Today, at Del-Tech Terry Campus in Dover, Delaware, the Vision Coalition launched their latest ten-year endeavor, Student Success 2025. With a very large crowd in attendance, the team officially announced Student Success 2025. Nothing was actually said about what exactly they will be doing, but I got plenty of quotes!
A student from Newark High School and a student from Kuumba Academy gave the opening remarks. “Let’s never forget the most important group here today: the students!”
The leadership of the Vision Coalition all gave remarks. The leadership team consists of H. Raye Jones Avery, Kurt Landgraf, Lamont Browne, Susan Bunting, Paul Herdman, Mark Holodick, Frederika Jenner, Dan Rich, Susan Perry-Manning, Dan Rich, Jorge Melendez, Gary Stockbridge, and the absent chair of the coalition, Ernie Dianastasis.
The entire thing was an infomercial without really getting into the product. Since I don’t necessarily agree with a lot of it, I’ll direct you to Matt Albright’s story in the News Journal. I’ll just give some interesting quotes:
Stockbridge: “A once a decade opportunity for Delaware, a chance most states don’t have,” “provide students with greater and fairer opportunity,” “this coalition is not only powerful…”, “Student Success 2025 isn’t just another 10 year plan,” and “I know we haven’t seen as much harmony as we would like, and we are not always going to agree.”
Browne: “forcing our teachers to redesign…”, “we know that change isn’t only possible, it’s inevitable”
Rich: “we’ve raised academic standards, improved teacher evaluation policy, improved recruitment of new teachers, improved …for new teacher candidates”, ”, “we need to be very clear-sighted”, “we need a plan looking forward”, “engage entire DE community across all sectors”, “because of Vision 2015 we don’t need to start from scratch”, “we need greater alignment and coherence, that includes traditional public schools, charters and vo-tech, efficient funding system,” WEIC: “what we are launching today is aligned w/that system”, “we need to work with them together”, “we need to reaffirm the goals we set a decade ago”, “I believe there remains a broad commitment to these goals”, “high standards, invest in early education, preparing principals to be highly effective leaders, engaging families in all we do, adoptoption of fair and efficient funding system….they remain critical goals” “go with what’s working: it’s not easy to identify what’s working…”, “the goal here is pretty clear” “what we need is a cohesive and integrated system” “we need that whole system to be connected”, “we’ve often gotten off track instead of emphasizing collaboration, we’ve emphasized compliance”, “we need private as well as public collaboration, (including) collaboration between public and charter, families…”
Jenner: “the men and women I represent in the DE educ. System work in tandem across the state of Del….they counsel, they nurture…they deliver instruction, provide meals, transportation…meet the needs of students who require special services…they are hardworking and passionate, they hold the entire system together, without them there would be no student success, there is no plan that makes sense w/out educators at the table.”
At this point, while I was looking around, a woman in the back row when I glanced past her called me an a-hole. Don’t know who she was, and I didn’t see a name tag on her. Probably not a fan of my blog I assume…
Avery: “out of the mouths of babes come gems”, “too often the student voices is absent from those reports”, “we started by listening to the voices of students”, “we received more than just gems, we were shown a window to their world”, “overall we heard more than 1,359 students from over 45 different Delaware schools”, “our young people said they want more concrete connections between school and what happens next in life”, “most felt unsure about the steps to get there”
Bunting: “we’ve invested local dollars in this opportunity”, “personalized learning puts the student at the center of the environment”, “BRINC Consortium-Mark and I are a part of it”, “this report calls for greatest investment in…” “Develop the whole child”
Holodick: “up to 1/3rd of our budget, up to a billion dollars, goes to education”, “only state in America using unit-based funding”, “allow students to take courses from other school districts”
Herdman: “we’re getting near the finish line”, “the whole concept of education has expanded”, “we want our state to be performing in the top ten of the u.s., but also the world” “we want them to be good people, adults who are kind, good citizens,”, “there is an empathy, a recognition of rich and poor” (among students)
The two students gave closing remarks. The Newark High School student got props from me for talking about writing a bill for a school legislative program to adopt Finland’s school system in America!
My take: it’s just more of the same, with more emphasis on personalized learning. I think personalized learning will eventually find a way to shrink the teacher workforce and make the teaching profession more of a “refresher” of sorts for students after they learn everything online. Just my thoughts on that. I find it interesting this group and WEIC are both looking at funding of education in Delaware. From what I heard by many in attendance at the WEIC meeting last night, they are still going over the history of how they got to this point. It’s hard to move forward for this group. I personally think it is a huge project, and they do not and will not have enough time to meet their deadlines. Will they cram it all in or start again from scratch?
But back to Student Success 2025. I don’t think anything any group in Delaware matters as long as the Delaware Department of Education is continuing the federal mandates and their own high-stakes accountability systems. I’m all for student improvement, but not with the measuring sticks they are using. But I firmly believe this is what most of this coalition also wants. So I can’t really support it. I do think Rodel is backing off a bit in their charter school obsession, but nobody knows what really goes on behind closed doors…