Coup D’etat Attempt At Red Clay Board Meeting Tonight?

One way or another, the Red Clay Consolidated School District Board of Education will have a new board President tonight.  Mike Piccio is gone.  Usually, the President-Elect would naturally assume the role.  Which would be Martin Wilson.  But apparently some folks involved with the district are throwing around a very old allegation that Wilson doesn’t live in the nominating district he was elected from.  I reached out to a few other folks who said this old chestnut is completely false and there are other factors at play.

My question would be “why is this coming up now?”  I was directed to an old Kilroy’s Delaware article that is well over a decade old.  I couldn’t find it.  I believe Kilroy used BlogSpot before WordPress so they were purged a long time ago.  But I did find an article from 2010 where Kilroy endorsed Wilson for his second run on the board.  Wilson is African-American and with all the movement by this board about equity, it would be good to have an African-American President of the board.

It appears there are others on the Red Clay board who desire the President and President-Elect roles.  And they haven’t exactly been quiet about this fact.  I would say to these board members that if they want me to go after someone, they had best be able to provide proof of their allegation and contact me directly instead of sending someone else to do it.  I don’t appreciate being used to stir up trouble where there is none.  Cause that makes me wonder about the motivation by the person sent my way.

I don’t like political games like this.  While a district school board isn’t exactly a big deal in the long run, in a state as small as Delaware and the fact this is coming from the largest district in the state which does wield a significant amount of influence on education, it makes me wonder why I would endorse these two members to have a leadership role on the board when they resort to petty parlor tricks like this.  In the end, a district board president or vice-president simply leads the meeting and in some cases sets the agenda.  It is a title role that looks pretty on paper and you might get a gavel depending on your district.

Oh, and if you want me to do a hatchet job on someone, do some homework first.  This was already brought up in court and the judge ruled that Wilson could serve from this nominating district.  Not that it is anyone’s business but Martin Wilson himself, but did any of these busybodies attempt to ask Wilson himself why he went before the court to get a ruling on this to begin with?  Not my business to get that information out there because it is not their business.  There is a fine line I will not go over with blogging and this is one of those situations.  Wilson did his due diligence and that is ALL that matters.

If you are going to serve on a school board, I would stick to what school boards do: oversee a district in the best interests of children.  Not this… never this.  I might be a lot of things, but I do have integrity and I will not bury someone so someone else gets a little bit of power on a school board.  If this destroys a friendship or an association, so be it.  If you valued me in any way to begin with you wouldn’t have attempted this stunt so no loss on my part.  And an FYI: I smelled the piranha in the kiddie pool immediately.  Just be grateful I’m not saying YOUR names.

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Breaking News: Mike Piccio Resigns From Red Clay Board of Education

Effective August 28th, Red Clay Consolidated School District Board of Education President Mike Piccio resigned from the board.  Sources within the district have confirmed there is no controversy, just a citizen moving out of the district at some point.  But what makes this interesting will be the makeup of the board going forward.  The current Vice-President Martin Wilson, in most situations, would just slide into the President role.  But knowing Red Clay, I am sure other members will want to vote on changes to the board.  Not to mention the whole special election for his seat on the board.  Interesting times up in Red Clay…

Red Clay Board of Education Votes Unanimously For Equity Plan

Last night, the Red Clay Consolidated School District Board of Education voted unanimously for the district to develop an Equity Plan through their long-standing Diversity Committee.  The resolution, written by board member Adriana Bohm, would charge the committee to develop the Equity Plan, which will be presented to the board by April of 2018.  Many community members came out to give public comment in support of plan.

Where this gets a bit sticky is the two charter schools Red Clay authorizes, Charter School of Wilmington and Delaware Military Academy.  As their authorizing agent, Red Clay can conduct their charter renewal process along with formal reviews, modifications, and other such matters.  But they cannot dictate district policy to those schools and make them follow it.  Both schools have substantially lower populations of racial groups the Diversity Committee would talk about.  Failure to address this huge gap between the districts and those charters would ignore the inherent and not-to-be ignored problems of race in the district.  Based on enrollment preferences, those schools have the tendency to pick and choose who they want based on “specific interest”.

I definitely think Bohm’s resolution is a good one.  Red Clay had mixed results with their Inclusion Plan over the past few years which has prompted significant changes in the way the district handles special education.  Based on 2016-2017 data, Red Clay has more minorities than white students, with the largest of those minorities being Hispanic students at around 30%.  But what I don’t want to see this committee doing is basing student success on Smarter Balanced Assessment scores.  I do not believe these are a valid measurement of student success in any possible way.  Many in the African-American community feel these are a valid measurement since they include all students, but when the test is flawed it is not a good measurement.

To read the entire plan, please see below.

Red Clay Mom Takes On Red Clay’s “Zero Tolerance Policy Against Bullying”

With Maya Paveza’s permission, she is allowing me to share a Youtube video she released today.  I will let the video speak for itself.  But it is a horrifying story about one student’s personal journey through hell in Red Clay schools over the past eight years.  No student or parent should go through this gut-wrenching hell at all, much less over eight years.  I hope Katarina gets the peace and healing she deserves.  I will post the other videos in this series.  I did the same thing three years ago, albeit in a different format.  Only fitting I help another Delaware student tell her story.

Updated: Red Clay’s Tax Rate Jumps Up 2 Cents Without A Referendum!

Man, taxpayers are getting it this year.  Like Appoquinimink, Red Clay citizens are going to get another hit this year as their tax rate leaps up 2 cents to $2.174 per $100 of assessed value.  But if you look at the below pictures, it shows a bigger increase.  That is because their last referendum had different amounts that would change in the tax rate for the next couple years.  But unlike Appo, there tuition tax leapt up .02 cents as opposed to .06 cents.  Red Clay has a ton more students with disabilities, and yet their needs-based special education funding only went up $250,000 as opposed to Appo’s needed $815,000 for “increased special education cost”.  So Appo still  has some explaining to do (I am working on a follow-up article to explain this anomaly).

RCTuition

rc5yrtaxratehistory

Click on the blue to see Red Clay’s current tax rate presentation and FY2017 Preliminary Budget.

Red Clay Consolidated School District Parents: How To Opt Out & Refuse The Test NOW!!!

This is an important message for ALL Red Clay Consolidated School District parents: You need to opt your child out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  If they started already, do not let them take one more second of this test.  Refuse The Test!  The Network of Public Education is calling for a National Opt Out of these high-stakes tests.  They aren’t effective at all, and everyone knows it.  These tests are being used for nefarious purposes.  Do not believe the lies coming out of Governor Markell and the Delaware Department of Education.  They care more about corporate profit than your child.  It doesn’t matter if your kid is smart.  It doesn’t matter if you are Democrat or Republican.  What matters is your child, and their education.  This is not education.  It is a mockery of education.

As  you may or may not know, last year your school board passed a policy honoring a parent’s right to opt their child out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  Your child will NOT be penalized in any way for your decision to opt them out!

Please give the principal of your child’s school a letter on Monday morning indicating you are opting your child out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  Let the school know you want your child to receive academic instruction while the other kids are taking the test.  If they tell you that you can’t opt your child out, look them in the eye and say “Yes I can, and if you make my child take this test I will call the police.”  To get support from other parents, please join the Opt Out Red Clay Facebook group.

Are Red Clay’s Administrative Costs Out Of Control?

A gentleman by the name of Jack Wells, a frequent commenter on Kilroy’s Delaware, has been hammering at Red Clay Consolidated School District for years over their administrative costs.  He makes my charter school financial stuff look weak in comparison!  I tend to focus on the Department of Education’s finances, but one of the major complaints I hear in Delaware is how administrative costs are out of control.  Every school district and charter school in Delaware should have a Jack Wells looking out for these types of things.

What has Mr. Wells upset right now?  The Wilmington Education Improvement Commission redistricting plan.  More specifically, the clause indicating the Red Clay board may raise taxes without a referendum…

 

  1. Chart 1 shows total state, federal and local funds received by the district during the period 2006/07 through 2013/14 as reported by our State’s Department of Education.  {Excludes 2 special schools.}
  2. Chart 2 shows the same information for the period 2006/07 through 2015/16, figures for 2015/16 were taken from the districts 2015/16 Budget. {DDOE has not published revenue information since 2013-2014.}

 

%                                                   %

State        Total          Fed             Local        Total       Total

116,745,319  54.82    14,604,025   81,607,040   38.32  212,956,384  2013/14

113,643,134  62.06    11,867,910   57,580,215   31.44  183,091,259  2006/07

3,102,185  10.38      2,736,115   24,026,825   80.45    29,865,125  Total Increase

 

119,089,298   53.44   11,747,926   92,107,040   41.33  222,844,264  2015/16

113,643,134   62.06   11,867,910   57,580,215   31.44  183,091,259  2006/07

5,446,164   13.70  {-} 219,984   34,526,825   86.85    39,753,005  Total Increase

 

These charts show that in 2006-2007 the state provided 62.06% of the revenue and the property owners provided 31.44%, eight years later the state was providing only 53.44 percent, property owners 41.33%, and the districts delinquent school taxes had skyrocketed. During this period the state cut funding to our schools while continuing to fund overhead in our districts and DDOE. The fact are clear, funding overhead is a priority over funding our schools.

In 2014 after property owners provided the district an additional $24,026,825, that represented 80.45 percent of the total increase in revenue.  The Board than told community, if you do not approve increasing your current operating tax rate by 19.97 percent, we will have to terminate teachers, paraprofessionals, activities, etc.,  To prevent these cuts, the community approved increasing the tax rate, than the board voted to deny property owners the right to vote to raise the tax rate.

Chart two includes the additional $10.5 million received this year as a result of the rate increase, since the increased tax rate will be phrased in over 3 years, local revenue with continue to increase. Since the referendum was approved, the district built a new 600 student K-5 school, regular and special enrollment student declined, regular units decreased while special education Div. I Units increased. {Chart below shows changes in enrollment and units.}

Regular      Units   Special  Units

Enrollment  Earned  Needs  Earned

14,364        777       2175      309     2014

13,925        752       2169      321     2016

{-}439   {-}  25     {-}  6        12

When property owners provide 86.85 % of the total increase in revenue, and the Board still has insufficient revenue to provide funding for ELL and low income children, the board has a major problem.  Rather than doing a review on how and where funds were being used by program, and than allocating funding by priority, the WEIC, the board and the boards Community Financial Review Committee recommended doing away with referendums and authorizing the board to raise taxes.  NOW THAT IS A SLAP IN THE FACE TO THE PROPERTY OWNERS, SHOCKING.

I strongly oppose providing the Red Clay School Board authority to raised local taxes without a referendum and wonder why after the property owners provided 86.85% of all the additional revenue, they determined it was necessary to do away with referendums. NOW THAT IS VERY TROUBLING. 

Jack Wells

As a taxpayer, I would find this very troubling.  Charter school and DOE finances are tough enough to figure out, but Mr. Wells brings up many valid points concerning district funds and spending.  I know Christina had to make a lot of sacrifices when their referendums didn’t pass last year.  Teachers lost jobs or were sent to other schools.  Some board members even turned in their district-paid cell phones last summer.  But I also know there are several districts with folks making over $100,000 across the state.  If the Every Student Succeeds Act actually does give more state and local control and less fed mandates, does this mean there would no longer be a need for so much district administration?  Or would it actually increase?  Dare I actually crack the yolk of district funding?  I think Brian Stephan from Delaware Liberal (who is on the Citizens Budget Oversight Committee in the Christina School District) and Jack Wells should hold a forum on district spending!

I plan on sharing a lot of Mr. Well’s material (with his permission) since it is so brilliant!  What do you think?  I would love to hear from some district admins, especially in Red Clay, about their side of this.  It is a conversation that is not going to go away.  One big takeaway I have from all this is that Jack Markell can talk education all he wants, but in his administration, the percentage of funding to education has actually gone down percentage-wise.  Jack Markell likes to talk big, but he leaves it up to the districts and yes, even the charters, to carry more of the financial burden for his (not-so) moments of brilliance.

Red Clay: Your Inclusion Plan Is NOT Working. This Needs To Stop…NOW!!!!!

Last year, the Red Clay Consolidated Board of Education approved an inclusion plan for students with disabilities.  Instead of paying for students with severe and intense difficulties in their own educational setting, as required by federal law under IDEA, they decided to stick them with all the regular students.  The results have not been kind to these students.  I’ve been following this story for a while now, but with everything else going on I haven’t been able to give it the attention it deserves.  This changes now.  If I have to fight multiple fronts, I will.  This post put up by a sister of a Red Clay student with Autism was put on Facebook.  This should not be happening at all.  I am begging the Red Clay board to put a stop to this now.  If it means you don’t have funding for WEIC, so be it.  If you can’t handle your own, than you definitely shouldn’t be taking more.  I like some of you as people, but if you can’t get your act together as a whole for students with disabilities, all bets are off.

Today, my mom got a call from one of my sister Juliana’s teachers at Conrad. Her teacher told my mom that Jule was being horribly mocked and teased because of a pair of boots she liked and decided to wear to school today. Juliana is bullied and tormented every single day that she goes to school because she is autistic and she functions differently than other 7th graders. However, today was especially hard to hear about because she came home saying it was “one of the best days of her whole life.” When we asked her why, she said it was because her boots caught everyone’s attention, they were “complimenting” her, and even taking pictures. This honestly broke my heart because anyone would know that those kids weren’t really trying to make her feel good about herself in any way, and those pictures most likely ended up on Instagram or snapchat for everyone to mock. I just don’t understand how kids can be so cruel, especially to someone with a learning disability that doesn’t recognize sarcasm and thought all of their comments were serious. It breaks my heart to see her go through this every day of her life but today really struck something. If you have kids, please teach them kindness. It can be all someone like Juliana needs to know they’re not alone. My sister is a 12 year old girl living with autism, and she’s fucking amazing. Any kid that wants to at come for her, has to come through me first.

Is this really the environment Red Clay wants in their schools?

Red Clay Board Votes To Keep The WEIC Train Moving, But With A Caveat

The Red Clay Consolidated Board of Education had a special meeting tonight to discuss the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission and the redistricting of all Christina School District students into Red Clay.  The biggest issue at this point is funding.  The Board passed a resolution with a 4-1 vote to keep it going, but it was explicitly understood that if the funding is not available, it is dead.   Superintendent Merv Daugherty said if the funding isn’t there by July 1st, 2016, Red Clay will not move forward.

I know many are cheering for this, but I say pull the plug now.  With the budget and elections being the biggest issues in Delaware come January, the General Assembly will have a very hard time justifying the costs for this while making crucial cuts elsewhere.  And there will be cuts without more revenue.  And just wait until it becomes mainstream that the WEIC plan will most likely hinge on an increase in property assessments for the entire state.  I don’t mind paying my fair share for schools, but when the anti-referendum crowd finds out, they will be incensed.  If you thought the right and the left were at odds on some issues now, just wait until that topic becomes a part of social media.  It will get ugly real fast!

I like Tony Allen and many folks on WEIC.  I think their plans are based out of a concerted effort to do what they feel is the right thing for the students of Wilmington.  But this is not the time, not with the monetary issues facing this state.  For all the money all these education foundations and think tanks donate, have we heard any of them offering to pony up some cash?  Hell no.  Because it is a traditional school district thing.  Bank of America is incorporated in Delaware.  You would think they would have pride for not just charter schools but also our traditional schools.  Where is their huge donation to all of this?  They have a crucial player spearheading all this.  Meanwhile, I am hearing more and more people accepting the Common Core but they still hate the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  What many don’t realize is the two go hand in hand.  The reason the test is so jacked up is because it is based on Common Core.  But people are actually calling them “the standards” now.  You can wrap a ribbon around crap, but it is still crap.  Do not be lulled into acceptance folks.

Colonial backed out, and it looks like Brandywine may as well.  Christina’s teachers have no assurances they will be able to keep their jobs if the redistricting goes through.  Christina is going to be facing their own hefty financial issues by the end of this school year.  Murders continue in Wilmington, and Dover is having its fair share of homicides as well.  Drugs are rampant in this state.  We have adults acting out against students, albeit rare, but it is happening.  There is the elephant in the room called racism, and it exists in this state.  It is real, and it is happening right now.  By the time Delaware becomes a powder keg, Governor Jack Markell will exit stage left, leaving a legacy that future generations will come to hate him for.  What will Rodel, the Delaware Department of Education, and the State Board of Education do without their leader once he is gone?  The General Assembly is going to have their hands full, and I can guarantee you if they push the property assessment thing, the landscape of Legislative Hall will look very different come January 2017.

Red Clay’s Skyline Middle School Parents Want Change In School Climate, Release Youtube Video

At the Red Clay Consolidated School District Board of Education meeting on Wednesday night, several parents of students who attend Skyline Middle School spoke before the board about school climate.  The school has several new students from the City of Wilmington attending the school and parents are very concerned about the 500% increase in suspension rates and a rapid increase in bullying.  Sounds like Skyline needs to be looked at as well as The Delaware Met.  I’m glad the board at Red Clay is taking quick and decisive action on this, but these things just shouldn’t happen under any circumstances.

I just posted the following on Facebook:

The bullying has got to stop. No more excuses. Schools need to be a safe haven for ALL students. Matt Denn, please look into this in ALL Delaware schools. We need to make sure special education is being implemented and done right. We also need to put an end to violence being inflicted on students. No child should ever come home crying and tell his parents he is too scared to go to school. No parent should ever have to stand before a school board and demand change. It just shouldn’t happen.

Red Clay’s Conrad In Violation Of Board Resolution On Parent Opt-Out of Smarter Balanced Assessment

The Conrad Schools of Science just came out with their 2016 Choice Application, and sure enough, it has a twelve point rubric.  Two of the points are based on the student’s Smarter Balanced Assessment math score.  If a student was opted out by his parents, what happens with this rubric?  And so it begins.  Expect to see more of this from certain Delaware schools.  Didn’t the Red Clay board pass an opt-out resolution last Spring indicating no student would be penalized for opting out?  I believe they did.  Sounds like Superintendent Merv Daugherty needs to have a talk with this magnet school…

Delaware Chancery Court Suggests Red Clay Redo Their Last Referendum In Legal Opinion

This hasn’t been discussed in mainstream media too much, but the Delaware Chancery Court just wrote a legal opinion concerning Red Clay’s last referendum.  The Red Clay Consolidated School District wanted to case dismissed, but the Chancery Vice Chancellor Laster denied the dismissal on October 7th. The entire opinion can be read here.  Keep in mind this is not an actual verdict, merely an opinion by a judge. Key highlights from this legal opinion are as follows:

Finally, to the extent this decision has erred by treating the Family-Focused Events as a reward for voting, at a minimum they were selectively targeted get-out-the-vote events designed to appeal to a readily identifiable group that Red Clay believed would support the tax increase. Viewed as such, the Complaint states a viable challenge under the Elections Clause to the Family-Focused Events. The Abbott decision stated that the purpose of the Elections Clause ―is to ensure that the right of citizens to vote in an election is unfettered.‖ 2008 WL 821522, at *19 (Del. Ch. Mar. 27, 2008.

The opinion goes into great detail about the events going on at various Red Clay schools the same day as the referendum.

Using the Family-Focused Events, Red Clay encouraged and facilitated voting by families with school-aged and pre-school-aged children. By doing so, Red Clay made the election unequal, not through traditionally negative means, but through positive means. Whether Red Clay‘s conduct went too far is necessarily a matter of degree, but for pleading-stage purposes, the plaintiffs have stated a claim under the Elections Clause.

The heart of the complaint behind this case was a woman brought her elderly parents to a school to vote.  She claimed parking was a huge issue and there were empty school busses taking up spots.  She claims her parents, who are disabled, were not given unfettered access to the polling booth.

Moreover, in the current case, Red Clay‘s selective get-out-the-vote efforts had negative effects on the elderly and disabled. As the Abbott decision recognized, a potential violation of the Elections Clause exists if the plaintiffs allege that ―their access to the polls was disturbed….‖ 2008 WL 821522, at *20.

Vice-Chancellor Laster denied the dismissal request by the Red Clay attorneys:

In challenging Red Clay‘s electoral interventions as a whole, the Complaint states a claim on which relief can be granted under both federal and state law. Red Clay‘s motion to dismiss is therefore denied.

The Vice Chancellor basically said if Red Clay does the Referendum again without some of the contested events taking place, and they have the same results, it would render the case moot.

Red Clay has the option of addressing the plaintiffs‘ contentions by returning to the electorate. This decision has concluded that the plaintiffs would not be able to state a claim for relief if Red Clay only engaged in certain types of conduct and avoided others, such as the Family-Focused Events and electioneering in close proximity to the voting rooms. If Red Clay called for a new special election and limited its electoral interventions, and if Red Clay‘s voters ratified the result of the February 2015 election by voting in favor of the tax increase, then this litigation would be moot.

This will certainly be an interesting case to watch if it does make it to trial.  There was a lot of heat put on Red Clay based on the events of this referendum, and even though Attorney General Matt Denn did not find anything wrong, several Delaware legislators did.  The final decision in this could change the way referendums in Delaware occur.  Or maybe someone will finally get the good sense to do away with it for good!

DOE Can’t Pay Red Clay Priority Schools Money But They Can Pay Mass Insight Almost $2.5 Million Dollars?

Earlier in the summer, I received a letter sent from the Red Clay Consolidated School District to the Delaware Department of Education and Secretary of Education Mark Murphy.  Red Clay was upset because they were not being given the promised amount designated to them for the priority schools.  The DOE responded shortly after, and I published both of them.  I have heard the situation has been resolved, but nothing has been made public.  In fact, I stumbled across an email from the DOE to Red Clay from last November strongly suggesting they would be sending $750,000 a year to each of the Red Clay priority schools.  But the bottom line for each school in Red Clay is around $366,000.00.

So where did all that “promised” funding go?  The way I see it, each priority school is short about $400,000 a year.  There are six priority schools.  That adds up to about $2.4 million dollars.  I wonder where oh where the DOE could have allocated that money too…If Red Clay somehow compromised with the DOE, I have yet to know about it.  But I ran across this little bit of information today.  The Delaware DOE is paying a company called Mass Insight $2,445,000.00 for three years worth of work with “turnaround school support”.  The contract for this disappeared on the state contract website for a little while, but it’s back now.  What’s interesting is the last time I looked there were only 3 bidders for the project when it was still up for bids.  By the time all was said and done, there were 13 bidders, and the last was Mass Insight and they got the contract.  Nothing suspicious three….

To see this whole saga play out, check out the original RFP for the School Turnaround contract….

And then take a look at the bidders.  It’s like a who’s who of education reform companies in that bunch!

Last, but definitely not least, the awarded contract letter.  Sent to the very last bidder at the last minute I’m sure!

Now if the name Mass Insight sounds familiar, that’s because DOE used them back in 2010 and 2011 when they first started labeling turnaround schools.  Back then they called them partnership zone schools, or PZ for short.  Mass Insight was controversial then, so much so that someone started a blog called Mass Inciter.  It was short-lived but you can still go to it if you Google them.

The DOE and their magic math.  They have Governor Markell and Coach Murphy make a big grandstand on the steps of Warner Elementary School a year ago and publicly name these six “failing” schools.  Emails I posted in a series of articles last Spring showed how the DOE had no clue about how to get “those schools”, so they worked like mad for over a month coming up with the exact formula to get them labeled as “priority schools”.  Jack gave his big speech, and promised $5 million dollars to six schools.  He never told us half of those funds were going to an outside vendor!  That’s just like the DOE and Markell.  Screw over the schools that need resources the most but make the districts feel like crap if they don’t comply.

So while the DOE spends $2.445 million dollars over the next three years, and that’s just on THIS contract, and these schools don’t get the funds they were promised, who can we blame then?  Jack will be gone.  Coach will be gone.  You can’t blame Godowsky, he wasn’t there when this went down.  Will a new Governor keep the whacky regime heading the different areas at DOE now? I doubt it.  You can only play pin the tail on Penny Schwinn so much, but she answers to someone.  But Mass Insight will still get their cash cause the State of Delaware signed a contract with them.  And we can’t waste the money, so let’s just spend it!

The legislators need to, pardon my French, get their heads out of their asses and actually get this DOE under control. Lord knows what kind of damage they can do in the next 16 months!  I’m getting tired of being the ONLY one finding out this information.  The legislators should be all over the DOE, but they aren’t.  The ones that do question the DOE get shunned by their own party!  This is Jack’s world, and us little peons are just living in it.  There must be something that can be done… oh yeah, there is and I’m about to do it!

Sneak Peak: WEIC Presentation At Red Clay Board Tonight & The Devil Inside

You find all sorts of things looking at a school district’s board meeting agenda. Tonight, Chair of the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission and Dan Rich from the Public Policy Institute at the University of Delaware will give a presentation to the Red Clay Consolidated School Board on Red Clay’s role in WEIC. This is the presentation they are giving tonight, and it includes a very key section! See if you can figure out before I write it after the obligatory Scribd document…

Okay, if you read through the whole thing and didn’t just scroll down real quick, you know exactly what section I’m talking about, with nine words bolded for emphasis:

Will the implementation plan recommended by WEIC be limited to redrawing boundaries?
•No. Simply redistricting is of no value without a comprehensive plan for school reform.
•The WEIC plan must include funding, parent and community engagement, and wraparound services.
•The WEIC plan will present a comprehensive package and ask the State Board to approve the entire package.

As Tony Allen is fond of saying, the devil is in the details, and that is one hell of a detail.  I wasn’t aware the State Board had the authority to approve the entire package.  I thought they only had authority for the actual redistricting.  Where is the General Assembly’s role in this?  And this commission will go on for six years?  Does this mean they can go to the State Board whenever they want to implement changes without legislative approval?  That is a HUGE mistake.  ENORMOUS! GIGANTIC!  The State Board should not have that much authority.  They are unelected and appointed by the Governor.  They never vote against his wishes.  This is the devil in all of this.  Here is the exact wording from the Governor Markell signed House Bill 148:

(g) The WEIC shall work with and across all governmental agencies, educational entities, and private and nonprofit institutions to promote and support the implementation of all recommended changes from the Wilmington Education Advisory Committee (WEAC). The WEIC will oversee the redistricting of school districts as set forth in this Chapter.   The WEIC also will also monitor the progress of implementation and recommend policies and actions to the Governor and General Assembly to facilitate progress and to promote the continuous improvement of public education on dimensions addressed by the WEAC recommendations. In addition, the WEIC will develop a transition plan, including a timeline, for the provision of necessary services to schools and students affected by the implementation of the changes recommended by WEAC. WEIC shall also develop a resource plan regarding transitional resources to effectively implement school district realignment. Both the transition plan and resource plan must be submitted first to the State Board of Education and then to the General Assembly and the Governor for final approval.   Both are due for submission and related action by December 31, 2015.

This is a very slippery slope to start off on.  If I were the Red Clay board I would clarify this very important omission in their presentation TONIGHT!

Red Clay Interpreter’s Very Bigoted & Racist Comments Shock Delaware

varley

After Governor Markell signed Senate Bill 122 and House Bill 148 at the Hockessin Colored School last Tuesday, the Delaware News Journal quickly got a story up on Delawareonline.  On their Facebook page, comments started pouring in, including the above discriminatory and racist comment.  Word has it she is an interpreter for the Red Clay Consolidated School District.  I believe there is a petition going for her to be fired immediately.

This kind of talk should become illegal in our country.  What is wrong with people?  The comment disappeared, but luckily a source got a picture of the very controversial comments….

Red Clay Principals, It’s Not Up To You To “Let” Parents Opt Out, Just Stop…

We know.  We know all about the funding threats, and the “Oh, you’re the first person who has told me this” when I have seen multiple parents give YOUR name, at numerous Red Clay schools.  It’s gotten to the point of embarrassment, not only for your schools, but your self-respect.  Just stop.  Parents aren’t dumb.  They are not stupid.  They know what is best for their children.  The very fact that you want to talk them out of it in one-on-one meetings shows the DOE is hammering your district hard.  Why do you think that is?  It’s cause they are scared out of their pants that opt out will get bigger than it ALREADY has.  I’ve now heard from a few people that Mark Murphy, the Secretary of Education himself here in the First State, has been telling districts that after parents opt out, see the DOE template, and still want to opt out, to “let” them.  But he wants the parents to not spread the word and keep quiet.  Principals in Delaware: do you serve students or a bureaucracy that is over-paid and filled with people who don’t know the first thing about education?  Stop serving the Department, and start looking out for your students.  Cause the DOE sure as hell isn’t.  You are all tired of this testing crap.  Let the parents do what they need to do for their children.

The Opt Out Heat Is On Red Clay To Pass A Resolution Supporting Parent Opt Out

Attention!  All Red Clay parents!  If you support the opt out movement, you have to go to the Red Clay board meeting on Wednesday, 3/18/14.  Your children go to one of the largest districts in the state, and you need to go and give public comment in support of parent opt out.  The board needs to hear YOUR VOICE!!!  Many of you have reached out to me with concerns and questions, and I have replied to all of you.  Now is the time for you to turn your curiosity into action.

This test and punish atmosphere in our public schools will continue unless we speak NOW!!  This is not the kind of environment that is healthy for our kids.  We all know it, and we all know this has absolutely nothing to do with getting our kids “college and career ready”.  This is all about the corporate education reform movement which Governor Jack Markell has sold out Delaware to, and continues to do every time the word education comes out of his mouth.  Jack and his buddies are making tons of money off the backs of children.  It is disgusting and abhorrent.

Many districts in our state have taken strong positions on parent opt out.  Christina and Capital passed resolutions giving support for opt out, Colonial’s Superintendent has indicated he will approve any request that comes in for opt out, and Delmar has this on their agenda to take action.  If Red Clay truly wants to do what is best for the children of Wilmington and their district, they will end the high-stakes testing of our children by supporting parent opt out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  This is not a “little test” as Earl Jaques would have you believe.  If you have any concerns, please follow these links and look for more opt out news as it comes out!

https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/parent-opt-out-links/

Red Clay Consolidated School District Referendum Passes

According to Mike Matthews on Facebook, the Red Clay Referendum passed, 6,355 Yes votes and 5,484 No votes.  Mike actually updated the vote tallies from each school as they were announced.  To many observers, it appeared elementary schools were getting many yes victories, and high schools were the opposite.

 

Happy Valentines Day Red Clay Charters: Charter School of Wilmington, Delaware College Prep & DE Military Academy

Happy Valentines Day you wonderful Red Clay Consolidated School District charters!  I just wanted to extend the love since no one at Red Clay seems to want to monitor you guys.  I was looking at your websites, and I noticed something:

YOU HAVE NO TRANSPARENCY OF YOUR BOARD MEETINGS!!!!!

Charter School of Wilmington, last board meeting minutes: September 2014, last agenda posted-January 27th meeting

Delaware College Prep, last board meeting minutes: July 2014, last agenda posted: No agendas posted, just states what the “standard” agenda” is for each meeting

Delaware Military Academy, last board meeting minutes: September 2014, last agenda posted-NONE

And the Wilmington Education Committee wants Red Clay to take over the Christina School District Wilmington schools?  Why?  They can’t even oversee the three charters in their district!  Given the timeframe on when these charters last updated their board meetings, it almost seems intentional.  I wonder who would have planned that…