Listen here to Chris Coons cost savings breakthrough

Click here to hear Chris Coons new cost saving plan

Electronic boundaries for teachers and students

Brandywine personnel must sever
electronic links with children
 by Delaforum

“Teachers, coaches and other Brandywine School District employees will be forbidden to engage in so-called social networking, send text messages to or otherwise have personal electronic contact with any student under a new policy unanimously approved by the school board”

Sounds like a policy all school districts need to adopt.

12 new charter school applications expected for Delaware

 The State Board of Education/State Board for Vocational Education held a work session on Thursday, September 16, 2010 in the Cabinet Room of the Townsend Building, Dover, Delaware.

” Mr. Carwell stated that approximately twelve new applications are expected January 1 st. There was discussion by the State Board on technical assistance provided to applicants, and Mr. Carwell discussed establishing a rubric for reviewing new applications. There was also discussion about charter school boards and their retaining some of the members of the founding boards. Discussion followed on the Charter School Reboot Committee which is now being lead by the Governor’s Office. Board members expressed that charter schools should be innovative, and they expressed the need for a new process in place for next year. There was also discussion on the student performance of charter schools and the current requirement that they meet or exceed the state average in English/language arts and mathematics on state testing.”

“Board members expressed that charter schools should be innovative, and they expressed the need for a new process in place for next year.” Here we go again, Markell’s puppets want to disregard Delaware laws governing charter school applications and set their own process.

Markell is going to have a hard time keeping his little side deal re: RTTT MOU. I wonder when Jack will end charter school student admission practices based on student intelligence? Charter school should have open admissions with a transparent lottery process or perhaps allow traditional public schools the same admission standards. 

Delaware Auditor’s race and public schools

From Delaware Way :D’OH! Tom Wagner Says “If You Want Accountability In School Districts, The State Has To Change The Way The State Keeps The Accounting Records” Do read Nancy’s entire post on the auditor’s race. I want address the comments below.

“During the ten-year period in question, more than $4.08 billion in tax dollars were spent on public schools in the state, Korn said. Korn said individual audits of schools are necessary to root out waste, abuse and fraud. He points to the recent embezzlement case in the Laurel School District in which former Finance Director William Hitch Jr. stole $150,000 over a period of several years. Had individual audits been conducted, Korn said, the theft in Laurel “would have been detected.”

First I want to say Richard Korn and Tom Wagner are both wonder friends of mine. For years Tom Wagner as auditor has been very response to my concerns and questions.

I do feel Richard Korn’s frustrations. Rooting out waste and fraud in our public school finances would take us right to Governor Markell’s desk and to the dirt on his  hands. Campaign investment in Markell has yield dividends to those contributors in the form of agents now being employed at the Delaware Department of Education and greater say in the direction of public education in Delaware.

The real problems in education finances is poor legislation. Also, the waste and perceived fraud is manipulation of funding to drive superintendents self-serving agendas. The waste in education comes down to excessive redundancy is administrative positions. The fraud is superintendents proclaiming to have the best interest of children at heart but yet are fixated on egotistic power trips. Those administrators who play ball with superintendents advance more so on their loyalty then skill. It’s not always the best person for the job but rather the best person to turn a blind eye and watch my back.

The financial meltdown of Red Clay was a combination of accounting errors driven by fear of losing one’s job to appease an ambiguous  agenda of his superior. No one was fired in Red Clay’s case and members of the board made a public apology for falling asleep at the wheel.  

Red Clay’s Community Financial Review Committee was established prior to the DEDOE FRT being order to Red Clay. It was established at the requested of one community member during  public recognition of the Red Clay board meeting. A board member (Jack Buckley) made a motion to review the request. The same community member lobbied each board member for support and the same community member made an indirect promise not to run for school board against a long-term incumbant in exchange for a seat on the newly formed community Financial Review Committee. This same community member push the limits of the district to included more comprehensive detailed financial reports far exceeding the DEDOE FRT and all reports offered by other school districts in Delaware. Because of the aggressiveness  of this community member the district was forced to published online IBU expenditure reports and someday another community member may push to expand those IBU report cell to reveal the MBU data.

Red Clay’s Community Financial Review Committee does have an online webpages detailing many reports archiving data back to the conception of the CFRC in 1997. Minutes for the CFRC are detailed as to conversations not vague summaries. Example December 03, 2007 ” Chairman Paul Lloyd raised concerns that the monthly financial reports only give a total summary of each IBU assignment, such as individual district departments and schools; however, the report doesn’t list the actual line item expenditures under each IBU Code. John Allison echoed those concerns and expressed that the community would want to know actual expenditures.” January 15, 2008, “Committee member John Allison pointed out the district’s monthly finance report is per DOE’s requirement. In 2007, the Delaware State Legislature passed HB21 that requires standardized monthly financial reports across all school districts within the State of  Delaware. Also noting the legislators gave DOE the charge to formulate the template in which the IBU method was adopted. However, access to Red Clay’s Object Codes would provide the committee the ability to audit the district’s monthly finance reports with better scrutiny.”

As far as audits:

Here you go !

Audit Reports

 As far as District Financial Information  here’s the link Financial Information

Then there is the state’s online checkbook

Red Clay is doing a great job of providing financial information and sets the bar for Delaware public schools. However, if it weren’t for the assertive action on the Red Clay community Red Clay’s financial information would not be as comprehensive. Red Clay’s detailed information far exceeds what the state has order and has been delivered on demands of the public and the support of board members who honored those demands.

The people are the best auditors and only with laws requiring schools to be completely transparent  the people can  root out waste, abuse, fraud and expose agendas.

Audits requested and paid for by the district from an auditing firm selected by them are dangerous. Here’s where the state needs to step in and control these blind bias audits.

I don’t see anything in the records suggesting my dear friend Richard Korn has directly confronted or engaged the school district in which he resides on any financial concerns. Blaming Tom Wagner Delaware State Auditors for poor legislation that governs public school finances at the same time not engaging one’s own school district is hypocritical. Furthermore, Delaware Department of Education is the oversight authority of all Delaware public schools and charter schools which includes financial oversight. Also, financial failures within public schools do fall under the governor himself who appoints the Delaware Secretary of Education.

No passengers until age 18

2 dead in Del. 1 crash

A 17-year-old boy from Bear was driving a 1996 Mitsubishi 3000G northbound at an apparent high speed in the center lane north of Del. 72, said Master Cpl. Jeffrey Hale. As he tried to maneuver into the right lane to avoid a slower-moving vehicle, the boy lost control and the car spun off the road and over a guard rail on the east side of the road, with the car overturning and ending up against the guard rail. 

The driver, who was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected from the car, Hale said. He was declared dead at the scene. 

A 16-year-old girl from Newark who was a passenger was wearing a seat belt, Hale said. She also was declared dead at the scene

It makes me sick and sad every time I read an article like this. I’ve always said no passages until the age 18.

I remember the days of cruising and have fun times on four wheels. Always distraction within the car or the need to impress. Then there was peer pressure by others telling the driver where to go and what to do such as speed up to catch up with girls in other cars or catch up to some dude that flipped you off. I remember when  I was with a 16-year-old friend driving through Prices Corner Shopping Center parking lot. Four the car all looking at the same girl even the driver. Next thing you know we hit the car in front of us. I was in the back and over the seat I went. I was fine and thank God it was at low-speed.

Delaware needs to change its laws to not permit any passage for those driving under the age of 18 with the exceptions of a parent or guardian over the age 21.

When my son got his driving permit my rule was no passengers. I didn’t want the responsiblity of the life of another child while driving with my son. But more importantly I did not want any internal distraction while my son was driving. It doesn’t matter if we raise the driving age to 18 because it still take time for someone to properly learn how to drive. No passengers until the age 18.

My God protect the souls of these two children and give their parents, family and friends the strength during this sad time.

Chris Coons mocks Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s research

Brian Handwerk
for National Geographic News

December 14, 2005

Researchers in California have created living mice with functioning human stem cells in their brains

The feat could boost stem cell therapy research on brain diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s—and raises the specter of animal-human hybrids.

Geneticist Fred Gage injected embryonic human cells into two-week-old fetal mice as they developed in the womb. When the mice matured, some human stem cells survived and became functional components of the mice’s brains and nervous systems.

Less than one-tenth of one percent of the test mice’s brain cells are human.

“When we characterized these cells two months later, we found that [they] had the [form and structure] and characteristics of mouse cells,” said Gage, co-director of the genetics laboratory at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego

“It is truly amazing that these human stem cells, although they are very immature, can still … respond to different cues in their environment and can fit right in with their mouse neighbors.”

“This illustrates that injecting human stem cells into mouse brains doesn’t restructure the brain,” Gage added.

The study was published in yesterday’s issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Medical Promise or Ethical Peril?

Some scientists hope that stem cells, which may develop into many different kinds of human cells, could someday be used to replace missing or damaged neurons in people with degenerative nerve diseases.

“This research is significant because it suggests that it will be possible to create mouse ‘models’ of human brain tissue, enabling scientists to try out both stem cell interventions and other potential cures on living human brain cells without having to use humans in the process,” said Glenn McGee, director of the Alden March Bioethics Institute at Albany Medical College in New York State.

In short, it’s a new way to test potential cures for human diseases, without harming human test subjects in the process.

Kilroy says Chris Coons should be ashamed of himself. O’Donnell was referring to this research.

Hey Chris did you know scientist can grow human ears on the back of mice? We’ll not real human ears but replacement that can be transplanted. But sure Chris Coons would mock this if O’Donnell were to make a comment.

Dr Karl › Dr Karl’s Great Moments In Science

Mouse with human ear

He’s back

Mike Matthews  is back to blogging at Emphatically Speaking. Mike’s position in life as an educator makes him a role model for children. So don’t look for the wild and over the top kind of blogging of yesterday.

My only fear is with Mike Castle out of public office and Christine O’Donnell losing ground and unlikely to win the senate seat Jason Scott will become irrelevant. Jason won’t have anyone to kick around. So with Mike Matthews back to blogging I fear Jason may target Mike.  Jason won’t mess with me because I’ll kick his ass. However, Mike Matthews a lover not a fighter might be easy pickings. Just joking, Mike and Jason are Godfathers to Delaware Blogging world.

Welcome back Mike  and to Kilroy’s blogroll

The Answer Sheet – “Superman’ tells false story about Emily’s school #wapo (via Transparent Christina)

The Answer Sheet – "Superman' tells false story about Emily's school  "Superman' tells false story about Emily's school This was written by Caroline Grannan, a San Francisco public school parent, volunteer, advocate and blogger. By Caroline Grannan “Woodside is a great school." — Emily Jones The movie “Waiting for Superman” tells the stories of five students around the country who are desperate to escape their “faili … Read More

via Transparent Christina

Arne Duncan taking federal control of colleges

Dept. of Education releases plans for oversight of colleges

The Department of Education released its new set of guidelines for post-secondary for-profit institutions Thursday.According to Education Secretary Arne Duncan, the new rules “will help ensure that students are getting from schools what they pay for: solid preparation for a goodjob

A 14th proposal would require for-profit colleges and other schools that offer non-degree vocational programs to follow new guidelines regarding student debt to qualify for federal aid. Dubbed the “gainful employment” proposal, it is not yet approved and is expected to be finished next year.

Among the provisions in the proposal is the elimination of loopholes for college recruiters offering compensation to students.

Institutions would also be required to notify the government any time it plans to start a new vocational or job-training program. Doing so, according to President Obama, would help enforce the “gainful employment” rule.

There will now be a federal definition of what constitutes a “credit hour.” The credit hour will be considered a course unit that represents one hour in the classroom and two hours of homework per week.

Terry W. Hartle, a senior vice president of the American Council on Education, told the Washington Post, “It sounds like they are going ahead with their plan to federalize the definition of a credit hour. I don’t think any industry is improved by increasing federal control over it.”

Source: Washington Post

Markell on the out of state campaign trail on DE taxpayer’s $$

Delaware Governor Jack Markell campaigns with Malloy
“Democratic nominee for Governor Dan Malloy was joined by Delaware Governor Jack Markell, chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, this morning at a green building site in Hartford to promote Malloy’s economic vision and plans for growing jobs in Connecticut.”

And who is paying for Markell’s security and travels? Delaware taxpayers should not be paying Markell’s fare to stomp the campaign trail for other state candidates?

Governor Markell closes the blinds on open government

UPDATE ! It appears the state server / software is getting some update causing some delays. HOWEVER, Jack Markell could be a little more “proactive” and at least “communicate” to the public for delays. Jack you put the information online to help open government and let the people be the watchdog! Communciate !

“Transparency is an important component of that, and with initiative, residents will have access to how and with whom the state does business.” Governor Jack Markell

“Your State Treasurer’s Office firmly acknowledges and embraces our duty to remain as accountable and transparent as possible to Delaware taxpayers for the services we provide on their behalf. To that end, we would like to make you aware that the State of Delaware’s Checkbook is available online so you can see for yourself how your valuable tax dollars are being utilized. To access, click the check above, or visit http://checkbook.delaware.gov.”

May 7, 2009

“Governor Markell: Delaware State Government Will Open Checkbook to Public”

“DOVER – Following through on his promise to make Delaware state government more transparent, Gov. Jack Markell announced today that Delawareans will soon be able to go online to see how their tax dollars are spent.”

“During these historically challenging financial times, it is critical Delawareans are confident their state tax dollars are being spent as effectively and efficiently as possible,” Markell said.

“The online checkbook will be the product of work done by the Office of Management and Budget, the Department of Technology and Information, the Department of Finance and the Government Information Center. These agencies are working together to build the necessary technological capacity to support the project. The work will be completed in time for the online checkbook to open by July 30.”

Governor Markell is unresponsive to citizens complains the state’s online checkbook hasn’t been updated.  

DE Comprehensive Annual Financial Report 2009

“The State’s Financial Statement’s are prepared by and are the responsibly of State Government of which local school districts are included in Delaware State Government.   The accounting and auditing of the local school districts is dictated by the legal determination of the reporting entity, Governmental Accounting Standards, and Governmental Accounting Standards that include AICPA Auditing Standards.  AOA has no authority to change the legal entity, accounting, or auditing standards.”

See here for special audits of Delaware public schools.

Parental involvment and teacher accountability

Governor Jack Markell, Arne Duncan, Chris Coons and other business roundtable puppets refuse to see lack of parental engagement as a factor contributing to low student performance and disruptive behavior.

I cannot sit here and not step up in defense of teachers. There needs to be a means to exclude students test scores from teachers evaluations that could lead to termination.

Is it fair that a teacher beheld accountable for a student with chronic absenteeism?

Red Clay’s Student’s Rights and Responsibility: 

“Parents will be sent notice that their child is in violation of the District attendance policy when their child exceeds 25 days absent. The notice will instruct parents of the requirements for recovering absent days in order to be eligible for credit, promotion, or administrative assignment. When students under the age of 16 exceed 45 days absent, parents will be sent notice that their child may be required to attend Summer School to be eligible for credit, promotion, or administrative assignment. When students over the age of 16 exceed 45 days absent, parents will be sent notice that their child is in violation of the attendance policy and will be provided with alternative education options outside the regular school program.”

“While an unexcused absence shall result in a failing grade for all assignments due or tests missed, other instructional materials or assignments missed during the absence may, where feasible, be obtained at the initiation of the student. Following an unexcused absence from school or class, the time allowance for requesting the instructional materials or assignments from the teacher shall be equal to the number of school days or number of class meetings missed due to the absence. A teacher may extend this time allowance if the specific circumstances of the situation merit such action.”

“A child is considered truant if such child is absent from school without a valid excuse for more than three (3) days or an unreasonable amount of intermittent attendance or tardiness without valid reason. Parents who allow their children to be truant are subject to a fine of up to $300 and/or imprisonment for up to ten (10) days for the first offense; a fine of up to $500 and/or imprisonment for up to twenty (20) days for the second offense; and a fine of up to $1,150 and/or imprisonment for up to thirty (30) days for each subsequent offense.”

WHAT ABOUT THE TEACHER’S EVALUATION ????????????????????

DSEA will be a disservice to each and every member and to the teaching profession if they don’t demand a formula that factors out students with chronic absenteeism from teacher evaluation.  Every teacher should vote not to a plan that does not exclude students with chronic absenteeism.

We hear all about Common Core Standards but yet we don’t hear about statewide uniformity of student attendance. The needs to stronger legislation that hold parents more accountable for their child’s attendance and their engagement as parents. Radical reform must include all stakeholders.

DEDOE does not have data available indication how many parents were taken to court and how many paid fines.

TITLE 14  CHAPTER 27. SCHOOL ATTENDANCE  Subchapter II. Truancy

What good is this law if it is not enforced!

DSEA there is more to teaching than a paycheck! There is a thing called dignity and not standing up to ensure fair teacher evaluations are in place is a serious flaw in leadership.

President Obama gives sermons on parental responsibility but when parents fail to do so teachers get stuck holding the bag. Education of children is a process that includes parents and teachers.

DE Schools in violation of HB 119; School boards turn a blind eye@governorMarkell

HS 1 FOR HB 119 w/HA 1

§ 1509.  Transparency of District Finances. 

Each district and charter school shall post on its website by September 1, 2009 and every three months thereafter a check register indicating the recipient of each check issued by the school district or charter school, the amount of the check, and identifying information regarding the check sufficient to permit members of the public to seek additional information regarding the payment in question.  The only information excepted from inclusion in this database shall be records that would not constitute public records under 29 Del. C. § 10002(g), and records for which the disclosure would violate any federal or state law. 

Notice the text of this law requiring “each school district and charter school.”  Currently each district is just creating a hyperlink to the state’s State of Delaware Online Checkbook site. 

Red Clay’s hyperlink  http://checkbook.delaware.gov comes up “Server Error in ‘/’ Application.”

Gets worst! The state has not posted checkbook information for the 3rd quarter of 2010 which ended September  30, 2010. The “state” checkbook online was an executive order by Governor Markell thanks to the efforts of former State Senator Charles Copeland, current State Representative Greg Lavelle, Dave Burris , Kilroy and others. Markell executive order had nothing to do with HB 119

The school districts are piggybacking  off the state’s online checkbook. However, they are required by law to post the check register on their webpage. The excuse to not do so because the state failed to update the “state” checkbook is a poor excuse and does not excuse the district or charter schools from legal obligation associated with HB 119. The solution is easy! The district and charter schools can go into their data based and print check register or better yet, I know for a fact they can convert to Pdf. and post on their webpage in Pdf. format.

School board members have taken a pledge to adhere to state laws governing public education. Failing to do so is a violation of their oath of office. HB 119 clearly specifies the responsiblity to comply is that of the school districts and charter schools! Not DEDOE or the state.

Lets get it fix board members !

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