Happy Valentines Day Red Clay Charters: Charter School of Wilmington, Delaware College Prep & DE Military Academy

Happy Valentines Day you wonderful Red Clay Consolidated School District charters!  I just wanted to extend the love since no one at Red Clay seems to want to monitor you guys.  I was looking at your websites, and I noticed something:

YOU HAVE NO TRANSPARENCY OF YOUR BOARD MEETINGS!!!!!

Charter School of Wilmington, last board meeting minutes: September 2014, last agenda posted-January 27th meeting

Delaware College Prep, last board meeting minutes: July 2014, last agenda posted: No agendas posted, just states what the “standard” agenda” is for each meeting

Delaware Military Academy, last board meeting minutes: September 2014, last agenda posted-NONE

And the Wilmington Education Committee wants Red Clay to take over the Christina School District Wilmington schools?  Why?  They can’t even oversee the three charters in their district!  Given the timeframe on when these charters last updated their board meetings, it almost seems intentional.  I wonder who would have planned that…

Are You Going To The Imagine Delaware Education Forum?

The News Journal is sponsoring an education forum at the Chase Center on the Waterfront in Wilmington on March 9th.  Led by David Ledford, the Executive Editor of The News Journal, the purpose of the forum is to engage in an open discussion about how best to serve Wilmington schools.  Originally the date was on February 24th which drew controversy since that was the date for the referendum on the Christina and Red Clay Consolidated School Districts.

Panelists include the following:

Mike Matthews: Warner Elementary School Teacher and President of the Red Clay Educators Association

Tony Allen: Chair of the Wilmington Education Committee and a Bank of America executive

Mark Holodick: Superintendent of the Brandywine School District

Senator David Sokola: Chair of the Delaware Senate Education Committee

Lamont Browne: Head of School for East Side Charter and Family Foundations Academy

Tizzy Lockman: University of Delaware Public Policy Graduate Student and Mother

The forum kicks off at 6:30pm, but there will be an Education Expo at the location from 4:00-6:00pm where district and charter representatives will be on hand to talk to citizens about their schools.

Governor Jack Markell will give opening remarks at the Education Forum.

If you plan on going, it is free, but you would need to register here: http://newsjournal.upickem.net/engine/YourSubmission.aspx?contestid=164189

The Delaware DOE Is Terrified Of The Parent Opt Out Movement

There is one thing that scares the living hell out of the Delaware Department of Education.  Two words will make or break their education agendas for students of Delaware. Opt Out.

I’ve been going to the Facebook group “Solutions For Wilmington Schools” quite a bit lately and reading all the comments there is one thing nobody is talking about: how student achievement is measured.  This is the flaw in education these days, and parents need to wise up to this fact.  One test to measure all students, schools, and even communities the way things are going.

Nothing against the moderator of this group, but I am beginning to question the true motives of this group.  When I see the title of a discussion post called “Pursuing a New Vision for Wilmington Charter Schools” I see Rodel written all over it.  She’s a very nice person and I have met her before, but I have to remember she is also on the newly named “Schools That Lead” board, which was formerly called the Vision Network of Delaware.  This organization lists Rodel CEO Paul Herdman as a founding member of Vision 2015.  I posted the below information today in response to another individual’s question about the role of the Wilmington Education Committee.  This committee is led by Tony Allen, who also sits on the board of Rodel.

When did the citizens of Delaware allow a non-profit company, that has its hands in so many corporate education reform organizations, to completely change the education of our children?  We have all been fooled Delaware.  We need to wake up, and to do this we need to be brave and decide our children’s education, not companies that seed and feed hedge fund managers and investors.

For the Delaware DOE, Rodel and Governor Markell, “strengthening education” means having students use “rigor” to perform well on a once a year assessment based on the Common Core curriculum. It is my opinion, and many others, this test is not designed to make students more proficient, but to make them less so. For years, the teachers unions have held back certain elements from privatizing education. With the standardized test scores, the Federal Government, through the US DOE and US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, have allowed the State of Delaware to judge teachers and schools based on how students do on these tests. Thus we now have “priority” schools where the low-income, minority and special needs populations are among the most concentrated in the state. This situation is playing out across our country as “low-performing” schools are converted to charter schools. We have allowed this to happen by not speaking up.

It is far past time parents spoke up and demanded accountability from our state DOE and Governor Markell. They received $119 million from Race To The Top and entered into contract after contract with organizations designed to perpetuate this agenda. The entire DOE is filled with individuals that either a) adhere to Common Core or b) are former TFA associates or c) worked at other corporate education reform companies.

No discussion of TRUE education reform can occur in Wilmington or anywhere until the construct of the measurement for “strengthening education” is eliminated. This is why it is vital parents opt out now and stop the madness. The Delaware DOE is terrified of parent opt out. So much so that they crafted a letter for the districts to give to parents if they choose to opt their child out of standardized testing. It scared a lot of parents, but the letter states parents are breaking the law if they do this. This is a complete and utter lie fabricated by a very nervous DOE. Without the high-stakes test scores, they would be rendered powerless in Delaware and they know this. They fear a parent uprising against the Smarter Balanced Assessment. This test starts in 36 days. It’s time for parents to stop worrying about the next education reform and how to strengthen schools when this is taking place. ALL DELAWARE PARENTS, CHARTER, PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT, VOCATIONAL and MAGNET: OPT YOUR CHILD OUT OF THE SMARTER BALANCED ASSESSMENT.

Will Markell Break the CEA Union? Priority Schools Showdown & The Unseen Force Waiting In The Wings

The Christina Board of Education may have approved the Memorandum of Understanding for the three priority schools within their district, but the Christina Educators Association (CEA) is a different story.  To date, they have not approved the MOU.  Tonight, the Christina Board will look at the plans for the three schools, but if the CEA doesn’t approve either than this will put Delaware Governor Jack Markell in a position of breaking up a teacher’s union in order to implement the priority schools for Christina.

This is a no win situation for both Christina School District, the teachers, the students, and the CEA.  Markell doesn’t seem to care because he has two years left in office, can’t be re-elected as Governor, and will move on to greener pastures when his time is done.  The DOE would like nothing more than to put an end to teacher’s unions so they can continue to push their pro corporate education reform agendas.  It is my belief this is what they have wanted all along.  This is the Achilles Heel they found and are doing their best to utilize this advantage.

Add in the Wilmington Education Committee’s reform education in Wilmington plan, which is led by one of the most pro-charter school individuals in the state, and this is a recipe for disaster.  One item that hasn’t even come up in any of these conversations is the voice that will soon roar.  The parent opt out moment will be the talk of the state in coming weeks, and this is the situation the DOE has desperately been trying to avoid for months now.  The legality behind parent opt out is being questioned at very high levels at this very moment.  Everything Markell, the DOE, and the Wilmington Education Committee are doing rests on one test.  This is not what education should be about.  Our children are more than test scores. Our schools are more than test scores.  And Delaware should be more than test scores.