.

    Please survey the teachers about what they think they need to raise achievement first- instead of asking bankers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sue O, reading your comment makes one realize that not all students are going to learn by reading or writing all day no matter how many books, slides, pens/pencils and one-on-one help a teacher provides. As noted on the Wilmington YMCA web sites, both the 11th St and Walnut St Y’s have programs that try to help students at risk. Has anyone contacted the program directors (IM40-Young Health Program; Back on Track; and Wilmington Prevention Coalition) to solicit information regarding their successes? In one state (FL) the Y has been approved as a Charter 6-8 grades. It’s been so successful the school now has 2 Charters one in each county. Maybe the students that have those big files should be attending Kingswood Academy, sponsored by the Wilmington Y – just a suggestion that someone might want to look into. There doesn’t appear to be much physical activity by students at MET. A significant amount of research has been completed that shows a high correlation between student wellness and student achievement. In a recent book by Dr. John R. Ratey, M.D., Spark, new research confirms “exercise stimulates the building blocks of learning within the brain.” He explains that the brain works just as muscles do— growing with use, withering with inactivity— and shows why getting the heart and lungs pumping can mean the difference between a calm, focused mind and a harried, inattentive self. As quoted by Dr. Ratey, “Exercise cues the brain and affects mood, anxiety and attention.”

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  2. Pingback: Major Time Change For January State Board of Education Meeting Due To Governor Markell’s State Of The State Address | Exceptional Delaware

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