Here we go again! Unreliable Delaware DOE school data spilling out to the public via NJ. @Washingtonpost @huffingtonpost #edude #netde #neatoday @NSBAComm @NatlGovsAssoc @usedgov @arneduncan @educationOIG @destateboarded

The News Journal errors in reporting low income data on the six designated Priority Schools. (Outrage bubbling over school plan /Matthew Albright, The News Journal2:15 p.m. EDT September 21, 2014) Just like the public, the NJ relied on DE DOE webpage under school profiles. Without knowing to open the detail tabs to see actual spreadsheet data, one relies assumes the main-page for each school which is correct. They are not!

The Delaware Department of Education fails to respond to data errors on DE DOE school profile webpages. What the News Journal reports is correct if one looked at the main DE DOE webpage of these six priority schools. I notated “Actual” % with hyper links as proof. 

Red Clay School District

Warner Elementary: reading, 45 percent; math, 30 percent; low income, 85 percent

Actual 93.4%

Highlands Elementary: reading, 49 percent; math, 37 percent; low income, 68 percent

Actual 86.4%

Shortlidge Elementary: reading, 45 percent; math, 43 percent; low income, 85 percent

Actual 93.3%

Christina School District

Bancroft Elementary: reading, 35 percent; math, 35 percent; low income, 79 percent

Actual 89.6%

Stubbs Elementary: reading, 36 percent; math, 37 percent; low income, 89 percent

Actual 96.6%

Bayard Middle: reading, 45 percent; math, 30 percent; low income, 79 percent

Actual 95%

Markell holds the door open for more Teach for America leadership at DE DOE: Re Priority Schools @Washingtonpost @huffingtonpost #edude #netde #neatoday @NSBAComm @NatlGovsAssoc @usedgov @arneduncan @educationOIG @destateboarded

Outrage bubbling over school planMatthew Albright, The News Journal

The Delaware Department of Education says six low-income schools in Wilmington are failing, and the way to fix them is to make the more than 200 teachers reapply for their jobs – and to hire elite principals at each school who won’t have to follow most district rules while earning annual salaries of $160,000.

So fire all the teachers good and bad to ensure you get all the bad ones than be selective about who you hire back to ensure school turn around. But there’s more, hire elite principals and pay them more than to districts superintendents“.  Think of their, charter schools are somehow the save all re: public education. So why are we paying their principals less that traditional schools? Better yet, why do they work for less? The $160.000.00 can pay for a professional educator aka principle “and” two “valued” paraprofessional. 

Mark Murphy, secretary of education, says it’s necessary for teachers to reapply for their jobs to ensure that every educator in the six “priority” schools has the commitment and skill to improve student achievement, as measured by the state’s standardized tests.

Mr. Mark Murphy tell me why charter schools succeed and fail at the same rate as traditional schools when charter school have this same concept of fire at will and mayoral control? 

Outrage is bubbling among teachers, parents and school administrators in the schools – Bancroft Elementary, Stubbs Elementary and Bayard Middle in the Christina School District and Warner, Shortlidge and Highlands elementary schools in Red Clay School District.

They contend this is a state takeover, not a school turnaround.

Goes deeper than that! Governor Markell and his band of idiots at DE DOE what to make it appear these schools will have local control so that when the fail once again they can’t blame themselves. Folks it all about Jack Markell doing everything his can to undermine traditional public schools to justify is preferable form of public schools called charter schools to appease his Rodel buddies and Wall Street capitalist $$$$$$$ feeding of off public education. 

The state asks that districts sign a Memorandum of Understanding by month’s end to begin establishing a plan for each school, all of which serve students who come from neighborhoods grappling with poverty.

That MOU is in clear violation of “federal law” Title 1 Section 1118 that give parents in these high poverty schools unique powers as it pertains to parental involvement to the extent of participating and reviewing school education plans and Jea Street knows. In fact “Title 1 parents” are to be participants on the districts Consolidated Grant Application team. But wait in defense of Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy, when he applied for the NCLB Wavier buried in that request by default, Title 1 Section 1118 was waived as was Title 1 School Choice not to be confuse with state Choice law. Federal Title 1 School Choice puts student being served by these failing schools ahead of the state Choice line when applying to higher performing school and “includes” funding for transportation. However, Red Clay super contends, Title 1 Choice won’t allow Title 1 students in one failing Title 1 school to Choice to another Title 1 school if that school doesn’t met AYP. And where is all this supporting funds going to?

“If we agree to this MOU, day one is a takeover. They take over our authority,” says Kenneth Rivera, Red Clay school board President. “We are not going to agree to that.”

Well OMG I can’t believe it! A school board member finally grows some trophy-balls. The former president of Red Clay School board Mr. Becnel was the only Red Clay board member voting “no” to the Race to The Top MOU and he pretty much told DOE Dan to kiss his ass in his tactful way. But it looks like Red Clay’s current board president Kenneth Rivera is saying, we’re not even entertaining a MOU vote because it is a “takeover”. I am putting odds on Super Merv coming before the board during this upcoming “board workshop meeting” with a request for the board to vote on Markell’s MOU. However, Merv has been showing some teeth including in a private DE DOE meeting. Now we need to see those fangs in public by not request a board MOU vote prior to Jack Markell’s high-noon September 30th deadline. Furthermore Red Clay school board and Merv need to formulate a proclamation calling for the removal of the Delaware Secretary of Education.  

Murphy and Gov. Jack Markell say they are not seeking to usurp anybody’s power. Elite school leaders and top teachers need freedom to make dramatic changes without being hobbled by business-as-usual approaches to educating children in failing schools, they say.

Yet schools clearly face harsh state consequences if they don’t agree to the state’s conditions.

“If an MOU is not agreed to within 120 days, the LEAs (Local Education Agencies) options are then limited to closure, reopening as a charter, or contracting with a private management organization to operate the School,” says the Department of Education document district leaders are expected to sign.

Folks the MOU is a death sentence for traditional public schools where the state / Markell can say educators collaborated and agreed to bold reforms to serve our children. But look close at the private organization that Markell signed a contract with to takeover Moyer. If you seen the actual $$$ contract agreement you’d be outraged. Markell has a unique relationship with CEO of K12.Inc., well former now.

This is the latest chapter in Delaware’s journey to comply with the federal Race to the Top school reform plan, which has yielded the state $116 million in additional funding. It began Sept. 4 with a press conference on the steps of Warner Elementary, where the governor and education secretary tried to build a sense of cooperation and teamwork.  

Hello Mr. McFly, the Race to The Top funding ended last school year! However, please tell them how the governor secured USDOE permission to carryover unused RTTT funding for an additional year. But in the big picture one must ask, was the withholding of RTTT funding to the local schools within the funding years a calculated plan by Governor Markell to secure federal funding to apply to a state plan within the scope of RTTT? Markell knew with state budget constraints he wouldn’t have state funding to promote “his” personal egotistic agenda. If he comes back as says the Priority School money is not federal and is state the option re: actions that he plans to take if Red Clay or CSD says no to the MOU would than be erroneous.  

The state’s memo says “schools need to be staffed with teachers, administrators and other staff who both want to work in the school and have the skills, experience, and commitment necessary to advance the school plan.”

That line has enraged the “priority” school communities.

“To suggest that Highlands needs new teachers who prove their commitment to the population is a slap in the face to every single Ms., Mrs, or Mr who works in that building,” says Highlands PTA President Cory Norie.

OMG I love those Highland Parents! And where is the state PTA? Most-likely dancing on the fence! We’re back to Title 1 Section 1118 federal law that appears to be waived via NCLB wavier. Markell and Murphy could have ask for exclusion of 1118 in their wavier request. But they needed full authority even to the extent of overriding parents involvment protected by federal law. 

“The teachers in my building feel bewildered. They’re distraught,” says Mike Matthews, president of the Red Clay Education Association teachers union who works at Warner Elementary.

Statewide, 99 percent of all Delaware teachers were rated effective or highly effective by the state-created teacher evaluation system. Only one percent were rated “needs improvement.” No teachers were rated “ineffective.”

So the witch hunt for the 1% requires firing all the teacher to protect the state from discrimination litigation.  I wonder what Jea Street’s position will be when all the African-American / minority teachers are fired and put through a rehire process. Let’s NOT forget many minority teachers chose to teach in high poverty / high minority schools. So the reward for wanting to serve a school community in such need whereas the funding isn’t weighted compounding the struggles to meet academic success is being FIRED! But Mike Matthews has it correct! If 99% of teachers are rated effective or highly effective by the state’s teacher evaluation process where is the analogy to fire all teachers and make them reapply? That’s how I read the intent of his comment. Wait could this mean all teachers serving these priority school be national board certified teachers? Or trained via the prestigious Teach for America core values! OMG will the new principals be TFA experience. Mr. Matthews, you are at the crossroad aka defining moment in your leadership role. What you do will impact your generation of teachers and the generation of those who follow.  Just remember the sacrifices of good leaders like Barbara Finnian / Goodbye Barbara Finnan Posted on by kilroysdelaware. I’ve seen Barbara stand and defend the right of teachers and the protection of students from wrong headed agendas going by prior to rolling-out DSTP.  Barbara’s advocacy for labor and what’s right for students cost her many opportunities for person advancements. She knew every-time she spouted off at school board meetings or in the News Journal any chance of advancement into administration was null! But my guess was, that’s a small price to pay for standing for what’s morally and socially right. Finnan didn’t play the fence trying to appease both sides, her feet were planted firmly and endured everything that came her way. Though we know the erosion of quality compensation for teachers has begun via this social re-engineering of public education, the fact remains Barbara  Finnan’s generation of “leaders”  laid the foundation of security for all teachers. It’s up to Mike’s generation to “protect” those gains and at the same time fend of damaging reforms that negatively impact students and demand more classroom tangible support.

Yet Murphy and Penny Schwinn, the Department of Education’s chief accountability officer, say they won’t object if the new school leaders genuinely believe most of the current staff should stay. 

“We know from experience that this is very hard work,” Murphy says, “and we need to be sure that every person in those buildings is committed to it.”

Penny Schwinn Linkedin

Chief Accountability and Performance Officer Delaware Department of Education 2014 – Present (less than a year)

“Program Director (Los Angeles) and Teacher (BCPSS) Teach For America 2004 – 2007 (3 years)”

Founder And Executive Director Capitol Collegiate Academy 2009 – Present (5 years) Sacramento, California Area

Director of Student Achievement St. HOPE January 2009 – 2011 (2 years)

Yep folks if Delaware can’t have all charter schools at least we’ll find a way to implant Teach for America leadership.

Obama fires Inspector General for doing his job Posted on by kilroysdelaware | “St. Hope received a grant of about $850,000 from AmeriCorps” 

OMG the future Mr. Rhee and AmeriCorps & Rhee’s TFA love connection Posted on by kilroysdelaware

Rumor has it DE Sec of Ed imposes new rules on DE DOE staff.

Again just rumor!

A friend of mine was working at a Delaware state landfill when a trash truck dumps it’s load. Out of clear plastic trash bag the kind used to line a trash-pail under an executive type desk came old memos and daily trash. My friend couldn’t believe his eyes when he picked up a memo the “appears” to be from the Sec of Ed that sets new rules for DE DOE employees. Top of the list was, all employees must take bathroom breaks in alphabetical order followed by, no dating fellow employees. However, this one caught my attention, no personal photos and decorations permitted on employees desk and or workstations.  There was a side note on the last one that went like this, you are education professionals and our work areas must reflect that. There were a bunch of other new rules along with this one, if you’re not happy with your job at DE DOE, you better learn how to pretend to or else out the door you go.  

I can’t believe any of this and they all might just rumors. We all know the DE Sec of Ed is well like by all staff at DE DOE especially his wing man Mr. Blowman.

Hey DE DOE employees, the ones that wipe the asses of their bosses. Many of us know there are many hard working people at DE DOE. So please don’t take too much offense when we use DE DOE in the broad sense negatively. Thank you for  your service.     

Delaware Department of Education fumbles on the 20 yard-line re: Priority Schools @ed_in_de @DianeRavitch @hanna_hurley @edtraveller @DoverPost @delawareonline @TheStateNews @WashingtonPost @WSJ @usedgov @NYTimes #netde #eduDE

 mikemattewsFB

Steve Newton bitch-slaps Delaware Secretary of Education as opponent Rep Joe Miro turns a blind-eye to DE DOE’s lies and failures! #netde #edude

SteveNewton2

Visit Steve Newton for 22nd State Representative and donate! Steve has a balanced approach to serving our children’s educational needs and wants it done by local district shared collaboration and local control.   

300 + U of D students protest @TheFIREorg

Hundreds protest UD’s harassment policy Esteban Parra, The News Journal4:47 p.m. EDT September 19, 2014

University of Delaware students rallied Friday afternoon, calling for changes in the school’s harassment policy following accusations that a professor offered a student an “A” in exchange for sexual favors.

The three-hour gathering, which is being attended by more than 300 students, has begun on the steps of Memorial Hall.

“End the silence. End the shame,” UD students and faculty chanted.

Read entire article here.

My Special Needs Son’s First Day Of Common Core Division & This Is His Homework @KilroysDelaware @ed_in_de @DianeRavitch @hanna_hurley @edtraveller @DoverPost @delawareonline @TheStateNews @WashingtonPost @WSJ @usedgov @NYTimes #netde #eduDE

Originally posted on Exceptional Delaware:

This was my son’s math homework tonight.  My son with special needs.  This was his first day of division.  Can someone, in the name of all that is holy, tell me exactly what the hell this is?  I know what it’s supposed to be.  But it is not.  It is a confusing, prime example of the agony that is Common Core.  Students should not be subjected to this.  My son is in tears right now, missing his 4th grade teacher and he hates 5th grade.  This isn’t what school should be about.  It shouldn’t be this hard.  It should be about learning at an appropriate grade level.

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This isn’t even 5th grade level work with this kind of math.  This is 7th grade or 8th grade.  Really?  Delaware and any state that is using this curriculum needs to be ashamed of themselves.  And you want to test my special needs…

View original 153 more words

Don’t blame NJ Jimmy Olsen for Susan D. Leath’s manipulation of the press to appease education reformers aligned with Wall Street and Jack Markell @Washingtonpost @huffingtonpost #edude #netde #neatoday @NSBAComm @NatlGovsAssoc @usedgov @arneduncan @educationOIG @destateboarded

Newspaper sides with elitists in school reform debate Delaware Voice: Connie Merlet and Nancy Willing /News Journal Opinion September 18, 2014

Enough already. Enough of your propaganda spewing. Yes, we can ignore the Delaware school “report” from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a corporatist organization that has eschewed its obligations to its employees in the way of training and pensions and now wants only to make money off privatizing the public school system.

You, The News Journal, should be ashamed of your constant propagandization of your school reporting. You have damaged education by going along with the governor, the lieutenant governor, the charter lobbyists, Vision 2015, Education in Delaware 25, and the others whose columns constantly “grace” your opinion pages. These groups and individuals, which bedevil our public schools showing their one-sided views for reform which don’t actually reform anything but do fill their pockets, are changing public education and hurting all of our students.

Using two charter schools as an example of success, without actually explaining how much money has been pumped into these schools which select their students at the onset and then expel at a higher rate than the regular schools, is simply disingenuous.

When the governor had his recent press conference naming priority schools, most of those in attendance had only heard of his news the day before. The press conference was planned for the morning, the middle of the average workers’ day, so teachers and interested parents would not be able to attend. He spoke for a good long while about the plans he had for the six priority schools. Not about a lot of details, however.

When asked afterward about details and something in writing describing these plans, he said, and we quote, ”there is nothing in writing.” Asked again, “but you must have had several meetings putting this together,” he said, “There is nothing in writing.”

Imagine our surprise when a couple of days later, the superintendents were delivered a 156-page guide to reform, and the school board members were sent a 10-page memorandum of understanding, which should more appropriately be called an ultimatum. We don’t want to call the governor an outright liar, but that was a gross misstatement of fact.

The News Journal has not reported on either of these documents, which should be available online and scrutinized by journalists and the public. We know the pro-charter folks have seen them. In fact, they wrote them. Similar plans can be seen wherever charters have an ear in government.

The governor’s plan for the six priority schools is basically to have the superintendents hire new principals – he calls them team leaders – who will each have annual salaries higher than the vast majority of superintendents in this state (par for charter school principals), and then have those leaders transform the schools with slightly less than $1 million over five years. That’s not nearly as much as the two highly touted charters in Wilmington with many less children receive in special funding.

These six “priority” schools are schools in severe poverty. The children at these schools cannot be compared to those at East Side or Kuumba charters. They have many more risk factors. Their everyday lives are much more troubled. But the formula for success is actually quite simple. When we are dealing with poverty, one eliminates poverty with money. Enough money and you won’t have poverty. It’s actually the definition of poverty, isn’t it? Not having money. In our schools, it looks like this – enough money to provide for:

• Teachers, a 1:13 teacher/child ratio in every classroom

• Social workers provided for every family

• Several behavioral therapists

• Several guidance counselors

• Special reading teachers

• Comprehensive before- and after-school programs on-site not for academic drilling but for safe havens and social skill building.

It’s weighted funding of course. And it’s the only thing that will turn our schools around. And it’s not a new idea, just one that is roundly ignored every time it is mentioned. But if you pour money into these schools, they will turn around. In Nassau County, New York, all of the above exist in wealthy school districts. We need to do the same in our poor areas.

The proposed million bucks is nothing for these schools which have multimillion-dollar budgets already. We are continuing a path to failure. Even more so when you consider another item in the “priority plan” – family and community involvement. In 2012, Bayard earned the award for family involvement, an initiative established by our lieutenant governor. Bayard received that award because of its exemplary outreach plan to families and the community. Less than two years later, it is a priority school. So what of the plan? Plans are not enough without the infusion of money to make them last.

Yes, we accuse The News Journal of taking the easy road to propaganda for a bunch of wealthy elitists who know nothing about poverty or education but who see a pot of gold in public education for themselves. And we say enough.

Connie Merlet and Nancy Willing are Newark residents.

Red Clay’s recording of 09/17/2014 now available and OMG

OMG Red Clay school board! The community is saying take Markell’s Priority Schools MOU and shove it up Markell’s ass! This issue is a defining moment for Red Clay leaders and local control. The response to Markell is stick it up your ass! 

Merv is saying he can’t support the MOU as it is! Merv says Board “Workshop” meeting on 09/30/2012. Hey board president, remember the board cannot vote during a “Workshop” meeting. It’s a Workshop!  Merv don’t play the shit I have no choice! YOU HAVE A CHOICE and OMG school board you better get to vote on this. 

OMG !!!!!!!!!!!!! Adriana L. Bohm ; 10 Kilroy Gold Stars for you!! FIGHT ON !!!!!!!!!!! Hicks Anderson is smiling upon you! I know that was all a cryptic shutout to Kilroy ;).

Kenny is calling-out Merv! Merv intents to come to the board on the 30th with a reasonable MOU ! Remember board president the meeting has bee deemed a “workshop”! NO VOTING !!!!!!!!  

Notice of all regular and special meetings shall be provided seven days in advance or, if the meeting is scheduled in less than seven days, within 24 hours. Only emergency meetings necessary for the immediate preservation of public peace, health, or safety may be called without 24 hour public notice.

Notice Red Clay School Board Policy 2004, only three kinds of board meetings! “Regular, Special and Emergency! “Workshop Meeting” is not is the scope of this policy and YOU CAN”T VOTE !!!!!!!

Rep Kowalko address Red Clay School Board and Community Re: Priority Schools MOU

First let me thank the Board, Supt. Daugherty, the administrators, the teachers and parents of Red Clay for all they do for public education and the children of Delaware and for allowing me to speak before you this evening.

            I’ve never spoken before this Board since my 25th District is composed entirely of the Christina School District, but tonight I must relay an important message with a great urgency so that you and all the stakeholders in Red Clay might be forewarned regarding an ongoing threat to the autonomy, responsibility, and authority that this district and all school districts in Delaware are currently granted by Delaware law.

            I don’t intend to dwell on the difficulties that districts and their managing teams are burdened with, exacerbated in part by the failure of this Administration and Legislature to adequately restore funding cuts that have resulted in the disappearance of many legitimate and helpful programs that give all public school children access to learning opportunities.

            I do, however, hope to sound the alert regarding an insidious and misrepresented attempt to wrest the authority and ability of the Board, administrators and teachers to properly educate our children under the guise of unproven education reform contrivances such as the recently announced “priority school within the partnership zone” plan from DOE. Due to a lack of time and the complexity of this proposal and the process used to force it I will not get into a detailed account of how offensive it is for this plan to dishonestly present itself as some type of enhanced funding mechanism available to failing schools (that designation is also debatable) and minority and socio-economically disadvantaged student bodies when almost all of the money will not reach the classroom. It should not be lost on you that this roll out and offering of money is intended, in my opinion, to encourage public pressure be placed on the districts if they dare to reject or even question the validity and effectiveness of this plan.

            Perhaps most upsetting to me and hopefully to you as elected representatives of your taxpayers and the children and families in your district is the fact that this unholy deal that DOE and the Administration is offering with this ultimatum, couched as an MOU, will put pennies on the table that will not reach the classrooms or children and will cost the districts and taxpayers dollars to access.

            More offensively, there has been an incessant drumbeat of negativity in public and through media manipulation, falsely claiming that the districts are incompetent, educators are failing, and administrators are bereft of ability and traditional public schools are abject failures. This dishonest message is resonating with an unknowing and unaware public and is used as a propaganda tool to demonize public schools and encourage a move to privatization or state takeover. Wait until you try to counter that false propaganda in order to pass your next necessary and legitimate referendum.

            Finally, please allow me to summarize. This DOE process of unilaterally crafting a plan with absolutely no stakeholder input or dialogue and then presenting it piecemeal to separate stakeholders, in what can best be described as an isolation booth type atmosphere, is exactly the failure to communicate and be transparent that DOE has foisted upon local districts in the past in their ambition to coerce and intimidate local elected governance into submissiveness, assuring that the myriad of flaws will go unquestioned and unchallenged.

            I will be available for any dialogue and discussion outside the confines and time constraints of this public meeting.

You should be aware that in the context of a legal and moral definition of a “Memorandum of Understanding” this contrivance, unilaterally crafted and composed by DOEis notan MOU.It is nothing more than an ultimatum comprised of unproven and false presumptions demanding an unconditional surrender of the authority and responsibilities you are legally vested with. A legitimate MOU is a contractual agreement put in writing which has been discussed and composed by all stakeholders before it is submitted to a demand for signatures. It is a product of compromise, dialogue and clarification of facts and intentions between and including all affected stakeholders.

Until and unless DOE, Secretary Murphy and the Governor are willing to engage in an honest and frank dialogue and negotiation with all the stakeholders, before crafting such a potentially damaging agreement and insisting you sign onto it, I am strongly advising that the Board, the Superintendent, and DSEA reject this proposal out of hand and demand that DOE return next year to engage in a meaningful dialogue with all parties which could result in an effective and legitimate MOU agreement that will benefit and not harm Delaware’s public school system and children.

Please note the one unadulterated reality here. Refusing to sign the MOU may not stop an ill-advised State takeover of these schools but signing the MOU will guarantee that the districts and boards will have no legal recourse or appeal when there is a takeover.

Respectfully submitted, 

State Representative John A. Kowalko Jr.

25th District Delaware

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