U of D professor has reservation about Newark Charter expansion

Charters not living up to their original purpose by Professor Frank B. Murray UD School of Education Newark (News Journal letter to the Editor)

Charters, as a movement, were designed as an alternative to vouchers, which would have sent monies to private schools. They were to be laboratories of experimentation, freed from ordinary regulation, with the lessons learned taken in by the public schools.

Does this mean charters are state and local taxpayer funded private schools? I though we needed charters to address the achievement-gap whereas traditional public schools are failing. But with the “specific interest” admission preference that discriminated based on intelligence locking out at-risk students perhaps it is a private school. Then there is that 5 mile attendance radius preference. Let’s build a school somewhere within a 5 mile circle that will give us just enough middle-class and affluent families with a sprinkle of high poverty families to make sure our job teaching isn’t too hard.

Rarely has there been even an interest on the part of charters to improve public schools. Instead they have become schools that serve narrow interests and ignore the public good.

OMG !!!!!!!! Skipper is going to have Harker fire your ass! OUCH !!!! ( excuse my quirky comments Dr. Matthews but us stupid people have our Delaware hillbilly mentality. Now go eat you F’ing bacon and don’t forget to pay mommy room and board you tightwad)

As for Newark Charter, it should build a cafeteria so it can be faithful to the lottery requirement of unbiased admission and should not be further rewarded until it faces up to the obligations of the charter legislation.

I wonder what would happen if Red Clay decides not add a cafeteria at the new school being build on Graves Road Hockessin? I’ll bet the senators living in Red Clay would object even the senator who were founding board members of Newark Charter. If the Delaware State Board of Education approves a new “public” school without a cafeteria the public has every right to question their morals and perhaps ask them to step-down! Just because state board members are appointed by the governor they shouldn’t be required to leave the ethics and morals as the boardroom door prior to entering. The problem is not with Newark Charter school or it’s leader Mr. Meece! Newark Charter school is a fine schools ensuring education is being delivered in a safe and healthy learning environment. The problems are with a charter school law that were crafted by politicians who hand businessman stuffing $$$$ in their back-pockets!

The effort, instead of expanding to the secondary level, should be placed at creating honors or gifted opportunities at Newark High, in my view.

Professor if we stop building and expanding charter schools how in the hell are we going to bust the teachers unions down aka the gateway to busting prevailing wages. Meece might be Ok with some crabs dying in the crab basket but I for one see government’s responsibility to ensure fair and equitable education to all children. Markell is creating social concentration camps allowing poor children to be Guinea-pigs for unproven Wall Street inspired education reform plans at the same-time allowing blue ribbon schools to be build via a cherry picking process.

It’s unfortunate Newark parents are targets of attacks against what appears to be a war on charters. The charter school law is flawed and sadly it was designed that way! When laws are filled with “may” they are weak laws and when it comes to public education we serve children better when the law says “must”. Kind of quirky to Matthews standards but my brain seems more attached to morals than egos! Damn I did it again! It’s either I use quirky comments or the fuck word! Cryptic here Matthews, can you see where I am going with this? :)

 

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85 Responses

  1. Funny. This is exactly what Pandora has said all along! Charters were meant to be labs of experimentation that, if successful, would be used as models for traditional public schools. Rather than experimentation, they’ve mostly become exclusionary in accepting the top of the top. As such, replicating their models in regular public schools would likely be quite the challenge.

    Love your shout-outs, Professor Kilroy!

    • :) professor ~ cryptic I tell you !

    • The unions will make sure that charter philosophy won’t be happening anytime soon in district schools. The challenge is convincing the public that a change is needed. Build high schools in the city so parents will want to be involved. Why do so many people want their kids in a charter school? Never mentioned are vo-tech schools that pick and choose students.

  2. This…

    This has not happened, and in fact, they have a spotty record nationally for pupil achievement. They achieve, across the board, more or less as non-charters achieve. The Delaware charters, if they were considered a district, are indistinguishable from the regular districts’ achievement on the state’s tests.

    … is what everyone keeps ignoring. Close to 80% of charters perform the same or worse than traditional public schools. And yet charter proponents demand that their school be separated from the overall results and be judged on their school’s individual results – Results that, so far, cannot be duplicated without a selective admission’s process.

    Basically, the result is: Fill a school with smart, non-poverty kids and you’ll get better test scores. Not exactly an innovative breakthrough in education, is it?

    If Charter School’s results (as a group) were a commodity to be bought and sold on the NYSE – it would be a suckers bet given their overall results.

    And… if a charter school wants to be judged only on their school’s success, then they are far closer to the private school model than the public one. And it looks like that’s becoming the point.

  3. “The problem is not with Newark Charter school or it’s leader Mr. Meece! Newark Charter school is a fine schools ensuring education is being delivered in a safe and healthy learning environment. The problems are with a charter school law that were crafted by politicians who hand businessman stuffing $$$$ in their back-pockets!”
    Sorry, Kilroy, even though I agree that the second sentence of the statement above is true, the problem is also with Mr. Meece and NCS. We cannot be hypocritical here, because a group that utilizes the existing law to further it own ends (while ignoring federal laws esp relating to school lunches) is just as culpable as the politician/businessmen who crafted the laws. NCS is the result of manipulating the law to your advantage. Using a dated analogy, NCS is equivalent to Enron’s behavior during California’s power crisis during the 2000’s. They weren’t the only ones responsible for the energy deregulation laws that caused the crisis but they sure knew has to use and manipulate them to their advantage.

    • Ah yes! The problem is with the school that consistently outperforms most other schools and its leadership. Has anyone actually checked the average salary of the teachers at NCS or other charters? Why would teachers from traditional public schools leave them to teach at a charter if it meant a significant salary cut. The prevailing wage argument makes no sense.
      Maybe the fact that most charters are not union is a good thing! Did I just say that in Delaware? I think I hear DDC, EdWatcher and other union shills coming to my home with pitchforks and torches now.
      I have to say I’m amazed that nobody is pointing out the hypocrisy of the low income/race argument. Why are all these people who claim to be support “social justice” not attacking CSD for the tremendous disparity in the percentages of low income and minority students in Wilmington schools versus Newark schools?
      Could it possibly be they are either pro-DSEA/CEA or assume that the numbers of Low Income and minority students at Newark High will be more like Glasgow and Christiana? Wouldn’t that be racist or elitist?
      Where is the social justice in allowing substandard (as a whole – there are good programs and strong students at each school) to continue unchallenged. Where is the incentive to improve? Why is it that the CSD middle schools aren’t trying to duplicate or even top the NCS programs? It seems to me that many here want to continue to buy the Yugo instead of demanding the Cadillac or Mercedes.
      I’m sorry to offend those who actually want to see education in this state improve. I grow tired of hearing so many attacks on a successful school and the people who support it. In my mind, social justice is demanding the best education for all in all schools and districts. To permit and, worse, defend schools that clearly need to improve is to spit in the face of social justice for all of our children. That is the shame of this whole debate.

    • Salaries at charter schools lower than traditional public schools? Really? When NCS started, Meece told everyone that the salary and benefits were the same as traditional public schools. Teachers got bonuses at the end of the year (Bonuses were in the thousands)so this possibly covered what you lost in benefits. This was a recruiting tool, even thought was not entirely true. (Benefits were NOT the same from the larger school districts and no disability insurance.) Thankfully, there were not any employees in need to disability.

      The only reason that many charter schools are paid lower is that then can………..simply put………I don’t hear many traditional public school teachers leaving to teach in a charter. Since NCS started, the average years of experience has dropped tremendously. Easily to manipulate the young than to have to explain to the wise your decisions. (Maybe why 80% of the founding faculty at NCS are no longer there!)

      Check Meece’s salary with that of others who are responsible for 1300 students and you will see that his salary is quite a bit higher than other administrators with the same student numbers. In the NCS expansion request to DOE, Meece then becomes a superintendent! Wonder how high his salary would be then? In ten years, this man has almost doubled his salary. Don’t think many could say the same sadly.

    • How did they get those bonuses, Really? Seriously, I’m interested in knowing how he funded those bonuses. I have an idea. Here’s how it goes: NCS was receiving the average per-pupil amount of money. Charters, on average, spend well UNDER the average per-pupil because they don’t have to deal with as many special education students that require a great deal of additional services. Additional services that cost MONEY. So, Meece is able to keep a good amount of that tuition dough that he’s received from CSD locked up until it’s bonus time for the teachers. Just my theory. Can we even confirm what you say is true about bonuses?

    • @Really,
      The difference in salaries in many of those charters is due in large part to the lack of capital funding. Turnover of employees at any school is to be expected over a ten year period. How many traditional public schools have a similar number of teachers that leave in that time period? Teachers retire, move, marry, have children, move on to administrative positions, etc…
      Check the responsibilities of Meece as compared to those of other schools of similar size. He has no district office to lean on when funding issues arise. He has no district office handling bus transportation. He has no financial officer.
      You can check prior experience of the staff at DOE. Have not checked but willing to bet the vast majority have taught at traditional public schools prior to teaching at NCS.
      @Mike – Baseless statement without facts to support it. Like you stated – theory.

    • Guest:

      My question still stands. How is a public charter school paying out bonuses?

    • Keeping one’s job is a bonus in itself :)

    • Guest, NCS right now, is 1 school. All those jobs that Meece has to do are the same as any school principal, with the exception that he has no “Main Street” administrators breathing down his neck. Plus, with a fairly homogenous population at a charter school, he doesn’t have the differing expectations of public school parents to deal with. Ask any school administrator what takes up the most of their time.

    • Mike,
      In theory, by maintaining a tight, strict budget it could be possible to preserve enough funding to have a bonus structure. I think we can all agree that there is still a fair amount of wasteful spending in traditional public school system. I know from first hand experience that district spend money on some supplies and programs that were unnecessary, unneeded or frivolous. Money does not always lead to quality.
      I was not trying to be disrespectful, Mike.My only issue was that the assumption that bonuses were because the charters were not providing adequate special ed services is speculation or flat out wrong.
      On a previous post, kilroy posted spec ed numbers for NCS by grade from a few years ago. One grade in particular was 20% ( I think that was the correct %) spec ed. That should be evidence of the randomness of the lottery. As far as services, check the percentage of spec. ed students that pass the state testing at NCS.

    • regarding the teacher turnover…..the mass exodus happened during the first 4 years when questions statred to be asked Those who asked the questions at NCS did not have their contract renewed. Others saw what was happening and left on their own accord. Meece even put in a newsletter bogus reasons for these beloved staff to leave (i.e. wanted to retire, wanted to start a family….really???) The younger female teachers were not even pregnant at the time of their resignations!

      Meece controlled the purse strings as well as who got what amount in the bonus structure. (Needless to say, very little fairness there………..you were either a favorite of Meece of not……….)

      The money has nothing to do with capital funding. Capital funding is capital funding and can not be used for salaries.

      The difference in per pupil spending is VERY deceiving. For example, in the tradiational public school districts there are severe and profound special education students who require a one-on-one para-professional, certainly an extremely high expense. As far as I know NCS does not support severely afflicted special education students who require this extremely high expense.

      I am aware of at least one student (early on in NCS history) with Down’s syndrome who was “counseled” not to attend and a few others who had a few years at NCS were told that they were not invited back. (And this without an IEP revision) Luckily all of these students came to Christina district and all have done well, but it certainly was a stressful time for these students.

    • Why would anyone leave his or her job at a CSD school to teach at NCS, indeed. I mean, seriously, who would want to work at a place rated the best midsize workplace in the state? It makes no sense. http://www.delawareonline.com/interactive/article/20110814/BUSINESS/110812018/Chart-Top-Workplaces-2011-Winners-List

    • @Really you said “The difference in per pupil spending is VERY deceiving. For example, in the tradiational public school districts there are severe and profound special education students who require a one-on-one para-professional, certainly an extremely high expense. As far as I know NCS does not support severely afflicted special education students who require this extremely high expense.” You might like to know there is a student at NCS with Downe Syndrome. He has been there for years. Also, there are a lot of teachers who have been there since the school first started, and many who have been there for many years.

    • “We cannot be hypocritical here, because a group that utilizes the existing law to further it own ends (while ignoring federal laws esp relating to school lunches) is just as culpable as the politician/businessmen who crafted the laws”

      The federal government allows such waivers! Here’s what Ohio puts out! http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=free-and-reduced-lunch%20waivers&source=web&cd=2&sqi=2&ved=0CDgQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Feducation.ohio.gov%2FGD%2FDocumentManagement%2FDocumentDownload.aspx%3FDocumentID%3D12747&ei=MdpcT-cTp5jRAd_e7akP&usg=AFQjCNE8VqIUJw3dmyttmkQSoEqad1rjGw

      The bottom-line is, here in Delaware state legislators signed a charter school law that was crafted but the business roundtable reformist that allow charter schools to game the system to serve their own interest.

      Meece is a low level pawn in the charter school movement. I think is content in doing his job as school leader and he’s doing a good job. Some speculate that once Lowery leaves he would be her replacement, But that job has been reserved for Preacher Boy.

      The battle is in Dover with the legislators! Kowalko might be a bit of a radical but at least he is not sitting on the sidelines knowing the biggest Ponzi scheme in America is taking place with his head up his ass! Sokola is playing like a deer in the headlights and other fear the lost of $$$$ campaign contributions from the business folks. The real scum in Delaware is sorry to say Jack Markell! He ordered flags to be set half-staff only in New Castle County and Wilmington

      “The original order to fly Delaware flags at half-staff in Wilmington and New Castle County was consistent with past practice of lowering the Delaware flag in limited areas, but Gov. Markell said he was responding to the suggestion that Rev. Moyer’s impact was felt well beyond his immediate community.” http://news.delaware.gov/2012/03/07/honoring-rev-moyer-governor-expands-order-to-lower-delaware-flags-statewide/

      Civil rights is part of all communities and that must include education.

    • Meece a “lower level pawn in the charter school movement.” I don’t think he believes that!

      BTW: Who is “preacher boy?”

    • Come on re: Preacher Boy! The one who replaced Shark Boy! :) Even Waitress Chaser knows!

      The odds are it the first person who comes to mind!

    • Kilroy, i read this waiver a s a confidentiality waiver related to schools trying to get other federal assistance for free/reduced lunch kids and NOT as a waier for such federal aid. You might also be interested in info found on this webpage,

      http://www.ode.state.oh.us/GD/Templates/Pages/ODE/ODEDetail.aspx?page=3&TopicRelationID=828&ContentID=86537&Content=107014

    • Guest, I was going to prepare a logical, thoughtful analysis of all of your invalid conclusions…but then I realized then it would be useless to you since you don’t understand cause and effect. The only benefit of me going through the analysis would be to show how to everyone else here, how baseless your arguments are, but based on what I’ve read, they already know.

    • So you feel you logical thoughtful analysis might not be accepted? EdWatcher, it’s all debate! It think in for the most part people can read between the lines and form their own opinions Whereas even DE DOE leadership is restricted to the thinking of Skipper, Markell, Rodel and Arne Duncan. Besides, where else can you inject you views , opinions and analysis regarding these issues? There are “many” people viewing in who don’t engage that might want to hear what you have to offer.

    • Kilroy,
      My point was directed to guest, that his arguments have no grounding in any facts and that his conclusions were incorrect because he is confusing “cause” and “effect”. As I have plainly stated in the rest of the post. others here have seen through this and presented counterpoints to “guest”, so my time and effort (which have already been posted elsewhere in this blog) are not needed.

    • Ed,
      I realize it is too challenging for you to do anything other than insult me. As in the past, I have been making the point that there is no accurate representation available. The “data” can be manipulated to say whatever you want. You continually referenced populations in CSD schools. You did not include NCS or other charter students in the demographics. Nor did you include students whose parents chose to send their children to private schools rather than CSD.
      I may have gone over your head with my use of data between Newark & Wilmington schools in CSD.
      As I stated in previous posts, a neighborhood by neighborhood analysis of the Census in the five mile radius (assuming the radius continues) specifically identifying the families with school age students is the only accurate measurement to compare to NCS data. I am not sure that data exists.
      Again, data can be used to support any conclusion you want. Is that not logical, Ed? By all means continue to insult me. I’m sorry I am not willing to simply follow your conclusions because you believe them to be true.

    • guest, I guess I have to do this analysis after all. You wrote, “Why are all these people who claim to be support “social justice” not attacking CSD for the tremendous disparity in the percentages of low income and minority students in Wilmington schools versus Newark schools?” Where have you been for the past 30 and especially 5-10 years. Every heard of the Neighborhood School policy that is currently instituted for CSD elementary and middle schools? I’m sure you are also familiar with court-mandated desegregation (busing) that occurred in the previous 20+ years that directly lead to the creation of charter schools in New Castle county. Do you want to go back to that??????
      “Could it possibly be they are either pro-DSEA/CEA or assume that the numbers of Low Income and minority students at Newark High will be more like Glasgow and Christiana? Wouldn’t that be racist or elitist?” Why it is true that demographics for Newark shows lower percentages of minority and Low-income, this is because of different feeder patterns and choice (another stupid business instituted policy that followed hard on the heels of charter schools).
      “Where is the incentive to improve? Why is it that the CSD middle schools aren’t trying to duplicate or even top the NCS programs?” Because these programs (national research) only work with the demographics/structure of NCS.
      “I’m sorry to offend those who actually want to see education in this state improve.” Because NCS and similar charter schools have done NOTHING to improve education in this state. Don’t believe, check the NAEP scores for the state of Delaware over the past decade plus. No change in results. Seems to me, the charter school reform has been a bust.

    • Ed,
      Let me make sure I understand your thoughtful analysis. The racial disparity in CSD schools is OK because of it follows the Neighborhood School Act but NCS is segregating because it follows the Charter School law and Neighborhood School Act. That’s logical. I do remember the Court’s decision and the busing that followed – no, I don’t want to go back.
      I allow for the consistency of your opinion in your hatred toward school choice and charter schools. I disagree, however, because the lack of choice denies parents a basic freedom in controlling their children’s education. Before choice, those with the financial background are the only people who have control through private schools and the ability to move to better schools. I fail to see the social justice in that option.
      Regarding your final point, how is it the fault of NCS that district schools have not made changes? Public school systems are notoriously stubborn when it comes to instituting change. NCS in particular has been tremendously successful in its accomplishments with its whole student population, including low income, minority and spec. ed. Not all charter schools are as successful. The beauty of the charter school law is that if the schools fail or do not have the numbers to continue, they close. That is not a possibility in district schools. I know RTTP claims to have that option – I’ll believe it when I see it.
      The national research you mention must be carefully scrutinized. Who funded the research? Did the researchers have political motivations? You know as well as I do that research is as trustworthy as statistics. You should also keep in mind that the number of students in charters is too small to have significant influence on NAEP testing or any other testing.
      Ed, it is clear that you and I will disagree. You seem to feel that the traditional public school system is as successful as it can be. Therefore, we should all be satisfied. I feel that they have failed to make the necessary changes and taking the control away from the districts and giving it to the parents is the best way to make change.
      I wish you will, Ed.

    • your choice isn’t in a vaccuum though. It has effect.

    • @ howler, so a parent should forfeit (potentially) their childs education for the sake of the larger group? Good luck with that!

    • only if they value their community, property and the general welfare of the nation. If not, the keep on gettin’ yours and fuckin’ theirs…..

    • only if they value their community, property and the general welfare of the nation. If not, then keep on gettin’ yours and fuckin’ theirs…..

    • Guest,
      If you want to attend a particular CSD or for that matter any public school, all you have to do it move into that school’s feeder pattern. If you want to attend NCS, all you have to do is move into its feeder area…wait for the sibling preferences and the like….and then submit to the whims of a lottery (that may or may not be rigged?). No comparison between the two.
      In northern New Castle county, a fairly large percentage of students do attend charter schools (around 10-15%). No improvement in independent test scores have resulted. For unlucky parents not of the right demographic or number, we have shuffling of their children from one school to another, as they chase the elusive education dream. Is that really helping their children?
      Multiple studies have shown that charters have not improved any results in education. Are they ALL politically motivated, used statistically inappropriate methods, applied wrong methodologies, etc? Burying your head in the sand or using the easy, “You know as well as I do that research is as trustworthy as statistics.” is the lazy way out. I assumed you meant educational research, because all that technology you use in your daily life is the direct result of scientific research of the highest order. Or maybe, you shouldn’t trust your technology at all? (LOL)

      “You seem to feel that the traditional public school system is as successful as it can be. Therefore, we should all be satisfied.”
      No, I am not satisfied about the traditional public school system, but I keep my perspective. It is being asked to perform unachievable objectives because politicians are unable to make tough economic and policy decisions and are easily lead in a money-corrupted system (see below).
      “I feel that they have failed to make the necessary changes and taking the control away from the districts and giving it to the parents is the best way to make change.” In other words, deregulate the system. We have seen the harmful results of such policies in other spheres; energy, financial, banking. And guess what, it becomes even more difficult to reform such system. A good example is financial reform in the past few years following the Great Recession. Its getting nowhere, because the governing agencies have lost their control or are hamstrung by special interest to exercise it. I may disagree with Kilroy a lot, but I appreciate his and other individuals efforts to make the school boards and the education system accountable. This is to me the best method to improve the schools. Creating a parallel system where the wealthy, connected and lucky win is not going to change educational results. It essentially will replicate what happened in the economics of this country; large segregation of results, with smaller amounts of winners and a huge pool of losers. Do you want that?

    • howler, I take responsibility for my kids behavior, education, and welfare. Maybe putting effort into teaching/mentoring/ making all parents do the same, would be beneficial to all schools and all children. I know there are some famiies who are unable to, and then there are many who just don’t give a shit.. I am not talking about poverty non poverty or whatever else, I am talking people taking responsiblity for themselves and their children.

  4. I take offense to the fact that it seems Newark HS is the only school in CSD that they care about.

    “The effort, instead of expanding to the secondary level, should be placed at creating honors or gifted opportunities at Newark High, in my view.”

    What about all the other kids that have CHS and GHS as a feeder and get turned down for choice to NHS? Where are their opportunities for a higher level of education? Talk about not “bridging the gap”.

    I graduated from Glasgow, and it is my daughter’s feeder school. We have many years to go, but if I had to enroll her today, I can DEFINITIVELY say she would not be going to GHS or CHS.

    • @Proud NCS , I have said that over and over on here.. no one usually comments afterwards.. Just wanted to tell you though, and I really don’t know all what it means, but on the Del state website if you look around at the school stats, and they all have ratings, Christiana high school has a 5 star and Newark High has a 1 star. Doesn’t that seem odd?

    • Then find out what these star rating mean and and by all “means” let us know.

    • If you click on the i in the blue circle next to those stars (i for information) a window opens saying this:

      School Rating
      School Ratings are a product of the Delaware School Accountability System. The rating system has two components: the federal Adequate Yearly progress (AYP) in reading/language arts and mathematics and the State Progress component that considers all tested subjects (math, reading, science and social studies). The system has been approved by The U.S. Department of Education and satisfies the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind legislation.

      The Ratings have a clear relationship to how well students perform on the subjects tested each year. Statewide standards of achievement have been established by the Delaware State Board of Education. All groups of students must meet progressively more difficult annual performance targets or show decreases in the number of students not meeting the standards for the school to attain a Superior or Commendable rating.

      The School Ratings from Highest to lowest are:
      Superior
      Commendable
      Academic Review
      Academic Progress
      Academic Watch.

      New Schools are not rated until after the second year of asssement.

      A New School either:
      -Has less than 60% enrolled in the same school together
      -Is in the first year of operation for a charter school
      -Added or changed 2 or more grade levels

    • edwatcher, so that’s not trolling? I thought it odd that Christiana had a way higher rating than Newark that’s all.

  5. Kilroy,
    Keep looking at the grassy knoll ’til your heart’s content. I think the businesses and leaders are looking for better qualified future employees. That is no worse than those who see education as the way to broaden perspectives regarding diversity, politics, etc… They are not mutually exclusive. The shared goal is to improve education.
    My previous post was to point out the selective outrage many here have. NCS supporters are continually being called racist and elitist. CSD could be called out for the same thing based on local elementary schools and the differences between its high schools. These are inflammatory statements that are not based on fact in either case.

    • LOL ! grassy knoll! I prefer the LBJ did it theory.

      The goal isn’t to improve education it’s more about control the money. Sure let’s blame the unions who want good pay and benefits. But it does no justice to allow Wall Street to capitalize on money meant for the classrooms. Don’t get me wrong, union has flaws! But billions of waste dollars goes to testing companies, Neil and Jeb Bush, bloated administration, consultants and these so-called non-profits. The reason there is no profits is because they have spend it all.

      As far as CSD and race, the were called racists and even criminal for defending teachers when the super deviated from the GHS PZ MOU. The preacher and the Baker trashed the white board members of CSD but were tactful enough not to say names.

      The only racism I see is in the law.that allows such a divided. Come next Thursday the Delaware State Board of Education may sent the course for civil rights violations that go beyond race. If you look closely at NCS board minutes you’ll see new policy that establishes the succession of CSN leadership. Meece the charter school pawn may go down as the fall guy and be relocated within the movement. He is doing a good job where he is and can keep the momentum going during the expansion. But sooner or latter there will be a court intervention and Meece will be put on the hot seat about the truth that might include per application conversations with Markell and who initiated the Levin meeting. The reality is, NCS need not give any kind of concession they are within the law 100%. The lack of cafeteria re: those waivers will raise eyebrows in Washington as it starting to do with Delaware legislators cowarding in the corner fearing Markell. The 5 mile radius is within the law. The law is flawed and change will come and expose some truths.

      But the comparison to between NCS and CSD leaves questions such as what are the preferences CSD put on students re: attendance restrictions. None! Does CSD manipulate parents to sign Free and Reduced Lunch waviers? But for sure CSD and district should be accountable for their ratings.

      It appears we have two debates in the blog comments, one be a war between CSD and NCS and with respects to the charter school law.

    • Kilroy,
      I don’t blame the unions for wanting good pay and benefits. That is what they should be doing. My only issue is that they (in this case, DSEA ) is more of a political organization with an agenda. The goal is, in my opinion, not to improve education but to maintain union dues. I believe in the right to collectively bargain.
      As far as CSD, they still limit the number of students who can choice into NHS. That is no different than NCS and its lottery. I don’t have a problem with either system.
      I don’t have a problem with the 5 mile radius. I think locality makes a school stronger. I also don’t think you would see a significant number (max of 5% would be my guess) of students from Wilmington. It wouldn’t matter if it was 50%, though. Those students would be going to a good school. All kids deserve that.
      I think NCS will make at least one concession. They may back down on both food and radius. The attacks will continue, though.
      I respect you, kilroy, for your openness to the debate. I don’t agree with you all of the time. I hope you understand the accusations of racism cause people to become very emotional. That was the point of the comments about CSD’s schools.

    • There is blame to share among everyone even students. CSD schools have feeder patterns and feeder students come first before Choice. Taking out Wilmington students what is the feeder pattern radius of each CSD high school? and Red Clay ?

      The debate does get ugly and when a school that is kind of a Camelot like NCS get’s threatened the battle-line is drawn. The charter school law has flaws and when we see the “may” in the text of the law it leave loopholes and ways for people to game the system. Like why are charter school board members allowed to serve on other charter school boards? Why are state legislators allowed to serve on charter school board and not traditional? I know traditional re: can’t serve in two elected offices. But there is a moral issue!

      I don’t expect anyone to agree with me and I’ll admit, I bait people out for the sake of driving conversation and debate. I weight the rumors and will roll the dice on ones I feel have credibility. Big brother is always watching Kilroy and I run a spam filter.

      Charter will test the limits and boundaries of the law and it’s fair to confront them. Look at the mega charter school coming to downtown Wilmington thanks to Bank of America. 2000 students in a 9 story office building! It’s going to be a nightmare re: fire drills and what about school buses chocking downtown? Sure it will some how workout but some of these questions need to be answered before Markell rubber stamps them.That 9 story building pay over a million dollars a year in CSD schools taxes and now it will be exempt like the Chrysler property in Newark now U of D. Also, many of those 2000 student will come from CSD and Red Clay! So it’s a double whammy for CSD. They still have to heat the building students are leaving for charter schools. And if Race to The Top is the save the world why the need for more charters. Race to The Top is the fix all! Joking, you and I don’t really believe that.

      When people get emotional protective mode they’ll say anything. But as far a racism to some extent it is alive and well. Force busing made everybody ride the bus and now that it’s been lifted Wilmington minorities are still forced on the bus and their are wicket minds out there who say too bad that’s what they wanted! But not the case in reality. A school Choice system with transportation would have been best.

    • Ah yes, the better qualified future employees…..this argument for improving education has been around for a while now. By most measures, “southern” states in general have the lowest performing academic students and by a significant margin. Yet, on average (there are always exception), they have unemployment figures that are among the lowest in the nation. Why? the low cost of wages and benefits compared to “northern” states. Yet there is a cost to this, (and to us, in Delaware), a net outflow of federal aid to “southern” states from “northern” states.
      So, by using fear of a valid argument (that future manufacturing and technical job in high wage countries such as the US depend on skilled, somewhat educated technical workers), business achieve two outcomes. One, the privatization of education (read future profits) and stratification of the society (no competition since “workers” will argue among themselves and not innovate). Seems to be working.

    • Hi Ed, my employer deals with the lack of qualified applicants all the time-engineers are very hard to come by. The good news was always that you could find someone anywhere in the country and relocate if you had to. But since the housing bubble burst, it’s been difficult to relocate, because so many people are under water.

    • Dave,
      We can debate endlessly about a society that needs and imports (via immigration and green card) thousand and thousands of skilled technologists (engineers, doctors, scientists and the like) but then overproduces lawyers, and students with arts and humanities degrees. I’m not saying that there is something wrong with these degrees, I am implying there is overproduction. New York Times had a good piece on this a few months backs. Some of it is due to the education system, a greater amount of blame(?) is cultural and economic attitudes.

  6. In Red Clay after North Star opened the school board approved choice applicants to North Star, BSS and Linden Hill making these schools severely over crowded, which they used as justification for a new school. {BSS has 444 choice students.} When North Star opened the district had 2 K-5 schools with over 80% enrollment low income, they now have 6 and enrollment increased by 125%. The district has 7 schools with 6,7,8 grades, 6 did not meet the target. When you have 14 K-5 schools, with 6 over 80% low income and 2 over 70%, going into 7 6-8 grade schools, I cannot imagine the achievement gap in the 6th grade.
    What is difference between the situation with NCS and what the Red Clay did using choice?

  7. Breaking News…GA Charter School could set National precedent…

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/03/11/georgia-charter-school-decision-could-set-national-precedent/

  8. I’m curious about a couple items the good professor lists in his letter.

    “Instead they have become schools that serve narrow interests and ignore the public good.”

    Certainly some charter schools do serve narrow interests – that is what some were designed for! Cab Calloway certainly has a specific focus, as do business schools, the DMA, and others. Their purpose is to be focussed. How do these not serve the public good? What, precisely, is meant by ‘the public good’? All the public CSD High Schools have failed to meet their state goals for the past two years (I know this because my daughter attends Newark High and we get the letter every year). By failing to meet State goals, are these schools also ignoring the public good?

    “The effort, instead of expanding to the secondary level, should be placed at creating honors or gifted opportunities at Newark High, in my view.”

    Newark High has the Cambridge program which has more applicants than spots. This is definitely an honors program. They also have AP classes which, I hear, are very good. Unless I am mistaken, would those not count as gifted?

    • Cab is not a charter. It’s a magnet.

    • Cab Calloway is a magnet school so should not be used as an example. By narrow interest, the good professor means chiefly demographics. All of the high achieving charter middle and high schools have demographics, especially income levels that differ greatly from their surrounding schools and areas. This is not only ignoring the common good, its also destroying the common good.
      “All the public CSD High Schools have failed to meet their state goals.” As someone has repeated (a NCS supporter) posted here, Christiana High is rated Superior by the state so it has presumably met its goal.
      “Newark High has the Cambridge program which has more applicants than spots.” While its true that not all applicants may be acceptable for the program, shouldn’t the money being requested by NCS then be used to expand this program so all qualified applicants will be accepted?

    • I did not know that about Cab. Thanks for the clarification! I grew up in an area with one school district, and this mess of school districts in a confined area confuses me. Is a magnet school different than a feeder? How does Cab fit into the Scheme of Things?

      Newark High is not in danger of losing its funding. There are more children trying to Choice into Newark High than there are spots. Further, if NCS does get its high school, it seems to me from some of the arguments posted here that most of those students will be current k-8 students simply ageing through the system. Newark High will continue to receive its allotment of funds per student for a full school. Obviously those funds are finite but, yes, Cambridge should be expanded if there are enough qualified applicants for it. That is definitely an issue CSD needs to address. I have a student at Newark High, so apparently I have not done enough due diligence in following up myself.

      All I know about the schools meeting, or not meeting, their State assigned goals is the letter we get from Newark High each year. The letter clearly states that we are allowed to choice out, but none of the schools in the district have met their goals either. Being that we were not about to choice our daughter out we didn’t keep the letter, so I cannot reference it further at this point, so I am now suitably confused as to the state of Christiana High. I was under the impression that all CSD high schools were ‘failing’ (to use a poor term) and am certainly happy to hear if that is not the case.

    • It is true that Newark High (NHS) may possibly be operating at full numbers even if NCS expansion goes through. however, the real concern at NHS is the lost of the current NCS students that feed into its program. Since academic performance tie in with income level, these represent a large percentage of students into NHS’ top academic programs. They are worried about the survival of the Cambridge and AP programs.

  9. @really my child attends NCS & has a one-on-one para who works with him all day everyday. NCS has a big special Ed department and they do whatever is necessary for each child.

    • Please know that my child is not the child currently attending NCS with Downe Syndrome – my child has other issues, he has an IEP & NCS provide a para for him as it is what he needs to get through his day and reach his full potential. There are many untold stories at NCS as there are at all schools. I feel people should stop throwing around assumptions without knowing the real facts.

    • really? may or may not have been an ex employee at NCS, we never “really” (lol) know on here.

      If so, I can assure him/her that my child is also a special ed child, with an IEP at NCS; along with many other children. She has battled through and been taught to shine and have the confidence to learn and exceed her benchmarks. You all can bash this school all you want, but you can never take away her pride or her accomplishments there. These children DO exist, as do all of the hard working specialists employed at the school. These are dedicated employees who work with children on all levels of disability. My child has ADHD, is learning disabled, and has had behavior issues. Yet, not once have we been “counciled” to leave. This term alone has been over used and unsubstantiated. really?’s story of NCS past is not our story of the present.

  10. After reading so many comments both for and against the NCS expansion, I’m a little perplexed. Those that are against the expansion keep going on about the 5 mile radius rule (it’s actually a preference), how NCS children have a better socioeconomic standing, therefore typically being smarter and testing better and how the process is so unfair. I have to ask- why is no one protesting the Charter School of Wilmington? Their admission acceptance process includes final report cards from grades 7, 8, all testing scores (DCAS, DSTP, MAP, etc) and then you have to take a test with them in order to get in. NCS accepts everyone based on a random lottery that gives preference to a 5 mile radius. Is it their fault that more than enough students apply who are within the 5 mile radius so therefore kids outside the 5 mile radius don’t get in? They are all CSD students. NCS has no test. They take everyoneand what it boils down to is luck. Why isn’t anyone picking on Wilmington Charter??

    • i am in protest of CSW. It is also not NET positive to DE public education. It takes kids with 100+ point scale scores (DSTP) HIGHER than feeder kids in Red Clay.

    • How about publicly funded Vo-Techs, for that matter? Many more kids apply than get in. This is not an option for a large portion of kids in the county. You must apply and in some be interviewed prior to decision, it is not an open enrollment for everyone.

      CSW seems to have good on their promise to Red Clay for next year, which should appease the opposition. This was a fair decision for the taxpayers of Red Clay. This school has been under fire for years for daring to be an academic school with admission requrements (kind of like the Cambridge program…hmmm)

    • That is true- I know alot of kids that have applied to vo-techs and not gotten in. Same with the Cambridge program. Let’s face it there just aren’t enough good programs/schools for our ki’ds in this area. So instead of trying to stop them let’s try to have more good options for the kids that want them.

    • “This school has been under fire for years for daring to be an academic school with admission requrements (kind of like the Cambridge program…hmmm).”
      Comparing apples to oranges. CSW is selective and will still has an admission requirement to GET into the school even if you live in Red Clay. The Cambridge program is for high achieving academic students but does restrict one’s entry into Newark High. Once you live in NHS’ feeder pattern, you can attend the school no matter how low your test scores are.

    • The Cambridge program is not offered to everyone in the school district as it should be in the name of equal access to all of CSD. If you are a higher achieving kid at Glasgow or Christiana. this program may not be accessible to you because NHS is not your feeder school and choice to this school is not guaranteed. I think all who qualify should be admitted to this program because it is not available at their feeder school.

      The Vo-Techs are also not available to all who want to go. The applications surpass the spots available. There is no test requirement that I know of, and I don’t know how their selection process works. I know at least one that interviews students and families in their homes prior to selection. Is it a fair process? I’m not saying it’s not, but couldn’t you cherry pick in this circumstance? These schools have become a desirable high school option for many kids; but not available to all. In my day (stone age :-)) a Vo-Tech school met the needs of kids not going to a traditional college after high school…it was a great start for those wanting to learn a trade, jobs very much needed in society. These kids must now compete with hundreds of others who are just looking for any alternative to the district schools, and could be denying others who do not have college as an option.

      As a parent who has used choice, I obviously have no issue with the Cambridge Program or the Vo-Techs, both programs are excellent public school offererings. But I don’t think they are equal offerings.

    • vo-tech turned down 500 kids this year

    • Glasgow has its academy programs, Christiana has its AP classes; where is the access issue for high academic achieving students. If there have been access issues with the Cambridge program, its funny that we haven’t heard anything about it from people directly connected to CSD. I guess it only became an issue to some (more of a diversion issue) when a selective charter school was looking to expand.
      “Vo-tech turned down 500 kids this year”. The Vo-tech program is a separate school district within new Castle county; they are essentially magnet schools and operate as such. They cannot be directly compared to public high schools like Newark. But then again, this is known to everyone not looking for the trivial diversionary issues.

    • edwatcher, Cambridge has been an issue to parents. That didn’t just come up recently. When my son was in 8th grade (3 yrs ago) and I talked to a recruiter for the program about it, she asked me about my sons grades. When I told her A’s and B’s, she told me that the program was very hard and very competitive and she recommended that since he was not a straight A student, he would probably not get in.. I have kicked myself many times for not trying anyway. He scored extremely high on the test for CSW but there weren’t enough spots there so he didn’t get in.. Hindsight, I feel he would have tested high on the Cambridge test too. I think a lot of people have recently realized that CSW has taken less and less kids from CSD each year, I am not even sure if they will take them anymore at all.. so some families in CSD are now hoping for Cambridge. That recruiter also asked me which school was our feeder school. I didn’t think anything about it at the time, but now I am wondering after reading things on here, was she discouraging me because Newark isn’t our feeder? As far as vo-tech, personally I was just stating how many didn’t get in.. There seems to be a need for more vot-tech schools?

    • EdWatcher, I’m not sure that discussion about the Cambridge program is a red herring. Lets look at it from the perspective of funding, directly between NHS and NCS.

      NHS is currently at capacity and, as such, is provided the maximum CSD allotment it is entitled.

      NCS is currently at capacity and, as such, is provided the maximum CSD allotment it is entitled.

      Both are good schools. NHS has Cambridge and AP, and if it is true that the Cambridge program has a waiting list then we can safely say that Cambridge is not meeting the needs of students who qualify for it.

      Now come assumptions.

      Let’s assume that it is true that NCS pulls the ‘best’ students from NHS. If we assume this to be true, it is also a safe assumption that at least some of those students would not enter the Cambridge program. By virtue of fewer Cambridge applicants, more Cambridge spots would be open and more students would Choice to NHS.

      I’m not saying this is an equal wash, but from this perspective perhaps NCS is beneficial to those who are now able to enter Cambridge but could not previously. In turn, that would have a net benefit to NHS as a whole, wouldn’t it?

      Obviously this is a purely theoretical thought rife with assumptions. I’m interested to hear what others might have to say about it.

    • One of the arguments that NHS had in opposition to the NCS expansion was that NCS students make up a good portion of their Cambridge program and AP classes and therefore would possibly have to reduce those programs. If there are waiting list this would open up more opportunities to other kids who may not have gotten in. Isn’t that a win win situation? I guess it depends on how you view your glass? Half empty or half full? And if there is a waiting list for students trying to choice into NHS why do they keep complaining that their student population would decline if NCS had a high school? Let’s face it – there is no way to please everyone. In the long run I care about my children and will do what ever it takes for them to get the best education possible and I’m not ashamed to admit it! As a parent I consider it my duty not the school or school district.

    • The diversionary tactics go both ways. I can argue that only when NCS looked to expand did it’s practices become an issue. We could go back and forth on that all day. A Vo-Tech school is no a magnet school, and is not listed as such…it is a public school, that should have the same enrollment standards you require of a charter school. Yet a vo-tech, on public funding, is allowed to select a limited enrollment, require submission of school records, and conduct an interview prior to enrollment. Do we know the criteria that allows one student to be selected over another? What happens to a Vo-Tech student when they are asked to leave the Vo-Tech for disciplinary reasons? You cannot expect that your questioning on NCS practices not be answered with questions of district practices. Honestly, I never thought about vo-tech before my child was in eighth grade and it was an option, but now it seems a double standard depending on your opinion of charter schools.

    • Pointing out that other school’s admission procedures are also unfair isn’t a solution. It just demonstrates that the problem is bigger than one school.

      As far as CSW, Vo-Tech, etc., Kilroy has been pointing fingers at these schools for quite some time.

      It just seems to me that as long as Charter Schools are funded with taxpayer money, all taxpayers should have a voice. Contrary to some opinions, NCS, CSW, Odyessy, etc. are not your (your in the general sense) schools. They are everyone’s. And there’s the rub.

      Which makes me wonder… are Charter Schools really public schools? Other than receiving public funding and not charging tuition, I’m having trouble finding other similarities between public and charter.

    • Victor,
      My (admittedly few) conversations with people who have knowledge of the Cambridge program at Newark, they do not keep a waiting list and their rejection of applicants is not primarily for want of openings, but of perceived quality. I believe they have stringent criteria for selection so students do as well as possible and they build up a reputation. I am not sure that taking away the best students from this program will necessarily mean that many other students will be accepted.

    • newarkmom,
      All the points you raise indicate that vo-tech school are not traditional public schools; everyone know this. Do you know how the school board is constituted, Kilroy’s favorite person in the world decides that (laugh). Also, what does the vo-tech school district have to with CSD? I thought NCS parents had issues with CSD for opposing their expansion? As far as I know, the vo-tech school district has been silent on this.

    • “students do as well as possible and they build up a reputation. I am not sure that taking away the best students from this program will necessarily mean that many other students will be accepted.” ~ Why would you think that? Do you know the letters that CSW sends out after their test? one of three letters: 1.) sorry you did not make it into the lottery (didn’t do well on test) 2.) you did great on the test but do not show an interest in math and science (the part of the application that reads ‘what math and science related clubs were you in during middle school’ was left blank, which could be due to the kid being in sports or was too shy to join those clubs. 3.) congratulations, you are in the lottery. (but many of you won’t get in anyway, there aren’t enough seats to hold you all) So I am sure quite a number of kids who received letter number 2 or 3 could fit in great in the Cambridge Program. Is the test at Cambridge harder? Personally, I have no idea.. I think it might be.. I still think there are a lot of kids who could do it. by the way, are you implying that the only kids that could handle the Cambridge Program are the kids coming from NCS??? There will be empty seats at Cambridge if NCS kids aren’t in those seats?

    • pencadermom,
      What does acceptance or rejection at CSW have to do with the Cambridge program at NHS? And exactly how is that related to equality of access to high academic programs at CSD high schools?
      A sizeable percentage of the students in the Cambridge program do come from NCS. Do you want NCS to drop their standards by replacing them with students who would have been rejected in prior years.

    • Edwatcher… I re-read both of my posts on vo-tech and never linked vo-techs with CSD. I compared their public school practices to other public school practices.

      pandora.. I totally agree that the problems with the schools are much more than admission procedures, however, one cannot expect a separate set of rules be expected from charter schools than from the district or vo-tech schools. Tax payer monies pay for vo-tech schools as well, and should be included on your list as “our” schools. I haven’t read kilroy until recently (what was I missing?!!) and haven’t heard any challenge to vo-tech admission practices since my time on here.

      edwatcher… I believe you are right about the Cambridge program and waiting list. It is my understanding that if you qualify, you are in the program, I haven’t heard anything about a wait list. I do stand by my feelings that if you are a feeder to Glasgow or Christiana and qualify for this program (that is not offered at your school) you should gain admittance. Although there are other AP courses available, this program in nationally recognized and could make a difference on a college application.

    • I thought you were saying there would be empty seats at Cambridge if NCS students were not there to fill them. I was talking about CSW students who do great on the test and still don’t get in, just trying to show that there are probably a number of kids from CSD who could handle the program at Cambridge. I don’t think that all of those kids who did well on the test at CSW all came from NCS. I guess I shouldn’t have compared CSW to Cambridge because, as I did state, I don’t know the test at Cambridge. Not sure what your last sentence means, where did I say I wanted NCS to lower their standards?

    • @newarkmom and edwatcher, Wow, I did not know that! guess I could have saved my time typing that last comment. :) I do wonder why the recruiter discouraged us from even taking the test?? I should have followed up myself anyway. I hate hindsight. :P

    • @pencadermom…I’m sorry you were discouraged by the recruiter, I believe that question is addressed on the NHS website, first place I looked after my son attended their presentation at NCS’s high school night. (Personally, they gave the best presentation).

      My son said that the Cambridge Program test (especially math) was harder than the CSW test. That is no scientific study, just his opinion. This is not an easy program and some kids only got accepted to half of the courses (ELA & SS) the math classes contained questions only the top phased students had even learned yet. A lot of kids didn’t want to get into this program because apparently there is a lot of homework. We’ll soon see.

    • pandora.. I totally agree that the problems with the schools are much more than admission procedures, however, one cannot expect a separate set of rules be expected from charter schools than from the district or vo-tech schools. Tax payer monies pay for vo-tech schools as well, and should be included on your list as “our” schools.

      Newarkmom, the problem is bigger than charters, and Kilroy and I have written on the problems that exist across the board. (Here’s a link to one of my posts that contains links to everything I’ve written on this in the past 5 weeks.)

      Neighborhood Schools has created public/private schools in Red Clay and other districts, Vo-Tech has veered so far away from its original purpose as to render its name useless, Charters are using admission practices that create the population they want in their schools. All these practices have come together to create the perfect storm. All have employed practices, whether through attendance zones or admission procedures, that result in an imbalance in traditional public schools – the end result being that these schools become dumping ground schools for students no one will take.

      Ideally, I’d like to see everyone fighting this and trying to correct it. After all, if everyone thought like Proud NCS Parent of Two (“In the long run I care about my children and will do what ever it takes for them to get the best education possible and I’m not ashamed to admit it!”) then what sort of world, socially and economically, would we really be leaving for our children? Leaving large populations of children behind educationally won’t bode well for future generations.

      All of these things create a problem. None are more or less guilty or innocent. I just think pointing fingers at other schools who do what your (again, general use of “your”) school is doing isn’t a winning argument. No one on this blog would accept “But Suzie did it, too” as an excuse from our children.

    • “Ideally, I’d like to see everyone fighting this and trying to correct it.”

      A big AMEN or Yes Ma’m ! (whatever you prefer :-) )

      It does me personally no good to fight the district schools, as I will be a parent of a child of the district next year. I will fight for the NCS expansion because I feel it is a better fit for my special ed needs child. My parental feelings will come first; you are naturally going to want your child somewhere where the program is working for her and where you don’t want disruption to knock her back. That doesn’t mean I have a “hell with you” attitude, and certainly doesn’t mean I don’t want all children to have the same thing. That doesn’t even mean that I don’t think CSD has wonderful special ed programs, I just know what works for us. My feelings come from my own situation, I don’t want to speak for anyone else but myself. I do think it is our responsibility as human beings to want what is best for all. That makes us all stronger. But that will take effort and culpability from both sides.

  11. I’m really tired of the argument that NCS will hurt CSD too much and therefore should not be allowed to expand. Many have said, those in favor of the expansion care only about our kids and not the community. I think that’s completely backwards. Yes, we all care about our kids, but those of you who are against the expansion are doing so based on what you perceive to be a negative impact on CSD in the near future. Let’s look a little further down the road. If NCHS is approved lots of students benefit, CSD does lose a few students. Maybe one or two of the high schools in CSD struggle with enrollment for a few years. Maybe the high schools see the writing on the wall and decide to really get in the game to complete to get parents to want to send their kids there…that’s a good thing. Just think what they might step up and do if they fear losing their jobs. Maybe a school closes – so what? I guarantee it will be the worst of the 3 schools. Would anyone complain that they can no longer attend the worst school? Maybe the elementary schools would get on board too and start trying to copy what NCS does – cirriculum, discipline, etc. Ok, I admit this may take some time, but maybe, that would result in ultimately a better CSD and better for the community in the long run. Even if it doesn’t benefit the kids in high school right now. Competition is what makes everyone and every organization better – without it there is apathy.

    • To inject a little data into this interesting conversation: I find the graph here, based on publicly available CSD data, worthy of careful
      analysis.

      https://sites.google.com/site/aboutnewarkdelaware/home

      It seems to suggest two important dynamics about the relationship between NCS and the CSD radius from which it draws. One is that NCS serves a more affluent population than the surrounding CSD elementaries do (this graph deals only with K-5 grades). This is presumably due both to NCS drawing in some kids whose families would otherwise choose private schools and to the various disincentives to NCS attendance for poorer families (cafeteria issue, possible pressures to contribute funds to NCS that may make some less affluent families feel unwelcome there, etc.). Second, it also suggests that by siphoning a disproportionate fraction of better-off students out of surrounding elementary schools, NCS’s systemic impact is to leave those schools with high concentrations of poorer children. Some of those kids are undoubtedly excellent learners with committed families. But on average, schools with high concentrations of poor kids have a hard time maintaining the parental support and the balance among kids of differing abilities that are essential to running a dynamic, high quality school.

      So the question surrounding NCS expansion into high school is whether a similar pattern would unfold (at the high school level) to what can be seen in this graph regarding NCS K-5’s impact on surrounding CSD schools. Clearly the “choicing” dynamic at the high school level makes forecasting esp. difficult. Someone (the DE Dept. of Education?) should really commission a study that attempts to make this forecast, about NCS HS’s likely systemic impact, before any proposal to construct it moves forward.

  12. “Do you want NCS to drop their standards by replacing them with students who would have been rejected in prior years.” Ooops, I meant the Cambridge program at NHS….

    • no of course I don’t want them to lower their standards.. and if you read what I just wrote, I admit I was wrong, I didn’t know they accepted all who qualify.. that is good to know :)

    • The Cambridge program does accept all who qualify. But if their feeder pattern is not NHS and they are not able to choice in because the school is full they dont get into the Cambridge program. So according to the info from NHS they don’t have very many choice slots to be able to fill so the Cambridge students would come primarily from those in the NHS feeder. Wouldn’t there be a benefit for GHS and CHS to have the Cambridge program?? Just a thought. I think in order to solve the many dilemas of the CSD they need to apply some creative thinking. I think the district has been so used to doing “business as usual” that they may have lost sight of the goal- getting our children the best education possible. I would hope to think that with the request for NCS expansion and all of the conversations taking place that the CSD might take in some of the many views and concerns of it’s parents and work to making it a better and more successful school district.

    • Pencadermom,

      FYI…during the Pencader hearing at DOE, you may recall that the
      National Quality Education Criteria (Baldrige) was mentioned.

      We deployed this in Milford Schools in 2000 with DOE, DSEA and others seed monies.

      To your point, this is what informed school districts aim for as the
      culture of continuous improvement address the short comings discussed here.

      At the 19th National Education Conference, held in Indianapolis in
      November there were 32 States and 4 Countries participating all at
      different points along the continuous improvement journey with
      all eyes on the Montgomery Cty. Schools twelve year effort to be our latest Baldrige recipient.

      The prior recipient, Iredale-Statesville work was done, in part, by the facilitator we deployed in Milford. VP Joe Biden presented the award.

      From my perspective, here’s a question: What barriers exist to Quality Education in Delaware?

  13. “What barriers exist to Quality Education in Delaware?”

    Quality government and Markell’s ego!

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