Funding For Priority Schools Now “Short” Which Violates MOUs With Red Clay & Christina…Was This The Plan?

How about them apples?  Turns out the much ballyhooed funding for the Priority Schools initiative in Red Clay and Christina is not even going to be granted at the full amount now.  If I were a judge looking at this, I would definitely say that violates the whole Memorandum of Understanding each of the six schools had to sign.  The Red Clay and Christina boards signed those with the full intention the state would cough up the money.  So where did the promised money go?  Is this another one of those sneaky budget moves like the one Delaware Liberal just wrote about?

This news is coming from the Red Clay board meeting happening right now.  Board member Adriana Bohm just said the state should nullify the MOUs if the state can’t give the funds they promised.  I completely agree.  After all the angst and bullying and intimidation by both Governor Markell and the Delaware DOE, this is what it comes down to?  Should any of us be shocked?  I am awaiting final confirmation on how short the state is on these funds.

If I were any school designated a priority school in the future, I would never sign the MOU based on these shenanigans.  And somehow, the contract for the Priority Schools Instructional Executive contract is just showing as recently closed.  No bidders showing, and it’s not showing as not awarded either.  So which is it?  Or is this another case where the DOE can just pull contracts off this site and put them in the ether?

This is beginning to confirm my suspicion the whole priority school thing was a sham from the start.  It is my contention the whole thing was designed the get the whole redistricting of Wilmington going.  Because all the shouting that occurred from that announcement led right into the Wilmington Education Advisory Committee.  After the priority schools anger calmed down, the WEAC group came out with their recommendations, and voila, two bills passed by the House and Senate in a record amount of time.

Delaware gets dirtier by the day.  The amount of manipulation and lies told by our public “leaders” is deplorable and disgusting.  The secret meetings with Rodel, Mark Murphy and members of the Delaware Business Roundtable.  The things Governor Markell says a little bit too loud that others may overhear.  The whole Senator Sokola comment at the Senate Education Committee when he was rushing people through public comment on HB50 to get to SB122 (the redistricting bill for the State Board of Education to carve up Wilmington) when he said “Some people have been working on this for a couple years” when WEAC came out from an Executive Order in September 2014.  The whole budget bill and grant-in-aid shenanigans Delaware Liberal just wrote about.  The railroading of HB186 which would give financial accountability to charters while the state pours $3.8 million to them from the budget.

It is very obvious what is going on here, which I’ve said all along.  They want Wilmington to be a charter district.  When I say they, I mean the following: Governor Markell, Rodel, Delaware Charter Schools Network, Innovative Schools, Secretary of Education Mark Murphy, Tony Allen, the DOE, EastSide Charter, Dr. Lamont Browne, Laurissa Schutt with Teach For America, Senator David Sokola, State Rep. Earl Jaques.  The writing is on the wall for all of it.  You just have to connect the dots.  Look at all the “teacher evaluation” consortiums going on with the charters in Wilmington.  And now I’m hearing one of their assistant principals is going to another Wilmington school that was never a part of all this.  And the whole Family Foundations Academy takeover by EastSide never sat well with me.  It seemed all too convenient with everything else going on.  They are building their network now.  The Community Education Building will fill up pretty fast.  Just remember this: Red Clay has no high school in Wilmington.  And if they can do it there, the rest of Delaware better watch out.  Next stop will be Dover, and then down in Sussex, and they will spread out from there.

Now that the bills have passed for this redistricting plan, as well as the Committee to plan the whole thing, what happens now that they have royally pissed off the Red Clay board?  Red Clay is being used by these people, and I hope they have the gumption to fight these charter lovers.  And just wait until Christina finds out about this!  If the State of Delaware does nothing about this, perhaps it’s time the FBI comes in and does a full-scale investigation of ALL of this.

There is going to be a huge war brewing in Wilmington over education.  The priority schools was a skirmish.  Battle lines are being drawn as we speak.  Is this really what we need charter schools for?  To squeeze local districts out while they take over?  Don’t think that can happen?  I posted an article last December with information I got completely wrong.  But included in the article was a link written by the Philanthropy Roundtable.  I called all of this then: the ultimate goal.  Take a look, and even though some of the details are off, look at what’s happening.  I can now see why some from that side have been coddling me lately, to throw me off their scent.  Nice try, didn’t work.

The question now becomes this: What do we do about it?

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Some Big Names Bidding For Priority Schools Contract With The DOE…

“The Contractor will have a track record of influencing teachers, school leaders, parents, school boards, and other constituents, and will have the exceptional interpersonal skills and credibility to drive rapid performance through school turnaround initiatives.  This critical role will report directly to the Chief Accountability and Performance Officer.”

The deadline for the bids on contract DOE 2015-13, Priority School Supports Contractors, expired on June 1st.    Three bids have been entered on this contract, and a couple of them are very big names in the corporate education reform world: Pearson Education and American Institutes for Research.  The third bidder, Innovative Educational Programs, hails from Newark, New Jersey.

Any of these three companies would be very bad for priority schools in my opinion.  Pearson runs the PARCC tests in many states.  American Institutes for Research (AIR) is the assessment vendor for Delaware, and has been ever since DCAS was introduced.  And Innovative Educational Programs is from an area where many turnaround schools have been converted to charter schools.  So much so that hundreds of students recently protested these types of actions a couple weeks ago.

The last thing any Delaware school needs is more contractors coming in, attempting to make our students more “college and career ready” through “rigor” and “grit”.  Especially the most vulnerable students: low-income, minority and special needs.

To read the actual bid proposal, please go here: http://bidcondocs.delaware.gov/DOE/DOE_2015-13PrioritySchoolSupp_RFP.pdf

To read the list of bidders, go here: http://bidcondocs.delaware.gov/DOE/DOE_2015-13PrioritySchoolSupp_RFP.pdf

Delaware Priority Schools-The Truth Revealed Part 38 **The Masterplan**

We are at the bottom of the ninth inning in this priority schools FOIA story.  In this one, you can see the actual timeframe for the whole kit and caboodle.

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Is this even real?  If this was included as a part of a FOIA request, it would be assumed the dates would show a completion date.  Why was this not done?  Why wasn’t that included with the request?  And MM is definitely Mark Murphy, the Secretary of Education.  This document does show that Penny Schwinn had the bulk of the lifting work on the priority schools.  Something she had very little experience with prior to her appointment at the DOE.

Delaware Priority Schools: The Truth Revealed Part 37 **The Unfair Comparison**

In order to sell the methodology for the six priority schools in Red Clay and Christina, the DOE had to find comparison schools. One of the biggest schools the DOE praised was all the way down in Dover in the Capital School District. What made Booker T. Washington Elementary School so awesome (aside from the fact my own son went there during the 2nd half of 4th grade)?

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Many viewed the rise of Booker T. as an unfair comparison. First off, Booker T. stops at 4th grade, so there was no 5th grade scores to compare it to. Second, Booker T. includes the “gifted and talented program” so there is also a rise in standardized test scores. Third, Capital changed their zoning a few years previous so the very demographics of the school were changing over time. An unfair comparison indeed!

***UPDATED*** Delaware DOE Looking At 5 More Years Of Priority Schools ***WRONG***

***UPDATED*** Ignore the below comments I made based on this public notice.  School Improvement Grants, otherwise known as SIG funds, are grants given to schools that may or may already be in a priority school status.  The waiver Penny Schwinn is requesting is to have the availability of these funds extended from 2016 until 2020.  Schools actually request these, as can be seen on this list of schools that have applied for SIG funds in the past.  Yes, I do correct mistakes!

I just found this on the DOE website while trying to find other information:

PUBLIC NOTICE

Notice is hereby given, that the Delaware Department of Education (Department) has posted the following for comment:

An application for Title I, 1003(g) School Improvement Grant funds, which can be found here, will be submitted to the US Department of Education on April 15, 2015.  The application will include the waiver shown below.  The Delaware Department of Education will accept comment on this request through May 15, 2015. All comments received on the request will be forwarded to the US Department of Education through May 15, 2015. 

The State requests the following waiver:

 

  • In order to extend the period of availability beyond September 30, 2016, waive section 421(b) of the General Education Provisions Act (20 U.S.C. § 1225(b)) to extend the period of availability of FY 2014 school improvement funds for the SEA and all of its LEAs to September 30, 2020.

 

Public comment regarding the waiver request mentioned above can be submitted to: Penny Schwinn, Chief Accountability and Performance Officer, Accountability, Assessment, Performance Management and Evaluation, Telephone (302) 735-4090; FAX: (302) 739-3092; Email: penny.schwinn@doe.k12.de.us

If I were a parent or educator in any low-income school that receives Title I funding, I would send an email of opposition to Penny Schwinn as soon as possible.  Because this is not about the existing priority schools but using funds to create new ones.  This was at the very bottom of Schwinn’s link to the application:

A “new award” is defined as an award of SIG funds to an LEA for a school that the LEA was not previously approved to serve with SIG funds in the school year for which funds are being awarded—in this case, the 2015–2016 school year. New awards may be made with the FY 2014 funds or any remaining SIG funds not already committed to grants made in earlier competitions.