Sue Francis recently retired as the Executive Director of the Delaware School Boards Association. She held the title for many years. So what are her plans for her retirement? Apparently she has expressed a desire to join another school board! But not just any school board, a charter school board! As most know, charter school board members are not publicly elected, so the board would have to vote themselves on whether or not she can join. So which charter school is it? Continue reading
To my knowledge, this is a first. A New Castle County school district Superintendent has been nominated to join a charter school board. I know board members from a traditional school district are not able to join a charter school board, but I don’t believe there is anything in Delaware state code that would prevent a Superintendent from joining. With that being said, I believe this would be a HUGE conflict of interest for both the charter and the district. Continue reading
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
And Pierson isn’t just a member, he’s also the President!
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!
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.