Scumbag Delaware DOE Defends Freire’s Offensive Opt Out Trick To Parents

I reached out to Secretary of Education Dr. Steven Godowsky and Assistant Deputy Secretary David Blowman about the Freire Charter School Opt Out/Smarter Balanced Assessment/Final Exam scandal. Apparently, the Delaware Department of Education thinks it is perfectly acceptable for students to earn an A for tests they never took.

While I won’t release the full email chain since I would betray a source, I can say it is one of the most disrespectful and insulting emails I have ever received from the Delaware DOE.  What offended me the most was how Blowman wrote his response, as if this is a common occurrence and it is A-Ok.

FreireBlowmanResponse

I must have been sniffing glue to think the Delaware DOE would take this matter seriously and actually, for once, do the right thing.  But no, they turn it around with Blowman’s cocky and arrogant “historically common” and “educationally appropriate”.  So every single parent in Delaware knows, the Delaware DOE does NOT give a crap about what actual grades a student gets in classes, JUST the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  They don’t care if a student could be failing a course, but an unearned A on a final exam could cause them to pass a class.  Because the Smarter Balanced Assessment is the true measurement, right assholes?  Social promotion is okay as long as we get that participation rate, right Blowman?

I am DONE with this Department.  DONE.  As if their fraudulent Teacher Leader Pilot program I wrote about yesterday wasn’t bad enough, I get this unbelievable spit-in-parents face email.  Because it is okay if a school changes grades.  It’s okay if they offer sweetheart deals to parents to manipulate them out of opting their child out of a test that doesn’t give any true instructional feedback, parents don’t know the scores until after the school year ends, and it violates a parent’s constitutional, God-given, and fundamental right to decide what is best for their own child.

Is the DOE calling final exams unnecessary?  The tests that actually show what a student may or may not have learned the entire year in a class, unlike the Not-So Smarter Balanced?  Really Blowman?  Are you out of your Kool-Aid drinking mind?  We know this isn’t in statute or regulation because our corrupt Governor cares more about companies than students.  If the situation were in reverse, like a parent wanted to opt their child out of a final exam, but the school said “How about we do this: let your child take the final exam and one of our teacher leaders will take the Smarter Balanced Assessment for your kid,” the DOE would be at that school pretty damn fast.  It’s the same thing Blowman!  By giving a student a false grade, you are teaching that student it is okay to manipulate the system.  By allowing schools to do it you are showing all you care about is a high-stakes test.  If that is the DOE’s definition of college and career ready, I weep for the future.

I truly don’t care if the DOE never gives me information again because of this article.  I truly don’t.  Not with the complete idiots in charge over there.  From now on, everything will be a FOIA or a complaint to the U.S. Department of Education.  So teachers, who I do respect immensely (except for those who do the suck-up dance to the DOE), please let me know of any “sweetheart” deals your administrators are pulling on students.  Parents as well.  Because this is sick.  This is what our education governance has come down to: immoral and unethical practices coming all the way from the top and THEY ENDORSE IT.  Just because something isn’t written in Title 14 doesn’t make it right Blowman.  Don’t you dare try to pull that crap on me.  Did you really think my response to this would be “Okay, dead issue.”  This email could have easily said “We at the Department do not agree with the inappropriate actions taken by Freire with parents.”  Instead, I’ll bet they got a high-five for their most excellent anti-opt out tactics.

I used to treat some DOE employees with kid gloves in the past.  I’m done with that.  You have spit on parents and their rights, manipulated teachers and their best interests, and lied to the public for the last time Delaware DOE.  You have invited the opt out wrath that is coming your way in the 2016-2017 school year.

For my readers, I apologize for my harsh language in this article.  But I feel it is necessary because there are no other accurate words that best sum up my thoughts on our Department of Education.  We sit here in Delaware and pretend this is okay.  Why aren’t parents and teachers standing up in mutiny at every single State Board meeting and picketing the Delaware DOE office?  We allow this by doing nothing.  If you think anything I write in this blog makes ANY difference, it is marginal at best.  They won’t do a damn thing until they see parents rising up in massive numbers.  And if some of our schools or the Department that is supposed to oversee our schools think lying, fraud, cheating, manipulating, brainwashing, stealing and disrespecting our children and those charged with teaching them, you need to do something about it.

I’m sure the DOE will do something that will piss me off more than this.  I have no doubt.  This is why we pay them the big bucks with no oversight.  So they can screw over every possible person who doesn’t conform to their Rodel/Markell ass-kissing agendas.  And for those who think you are at the table, you aren’t.  And it isn’t a nutritious meal.  You are ON THE TABLE and they are eating you alive and you are letting them do it.  I don’t want to hear one more word about the cannibalistic Delaware Way (except the very excellent Delaware Way blog- shameless plug).

Breaking News: Freire Charter School Gave Students A’s On Final Exams If Parents Didn’t Opt Them Out

At least five students at Freire Charter School in Wilmington were given A’s on their final examinations in exchange for their parents not opting them out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment this spring.  One parent was notified by the school that the Delaware Department of Education claimed all schools had to have a participation rate of 100%.  When the parent challenged them on the federal and state laws which require 95% participation, the school agreed on that figure.  They also told the parent the school was already under the 95% participation rate threshold.  All five parents agreed to this deal.  The school lured parents who wanted to prevent parents from opting their child out into this “deal” with false pretenses.  Furthermore, the students didn’t even take their final exams but they were automatically given A’s because of this.

Can someone please tell me when this madness is going to stop?  Aside from all the bullying issues at this “zero tolerance” school, we now have test fraud?  How much does the Delaware Department of Education know about this?  If they don’t, what are they going to do about it?  This is exactly why the veto on House Bill 50 needed to have the override by the Delaware General Assembly.  But our legislators were too scared to tick off the “education Governor” and do the right thing for parents.  Now we have this going on.  No one in Legislative Hall who voted no on the fake “suspension of rules” to bring the override to a vote probably doesn’t care that our schools play games like this.  How many situations like this have played out in other Delaware charters or districts?  I would call for the Delaware Department of Education and the Delaware State Board of Education to render all scores from the Spring 2016 Smarter Balanced Assessment as invalid due to corruption and fraud.  We don’t know how many students and parents were given choices like this.  And the results are meaningless.

One parent notified me the only reason she didn’t opt her child out, even though this deal was offered, was because she was choicing their child out of Freire into another district.  That district had a requirement for Smarter Balanced results in order for the student to enter their honors program.  While I may not agree with that requirement from the other district, it is their right to require it until a law is set in stone for them not to.  But Freire proceeded to not have the student take the final exam and gave the student an A for both their Math and English/Language Arts final exams.  Also against policy with the Delaware DOE, parents and students were given the scores when they were “encumbered” which means they couldn’t reveal them at that point.  I would have to imagine no schools are able to give out this information until the Delaware State Board of Education discusses them at their board meeting in two days.  In fact, scores aren’t even going out to

As for Freire, are you trying to send the message that the Smarter Balanced Assessment is more important than a parent’s Constitutional right to opt their child out of the state assessment?  That it is okay, from a “zero tolerance” school to trick parents and then deliver false scores on final exams to prevent them from exercising that right?  Parents chose to send their child to your school because they believed in your “zero tolerance” edicts.  While I don’t agree with zero tolerance, it was also a parent’s right to make that choice.  But since you have no interest in applying “zero tolerance” to your own school,  I would strongly suggest the Delaware Department of Education Charter School Office immediately conducts a thorough investigation into these allegations through the formal review process.  For a school that hasn’t even been open a year and Governor Markell attended your ribbon-cutting ceremony, these egregious actions are unconscionable.  This is why these standardized tests bring out the worst in schools.

I would also urge our General Assembly, upon reconvening on January 7th, 2017, to immediately draft legislation in regards to opt out, similar to House Bill 50, and also addressing immediate consequences for schools that use lies and false pretenses toward parents and students have anyone involved in those situations immediately terminated and criminal charges pressed against them.  And if a new Governor should veto such legislation, I would expect an immediate override of that veto.  Those who voted no on January 14th, 2016: this is on you!  Please don’t play political games for political favors when you aren’t the ones who are being toyed with by those who should know better.

If any other Delaware parent out there, at any charter school or district was offered similar “deals” or promises in exchange for not opting your child out, I can be reached at kevino3670@yahoo.com and I give you my assurance all will be confidential.  Thank you.

 

Why Didn’t Freire Charter School In Wilmington Announce Their Bomb Threat Today?

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You won’t find this on the News Journal.  Or on Freire’s Facebook page either.  But the school had a bomb threat today which caused at least seven Wilmington police cars to come to the school.  After the police investigated, the students were allowed back in the school an hour later.  Not confirmed is a school authority advising a local resident that several students were suspended and the matter is still being investigated.  Were parents of the students notified about this?  Where is the transparency in our Delaware charter schools???

As well, there have been at least five visits by the Wilmington Fire Department at the school since they opened in August over fire alarms.

Freire Charter School of Wilmington opened in August after a hellacious year involving issues with the Midtown Brandywine Neighborhood Association.  When the neighbors protested the school’s opening without a clear plan on the increased traffic, the former Head of School got into an exchange with one of the protesters which resulted in charges filed against him.  He “resigned” from the school shortly thereafter.  Freire’s original model was a “zero tolerance” charter school, but they changed that last year because of the “specific interest” clause in their admission policy.  They applied for a federal grant for startup costs which specifically prohibits any type of specific interest in their enrollment strategies.  The above picture is the emblem of Freire, but I’m not sure what a fire-breathing dragon has to do with a charter school…

Meanwhile, Delaware legislators in Washington D.C. wrote the FBI to look into the multiple bomb threats across Delaware the past few weeks and when the FBI should act on this.  According to the article by the Middletown Transcript, only state and local authorities have been investigating the Delaware threats.

Governor Markell To Attend Freire’s Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony Later Today

At 5pm, Delaware Governor Jack Markell will give the opening remarks at Freire Charter School of Wilmington’s ribbon-cutting ceremony.  Freire, who last year submitted a modification request to take away their specific interest clause in their enrollment preferences, was known for their “zero tolerance” policy.  Of course, zero tolerance didn’t seem to matter to the former Head of School named Bill Porter who was arrested after assaulting a female protester last March.  Members of the Midtown Brandywine Neighborhoods Association protested the school moving in the middle of their neighborhood due to changes in traffic patterns.

It is widely rumored that Markell was instrumental in bringing Freire to town.  Freire has a few charter schools in Philadelphia, but they are known for counseling out students.  At Freire’s formal review last Spring, due to low enrollment, special education was a main concern of the Delaware Department of Education.  Freire had a plan for getting out of state services for its students with disabilities.  The DOE said nope.  As well, Freire never hired a new head of school.  Instead the school is run by their academic heads, Paul Ramirez and Felecia Wennell.

Out of all the education events going on this week, Markell picks a ribbon-cutting ceremony at a charter school.  Lame-duck indeed…

Update On Freire Getting Their Own Teacher Evaluation System

I reached out to Alison May at the Delaware Department of Education about Freire getting their own teacher evaluation system and I was informed this will be announced at the September 17th State Board of Education meeting.  Apparently, Freire Charter School of Wilmington jumped the gun a bit in announcing this at their July board meeting.

As May explained to me, if a charter school request this, it is considered a minor modification which means it does not need State Board of Education assent, just Secretary of Education approval.  It first goes through the Teacher/Leader Effectiveness Unit (TLEU) at the DOE, and then to the Secretary.  The TLEU approved it in July, which was announced as an approval at their board meeting, but Secretary Murphy had not approved it at that point.  He has since, and this is what will be announced at the meeting next week.

I am curious though, with all the emphasis the DOE puts on teacher effectiveness, why this would only be considered a minor modification.  Something that big SHOULD have State Board approval as well.  What do you think?  Not that the unelected State Board ever differs from a Secretary suggestion!

The Rules Don’t Seem To Apply For Freire Charter School In Delaware!!!!

When did Freire Charter School of Wilmington apply for their own teacher evaluation system?  Because their July 16th board minutes indicate the following: “Kelly Davenport indicated that Freire Wilmington applied to the Delaware Department of Education to use a teacher evaluation system of its own design, and was approved.” In looking at Delaware Department of Education notes on their website, I found absolutely nothing showing an application or any type of approval for this request.

Freire did have a major modification request earlier this year which was approved by the State Board of Education, but that was to decrease their student enrollment.  Absolutely nothing was said about having an alternative educator evaluation system, separate from DPAS-II.  Have we now entered a world where any charter school can get whatever they want with zero transparency at all from the Delaware Department of Education?  It is starting to seem that way.  I know Freire is a “chain” of charters coming from Philadelphia, but that does not exempt them from transparency at all.  We all know about the fight to stop them from being at their current location, but nothing has stopped them even though the local neighborhood association did everything they could.  Their former school director was even arrested after he was accused of accosting one of the protesters last March.

The mention of this in their board minutes can be found on Page 2 in the below document:

Freire Charter School in Wilmington Goes To Court!

Thanks to the News Journal for getting this story out!  I first wrote about the issues the Midtown Brandywine Neighborhood Association were having with Freire Charter School in Wilmington last December.  The school changed locations, which caused the neighbors to become alarmed.  Their biggest gripe was the number of parking spots in their neighborhood, which are already in low demand.  The matter escalated in March when then Head of School scuffled with some protesters during an Open House the school was having.  Porter was eventually charged for the assault, but no trial date has been set at this point in time to my knowledge.

Their neighbors filed an injunction to stop the school from opening in August, and even though the heart of the issue won’t happen for another two years when the school expands and the parking spots leased from the building owner would overflow in capacity based on the new employees, the judge doesn’t want to kick the can down the road over an already established school.  The hearing date will be on July 31st.

Official: Probation Recommendations for Academy of Dover, Freire, Prestige Academy and DE Design Lab

The Charter School Accountability Committee recommended probation for all four of the Delaware charter schools currently under formal review.  The State Board of Education and Secretary Mark Murphy will make their final decision at the State Board of Education meeting on June 18th.

For Academy of Dover, their probation will be for a year, whereas the other three schools have until the end of this year to get out of probation.  Read the following documents for all four schools.  And I also want to thank the DOE’s Exceptional Children Resources Group for grilling these schools on special education issues!

I will be writing more as I digest all of these documents. The DOE certainly gives us bloggers lots to read!

Academy of Dover & Freire: Official Public Hearing Transcripts

Below are the public hearing from the Academy of Dover and Freire Charter School’s Public Hearings, required as a part of their formal review.

Midtown Brandywine Neighborhood Association Lawyers Up To Stop Freire Charter School From Opening!!!

According to Jenna Pizzi with the Delaware News Journal, the Midtown Brandywine Neighborhood Association in Wilmington is ready to do battle with Freire Charter School.  Concerned with the amount of traffic coming into their neighborhood, many residents have formally hired an attorney and sent a letter to the Wilmington Department of Licenses and Inspection based on a lack of parking spaces for the school, scheduled to open in the upcoming school year.  The group has also stated if their official letter does not receive a response in their favor, they will vote whether to file for an injunction against the charter school, on formal review with the Delaware Department of Education before it even opened.

At the Charter School Accountability Committee meeting last week, the school announced it has met its enrollment targets as of May 2015.  State law requires any charter school to have 80% of its enrollment by April 1st before the new school year starts.  Freire missed that number, but has since gone over it.  The State Board of Education and Secretary of Education Mark Murphy will make a decision about the school’s formal review on June 18th.  Some members of the Neighborhood Association have already filed charges against the school stemming from an incident in March, and association member Lyn Doto publicly acknowledged this a few days ago.

Bill Porter Removed As Head of School For Freire Charter School in Wilmington

Last night, at the public hearing for Freire Charter School in Wilmington, several citizens from the Midtown Brandywine neighborhood in Wilmington spoke in opposition to the school’s move to the middle of their neighborhood. This group has been protesting since last fall when the school announced the change in location. It was announced by the Assistant Head of Academics last night that Bill Porter, the Head of School for Freire, was removed last week as head of school. This was also talked about at the Charter School Accountability Committee (CSAC) for Freire’s initial formal review meeting last week.

No reasons were cited for Porter’s removal, but at the CSAC meeting, representatives from the school did say he is still with the Freire organization. Two months ago, there was a very awkward conflict with the school’s neighbors in this situation. The police were called, but no charges were pressed.

The controversy concerning Freire doesn’t stop with concerned neighbors. The school’s zero tolerance policy is cited as a specific interest for choice applicants, but in March the school was approved by the State Board of Education to have this removed from their enrollment preference. Up until recently, the school had a “10 Things To Know” page on their website which had the zero tolerance policy and a statement telling parents if their child is not going to college to take them to a different school.

During the CSAC meeting last week, a representative from the school told the committee about their plans for students with disabilities. One of the attendees wrote on their Facebook page:

The CSAC notes are basically correct, though sketchy. They leave out things like, Ms. Davenport’s telephone response re: Freire’s plan for Intense and Complex students was, “We see nothing wrong with sending them over the State line into Chester Couny” to a private special needs school, as is their practice in Philadelphia. Mr. Blowman, wisely, stopped that conversation; and I presume a new, more-informed response will come forward from this ill-prepared school.

I’m not sure sure why this school thinks they could have circumvented around Delaware law with regards to special education, but I certainly hope the CSAC and the Delaware DOE take this arrogance into account when they make their decision.

Freire Charter School of Wilmington Formal Review Notification & Timeline

Good old Freire.  Not even open yet, and just look at the issues.  I love how this formal review notification doesn’t even mention the fact they just had a major modification approval for lowing their enrollment from 336 to 224 the month before…

Freire Head of School Violated School’s Own Zero Tolerance Policy Today By Having A Rage Attack Against Protesters **UPDATED**

A few months back I put a post up about how many Brandywine residents are up in arms over the new Freire Charter School location.  Today some peaceful protesters decided to, you know, protest some more.  Apparently the head of school was in the area and got rather physical with them.  Please keep in mind several of the protesters were women and some were African-American.

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After calling the protesters racist, Freire Charter School of Wilmington Head of School William Porter charged the protesters, yelling and screaming.  Startled, one of the women almost fell to the ground.  It is unknown if she had any injuries, but five Wilmington police cars showed up at the scene, and the protesters were allowed to continue.

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The irony of a zero tolerance charter school and the Head of School going after a woman is just too crazy.  Freire Charter Schools are based on the beliefs of Paulo Freire.  A noted Marxist, Freire Charter School of Wilmington has this on their website about Paulo:

Who is Paulo Freire?

So, why a name so unique? While our name might be often mispronounced (we say Free-air-ee), we selected it because the educator, Paulo Freire, is a philosopher whose ideas inspired us to be a different kind of school. Paulo Freire believed in the value of a classical education (liberal arts and sciences) yet argued that most schools failed to provide such learning in an effective manner. In his mind, most schools instead promoted the values of the dominant class, creating a “culture of silence” where underserved individuals were deprived the means to think critically about their place in the world.

Paulo Freire was a Brazilian educator and theorist who wrote several influential books, most notably Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Though he is most known for his progressive theories in this book, Freire spent much of his early life working on literacy with peasant farmers in Brazil. His dedication to provide the underserved with the necessary tools to reach liberation is his legacy.

Along with his contemporaries, like John Dewey, Freire pushed teachers and administrators to reconsider their role in learning. Are students vessels, needing only to be passively filled with facts and numbers to achieve competency? Or, are they active participants in a process built on equality, diversity, and critical thought? It was, and is, novel to consider students as learners and teachers.

At Freire Charter School, we believe students have much to learn and experience but, also, much to teach – to each other and our educators. This growth begins in the classroom and continues through the hallways and into our community. The students of Freire Wilmington carry the responsibility of their scholarship along with administrators, teachers, support staff, and parents. We believe this holistic approach, which values autonomy, equity, and community, honors the legacy of Paulo Freire.

I’m sure these peaceful protesters really loved Porter’s “holistic” approach.  So how did Freire even come to Wilmington?  That is a story in itself.  Apparently their backers bring with them millions of dollars in support.  And none other than Governor Jack Markell insisted they come to Wilmington.  Yes, this is the kind of school Delaware needs, one where they can’t even practice what they preach.  So does this mean that the school will enforce it’s zero tolerance policy on Porter?  One strike, and you’re out!  We shall see how this plays out…  Meanwhile, I’m sure Paulo is rolling around in his grave…

The Delaware State Board of Education just approved the school’s modification request to lower their enrollment minimum and to remove the specific interest of a zero tolerance school.  And yet, parents are required to sign the zero tolerance policy if they send their kids there.  Sounds like a lot of potential here… for a lawsuit!

In the meantime, here’s 10 Things To Know about this school, straight from their website.  I’m sure civil rights attorneys will be keeping a very close eye on this school!

Ten Things to Know About Freire Charter School Wilmington

1) Freire Wilmington serves any and all 8th-12th grade students in the City of Wilmington and surrounding suburbs. Where there are too many students and not enough spaces, Freire uses a random lottery system to determine enrollment. We do not discriminate based on race, gender, creed, sexual orientation, academic ability – or anything whatsoever.

2) The students who succeed at Freire are the ones who take action to help themselves, who see a bright future for themselves, and who are willing to do whatever it takes (i.e. long nights of homework; studying on the weekends; going to the library on a sunny day) to get the best high school education out there.

3) We mean what we say at Freire. Perhaps other schools tell you that if you break their code of conduct there will be consequences. But then when it comes right down to it, many of these schools do not enforce their rules. At Freire, we enforce everything we say. Honestly. We do what we say we are going to do. And we expect you to do the same.

4) We are a 100% nonviolent school. Safety is our first priority. If a student acts violently – whether in words or in actions- to anyone at school or on the DART bus OR ANYWHERE – he or she will be expelled. There are no second chances. Our second priority is helping students learn to resolve conflicts peacefully and without violence.

5) Freire is for students who plan to go to college. Do not send your child to Freire if college is not in the future plan. Your sons and daughters will not be happy at Freire if they want to do something other than college after high school.

6) Remaining a student at Freire takes hard work, courage, honesty, and constant determination every day. Getting into Freire means getting a space through our lottery. That’s the easy part. The hard part is staying at Freire. We guarantee there will be challenges at Freire, and we will ask community members to do things they think are beyond their abilities. Those who succeed at Freire are the ones who never stop trying, and who are willing to work as hard as it takes to achieve excellence. No excuses.

7) Freire teachers and staff are some of the most talented, dedicated and caring in the country. These professionals come to Freire to serve students and families to the best extent ever imagined in a school.

8) Parents/Guardians must be involved and must participate in their child’s education with us as equal partners. We will expect and demand this of all our families. Freire students need support, family involvement and encouragement every step of the way through high school.

9) Learning at Freire is painful and joyous, hard and exciting. And learning happens everywhere – in classrooms, on school trips, at internships, on athletic fields, using the internet, planning the school dance, eating healthy food before school, and doing homework at night.

10) Freire is a place to take risks, dream big, and then work hard every day to meet  those dreams head on. We strive for excellence in our community every minute of  every day. Freire is a school for those who want to do and be their best all the time.

To read more about this charter school that has only managed to enroll 105 students, please go here: http://freirewilmington.org/

Freire Board Member Running For Brandywine School Board…Say, Isn’t That Against The Law?

Embedded in Delaware Title 14 is a little part of the law that states no charter school board member shall serve as a member of a publicly elected school board.  But here we have John Pierson, a director on the Freire Charter School Board of Directors, running for the board seat from District B in the Brandywine School District.  Did he resign from the Freire board?  Not according to his LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/john-pierson/20/50a/486

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And Pierson isn’t just a member, he’s also the President!

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So what exactly does Title 14 say?

§ 504. Corporate status.

(b) The board of directors of a charter school shall be deemed public agents authorized by a public school district or the Department with the approval of the State Board to control the charter school. No person shall serve as a member of a charter school board of directors who is an elected member of a local school board of education.

Oops! I guess somebody forgot to read the law!  Speaking of law, how many of these ten items from Freire’s website match up with Delaware state code, are non-discriminatory, and don’t fly in the face of special education students?

Ten Things to Know About Freire Charter School Wilmington

1) Freire Wilmington serves any and all 8th-12th grade students in the City of Wilmington and surrounding suburbs. Where there are too many students and not enough spaces, Freire uses a random lottery system to determine enrollment. We do not discriminate based on race, gender, creed, sexual orientation, academic ability – or anything whatsoever.

2) The students who succeed at Freire are the ones who take action to help themselves, who see a bright future for themselves, and who are willing to do whatever it takes (i.e. long nights of homework; studying on the weekends; going to the library on a sunny day) to get the best high school education out there.

3) We mean what we say at Freire. Perhaps other schools tell you that if you break their code of conduct there will be consequences. But then when it comes right down to it, many of these schools do not enforce their rules. At Freire, we enforce everything we say. Honestly. We do what we say we are going to do. And we expect you to do the same.

4) We are a 100% nonviolent school. Safety is our first priority. If a student acts violently – whether in words or in actions- to anyone at school or on the DART bus OR ANYWHERE – he or she will be expelled. There are no second chances. Our second priority is helping students learn to resolve conflicts peacefully and without violence.

5) Freire is for students who plan to go to college. Do not send your child to Freire if college is not in the future plan. Your sons and daughters will not be happy at Freire if they want to do something other than college after high school.

6) Remaining a student at Freire takes hard work, courage, honesty, and constant determination every day. Getting into Freire means getting a space through our lottery. That’s the easy part. The hard part is staying at Freire. We guarantee there will be challenges at Freire, and we will ask community members to do things they think are beyond their abilities. Those who succeed at Freire are the ones who never stop trying, and who are willing to work as hard as it takes to achieve excellence. No excuses.

7) Freire teachers and staff are some of the most talented, dedicated and caring in the country. These professionals come to Freire to serve students and families to the best extent ever imagined in a school.

8) Parents/Guardians must be involved and must participate in their child’s education with us as equal partners.  We will expect and demand this of all our families. Freire students need support, family involvement and encouragement every step of the way through high school.

9) Learning at Freire is painful and joyous, hard and exciting. And learning happens everywhere – in classrooms, on school trips, at internships, on athletic fields, using the internet, planning the school dance, eating healthy food before school, and doing homework at night.

10) Freire is a place to take risks, dream big, and then work hard every day to meet  those dreams head on. We strive for excellence in our community every minute of  every day. Freire is a school for those who want to do and be their best all the time.

I like #5.  No selective process for enrollment whatsoever.  Why don’t they just say “If you’re too dumb to come to our school, we don’t want you.  If your parents don’t think you can get to college, don’t bother applying.  If you are a student with disabilities and you don’t and we don’t think you’re gonna go to college, there’s a snowball in hell you might want to go chase!”

To read more about the Freire top ten list, please go here: http://freirewilmington.org/10-things-to-know/

Say, isn’t this the same school that submitted a major modification request to lower their approved enrollment numbers and take out specific interest from their enrollment preference cause it wasn’t really suggested by the Feds based on some published guidance they had recently?  Yeah, it was.  But I suppose their top ten is okay?  Yeah, the Charter School Accountability Committee approved their request.

So my big question would be how Pierson could serve on a charter board with a zero tolerance policy, but be effective as an elected school board official for a public school district when it comes to behavior issues that may come up.  Not to mention the whole serving two schools within the same district thing.  And the funding issues like, oh yeah, Freire could conceivably take funds out of Brandywine School District through local funding.  And don’t the boards of public school districts vote on students who choice out or into their district?  Yeah, they do.  No conflict of interest whatsoever.  But maybe Pierson isn’t too enamored of Freire?  Yeah right…

From his very public Facebook account:

Secretary of Ed and state board approves Freire School charter. Good day for kids in Delaware.

Come out this Saturday to learn about options available for your children!

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  • John Pierson @Di – I hear you on the brain drain concept. Charters are open to everyone but parents need a little info and be motivated enough to apply. We plan this school to be title 1 and to serve kids living in the downtown Wilmy area. We’re trying to duplicate the Freire school in Philly, serving 95% minority students…the vast majority from low income homes. That’s the hope! We’ll see who applies – but that’s been our market target audience. Not sure yet on the Nog.

New Location For Freire Charter School Upsets Local Wilmington Neighborhood

Freire Charter School, scheduled to open in the 2015-2016 academic year is already causing huge problems for the neighborhood it will be housed in.  According to one area resident, this small neighborhood of 220 will be faced with an initial 224 students being transported to the school via DART or walking to the school.  The school was previously going to be located at 920 French St. in Wilmington, but was moved to 201 W. 14th Street.

Nothing was done about what kind of impact this could have on this neighborhood, or even covered in their modification request with the Delaware Department of Education, as evidenced by their official request here:

http://www.doe.k12.de.us/cms/lib09/DE01922744/Centricity/Domain/151/2015%20Modification%20Applications/Freire/Freire%20–%20Delaware%20DOE%20Charter%20Modification%20Application.pdf

118 of the citizens of this neighborhood have signed a petition opposing this plan until they see a documented transportation and parking plan.  Meanwhile, the school is continuing to recruit students to start in August.  Current estimates by the school are to have 560 students by the 2018-2019 year.