Governor Markell Wants A Conversation But Parents MUST Be An Equal Party

From the Delaware.gov website, my thoughts on the bottom.

Governor Initiates Statewide Plan for Future Education Offerings

Date Posted: Thursday, March 19th, 2015
Categories:  News Office of Governor Markell

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Announces review of public schools and programs to address unmet student needs

Dover, DE – Governor Markell today announced a needs assessment and strategic planning process for the future of Delaware public schools, including charter, vocational-technical, and magnet schools. The State will review current opportunities available to students, analyze trends, and quantify areas of unmet needs for Delaware families.

“Many amazing schools and programs across the state are offering students diverse and innovative opportunities to meet their individual needs,” said Markell. “However, not all of our students have access to the programs of their choice. Many schools are oversubscribed and should be expanded or replicated. At the same time, we don’t want our districts to start new programs, and we don’t want to open new charter and magnet schools, if families aren’t asking for what they offer.

“This effort will ensure that state and district plans are designed to best meet individual students’ needs and spark their interests.”

Launching the effort during a meeting of the State Board of Education, the Governor specifically referenced the tremendous progress made at Vo Tech schools in each county, noting that they don’t have the capacity to serve all of the students who select them in the school choice process.

Other trends include four new middle and high schools that will open in the City of Wilmington this fall, reflecting the desire for new options in the city. In addition, programs focused on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills that are needed for jobs in growing industries, like those offered at Conrad Schools of Science, as well as the college prep courses at Mount Pleasant High School, have garnered increased interest. However, no process has existed to systematically ensure that more students can gain from the experiences they want at traditional, magnet, and charter schools.

The strategic plan developed through the Governor’s Statewide Review of Educational Opportunities for Delaware Students will quantify programs where demand exceeds the state’s capacity and analyze demographic trends to project future needs. That will help the state, school districts, and charter school operators know where and how to invest, from which dual-enrollment programs are most valuable and popular to the types of curriculum from which more students would benefit.

“For the past two years, the State Board of Education has referenced the need for the state to develop a comprehensive analysis of our portfolio of public schools, a thorough needs assessment to identify strengths, weaknesses, saturations, as well as opportunities for success and innovation,” said Teri Quinn Grey, President of the State Board of Education President. “We believe that such an analysis would aid the state in the development of this strategic plan, as well as be a useful tool for local boards and school leaders in deciding school programming decisions, facility decisions, and other educational opportunities. It also will be a tool to be utilized by policy leaders, community members, and businesses to evaluate opportunities for further investment and expansion in Delaware.”

The review announced today was inspired by a proposal by the Wilmington Education Advisory Committee (WEAC) – a group formed by the Governor last year that has urged the state to be smarter and more strategic about the growth of educational opportunities, particularly for charter schools in Wilmington. Markell said he agreed with the Committee’s recommendation, but also believes we can’t limit this effort to one city or county, or to charter schools alone.

“It can benefit our education system statewide,” said Markell. “All schools are part of the solution.”

WEAC Chair Tony Allen voiced support for expanding on the group’s recommendation.

“There is no question that charter schools will remain a critical part of public education in Delaware and that many students throughout the state will be served by them, and in many cases served well,” said Allen. “However, we cannot continue to operate two systems with little interaction and coordination and expect the quality benefits that all of our children deserve. It is our hope that a plan for charter schools extends itself to public education in Delaware broadly and forces stronger collaboration across the traditional district, charter and vo-tech boundaries.”

Representative Charles Potter Jr. (D-Wilmington North), who the Governor recognized at the event for his advocacy in establishing WEAC as an opportunity for members of the community to have a stronger voice on issues involving education of Wilmington children, voiced his support of the plan as well.

“I’m in support of the governor’s efforts to undertake this statewide strategic plan,” said Rep. Potter. “I feel strongly that we have to take a comprehensive look at what is happening in Wilmington and address those issues as well.”

It sounds like someone is realizing education is a mess in this state.  I think the people are the ones who need to control this conversation though.  For every person in this group, you need to have an EQUAL and state-wide amount of parents.  And not parents who are in this group or that group.  I’ve been to meetings like that.  We need down to earth, grassroots parents.  It is very easy to pick out the good and capitalize on that, but if you aren’t looking at the bad, the rot will still be there.

Nobody knows children like a child’s parent.  I defy you to find anyone that knows more than a parent that loves their child.  I think we are willing to hear a conversation, but we want to be an EQUAL part of it.  Otherwise, this just isn’t going to work Governor Markell.

 

House Bill 53: Charters Must Be Audited By State Auditor

Delaware State Rep. Kim Williams introduced legislation that would make Delaware charter schools have to go through the same auditing process as school districts and vocational districts with their yearly audit.  Since 2010, charters have been exempt from being audited by the Delaware State Auditor’s office, currently run by Tom Wagner.

In light of financial improprieties by Family Foundations Academy, Pencader and a slew of other charters that has not yet come into public notice, this bill is timely and important.  The charters have the ability now to hire an independent auditor, but this bill would change all that and would cause the charters to be audited the same way all other public schools in Delaware are required to.

Watch Grown Men in Delaware Justify Discrimination! Enrollment Preference Task Force Meeting Tomorrow Night!

The ninth meeting of the Delaware Enrollment Preference Task Force will happen tomorrow night at the Buena Vista Conference Center in New Castle, from 6:30 to 8:30pm.  Special guest Alex Medler with the National Association of Charter School Authorizers will give a presentation.

Delaware State Rep. Kim Williams and Delaware State Senator Nicole Poore lead this group of charter school, vocational and public school district spokespersons.

I went to the December meeting.  It’s fun watching intelligent, grown men actually try to justify the discriminatory practices their schools use to “attract” students.  Even scarier is how much people buy the lines they sell!  Williams is actually very much against these types of things, so she runs a good show.  Things are coming to a head very soon with these types of practices, so this meeting should be interesting.

Delaware House Bill 28 Submitted To End Distasteful Funding Which Benefits Charter Schools

House Bill 28, submitted today by primary sponsors, Delaware State Representative Kim Williams and State Senator Patricia Blevins, would put a halt to an inequity in funding when a charter school student transfers to a public school district after the September 30th count.  This bill is now in the hands of the House Education Committee.  Let’s get this one passed Delaware! State Rep Williams is on a roll and we are only a week and a half in!

I’ve gone ahead and added a page in the menu up top to put all the pending education bills and their current status in one spot for those who want a quick reference!

How Does A Student Get A 4 On DCAS At A Charter, Transfer To A Public School, And Can’t Read?

This is what I’ve heard about one student in the Northern part of Delaware.  This child went to a charter school that has been in the news a bit lately.  Getting the ultimate score of 4 on both English and Math on the DCAS test, this student transferred to their local school district.  Upon taking the SRI reading test, it was very quickly discovered this student cannot even read.  The worst part: this is a student with disabilities.

Apparently this student also took the DCAS with NO accommodations.  How is this even possible?  Unless…  Yes, this charter school is a cheat.  They found a way to make their scores even better for special needs students.  Their big mistake though was not doing the same for all students, and they were questioned about it.

This is why the high-stakes standardized testing game needs to be eliminated as any source of proficiency for students.  If a school can rig the game and an honest school doesn’t, it changes the entire landscape.  Especially if those with a vested interest in certain schools helped to design the test.  So while we have schools doing the right thing, and they are laid out on the floor for doing so, other schools have been cheating for years and unless they have other major problems flowing like water through a burst pipe, they get away with it.

I do believe there are honest charter schools as well.  Ones that work their ass off when they get low scores one year and only increase marginally the next but they are saved from the executioner’s axe.  But the ones that are cheating, and I know who a few of you are, you are the most vile disgusting scum in the state.  It’s not because you look better on paper.  It’s not because the DOE and Markell want to give you a ticker-tape parade when your scores are released.  It’s not because you narrowed the gap among different subgroups.  It’s because you are failing our students.  The students aren’t failures, you are.  You have been given a sacred trust, and you abuse that trust every chance you get.  These are human beings, not human capital.  They are children.  They are not to be used as pawns in your power games.

This is why we have priority schools.  This is why so many special needs children suffer so much in this state.  How can any student in any of these cheating schools ever be given a fair shot in life?  How can parents of charter school students accuse public school districts of giving free passes to students when some of these very same schools permanently damage students?  How in God’s name will any of these “proficient” students feel when they take the Smarter Balanced Assessment and fail miserably?

I encourage anyone who knows about these cheating scandals to come forward.  Cause if I expose you, it won’t be pretty.  I’m not sure why I’m assigning myself the job the DOE should be doing in the first place, but hey, that’s life.  There has to be a place in hell for anyone who would use children like this.  I think there should be legislation put forth that anyone involved in a cheating scandal like this should be prosecuted and do prison time if found guilty.  Does this sound too harsh?  Imagine how the poor student at a new school who thought they were doing good in school feels.  Being told you can’t read.  How do the parents feel?  Thinking their child is doing well only to find out it was all a lie and their child is most likely years behind their peers?  This is a rape of the mind, of the soul.

Rodel’s Job Posting Page, A Little Biased Here Dr. Herdman? @KilroysDelaware @ed_in_de @Apl_Jax @RCEAPrez @ecpaige @nannyfat @DSNEleanor @TNJ_malbright @DelawareBats #netde #eduDE #Delaware #edchat

Rodel is supposed to be the cheerleader of education in Delaware, right?  They have their Vision and ED25 programs and the DOE laps it up like a moth to a flame.  Governor Markell thinks they are the best thing to hit Delaware since tax-free shopping.  But what is Rodel’s beef with public school districts?  A look at their “Find A Job” page on their website shows a very tainted bias toward DOE agendas and charter schools.  Or is it Rodel’s agenda and the DOE bends toward Rodel?  I can’t keep track anymore.  Let’s just say it’s all the same plan!

Aside from the “communications” jobs for Rodel, they also have postings for Innovative Schools, Newark Day Nursery, Delaware Early Childhood Center, Delaware Office of Early Learning, GreatSchools, and University of Delaware.

For DOE jobs, they have jobs listed for an Education Associate in Accountability and Performance, an Education Associate for the Business-Finance-Marketing department of the DOE, a Deputy Officer for LEA Performance, a Field Agent for Title I Bilingual and ESL programs, and secretarial positions for the Early Development & Learning Resources and Finance divisions of the DOE.

Hoping to get that charter school bandwagon rolling, they have positions listed for the Commandant of First State Military Academy, Founding School Leader for Delaware STEM Academy, and Founding Principal for Delaware Met.

But the most bizarre one of them all is the following, taken directly from their website:

Delaware Leadership Project
This rigorous program is designed to cultivate high performing school leaders and includes: an intensive five week boot camp experience designed to transition participant’s mindset from that of teacher to school leader; a ten month paid residency experience on a school leadership team; and two years of post-graduate coaching to support a school leadership position in a high need school. Successful graduates must be willing to commit, in writing, to working in a high need Delaware public school for three years upon graduation from the program.

More information and application instruction here.

Is this where they will be cultivating their “great leaders” when the priority schools become charter schools?  Will Rodel get a “finders fee” for these jobs?  Or will someone or somebody stop the Markerodell before they can even kick it off?

They have all these “big” job postings, but where are ANY public school district jobs?  Dr. Michael Thomas is resigning as Superintendent of Capital School District, the 3rd biggest in the state, and that posting is up elsewhere, but Rodel can’t put it up on their own website?  In their defense, it does say on the page Please contact us if there is a job or internship posting that we should include.  Their link to joindelawareschools.org doesn’t work, so good luck there!  So I have taken the liberty of informing them of a very important role that needs to be filled (much more important than many of the jobs they have listed on their website) and emailed them with this information:

Hi Rodel, your Find A Job page says to contact you if we know of a position that should be on that page.  Can you please list the Substitute Nurse position in the Milford School District.  This is very important, cause if a nurse gets sick, someone else has to take care of sick kids.  Thanks!

Let’s see if they chew on that bone!

Updated: 7 minutes later.  Why don’t we just change the name of our 1st state to Rodelaware.  It’s the Rodelaware Way!

What 4 Districts in DE needed Special Ed intervention or Compliance? How did Charters get out of this? #netde #eduDE #edchat

During the June 2014 Delaware Board of Education meeting, Mary Ann Mieczkowski told the board four school districts in Delaware were being worked with in regards to special education compliance agreements or needed intervention. It was not mentioned during the meetings which districts those were, but I reached out to Mieczkowski about this and she gave me the districts. They were Red Clay, Colonial, Christina and Capital. All of these school districts have a very high population special education students. What shocked me was NONE of the charters were listed. I wondered why this was?

Charter schools are their own school districts. Is it possible that charter schools won’t fall into an intervention or compliance agreement due to their small size? The state measures compliance with changes in groups of students with 10 or more being affected. This is called an n#, and those below it are exempt from being included in calculations. With charters, they can easily fall below that number due to their populations, so they may not be included in calculations that would trigger these types of audits.

Maybe it’s time for all the charters to be counted as their own Delaware school district to prevent this type of thing from happening. The charters are well-known to have special education problems in this state. Just look at Delaware online-checkbook to see the funds charters are sending out due to special education issues. Look at Pencader and Moyer as public examples of special education problems. Another matter for the IEP task force to look at…