Christiana High School wasted no time getting the application for their controversial “Middle School Academy” out to the public. The board approved this kind-of-magnet school last week with a 5-1 vote. The program, slated to start next year with 6th graders, seems to love the word rigor. Many concerned parents in the district have raised serious questions about potential discrimination and what effect this will have on the already existing middle schools in the district. One commenter on an earlier article I posted about this said “Honors programs should be down the hall.” I fully agree with this commenter. I hate the name of this program. It reeks of elitism and sounds like something it is pretending to be and wants to be, but really shouldn’t. It sounds really pretentious and sort of obnoxious. “My child goes to Middle School Academy”… I can hear it already…
The Christiana Middle School Honors Academy requires a high degree of commitment to academic and extra-curricular activities. Our vision offers selected middle school students the opportunity to become academically accomplished, confident, and well-rounded. Selected students will be educated using a rigorous curriculum focused on developing core knowledge, critical thinking and reasoning skills. This will be accomplished by providing each student with a smaller learning community that builds confidence and knowledge which will enhance their individual high school experience.
Aside from the extra-curricular activities, isn’t that what Common Core was supposed to bring to Delaware education to begin with? Why is this district using the same boring Governor Markell talking points to sell this program?
But in the application, one of the requirements is for the student’s Smarter Balanced scores. A quarter of the rubric for the application is weighted toward Smarter Balanced scores. But here is the elephant in the room… what if the student was opted out of Smarter Balanced by their parents? Christina has a board policy which states no student shall be penalized if they are opted out of the wretched test. But this application says nothing about that or gives any indication they would change the formula in that situation. This could cause students or parents who opted their child out to not apply because of the absence of this information. As well, who is determining what the placement test will look like? Has this been approved by the Christina Board of Education? Is this test used by other schools? Has this test been vetted and verified for its effectiveness? If the parent statement is not a part of the rubric, why are they requiring it with the application? Does the parent statement have any weight on the decision of placement? Is there a panel who approves the application or just a principal? What are the qualifications of whoever approves the applications?
Yeah, let’s throw some more controversy gas on an already raging fire!