Delaware PTA Hits A Home Run For The Priority Schools!

The Delaware PTA has released a message indicating it is in agreement with the iPetition several hundred people have already signed in regards to the six Delaware priority schools.  This is a great endorsement by this organization, and many people will be very impressed with them, including this writer!

Happy New Year PTA families,

We wanted to take a moment and reach out to you regarding the petition that is currently circulating online regarding the 6 identified Priority Schools. The petition rejects certain elements of the Delaware Department of Education’s Priority Schools Plan. Delaware PTA DOES SUPPORT the petition, and we are asking for your support as well. If you have not already done so, you can sign the petition using the following link http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/lets-make-priority-schools-a-real-priority-2

Delaware PTA has identified the following three primary areas of concern with the current memorandum of understanding between the Delaware Department of Education, Christina School District and Red Clay Consolidated School District:

  1.       The proposed MOU from the DDOE does not provide the necessary funding to adequately and effectively support the districts in their efforts to address the needs of the identified Priority Schools.
  2.       The proposed MOU does not address the sustainability of any progress the schools make. We believe the MOU should clearly outline how the changes will be sustained beyond the turnaround time frame.
  3.       Although the Delaware Department of Education has extended the timeline for the Christina School Board to submit its Priority Schools plans, we believe the time frame for submission should be such that each district has adequate time to develop robust, comprehensive plans. In addition, the time frame should allow sufficient time for parents and other stakeholders to become informed and offer thoughtful input with the level of depth and breadth necessary under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

Regardless of whether or not you reside in the impacted districts or have students attending one of the identified schools, your support is critical, as the outcomes of this Priority Schools process has larger implications for all public schools in Delaware and their ability to make decisions that best meet the needs of their community.  We have had conversations with both school districts and the Delaware Department of Education, and offered possible solutions. We look forward to working with and supporting the districts, schools and parents on developing and implementing an effective plan.

 Thank you for all that you do

Delaware PTA

inShare0

 

Merry Christmas To All The Heroes of Delaware Public Education! You are Awesome! @KilroysDelaware @ed_in_de @RCEAPrez @Apl_Jax @ecpaige @nannyfat @Roof_O @DelawareBats @BadassTeachersA #netde #eduDE #Delaware #edchat

christmasheroes

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all the folks who I’ve met along this crazy blog highway.  Especially to the one who got me started on this mess: the man, the myth, the legend and the trailblazer, Kilroy!  In my book, you are all heroes for public education in various ways.  I’ve talked to or emailed all of you at various times, or commented on your blogs, or read your comments on mine.  I may not always agree with all of you 100% of the time, but your hearts are in the right place.  You are all the people I would want to see leading education in this state.  2014 sucked for a lot of us, but next year our voice will be heard, and it will be loud!!!!

Without Further Ado, here are the Good Guys & Gals of Public Education:

Kilroy
John Young
Mike Matthews
Jackie Kook
Matt Lindell
Nelia Dolan
Eve Buckley
Elizabeth Paige
Harrie
Melanie Curriden
Kavips
Nancy Willing
Pandora
Kathy Willis
Steve Newton
Liz Toney
Elizabeth Scheinberg
Kim Williams
John Kowalko
Paul Baumbach
Steve Fackenthall
Mike Kempski
Brian Townsend
Mike Ostevich
Danny Rufo
Elizabeth Lockman
Bill Doolittle

and last but not least,

The Delaware Bats

And there are some out-of-state folks I want to give a shout out to: Melissa Katz, Hannah Hurley, Diane Ravitch, Noel Hammatt, Mindy Rosier, Nancy Bailey, Teachezwell, Commoncorediva, Mercedes Schneider, WagTheDog, EduSchyster, and all the members of the Badass Teachers Association!

I look forward to 2015, and hopefully we can all put a stop to the collision course between the DOE and public education.  I’ll be there, writing about as much as I can!  There are some folks who are on the fence with this stuff, and I hope to include you next year when you finally immerse yourself in what’s going on out there.

Finally, my biggest hero of all, is this guy.  He’s everything to me, and I would be nothing without him.  He’s had a rough time of it lately, and inside I’m dying.  I want to do everything I can for him, but I can’t win all the battles for him.  He is fast approaching the age when he will have to take control and do the right things for himself.  Mom and Dad won’t always be there to protect him, but we are now, and we will do whatever it takes to do so.  He wasn’t given an easy start to school.  I can see why things happen the way they do,, and it’s not all about the fight for public education.  There are things that go on in schools and I have a feeling this will become a huge topic in 2015 for me.  I may have to go against the grain on this blog, but some things need said.

My son Jacob….

16296_10204628986670905_3353563111247849693_n

cropped-jacobandme.jpg

4403_1149872913301_6119725_n

cropped-5870_10201692145251698_1801317563_n.jpg

Please Sign the iPetition for Delaware’s Priority Schools @KilroysDelaware @ed_in_de @RCEAPrez @Apl_Jax @ecpaige @nannyfat @Roof_O @Avi_WA @TNJ_malbright @CapeGazette @TheStateNews @DoverPost @DelawareOnline @DelawareBats @BadassTeachersA #netde #eduDE #Delaware #edchat

A group of like-minded individuals who are against the priority schools initiative has created an iPetition to give to Governor Markell, Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy and the Delaware Department of Education.  Please take a minute or two during the busy holiday season and make a difference!  The timing is crucial on this petition.

We need all bloggers and reporters on deck to re-blog this and re-tweet this whenever possible.  For parents, educators, and concerned citizens, if you do the petition, please be sure to share it on your Facebook to spread the word.  Email it to those who don’t have Facebook.  If you are using Twitter, please use the hashtag #prioritizethat when you post.  Thank you!

This is the wording from the website: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/lets-make-priority-schools-a-real-priority-2

Let’s Make Priority Schools A Real PRIORITY

 We ask the Delaware Department of Education (DDOE), Secretary of Education Mark Murphy, and Governor Jack Markell to reconsider their stated plans and time frame for the six “priority schools” located in Wilmington. The time frame provided is insufficient for districts and the schools’ communities to develop thoughtful, serious plans for improvement. Instead, the short time frame sets these schools on a path towards closure, conversion to charter and/or privatization (as threatened)—which would result in city children losing their public schools.

The following items must be considered:

1. A comprehensive review of Christina’s Stubbs and Bancroft elementary schools, conducted by the University of Delaware and commissioned by DDOE, released a report in early December indicating that these schools are making significant progress in a range of categories under their current leadership. In fifteen areas, including School Leadership Decisions, Curriculum and Instruction, and Strategies for Students Who Are at Risk, both schools received the highest possible evaluation.

2. Given such positive evaluation by a highly respected and objective organization, the removal of principals from these schools, merely to comply with federal regulations governing turn-around plans, seems arbitrary, capricious and harmful. Firing respected principals and/or teachers without careful evaluation, in order to replace them with leaders unfamiliar with the students and their communities, is a serious disservice to the professionals and children concerned. Doing this would further destabilize high-needs schools that have already experienced significant turnover. A strong school depends on trust among teachers, administrators, parents and students; this must be rebuilt whenever new staff are brought in.

3. The amount of money allocated to the “priority schools” is not enough to reach the ambitious improvement goals set by DDOE. The insufficient additional funding all but guarantees that these schools will close, convert to charter and/or privatize after failing to achieve dramatic improvement with modest resources within a short timeframe. The likely result is that city children will lose public schools obligated to serve every child in their area—in contrast to charters, which demonstrably choose which students and families to accept and retain.

We request that the following changes be implemented in these schools:

1. Provide needs-based funding—additional dollars to adequately meet the needs of low-income, special education and non-English speaking students

2. Institute smaller class sizes for disadvantaged student populations

3. Offer wrap around social services in the priority schools, to address the many factors that adversely impact educational outcomes for their students.

All of us want what is best for the children attending priority schools. The current DDOE plan is not likely to help them and may, in fact, diminish educational opportunity for many.