Yesterday, Red Clay Superintendent Dr. Merv Daugherty sent a letter to parents advising them of all the education cuts since 2008. He also urged them to attend the Delaware PTA rally outside Legislative Hall next week to support basic special education funding for students in Kindergarten to 3rd grade.
I agree with a lot of what Merv said but then again I have to wonder about some of his logic. After all, Red Clay did purchase one-to-one devices for all their students which costs a pretty penny. As well, they are one of the few districts that still has Race To The Top administrators even though the funding for that horrible federal initiative ended years ago.
His language in the letter confused me a bit though because he asks parents to vote with public education funding in mind. Yes, the General Assembly decides the budget. But who is Merv asking these parents to vote for? State legislators? School board candidates? Should a school Superintendent be pushing parents toward certain votes? And that’s what happens when I don’t have my morning coffee before I write!
In terms of special education, I have supported any bill that gives that funding. This is the foundation of special education for these kids. It baffles me that our legislators will fund pre-school as much as they do but not provide this necessary and vital funding. They really don’t have any more excuses to justify their cowardice with special education funding. I highly salute the legislators who consistently support State Rep. Kim William’s bills to get this going. If you have the means, come down to Legislative Hall next Wednesday, May 9th, at 1:30pm, on the East steps.
I fully support public education funding but I also support the ability to properly audit those funds if need be. Last year, the State Auditor’s office released a report on education funds but since so many school districts code expenditures different the auditor couldn’t make heads or tails of the funding. So perhaps we should be making sure our vote for State Auditor is a sound one and not based on a popularity contest among certain legislators. If you are going to vote for a Kathy in September, make sure it is for Davies!
Things I like that are going on? Senator Dave Sokola’s bill for education funding transparency which could go a bit further than what it has in it now. I love the fact that people are waking up to education issues and speaking out. We may not always agree, but the discussion is healthy.
To read Merv’s letter to parents, please see below:
This situation at Thomas Edison Charter School is getting bigger by the day. Tomorrow night, at 6pm, parents and staff are holding a rally at the school demanding Principal EL be reinstated. It doesn’t mean he will. But parents and teachers have had enough and they aren’t afraid to use their voice.
Not helping matters was the closed-door board meeting today. There was no public notice of this meeting (required by state code, even if it is an emergency meeting). Even if there is not a quorum, any public board in this state has to follow certain protocol under open meeting laws. But it doesn’t sound like this board knows state code. Heck, I’m not even sure they know their own bylaws.
Parents were not happy about Board President Ron Pinkett’s comment on Delawareonline about “Have you seen this neighborhood?” Many parents have expressed outrage at what they are seeing as an out of touch comment.
Word on the street is that President Pinkett made his own decision to put Principal EL on leave. Sounds like this guy needs to take a walk.
Will Principal EL grace the halls of Thomas Edison tomorrow morning? The students won’t be there since it is an “in-service day”, just announced on Friday. The lack of transparency surrounding this whole thing is appalling.
Teachers, parents, and even kids gathered on the East side of Legislative Hall for a No Cuts To Education Funding Rally. All told, I would estimate there were somewhere in the ballpark of 50-75 participants in the rally. Speakers included Eugene Young with Network Delaware, income President-elect of DSEA Mike Matthews, Christina PTA representative Mary Schorse, incoming Christina Board of Education Member Eugene Griffith Jr., PACE of Wilmington representative Swiyah Whittington, Christina CBOC member and Blue Delaware writer Brian Stephan, and Senator Bryan Townsend.
All of the speakers do not want any cuts to education funding and favored more state revenue in the form of higher taxes. They urged folks to get involved in education and speak up. They said the best way to do that is by letting their legislators know their thoughts on this. Senator Townsend referred to Delaware’s teachers as “magicians” in that he believes they do great things for Delaware’s students. Instead of writing about what will surely be covered by the major media in Delaware, I am presenting a photo gallery of the event. This event leaned toward the Democrat way of thinking as the Republicans tend to favor large cuts as opposed to increasing revenue by increasing taxes. The only legislator who attended the rally was Senator Townsend.
When legislators and Delaware Governor Carney proposed massive cuts to public education, the people responded with a loud voice. As a result, there will be a rally at Legislative Hall on June 20th from 1pm to 3pm, rain or shine. This event, hosted by Network Delaware, is going to draw a huge crowd. I know several educators will taking a bus (or two) from New Castle County. This is YOUR chance to make sure your voice is heard. If you are tired of bloated classrooms and teacher cuts, I would make sure you are there. From the press release on the rally:
We need to stand up and show support for Delaware legislators who are resisting cuts to education. We need to unite and show them we’ll have their backs in their fight for educators, students, and school staff as they oppose proposed budget cuts to education funding for FY18.
All are welcome. Come with creative posters! Speakers to be announced. The rally will take place on the East Side Steps of Legislative Hall. Parking is available in the Delaware Public Archives parking lot.
This event is co-sponsored by PACE Network, Delaware PTA and Network Delaware.
If you haven’t filled out our form to have postcards and letters sent to your legislators opposing the budget cuts to education, please do so now! https://goo.gl/UM6cis
I will be there, front and center. The legislators work for us, we the people, not the other way around. Bring your kids! Most educators should be done with school so there are no excuses! The Delaware 149th General Assembly ends the first half of their legislative session on June 30th/July 1st. Time IS running out. It is now or never!
2015 had something happen that hasn’t happened in a long time. Parents voices were heard loud and clear with education, and the Delaware General Assembly acted on their behalf with House Bill 50. Parents also spoke out about bullying at Skyline Middle School in the Red Clay Consolidated School District and made a difference. I expect this trend to not only continue in 2016, but also to increase.
The General Assembly has a big choice in front of them when they return to session on January 12th. House Bill 50 WILL come up for a veto override. Will they listen to parents or will they stick with Governor Markell? Let’s be crystal clear: he has no intention of getting rid of the Smarter Balanced Assessment. The key to this will be the parents. They need to start emailing and calling their state senators and state representatives in their district NOW. On January 14th (not January 12th as previously reported), parents will rally at Legislative Hall in support of the veto override. Sponsored by the Delaware PTA, this will be big.
Democrat Governor hopeful John Carney has kept mum on his position with opt-out. Colin Bonini, the main Republican contender voted yes both times the bill came before the Delaware Senate. I’m hoping you have a hat trick on this one Senator Bonini!
I have a feeling as more and more parents become upset with the way special education is going for many of their kids across the state more and more of them will speak up. Many want to act but don’t know how or even if they can. It only takes one person helping another. Reach out to them and let them know there is no reason to be afraid to advocate for your child.
I’ve heard many parents tell me they won’t opt their child out unless a law is passed. There is NO law that could pass that could give or take away your constitutional and fundamental right to opt your child out. Know that, and act on it.
I personally want to thank all the parents who came to make their voice heard at Legislative Hall this year. No matter which side of the fence you were on, the important thing is you were acting in the best interest of your children. That is something to be proud of! Whether it was bills on Autism, or teen suicide prevention, or opt-out, your voices were heard. We will have a lot to fight for next year! And really stepping forward to help parents was the Delaware PTA. House Bill 50 would not have become the success it was had it not been for them. Let’s stop the Governor from disrespecting parents!
SAVE THE DATE!!!!
Override House Bill 50 Veto Rally
January 12th, 2016
The Delaware PTA wants ALL parents, teachers, and students who support the opt-out movement to come to Legislative Hall on January 12th, 2016 at 2pm. Not so coincidentally, this is also the first day the Delaware legislators are back in session. We need to send a strong message to our legislators that we do NOT support Governor Jack Markell’s veto of House Bill 50. We also want our legislators in the House and Senate to override the veto. More details to come, but please make every effort to come, whether or not you are in the Delaware PTA or not. Every single voice counts!!!!
This is not about reducing assessments in Delaware. This is about a horrible state assessment inflicted on our children. We say no more! We do not like the whole environment associated with the Smarter Balanced Assessment. Yes, the overall goal should be getting rid of the test altogether, but until then, opt-out is the preferred path for those who choose to do so. Overriding a bill made for parents showed a severe lack of disrespect on the Governor’s part. Nowhere in his long-winded press release on the veto did he talk about parental rights and honoring those rights.
More details to come!
So education is a mess in Delaware. It has basically come down to two sides: the moneymakers who want to make more money off education and those who just want education to be about teachers teaching and students learning with no high-stakes attached other than the student’s actual grades they receive based on the quality of work they put out. This is it in a nutshell. Sure, there are a million other variables in-between but this is the crux of the issues.
One side says what we have isn’t good enough while the other disagrees. I’ve heard legislators say that both sides need to get together and compromise. But how do you compromise when your very ethics and morals are questioned? How do you put what you believe and you know in your heart of hearts to be true? When does a financial reason ever replace what is actually good for a student?
In the 1960’s, people were very good about rising up when civil rights issues came up. They stood up and rallied and rioted and marched and talked. They said no to the big man and changed the face of the country. Now many of the same people who advocated for change are the ones telling us how to run schools and what we need to do. What changed? Money. They got a sniff of it, ran with it, kept it, invested it, and based their lives on it. But they also achieved a level of power. They got used to getting their way, and woe to anyone who gets in their way. The only difference is now they are controlling events through money and power, as opposed to their hearts and convictions. I think they believe the lies they tell us about our children and schools because the overwhelming need to control the scene is the mindset they have always had.
Is it even possible to change that kind of mindset? Is there a way to convince these people they are wrong? I don’t think so. They will plot and scheme, and come up with other accountability measures designed to get what they want. The difference is people are hip to their credo. We are rising up, just as they did fifty years ago, to protest what they once believed to be wrong. Will it be enough? My best advice is to get together again. Not those who will destroy public education, but all those who are opposed to what they are doing.
We need our own march that will go down in the annals of history as a catalyst for change. We need to rally and protest. We need to say no…together, as one voice.
I found no specific articles, mentions, or actual things being said by Delaware Charter School Network about special education. This is the organization that is the cheerleader for Delaware’s charter schools. How is it even possible, with a statewide special education population rate of over 13%, that this organization can’t talk about special ed? They have been around a long time. The only mentions that come up are special ed teacher jobs that show up on their job board, and mentions about charter schools they cater to and special education issues.
This is why charter schools have been found to discriminate against students with special needs. How can you promote charter schools and virtually ignore 13% or more of the population in your state? Kendall Massett, executive director of DCSN, is always crying about how charter schools have to “do more with less”. The reason for that is because you don’t get as much funding due to not taking as many low income, minority, and special education students. Of course your funding would be less.
In June of 2012, 1000 children from charter schools around Delaware held a rally at Legislative Hall in Dover, DE. According to a Delaware Newszap article from May 11, 2012, the students were told to chant “When we work hard, we get smart,” and “Charter schools are good for me. Charter schools are always free. Charter schools are good for you. Charter schools are public too,” or “Charter schools give parents choice. Charter students, raise your voice!” To have children promoting your ideology in such a way sounds almost like brainwashing to me. How would so many young children know what school choice is?
But are they good for special needs children? If they are going to Gateway or Positive Outcomes, they certainly are. But as for the rest of the charters in Delaware? I wouldn’t hold your breath.
Earlier this week, I tweeted the public information officer for the Delaware Charter Schools Network, Catherine Nessa. I asked her why the Delaware Charter Schools Network never talks about special education. We went back and forth on other topics, but she ignored that question entirely. I wonder why…