The Lies Greg Meece Says About Newark Charter School

Greg Meece runs Newark Charter School.  For 18 years, Newark Charter School is rated not only one of the top charter schools in Delaware but one of the top schools.  There is a multitude of reasons for this but it boils down to diversity.  At their public hearing for their charter renewal process, Meece made a comment that is sure to rile up the diversity crowd all over again.  Meece openly lied about his own school.

Our student diversity closely mirrors the population of New Castle County, Delaware.

Yes, Greg Meece said this at the October 15th Public Hearing for NCS.  He said those words.  Anyone who follows this kind of stuff in Delaware public education knows the real deal.  NCS has a student population that is vastly different from any school around them.  It wasn’t a coincidence that Meece used the words “New Castle County”.  He wouldn’t dare say his student population mirrors that of the Christina School District.  Even though the school’s five-mile radius limits students from New Castle County from applying.  It even limits students who are a part of the Christina School District.  The five-mile radius allows NCS to enjoy the benefits of certain student populations in the school.

I thought I would give Meece the benefit of the doubt and check to see if his boasting was correct.

I’ve always found it ironic that NCS has such a high population of Asian students.  In fact, they have more Asians than African-American students.  Back in the day, when Meece actively began his social engineering experiment at NCS, he could be heard yelling “We need more Asians!”  He will, of course, deny ever saying this.  But it looks like he got his wish.

Greg Meece might want to buy some Windex for that mirror!  Because NCS student population nowhere comes close to that of the rest of New Castle County.  Given how much heat this school tends to get for their diversity, I find Meece’s remark about this sensitive topic to be very disrespectful.  But he doesn’t care.  He could tell the Delaware DOE to pound sand and they would still bow to Meece.

Newark Charter School is a public school that welcomes students regardless of their background or abilities.

The numbers say something different Meece.  I respect school choice and the right of parents to choose what school they feel is best for their children.  I don’t hate charter schools.  What I can’t stand is the audacity of someone like you not admitting that your enrollment policies and preferential treatment based on a five-mile radius has benefitted the supposed “success” of your school.  The below transcript has Meece raving about the schools standardized test scores, whether it is the Smarter Balanced Assessment or the SAT.  Meece knows standardized tests are a socio-economic indicator.  It is the very reason NCS does so well on them.  But he is a bald-faced liar if he thinks his school matches any part of New Castle County aside from the façade he has built at his own school.

I won’t deny the success of NCS but I will always question how they got there.  Meece is an absolute idiot for saying what he did.  He should really know better but I guess when you live in a silo the only thing you can hear is yourself.

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16 thoughts on “The Lies Greg Meece Says About Newark Charter School

  1. Notes for the DE DOE: the relevant demographic comparison for Newark Charter School is the population of children ages 5-18 who live within the “five mile radius” from which the school draws nearly all its student population. Demographics for that population can be obtained, based on US census block data, but it takes some work (since the NCS five-mile radius is not a geographic jurisdiction that any government entity uses or on the basis of which anyone else is compiling data). Sometimes NCS has used City of Newark data as a comparison for its student demographics, which is misleading for three primary reasons: demographics have shifted in recent generations, so all-ages demographic data in Newark (and in NCCo) is different from (and whiter than) data for children; the five-mile radius encompasses an area larger than and more socio-economically diverse than the City of Newark; and the US census data includes Univ. of Delaware students, most of whom are in the area temporarily (after age 18) and the vast majority of whom–esp. among undergraduates–are white.

    Second, the important question regarding NCS student enrollment is less who is admitted than who is retained. Every child comes with a set amount of state & local $ that the school is happy to receive. Some students turn out to require unanticipated services (such as for special learning needs) or labor (such as disciplinary), and the central question is whether the school allows all children to stay after the infamous “Sept 30 count” regardless of those factors (that is, despite any recognition that a particular kid will be unusually expensive, unruly, or low performing). As this blog post indicates, the state’s own demographic data raises serious questions about the segregative impact of Newark charter school (along with some other selective-enrollment DE public schools), but so far the state has been unwilling to acknowledge and investigate those questions. Citizens, individually and in larger organizations, have suggested how this can be done and even offered some of the relevant data sets to use, but they have been ignored.

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  2. NCS has a random lottery. Preferences are given to families of founders (although, I doubt that many are of school age at this point). Then to children of staff members. Then to siblings. Then to those in the 5 mile. Then to all. The 5 mile radius was following the idea that neighborhood schools are better for children. Given the randomness of the lottery, NCS’s numbers reflect the people who check an interest box for NCS, which might not be the same ratios of the surrounding era. Or, do you, like Harvard, have something against those students with Asian heritage?

    Why aren’t you more concerned with the failure of a school district, then with the results of a random lottery?

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    • My concern is for all education but some things stick out like a sore thumb. I didn’t create NCS’ demographics and while they may be making slow increments towards that diversity, Meece’s boast in a public hearing was insensitive and disrespectful.

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      • I’m very tired of everyone being separated into various groups. My race is no one’s business, neither is my income. I don’t like my children placed into boxes based on their parents’ DNA or education.

        I was part of the original group forced onto school busses. My elementary school, a school close enough to walk to, was closed. We were forced into busses for hours a day so that we could go to schools that were nowhere close to where we lived. The first day at the new school, I watched as one girl pushed another through the second floor bathroom window. That year, the teachers went on a month plus long strike, I watched riots in the school, and I saw girls rip out each other’s earrings. Nothing that happened to any of the children was important to the powers that be. Only that we were now forced into schools that checked the right boxes. And, after 40 years, they still have not improved the schools as promised.

        But, as a parent, I will do whatever it takes so that my children do not have to go through what they forced upon me. Be it private, parochial, or charter.

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        • Tired, I respect your choice to do what you feel is best for your child. In the midst of this long-time NCS argument about diversity is the sad fact that district schools do deal with issues some charters may not.

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  3. Where is your proof of Meece saying “We need more Asians?” Who is the bald faced liar if you have no documentation of that quote?
    https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/newarkcitydelaware,newcastlecountydelaware/PST045217
    While the numbers within each individual group vary, when looking at white, non Hispanic compared to all other races the numbers match NCC (65% white, 35% all other races & multiracial groups. The white population is actually lower than Newark’s. Newark’s Asian population is more than 50% higher than NCC’s while the Black or African American population of Newark is a third of NCC’s. Did you consider the possibility that a significantly larger percentage of Asian families apply to NCS than other minority groups? Could it be possible that some tight-knit Asian communities share application information and therefore skew the demographics? That can’t be possible to you, though, because it doesn’t fit your NCS is racist mantra, could it?
    This is a re-hash of old arguments but your listing of districts is intentionally excluding data from private & home school students. The reason that is relevant is there are families who would not choose some of the district schools because of their reputations, fairly acquired or not, but will consider charter schools. They are still part of the population and should not be excluded simply because they don’t fit your argument.
    Again rehashing old debates, the five mile radius is no different than feeder patterns for schools within the districts. If the feeder pattern fills a school, choice applications are not accepted. Choice applications are only considered when there are open seats. I don’t understand why you, Ms. Buckley, and John Kowalko absolve districts of the feeder pattern policies but attack NCS and other charter schools. If you actually believed your argument, you would be pushing for open enrollment lotteries for all New Castle County or district schools. That would allow the equal opportunity of access to all highly requested schools within the district as well as charter schools you claim to be fair. It would also become a logistical nightmare to handle transportation.
    Local schools provide easier access to parents to get to the school in addition to reducing the bus ride times for students attending those schools. It benefits the students, families, and schools.
    You omit facts to support your position. Lies of omission are lies just the same.

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    • Things are said and people overhear them all the time. I will say Meece said it a long time ago but that doesn’t change the fact he said it. In the education blog world, documentation is rare. Even harder is getting someone to put their name on something for fear of retaliation. It’s almost like the mob in that respect. In terms of Meece’s comment about New Castle County, he was wrong. His thinly veiled attempt at making it look like NCS mirrors the schools around him failed and failed miserably. If I were you Guest, I would ask Mr. Meece himself if he actively targeted getting more Asians into the school than other minorities in an effort to make the school’s test scores higher back in the early 2000s.

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      • How do you know he said it? Were you present? The fact is you heard someone who doesn’t like Meece, NCS, or both claim that he said it. Because you don’t like him, you believe it. That is your right. To claim it is a fact is to demonstrate that you don’t understand the term. It is a rumor you choose to believe.
        Where is your evidence of targeting Asians to apply to the school? Do you have flyers? Do you have any documentation of him or NCS representatives going to Asian religious or cultural events to encourage applications?
        I don’t have to ask Meece. You made the claim. You are responsible to back it up with factual support. Until you do, you are a liar and a gossip.
        This is why you have no credibility. You are part of the problem of rampant misinformation in today’s society.
        You denied Kowalko lied in his letter to constituents claiming he never tried to cut NCS’ transportation funds. I copied the amendment you said (in an earlier post) he had ready saying the funds would be removed. You still denied it.
        I linked census data that provides some support to Meece’s statement. You didn’t bother to look at it. It was not a perfect statement but combining the minority populations does match a total of the minority populations in the county (35%).
        Your concept of truth leaves a lot to be desired.

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        • Funny thing guest. You said those who told me didn’t like Meece. I never said if they liked him or not or what their opinion of him was. Yet you jumped to that conclusion. Funny how you talk about jumping to conclusions. Tells me you have intimate knowledge on the subject. Furthermore, overall population does not immediately transfer an equal balance to student populations. There is a difference.

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          • Something tells you don’t associate with anyone who has a good opinion of Meece or NCS. You have yet to back either of your claims with evidence to support them. It further demonstrates that you have no credibility.
            Just as you say overall population doesn’t transfer an equal balance, neither does excluding private & home schooled students. Yet, you have no problem doing that.

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        • Insisting that funds provided and allocated for “student transportation” that are over and above what is spent for “student transportation” be returned to the General Fund is “IN” Delaware Code/Law and has been since Charter Schools were first created. Money that is allotted for a specific reason (student transportation) that is not needed for that purpose must be returned. Failing to enforce that law is betrayal of the taxpayer trust and “NOT” I repeat “NOT” taking “ANY” money away from charters or other schools that is theirs. You are either not understanding the reality of the law or choosing to fabricate your own reality when you falsely accuse me of lying.
          Representative John Kowalko

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          • “If the actual negotiated or bid costs are lower than the maximum rate, the charter school may keep the difference to provide services to low-income and/or English-Language Learners.”
            “Failing to enforce that law is betrayal of the taxpayer trust”
            The legislators were elected to make law which includes appropriating funds. When the laws are passed to specify the use of funds, it is exercising the taxpayer trust, not betraying it.
            Have you ever proposed amendments to grant extra funds to programs by utilizing funds not spent in other areas as directed by law? If so, you have betrayed the taxpayer trust according to your own words.
            If the taxpayers feel that a legislator has betrayed their trust, they have the opportunity to replace them. My hope is that we see that tomorrow. It will be in the best interest of Newark. You have been poisonous to this community.

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  4. According to the reimbursement formula for school district transportation costs, if districts are given more than they deserve, then they are required to return that extra amount. The Delaware Code and the Delaware Administrative Code implicitly require school districts to return the additional money.
    Charter schools are explicitly mandated to return unused transportation funding by Delaware
    Code, title 14, section 508.
    DE CODE, TITLE 14

    § 508. Responsibility for student transportation.

    The charter school may request to have the school district where the charter school is located transport students residing in that district to and from the charter school on the same basis offered to other students attending schools operated by the district, or to receive from the State a payment equal to 75% of the average cost per student of transportation within the vocational district in which the charter school is located and become responsible for the transportation of those students to and from the charter school. In the case of students not residing in the district where the charter school is located, the parents of such students shall be responsible for transporting the child without reimbursement to and from a point on a regular bus route of the charter school. In lieu of the payment from the State specified above, if a charter school utilizes a contractor for student transportation the charter school shall publicly bid the routes, and the State shall reimburse the charter school for the actual bid costs only if lower than the payment specified above. Notwithstanding the foregoing, a student at a charter school shall receive such transportation assistance as is made available to students pursuant to a public school choice program established by this Code provided that such student otherwise meets the eligibility requirements for such assistance. In the event a charter school chooses to transport students itself, it shall do so in accordance with all public school transportation safety regulations. Local school districts and charter schools shall cooperate to ensure that the implementation of this chapter does not result in inefficient use of state appropriations for public school transportation and the State Board shall exercise its authority to approve bus routes so as to avoid such waste.

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    • You didn’t answer the question. Have you ever supported legislation that funds allocated by law that are not spent (due to savings, reduced costs or otherwise) be reallocated and spent on something else? Did you ever support DELDOT funds to be reallocated to another project because it came in under budget? If the answer is yes, you have betrayed the taxpayer trust according to your own words.
      Either you expect all funds to be spent exclusively on what original legislation requires and nothing else or you are betraying the taxpayer trust.
      The fact that you don’t like those saved funds being spent on Low-income or English Language Learners in charter schools does not make it a betrayal of taxpayer trust. It just makes it something you don’t like.
      Please answer the first question prior to responding because you are either a lying hypocrite or you have been uncharacteristically silent in other “betrayals” of taxpayer trust, which would also make you a hypocrite.

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