Delaware General Assembly May Produce Bill To Ban Charter Enrollment Preferences

“I don’t know how much longer we can talk about the high-performing charter sector if there’s an asterisk next to some of them” because of the preferences, she (Jennifer Nagourney) says.

Jaques says the House Education Committee may consider legislation this spring to remove preferences from the admissions process.”

According to this article from Larry Nagengast on WDDE, the 148th General Assembly may see a bill introduced to get rid of charter school enrollment preferences in Delaware.  Discussion in the article was around the whole charter school environment in Delaware, but this shocker towards the end caused my jaw to drop.

I think it’s great that Jennifer Nagourney with the Charter School Office at the Delaware Department of Education is taking a hard look at the reality of charters in Delaware, specifically Wilmington.  With a pending ACLU complaint being looked at by the US DOE’s Office of Civil Rights, as well as clarification from a leading national charter school organization, the writing is on the wall.

At the last meeting of the Enrollment Preference Task Force, which stemmed out of House Bill 90, Alex Medler with the National Association of Charter School Authorizers told the task force any specific interest enrollment preference should only be used if it would allow needed students into the school, i.e. low-income, minority, special needs, etc.

Finally, Delaware State Rep. Earl Jaques says something that makes sense!  One thing is for sure, this would change the conversation about choice in Delaware.

To read the full article, please go here:

http://www.wdde.org/74292-charter-schools-1

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Freire Wants To Get Rid Of Specific Interest As Well Due To Non-Compliance With Federal Regulations

Early College High School isn’t the only Delaware charter school that has submitted a major modification request with the Delaware Department of Education to remove specific interest as an enrollment preference.  Freire, scheduled to open in the 2015-2016 academic year, is also requesting this.

Once again, the Charter School Accountability Committee asked a charter school for a copy of the Federal Guidance (posted yesterday in the article before this one).  Is the Delaware DOE not aware of this?  How could they not be?  The National Association of Charter School Authorizers had a presentation with the Delaware State Board of Education earlier this month and they were scheduled to present to the Enrollment Task Force but that meeting was canceled due to inclement weather.

At the Delaware State Board of Education meeting on 2/19/14, during the Charter School Review presentation by the Director of Charter Schools, Jennifer Nagourney, the subject of the modification requests for both schools came up.  She did acknowledge both schools want compliance with Federal Guidance based on applying for Federal start-up grants, but nothing was discussed about this enrollment preference practice in Delaware or the wisdom behind continuing this in light of Federal guidance which suggests otherwise.

To listen to this part of the State Board of Education meeting, please go here: http://dedoe.schoolwires.net/site/default.aspx?PageType=3&ModuleInstanceID=4240&ViewID=E324842B-E4A3-44C3-991A-1E716D4A99E3&RenderLoc=0&FlexDataID=13013&PageID=1770

Enrollment Preference Task Force Meeting Canceled Tomorrow Night

Just in case anyone was getting really excited to see the “choice” activists vs. the public school district advocates, I wanted to let you know due to the polar vortex tainted snowmageddon the meeting is canceled.  There is a tentative meeting for March 10th (Smarter Balanced Day in Delaware, have you opted your child out yet?).  No word yet if Alex Medler from the National Association of Charter School Authorizers will be able to attend.  Mark it on your calendar and try to come.  It’s free, it’s cozy, and you can give public comment!

Comparing Charter Schools and Sub-Prime Mortgages #netde #eduDE

This is dead on! EduNews posted this video on Youtube last week.

Melissa Harris-Perry Show: Demanding accountability from charters

And we thought Delaware was the only state where people opposed charters…. Looks like Texas does too!

Cloaking Inequity

During the second segment of the Melissa Harris-Perry Show at MSNBC’s Education Nation 2012, we discussed access to charter schools. Charters are “public” schools that are run by a variety of organizations such as intergovernmental (UT-Austin), community groups (Making Waves), large privately-operated corporate networks (KIPP). Regardless of who runs the charters, the current public consciousness is that charters are visions of excellence, innovation and choice (The narrative pushed by the films Waiting for Superman and The Lottery). However, charters are quite different from each other. My thoughts in brief (because I have a stack of papers to grade).

Quality
Even Jonathan Alter admitted at Education Nation that there is a large variation in the success of charters (However, that didnt stop his call for lifting caps regardless of the fact that 83% of charters don’t perform better than tradition public schools). In…

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Bill Introduced Today To Get Rid Of Charter School Enrollment Preference #netde #edude

They sure are working fast down in Legislative Hall today.  Darryl Scott is not seeking re-election so I applaud his desire for charter schools to stop cherry-picking who they want at their schools.  I’ve been writing about this topic a lot recently, and my next post shows exactly why it is a disgusting practice.

Section 1.  Amend § 403, Title 14 of the Delaware Code by making deletions as shown by strike through and insertions as shown by underline as follows:

§ 403. Pupil application; withdrawal.

(a) Any parent of a school age child may apply to enroll that parent’s own child in a school or program in a receiving local education agency by submitting a written application, on a standard form provided by the Department of Education, to the Department of Education or to the receiving district and to the district of residence on or before the second Wednesday in January for enrollment during the following school year, except that a parent may apply to a receiving district until the first day of the school year for enrollment in a kindergarten program during that school year. The Department of Education shall distribute applications to the appropriate receiving local education agency no later than 10 working days after the application deadlines set forth in this subsection. Receiving districts may require the submission of information beyond that contained in the standard form provided that it requires the submission of the same information by the parents of children residing in the attendance zone for the school. Vocational technical districts may also require information that substantiates a student’s eligibility to enter their applied grade level and an interest or designation of ordered interest in specific career and technical education (CTE) fields. Notwithstanding the requirements of this subsection, charter schools may accept applications submitted after the second Wednesday in January.

Section 2.  Amend § 405, Title 14 of the Delaware Code by making deletions as shown by strike through and insertions as shown by underline as follows:

§ 405. Criteria for approval or disapproval.

(a) Each receiving district receiving local educational agency shall adopt and make available a policy regarding the order in which applications for enrollment pursuant to this chapter shall be considered and the criteria by which such applications shall be evaluated. The criteria should outline the procedures for lottery when more applications are received than choice seats available. Those procedures may not include a ranking of applicants based on test scores, grades, discipline infractions, or any other academic or behavioral criteria, but may allow for separate lotteries for specific career and technical education fields.

Section 3.  Amend § 506, Title 14 of the Delaware Code by making insertions as shown by underlining and deletions as shown by strike through as follows:

§ 506 Restrictions.

(b) Preferences in student admissions may be given to:

(1) Siblings of students currently enrolled at the school;

(2) Students attending an existing public school converted to charter status. Parents of students at a school converted to charter status shall be provided with a plan the district will use to address the educational needs of students who will not be attending the charter school;

(3) Students enrolling in a new (nonconverted) charter school may be given preference under the following circumstances as long as the school has described its preferences in the school’s charter:

a. Students residing within a 5-mile radius of the school;

b. a. Students residing within the regular school district in which the school is located;

c. Students who have a specific interest in the school’s teaching methods, philosophy, or educational focus;

d. b. Students who are at risk of academic failure;

e. c.  Children of persons employed on a permanent basis for at least 30.0 hours per week during the school year by the charter school.

(4)  Children of a school’s founders, so long as they constitute no more than 5% of the school’s total student population. For the purposes of this paragraph “founder” shall not include anyone whose sole significant contribution to the school was monetary, but otherwise shall be determined by the founding Board of Directors subject to Department of Education regulations.

Section 4.  The effective date of this Act shall be November 1, 2014.

 

SYNOPSIS

This bill eliminates the ability of charter schools to give an enrollment preference to students who have a specific interest in the school’s teaching methods, philosophy, or educational focus, or who are within a five-mile radius. It also requires that admission to vocational-technical high schools be determined by a lottery system.