When you don’t have a leader going on a fifth month is it any wonder the Charter School Office is going to Hell in a hand basket? As the authorizer for seven charter schools under renewal this year, the Delaware Department of Education can’t even follow their own timeline. It seems like things are going on behind the scenes with Newark Charter School during all this.
On November 1st, the initial reports from the Charter School Accountability Committee were supposed to be released. Here we are, November 6th, without a report in sight.
The question has to be asked- why isn’t the Department hiring anyone to lead the Charter School Office? I was told a few weeks ago someone was hired. I followed up with Alison May at the DOE on this who told me someone was hired but had not signed the contract. Three weeks later and the position is still showing as vacant on the DOE website.
Being the authorizer of over 20 charter schools is not an easy task. Which is why you need someone to lead that ship. We all know Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting isn’t taking the reigns. She couldn’t even lasso in Patrick Miller a decade ago when he was playing Catch Me If You Can in Indian River.
Is the Delaware DOE purposely not releasing these reports or is it just a case of being lazy? Or, is it just too much work? In most states, local school districts are the charter school authorizers. With the exception of two charters in Red Clay, the DOE handles the load for the rest. It has become more than obvious they can’t deal with the pressure. Which makes the idea of the “Jaques idea” even more ludicrous.
The “Jaques idea”, widely supported by the likes of DelawareCAN and Rodel is to give the State Board of Education the authority to shut down “failing” school districts. They would be taken over by, you guessed it, the Delaware DOE. And what do you think the DOE will do with those schools? Either run them as an entity of the DOE or convert them into charter schools. Or just shut them down and approve a ton of new charters to fill the slots.
In the midst of all this uncertainty is Newark Charter School. Not too long ago, NCS purchased a plot of land next to their property. Their lofty goals would create a new building for students in 6th-8th grade. Their primary building will hold K-2 and their intermediate building will hold 3-5. What’s the reason for this? Expansion! Is this mentioned in their Charter School Accountability Committee initial report? The DOE knows this would cause a crap load of controversy. Especially since NCS hasn’t submitted a major modification request to increase their enrollment. We shall see when the DOE gets around to doing that thing called their job.