The Odyssey Charter School Education Association declared a vote of no confidence in the school’s Board of Directors. As well, they asked four members of the board to resign. Continue reading
Mike Matthews became the next President of the Delaware State Education Association today. Taking over from outgoing President, Frederika Jenner, Matthews will undoubtedly generate news over the next few years. After an actual tie in the election last January, Matthews won in a run-off election two months later.
With the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act in our schools, more personalized learning/competency-based education crap, the usual teacher evaluation based on Smarter Balanced, and all the budgetary/legislative stuff going on, look for Matthews to have his hands full the next few years. Today, he sent out a letter to Delaware DSEA educators:
A Message from DSEA President Mike Matthews
Dear Fellow Educator:
Today I begin a new journey as DSEA President. Throughout my career as an educator, DSEA has been the strongest voice to ensure our members and students have what they need to succeed. I look forward to continuing this strong tradition of advocacy, but will need your help to be successful. Stay informed by reading our e-newsletters Professionally Speaking, which covers all manner of education policy news, as well as Legislative Matters, which provides comprehensive coverage of the legislative developments impacting public education and educators. Also, DSEA maintains active social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter, and publishes an all-member newspaper, ACTION, on a quarterly basis. These are just a few of the many ways in which you can stay informed and continue to advocate for your students.
Over the next few years, working with our network of strong local leaders, I hope you will share your stories with me about what’s going on in your school. Share with me the good… Share with me the not-so-good. I intend for open and honest communication to be an important piece of my time as DSEA President. To that end, please feel free to contact me to share those stories. My email is Mike.Matthews@dsea.org.
Together, our unified, collective voice can speak up on behalf of our colleagues and the students we advocate for every day. I hope you are enjoying your summer and I look forward to working with you in the near future. Thank you for all that you do.
Later today, the superintendents are having a top-secret, non-public meeting at the Delaware DOE. This is in regards to the priority schools in the Christina and Red Clay Consolidated School Districts. Board members of both districts do not appear to be happy about this at all. The MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) concerning these schools is due by September 30th.
Six elementary schools from the districts were picked by Governor Markell last week to receive about $6 million over five years. The problem is additional administrators will be forced upon the schools at a price tag of $160,000 each, which is above the average administrator price tag in Delaware. When all is said and done, this really isn’t leaving the schools with much left over money each year to get the services they desperately need.
The boards of the school have been discussing what to do. If they say no to the MOU, then there is a chance the state could take over the schools. And many have guessed they would then become charter schools. But who owns the buildings? The districts. So would the state have to buy the buildings or rent them from the districts? And what happens with the teachers. They have union representation, and contracts to uphold with the districts.
What becomes of the students? These are already low income Title 1 schools. They also have high populations of special education students. That much chaos and upheaval is never good for a normal student, much less students with disabilities.
It remains to be seen what this meeting will be about, but some legislators aren’t happy. From Delaware House Representative John Kowalko on Kilroy’s Delaware last night:
Although I never received an answer to the email request I made to DOE seeking an invite i will be going to this meeting tomorrow at the Carvel bldg. Despite a phone conversation I had with a DOE top staffer who had the audacity to say my attendance would be inappropriate I will be attending. Although it was difficult to suppress my anger at the thought that an “appointed” staffer would presume to tell a duly “elected” official what was appropriate or inappropriate about his or her responsibilities I will be attending. Because I represent thousands of households with thousands of children in the CSD and because I have served for eight years on the House Education committee and witnessed first-hand the debacle of the previous MOU re partnership zone schools and the Glasgow outrage, I will be attending. My obligation to all children in the state public school system, to the taxpaying families that support the school system, to my constituents, to the educators who daily fight to fulfill the needs of the children (while money has been taken and not returned to the public school system) is all of the justification I’ll ever need to know it is appropriate for me to attend. It is my sworn duty and obligation to question and challenge the non-educator salesmen who contrive solutions that have no basis in data accumulated effectiveness and fail to address the obvious needs of an impoverished America forced to live on handouts rather than face the reality of poverty driven failures in public education. It is my sworn obligation to look into the eyes of the RODELS and VISION 2015…2021 et.al. and their solicitors and messengers who would rather control the dialogue and set the stage and sell the tickets to an audience that is best kept in the dark. Yes I will attend and it is absolutely appropriate that I do.
State Representative John Kowalko (25th District)
Damn! That is one pissed off elected official. And he has every right to be. This situation is escalating very fast, and it sounds like the districts are being pitted with the boards on one side and the superintendents on the other. The boards do have other options, and this could become very ugly.
Nancy Willing of Delaware Way blog fame has an excellent post on this: http://delawareway.blogspot.com/2014/09/are-markell-and-ddoe-holding-up-our.html