There is so much going on tonight. First up is the first Town Hall meeting (which I filed a FOIA complaint against the Governor’s Office and Christina School District for a violation of the seven day notice) for the Governor Carney let’s screw with Christina School District one more time. Second is the Red Clay Consolidated School District Board of Education meeting in which they pick up a new board member and tackle the resolution similar to the Christina resolution on sanctuary schools and all that. Finally, it is the Capital School District Board of Education meeting. My son goes to school there again so I have a vested interest in what goes on in their district. I can’t possibly attend all of them. So which one am I going to? Who gets the honor? Continue reading “Tonight”
Last Thursday, Delaware Governor John Carney held yet another secret meeting. This one was with Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting and several legislators whose districts are a part of the Christina School District. Those legislators were Senators David Sokola and Bryan Townsend and Reps Earl Jaques, Ed Osienski, Joe Miro, Mike Ramone, Melanie Smith, and John Kowalko. The subject: those damn test scores for Christina!
Carney was pulling the usual “why are Christina’s reading and math scores so low?” If I were a déjà vu kind of guy, I would say it is the same record spun by Governor Markell and former Secretary of Education Mark Murphy. Sokola talked about capacity and too much of it in Christina. Ramone talked about how the state has closed failing charter schools and why not public schools. Jaques talked about how we need to fill schools with psychiatrists and psychologists while not realizing budget cuts have affected the ability to properly staff schools with educators and resources before we even need to get to that point. Miro talked about… who knows! But Kowalko talked about the funding cuts that have already happened that is causing the suffering of poverty students in Christina. He suggested Christina consolidates two of their high schools and actually build a Wilmington high school for Wilmington students so they aren’t bussed all over Christina School District.
Governor Carney is proving to be more of a Jack Markell wannabe than I ever thought he could be. I agree with Kowalko. When Markell cut the reading specialists Governor Ruth Ann Minner created years ago, the problems in Christina got bigger. When Markell began his dance with corporations to “fix” education it got worse. Now we’ve had three years of Smarter Balanced and, as predicted, the scores suck. They suck bad. No one in power ever stops to think the test is the problem. No, we must get new leaders in our schools. We have to fix poverty in the schools. How about creating real jobs, for real people? Not these new start-up tech companies Carney gets excited about. Cause they aren’t going to fix poverty. They are only going to further the divide between the haves and the have nots.
Kowalko told me the only legislator who made any sense was Senator Townsend. The rest, he felt, were playing the same skipped record on Delaware education particularly in Christina. And Secretary Bunting… I don’t know where your head is at these days. You’ve been drinking far too much of the Rodel Kool-Aid lately. Taking money away from districts (see recent articles about match tax) and just giving it away to the charters is not a solution. For someone who came from a large district with financial issues, you sure do seem to be forgetting what is truly needed in education. Who is advising these people? How many other secret meetings are going on? Thank God we have legislators like Kowalko who value transparency above all else.
Rep. Melanie Smith is one of the true catalysts, along with other charter-loving legislators, who don’t care about Christina. They care about the charters they want their kids and grandchildren to go to. And a few of them who have relatives that teach at charter schools. The jig is up. You aren’t fooling any of us with your grand posturing and false bravado. Smith, Jaques, Sokola, Ramone, Miro… enough already. The charter lobbyists don’t need to shove anything up your ass. You do it gladly all on your own.
We have a Secretary and Governor who allow situations like the train wreck that is Providence Creek Academy’s administration and the continuing de facto segregation factory called Newark Charter School. You want to put your money where your mouths are? Don’t let the charters bitch for one iota of a second about match tax and all their other funding whining when they get to keep their damn transportation slush fund. It is a disgrace. Democrat or Republican, it doesn’t matter. Most of you support it as evidenced by your budget vote every single damn year. The ones that say no to that… those are the ones I respect down at Legislative Hall. The rest of you are phoneys pretending to be lawmakers. Allowing charters to suck at the public teat while cutting funds from districts. And Bunting… perhaps the biggest traitor of them all allowing this to continue. I thought coming from a district you were going to be the watcher on the wall against this crap. But you have proven to be just like the other Governor mouthpieces for education.
Thanks for State Rep. Kim Williams for getting the word out on this. Yes, this task force is meeting tonight. At Legislative Hall in the House Hearing Room on the 2nd floor. From 6:30 to 8:00pm. Come, give public comment.
I don’t know who the members are except for the following State Reps and Senators: State Reps. Earl Jaques and Joe Miro and Senator David Sokola and Brian Pettyjohn. I’m guessing since Dave is biking somewhere in Illinois or Ohio at this point, he won’t be there. That is an interesting group right there. I’m assuming Earl is the Chair of this cabal since he is the one funning the meeting. Come, or be square! We know the Delaware Charter Schools Network won’t have a membership because of Rep. Williams last minute amendment on the bill.
Seriously, whose idea was it to have meetings in the middle of the Summer? The Dept. of Education is the coordinator. So I just answered my own question, duh! Sorry for the late notice folks, but I literally just found out about this myself!
Suckers! Governor Carney vetoed the 5 mile radius bill. Big deal. We all knew he didn’t really have a choice. But don’t think for one second Senator David Sokola and Newark Charter School Head of School Greg Meece didn’t plan all of this the second the bill went into circulation. Did any of you think for one second Meece would give up his beloved 5-mile radius for NCS? Come on! This is Delaware Politics 101 folks!
This was never about Wilmington students. This was ALWAYS about Newark Charter School. They do NOT want anyone outside of their 5-mile radius crossing that line. Sokola knew the bill had legs so he found the perfect amendment to kill it: exclude the Wilmington portion of Christina. It would get all the civil rights activists going off and it worked like a charm. Lest we forget, this is the same State Senator who messed around with the opt out bill every single chance he could. How many of us were there when he scheduled many bills during a Senate Education Committee meeting and the opt out bill, House Bill 50, was delayed for a week? Remember the whole “Assessment Inventory Task Force” crap? That was him. Remember the charter school audit bill which was fantastic under State Rep. Kim Williams’ original incarnation until he got his charter-dirty hands on it. And what about House Bill 399, the bill that would have given teachers a choice of using the Smarter Balanced Assessment or other tests for their evaluations? He put so much crap in his amendment and watered it down to nothing. This is classic Sokola.
Don’t believe for one second that NCS had issues with transportation logistics. They didn’t want the 5-mile radius to go away. Period. That’s all this was ever about. I have no doubt Sokola was cheering me on when I wrote about how his version of House Bill 85 would result in a massive lawsuit against the state. This is what he does. He turns gold into poison ivy. But all the clowns up in Newark keep voting him back in over and over again.
As for Meece, he is never going to change. He loves the fact that HIS school is the “best” in the state. He loves the fact it’s the biggest as well. And he has stacked the deck with the sibling enrollment preference. That way all his favorite families can keep bringing their kids there. He might throw a prize our way by taking in some special education kids. Make it look like he is trying. But he isn’t. He’s just playing the game. And with Sokola by his side, he always wins.
Everyone on social media is talking about Carney and Wilmington. How Carney did or didn’t help Wilmington kids with his veto. Do you really believe Carney didn’t know what Sokola and Meece were up to the entire time? See the game for what it is folks. It isn’t about change. It’s about the status quo.
Lucky for Sokola, he got to go on a cross-country bike ride with former Governor and good buddy Jack Markell. They are somewhere in middle America right now, sweating their hineys off in spandex. I have no doubt Meece is thinking “Yes, we win again!” while wondering if he should go for a threepeat on Blue Ribbon status so he can brag that they are 1 in 5 trillion schools who ever got the hat trick. They played all of us for suckers, again. And they will do it again. As long as Sokola has his little amendment followers and enough whine to go with his charter cheese, this scene will play out again. And again. And again. I don’t have a doubt in my mind that Meece and Sokola ever worried about this bill at all. Gravy!
House Concurrent Resolution passed the Delaware Senate a short time ago with amendment by Delaware Senator to take charter schools out of the district consolidation task force’s discussion. A prior amendment in the House from State Rep. Earl Jaques included charter schools in the task force discussion. Oddly enough, Senator Bonini’s amendment didn’t remove a representative from the Delaware Charter Schools Network from the task force.
Senator David Sokola said this bill did not have to be heard in committee but felt it was an important enough topic to have that voice.
Senator Bryan Townsend expressed hope that charters would be a part of the task force’s review. He said the intent of the legislation is a coordinated school system. He recognized Delaware’s unique education system and understood the ideological discussion of Senator Colin Bonini but still felt all Delaware public schools should be part of that system.
Senator Bonini’s amendment passed with 12 yes, 8 no, and 1 absent. For the concurrent resolution, it passed with 17 yes, 3 no, and 1 absent. I imagine it will come back to the House tonight.
Senator Townsend’s Senate Concurrent Resolution #39, requesting an advisory opinion from the Justices of the Delaware Supreme Court on the efficiency of Delaware’s public school system, was defeated in the Delaware Senate with 9 yes, 10 no, 1 not voting, and 1 absent. House Bill #142, dealing with training for School Resource Officers in situations dealing with students with disabilities, passed the Senate with 20 yes and 1 no. The Kim Williams sponsored bill goes to Governor Carney for signature.
This is a concurrent resolution, but an important one. For years, Delaware has been floundering public education in our state. Senate Concurrent Resolution #38 would seek the opinion of the highest court in our state to find out if we are even following our own Constitution with what has been going on. For some reason it was left on the table during consideration in the Senate, which means they will get back to it at another time. But this is timely and necessary. Sponsored by Senators Bryan Townsend and David Sokola and State Rep. Sean Matthews.
To read the full text of the legislation, please go to the below document.
Unbelievable. So much for “shared sacrifice”. Why are Delaware charter schools keeping their Transportation Slush Fund? Are you kidding me with this? According to commenter Connie over at Delaware Liberal, it is still in there.
Also- epilogue language- the transportation fund for Charters– STILL THERE! Also- $7 million for Charters. All this while forcing districts to use the match tax.
And El Som over there said:
Meaning, while JFC gouges public education and flatlines grants-in-aid, charters are held harmless.
I really shouldn’t be surprised. In these days of financial doom and gloom should I even be shocked that charter schools are not asked to sacrifice their golden goose? They are essentially allowed to do whatever they want with that money as long as it fits in the box of educational purposes. Which means they can’t go out and get a foot massage with the money. One of Senator David Sokola’s biggest arguments about the five mile radius bill being removed but not giving a preference for Christina’s Wilmington students was the cost of transportation to his beloved Newark Charter School.
I am NOT against charter schools. I am against bullshit like this. And as long as we have sycophants like Rep. Melanie Smith who wants HER daughter to go to Newark Charter School, she will do the charter school’s bidding. If that isn’t a conflict of interest, I don’t know what is. But Governor Carney DOES NOT CARE. The majority of our legislators DO NOT CARE. They don’t care if the elderly have less than they have now as long as charters get what they want. I don’t blame the charter schools themselves. I blame the policy-makers who do this. If someone gave me what is essentially free money and I were in the charters’ position, I doubt I would object.
I expect one hell of a battle tomorrow night at Legislative Hall. Meanwhile, in response to the Republicans resolution to continue funding the state if the budget doesn’t pass, State Rep. Sean Lynn introduced House Bill 290 today with sponsors including Pete Schwartzkopf, Valerie Longhurst, and John Viola. Kicking the can down the road, Delaware style.
Delaware citizens deserve better than this. We have known about this huge budget deficit for months. Why are they waiting until the last minute to get it done? I am losing faith in the left and the right. And the budget hasn’t even been released because they are STILL writing it. If only Sean Goward had been elected Governor…
It appears de facto segregation is just as okay with the majority of the Delaware Senate as it was with the Delaware House of Representatives.
The Delaware Senate just passed House Substitute 1 for House Bill 85 with 12 yes, 4 no, 2 not voting, and 3 absent. The no votes belonged to State Senators DelCollo, Henry, Marshall, and McDowell. Those voting yes were Bonini, Bushweller, Cloutier, Hansen, Hocker, Lawson, Lopez, McBride, Poore, Richardson, Sokola, and Walsh. Lavelle, who originally voted yes, switched to “not voting” and Senator Simpson stuck with his original not voting.
An attempted amendment, similar to the failed amendment in the House, would have removed the very controversial part of the bill that would disallow Christina Wilmington students to be given the same preference as the Greater Newark Christina students for Newark Charter School. Sokola argued it was an unfriendly amendment. The amendment failed with 6 yes, 8 no, 5 not voting, and 2 absent.
Senator Robert Marshall said he believed the amendment would open the preference to everyone in the Christina School District and if parents really wanted their child to get an NCS education, they would find a way to make sure their child gets there.
A representative from the Delaware State Education Association testified they would be in support of the amendment which echoed their stance at the Senate Education Committee meeting two weeks ago.
The bill will go to Governor John Carney for signature. I call on ALL to contact Carney’s office in deep opposition to this bill that I fear will set up the State of Delaware for a massive lawsuit for furthering de facto segregation. He needs to veto this discrimination factory of a bill!
To see how your legislators voted on this horrible bill, please go here: http://legis.delaware.gov/BillDetail?LegislationId=26068
House Concurrent Resolution #39 would create a School District Consolidation Task Force. Yes, another task force in Delaware. Because we must always have a group of people sitting around a table before we can do anything. This task force would study if it is worth consolidating school districts in Delaware. This is something I actually favor. Nineteen school districts in little old Delaware? There are school districts in other states with more students than the entire student population of Delaware. I believe it will happen, but the question is how many? I don’t think there should be more than five. Expect a lot of battles on this one. I am fairly sure nineteen superintendents won’t want to give up their titles. Some would have to if this went through. This will be one of the hottest topics in the second leg of the 149th General Assembly beginning in January, 2018. I’m calling it now!
Where it goes from here is the House Education Committee. It is on the agenda for the meeting tomorrow (must be nice to be the Sponsor of the bill AND the Chair of the Committee). But tomorrow is the last day of committee meetings before the General Assembly closes up shop this year so this is my guestimation on what will happen: clears House Education Committee, gets a House vote in the affirmative, gets sent to Senate Education Committee, a suspension of rules allows it to bypass the committee, Senate votes yes, and the task force gets going late summer/early fall.
*Updated with new legislation, votes on the floor, and committee agendas for tomorrow
Confused by all the Education legislation floating around in Delaware? Can’t keep track of it all? Don’t worry, I can’t either sometimes. But I felt it was necessary to reestablish my old tradition of putting it all together. I will update this as the Delaware 149th General Assembly finishes off the first half of this session on June 30th and when they reconvene in January 2018. Below are all 50 of the education bills that have come up in the 149th General Assembly just this year alone. More legislation will come by the time it is all done on June 30th, 2018. Continue reading “ALL The Delaware Education Legislation In The General Assembly: Signed, Passed, Pending, & Tabled”
The Delaware Senate Education Committee tackled the 5 mile radius bill today with some explosive comments from Senator David Sokola, mostly in response to a public comment. Warning: some of the comments conveyed today will get people very angry. Continue reading “Senator Sokola: “Maybe Christina Should Give One Of Their Buildings To Newark Charter School””
House Substitute 1 for House Bill 85 is on the agenda for the
Sokola Senate Education Committee on Wednesday, June 7th at 3:30pm. State Senator David Sokola has stuffed the agenda with six bills, but in a half-hour time span. Most of the other bills shouldn’t raise too many eyebrows though. The House Education Committee canceled their meeting on Wednesday. Even though most people have their eye on the budget, it is always a good idea to see what else is going on. Between this bill, the Coastal Zone Act reorganization, legal marijuana, death penalty, and Lord knows what else will come up, we need eyes and ears more than ever down at Legislative Hall!
I will say upfront I oppose this bill because of the House Substitute that removes the Christina School District Wilmington students from this. This added language (which was insisted on by Senator Sokola) only serves to benefit one school: Newark Charter School.
To see what is on tap for ALL the committee meetings, this week, please go here: http://legis.delaware.gov/CommitteeMeetings
A bill is circulating among Delaware legislators that would give school boards more power with raising taxes. In my view, this is just another way to shift state funding to local school boards. The bill hasn’t even been given a number yet and it is important to know it is only in circulation, which means State Rep Earl Jaques is looking for sponsors. I heard, through that infamous Delaware grapevine, that Senator David Sokola is on board. Funny how Sokola didn’t mention this at all at the Education Forum the other night. The pending bill is dated 5/11/2017 and given that Sokola is the Chair of the Senate Education Committee, he would definitely know about this.
I said it yesterday, and I’ll say it again: watch out for stealth legislation coming out between now and June 30th that will most likely tick a lot of people off. The Delaware Education Hunger Games just went up to a new unbelievable level!
Updated, 2:52pm: State Rep. John Kowalko just released the following statement about this bill in circulation:
In one of the most blatant attempts to shift the blame and the costs for the irresponsible and destructive $37 million cuts to public education, Senator Sokola and Representative Jaques, chairs of the Senate and House Education committees, are circulating legislation that purports to enable local school boards to fund rather than cut a number of necessary programs. The elimination of these programs, due to the proposed funding cuts, will spell disaster for the children, educators and public school districts. This bill is a blatant attempt to shirk the Legislature’s responsibility to adequately fund public education and seek the necessary revenue to do so. The taxpayers should not overlook the additional fact that the proposed $37 million in cuts will not include $6 million that is left to the charter schools to fund these same programs. The prime sponsors of this proposed legislation, who have been less than aggressive supporters of equal treatment and funding between charter schools and traditional schools, instead seem to feel that the public will find tax increases imposed by a volunteer (unpaid) board of elected citizens as palatable. I imagine that another benefit will be to disguise and hide the fact that the General Assembly is abdicating its responsibility and authority to raise revenue for public services not to mention that any school board choosing to use such authority would probably doom the chances of success for any future referendums, regardless of their legitimacy.
Delaware’s budget deficit hit a new stage last night when Christina School District students took over State Rep. Paul Baumbach’s Education Forum at Newark High School. As well, Senator David Sokola said the issue with the 5 mile radius bill was about transportation. It was an evening full of dodged questions and skirting around the issues. It was a night when things were as confusing as Twin Peaks and the Mighty Thor put her hammer down! Continue reading “Paul Baumbach’s Education Forum In Newark Taken Over By Students And Teachers”
Christina School District Board of Education member John Young asked if he could submit a guest post regarding the current Newark Charter School/5 Mile Radius/HS1 for House Bill #85 skirmish. Young is writing this as a citizen and is not speaking for the Christina Board of Education.
There has been a ton of conjecture flying around about multiple legislators and their motives this past week centered around HB85 and its spawn: HS1 for HB85. The original bill sponsored by Reps. Williams, Kowalko, and Sen. Sokola et. al. The substitute only by Rep. Williams and Sen. Sokola, et.al. There has been extreme reaction to this bill here in Delaware with lots of people taking stark, sharp positions. Here’s the reality: 22 years of fighting against the wrongheaded approach with direct assaults has been essentially 100% ineffective. Rep. Kim Williams has cobbled together a band of legislators willing to make a small inroad against the charter cabal, led by Senator David Sokola and his charter loving elitists. Would I, if asked, want to work with Senator David Sokola on education knowing his penchant for attacking traditional public education with a track record replete with defense of de facto segregation? Nope. I wouldn’t. I’ve heard too may stories of Senator Sokola treating colleagues poorly when his pet programs are threatened.
That said, Rep. Kim Williams is a different breed. Unlike many of her colleagues, she puts students first. Is this bill perfect? Heck no! Who would be the first person to agree with that statement? Rep. Kim Williams! I suspect Rep. Williams has worked super hard to get multiple legislators to support HS1 for HB85, not based on their understanding of how this bill impacts kids, but based on their trust and respect for her. That’s how it works in Dover. That’s not an endorsement of how it ought to be, just an acknowledgement of how it is. With that said, I think some of the rhetoric on this bill may jeopardize future successes on other bills if we’re not careful with our over-demonizing. Am I happy that an AG ruling is being sought? Sure. Other than Rep. John Kowalko on that request, are those seeking the ruling leaders on education like Rep. Williams? Not even close. We need to remember that.
I do not envy Rep. Williams position, but I admire her willingness to work within her own party to bridge the divides that SHOULD NOT EVEN EXIST, but because they do they must be confronted in a different way than if Mr. Sokola was in the party he acts like he belongs to on education, the GOP.
Yesterday, three Delaware State Representatives sent a letter to Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn. They are asking him for an Attorney General Opinion on HS1 for House Bill 85. Things just got very real with this legislation. If Reps. Potter, Bolden, and Kowalko didn’t do it, I would have suggested it. The five mile radius was bad enough. But then to purposefully select certain students from not being allowed to apply to a charter school in their own school district, that puts a very clear mark on this. It isn’t too late though. Delaware Senator David Sokola can choose to get on the right side of history and change the bill so Newark Charter School does take the Christina Wilmington students. Because anything else, under his prime directive, is outright discrimination and segregation. We all know it.
I will not bend to any political request on this legislation. I will not back away from what I originally published. To me, I could really care less about the politics. I don’t care if you are blue or red or purple. If folks want to put their name on this legislation, go right ahead. But I will not change my stance on this. Even if I admire and respect the hell out of some of you for various reasons and would fight like hell for bills that we do agree on, on this bill I will not budge. It is about doing what is right, for ALL students. Yes, the bill is progress, but not enough. We can agree to disagree on that. But I will not be party to political games and not publishing what I know in my heart to be true. It isn’t personal. It wouldn’t matter who sponsored this bill, I would feel the same way and I would have published the exact same article. Yes, I am aware some of the legislators flipped their vote because of how it would make them look. I am aware there was political fighting going on with this legislation. I was there for the whole thing. I opposed the bill when the House Substitute came in, and I made that very clear at the House Education Committee meeting when the bill was released. It isn’t a Democrat thing and it isn’t a Republican thing. It is a student thing. It is an equity thing. It is the right thing.
Ask, and ye shall receive! Whenever I put up an article about Newark Charter School and what I view as their low sub-group population percentages compared to Christina School District, I am asked to do closer comparisons. That is absolutely fair and something I should have done a long time ago. So I plead guilty on that score. But sometimes wanting to know that information to shut me up isn’t always the best idea. Especially when the proof is in the pudding. Continue reading “Taking A Deep Dive At Newark Charter School & Christina School District: 5 Mile Radius, Greater Newark Area, & District (Including Wilmington)”
Delaware State Rep. Paul Baumbach will be moderating an education forum Monday evening at Newark High School from 7pm to 9pm. Questions will be asked of the following: Senator David Sokola, Newark Charter Head of School Greg Meece, new Christina Superintendent Richard Gregg, Christina Board of Education President Elizabeth Paige, and Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting.
Given the article on HS1 for House Bill 85 from yesterday, this forum could not come at a better time. I challenge Greg Meece and Senator Sokola to explain WHY they didn’t want Christina’s Wilmington students included in the removal of the 5 mile radius legislation. Yesterday, the Delaware House passed the bill with 27 yes and 13 no.
If you are able to get to this forum, I would strongly suggest doing so. Especially if you are a parent of a Christina Wilmington student.
To clarify on the article from yesterday, I do not believe every legislator who voted yes on the bill is a racist. I believe it was more political than anything else. But, the unintended consequences of this bill will lead to more de facto segregation.
Education funding will also be a hot topic at this forum, as it should be. I, for one, would like to know why the charters feel they should be able to keep their portion of the educational sustainment fund while local school districts don’t. I would also like to know why there is talk that the charters will keep their transportation slush fund (extra freebie money they get to keep if they spend less than their budgeted transportation amount).
Earlier this afternoon, State Rep. Rich Collins led the Delaware House of Representatives in prayer and asked them, no matter what, to put children first in their mind when they are voting on legislation. Two and a half hours later, Collins along with 26 other state reps both Republican and Democrat, voted to keep Newark Charter School first.
House Substitute 1 for House Bill 85 passed the House today with 27 yes, 13 no, and 1 absent. The bill removes the 5 mile radius enrollment preference for Delaware charter schools with one exception. Since Christina School District has a portion of their district in Wilmington, that is not landlocked with the rest of the district, those Wilmington children will not be allowed to choice to Newark Charter School. Even though the Wilmington students from Red Clay and Colonial can choice to other charter schools, those Christina Wilmington students can’t choice to that one school. They can still choice to other charters within the district or even outside of the district, but not NCS.
The bill still has to go through the Senate. By primary sponsor State Rep. Kim Williams’ own admission, if the bill did not have that provision it wouldn’t have moved forward in the Senate. The Chair of the Senate Education Committee, Senator David Sokola, used to be on the board of Newark Charter School. It isn’t really a state secret that State Rep. Melanie Smith bought a house in that area so her child can go to Newark Charter School. Why does it always come back to Newark Charter School?
State Rep. John Kowalko put an amendment on the bill that would have removed that provision, but it failed to pass the House. 25 state reps voted no on the amendment.
I know State Rep. Kim Williams very well. I know her intent with this bill was to get a start on changing this process. It is better than what we had before. But it really isn’t. Yes, there will be a greater number of Christina School District students who will have the option of choicing into Newark Charter School. That is true, provided the bill passes and gets signed by Governor Carney. But it also sends a clear statement about Delaware as a state: we will allow de facto segregation. Any time we are disallowing students from having a free and appropriate public education, we are not moving forward as a state, we are moving horribly backwards.
State Reps Charles Potter, Stephanie Bolden, and J.J. Johnson, all African-American, voiced strong opposition to the bill for the same things I am writing. Bolden said it best. What does it say about Delaware as a state when legislation like this comes up? She couldn’t say this, so I will. It shows what a discriminatory state we are to the rest of the country. It says city kids aren’t good enough for a charter in the suburbs. It says we vote in legislators who would rather keep one charter school from opening up to ALL students than making Delaware, the first state to sign the U.S. Constitution, a fair and equitable state for all children.
Let’s be honest here, the only reason for this legislation in the first place is because of Newark Charter School. Taking what could be a good portion of their student population out of the picture in the coming years defeats the whole intent of the bill in the first place.
Which State Reps voted to keep de facto segregation going in Delaware today?
Bryon Short (D)
Paul Baumbach (D)
David Bentz (D)
Gerald Brady (D)
William Carson (D)
Rich Collins (R)
Danny Short (R)
Tim Dukes (R)
Ronald Gray (R)
Kevin Hensley (R)
Deb Hudson (R)
Earl Jaques (D)
Quinton Johnson (D)
Harvey Kenton (R)
Ed Osienski (D)
William Outten (R)
Trey Paradee (D)
Charles Postles (R)
Melanie Smith (D)
Joe Miro (R)
Mike Ramone (R)
Steven Smyk (R)
Jeff Spiegelman (R)
John Viola (D)
Kim Williams (D)
David Wilson (R)
Lyndon Yearick (R)
Only one Republican voted no on the bill, State Rep. Ruth Briggs-King. I find it ironic that many of the Dems who have part of their district in the 5 mile radius for Newark Charter School voted yes. A couple of the no votes surprised me, but I will take it. For those who aren’t familiar with what our state legislators look like, there are no black Republicans in the Delaware House or Senate. All of the above legislators are white.
No offense to Kim Williams, and I get her intent behind this bill, but I can’t support this bill. I vehemently oppose it. Any legislation that restricts a child from doing anything will never be a bill I can get behind. Any bill that gives Delaware an ugly stain on our perception is one I can not support. This is not progress. This is very sad.
We need elected officials in our state who won’t follow the whims of Newark Charter School. We need legislators who will look out for ALL students. We need lawmakers who won’t bow to the Delaware Charter Schools Network and do what is right. We need legislators who realize collaboration when it comes to education is NOT always a good thing. Today was no victory by any means. It was a horrible step backwards in Delaware. We might as well paint a sign on Newark Charter School that says Wilmington students not allowed. The original five mile radius for NCS was bad enough, but this… this is blatant discrimination by a public school that gets funding from taxpayers around the state.
Newark Charter School is one of the best schools in Delaware. It is because of laws like this that have allowed them to cherry-pick their students and take advantage of the law so they give a façade of excellence. If they truly let in any student, they would be no better or worse than the schools around them. But they would be equal. I would never let my child go to a school like that. What kind of lesson would that teach him? If he were picked in their lottery, I would tell him he won because so many kids could not. If I lived in Wilmington, would I really want my child going to a school that practiced discrimination and segregation for over 15 years?
I would tell you to voice your opposition to the Delaware Senate on this bill. But it really doesn’t matter. If it passes as is, it is the same story. If it fails, Newark Charter School still has their 5 mile radius and still keeps kids from the Christina School District out of their prestigious public school. Any attempt at amending the bill will fail. But the truest failure is how Delaware looks to the entire country with this one bill.
Updated, 6:52pm: I want to add one thing. My thoughts on this bill are not a knock on all Delaware charter schools. There are many charter schools in Wilmington who would be more than happy to take the students Newark Charter School doesn’t want. And they do. My main issues with charter schools in Delaware have been the very inequity I am writing about here.
According to an article from Cris Barrish over at Newsworks, former Delaware Governor Jack Markell is going on a journey across America!
Markell is going on a bike ride across the USA in an effort to raise funds for a charity.
Markell has no official role with Motivate the First State Group, but by riding across the United States he is “simply offering his help” to get more people “engaging in healthy behavior” to assist charities, spokeswoman Lauren Golt said Thursday.
Out of all the things I predicted for Markell in his life after office, this was the last thing I would have predicted. I could have sworn he would have gotten involved in something with education. But I like this better. He leaves from Astoria, Oregon on June 18th. I can think of several people he can take with him but some of them will be very busy trying to pass a state budget. But Markell can pull a Forrest Gump and keep going back and forth, back and forth. Isn’t State Senator David Sokola big on bicycling?
On April 26th, Markell will give details about his cross-country ride and also something called the “Training With Jack Challenge”. I have to wonder what the standards for his initiative will be? Will he accept rigorous standards in the evaluations based on his training? Will there be standardized tests to measure the worth of the program?
In all seriousness though, it is no secret Jack and I didn’t see eye-to-eye on education. But I do see this as a worthwhile cause and I wish him safe travels on his journey.