Parent Press Conference Went Very Well, Big House Bill 50 News!!!!

Originally posted on Exceptional Delaware:

PPC#1

The Parent Press Conference on Delaware Education today went amazingly well!  About 25-30 parents came out, and many of the major Delaware media outlets were on hand as well.  Some parents from up north were unable to make it do a very nasty stomach bug making it’s appearance up there, but there were many familiar and unfamiliar faces there.  I gave an opening speech:

Thank you all for coming out today. My name is Kevin Ohlandt, and I am a proud father of a wonderful 5th grader in the Capital School District. I would like to recognize Delaware State Rep. John Kowalko and Delaware Senator Dave Lawson from the 148th General Assembly for joining us. As well we have State Rep. Kim Williams in the audience today. Both John and Dave are the co-sponsors on House Bill 50, which is the parent opt out bill. This legislation would codfify the…

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Are there secret Red Clay meetings going on with the Wilmington school committee?

Wilmington school committee issues final report Matthew Albright, The News Journal

In a final report issued Tuesday, the group re-affirmed its previous recommendations, the biggest of which are removing the Christina and Colonial School Districts from the city and giving students and schools there over to the Red Clay School District and changing the state’s funding formula so that high-poverty schools get more resources to tackle the problems their students face at home.

Just amazing this committee is recommending handing over Christina and Colonial school to Red Clay when Red Clay wasn’t part of the decision process. Furthermore, Red Clay rebuilds a post-re-segregation era school system with expansion of suburban schools with set feeder-patterns to ensure white majority at the same time busing city middle and high school students the suburbs. Red Clay continued to take class size wavier at school like Warner and Highlands until “parents” rose to the occasions to say enough is enough. Red Clay designed and charter Wilmington Charter School that purposely alienated at-risk student via an entrance test based on serving overachievers.

I agree there needs to be a solution to Wilmington education “crisis” but the real crisis is, Wilmington rather pawn their responsibility as a community and a voice for their own children off on a district that historically has met the objectives of fair and equitable education.

Expanding Red Clay would do more damage than good for city kids and burden the district with a mission beyond their capacity. 

Our schools need need-based funding particularly to add more teachers and paraprofessional to our most neediest schools. This needs to be done before radical shifting of district boundaries.    

Markell and some lawmakers are pushing for exactly that kind of urgency. The governor and his legislative allies want to pass a bill this year to have the State Board of Education with re-drawing district lines, though schools wouldn’t actually change hands until the 2016-2017 school year at the earliest.

Folks allowing Jack Markell to have a hand in such a move is dangerous! The next thing you know Rodel agents will work their way in the mix.

While Markell and some legislative allies try to move quickly, others caution against haste. Red Clay officials point out, for example, that many questions, like how the district can afford to take on new high-poverty schools when the tax base in the city is weak, need to be answered if such a big transition is to happen smoothly.  

Obviously the tax rate must be reset and no doubt local Red Clay school taxes will go up bu 10-15% for starters.  

So who can tell me, is there plans for city high schools and city middle schools to create real neighborhood school for city children? Or will the out bound busing continue? Will their be choice transportation for high poverty families without adequate transportation? How many board member will be on Red Clays board? Will there be an end to at-large board elections and elections within nominating districts?

Well one thing for sure the breaks on new charter schools will be applied and the current moratorium needs to stay in place until we know which way all of this is going! 

At the end of the day I support eliminating four school districts within the city of Wilmington. But God help us if the like of Rodel has their hands in this and OMG, Jack Markell involved! I see this process taking about three years and there is no reason we can’t change funding to needs-based funding! Only a fool would want to move forward with these radical plans without changing the way we funds public schools    

  

  

Delaware legislation allowing parents Smarter Balanced opt-out for their kids is being held hostage by chair of house education committee

House Bill 50 

This bill creates the right for the parent or guardian of a child to opt out of the annual assessment, currently the Smarter Balanced Assessment System.

Folks, House Education Committee Chairperson Rep Jaques controls the ball (the process). Word has it Governor Markell ordered a Code Red on H.B. 50. It won’t make it out of House Education Committee! 

Are Delaware state legislators intruding on fair and equitable funding of traditional public schools as they give votech schools a free meal-ticket?

I’ve written about how Delaware voctech schools are funded via legislative action and how traditional public school are forced to hold referendums for local share. Keep in mind the state legislators set “local” school tax rates for votechs.   

Now before we get into the charter school argument let’s be clear. Traditional school districts are required to pass about 80% of operational local share of taxes to charter schools within the bounds of their district.  When local operational taxes go up via referendum charters get a $ bump. Charters do not receive major capital funding whereas, traditional school districts are required to go to referendum. The only charter school in the state of Delaware that receives capital funding is Charter School Of Wilmington. However, that capital funding is pass through in the modernization of Red Clay School District’s “Wilmington Campus” that houses Cab Calloway ( Red Clay magnet school) and Charter School of Wilmington ( a Red Clay chartered school). HOWEVER CSW is a Red Clay school whereas the Red Clay board has a say in things like admission preference. But we’ll end this conversation here. But charter schools are permitted to use operational funding for capital funding. 

Back to how votechs and traditional public schools are funded. The concerns with fair and equitable funding is, votechs have a free flow of funding that is meeting their needs whereas, school district are at the mercy of the local taxpayer’s vote.

We hear about all this courage needed for the sake of children but wouldn’t it show real courage if the legislators set local school tax rates like they do for votechs for traditional public schools?

The has come to address the real equality issues negatively impacting public education particularly our most vulnerable children, at-risk children. 

We hear all about need-based or weighed-funding of public schools but we kick the can down the road. We’ve seen more community meetings, task-forces and Rodel like kool-aid fests the needed. We’ve kicked the can so far down the road it finally hit a brick-wall and balanced off our heads.

My only problem moving forward to radically changing how we fund our public schools is Governor Jack Markell’s involvement. We need a leader or leaders who understand local control and the negative impact of federal and state overreaching intrusion. The bottom-line is, it’s time to put an end to the referendum process and demand our state legislators take action to what’s best for our children in a fair and equitable way.             

Flexible public school funding is the right direct but Gov Marrkel’s involvement is dangerous

Pilot would test more flexible school funding Matthew Albright, The News Journal

School leaders say that system doesn’t leave them much flexibility to adjust their staffs to meet different needs. If a principal thinks his school could be best served by adding another teacher rather than a custodian, for example, the rigid rules of unit count might prevent that from being done.

Gov. Jack Markell has proposed in his budget for next year a pilot program that would let up to five school districts receive 10 percent of their total unit value in cash. The districts would still need to meet all the requirements for things like appropriate services for special needs, and the right number of school nurses. But they would not be bound by the stricter unit count rules.

As Governor Jack Markell jumped on the Race to The Top, Common Core Standards and no The Smarter Balanced Assessment train he undermined local control. He ignored the obvious that flexible needs-based fund would better serve at-risk student. Millions upon millions of  dollars were waste in Markell’s wrong-headed Wall Street laced agenda.

Our embattled lamed-duck governor has painted himself in the corner and now he’s decided to take off his blinders.  Though we need to move forward on weight-funding, I think is best to wait until Markell is out of office. Also, no doubt we need needs-based funding but without greater transparency we could be settling the stage a blank checkbook policy that could do more damage than good. Let’s not forget there is flexible funding being used to support EPER programs. Were is the line between academic equity for all students and extracurricular? 

No gas tax until Governor Markell is OUT OF OFFICE

Option to fix Delaware roads: Higher wholesale gas taxes Jonathan Starkey, The News Journal

“The governor is interested in getting revenue into the Transportation Trust Fund, which is chronically underfunded,” said Mike Barlow, Markell’s chief of staff. “There are a lot of major projects out there that need to be funded.”

Delaware Governor Markell cannot be trusted with one additional dime of taxpayer’s money! Markell and Alan’s wheeling and dealing with taxpayer’s money didn’t do the state’s budget any good nor did it yield the Fisker and Bloom jobs as promised.

Governor Markell is pissing away millions on his efforts to re-engineering public education creating unnecessarily jobs at the Delaware Department of Education. Then he has the nerve to create new state funded job for those DE DOE employees being paid with now expired federal Race to The Top funding.

Sure we want the potholes filled and road repaired and ungraded! However, Governor Markell cannot be trusted. He runs a stealth government via backdoor tactics including illegal e-mail accounts doing state business out of the eyes of FOIA.

The economy is expanding but no thanks to Jack Markell! The natural cycles of the world economy has swung. Markell brags about all the new jobs he created in Delaware but shows no new revenues.

“Bottom line is we’re looking at everything we can,” said House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf, a Rehoboth Democrat, who would not rule out higher gas taxes. Schwartzkopf said the discussion about wholesale taxes dates to 2014, but added that “there’s no consensus on anything right now.”

Pete, do a top to bottom audit of the Delaware Department of Education and you’ll find some waste! Raising the gas tax by 5 cents isn’t going to break the bank! However, your loyalty to Jack Markell is very concerning! You’ve done all you can including bullying legislators to keep the wagons circled around Markell. You’ve enable Markell to become an obsessive self-serving dictator. The waste is there Pete! Go find it! And don’t forget Bloom didn’t delivery on those jobs. Defund Bloom! 

Kilroy makes the case for a stand-alone Wilmington Delaware School District

Most of us can agree, it’s time for change re: public education in the city of Wilmington.

Currently Wilmington Delaware has a population of 71,292. (2012 census.) divided by four traditional public school district, 9 charter schools and one votech school.

Delaware has a Choice school law where students can chose their school. However, the schools must have open seats and student’s parents are required to transport their children to and from a bus-stop within the school of choice or to the school directly.

Delaware has a charter school law in which the Delaware Department of Education and / or local school school districts are permitted to approval charter schools. DE DOE has a complex charter school framework that must be follow before any charter school application can be approved whereas local school districts can approve charter school application more freely following basic charter school laws.  

Because of a federal court order re: desegregation, in 1976 all public schools in New Castle including school in the city of Wilmington were order to combined into New Castle County School District . In 1981 The New Castle County School District was  broken into to five school district. Then in 1994 the federal court order many called “force busing” ended. In comes the the Choice school law then Charter school law in 1995 followed by the Neighborhood Schools Act in 2001.

So what the hell happen to public education in the city of Wilmington? School Choice, Charter, Magnet Schools and the Neighborhood Schools Act! Throw in Votech and we have an amazing menu of school choices.

Let’s start with charter schools. The Delaware charter school law allow charter schools to use admission preference;

(3) Students enrolling in a new (nonconverted) charter school may be given preference under the following circumstances as long as the school has described its preferences in the school’s charter:

a. Students residing within a 5-mile radius of the school;

b. Students residing within the regular school district in which the school is located;

c. Students who have a specific interest in the school’s teaching methods, philosophy, or educational focus;

d. Students who are at risk of academic failure;

e. Children of persons employed on a permanent basis for at least 30.0 hours per week during the school year by the charter school.

Charter schools are required to follow these admission preferences but not in any order. The public “perception” is, students who live in the school district the charter school is located get’s first preference followed by the 5 mile radius. That’s not the case! The Specific Interest (c.) can be the first requirement! I am not going to get into the charter school admission argument. However, in my opinion, charter schools should be open to all students based on first come with an open lottery system when more applications were take than seats available controlled by a non-bias party. And that applies to magnet schools!

As far as charter schools designed to assist at-risk of academic failure I feel this is a dangerous social experiment and fuels de fact segregation.

It’s common knowledge supported by “data” that the high at-risk groups are African-American and Hispanic particularly those classified high poverty.  

In comes the city of Wilmington issue! We cannot deny Wilmington Delaware has the highest concentration of poverty therefore the highest concentration of at-risk students. 

Red Clay and Christina School District both have three designated “priority schools” and the notion Red Clay could better serve Christina’s priority school students is absurd!  Furthermore, folding Christina School District  or parts of it into Red Clay School District is a fools journey. The core complaint in regards to Wilmington is, the students of greatest needs are undeserved. If Red Clay were to take over Christina’s priority schools, the building stands and the children remain! What changes? New leadership and teachers? Yep, more money to help this new world-class education initiative attack on poverty! It will take years to bring about all these changes in playing musical chairs moving school district boundaries and at the end of the day, it comes down to needs-based funding and smaller class sizes. 

Wilmington’s schools have the highest concentration of poverty in the state and action must be taken “now” to add more teaching units / paraprofessionals. We don’t need to change the funding structure of all Delaware public schools, just the schools with the great percentage of poverty and my opinion is, start with schools with poverty levels of 50% and greater. Also, end the class size cap wavier now and at best 50/50 cost between the state and local $$ share!

Choice schools; provide preferential school transportation to and from the Choice schools for those students living in the city of Wilmington going to suburban schools. As for Red Clay’s high school and middle school students living in the city of Wilmington whereas there are “no” Red Clay middle or high schools! Those students get first choice over all in-district suburban Red Clay students and siblings. Folks, force busing white parents cried about when their children were “forced” to Wilmington School still exists for Wilmington’s children. Allowing Red Clay School District’s hands on any more city children would be a civil rights violation in the moral sense.

I agree 100% the public schools located in Wilmington Delaware divided four school districts and charter schools leaves fragmented oversight, community voice and more importantly parental involvement. Those of you who knew William Hicks Anderson knows he unified parents particularly Title 1 parents which lead to Title 1 Section 1118. Section 1118 was kicked aside during the formation of Race to The Top, Common Core Standards and now The Smarter Balanced Assessment. Parents were indoctrinated after the fact and yes indeed even our own Delaware PTA played a roll. Rather than taking a stand that parents particularly Title 1 parents given federal laws requiring their participation in the design and review of Title 1 programs were not involved, they took the money to promote wall street laced education reforms. All this push about testing opt-out and wrongheaded NCLB consequences such as priority schools missed the mark. The core component of NCLB is Title 1 and without Title 1 , NCLB would imploded and be no more. The original intent of ESEA aka NCLB was to address the achievement disparities impacting at-risk children. The entire education reform movement going back the desegregation of public schools was meant to raise the bottom aka the academic needs of at-risk children. The United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan proclaims, “education is the most important civil rights issue of this generation” stands-by and supports closing charter schools serving the most neediest students. He sees this as having courage to what is right for children. I disagree and feel civil rights is the most important issues of this generation, yesterday’s generation and “tomorrow’s” generation. The reality is for those students in charter schools ordered closed because of not meeting academic standards baseline set by a standardize test that is allowed to change at-will or via a political agenda adopted by a governor is a civil rights violation. Think about it, “this generation” of school students have been subjected to the forms of state standardized testing, DSTP, DCAS and now The Smarter Balanced Assessment and let’s not forget the piloting years in-between where many students were required to take both in one year. Also, there is the adjustment to cut scores and curriculum. Sadly to say. our children are being used as pawns in a political chess game involving politicians, Wall Street and yes unions. Delaware Rep Jaques just doesn’t get it.       

Delaware State legislators need to show the courage and amend the the class size cap law before the end of this session June 30th. Strikeout the wavier provisions and to take effect school year 2015-2016. And, make funding of the additional teachers 50% state and 50% local share.  

Folks and pay attention Rep. Jaques, Governor Markel will be out of office come January 2017 and mark my words, public education in Delaware will implode into a vacuum and left behind will be the wrong-headed education policies of Governor Jack Markell. The president will also out of office and the odds are so will Arne Duncan. The next batch of political fools will have a new save the world education agenda! 

Delaware Governor Jack Markell busted with a stealth E-mail account

Gov. Markell’s ‘secret’ email questioned by Rep. Kowako by Jonathan Starkey, The News Journal

A Democratic state lawmaker and a leading open-government advocate say Gov. Jack Markell is sidestepping transparency by using a pseudonym email address to conduct public business.

Rep. John Kowako, D-Newark, and John Flaherty, president of the Delaware Coalition for Open Government, sent a Freedom of Information Act request to the governor’s office on Thursday to uncover the alias that Markell uses to send and receive emails.

A lawyer for Markell told The News Journal last week that the governor uses a pseudonym to email.

“Secret email accounts used by public officials violate the spirit of Delaware’s Open Government Law and prevent the public from exercising that opportunity to observe and monitor these same public officials,” Kowalko and Flaherty said in the request.

Read entire post here ………………………….

Check out what Exceptional Delaware posted Governor Markell Gets The “Hilary Clinton Personal Email” FOIA Letter

Delaware PTA joins the fight for parental choice to opt-out of state standardized testing!

Delaware PTA: Parents should have say in standardized test Matthew Albright, The News Journal

The Delaware Parent Teacher Association is joining teacher unions and several school boards in saying that parents should have a right to opt their children out of taking the state standardized test.

The PTA’s Board of Managers, made up of the local leaders for each school, passed a resolution urging parental choice. Teri Hodges, the group’s president, said the resolution is about parents having control over their child’s education.

“We feel that a parent should have a right to make this decision on behalf of their students and, if they feel that the test is not in the best interest of their students, they should have the option to act on that,” Hodges said.

Thank you Teri Hodges for reminding the “P” in PTA is for Parent not politicians! 

Gov. Jack Markell’s administration says testing helps teachers figure out how to best help students and is an invaluable tool for district and state leaders to make smart decisions. They also point out that federal law requires 95 percent of students to be tested and say the state, districts or schools could face consequences, like a loss of funding, if they fall below that figure.

“Students and parents deserve the benefits of of knowing how they are doing and where they may need extra support to be prepared fro college or a career when they graduate,” said Jonathon Dworkin, a spokesman for Markell.

And why couldn’t the coward governor speak for himself? Federal nor state law does not specifically say parents can’t opt-out ! The state should face consequences for allowing the governor to become a fixated education czar who has no qualification in the field of education. He controls who gets hired at DE DOE and makes room for Rodel clones!

“We have received positive feedback from many educators and parents about the new test,” Dworkin said. “We expect that our schools will continue to follow state law and administer the test to students who should take it.”

Tell you one thing, somebody’s cornbread ain’t done in the middle ! 

Markell’s administration says it is taking steps to limit the impact of standardized testing. The governor recently announced that the state was taking an inventory of all tests students take and would work with districts to eliminate any tests that are redundant or not useful, though he emphasized that Smarter Balanced will continue to be administered.

Nothing but a Jack Markell political moonwalk 

In a statement, the PTA acknowledged those efforts, but said they don’t mean parents shouldn’t still be able to opt out.

“While we do agree that we need to reduce the amount of statewide testing, adopting this singular approach to the exclusion of acknowledging a parent’s right to opt out, ignores the fact that parent and teacher concerns with the Smarter Balanced Assessment go far beyond the amount of testing,” it said.

Delaware parents need to join together and beat back this federal Wall Street laced intrusion! 

Delaware legislators starting to answer the call for greater $$$ transparency of public schools including charters

148th General Assembly

House Bill 53

Primary Sponsor(s):

K. Williams

Additional Sponsor(s):    Sen. Sokola


Co-Sponsors:

Reps. Baumbach, Bennett, Bolden, Brady, J. Johnson, Keeley, Kowalko, Lynn, Matthews, Mitchell, Mulrooney, Osienski, Potter, B. Short, Viola; Sens. Henry, Peterson, Poore, Townsend


Introduced On:

03/17/2015


Long Title:

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 29 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE AUDITOR OF ACCOUNTS.


Synopsis of Bill:

Currently, all school districts, including vocational schools, are subject to the Auditor of Accounts. Edits to the November 2010 Charter School Manual removed instructions for charter schools to go through Auditor of Accounts when contracting for audits. There is presently no legislative authority to require charter schools to submit to the Auditor of Accounts processes. This bill adds charter schools to the list of entities for audits through the Auditor of Accounts. The bill takes effect so that the Auditor of Accounts shall conduct audits for the time periods starting on or after July 1, 2015.


Current Status:

House Education Committee   On  03/17/15

Kilroy welcomes new Delaware blogger ” Those In Favor”

Those In Favor

Who Am I?

Father of three, husband to one.  Several years ago I reached the conclusion that I wanted to become involved in public service somehow.  I had no idea where to start or what to do so I let the desire cool over the years until October 2013 when my wife happened to mention that the school district we reside in was looking for volunteers to serve on something called their Citizen’s Budget Oversight Committee.  I had no idea what that was about, so I found out by showing up to a meeting.

Citizen’s Budget Oversight Committee (CBOC) is an all-volunteer team that functions as an extension of the District Board of Education and reviews financial matters relating to the district on behalf of the board.  We meet monthly to review district financial reports to ensure they align with expectations and make any and all inquiries relating to the financial operations of the district.  Monthly reports are given to the Board of Education summarizing the district’s financial position and CBOC’s support of the financial information provided by the district CFO and the State of Delaware.

It sounds nitty gritty and mundane, but I had no idea how much went into operating a school district.  I certainly had no idea about all the sources of funding and restrictions placed on said funding.  Since September 2013, I’ve been learning more and more about what it takes to run a school district and the education system in our state.  It’s fascinating stuff to me and I’m absolutely into it.

Education is the most important service we provide to our children and I’m honored to play a small part in providing that service.  Two of my children will be enrolled in Christina School District schools in the fall of 2014.  That only makes me want to become more involved with the workings of the district.  I can’t be there in the classroom while they are taught but I can play a part in helping that classroom to exist and function properly.   So that’s what I do.

When I’m not spending time with the school district, I’m working for a pretty large private employer in Delaware doing more number crunching, but this time unrelated to education.  I have three wonderful children and an amazing wife of (almost) 7 years.  I love music, movies, play guitar, drums, bass, enjoy being outside when it’s not the temperature of a blast furnace and will watch any hockey game I can.  All in all, I just want to see my kids succeed and I feel like I can do more than help them develop at home.  I can help make sure the environment outside the home is one they can thrive in, as well.

Those In Favor has been added to Kilroy’s Blogroll! Please make sure to visit.

Delaware: Charter school moratorium legislation introduced re: H.B. 56

148th General Assembly

Primary Sponsor(s):

Potter

Additional Sponsor(s):    Sen. Henry


Co-Sponsors:

Reps. Baumbach, Bennett, Bolden, Keeley, J. Johnson, Heffernan, Kowalko, B. Short, K. Williams; Sen. Poore


Introduced On:

03/24/2015


Long Title:

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 14 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO CHARTER SCHOOLS.

“This bill provides a moratorium on all new charter schools in Delaware until June 30, 2018 or until the State Board of Education develops a strategic plan for the number of charter, district, and vocational-technical schools in the State. Also, the bill requires review and comment from Wilmington’s Mayor and City Council before either a local school district or the Department of Education approves a charter in the City of Wilmington. Lastly, the bill requires the local school board’s approval for a charter school in the City of Wilmington before the Department of Education can approve the charter school.”


I still stand on my position re: a Wilmington School District that will include being charter school authorizing and oversight body. Also, I stand on my position re: needs based funding. We need to end the fragmented voice of Wilmington in regards to public education and unify all school within as one district and still allow Choice option for all students in and out of Wilmington. I honestly can’t see how Red Clay can improve more city schools when in fact they struggle with the one’s they have. 

H.B.23 returns from the dead re: H.B. 61

148th General Assembly

House Bill 61

Primary Sponsor(s):

Hudson

Additional Sponsor(s):    Sen. Peterson


Co-Sponsors:

Reps. Briggs King, Dukes, Hensley, Yearick, Baumbach, Bolden, Jaques, Lynn, Matthews, Osienski, Paradee, K. Williams; Sens. Bonini, Lavelle


Introduced On:

03/24/2015


Long Title:

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 14 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO PUBLIC SCHOOLS.


Synopsis of Bill:

This bill requires that all public meetings of the boards of education of public school districts, vo-tech school districts, and public meetings of charter schools’ boards of directors be digitally recorded and made available to the public on the districts’ and charter schools’ websites within seven business days. The recordings will not be considered the official board minutes.

Currently the Red Clay Consolidated School District, Christina School District, and the Capital School District on a voluntary basis approved by their boards of education have been providing the public digital recordings of their board public session meetings via the district’s websites.

The Delaware State Board of Education is required by the State Board of Education to make available within one business day digital recordings of its board meetings on the Delaware Department of Education’s website.


Current Status:

House Education Committee   On  03/24/15


Date Governor Acted:

 

Effective Date:


Full Text of Legislation:

(HTML format)

Legis.htm

I’ll try to be hopeful! However,  for the record, Brandywine, Delmar and Colonial School District join the list of districts who voluntarily record their public sessions of board meetings Word has it Appoquinimink School District may be joining the club.

As for the Delaware State Board of Education recording their meetings, it was by legislation not independent action of the Delaware Department of Education. 

I know I’ve ranted for years about recording board meetings but we cannot have real local control withing better transparency. I just hope other legislators support bring school to the next level of transparency. Also, I hope the Chairperson of the House and Senate Education Committee support forward progress of H.B. 61 and the Speaker of The House not desk draw veto it! Parents, legislators and community members can’t always attend school board meetings. We are in the technology age and there is no excuse not to record board meetings to enhance communications and community involvement.

Publius is probably laughing his ass off and thinking Dover is just toying with Kilroy. So be it! But this is my mission and before I exit my involvement I would like to have at-least left something tangible behind.            

Markell’s puppet Rep. Jaques takes stupidity center stage re: changing school district boundaries

State leaders: Urgency needed in school redistricting Matthew Albeight The News Journal March 23, 2105

Key state leaders say there is more energy now than there has been in decades to simplify the school system that splits the city of Wilmington among four different districts.

Gov. Jack Markell and many lawmakers want to capitalize on momentum and are pressing for quick action on redistricting.

Hasn’t Governor Markell screwed up public education enough? We need to wait until the next governor is seated! 

Others warn that the state can’t rush into such a complicated issue without answering a lot of hard questions.

“I get that there’s energy around this and I agree with that,” said Rep. Kim Williams, vice chairman of the House Education Committee. “But this is not something that can be figured out over a cup of coffee. We’ve been operating this system for years and years and years, and it’s not going to just take a couple of months to figure out how to change it.”

Spot on Rep Williams! But we’re talking Governor Jack Markell who has been come so reckless with public education and cares more about his change agent egotistic image than what’s right for children and parents. 

Redistricting was thrust to the front of the state’s educational agenda when the Wilmington Education Advisory Committee recommended it in its interim report in January. The group, established by Markell to find ways to improve education, proposed removing the Christina and Colonial school districts from the city and giving those schools and students to the Red Clay School District.

The Wilmington committee refuses to look in the mirror and realize Wilmington needs it’s own school district but I am sure they know it. The city leaders and so-called civil rights leaders won’t support a stand-alone Wilmington school district because if they fail they won’t have the white caretakers to blame. The solution is a stand-alone Wilmington school district with a school board that has the authority to be approval and oversight authority for all charter schools in Wilmington meaning current charter schools would move under that authority. The time is now for the men of Wilmington to man-up and be the guardian of their children. 

In his speech at the Imagine Delaware forum, Markell called for the Legislature to sign a bill this year to remove Christina from the city. Though he acknowledged many details needed to be worked out, Markell said it was important to capitalize on current momentum around redistricting.   

The News Journal needs to do some homework as this change just can’t be legislated. The current boundaries were set through federal ruling and in fact, it was the state board of education who oversaw the formation of the Neighborhood Schools Plans where they where given charge via the Neighborhood Schools Act approved by the state legislators. The legislators knew they would be stepping over legal boundaries if they themselves legislated the plans.

“I do think there’s a need for a sense of urgency,” said Sen. Bryan Townsend, D-Newark. “There are tough logistics, there’s no doubt, but the adults have really got to be courageous and committed to finding solutions, even if they’re tough, that are in the best interest of our schoolkids.”

Let me guess, Glasgow Class of 99? The Beavis and Butt-Head generation. Slowdown rookie, left not pull the alarm so fast! And there you go saying it’s for the kids if we don’t act fast! Stop kissing Jack Markell ass! You have bright future ahead of you but please walk upright! 

But Rep. Earl Jaques, chairman of the House Education Committee, says he wants to see a bill passed before this legislative session wraps up in June that would direct the State Board of Education to redraw district lines. That would get the ball rolling but still give the state enough time to answer the many questions that come with such a change, he said.

“I can’t see it happening much before June, to tell you the truth, but I have a feeling that we’re going to get it done,” Jaques said. “I think there is a lot of energy and a lot of momentum around this, and I think we can make it happen.”  

Rep Jaques is clueless and the only reason he is chair of the House Education Committee is because Governor Markell pulled the strings!  

Jaques acknowledges the issues are formidable.

First, the complexities of school funding need to be worked out. High-poverty schools like those in the inner city require more resources to serve students’ challenges, but districts usually receive less property tax money from the city than they do from the suburbs.

What fuck are you talking about? Red Clay extends into the city and those living in Red Clay’s portions of the city pay the same taxes as those in the suburbs. In any event, we’re back to needs based funding to address the poverty equity equation in Delaware schools.

What will happen is, the poverty shift will create financial stress on Red Clay it will need to go to referendum every four-years and during that time, the backlash on all Red Clay schools would have an negative effect on meeting academic needs.

Let’s fund traditional public school like we do votechs. The state legislators sets the local tax rates 

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