I’m hearing from multiple sources the Wilmington Christina schools are having problems of epic proportions. Teachers are leaving these schools in epic numbers. Delaware has a teacher shortage so teachers are leaving the city schools and going to other districts. The biggest fear is the uncertainty of keeping their jobs with Governor Carney’s planned consolidation of some of the Wilmington schools.
At one school, Pulaski, 13 out of 24 teachers left which represents over half the teachers there. School starts next Monday. Who will educate the children?
There are some other factors at play here. Many teachers in the district are up in arms over the district’s management style. The mandated and rigid compliance policies set up by the district are burdensome to many teachers. It isn’t that they don’t want to do their job. It is the opposite. They can’t do their jobs effectively because of the policies district sends out.
This has been an ongoing theme in Christina School District. Many feel Human Resources runs the district and always has. That is doesn’t matter who the Superintendent is. Josette Tucker, who runs human resources for the district, is the actual “leader” of the district according to many educators in Christina. Many feel she abuses that position with cronyism. They cite promotions to administration for those who swear allegiance to her. This has created a culture of fear. One teacher said they would love to speak out but they live in constant fear of becoming “Tuckerized” as they put it. This also causes many of the educators to live in constant stress.
Many teachers thought Superintendent Richard Gregg would be able to clean this up when he joined the district last year. But they fear even he is unable to stop what is going on. Even though some administrators have left the district this year, they see the one person who is still there that causes so many problems. They hoped Gregg could move that needle, so to speak, but it hasn’t happened.
So, add it all up. A culture of fear, a Governor-led plan to consolidate schools, and a teacher shortage in the state. This time-bomb is exploding now, in real-time. It will affect the second biggest district in the state in a very big way. Once again, who will teach the children? This is what happens when one person, if the allegations are true, runs any school or district. We have seen this play out time and time again in Delaware and we never learn the lesson.
The Christina Board of Education needs to get on top of this and act fast. School starts in less than a week. This should never happen and if district policies are causing an environment like this they need to radically change what offices in the district are doing.