I’ve been looking for a common thread in everything I’ve written about what is taking place in Delaware education. One person, so deeply embedded in the forces that are privatizing public education before our very eyes. I believe I found it. A common link to the initiatives taking place. The Public/Private partnerships. Workforce Development. The Delaware Business Roundtable and the Delaware Chamber of Commerce. The Rodel/Vision Coalition. Personalized Learning. The philanthropic ventures into public education. Pathways to Prosperity. I believe I just found the most powerful person in Delaware who is calling ALL the shots. And most of you have probably never even heard the name. Continue reading
The latest Memorandum of Understanding concerning Governor John Carney’s plans for Christina has an ask of $18.5 million in additional state funding to implement the plan. This is, of course, based on approval by the Delaware General Assembly as they hammer out the FY2019 budget over the next six months.
The latest draft of the MOU, authored by Carney’s Education Policy Adviser Jon Sheehan, is a red-lined version. The new wording in the document is all red-lined. Keep in mind this is more than the initial ask from the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission. Carney, from all reports I’ve heard, wants this plan to go through more than anything in the world. How much so? He will most likely do anything to make it happen. I’m not sure why he has made this his top priority in education matters. I think it is a red herring with danger signs written all over it. I believe he is counting on the Christina Board of Education to vote no on it so he can launch some dastardly punitive action against the district. I believe it is the same tactic Governor Markell used with WEIC. Get everyone talking about it knowing full well the General Assembly wasn’t going to approve it. The key difference between this and that is with WEIC the state already had a budget deficit when faced with that vote. This time around, Delaware is boasting of a budget surplus. I believe there are some smoke and mirrors with their numbers and I believe there is some fuzzy math with their formulas. We shall see.
From a legislator’s point of view, the funding for this is based on Wilmington schools. As WEIC learned the hard way, giving extra and significant funding to one portion of the state and not the rest is not an easy task. Like I said the other week, everyone and their mother will be jockeying for their share of the mystical “budget surplus”. In an election year, incumbents will NOT want to tick off voters in their districts. I think Carney knows this. Or he is that stupid. But I’ll go with the former on this one. Which is why I think it is a red herring.
The latest draft appears to have concessions granted to the Christina Board from their last discussion. The Christina Board wanted to change the timeline from the 2018-2019 school year to the 2019-2020 year. But the wording in the draft suggests Carney wants the Dual Generation Center up and running in 2018. If that went through, there would definitely be some type of building movement by August of this year.
In the meantime, check out the latest Jon Sheehan penned draft of the MOU which the Christina Board will vote on at their next board meeting on January 16th. It would have gone to a vote tonight but the meeting was postponed due to inclement weather.
Shelley Suchyj is an educator from the Christina School District. She was also the Exceptional Delaware Hero Of The Year for 2016 for speaking out about the mold issues in her district. As the School Choice window in Delaware will end tomorrow, Suchyj put up a Facebook post with some information that was left out of a recent Delaware Today article by Larry Nagengast.
This is a must read for every politician and parent in Delaware so please share. As the Talented and Gifted Educator for the Christina School District city schools; I have spent over 30 hours already this week, going to student’s houses and helping their parents fill out Choice forms on my personal computer. This is on top of the hours spent with a “carload of parents and students” that I attended open house with at the new Christina Honors Academy two weeks ago. There is a lot that this article doesn’t include, that most don’t even understand. Like the fact that the choice website is only in English and most city parents don’t realize that you only have from November- January of the previous year to apply for Choice in the following year. The biggest hurtle is a perception of what a “good school” is.
I have been an educator for over 23 years, 16 years as an 8th grade teacher helping parents navigate the high school choice decision. Having taught most of my years as an inner city teacher. I have had siblings in the first graduating classes of both Wilmington Charter and Newark Charter when they both opened. I have sons that have attended public, catholic, charter, magnet and choice schools in the state of Delaware since choice began in 1997 and currently. I have to say the biggest issue for everyone in the state of Delaware to understand that there are GREAT programs and things happening in every school.
My own mother thought I was crazy when I took my son out of the, believed to be best catholic school, and put him in a public school. But to this day Marbrook, and the friends, teachers and experiences he had there can not be matched. But that was for him. He learned to speak Spanish fluently not because he learned it in school, because he didn’t, it was because his best friends spoke Spanish when they arrived at school and he needed to be able to communicate when they played soccer at recess and hung out after school. He got to learn a new sport at Dickinson playing varsity lacrosse that he never would have been able to play at Sallies or Wilmington Charter because of the number of kids on the team.
My belief is that every school should have an engineering class, computer class, arts class, music classes, languages and personal finance class option for every child in grades 4-12. Lets figure out what kids are talented in and grow those talents. We have changed the location of where our children can go to school in Delaware through Choice and Charter. Shouldn’t we change what they are taught in school to be successful too? It isn’t 1950 any more.
With sincerest apologies to Suchyj, I promised her I would get this up when I saw it over the weekend, but due to weather and work constraints I was unable to do so. Every parent interested in choicing their child to a different school should look at every possible option and not go solely by reputation. Each child is different and has unique learning methods.
State Representative Earl Jaques introduced House Concurrent Resolution #54 to the House today. This resolution would extend the findings of the School District Consolidation Task Force from January 30th to May 15th this year. The resolution passed unanimously in the House and will go before the Delaware Senate for a voice vote. The prior House Concurrent Resolution which created the task force was HCR #39.
Given the amount of sub-committees involved with this, this comes as no surprise to me. This doesn’t change my prediction of the final recommendations of this task force (of which I am a voting member).
**Updated, 4:22pm, 1/9/18: I spoke with State Rep. Earl Jaques and he okayed putting this joint committee session on the live audio feed. The meeting is scheduled to start at 2:30pm tomorrow, but meetings sometimes start late down at Legislative Hall so be patient! To listen, go to the General Assembly website and go to the “Listen Now” link.
The second leg of the Delaware 149th General Assembly starts today, but tomorrow the House and Senate Education Committees will meet together to hear the Delaware Special Education Strategic Plan Advisory Counsel’s ideas on how to improve special education in The First State. The meeting begins at 2:30pm, but here is a primer: what is the plan? Who is on the committee? Who is on the sub-committees?
To read the entire Strategic Plan, please see below. But here is a summary as per the Delaware Department of Education website:
The goal of the Special Education Strategic Plan Advisory Council is to develop a statewide plan that addresses the delivery of special education within Delaware through a review of existing evidence and within the context of a representative stakeholder process.
All children with disabilities can reach their full potential through a student-centered, individualized education system using a collaborative and supportive model. By asking stakeholders to lead collaboration between schools, families, and communities, Delaware will create inclusive education to ensure student success and growth, and equity of special education and related services across Delaware.
The members of the Delaware Special Education Strategic Plan Advisory Council:
- Co-chair – Dr. Michele Marinucci , Woodbridge School District
- Co-chair – Bill Doolittle , Parent Advocate
- Dafne Carnright, Autism Delaware
- Edward Emmett, Positive Outcomes Charter School
- Katheryn Herel, PIC of Delaware
- Jon Cooper, Colonial School District
- Kendall Massett, Delaware Charter School Rep.
- Rep. Kim Williams, Legislator
- Kristin Dwyer, DSEA
- Kristin Pidgeon, Down Syndrome Association
- Dr. Lisa Lawson, Brandywine School District
- Mary Ann Mieczkowski, Department of Education
- Dr. Sarah Celestin, Red Clay Consolidated School District
- Dr. Vincent Winterling, Delaware Autism Program
- Wendy Strauss, GACEC
- Annalisa Ekbladh, University of Delaware CDS
- Dr. John Marinucci, DASB
- Sonya Lawrence, Parent Advocate
- Teresa Avery, Autism Delaware
- Laurie Kettle-Rivera, Delaware School for the Deaf
- Mark Campano, Delaware Statewide Programs
- Dr. Josette McCullough, Appoquinimink School District
- Mondaria Batchelor, Woodbridge School District
Students: To increase the success of students with disabilities by improving their ability to become active, valued, and participating members of their community, today and in the future, Members: Ed Emmett-Lead, Lisa Lawson, Bill Doolittle, Sonya Lawrence, Wendy Strauss
Staff/Partners: To have a highly engaged and effective workforce with appropriate values, skills, and knowledge for today – and tomorrow’s – work, Members: Elisha Jenkins-Lead, Mark Campano, Annalisa Ekbladh, Josette McCullough, Kristin Dwyer, Kathie Herel
Delivery/Structure Systems: 1) To make available the same array of evidence based practices and models of service deliveries regardless of a student’s placement. 2) To modify delivery system to facilitate the achievement of other goals, Members: Mark Campano-Lead , Vince Winterling, Dafne Carnwright, Sarah Celestin, Jon Cooper, Kristin Pidgeon, Sonya Lawrence
Parents/Families: To increase the engagement with parents and families as partners in collaboration to support their children at home and at school with access and knowledge of the resources they need, Members: Josette McCullough-Lead, Annalisa Ekbladh, Kristin Pidgeon, Kathie Herel
Resources: To acquire more resources as needed and maximize the efficiency in use of our existing resources, Members: Kristin Dwyer-Lead , Michele Marinucci, Teresa Avery, Laurie Kettle-Rivera, Mary Ann Mieczkowski
Policy/Regulations: To add, delete, and modify policies and regulations to support our current and future goals and objectives, Members: Dafne Carnright-Lead, John Marinucci, Mondaria Batchelor, Michele Marinucci, Kim Williams, Bill Doolittle, Mary Ann Mieczkowski
The group has met since the fall of 2016. Last year, they finalized the plan but I will add this is a fluid plan. It will constantly evolve as matters come up. So it is NOT set in stone. It is a living document. I strongly encourage all Delaware parents of students with disabilities read the below document. As well, any educator in the state should read it as well. I would hope every single member of the House and Senate Education Committees have read it by this point.
In addition to the Special Education Strategic Plan Advisory Council, the joint session of the House & Senate Education Committee will also hear from the Delaware Association of School Librarians tomorrow.
This is the second of a seven-part series that outlines a potential future where online education is surveilled by authoritarian interests, and strivers, like Talia and her daughters, attempt to secure a precarious living within the constraints of oppressive “Smart” City policies. The introduction to the series and Part One: Plugging In can be read here.
Part 2: A World Without (Much) Work
As the Fourth Industrial Revolution got underway, automation wiped out more and more jobs. The disappearance of industrial work was grudgingly accepted. Then self-driving vehicles replaced truckers, bus drivers, delivery people, and car services. Even so, many were taken aback when digitization came for the service sector. As Artificial Intelligence hit its stride, teachers, nurses, therapists, paralegals, actuaries, financial advisors, film editors all found themselves cast aside, scrambling for new careers. It seemed everyone who could work switched to coding and cyber security. The threat posed…
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