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
The News Journal just reported that a group of Delaware charter schools are suing Christina School District and the Delaware Dept. of Education over the charter school funding issue that I broke at the end of August. This is unbelievable! I can’t believe they have the unmitigated gall to go behind the districts’ backs all Spring, have the DOE issue “updated” funding formulas in August, and then sue Christina and the DOE after Secretary Godowsky reversed course on the plan.
And who does the News Journal have as a fresh picture, taken two days ago? None other than Kendall Massett with the Delaware Charter Schools Network. When Newark Charter School’s Head of School Greg Meece and Kendall Massett get together, we should expect nothing but trouble. For all of Massett’s talk about wanting district and charter collaboration, she sure has a funny way of showing it.
Fifteen charter schools have filed suit against the state Department of Education and Christina School District to get what they claim is their fair share of funding. Christina has been withholding millions of dollars in local tax revenue from charter schools for years and the Department of Education has been complicit, according to the lawsuit.
Their fair share of funding is what they already get. I actually can’t wait to see this go to court. I will say it here and now… the charter schools will lose! Who is paying for their attorney fees?
Under the adjusted formula, Christina School District would have had to pay about $3 million more this year than it had been planning. For Newark Charter School, one of the chief beneficiaries of those funds, that would have meant an additional $1 million in revenue.
I said it before, and I’ll say it again… this amounts to Greg Meece going for an unprecedented money grab for Christina after they won their referendum last Spring. And I also have a pretty good idea why he thinks the charters will win. But I will hold that close to the vest for now. But that one goes all the way to the top of Delaware, right Jack? So how far back does this lawsuit go? How about 2008!
The lawsuit aims at reinstating the adjustments made to the statewide formula and forcing Christina to pay back what it has withheld since 2008.
Newark Charter knows that if they win this would bankrupt Christina which I have no doubt is their overall plan. And what then? All of Christina goes back to the state and would most likely convert to charters. Is Meece going to lead his long dreamed of Newark Charter School Network and take all those kids he didn’t want for the past 15 years? I know what happened in 2008 when a former Christina Board member told Meece they would get additional funds from their referendum but the board member spoke out of turn. Ever since, Meece has been gunning for Christina because of bad information. I also have a pretty good idea of where Meece got certain information from that is making him think he has a case. That will be the true revelation when all is revealed!
I would have to assume these fifteen charters are the ones that get funding from Christina School District, which is most likely every one in New Castle County.
I have been very remiss about updating certain parts of this blog. In an effort to improve the ability for readers to find information, I put pages below the title. I am in the process of updating those pages. I added a new one called “Delaware School Districts” which will have links to articles I’ve written about the different school districts in the state. This will take quite a bit of time. As well, I updated all of the charter school articles in the “Delaware Charters” section. Education Meetings and Education Legislation are next on my to-do list. Followed by the FOIA file, Governor Markell, and Rodel & Friends.
Are there are any pages you would like to see up there to make it easier to find certain things on here? Let me know!
I get it now. A few months ago I was discussing parent opt out with an African-American friend of mine. He explained to me that African-American students don’t do well on standardized tests because they’re written for white kids. I disagreed with him. I couldn’t grasp what was right before my eyes.
The Smarter Balanced Assessment was made for white kids. Civil rights groups, usually backed by the Gates Foundation and other corporate education reformers, claim high-stakes standardized tests are important. They say they need to understand where African-American students rank compared to their peers. This only perpetuates the myth that these tests are necessary. These groups vehemently opposed parents opting out of these tests because they claimed it would only continue pathways to discrimination. Instead, the reality is staring them right in the face. Standardized tests do show achievement gaps. But not because they offer any solutions on how to close those gaps, but because they were written for a specific audience.
These tests fail to understand different minorities or cultures. They were created from a white culture perspective. They ask students to push themselves based on standards that don’t address poverty, low-income, special needs, violent environments, discrimination, segregation, or equity. Even for white students, many who also deal with issues of low-income in our country, don’t perform well on these tests unless they are from more affluent areas.
Charter Schools were supposed to be the savior of education. They were supposed to offer unique new ways of educating students and be models of innovation. Instead, at least in Delaware, they have served as incubators of discrimination, segregation, and racism. We can’t ignore this fact any longer. We have to address this as a state, head-on.
In all likelihood, our charters are merely copying what happens in our regular districts. We see that African-Americans in our traditional school districts do not fare any better on these tests. Charter schools and districts with higher populations of white students do better on standardized tests. This fact hasn’t escaped those who create these tests. They know this. Our politicians and education leaders know this as well. This story isn’t new, nor is it shocking. They have known this ever since standardized tests came about. But we expect African-Americans to perform the same as their white peers. If they don’t, our governments will label and shame the schools and teachers that administer these tests. Why? What is the point?
Education improvement programs make lots of money. If a school isn’t converted into a charter under the accountability schemes brought to you by Education Inc., you better believe some company out there stands to make a tidy profit off “fixing” the “problem”. In Delaware alone, a company called Mass Insight was paid $2.5 million dollars to help out six “priority schools”. All inner-city schools with, you guessed it, very high populations of African-American students.
Delaware Governor Jack Markell said the Smarter Balanced Assessment is the best test Delaware ever made. If that is true, then it shows Delaware to be a very racist state because we allow this to continue. Our Department of Education can throw out statistics and graphs until we are blue in the face, but the true facts are above, and in the article I did on low-income populations and Smarter Balanced proficiency. I have no doubt students will gradually do better on these tests. But not enough to give them the education they deserve. Not enough for African-Americans to catch up to their Caucasian peers. This isn’t defeat. This isn’t accepting a status quo. This is reality. A test solely designed for one pre-dominant culture under the assumption that other sub-groups will catch-up is always destined for eventual failure. Do we call that now? Or do our policy-makers only look at the cost of the test and not the cost to the children of their state?
For parents of African-American students: How many pictures that show the same thing do you need to see? Why are you continuing to let your children take a test that forces them to work harder to live to a different ideal and culture? I’ve seen some of you point out that your children have predominantly white teachers. If our schools and teachers are judged on a test that is written for white kids, and a white teacher is teaching a majority of African-American kids in a classroom, what do you think the results are going to show? This test serves a dual purpose: to keep African-Americans down and to push those unionized white teachers out of public education. If you want more African-American teachers in the future, how will today’s African-American youth even feel inspired to go into education when they are constantly told they are failures based on these tests? These same tests that will eventually break down and morph into end of chapter tests, taken by students multiple times throughout the year. This is not about helping students to become “college and career ready”. It is an elaborate and long-term tracking system. Think about it, and opt out until those in power change these pictures. Look at those in your community who want this. Follow the money. Who are they speaking for? Corporations or children?
It has been a year and a half since I started this blog. 18 months today. Over 2,000 posts. Only three days where I didn’t write something: 6/16/14, 7/14/14, and 8/31/14. There has been an article on here every day since 9/1/14. Without fail. Some days I’ve put tons of stuff up. This should tell you something: how jacked up Delaware is with education. The very fact that I could find over 1,000 things to write about proves this. Some of the articles have common themes: Special Education, Opt-Out, Delaware DOE, Charter Schools and Governor Markell are the most obvious ones. Today, I’m just going to free write, say what is on my mind. No theme, no clear topic. Just writing.
I never thought I would get involved in pending legislation, but I’ve learned it is very important to know what is coming. Not just for yourself, but for your kids. If I’ve learned nothing in the past 18 months, it is that every single voice does matter. Don’t be afraid to use it. You never know when it will make a difference.
I still remember that first night when I picked the name. That nervous anticipation. Picking my “header image”, which graced the front of this blog most days and nights until very recently when someone wrote to Warner Brothers about my use of their image. Its not like I profited over it. Just someone being bitter and resentful I’m sure. Whoever you are, let me just say this: you suck!
The one question I am asked constantly is how I have the time to do this. The easy answer: I don’t. I’ve spent far too many late nights and early mornings on this blog. It is exhausting. And for a while there, I was going to every meeting under the sun. I’m spent. Tired. Exhausted. I’ve said this before, announcing I was going to slow down, only to come back roaring and writing more than ever. But like any long distance runner, you eventually hit that wall. Where your body just gives. I’m pretty sure I’m at that point. But I am resilient and bounce back fast, so any pause will be short-lived I’m sure. Or the DOE or Markell will do something to tick us off and that gets the blood boiling again.
There are days where I feel like nothing I do makes a damn bit of difference. Special education in Delaware is still a mess. Jack is still messing things up. The DOE will do as they please as long as Jack is protecting them. Charters still have big issues. I never dreamed there could be so many issues with education that would warrant daily articles. It really is crazy. I’m just tired of being mad all the time. I’m tired of seeing the same people do the same things over and over again and nothing seems to stop them. And I see others blindly following them, ignorant of what is right in front of them. I’m sick of charter parents arguing the whole choice argument over and over like it is their kids God-given right to attend “great” schools and screw the other kids. Is it right to be mad at them? I don’t know. I can explain it until the sun sets in the east, but until you have a child that has experienced the painful art of not being included somewhere or not given services they are legally entitled to, it is probably hard to imagine. But then I see something like House Bill 50 passing the General Assembly, or schools like Family Foundations Academy or Delaware Met and their stories being made public when most of the mainstream media aren’t touching on a quarter of the issues going on in these schools. Someone has to tell the tales.
I don’t write much about my son on here any more. Its not because I don’t want to, but I feel his stories are his to tell. I could write stuff every single day about him. But he knows I blog, and he knows what I blog about. I’m cool with that. Some days he wants to hear about stuff, but most days he just wants to be a kid. Nothing wrong with that at all.
I got a hair cut the other day. For men getting older, do you ever just watch as your hair falls and you notice as the years go by how much is grey or white? I saw that today. Usually it is brown with bits of grey here and there. On Friday, it was a lot more. It makes you think. Not about how long you’ve live, but how fast it goes. You blink, and time is gone. If this is my “time capsule”, so be it. There are much worse things I could be doing!
Since charters dominate education news these days (like oxygen being sucked out of a room), I thought we could replace Smarter Balanced with the Smarter Charter Assessment. This will be a multiple choice assessment, and if you fail you go to jail (not really, but everyone will think you should but you will probably settle down the road).
Okay, here we go:
1. This charter was close to having it’s charter pulled over financial issues…
a) Academy of Dover
b) Family Foundations Academy
c) Brandywine Springs
d) All of the above
2. This charter spread the Kendall Massett love on their website cause their interim principal also sits on the board of the Delaware Charter Schools Network
a) Campus Community
c) Toyota Academy of The Marsh
d) Providence Creek Academy
3. This charter was shut down by the DOE
a) Reach Academy For Girls
d) All of the above
4. Which State Rep. sat on the board of a failed charter application this fiscal year?
a) Trey Paradee
b) John Kowalko
c) Mike Ramone
d) Mike Matthews
5. This charter school recently had a pool donated to them by Schell Brothers…
a) Charter School of Wilmington
b) Kilroy’s Blogging Academy for Disgruntled Republicans
c) Newark Charter School
d) Sussex Academy
6. This charter’s enrollment was so low it went on formal review
a) Delaware Design Lab
b) one above and two below
d) Prestige Academy
7. This charter had their Christmas Party board meeting far away from the school so no parents could attend…
a) Legislative Hall
b) Odyssey Charter School
c) Academia Alonso
d) Prestige Academy
8. Tragedy struck when the sign outside their school was destroyed..
a) Gateway Lab School
b) East Side Charter
c) Positive Outcomes
d) Our Lady of Perpetual Labor Montessori Academy for Boys Charter School of Wilmington Lab of Zero Tolerance
9. This charter should probably not label an out of state residential treatment center as “employee recognition” on Delaware Online Checkbook
a) Early College High School
b) Reach Academy for Girls
c) MOT Charter School
d) Academy of Dover
10. Seven charter schools were or are under investigation by the State Auditor’s office. We know three. Which ones do you think are the other four?
a) Odyssey Charter
b) Thomas Edison
c) Rodel Foundation’s Vision of Schools That Lead Through Innovative Rigor
d) Delaware Academy of Public Safety & Security
11. Which charter school managed to have an employee do something bad
a) Family Foundations Academy
b) Providence Creek Academy
c) Academy of Dover
d) all of the above
*Bonus-Which of these had someone arrested?
*Bonus 2nd round-Which of these did I apply for their school board?
*Bonus 3rd round-Which of these was a blue ribbon school?
13) In Kendall Massett’s “Please don’t pass House Bill 186 cause I will have to actually do some work to do damage control” video, she mentioned three charters to use as an example of which school to pick on her online demonstration of how to use a dropdown menu (yes, this really happened..). Of the three schools she mentioned, which has NOT had a State Auditor report come out on it?
a) Delaware Military Academy
b) Academy of Dover
c) Family Foundations Academy
d) The Mark Murphy Military Academy of No Confidence
13. This Charter Head Of School/Principal/Headmaster actually spoke in opposition of House Bill 50 at the House Education Committee meeting. Which one was it?
a) Positive Outcomes
b) First State Montessori
c) First State Military
d) Great Oaks
14. This charter school had their head of school resign after he ruffled up a citizen outside their building:
a) Great Western
b) Dover School of Transparency & Financial Trickery
(look, I pulled a DOE move. I put three dumb answers in a multiple choice question so everyone will answer the “right” one giving me the results I want. It’s like a Jedi mind trick…these aren’t the answers you’re looking for…oooo…cool!)
Okay, now that you went through this, you can consider yourself college and career ready. Cause you won’t get your score until September 31st! But only on that day, and you have to go to the place where Governor Markell signed House Bill 50 to look at the report! You can now compete with all the kids in Singapore because you maybe might possibly be proficient on the Smarter Charter. I’ll give you 3 to 10 odds! But only for the first few years…