Monthly Archives: April 2010

Colorado turns the scews on teachers

Colo. Senate passes teacher tenure bill

The Senate voted 21-14 to back the proposal, which would remove job protections for teachers deemed to be ineffective for two straight years, starting in 2015. The measure (Senate Bill 191) now moves to the House, where it’s expected to face more opposition.


Delaware local school board busted by own members!

Hey Beau Biden; Did a school board have an illegal meeting?  Looks like Beau finally got around to posting his opinion

Now the big question, was the state board meeting Sokola in on illegal? Delaware State Board of Education met an hour before the published meeting? No public notice and very doubtful we’ll see detailed minutes. Being a meeting that dealt with questions of charter school applications a conditon of Race to The Top federal grant the feds might investigate this one.  Someone did file a complaint with the feds and cc: poppa Joe Biden in.

News Journal: Delaware schools: Christina board violated FOIA, AG’s Office rules

Board members John M. Young and Elizabeth Scheinberg filed a complaint saying the board failed to properly advertise a March 9 meeting and did not take meeting minutes during work sessions, which are considered public meetings. The school district did not bar the public from attending the meetings, according to the ruling, signed by Judy Oken Hodas, a deputy attorney general.

We finally see those who ran on “transparency” stepping up to task.  I hope these two board members lead the way is taking it one step further by calling for digital recordings of public school board meeting and placing sound files on the districts webpage. Governor Markell is reluctant to make an executive order because it would require the Delaware State Board of Education to do the same. Those who want to manipulate the flow of information shouldn’t be serving the people.

“We caution the board to apply the requirements of the [Freedom of Information Act] to all meetings of a quorum, even when the board meets informally to discuss district business,” the ruling reads.

Let’s hope they follow the law.

Federal USDOE investigation coming Markell’s way ???

The  attached letter was sent to me with notation that it was sent to the United States Department of Education and VP Joe Biden. There seems to be more concerns that Delaware DOE is running their own game disregarding state laws governing the approval of charter schools. My DEDOE in-house mouse tells me one reason these new charter school application are being shot down was because, if they were approved DEDOE would have to cut the Race to The Top pie a little thinner impacting the state share, local school districts and existing charter schools. Bottom-line, too many $$$$ mouths to feed. Looks like one local state senator has been pulled into DOE Dan’s education cluster-fuck. It’s obvious Governor Jack Markell is not our transparency governor he promised to be. Too much behind doors wheeling and dealing with our children education and all in the name playing Where’s Waldo with federal funding. It appears there is a big disconnect between our state legislators and the Delaware Department on Education which controls one-third the state’s budget. Markell and DOE Dan can manipulate the Delaware State Board of Education in changing state education regulation to skirt the laws governing Delaware’s public education. It appears charter school application approval or disapproval are determinded before presentation to the state board. Sounds like the state board votes are just going through the motions. Joanne Weiss is Duncan’s RTTT Czar.


sent to:

Attention: Joanne Weiss

I am writing this email on behalf of a group of concerned citizens in Delaware- one of the two winners of the RTT Application. There are issues in the Charter Application Process that may need your intervention to fully implement the intentions of the Obama Administration and the fidelity of the RTT Application Process.

Many concerned supporters of charters are concerned that in the spirit of the RTT Application- there were eleven applicants for new charters this year. Only one charter was approved. Many of the applications were the strongest in years.

The applicants complained to the State Legislature prior to the April Meeting of the State Board of Education. A secret meeting was held an hour prior to that meeting where the chairmen and women of the House and Senate Education Committee demanded to know more about the issues the applicants raised. This meeting was held without proper public notice.

The applicants are seeking national attention to discredit the Delaware Department of Education’s intentions with the RTT Application. With the public attention on the application so far, this would not be in the best interests of the Federal Department of Education or the State of Delaware.

We are asking the Federal Department of Education to intervene and request support for legitimate charter applications that truly address the spirit of the Obama initiative. 

We would like the Federal Government to request the State of Delaware reexamine the process and allow extensions to address issues in the application process and the mistakes made by the Charter Application Committee. There is plenty of time between now and August 2011 to open charters that will serve at risk students and provide innovation that can improve education for everyone in the state.

In the absence of this intervention, we would suggest the DOE consider the Delaware Application fraudulent and award the money to a more deserving state.




I didn’t know, did you ?

Did you know current state law does not permit school buses to have LED lights?

“The current law does not allow LED lights to be used on Delaware school buses.  LED lighting is brighter and requires less maintenance than other light sources.  This Bill brings Delaware law into alignment with Delaware’s Department of Education Regulation 1103 for school buses”

Please call or E-mail your state legislators to pass Senate Bill 193 and get it to the governor ASAP!

Jack Markell screws local taxpayers again

Delaware bond bill catches up on school projects

DOVER — This year’s proposed bond bill has enough money for the state Department of Education to clear a backlog of school construction projects dating back to 2006.

So who eat the inflationary costs of this backlog? I guess the school districts will cutback in the scope of construction. Why is it when the community steps up to pass referendums Markell and the state steps back delaying their obligation to the children?

However, the amount of money Gov. Jack Markell has proposed giving the department for minor capital improvements and equipment totals $3.9 million — only about half the amount the department received for the current fiscal year 

Another Jack Markell backdoor tax pushing more and more on the local taxpayers. Transportation and now this!

Don’t you love it, when local taxpayers vote no on referendums they are accused of hating kids but when Jack Markell cut funding to school children its financial reform.


Dear Governor Jack Markell we need help with transparency

Dear Governor Jack Markell:

I think it’s time for an executive order ordering all public school districts and charter school boards to record all board meetings with the exception of information protected by confidentiality laws by digital recorder and place sound file on their webpages.

I think its time the public be affording full details of school board meetings not vague printed meeting minutes and I am talking about all school boards and charter schools.

O yea, lets not forget to include the Delaware State Board of Education meetings to that order. 

Hey Beau Biden; Did a school board have an illegal meeting?

Beau, rumor has it you won’t release your opinion about a certain school board meeting until after May’s board elections. 

Beau, I think the public has a right to know about the shenanigans before the school board elections.

Beau, please post your opinion on the Attorney General’s Opinion webpage; 

the stakeholders really need to know your opinion.

Beau, FYI, another one may be in the pipeline re: DOE Dan.

Will DE DOE tell school districts they must hire TFA

Young educators in spotlight; Schools, state leaders evaluate need for Teach for America

Teach for America is included in the state’s $100 million federal Race to the Top plan, and the state pushed expansion through financial incentives for schools that take part. The state is also considering allowing other programs that help recruit nontraditional teachers, such as the Brooklyn-based New Teacher Project, to come into the state.

“What we are trying to do, in may different ways, is to increase and diversify our [teacher] applicant pool,” said Dan Cruce, the state’s deputy secretary of education.

Diversify teachers like adding revolving door teachers? What you are trying to do is dictate to local school boards and Senator Sokola that Delaware DOE is going to do whatever  the fuck they want. 

I hope the Red Clay school board doesn’t buy the bullshit the have to hire more Teacher for America teachers! If Dan wants to pay TFA 100% through the “state’s” portion of RTTT then fine. However, if he wants Red Clay taxpayers to pay the local share he can kiss my ass.

We need teachers who are willing to invest in the long term with Delaware schools.

Jenner, who has visited Teach for America training programs at the invitation of the group, says they are “lovely people” but that hasn’t changed her opinion that educators need more training before they are sent out as first-year teachers. She remains unconvinced that the program is needed in Delaware or that it’s creating a new pool of teachers.

I am with Jenner on this one ! It’s not about the TFA teachers themselve but rather this big TFA scam. 

Murphy, who lives in Wilmington, frequently sees students and their parents out of school. He gave his cell phone number to all his students and their parents and responds to student text messages outsidework. He meets after school with students to play video games as a reward.

He is more than a teacher, he said. For a lot of the boys, he’s the only positive male figure in their lives. And he can relate. His own father wasn’t around when he was growing up in Brooklyn.

I hope Mr. Murphy decides to stay in teaching beyond his two-year committment. I hope he doesn’t set these kids up for another adult abandonment.   

Simpson & Keeley puts Delaware Dogs On Notice

Senate Bill # 208

Sponsor: Simpson

Additional Sponsor: Rep. Keeley


“This Act includes cats in the list of domestic animals which when attacked might cause a dog to be declared a potentially dangerous dog or if severely injured or killed might cause a dog to be declared a dangerous dog.  This attack, serious injury or death must occur on the property of the owner of the domestic animal or while under the immediate control of the owner of the domestic animal.”

I see the point with this legislation and I love cats. Just one of those odd Delaware laws.  Pretty much it says, if your dog chases a cat (dogs do that) and kills it (dogs do that), your dog maybe ordered euthanized.

I wonder if a domestic cat ate someone’s pet mouse or gerbil would the cat be deemed dangerous? Not at silly law because we all must keep our dogs on leashes.  


Another Hube masterpeice worthy of attention

Race conundrum in education (again)

Now, let’s stop right here for a second. “Progressives” have argued for years — decades, now — that “diversity” is an educational boon. Such an argument won the day in Grutter v. Bollinger, but similarly-based lower education plans were shot down by the US Supreme Court in 2007 (regarding Seattle and Louisville, KY). In those plans, districts sought to — get this — move students to different schools to achieve diversity … just like Lower Merion apparently wants to do. And how did the Philly Inquirer opine on the SCOTUS decision then?

Go to the link Race conundrum in education (again) to read Hube’s full post on this subject.

I often touch on educational issues and race. Hube aka The Colossus of Rhodey has always been a source of balance for me on issues of race and education. The issue is worthy of looking at from all dimensions. It’s a tough issue driven by passion, morality and legality.

Teacher accountability dilemma

107A Specialist Appraisal Process DPAS (Discussion) 

In addition, a new “Highly Effective” category is added to the summative rating options. Student growth is a required element for a teacher to be rated as effective, and more than a year of growth is required to earn the highly effective rating. A definition for student growth will be developed in collaboration with stakeholders and will include multiple indicators. The proposed amendments mirror changes in 106A and 108A that were made at the January State Board meeting to the teacher and administrator appraisal regulations.
Why is it Delaware passes laws prior to knowing full details of the mechanics within? “A definition for student growth will be developed in collaboration with stakeholders and will include multiple indicators.” this vital component of teacher assessment / ratings should have been defined before changes in the laws and regulations.
With all this new RTTT efforts to reform public education many forget the change requirements are mandated from within and not directed at parents as what they must do. I hope for the teachers sake someone comes up with a formula to factor out student performance where  students  are frequently absent, don’t complete homework, with parents who don’t respond to the teachers or school.
A few years back I sat in on a DOE Quality Review meeting of Conrad Middle School and DOE questioned the Conrad staff on how they were going to bring students up to grade level. I asked, how does a 6th grade teacher bring a student functioning at a 4th grade reading level up to a 6th grade level and be able to teach 6th grade material to all students?
The effectiveness of any teacher to help a student catch up to grade level depends on the intervention network supporting them. Once a student is tested at the beginning of the school year and is identified being a grade level or more behind I think it is up to the building administration to formulate an intervention plan. The plan must consist more than just the classroom teacher. If the student is behind in math or reading they must be offered supplemental services. At the end of the year the supplemental service provided must  be rate effective or ineffective. Why hang the classroom teacher for failed supplemental services? The teacher is just on component and shouldn’t bear the brunt of any penalty

Just for Nancy

Nancy in cased you missed something, Senator Dave Sokola and another met with DOE Dan and state board members prior to April’s state board meeting to discuss charter school application issues. There are some deep concerns that the charter school approval law is being compromised. One of the goals was to get the legislators to take notice that DOE is running a game and think they are above the law. Now the big question is, does Dave Sokola have any power left?

Teach for America’s Guardian Angel Speaks

In a response to this post  More tears from Teach for America

Eagle said

It sounds like you guys are the ones looking down your noses. If you think TFAers don’t have to go out on the job market, ponder this. Over 40,000 people applied for the program this year and only 4,500 were accepted. How many of you have managed to beat those odds? Additionally, once they are accepted, they have to interview with schools, just like anybody else.
Additionally, TFA teachers are all about the standards, as in teaching what is actually mandated by the state as indicators of adequate progress. Not a lot of room for fluff when you have students who can’t read or write.
As for the person who worked with TFAers, there’s a reason why they were in your school and it’s because your school was FAILING… did you honestly put in the extra time and effort to make sure your students would succeed?
I’m so tired of ignorant people bashing this program when they really have no idea what it’s about.

Community Financial Review Committee required for all school districts and charter schools

 Red Clay Community Financial Review Committee: Monday, March 8, 2010

Please take the time to read the minutes from Red Clay’s Community Financial Review Committee meeting. They are very detailed and offer greater insight to what’s going on financially

Also take time to review the committee’s website full of reports and financial data.

The legislators passed House Bill 119 last year that requires all school districts and charter schools to have a community financial review committees. Red Clay’s could be a model for all districts and schools. Nothings perfect in life but I can say this from first hand view. Red Clay committee members do work hard a providing good financial information. Meetings are open to the public and public questions and comments are welcomed.  

The Red Clay Community Financial Review Committee was formed at the request of the public before the DOE FRT became involved after Red Clay’s financial meltdown. The FRT would have requested one but note at the broad scope the committee offered. The committee exceeded what was required by the FRT and once the FRT finished their assignment Red Clay wasn’t required to continue the committee. Other districts and charter schools who don’t have committees are not playing catch-up with Red Clay due to HB119.

Don’t get me wrong here, I am not being a Red Clay cheerleader and just want to point out Red Clay’s consistency to keep the community informed about school finances.

I do urge committee members and the school board to keep an eye on expenditures used to build Dickinson’s STEM program. Merv said it would cost $100,000 at the board presentation back in December 2009. $100k is probably just for planning. Merv did say that there would be private and federal funding used. I hope out board members and community member on the CFRC track funding going into Dickinson’ new STEM program.  

FYI: former State Senator Charlie Copeland and current State Representative Greg Lavelle most likely 2012 GOP candidate for governor set the stage for major financial reforms “transparency” for public education.  We’re getting there re: transparency. Don’t count on Jack to watch our back!