Last Thursday, Delaware Governor John Carney held yet another secret meeting. This one was with Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting and several legislators whose districts are a part of the Christina School District. Those legislators were Senators David Sokola and Bryan Townsend and Reps Earl Jaques, Ed Osienski, Joe Miro, Mike Ramone, Melanie Smith, and John Kowalko. The subject: those damn test scores for Christina!
Carney was pulling the usual “why are Christina’s reading and math scores so low?” If I were a déjà vu kind of guy, I would say it is the same record spun by Governor Markell and former Secretary of Education Mark Murphy. Sokola talked about capacity and too much of it in Christina. Ramone talked about how the state has closed failing charter schools and why not public schools. Jaques talked about how we need to fill schools with psychiatrists and psychologists while not realizing budget cuts have affected the ability to properly staff schools with educators and resources before we even need to get to that point. Miro talked about… who knows! But Kowalko talked about the funding cuts that have already happened that is causing the suffering of poverty students in Christina. He suggested Christina consolidates two of their high schools and actually build a Wilmington high school for Wilmington students so they aren’t bussed all over Christina School District.
Governor Carney is proving to be more of a Jack Markell wannabe than I ever thought he could be. I agree with Kowalko. When Markell cut the reading specialists Governor Ruth Ann Minner created years ago, the problems in Christina got bigger. When Markell began his dance with corporations to “fix” education it got worse. Now we’ve had three years of Smarter Balanced and, as predicted, the scores suck. They suck bad. No one in power ever stops to think the test is the problem. No, we must get new leaders in our schools. We have to fix poverty in the schools. How about creating real jobs, for real people? Not these new start-up tech companies Carney gets excited about. Cause they aren’t going to fix poverty. They are only going to further the divide between the haves and the have nots.
Kowalko told me the only legislator who made any sense was Senator Townsend. The rest, he felt, were playing the same skipped record on Delaware education particularly in Christina. And Secretary Bunting… I don’t know where your head is at these days. You’ve been drinking far too much of the Rodel Kool-Aid lately. Taking money away from districts (see recent articles about match tax) and just giving it away to the charters is not a solution. For someone who came from a large district with financial issues, you sure do seem to be forgetting what is truly needed in education. Who is advising these people? How many other secret meetings are going on? Thank God we have legislators like Kowalko who value transparency above all else.
Rep. Melanie Smith is one of the true catalysts, along with other charter-loving legislators, who don’t care about Christina. They care about the charters they want their kids and grandchildren to go to. And a few of them who have relatives that teach at charter schools. The jig is up. You aren’t fooling any of us with your grand posturing and false bravado. Smith, Jaques, Sokola, Ramone, Miro… enough already. The charter lobbyists don’t need to shove anything up your ass. You do it gladly all on your own.
We have a Secretary and Governor who allow situations like the train wreck that is Providence Creek Academy’s administration and the continuing de facto segregation factory called Newark Charter School. You want to put your money where your mouths are? Don’t let the charters bitch for one iota of a second about match tax and all their other funding whining when they get to keep their damn transportation slush fund. It is a disgrace. Democrat or Republican, it doesn’t matter. Most of you support it as evidenced by your budget vote every single damn year. The ones that say no to that… those are the ones I respect down at Legislative Hall. The rest of you are phoneys pretending to be lawmakers. Allowing charters to suck at the public teat while cutting funds from districts. And Bunting… perhaps the biggest traitor of them all allowing this to continue. I thought coming from a district you were going to be the watcher on the wall against this crap. But you have proven to be just like the other Governor mouthpieces for education.