At the Capital School District Board of Education Committee, Dover High School Principal Courtney Voshell gave a presentation on the proposed new graduation regalia. Traditionally, the girls wore white and the boys wore blue. Voshell explained the rationale for the change during their board meeting:
I think it’s important to also address the fact that we have some students that gender identification is an awkward conversation for some of our students. It’s definitely not the majority but it happens. In the past two years that I have been leading the school, it has become a conversation where a student doesn’t want to wear one color or the other because that’s not the gender they are identifying with. And for me, it’s just not a time we should make any student feel awkward. This is their day. They worked really hard for it.
Voshell also noted this will be the first year the new Dover High School will have graduating students that attended the school all four years in the new building. Because of this, the extra $10.00 fee for the new uniforms would be covered by the school through a student services funding bucket for this year’s graduating class. Voshell also cited parent concerns about not having graduation in alphabetical order in the past and parents didn’t know when their child was coming up next to receive their diploma. In the past, students tended to be set up in a stripe pattern with girls in white rows and boys in blue rows. Beginning this year, graduating seniors will be seated in alphabetical order.
This presentation was not an action item for the Capital School Board but merely a discussion item.
Last night, the Red Clay Consolidated School District Board of Education voted unanimously for the district to develop an Equity Plan through their long-standing Diversity Committee. The resolution, written by board member Adriana Bohm, would charge the committee to develop the Equity Plan, which will be presented to the board by April of 2018. Many community members came out to give public comment in support of plan.
Where this gets a bit sticky is the two charter schools Red Clay authorizes, Charter School of Wilmington and Delaware Military Academy. As their authorizing agent, Red Clay can conduct their charter renewal process along with formal reviews, modifications, and other such matters. But they cannot dictate district policy to those schools and make them follow it. Both schools have substantially lower populations of racial groups the Diversity Committee would talk about. Failure to address this huge gap between the districts and those charters would ignore the inherent and not-to-be ignored problems of race in the district. Based on enrollment preferences, those schools have the tendency to pick and choose who they want based on “specific interest”.
I definitely think Bohm’s resolution is a good one. Red Clay had mixed results with their Inclusion Plan over the past few years which has prompted significant changes in the way the district handles special education. Based on 2016-2017 data, Red Clay has more minorities than white students, with the largest of those minorities being Hispanic students at around 30%. But what I don’t want to see this committee doing is basing student success on Smarter Balanced Assessment scores. I do not believe these are a valid measurement of student success in any possible way. Many in the African-American community feel these are a valid measurement since they include all students, but when the test is flawed it is not a good measurement.
It’s been a while since I conducted a series of polls in one post based on current education issues. These are some of the big-topic issues facing Delaware education along with some political hot-button issues!
In a shocking announcement, the Delaware American Civil Liberties Union wants to sue the State of Delaware over education funding. But the announcement was not made by the ACLU but rather a Capital School District Board of Education member at their meeting last evening.