Exclusive: Public Integrity Commission Slams Odyssey’s Board; Potential McGuiness Ties To AHEPA Creates Huge Conflicts of Interest

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On April 2nd, the Delaware Public Integrity Commission wrote a letter to the Odyssey Charter School Board of Directors which showcased a plethora of financial improprieties, conflicts of interest, and co-mingled interests involving their board and the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA).  The Odyssey Board of Directors has nine members, five of which belong to AHEPA.  Currently, Odyssey is beginning a formal review by the Delaware Department of Education after the State Board of Education voted to place the charter school under review last week.

The letter concludes with the following: Continue reading

Odyssey Charter School Responds To Their Formal Review With Letters To Parents, Students and Teachers

After the State Board of Education put Odyssey Charter School under formal review last night, school leaders wrote a letter to the Odyssey community with a response.  In addition, I got my hands on the school’s response to Leroy Travers, the leader of the Charter School Office over at the Department of Education!

Odyssey Goes Under Formal Review For Financial & Governance Reasons

Yesterday, the Delaware State Board of Education voted in the majority to put Odyssey Charter School under formal review for six violations of Delaware state code. Continue reading

State Board of Education To Decide If Odyssey Will Get A Formal Review

While it doesn’t appear on the agenda for their meeting this Thursday, it is expected the Delaware State Board of Education will vote if Odyssey Charter School will get a formal review.  This gained a lot more traction based on an email that went out from school leadership to interested parties last Thursday. Continue reading

Did Hegedus Campaign Violate Election Law In Illegal Emails To State Teachers?

A school board campaign in Delaware could be breaking the law and they are turning what should be a fair election into a disgrace.  And how could a member of this campaign benefit should her ghost candidate win?  And which legislator is foolishly endorsing a candidate that won’t serve if elected? Continue reading

Design Thinking Academy Next Delaware Charter School To Shut Down

Another Delaware charter school is shutting down at the end of the 2018-2019 school year as Design Thinking Academy will close.  Despite receiving a $10 million dollar grant from XQ schools and changing their name last fall from Delaware Design-Lab High School to Design Thinking Academy the five-year old charter school could not retain and recruit new students.

On the charter school’s website the following announcement appeared tonight:

Design Thinking Academy Community, it is with a heavy heart that I write tonight to inform you that Design Thinking Academy will close its doors at the end of this school year. On Thursday night, the school’s board of directors voted to relinquish our charter to the state.

This is a decision we did not take lightly. Frankly, it was not unanimous. But the simple truth is this: We have been unable to attract the number of students needed to keep our school financially viable.

For the past two years, we have worked to reverse our declining enrollment numbers, but those efforts have not resulted in the applications we need to be viable. We fell below the minimum enrollment mandated by our charter as of May 1. Due to this, we will not be able to run this school with the excellence that your children deserve.

I want to make one point very clear: We will finish this school year. Our seniors will graduate, our students will continue to attend classes, and our doors will remain open. A few school days at the end of the school year calendar may not be needed to meet state requirements. If the decision is made to cancel school on any specific days, an updated calendar will be sent out as soon as possible.

It is important that you immediately start thinking about what school your students will attend next year. We hope to provide the resources you need to find the right school for your student. Starting tonight, you can go to bit.ly/DEPublicSchools for information about Delaware public schools. Lists of schools with openings and dates for school Open Houses will be on our website and sent home with students tomorrow. In addition, the Delaware Charter Schools Network will host a school fair on campus in late May, where representatives from Delaware schools with openings for the 2019-20 school year will be available to help you through the application process. As soon as we confirm a date, we will let you know.

I understand this will be a difficult time for everyone involved – students, staff, and teachers alike. If you have any questions about the process or the reason why this decision was  made, please feel free to reach out to me at dtaboardofdirectors.com or the school at 302- 292-5450.

On behalf of the board, administration, and staff of Design Thinking Academy, I want you to know that it has been our honor to educate your students over the past four years. To our students, I wish this story could have a different ending, but as this chapter closes, another begins for you, and I have no doubt you will design a great future.

While the charter school didn’t receive the entire $10 million dollar grant from XQ it begs the question of how well they spent the money they did receive.  To see a list of the issues that plagued the school from the get-go, please go here: Delaware Design-Lab

In a school year where Delaware got a federal grant to expand charter schools this is a clear sign that being overzealous with charter school openings is never a good thing.  Following charter closures such as Delaware Academy of Public Safety & Security, Prestige Academy, Delaware Met, and others, Design Thinking Academy follows the disturbing trend of charter closures in Delaware.

Picture Of The Day!!!!

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Email The Christina Board of Education To Vote NO On Any Reduction In Force Of Teachers

After failing to pass their referendum last week, the Christina School District Board of Education will hold a board meeting tomorrow night.  The first action item?  A reduction in force.  This means they will vote to fire a ton of teachers.  It won’t be the first time their board voted on something like this but they can do something different this time.  They can vote a resounding NO for this action item.

Many will ask the same question: then where does the money come from?  Simply put, Christina School District is too big to fail.  Who is going to take them over?  The Delaware Department of Education?  They don’t have the capacity or the money to do the job.  The charter schools?  Hell no!  They are not one organization with a ton of umbrella schools under the same name.  Like the banks in 2008, the answer is simple- a state bailout of the district.  Force them into a bankruptcy type situation and let the legislators dole out the money to save them.

For far too long teachers in this district have been forced to sweat it out come referendum time.  Their jobs, along with their livelihoods, have been put on the firing line every single time a referendum comes along.  The madness has to end and has to end now.  If you agree, email the Christina Board of Education between now and tomorrow night (May 7th) at 7pm or show up to their meeting at Gauger-Cobbs Middle School, 50 Gender Road, in Newark, DE.  Give loud and proud public comment urging the board to vote NO on their latest gambit to fire teachers.  Their email is CSDBoardMembers@Christina.k12.de.us and I would strongly suggest emailing them NOW!  Then go a step further and sign THIS PETITION on Change.org.

Yes, this is a drastic step.  But it is time for the state of Delaware to stop with their silly education funding games and finally take education seriously.  It is time for the legislators to stop whining and be forced to do something.  The students and teachers of Delaware can not afford any more half measures.  It has to be go big or go home!

How Do You Solve A Problem Like Christina? Cathy Hegedus Sure As Hell Isn’t The Answer!!!!

It wouldn’t be a school board election season without some controversy springing out of the Christina School District.  Hot on the heels of the district’s crushing loss in their referendum last week, Christina voters will head to the polls again on May 14th to elect the District D candidate.  Many are trying to make sure two-time board member John Young does NOT get re-elected.  But the biggest threat to the district does not exist with Young.  It lies within. Continue reading

McGuiness Rewards Election Fix With A BIG Job

Remember last year when Kathy McGuiness won the election for State Auditor?  Remember all the public smearing of Kathleen Davies that the News Journal unabashedly did?  Remember WHERE they got all that information?  Remember McGuiness won the primary against Davies and Dennis Williams but probably wouldn’t have without the tarnishing of Davies?  Who was the primary force behind Davies ousting?  None other than Andrena Burd.  She was the one who was instrumental in Davies very long leave of absence and subsequent unemployment hearings.  Eventually, Davies was reinstated at the Auditor of Accounts where she currently works.

Not long after the primary, Burd managed to find herself at a cushy auditing job over at Delaware State University where McGuiness just happened to be on their board at the time.  It turns out loyalty is very rewarding for Andrena Burd.  One former employee had A LOT to say about her recent re-hiring at the Auditor of Accounts office.  And for the record, why does Kathleen McGuiness have to make such a big deal with these swearing-in ceremonies?  Is this just practice for her dream to become the Governor of Delaware?  Or does she have her eyes set on an even bigger prize?  In any event, let’s hear what the former AOA employee has to say!

Well, it seems Ms. Burd has landed back in the AOA and with a promotion at that.  All the other folks have left because of the stuff that went down.  But Burd stayed out of the fray till it was over and now McGuiness has hired her back.  Hmm… Probably to work on getting Davies fired again.  Burd is bagging and boasting.

Burd, who was discredited by the Unemployment Insurance officer and the MERB did not seem to faze McGimick too much.  After her testimony that she thought Davies violated standards it turned out as a complete embarrassment for Burd as she did not know as much as she portrayed.  She has no morals or ethics.

How much does McGimick owe Burd for getting her elected to the AOA?  A new position?  A promotion?  And this happened after Tammy Smith left the office.  Burd would probably have not gotten that position if Smith did not leave.  Burd set up Smith, Tatman, Judy, and others.  Glad I got out in time!!!  She got promoted while all others left.  A pretty good assessment of the situation.

How many individuals have left since McGuiness took over?  Quite a few and more to follow.

As for McGuiness’ campaign promise of more transparency coming from the Auditor of Accounts office, it seems she is the sole force on the office’s website.  Even under former State Auditor Tom Wagner you could see other names on there.  But this is McG’s show and it always has been.  I have yet to see ANY investigative audits coming out of the office but this doesn’t shock me.  I’ve heard tales of some crazy stuff going on there that would make the office seem as corrupt as ever but that is a story for another day.

Was the Common Core Successful?

The simple answer is a big and fat resounding NO!!!!

Diane Ravitch's blog

It is probably far too soon to know whether the Common Core succeeded or failed, but the studies are beginning to appear.

The adoption of the Common Core standards was a central requirement of the Obama-Duncan Race to the Top program. States had to agree to adopt the Common Core if they wanted to be eligible to compete for $5 billion in federal funds. The Gates Foundation paid for the Common Core, from its writing to its implementation, at a cost estimated between hundreds of millions to $2 billion. (If anyone can determine how much money Bill Gates plowed into the CCSS, I will salute them on this blog). Arne Duncan could not pay for them because federal law bars any federal official from influencing curriculum or instruction. But Duncan did pay $360 million to pay for two testing consortia to develop new tests for the CCSS. PARCC and Smarter…

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