As anyone knows, I’m not really a group joiner! But I am proud to be one of the founding members of the grassroots organization called Delaware Parents & Teachers for Public Education. Last night, another founding member named Eve Buckley attended the RCEA & CEA press conference at Warner Elementary School where the local educator associations announced their resolution of no confidence in the DOE, Mark Murphy and the State Board of Education. Here are the comments Eve gave:
No words can describe the beauty of citizens lending their voice to a right and just cause, so please look at what so many people in Delaware have created in response to the priority schools initiative brought on by the Delaware Department of Education. This was delivered to Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy today, with the below email sent tonight.
And below is the email sent tonight to Governor Markell, Attorney General Matt Denn, all elected officials of the 148th General Assembly, Delaware U.S. Congress Members, the Priority School Superintendents and each member of their Boards of Education, and many more.
Denn Matthew (Attorney General)
Colin J. Bonini
Williams Kimberly (LegHall)
Henry Margaret Rose
Lopez Ernesto B.
Jr Earl Jaques
Mitchell John L.
Jr Charles Potter
Smith Melanie G.
Wilson David L.
Baumbach Paul (LegHall)
Representative John Carney
Johnson Donna R.
Williams Freeman (K12)
Piccio Mike (K12)
Bohm Adriana L (K12)
Kavips World Press Blog
KEMPSKI MICHAEL S.
Honorable Governor Jack Markell, Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn, Elected Officials of the Distinguished 148th General Assembly, Delaware’s Members of the United States Congress, Members of the media, Christina School District Board of Education, Red Clay Consolidated Board of Education, and everyone else:
Please find attached the Priority Schools Petition initiated by the group Delaware Parents &Educators for Public Education. There is a description of our group on the 2nd page. With well over 700 signatures, we are citizens of Delaware who want something better than what the Delaware Department of Education has designated for these six schools. As we approach the time when decisions will be made for these schools, let us truly reflect on what is best for these students and the educators who teach them every single day in some of the most impoverished and high crime areas of our state. To judge them and these schools by standardized test scores which the state no longer uses is a travesty. We need to do more for these most vulnerable of students and closing these schools is not the answer.
Secretary of Education Murphy, we’ve had more signatures added to the petition I dropped off to your office this afternoon, and we will continue to keep it going until a decision is rendered.
For members of the media and anyone else, please feel freeto share this link in Newspapers, TV, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and anywhere else you feel it can gain further support. For anyone on this email, please feel free to add your name to the petition if you have not already done so.
We need you Delaware parents, citizens, and anyone who cares about the six priority schools in Wilmington. These schools will be taken over by the state based on bogus standardized test scores that measure nothing but how the Delaware DOE and our very own Governor can manipulate numbers to further their own privatization schemes in Delaware. If you are against the rich getting richer at the expense of our own students, take a stand! Please sign this online petition today!
A group of like-minded individuals who are against the priority schools initiative has created an iPetition to give to Governor Markell, Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy and the Delaware Department of Education. Please take a minute or two during the busy holiday season and make a difference! The timing is crucial on this petition.
We need all bloggers and reporters on deck to re-blog this and re-tweet this whenever possible. For parents, educators, and concerned citizens, if you do the petition, please be sure to share it on your Facebook to spread the word. Email it to those who don’t have Facebook. If you are using Twitter, please use the hashtag #prioritizethat when you post. Thank you!
We ask the Delaware Department of Education (DDOE), Secretary of Education Mark Murphy, and Governor Jack Markell to reconsider their stated plans and time frame for the six “priority schools” located in Wilmington. The time frame provided is insufficient for districts and the schools’ communities to develop thoughtful, serious plans for improvement. Instead, the short time frame sets these schools on a path towards closure, conversion to charter and/or privatization (as threatened)—which would result in city children losing their public schools.
The following items must be considered:
1. A comprehensive review of Christina’s Stubbs and Bancroft elementary schools, conducted by the University of Delaware and commissioned by DDOE, released a report in early December indicating that these schools are making significant progress in a range of categories under their current leadership. In fifteen areas, including School Leadership Decisions, Curriculum and Instruction, and Strategies for Students Who Are at Risk, both schools received the highest possible evaluation.
2. Given such positive evaluation by a highly respected and objective organization, the removal of principals from these schools, merely to comply with federal regulations governing turn-around plans, seems arbitrary, capricious and harmful. Firing respected principals and/or teachers without careful evaluation, in order to replace them with leaders unfamiliar with the students and their communities, is a serious disservice to the professionals and children concerned. Doing this would further destabilize high-needs schools that have already experienced significant turnover. A strong school depends on trust among teachers, administrators, parents and students; this must be rebuilt whenever new staff are brought in.
3. The amount of money allocated to the “priority schools” is not enough to reach the ambitious improvement goals set by DDOE. The insufficient additional funding all but guarantees that these schools will close, convert to charter and/or privatize after failing to achieve dramatic improvement with modest resources within a short timeframe. The likely result is that city children will lose public schools obligated to serve every child in their area—in contrast to charters, which demonstrably choose which students and families to accept and retain.
We request that the following changes be implemented in these schools:
1. Provide needs-based funding—additional dollars to adequately meet the needs of low-income, special education and non-English speaking students
2. Institute smaller class sizes for disadvantaged student populations
3. Offer wrap around social services in the priority schools, to address the many factors that adversely impact educational outcomes for their students.
All of us want what is best for the children attending priority schools. The current DDOE plan is not likely to help them and may, in fact, diminish educational opportunity for many.