Markell’s Office Plays Spin City On Housing Discounts For Charter Teachers While Other Teachers Fume

On Sunday, I wrote about how Governor Markell’s Downtown Development District is offering “below market value” discounts to charter school teachers at Market Street Village.  This was verified by both the Delaware News Journal and The New York Times in articles about this revitalization of Wilmington’s downtown housing district.  Meanwhile, Governor Markell’s office puts their spin on the story.

Delaware State Senator Bryan Townsend, upon hearing the news, reached out to Governor Markell’s office.  They responded this was miscommunication on the reporter’s part.  They didn’t specify if this was the NY Times or The News Journal reporter or both.  They said the discounts for charter school teachers are just an “example” of the types of discounts offered.  Apparently this is offered through the Delaware Talent Cooperative.  This program allows for teachers to transfer to inner-city high needs schools and are given incentives to do so.  The only problem with this is that this program is not offered to public school district teachers in Newcastle County.

The Governor’s staff has confirmed with the developer, and updated me, that many other groups are eligible for the discounts. It seems someone (the reporter, or whoever provided the info) should have listed “charter teachers” as an example of who is eligible for the discount, not that they’re the sole group eligible.

When asked if this program includes other teachers out there, Townsend responded with this:

As I understand it, to be eligible one has to be employed and meet certain federal reqs. I do not have more details than that right now, but I’ve been told that the “charter teacher” reference was only meant to be an example of someone who would qualify (and perhaps be interested, with a short walk from home to work). I don’t think “charter school teachers” is any kind of defined group for eligibility purposes.

As for Governor Markell, it would be very hard to think he did not read the article in the New York Times.  After all, he linked to it on his Twitter and Facebook Accounts:

In case you missed it: The New York Times profiled some of the exciting developments happening in Wilmington to attract “a new generation of young professionals who want to live and play in the communities where they work.” Wilmington has its challenges, but also growing employers, new housing investments, and great cultural assets on which we can build.

As well, both newspaper articles mentioned one specific building where charter school teachers would receive this discount, where 77 units are being offered, at Market Street Village.  There might be other discounts at other buildings, but this particular building was named.

Reaction from public school district teachers and other members of the community are unified in disgust:

I was hoping for good things from Gov. Jack Markell’s Downtown Development District. Now to read that his plan will offer discounted mortgages to ONLY charter school teachers? Wow. Wow. Wow. I really don’t know what to say.

 I read about discounted apt. rentals downtown for Charter teachers. I had the same reaction — why not ALL teachers? Or Firefighters, OR Police officers. Very odd!

Not surprised! It’s all part of his master plan….destroy public education/educators. Sad state of affairs!

I’m going to apply at Wilmington Charter since it’s like that 🙈🙉🙊😎

It’s time to have a sit down with all of the candidates for Governor is 2016. We endorsed Markell twice, did we not? Why are we endorsing, and advising our members to vote for these clowns?

This is disgusting. I have no words!

It really is disgusting at this point.

I am wondering why Markell thinks this is okay?

FUBAR beyond belief

Seriously, how is anyone here surprised, or shocked, or outraged? This is what happens when people go along to get along with policymakers who are controlled rigidly by ideology. They do not listen to us, and do only what they want to do. Until we stop giving them our time, our data, and our inability to mobilize and depose them, they will not stop.

I thought it was going to be geared to AmeriCorps people…so Vistas, Public Allies, as well as TFAers. That would’ve been somewhat fine with me – most of those folks make peanuts…to make it charter only is an extremely awkward, unfortunate choice.

Jack the Jerk

sadly, you guys bought the charlatan’s wares

This is shocking. Please remember these subsidies when anyone argues that charter schools operate less expensively than district schools. Teacher housing subsidies are part of their cost, it seems.

It’s another slap in the face to public school teachers.

What a tool…..

This is DoE Gone Wild, plain and simple. LEAs said three years ago that the Delaware Talent Cooperative was a sham program not steeped in research and that it could have a divisive effect in our schools. RCEA soundly rejected DoE’s Talent Coop and our District and Board respected our wishes to stay out of this toxic incentive program.  So this is DoE’s roundabout way of keeping this DOA program chugging along.  They are truly pathetic.

Mr. Markell suffers from Union animus plain and simple

Glad I didn’t help put him in office!

These types of housing programs for teachers are usually in areas where even a modest rental can’t be obtained by them. Is this the case in Wilmington? I seriously doubt it unless Wilmington is the new Boston or Princeton and I’m just clueless!

amazing. i worked incredibly hard as a public school teacher for over 20 years. I stuck it out even though it was not easy. Incredibly rewarding though. This is a shocking move by Markell.

 

Charter School Teachers Getting Preferential Treatment at Market Street Village, Discrimination Against Public School Teachers

In the Delaware News Journal today one of the articles was about luxury apartments in development for the new “millennials” to spice up the downtown district in Wilmington.  The article announced the 77 unit Market Street Village will give “below-market rates” to charter school teachers.  Jeff Mordock with the News Journal wrote:

“One of the projects, Market Street Village, will include 77 residential units that will be offered to charter school teachers at below-market rates.  Hare said tax credits and funding from the state’s Downtown Development District programs will help the units be priced at a discount.”

This was Governor Markell’s big announcement right before his State of the State address a couple weeks ago.  Locations were chosen in Wilmington, Dover and Seaford.  Markell, why don’t you just come out with a press release that says “I hate public school district teachers, and I will not rest until they are wiped off the map in Delaware.”  This is discrimination, pure and simple.  I suppose there aren’t any Millennials among the very large teacher pool in the local public school districts?  Or is this indicative of something bigger?  Because the New York Times also had an article about this on February 5th, but they said something a little bit different.  NY Times reporter Mark Makela wrote:

“The former bank building is part of the Market Street Village development that will create 77 residential units at three locations for the city’s growing number of charter school teachers, who will be offered the apartments at below-market rates.”

In the 2015-2016 school year there will be a total of six new charter schools in Delaware, five of which will be in New Castle County.  Two are already scheduled to open within Wilmington.  But on the other hand, two established charter schools will close, Reach Academy for Girls and Moyer.  So that’s 1,290 approved seats for the five new charter schools, and based on the DOE school profiles website, 573 students currently enrolled this year (I didn’t count the 12 seniors at Moyer) will be forced to find a new school next year.  So this will create a huge amount of available teachers.  What it won’t do is put the local school districts in a good position.  Already under the knife’s edge with the priority schools, more local funding will be taken out of these school districts.  This is assuming all these new charters fill all their seats.

While the fate of the priority schools is in your hands with Christina School District, or your lapdog Murphy, we all know most of these teachers will be forced to reapply for their jobs.  Do you honestly think they would accept being terminated and then taking a job at a charter school?  So where will all these new teachers come from?  Perhaps Teach For America or Relay Graduate School?  Younger people, perfect for your little downtown agenda.

It’s bad enough with all the Common Core, standardized testing and teacher evaluations, but now Markell has to push the knife in the back even deeper by allowing this 21st century discrimination by excluding public school district teachers out of a major state “revitalization” project.  He isn’t even trying to hide it anymore..  I’m sure you figure “I’ve got two years left, and I’ll do whatever I damn well please.”  Why anyone in this state would think Markell is an honorable man is beyond me.  His obsession with Rodel and all the little side deals he made has turned Delaware education into a disgrace.  It was one thing when he kept his obvious disdain of public school district education in the schools and the education landscape.  Now he has crossed a very big line into actual incentives for some he feels are “worthy” and nothing for those that are not.  I thought a Governor was supposed to be a voice for all people Governor Markell, but it’s obvious you are only there for some.

Now I understand why you have not said one word about the ACLU lawsuit against the State of Delaware and Red Clay Consolidated School District.  You would be a hypocrite.  Equity for all aren’t even words in your vocabulary.