My moles across the state are telling me about emails going out to teachers and staff that schools will be physically closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. This unprecedented and historic move is based on the remaining threat of Covid-19 in Delaware. At a press briefing today Delaware Governor John Carney, when specifically asked, had not determined the fate of the school year. But just as that was going on, an email was sent out to Red Clay Consolidated School District teachers and staff about the future: Continue reading
Red Clay Consolidated School District has become a cash cow.
I thought I had a general idea of my overall theory of school administrators in Delaware. Red Clay was the last to respond to my FOIA request with their numbers. I sat for a good ten minutes just staring at what they sent me. While Christina and Red Clay have the exact same amount of administrators, Christina has more schools AND holds statewide programs like the Delaware Autism Program. Both have 93 administrators. But in reviewing Red Clay’s, along with some of the titles, I was utterly shocked. They have individual supervisors for each core subject, personnel specialists, and program coordinators. Continue reading
We have reached the end of the Delaware Priority Schools FOIA Saga. This picture actually harkens back to the bygone days of the Summer of 2014, but it was always my intention to save this one for last.
At this point in time you are probably thinking “Uh, okay, what’s the big deal about this? Just another education reform Turnaround School document. I’m sure these are a dime a dozen around the DOE offices.” You are right. But if you look at the bottom right corner, there is an emblem for the University of Virginia. The very same university that Red Clay put in their priority schools plan to use as a vendor to help out with their priority schools. But if the DOE used WestEd earlier in the summer to get help with the Memorandum of Understanding and the methodology for the calculation of the priority schools, and Red Clay used University of Virginia, doesn’t that mean… Yes, there was some collusion somewhere along the way between the summer and when Red Clay officially signed on in December 2014…
We know Penny Schwinn used WestEd as a consultant in the summer, and she asked them for a turnaround plan to work on the Delaware priority schools initiative. Did she work with someone at Red Clay in advance to get the University of Virginia thing going? Who? Hugh Broomall? He is mentioned in a couple emails in this FOIA party. This Transparent Christina link may shed some light on what was going on at Red Clay when they announced this:
There will be one more part after this, maybe two. I want to put all this together along with some other sources and put a working theory together on what the DOE was up to with the whole priority schools deal.
In reading Matthew Albright’s News Journal article on the Priority Schools from Thanksgiving, it’s very clear there are some “read between the lines” parts of the article. The most glaring is the parts by Deputy Superintendent Hugh Broomall:
“We’ve been able to work collaboratively with the Department of Education and our school communities to come up with a plan that we think is in the best interest of these schools and their students,” Deputy Superintendent Hugh Broomall said.
This sounds good, right? The key words are “school communities”. This does not show the overall community. Part of the whole reason for needing more time was to work with the overall community. Something Christina School District has done. But Albright goes on to say this:
Broomall encouraged anyone in the affected schools’ communities to read the plan and reach out to the district if they have concerns.
So Red Clay is going to write their plan without any input from parents and members of the community? This sounds absurd! It tells me they are going to comply with the Delaware DOE as much as humanly possible. I think Markell would relax a bit on the $160,000 requirement for a school leader but I highly doubt he is going to allow these schools to keep their complete staff. It is my opinion that unless these schools comply with the original Memorandum of Understanding, Markell is going to take all six schools as soon as possible after December 31st.
If I were a teacher at any single one of these priority schools, especially in Red Clay, I would be very worried. I have to believe Red Clay Educators Association President Mike Matthews would absolutely refuse to sign onto anything that would involve teachers losing their jobs or even reapplying for their jobs. But are Markell’s demands, based on Federal ESEA regulations, a union-busting move? Markell, despite what I think of him, is a very shrewd and calculating man. I doubt he would go into this without thinking he has all his bases covered. Adding to that notion is something else Albright wrote based on Broomall’s words:
Broomall said the district needs to iron out an agreement with the union that would determine what happens if a teacher wants to stay at one of the Priority Schools but the school leader or district doesn’t think they would be a good fit.
No matter what Red Clay decides, it sounds like authority would be given primarily to the school leader. Depending on who this leader is, if they are like most of the DOE “leaders”, it will be someone from the charter school industry or the fast-track teacher companies the DOE is obsessed with these days. If Red Clay’s agreement agrees to cede all the power to this school leader, it will be very harmful to the existing teachers.
We will find out in the next month what the fates of these schools might be. I sincerely hope something happens in the meantime that prevents any action Markell may take. Mike Matthews did a public FOIA request for any email containing the names of the priority schools, turnaround school, parternership zone school, and more a couple weeks ago at the DOE State Board of Education meeting. He received a response from the DOE indicating an overwhelming amount of money to comply, with a $300 start-up fee. Matthews is looking at another source to help cover funding for this.
Should the DOE, Markell, and Murphy take all six priority schools AND Gateway Lab School, expect a public outcry like this administration has never seen. Other school districts in the state will be even more untrusting of this cabal of terror. Parents will know without any doubt no school is safe, and it is all a power grab.