Thinking Out Loud

The first thing I’m wondering is how many people will go past the read more part of this article if they are just going to my homepage to see what I wrote beneath that.  But seriously, the main thing I’ve been thinking about (in regards to education) is a state legislator and a charter school.  And how, when everything comes up, somehow, some way, it always circles back to the two.Delaware Senator David Sokola and Newark Charter School.  Sokola and Newark Charter School Head of School Greg Meece.  They compliment each other well.  Arrogant.  Stubborn.  Pigheaded.  Stuck in their ways.  I can’t help but think that 99% of the education legislation Sokola puts forth is meant to, in some way, benefit Newark Charter School.  The charter school audit bill that Kim Williams had was excellent.  But Sokola just couldn’t accept it for some reason.  Neither could the Newark Charter School.  They fought it like their lives depended on it.  Did you know Greg Meece once ran the Delaware Charter Schools Network?  Just sayin’…  There have been other odd things happening lately as well when it comes to audits.  Did you know Kathleen Davies, who was the Chief Auditor at the Delaware Auditor’s of Accounts office mysteriously disappeared from that job?  It’s been a while now.  Shortly after that office released the September 30th Enrollment Count audit.  While rumor has it the DOE didn’t like that report (even though they were the ones that requested it), I can’t help but feel there is more to it than that.

Last winter, I submitted a tip to that office about Newark Charter School.  How they didn’t really qualify to be exempt from filing a 990 tax form.  On paper they may have, but whatever qualifications they had were so ambiguous and vague.  They have used the same auditor since the Stone Age.  Senator David Sokola has been in office longer than they have been around.  In fact, he helped set them up.  The school has thrived on standardized test scores ever since they opened.  Parents just can’t wait to get their kids in there, away from the big, bad Christina.  No wonder Sokola couldn’t stomach the opt out movement.  If schools weren’t judged based on those scores, Newark Charter School would be just like the rest.  Almost as if… no, I won’t go there.  Anyways, Davies’ September 30th Enrollment Report inspection report is no longer on Delaware State Auditor Tom Wagner’s website.  Good thing I still have it.  As well, she did a report on the Millville Fire Department.  It was redone by Tom Wagner and her name was taken off the report.  She had some other pending charter school audits as well.  I know one was about a petty cash audit cause Charter School of Wilmington put it in their board minutes.  I wonder what that was all about…how odd…

And then there was House Bill 399, the teacher evaluation bill that Sokola gutted and amended.  Everyone assumed he was doing it to benefit the DOE and ex-employee Atnre Alleyne.  Maybe part of it was.  But there was that whole part about student and teacher surveys.  I wouldn’t have thought otherwise until someone told me that Newark Charter School used to (not sure if they still do) give students and parents surveys.  Apparently the results determine a teacher’s bonus.  One teacher asked to see the surveys as she never had any issues with parents.  Because she pried into this practice, along with other things, she was let go.  How ironic that a school that Sokola highly supports just happens to have student and parent surveys.  How ironic that Sokola just happens to insert this language in a bill about teacher evaluations.

There are other things.  The fact the Office of Civil Rights still hasn’t released anything on the complaint filed by the Delaware ACLU about discrimination in charter schools in Delaware.  You know, the one that was filed with that office a year and a half ago.  And how on another OCR complaint, all the charter schools in Delaware were asked to submit their applications from the past two years, and none of them seemed to keep them.  The Delaware Charter Schools Network (DCSN) was in charge of getting all them together.  I always wondered how DCSN head Kendall Massett seemed to have so much clout at Legislative Hall.  She and Sokola seem to have equal thoughts on a lot of bills.  How ironic…

I really shouldn’t be thinking such thoughts about our esteemed Senator.  He’s been there since before Hanson came out with Mmm Bop.  Not only is he the head of the Senate Education Committee, but also the Senate Chair of the Bond Committee.  You know, the committee that sets the capital improvement amounts for the state.  Including minor capital improvement allocations for school districts.  And charter schools.  Say, didn’t State Rep. John Kowalko mention something about the Christina School District getting $1.1 million for minor capital improvements and Newark Charter School getting over $260,000?  I’m sure that matches up evenly between the number of buildings each has and the number of students, right?  Let me just check, just to be sure.  Christina, as of their 9/30/15 enrollment count had 15,553 students and at least over 15 buildings.  Newark Charter School had 2,140 students and two buildings.  If you are using some rigorous Common Core math whiz personalized learning system, I’m sure that the ratios are equal.  Okay, just kidding.  Assuming they have at least 15 buildings, that would be 1 building for every 1,000 students.  It’s probably more, but I digress.  So say the minor capital improvements are set at $130,000 per building.  Then Newark Charter School has the right amount!  And Christina school district would have $1,950,000.  Wait one darn minute, that doesn’t seem right.  Oh wait, we simpletons aren’t supposed to understand math like this.

Just thinking out loud…


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Kevin Ohlandt

I am a proud parent of a son with Tourette's Syndrome and several other co-morbidities. I write on this blog to educate other parents so they know a bit more about not only special education, but all the really bad things that are happening with public schools in Delaware and the USA. We are all in this together, and if our children aren't able to advocate for themselves it's up to us parents! We need to stop letting companies run our schools, and demand our children get a proper education. Our Departments of Education in our states have become weak with fear from the bullying US DOE, and we need to take back our schools!

7 thoughts on “Thinking Out Loud”

  1. parent surveys at NCS: they are used to serve the agenda of Mr.Meece. A teacher may be informed of the only negative parent comment, and if that teacher has been targeted for anything, it will be the justification for a scant bonus. if parent surveys had as their purpose, improved instruction, all would be shared with the teachers. however, at this school, that is clearly not their purpose.
    this is not a healthy practice as it pits colleagues against each other, and makes parents potential anonymous adversaries, rather than transparent partners.
    additionally, mr. meece always has a mole or two, and is quick to dispose of them once their dirty work is done. independent thinking is not just undervalued, it is traitorous.
    differing opinions are best concealed.

    it’s wonderful to teach classes with little to no behavior problems, but not worth selling one’s soul for.

    Liked by 1 person

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