Sources are telling me there was no school at Delaware Met on Thursday or Friday. Kids got on the bus Thursday morning and arrived at the school. When they got there, someone came on the bus and stated the school was having “electrical” problems and students were sent home. That night, the school had a special board meeting. Tonight they are having another with one to possibly take action on their charter. On Friday, news started trickling about the school closing this week.
Now imagine, if you will, what happens with this. You get up, send your kid to school, and get ready for work or a doctor appointment. Your child comes back home and you aren’t there. Granted, these are 9th and 10th graders, but what if they don’t have a key? Or what if they may have disabilities and need some extra help during a normal day? These are young teenagers, given two days off in the city of Wilmington and surrounding areas. Free to possibly wander off and potentially get in trouble. A school is like a contract. If you send your child to school, you expect your child to be at school. Did the school notify the parents right away of this sudden closure? I’ve heard many parents were not too happy with this stunt. There was nothing on their website or their Facebook page about this at all. There was nothing scheduled on the school calendar for in-service days or anything like that. Christina School District had a small fire at one of their schools and it was all over social media and the news. With Delaware Met, not a peep.
All new schools have growing pains, but let’s look at the big picture. If you aren’t ready to service students the day you open your doors, maybe you should close. Why do charter schools insist on operating out of secrecy rather than transparency? Don’t they realize that if they are open and honest and transparent it goes so much better for them? In the past year alone we have seen situations develop at Family Foundations Academy, Charter School of Wilmington, Academy of Dover, Freire (before they even opened), Providence Creek Academy, and now The Delaware Met. While some events are more egregious than others, they all showed a simple lack of confidence and trust to handle a situation the right way. Yesterday, another national blogger wrote about the number of charter schools that closed between 2001-2013. While the list was not entirely accurate for Delaware (can’t speak for other states), it showed about 2,500 charter schools around America closed during this timeframe. All too often, as is the case in Wilmington, these students just get tossed around from school to school to school. That isn’t right. Kids need consistency in their lives. If some adults don’t know how to play in the sandbox that is public education, maybe they shouldn’t enter it. It may look great to have on your resume “School Board Member”, or “Charter School Founder”, but if you don’t know what you’re doing it has a huge impact on kid’s lives.
As well, our very own Department of Education tries to make charter schools appear as if everything is awesome until they have no choice but to put a school on formal review. But they are aware of the issues. They need to take a direct hand in matters and be public about it way before the point of no return.