Monthly Archives: December 2009

Amnesty for Delaware Republican defectors

As 2010 rings in all those Delaware Republican who regrettably voted for Obama and / or Jack Markell are invited to come home.

Being one of those Delaware Republicans that was lured in by the sweet sounds of change I do have buyer’s remorse.

After visiting party headquarters stating my dissatisfaction and concerns, not asking for forgiveness but understanding,   I returned to the GOP and I am back at my old post of Chairman for the 19RD.

I am not one to run from a fight and I am one who will speak out. However, I did let it get the best of me. My blog rants about Senator Copeland was more personal than political because I put major demands on him re: public school transparency and administrative accountability.  Copeland and Lavelle (Burris too) led the legislative charge to force online checkbooks for our schools. They both were blocked by political powers in Dover and didn’t have the same leverage as me to be raw.

I felt abandon but I did keep the fight for that transparency. With the help of  Rep.Manolakos sponsor,Sen.Sokola additional sponsor, cosponsors Rep. Gilligan and Reps.  Q. Johnson, Keeley, Mitchell, D. Short, Hudson, Miro; Sen. Bunting, Peterson, Simpson, Sorenson, Bonini, I was able to get House Bill 76 passed. HB 76 was a simple piece of legislation that added verbage to the School Board Oath of Office that added a tad more accountability to state laws governing public education. The vote was 41 Yes in the house 0 No and 20 Yes and 1 No in the senate. Also, I did take my rants about online checkbooks for public schools public to one of Markell’s town hall meeting after he was elected. I reminded him that he had the power to make an executive order and he did just that. Also, I supported HB 119 that made the online checkbooks law. HB 119 also calls for community financial oversight committees at each school district and charter schools.

Copeland and I are fine and as you know, I was for him before I was against him and then for him, LOL. He has my vote for whatever  he decides to run for.

I’ve made some wonderful friends on both sides and though I voted for Copeland for Lt. Governor but I must say Lt. Governor Matt Denn is doing a wonderful job and he has invested himself in the education issues. Copeland as you know stepped down as senator and helped start a charter school called,  The Delaware Academy for Public Safety and Security a charter school serving at-risk students not children of elitist as many thought. Copeland could have easily started another charter school model after Charter School of Wilmington but he stayed focused on those in greatest need. I made another good friend Rep. Kowalko and other legislators on both sides. 

So there is room in the Delaware Republican Party for those who are politically centered and it helps makes the party more balanced and objective. Don’t forget elected officials may represent opposite parties but they still are friends and colleagues. 

My liberal friends keep harping on Bush, Castle and Republicans because they are insecure with their own party. If they weren’t, surely they wouldn’t be beating a dead horse! Bush is out of office but yet they are starting to blame him for Obama’s mistake. Obama’s team (not Obama) let a terrorist slip though but somehow it’s Bush’s fault.  I guess it’s Bush’s fault Obama sold out on the public health option plan he promised during his campaign. Me, despite my republican friends I was pretty much for it.

I can tell you this, I see no difference between those to the extreme left and the extreme right. Pretty much they both have their heads up their asses. The real world is in the middle where people can compromise as one nation under God.

So, all you discouraged Republicans and those with buyer’s remorse come on home and take “your” place in “your” party. We’ll leave the door open for discouraged Democrats as I know you’ll be heading our way. 

Happy New Years and let the political games begin!

Markell ignores socioeconomic factors

90 F3d 752 Coalition to Save Our Children v. State Board of Education of State of Delaware ; 1996

Further, the record supports a causal link between these socioeconomic factors and student achievement across the four districts: “There is consistency between the gap in socioeconomic status with the gap in achievement, with Brandywine statistics demonstrating the greatest disparity in both areas, Colonial the least disparity.” Id. With such support in the record, these findings cannot be clearly erroneous. Anchoring its determination on these unfortunate, but uncontroverted, socioeconomic factors, the court found, inter alia, that “[b]ecause the environment outside school is so strong, cumulative, and varied, schools cannot overcome such environmental/differences [sic] among children.” Id. at 819. We agree.

As humans, we acknowledge with melancholy the fact that many socioeconomic factors militate against a completely level playing field in our society. As judges, however, we are powerless to alter formidable social, economic and demographic forces and conditions over which no legal precept has control. Moreover, we are constrained to fulfill an obligation to address only those constitutional questions properly presented to us, and to show fealty to appropriate standards of review, lest we abandon the limits on judicial power that give coherence to our political system. The district court articulated the meaning of these institutional limits for this case:

a. Black households are 2.54 times as likely as white households to have a reporting householder who lacks a high school degree. JA 437, 6567

b. Black households are 6.47 times as likely as white households to have children categorized as being in poverty. JA 548, 6569. * * *

d. 4 times as many black students as white students are eligible to participate in the federally subsided (sic) lunch program. JA 550, 670.

e. Blacks are 2.86 times as likely as whites to be unemployed. JA 549, 6573.

f. Black households with children are 3.21 times as likely as white households with children to be headed by a single parent. JA 551, 6574. * * *

m. The average white student lives in a Census tract where 51% of the adults have some college education; the average black student lives in a Census tract where only 33% of the adults have some college education. JA 669-70.

n. Blacks in the desegregation area are in an inferior position economically to whites, and that gap is wider in New Castle County than it is in the nation as a whole. JA 550.

o. There is consistency between the gap in socioeconomic status with the gap in achievement, with Brandywine statistics demonstrating the greatest disparity in both areas, Colonial the least disparity. JA

Check out the entire court ruling in this historic case.  It’s quite obvious the United State Court of Appeals agree that there is a link between socioeconomic conditions and achievement  to the extent they limit liability against the school districts who apparently complied with the desegregation order. However, though the school districts complied with the oder doesn’t mean it eliminated the racist working within the system.

As far as the socioeconomic factors impacting achievement I want to make it clear that though a student is poor it doesn’t mean they are stupid. However. the socioeconomic condition they live in does impede their ability to achieve.  Delaware Governor Jack Markell’s apparent love affair with the United States Secretary of Education  Arne Duncan support Duncan’s notion that tradtional public school teachers are root cause in the failure of high poverty students.

Markell’s willingness to jump on Duncan’s Race to The Top plan demonstrates Markell’s ignorance to conditions and impact poverty has on achievement and question his abilities to lead Delaware’s economic recovery that is fair and equitable to all people.  Jack Markell enjoined the minority vote during his campaign  and fails to recognized that those vote came on the coat-tail of  President Obama.

If Jack Markell gave a dam  about our poor students he would step up and ensure free transportation for those students who want to participate in school choice. Currently and supported by Markell’s laws parents must transport their children to a bus stop within their choice school. Many poor parents don’t own reliable transportation and are one care families. Jack Markell’s law supports the charter school admission process that allows charter schools to separate students by intelligent and refuses to demand change. Jack Markell knows  dam well that most of the failing charter schools are high poverty and predominately African-American and does nothing about it.  Jack Markell stands by and ignores the fact that Delaware has created a psychological concentration camp for Delaware’s poor African-Americas.

I can’t fault Jack Markell for doing everything he can to being revenues to the State of Delaware. But I don’t admire him as a man willing to drop to his knees to give Arne Duncan a political blow job. Duncan takes 4,5 billion dollars of the federal stimulus package and uses it like a pervert on a school playground try to attract naive kids.  Duncan is using this money to advance and agenda to privatize public schools to appease the business community. Duncan is sowing seeds for life after Washington and Markell is sowing seeds for life after Dover. Markell seems so willing to swallow  everything including his pride to set the stage for political advancement.

If Markell wants to have political orgies with the likes of Arne Duncan that his business. However, when the payment for this political sex is Delaware and public education it’s my business.

Markell needs to take one hard ass look in the mirror before he sells out Delaware’s public school teachers. Jack is smart enough to know inferior weak-ass laws governing Delaware public schools forces teachers to teach to a test and be led by many in competent school administrators who are more concerns with kissing the asses of political leaders than focusing on the needs of students within their districts.

Jack, nothing is stopping you from hammering out a deal with the teacher’s union to weed out those teachers obviously in the wrong profession, provide reasonable retraining of teaches lacking, provide meaningful professional development and to work together as “Delaware” to resolve “Delaware’s” education problems. You have some nerve to line up behind Arne Duncan who is not a teacher, was never a teacher and never held an administration position in a public school and who was a political appointee by Mayor Daley. Duncan couldn’t even make first string in his profession, basketball. He had to move out of the United States to play basketball on a foreign team. 

Jack it’s not easy being governor is it? Well Jack, it’s not easy being a Delawarean watching our governor handover the keys to Delaware’s public schools to Arne Duncan. If your not up to leading this state without selling us out to the likes of Arne Duncan perhaps you need to step down.

The failure of governments who can’t improve the socioeconomic factors within their cities and states that impede on children’s ability to participate in public education on a fair and equitable playing filed is an insult to that government’s constitution allowing them to govern.

If Delaware  public school teachers are held accountable for socioeconomic factors impeding their ability to teach  than Delaware’s governor should be arrested for the deaths of those homeless who die in the streets. 

Reversing the White Flight; Who pays ?

Chicago school reform is a real estate program to reverse white flight

Magnet schools are selective enrollment institutions that are free to ignore the children who live in the neighborhood where the school sits, and to take in students from all across the city.  Translation:  white kids.  White kids come fully equipped with white parents.  White parents have the cash for down payments on the new homes being built all over the city with starting prices at $400,000. These families are the future tax base for the city.  Clearly school reform in Chicago means real estate boom.  It has nothing to do with teaching and learning.

Gerald Bracey, ‘fellow’ at the Educational Policy Studies Institute at Arizona State University wrote, “Our Secretary of Education has been on a ‘listening tour’ where he’s done most of the talking.  He advocates repeatedly, that mayors should take control of urban schools.  Obviously he cannot take an honest look at his own accomplishments under his governance (of CPS) system or, he’d have to shut up.



Mervin be a man tell the board NO !

Take Arne Duncan’s phony school reform money and run— fast!

Leonie Haimson, on the Huffington Post’s website writes:  ‘Arne Duncan’s billion dollar slush fund is designed to reward school districts and states for implementing a narrow set of unproven strategies, based on the deregulatory biases of the corporate world.

Duncan exposed

Finally, the Arne Duncan Chicago Schools reform myth is exposed

And those of us, who call the People’s Republic of Chicago, home, know it. Finally, the cardboard school reform of the Duncan era, which followed the smoke-and-mirrors of the Paul Vallas regime, has been officially ‘outed.’

The Consortium on Chicago School Research, a nonpartisan group at the University of Chicago, reported in October that Duncan’s closure of low-performing schools often shuffled students into comparable schools, yielding little or no academic benefit.

As the CEO of Chicago schools Duncan was responsible for sixty-one turnaround schools. According to a University of Chicago study released in October, students who were transferred out of their old schools did not perform better academically in their new schools.’

That is how Arne is inflicting further damage upon our embattled schools, by seducing weak colleagues and bribing them to imitate a draconian process that doesn’t work, and in doing so, wasting billions of dollars and ruining the lives of thousands of teachers. Why does the president permit him to do this?

OK folks check out Duncan’s hometown crowd and they ain’t happy! Governor Jack Markell is buying into Duncan’s bullshit and children of Delaware will be penalized by Jacks political ass-kissing. Red Clay school board is ready to give thumbs up to Race to The Top because Markell threatens state budget cuts if Delaware doesn’t received RTTT award.

We’ve come a long way from the bullshit DSTP one test tells all and finally we have a good Growth Model test on the board. Markell wants to step on the backs of poor children’s head to advance his political career.

I glad the truth about Arne Duncan is being exposed but I think it too late as the RTTT train left the station. It’s a shame Markell couldn’t work with Delaware educator to resolve issue rather than hand the keys of Delaware’s public school over to Arne Duncan and the federal government. 

Comforting ! Tom Carper supports RTTT

Moderate Senate Democrats Embrace Education Reform

“Second, we support expanding the number of effective public charter schools. Like traditional public schools, charter schools vary greatly in quality. We should encourage the replication of the highest-performing public charters and ensure real accountability measures for those who oversee them. We all have charter schools in our states that have demonstrated—through innovative and student-centered approaches—that every child can learn, regardless of socio-economic background. Conversely, charter schools that consistently fail our children should be shut down.”

Senator Tom Carper is full of shit ! When num-nuts Carper was Governor of Delaware he signed DSTP into law knowing it was flawed and riddled with so-called unintended consequences. DSTP was nothing more than a social whipping post beating children for the failures of adults. Tom Carper cater to the business round table who insisted a test (DSTP) that was meant to measure achievement to adjust the curriculum needs and demanded that it be an accountability piece of legislation.  Tom Carper was rewarded by his business bedfellows who financially sponsored  his senate campaign.  Governor Carper also signed the Delaware Charter School law which was hand crafted by more political bedfellow. Governor Carper knew the charter school law would create a school system reflective of the segregation years. “Conversely, charter schools that consistently fail our children should be shut down,” gee Tom I wonder which Delaware charter schools will be shut down?

Tom Carper supports shutting down failing charter but wants to reward charter schools that filters out at-risk students during the admission process to ensure that school won’t fail.  “That every child can learn, regardless of socio-economic background”,  right Tom, just like pre-Civil War in West Virginia, whites in their schools and blacks in their’s. Tom look at your Delaware charter schools and see the outright segregation penned at your hand.

I support charter schools as long as they are fair and equitable and not separated by intelligence during the admission process.  Carper is a very intelligent  man and knows dam well grouping high poverty children into a school adds greater burden on the staff within. Charter or traditional public school the data speaks for itself, schools with high concentration of poverty reflect the high failure rate. Num-nuts Carper so proudly signed the class room size cap law but yet allow a waiver for those schools who can meet the law.

Think about it, Senator Carper is running around Washington giving advice on how to reform public schools! He uses “his” successes in Delaware as the model. Carper is on board with Teach for America and look Senator Carper in on the Advisory Board of the Rodel Foundation of Delaware aka Vision 2015. what next, Senator Carper a member of President Obama’s butt buddy of the week club? “As Governor of the First State, he gained national recognition for achieving real education reform by creating rigorous public education standards; instituting optional parent training programs; fully funding Head Start and other early intervention projects; demanding accountability from students, parents and teachers; and ending social promotion.” This is the shit under his Rodel profile.  What next for Carper, chairman of a new center for domestic violence?  

I know I bore many of you with all the Race to The Top stuff however, I think these issues are more important than blogging about theories of politics which is nothing more than a denial of one’s poltical party’s failures. I don’t have a problem taking a swipe at those in my own party and my comments about Carper have nothing to do with him being a Democrat.

With the help of Tom Carper in Washington and Governor Markell selling out students and parents of Delaware, Arne Duncan will have his way and Delaware will be a Race to The Top state  and its so comforting Tom Carper is on duty!

Race to the clock

It appears Delaware legislators go back into session January 12, 2010. The Race to The Top application must be submitted to Arne Duncan by January 19, 2010. Laws must be change to adhere to Arne Duncan rules. The Delaware legislators must pass legislation allowing school districts to fire teachers if there students don’t meet standard. Also, legislators must revise the charter school law that inhibits the conversion of existing traditional public schools to a charter schools. Currently, to convert an existing traditional public school teachers within get to vote on the conversion and can block the conversion with a vote of more than 50%. Delaware has no power to convert an existing school without teachers voting. Then there is the civil rights issue with slective charter school admission process.

So the legislators have 7 days from the start of session to pass such laws and modifications.

Markell has been making his rounds with legislators selling the need for RTTT to help plug the state’s education budget with RTTT funds. Hopefully the state legislators won’t bite into that lie because the RTTT funding must go towards changes needed to implement RTTT. RTTT is not supplemental funding for existing programs.

All indications are the state legislators will support RTTT and will set a new program into motion far worst that DSTP. RTTT has two years of funding and after that the financial monkey goes on the state’s back who will as always push it back onto the local taxpayers.

It’s real sad that finally Delaware gets out from under DSTP and moves towards a test that will help students. However, here we go again twisting a test meant to help students and turn into an accountability plan. It’s hard to believe Delaware legislators would support RTTT a plan never tried and never tested. 

Remember how DSTP was meant to be the yardstick to measure student achievment to help address the needs and was twisted into an accountabity plan!


Red Clay’s student swap ????

Floore said enrollment is 15,674 a decrease of 36 students from last year, because of the number of growing charter schools.

“Red Clay lost 1675 students to charter schools this year, an increased of 199 from last year. This year, the number of students lost to charters climbed back thanks in large part to Odyssey Charter that grew.”

“As for choice enrollment, Red Clay gained 1014 students through choice while losing 262 to other districts. They gained 82 students through choice from last year.”

Though Red Clay picks up students from other districts the loss of students residing in Red Clay  attending charter schools may have a negative impact on future referendums. Also, student coming into Red Clay via Choice have (parents)  no vote in Red Clay referendums.

Another negative financial impact is students leaving private schools due to the recession and attending traditional public schools and charter schools. Parents of private school students living in Red Clay still pay local school taxes. However, when those students attend privates schools Red Clay still receive the local school taxes but don’t provide any services. Kind of like free money. However, when more students come out of private schools an attend charter schools within Red Clay, Red Clay is required to transfer per students funding to their receiving charter school. The physical operational cost of Red Clay school building stay the same.

I wonder what the obvious growth of charter schools via Race to The Top will have on long-term Red Clay district finances? Also, my guess is Warner will fall victim to becoming a charter schools which is a good thing or be closed due to low enrollment. Hopefully the district administration will convert some of Warner’s unused space to administration offices. Don’t forget , the taxpayers demanded Red Clay to vacate Linden Park Offices that is cost taxpayers millions in lease payment. We have unused space in our cities Red Clay schools and moving central offices there may be a cost savings.  

Washington Post questions Duncan legacy

Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s legacy as Chicago schools chief questioned

“Yet questions have arisen this year about the magnitude of Duncan’s accomplishments. The Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago, which represents business, professional, education and cultural leaders, concluded in June that gains on state test scores were inflated when Illinois relaxed passing standards and that too many students still drop out of high school or graduate unprepared for college. The Consortium on Chicago School Research, a nonpartisan group at the University of Chicago, reported in October that Duncan’s closure of low-performing schools often shuffled students into comparable schools, yielding little or no academic benefit.”

Arne Duncan’s hype exposed

Chicago nowhere near head of the pack in urban school improvement, report says

“It seems that, for all the fanfare attached to the restructuring plan Duncan implemented in Chicago – one he is using as a national model  — the city’s schools still underperform, reports the Washington Post.”

“According to the results of a federal math report card, Miami, Houston and New York all outpaced Chicago on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, and Boston, San Diego and Atlanta made more progress.”

Will Red Clay sign on to a racist agenda?

“―It’s time to stop just talking about education reform and start actually doing it. It’s time to make education America’s national mission.  – President Barack Obama, November 4, 2009”

Race to the Top Executive Summary

“(ii) The State has laws, statutes, regulations, or guidelines regarding how charter school authorizers approve, monitor, hold accountable, reauthorize, and close charter schools; in particular, whether authorizers require that student achievement (as defined in this notice) be one significant factor, among others, in authorization or renewal; encourage charter schools that serve student populations that are similar to local district student populations, especially relative to high-need students (as defined in this notice); and have closed or not renewed ineffective charter schools;”

“(iv) The State provides charter schools with funding for facilities (for leasing facilities, purchasing facilities, or making tenant improvements), assistance with facilities acquisition, access to public facilities, the ability to share in bonds and mill levies, or other supports; and the extent to which the State does not impose any facility-related requirements on charter schools that are stricter than those applied to traditional public schools; and”

High-need students means students at risk of educational failure or otherwise in need of special assistance and support, such as students who are living in poverty, who attend high-minority schools (as defined in this notice), who are far below grade level, who have left school before receiving a regular high school diploma, who are at risk of not graduating with a diploma on time, who are homeless, who are in foster care, who have been incarcerated, who have disabilities, or who are English language learners.”

Isn’t this amazing, to be eligible for RTTT funding Red Clay and the State of Delaware who have oversight of charter schools must “encourage” their charter schools to serve high needs students similar to local school district population. Why shouldn’t it be required not encourage? Where are the righteous local civil rights leaders when you need them? 

So now we’ll know who the racist Red Clay School Board members are once they raise their hands in favor of RTTT. Looks like we have an agenda to support resegregation of public school children via charter schools with the blessing of Arne Duncan, President Obama and Joe Biden. I can’t believe DSEA is overlooking this section in the RTTT application.

Governor  refuses to demand changes in charter school admission that takes down the specific interest clause and allow open admission. A governor who does not demand access to a fair and equable education is a disgrace to public office. Look at our charter schools that clearly are being divided by race and poverty.

Is Red Clay board rolling the community under the bus?

  A Special Workshop session of the Red Clay Consolidated School District Board of Education will be held on Wednesday, January 6, 2010. The Board of Education contemplates discussion of the regular public agenda items to commence at approximately 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. This meeting will be held at Dickinson High School, 1801 Milltown Road, Wilmington.  
STEM Initiative [6:00 – 7:00]
Memo of Understanding (MOU) [7:00-8:00]
MOU/Race to the Top (RTTT)
When did school boards start voting during “Workshop Sessions”? One would think with Race to The Top having a major impact on Red Clay the board would allow public comments  prior to a vote.

Reviewing Red Clay Board Policies under Section 2004 Meeting, I see no reference to “Workshop Session.”  I Do see ” Special Session” which does note possible action /votes. However, it also states, “The same requirements for regularly  scheduled public meeting shall apply to special meetings.” As you can see the above agenda for the January 6 ,2010 “Workshop Session” does not notate “Public Comment” as required for regularly scheduled public meetings. 

Looks like the new school board is up to the same old tricks! Onc would think an observant board member would notice the agenda which doesn’t allow “Public Comment” and surely public comments on a Race to The Top prior to a board vote is important. 
What about our teachers, don’t they get to comment or was there a  backroom deal cut?

Looks who has the finger on the charter school button

Broad Henchwoman Directing DOE’s Race To The Top

Joanne Weiss’ most recent employment was as Partner and COO at NewSchools Venture Fund. Her job description states, “she focuses on investment strategy and management assistance to a variety of the firm’s portfolio ventures, and oversees the organization’s operations. As part of this work, she serves on the boards of Aspire Public Schools, Green Dot Public Schools, Leadership Public Schools, New Leaders for New Schools, Revolution Foods, Rocketship Education and Teachscape.”

Obama really put the right players on the team to privatize public schools.

Duncan clone speaks out his ass

The federal funding creates a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to dramatically reform education in this country,” said Justin Hamilton, press secretary for the U.S. Department of Education.

So two years of Race to The Top funding will reform public education and close the achievement gap?