Two Delaware charter schools are in violation of Delaware state law. The Delaware Department of Education is not putting them under formal review as they did two years ago when a few charter schools did not have 80% of their student enrollment for the next school year by April 1st of that calendar year. Delaware Academy of Public Safety & Security and Delaware Design-Lab High School are under the 80% enrollment. Why no formal review? The Delaware State Code, under Title 14, is very clear about this type of situation:
(c)(1) On or before April 1 of each school year, a charter school shall have enrolled, at a minimum, 80% of its total authorized number of students, and the administrator of each charter school shall, pursuant to the requirements below, provide a written certification of that enrollment to the Department of Education and to the superintendent of each public school district in which 1 or more of the charter school’s students reside.
So what gives? The answer can be found in the State Board of Education agenda for their meeting today. The Charter School Office gives a monthly presentation to the State Board on all matters surrounding charter schools.
The law is the law. If they did the same to other charter schools, why are these two not going under the same scrutiny with their enrollment numbers? Is that fair to the charters that had to go through the formal review process two years ago? DAPSS numbers have been down for years. Had they not submitted a modification last year to decrease their enrollment numbers (which passed), they would have gone under formal review last year. Delaware Design-Lab was one of the schools under formal review two years ago for low enrollment numbers. Fair is fair, no matter what. While these numbers are not a train-wreck, they are in violation of what our legislators passed and was written into the state code.
This will be short and sweet, but the Delaware Charter School Accountability Committee voted on Monday to recommend the Academy of Dover for charter renewal with no conditions. The committee, created through the Delaware Dept. of Education Charter School Office, will issue their final report next week. In December, Secretary of Education Dr. Steven Godowsky will make his recommendation to the State Board of Education at their monthly meeting. The State Board will then have a vote on Academy of Dover’s charter renewal.
One major thing that came up at their initial committee meeting last month was their enrollment. It dipped this year and has been on that trend. The committee advised Academy of Dover that if this trend continues they could face major obstacles in the future which could put them in a very precarious financial position. Charter schools in Delaware are required to be at 80% of their approved enrollment by April 1st before the next school year. If they don’t, they go on formal review. This will be something Academy of Dover will have to deal with going forward until they get their numbers back up.
I think the closure of any school is a very serious decision and if it has to happen, it better be for some damn good reasons. Academy of Dover is not anywhere close to that level. I will do a follow-up on this when the report comes out next week.
If you are coming to the Parent Press Conference on Wednesday, April 1st, outside Legislative Hall in Dover at 5pm, this is what you can expect:
-Parents talking about the damaging effects of Common Core and standardized testing
-A legislator talking about House Bill 50
-Delaware PTA talking about Parent Opt Out
-a potential other organization talking about their stance on parent opt out
Some have called this a rally. We are rallying for a good cause: change in education. If you believe that your child is more than a test score, please come. If you are against teachers being rated based on a standardized test score, please come. If you are tired of Common Core and other subjects either diminishing or disappearing in your school, please come. If you are against your taxpayer dollars going to needless programs and services in our schools, please come. If you are tired of paying school taxes so the Department of Education can sign contract after contract with companies that are interfering in education, please come. If you want to save public education, please come.
You can find out more information on this event here:
As the number of parents joining the Parent Press Conference on April 1st grows by the hour, members of the media were sent the official press release for the event. This was a massive press release sent to all the major media outlets in the tri-state area. Parents can look forward to a very well-attended event with a lot of coverage. If you would like to speak at the press conference, please arrive 15-20 minutes early, or feel free to contact me at the email in the press release. Parking can be tight in this area, so you may want to arrive early.
No April Fools! The date for the Parent Press Conference will be changed to April 1st, at 5pm outside Legislative Hall in Dover. This way more people who want to come can attend! Sorry for the last minute decision on this Wednesday. This is not a rally. This is a press conference so parents can talk about their frustration with what has been happening in Delaware education. The main points will be House Bill 50, opt out and standardized testing, but also the frustration parents are feeling with education and being left out of key decisions. Any organization or group is more than welcome to attend and participate, but the main focus is everyday parents.
Please save the date and do your best to attend. The more people that are there, the bigger the difference it could make. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to speak at the press conference. I will be sending a press release to the media outlets in the tri-state area in a few days.