Big Delaware charter school discussion forum with low public turnout

I don’t know were all the sleepyheads were today but they missed a public forum between local school boards of New Castle County and charter school boards, principals and organizers. Kilroy and one other person from the community were among school board members, education leaders and one state representative.

The Q&A session went pretty good and was a first-step towards renewed dialogue between school districts and charter reformist. However, there still exist a layer of ice and mistrust.

I don’t want to get into a play by play of who said what. The sad part is the lack of interest by those who have some much to debated. It’s very unfortunate that Jack Markell didn’t show up because he would have seen the need for renewed discussion on charter schools and the law.You folks had a charter to real weigh in on the charter school debate and provide input to address the concerns.

The forum was open with no requirements to submit questions beforehand.       


67 responses to “Big Delaware charter school discussion forum with low public turnout

  1. Coolspringer

    I didn’t even know this existed, and wondered to what you were referring last night! Is this only an annual thing?


  2. I heard the charter school director was wagging her finger at the audience……for shame!


  3. I had no idea about it, but I wouldn’t have been able to attend anyway.
    Next time please set up a podcast… I am joking.


  4. kilroysdelaware

    Coolspringer, The district should be putting this on the board meeting list to inform the public, Though no district business is conducted at these meeting they don;t many time create a quorum. So there are issue with open meeting laws. Technical but it is what it is and you’ll notice on the agenda “public meeting” I am perhaps one of 5 people who ever braved this meeting. As far as breakfast and socializing that is technically not part of the public meeting. However, I get invited in.

    The meeting have been going on for years and they meet a few times a year perhaps once a quarter. I attend when and if there is a panel of legislators or if the governor addresses the board. I’ve attend two such meeting with Markell in which I give him full respect. But I do ask questions but don’t dog him or try to outright embarrass him. Just a little tactful at time.

    Many people don’t understand monthly school board meeting have public session and they do have the right to address the board. But its a great place to network and get to know senior district leaders and others.

    whoa nellie, Yea yea the charter school director! It was like if you don’t support charters you’re against kids. I wonder if she had relatives would pulled the Trojan Horse into Troy?


  5. Kilroy, What are you hearing now? Is NCS taking the fall for the Charter law issues? What is your mouse saying?


  6. kilroysdelaware

    NCS will be fine and the vote will go through in April! As far as the free and reduce lunch thing re: waivers, no laws broken because the law allows it. No laws were broken re: 5 mile radius.

    If anything this issue will cause the governor and legislators to stop and ask where are we going and what impact is being done? Could be another hold on charter schools applications but not stopping the ones in the pipeline.

    Nobody wants to hurt kids including NCS kids. But, there needs to be clear understanding government has a responsibility to all students and to ensure equitable education


  7. nativenewarkmom

    Kilroy, I have a comment awaiting moderation, in reply to another poster. And you are correct; no laws, codes or even regulations have been violated. There is absolutely no factual matter or issue or “impact” to justify a denial of the application. In fact, the DOE regulations state that they “shall” approve it is such a case.
    People can oppose it on whatever ethical, moral or social justice issue they want, but the fact is, there has been nothing presented as evidence that the school has violated any laws, codes or regulations, or even any negative “impact” that has been proven by hard facts.


  8. nativenewarkmom

    is such a case.
    Should have been IN such a case.


  9. dontdestroychristina

    You keep forgetting, the state board has the right to interpret the law, its word and intent. Laws were not broken is an accurate statement. So is: DE charters were not intended to make segregation profligate again.

    NCS is a prime example. So is Kuumba, Edison and CSW and others. Economically and racially stratified. NOT AS INTENDED by the LAW.


  10. @DDC

    So if Kuumba represents segregation, even though everyone who is there chose to be there, what is your opinion of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, which lose their Federal HBCU status if their minority enrollment drops below a certain percentage?

    For example, DSU has a white enrollment this year of about 14% and a minority enrollment of 86% (73% Black or African-American, the rest Hispanic, Asian, etc.), while the University of Delaware has a minority enrollment that is below either 10 or 12% (I can’t remember which).

    Should public universities be held to the same standard as you would have in public education? And would that mean the end of Federal support for all-male schools (Morehouse), all-female schools (Vassar), HBCUs (DSU, UMES)?

    If not, what’s the compelling difference that allows a different standard for higher education?


  11. dontdestroychristina

    the law. Brown v. Board. K-12. You’re a professor right?


  12. Well… public universities charge tuition and don’t seem to be mandated by Delaware Constitution:

    § 1. Establishment and maintenance of free public schools; attendance.

    Section 1. The General Assembly shall provide for the establishment and maintenance of a general and efficient system of free public schools, and may require by law that every child, not physically or mentally disabled, shall attend the public school, unless educated by other means.


  13. DDC–Brown v Board of Ed did not outlaw voluntarily created minority-based schools. Trying looking it up before you shoot from the hip.

    And Pandora–mostly everybody here has made an ethical argument as much as a legal argument, that racial imbalance equals segregation regardless of the cause. So the question is germane.

    Your appeal to the DE constitution is not effective because nobody beyond the age of 16 is actually required to attend public schools either, but aside from that Federal laws trump the DE constitution in all sorts of ways. The tuition argument is crap and you know it; Federal student loan regulations and bazillions of pieces of case law extend equal opportunity to the world of higher ed, as does Title I, III, and IX (you could look that up, DDC).

    So to be clear, while both of you have a problem with tax-supported public schools like Kuumba, you have no problem with tax-supported state universities like DSU, and while both of you have no problem with tax-supported essentially all-white UD you have a problem with tax-supported NCS or CSW?

    By the way, Pandora, you never did answer my question about how you felt about DDC’s practice (not once, but at least twice) of using her blog to attempt to “out” commenters. Given the position statement at Delawareliberal, I’d think you’d have some discomfort with that.

    Or does the fact that she agrees with you on this issue trump that concern?


  14. By the way, Steve… Yes, I did.

    You are being an ass. Don’t drag me into your blog war. I simply answered your question – civilly. I even used the word “seem.”


  15. I’ve been an ass before, Pandora, and will be again. So have you. It’s the nature of the beast. But it is not a “blog war” for somebody to engage in “outing”–at least it didn’t used to be. And if she hadn’t taken down all her old posts, you’d find that DDC tried to do it to me as well–although it is really tough to “out” somebody who writes under his own name.

    But the question is serious regarding higher ed, because higher ed is one of the dynamics driving the public education train. And there is a major disconnect between public ed and higher ed in terms of the fact that most of higher ed is conceived of and accepted as a competitive environment (for admissions, for scholarships, for grades, for pretty much everything) and the increasing difficulty that middle class families were having with the failure of high schools to prepare their students for higher ed was and remains a major driver behind the charter movement.

    More to the point it challenges the ACLU’s central thesis about students learning better in ethnically heterogenous groups (which I agree with for other reasons). The ACLU says that “research” supports the idea that students do better in such groupings. But the research on college freshmen and sophomores conducted with both HBCUs and single-sex women’s colleges over the past thirty years shows exactly the opposite. African-Americans, especially those from low-income homes, tend to do significantly better in colleges and universities with very high minority students and faculty percentages. I’d have to go look it up for the exact number, but the difference in freshman retention rates for those students in that environment is about 20 percentage points.

    So is there a functional (maybe wrong word) difference between 16-18 year-olds in terms of learning in high schools and 18-20 year-olds in college? Most of the research on adolescent development says not (although there may be somewhat more with young women than young men), and my own experience is that my freshmen look and act an awful lot like your high school seniors.


  16. First, outing people is flat out wrong, and DDC would be banned at DL for doing it, but I’m not the blog police – I didn’t see the outing comment… comments?

    I get what you’re saying, but I still think it’s the mandate thingy. If you don’t send your 5 – 16 year old to school you’re in trouble. We have truancy laws, don’tcha know.

    I’m not sure what I think about the college situation, because it strikes me as different – possibly because we are (technically) dealing with adults. I’ll have to think about this.


  17. Trust me–I teach freshmen every day–they’re not adults.


  18. In answer to Steve’s question, I am beginning to toy with the Finnish idea that one of the explicit goals of an educational system should be that schools are arenas that redress social ills by making them into contexts where class and racial distinctions receive no instantiation. I believe that there might be a legitimate long-term societal interest in socially educating children from a mix of backgrounds by exposing them to one another and having them work together in an educational environment. I’m even beginning to wonder if the Fins have it right by making all schools public schools (no private schools). Therefore, as much as is practicable, all schools should be blended as representationally as possible along the economic, racial, and the learning capacities lines that exist in a region. That Finnish students frequently outperform other students in the world is not the least bit astonishing to one who has a robust intuition that humans are social animals first and their capacity for individuality is a byproduct of their sociability.


  19. Warren Buffett would agree with you Dana. He once said that the way to fix US education was to outlaw private schools and assign all children to schools by random lottery, depriving the rich of the ability to influence their child’s school unless they influenced all children’s schools.

    But my technical question about Finland goes to (a) cultural homegneity and (b) the absence of huge pockets of urban poverty.

    It seems to me that educational systems reflect social and political systems more than they influence them, and I have significant technical doubts about the applicability of much of what happens in Finland to here–which is not to say I don’t agree with your earlier comment about looking at what works, but just that I think you have to consider that differences of scale are differences to be dealt with. We educate children in this country on a scale in common with China, India, Russia, Pakistan, Indonesia, etc., and not Finland. There’s a scalar difference there that I don’t think you can ignore.


  20. And my son will be a freshman this fall, so I get it. But… I do so hope college is a growing to full maturity experience. Also, my daughter is a HS freshman, and the difference between HS freshman and HS seniors is quite striking.

    It’s an arbitrary line, but it’s one we use for all sorts of things so I’m not sure we can change it for this debate – otherwise we’ll be revamping far more than education. 🙂


  21. Opposed To NCS

    In the Meece email he stated that the Board had to vote within 90 days after December 19, 2011. That would be Tuesday. Does this mean there needs to be a new round of public hearings?


  22. I don’t think you can take higher ed off the table–higher ed is driving middle class parents’ perceptions of, reactions to, and–especially–voting patterns and preferences for choice, charter, and magnet schools.

    When my twins were in 8th grade I was shocked to discover that choosing a high school was now akin to what I did for choosing a college. We live in Red Clay, so we visited Charter, Cab, AI High, McKean, Conrad, and DMA. That’s six different schools, all of which were recruiting on a college admissions basis (McKean, by the way, put on the very best recruiting night). And parents are starting their college visits now as early as 10th grade.

    What choice, charter, and magnets represent, in one sense (unless you see them ONLY as a racist attempt at segregation) is the downward penetration of the increasingly competitive higher ed model into high school and even middle school. College admissions “best practices” now tell us we have to start marketing toward your kids by 5th grade (think of us as academic cigarette manufacturers building brand loyalty).


  23. I’m more concerned with poverty and the way it creates a tipping point that sinks a school.

    That said, we didn’t view high school the way you did. My son is graduating in June from a traditional public school with no special focus like CSW, Cab, etc.. This weekend we will make our final decision on university. He’s been accepted at every school he’s applied to, with academic scholarships!, and will be majoring in engineering (mechanical or electrical, he’s not sure) and minoring in physics. Most schools are what you make of them.

    Which leads me to my next question… How many schools suffer a bad reputation due to adult trash talk (bad word choice, but you get my point). To me, what happened (in part) at Dickinson was a self-fulfilling prophecy. What I mean is that when the trash talk first started (many, many years ago) Dickinson didn’t deserve most of it.


  24. In Delaware the trash talk or the reputation of a school tends to run about 5 years out of sync with reality. About 15 years ago CR school district had a real issue with special education. Whereas the average special ed population in the state was running about 14% it was only 8% in CR because they wouldn’t classify a kid special needs if there was any conceivable way around it, and thus denied services to lots and lots of kids. This got turned around by a couple of pretty courageous administrators, but the reputation persisted for at least 5 years after the reality had changed.

    I could name schools that don’t deserve their current good reputations, but I won’t.

    What about poverty as the tipping point that sinks an entire district? That’s why the issue is so raw in Christina. It has something like 60-62% low income district-wide. There’s no tax base there to help them dig out.


  25. dontdestroychristina

    so why should DE embrace the proliferation of charters onto a district that is already on the edge as you appropriately note? it makes no sense.


  26. Which brings me back to consolidating school districts.

    I’m starting to forget what I’ve answered where. Hopping back and forth between blogs is challenging.


  27. so why should DE embrace the proliferation of charters onto a district that is already on the edge as you appropriately note? it makes no sense.

    I can think of three reasons (and this is a serious attempt to answer your question)

    1. Because–as in the infamous bucket of crabs example–several hundred families have had the luck to have their children placed into a nationally ranked school despite the district’s overall situation, and they are terrified that it is going to be taken away from them.

    2. Because even if you eliminated NCS tomorrow there is no reason to believe that either the district, the State, or the Feds would invest the resources Christina needs to break out of its decline. And even if they did, there wouldn’t be a significant difference for several years–which is too late for many parents with kids already in the system. So they again they are going to fight like hell to keep or expand NCS.

    3. And this is where you and I are probably in agreement over the problem if not the solution (also Kilroy)–there simply is no overall state educational strategic plan in Delaware. Nothing. Zip zero nada. We’ve got competing groups in a social darwinist situation for the best resources they can get for their own kids, and those parents organize and vote.

    The problem is that charter schools are only individual parts of the problem for Christina and the State. Over the past decade take a look at how many students the vo-tech system has siphoned out of Christina, or how many students have choiced out to Red Clay or Colonial. I don’t have the accurate numbers, but I have a strong suspicion that they actually dwarf the numbers that an NCS high school would take out of the district.

    Unfortunately, the best answer for Christina is what’s not going to happen: district lines need to be redrawn and the state’s educational funding model needs to be put on an equitable basis. The answer is pretty simple: you can’t expect Christina to do with $10,500/student with 60% low-income population what Brandywine does with over $13,000/student in a major white district that is only two-thirds the size, much less poverty, and the political connections to flout the neighborhood schools law.

    Frankly I think that (in complete disagreement with Kilroy) that only districts should be allowed to grant charters for schools. That way you could not have a charter placed inside a district that didn’t want to sponsor it.


  28. dontdestroychristina

    The crab bucket thing is just terrible Steve.


  29. Not sure how you mean that. I agree that it is a terrible image, precisely because it gives exactly the wrong cast to the motivation of the NCS parents. But it does capture how many of them feel–we’ve been granted an escape from impending doom, and everybody is trying to pull us back.

    But here’s where I differ from you: I read that entire transcript of the public comment. I will spot you that there may have been booing and catcalls that the transcript did not catch, if you will spot me the fact that Dr. Muqtiar Khan (he of the tennis court example) doesn’t represent anybody. (Do you know who he is and what his history is in Delaware? Have you ever read his editorials in the News Journal? Trust me, nobody in the NCS administration wanted him as a spokesman, and he is a complete outlier.)

    Aside from that what I read was fear–not racist fear, as in please don’t send our children into Newark High with the bad black people, but the fear of people who see themselves having a ladder to get their own kids out, and seeing people characterizing them as greedy racist parasites for wanting their own kids to get a good education despite living in a failing district.

    And they fully believe that if you (the editorial plural “you”) succeed in stoppng the expansion, that not only will their children have no comparable high school to attend, but that you will next try to put the rest of NCS out of business. While you’re calling them racists instead of trying to see them as equal victims of the failing Christina schools, they aren’t going to believe that you won’t try to shut down their school. They are not motivated by “racist goodness” or whatever the hell you called it before you took down that post, they are motivated by hope mutated into abject fear for their children.

    Here’s what I really think you, and Pandora, and Edwatcher, and a lot of other commenters/bloggers miss: human nature is wired so that I will only think of the good of the community AFTER I have secured the good of my own children and family. Read Stephen Pinker, the evolutionary scientist, sometime. Yes, “All Children Count,” but children that I am not related to, children that I will never meet or see, or children that I will encounter only at school events count for less to me than my own children. That’s not racism, that’s evolution in action. Deplore it if you will, wish it wasn’t so, but it is.

    [That’s why retirees will NEVER support a school referendum.]

    So how do you achieve reform? Find a way to structure it so that all children winning improves my children’s lot as well, and sell it to me. The abstract case, however compelling it may be to you, ain’t gonna do it in the end. They’ll outvote you every time.


  30. “Yes, “All Children Count,” but children that I am not related to, children that I will never meet or see, or children that I will encounter only at school events count for less to me than my own children. That’s not racism, that’s evolution in action. Deplore it if you will, wish it wasn’t so, but it is.” How true!
    DDC you have stated before that you think Newark Charter is a great school if it weren’t for discrimination. You are passionately upset about who is there, not about the schools academics or discipline itself. It would probably take me a while to say it, but I think you called it a great school. So actually the crab bucket analogy should totally be true to you.


  31. “find it” not “say it” that shoudl read.


  32. dontdestroychristina

    No, the crab bucket analogy is a demeaning tale when applied to humans. It suggests we, with brains and reason, will behave just like crustaceans when confronted with a non life threatening issue.

    It doesn’t make sense and insults CSD residents. Mr. Meece would dowell to stop telling that story. Though, from what I can tell from his e-mails and his smug public demeanor, he’s just a spoiled brat who is mad because he isn’t getting what he want WHEN he wants.

    There are serious issues with the charter law in Delaware. NCS is just one example. Unfortunately for them, they are the issue du jour, and in my district. So yes, the fight is on.

    This is why I deleted my blog posts from before today. Phase one is over, 34 more days for the battle of hearts and minds has begun.


  33. Who do you think you’re fooling? You deleted everything else on your blog because you knew it was disgusting and made you lose credibility. You probably invited Lowery to check it out and realized she might not dig your truck convoy video or your f bombs


  34. dontdestroychristina

    wrong again. it must kill you that i have gotten on the right side of the issue…and that Dr. Lowery has acted in concert with my feelings….


  35. the only thing that kills me is the thought of sending my kids to the school who let my nephew slip through the cracks until he was 16 and finally dropped out of school. He has been in jail twice already and has no hope for a future. (single dad, worked a lot, couldn’t be there enough and didn’t know his son was so far behind because the school kept passing him through)
    What kills me is the thought of my quirky little boy who loves school so much and feels so safe, having to go to a school where he might not feel that way and his love for learning could come to a screaching halt because our schools might fail him too when they allow bullies to rule.
    You don’t kill me. Actually, you have zero affect on me, I don’t give a shit what side you are on of anything.


  36. dontdestroychristina

    yep, i’m there alright.


  37. Dr. Lowery has acted in concert with my feelings….

    Don’t kid yourself. Dr. Lowry acted in concert with the Governor’s feelings about having a few weeks to work on avoiding a lawsuit.

    As for the battle for hearts and minds, if you think the crab bucket story was horrible in terms of PR, imagine how your crude and flagrant accusations of racism come across to the grown-ups who actually have to make these decisions?

    That I expect no quarter and I give none BS sounds really good to some folks in a blog thread, but doesn’t actually influence anybody. I’d lay you odds that Lillian Lowry could pass a lie detector test that she’s never even heard of you.


  38. dontdestroychristina

    she definitely has never met me personally, but I know the DOE is reading the blog…..


  39. Don’t confuse getting hits from DOE with influence, or assume that the people reading it are either at the decision-making level or are taking it seriously.

    Delawareliberal is the big dog in terms of blogs in this State, and the hits they have took years, multiple contributors, and lots of diligent work to achieve (I know; for three years I ran the political blog that was number two to DL in terms of hits, and I rarely got anywhere close.) You’ve gotten about 9,600 hits according to your stat, but you don’t even show up on Alexa, and I suspect your hits by unique visitors don’t surpass 50-60 in a given day. Individual blog posts that Pandora writes will have a readership that is easily 10-20x yours or more.

    Kilroy’s is the ONLY education blog taken seriously in this state by significant numbers of people (with an honorable mention to Transparent Christina), and that’s because Kilroy has (a) cultivated his sources carefully; (b) does his homework; and (c) has in real life established a track record of actually contributing big time to public education in his district. He’s too modest to talk about it here very much, but his alter ego was one of the movers behind Red Clay’s financial recovery and he has been involved at other levels for years. Aside from that, for all the brickbats he throws around here, everybody in Delaware knows that in person Kilroy would never be impolite or inappropriate to anybody–including Jack Markell.

    Blogs as being politically influential in Delaware politics are still only in their infancy (OK, Delawareliberal is probably at least a toddler). If you doubt that, consider: both Kilroy and Pandora did massive blogging against Red Clay’s Graves Road school referendum item, and garnered 90% of the support in the blogging community.

    Yet the referendum question passed quite easily.


  40. dontdestroychristina

    i’m one month old and niche. I’ll never get Alexa stats of note, I just need to get to 7 folks in Dover Steve. The posts tweet out via @DDCNCS and several go directly to @DEStateBoardEd I will not argue your point on reach, but I am a blip on the radar screen.

    Blips can sometimes get things done: Just ask Duke and Missouri.


  41. Why do you keep deleting shit, DDC? I’m new to your party, but I thought I’d ask that. I’ll also add that while I agree with some of your sentiment, I disagree with the vitriol and rhetoric you’ve employed to make those points. Then you up and delete all of it? If you want to play with the big boys, then that shit needs to stop.

    Even at my most obnoxiously nasty, I still maintained a sense of humor about me that allowed me to have sensible face-to-face dialogue with those with whom I disagreed.

    I read somewhere you


  42. (shit hit post too soon!)

    I read somewhere you outed someone via IP address? So not cool. I really don’t give a good goddamn what your reason is because that’s just not cool. You can accomplish much more without those tactics.

    Welcome to the blogosphere. It can be a little chaotic and anarchic, but please try and acquaint yourself with some of the unwritten “rules of the road.”


  43. Barbara J. Finnan

    While I have read, but tried to refrain from entering the truly nasty exchanges between pro and anti charter devotees, I must take issue with the statement you made, Steve, that retirees would never support/vote for a referendum. Such universal statements are unacceptable almost no matter what the context is because if there is even one exception, then it’s wrong. Perhaps I’m the only retiree who votes and supports referendums, but there it is. In addition, my children are grown and my grandchildren live in another state – none of which precludes my anger at the lack of interest, accountability, or effort on the part of our elected and appointed administrators to work for all children. When my children were still in public school and I was teaching in a high poverty school, I advocated for my students as much as for my own children. To me, there is no problem doing both, unless you suffer from “I’ve got mine, go get your own syndrome”. I don’t know who most of you are, but I find that although your comments contain grains of truth that I agree with, Steve, you seem extremely angry about the entire discussion. The descent into name calling, etc., does not move this much needed discussion forward as it needs to be. Rather it impedes it.

    Segregation is illegal, even according to DoE, so why are they shocked or surprised that the charters they’ve granted have moved our population back in that direction? This strikes me as specious beyond belief. No, a minority child, of whatever race, does not have to sit in a room with a white child to learn.

    The problem is not actually race today as much as it is poverty. But there is no question for me that the “Powers That Be” only give lip service to improving the schools where more is needed. The statement regarding the need for equity in a preceding comment is, literally, on the money. By using charter in the way that the state and Red Clay (the only district that has chartered so far) have has created the imbalance that is so obvious today. You are all angry at the wrong people. The attraction of a charter with a specific focus that appeals to race as much as education is deliberate. When Odyssey presented it’s arguments in favor of its charter application, the leaders, and I attended that Board meeting, were so disdainful of having “their” children subjected to the poor education in Red Clay’s regular schools that the insulting attitude was made more than clear. Imagine how that, with the Board smiling on in welcome, made clear where Red Clay’s actual focus was. Certainly not on its high poverty schools. Whether it’s Kuumba or another charter weighted in favor of black students, the argument remains the same. If the effort that is needed was truly made in our regular schools, then charters, etc., would be less attractive and segregation would not be an issue – again. But money talks and business has found a lucrative place in education and they are not about to let go. From testing to text books to consultants, etc., you may all think this is about what’s best for the kids. And you’re wrong. Follow the money.


  44. Give me a break, Barbara. You take issue with my statement that retirees won’t support referenda, which is demonstrably true as a demographic voting block, and say one should never make such universal statements, then you proceed to make universal statements about virtually everybody involved in the charter school movement.

    The “Powers that be” pay only “lip service”–according to your standard if I can find even one for whom that’s not true (let’s say John Kowalko) you have no right to make the observation!? Charter school advocates are disdainful of the public schools? Obviously you don’t talk to or acknowledge many parents (and teachers) who have feet firmly planted in both worlds.

    Of course money is the issue. I’ve been having that discussion at length with Pandora over at DL. I watched John Tanner at then-DPI design the DSTP, award the contract to a company, and then leave to work for that company weeks later. I watched as Irene Metz hired all the “little red schoolhouse” folks at DOE who had previously employed her as a consultant. I fought with the DuPont dominance of the standards movements in the early 1990s, when two of the co-chairs on the original curriculum framework commissions wanted us to issue a report calling for the virtual elimination of the arts in the public schools because they weren’t useful for preparing employees for entry level positions.

    But your whole “if the effort was made in our public schools” argument is ideologically based, not data based. There are not unlimited tax dollars available to the public schools, and there never will be. Even if there were, there’s little evidence that massive spending brings results. Delaware is among the highest per capita spenders in the nation, and gets mediocre results. Brandywine spends 30% more per student than Red Clay, has a lower poverty level, and a smaller district–yet the results the two districts achieve are statistically indistiguishable in terms of graduation rates and most other indicators.

    I’m not angry at anybody, but I am awfully tired of people who make it all so simple. Your formula: eliminate charters and business influence in the schools, then provide more resources to the public schools and all would be well is as simplistic an answer for a complex situation as anybody from the charter school movement has ever offered.


  45. dontdestroychristina

    @mike since you don’t give a goddamn what my reasons are, i’ll just say the delete and restart was about the next phase of the issue. Dr. lowery did the right thing so we’re off. I’d probably out someone again because I don’t pay by the rule. I am not really a blogger.

    I decided that this issue was so important I needed to lend a voice and that in Delaware that meant finding a way to get Kilroy’s blog abuzz. So, I made some CRAZY posts, attacking policy makers and policy. Then the NCS parents joined the fray. Had one guy literally have an anonymous conversation with himself with 8 handles all under one IP. I shut down comments for all. Then Kilroy’s went nuts! And they were firebombing me on Kilroy. While the vitriol level was high, what became more clear was that the issue had been “ignited”. So I kept on doing it. And will keep doing it.

    The outings were based on showing that people, working on the public dime, were surfing my blog to make comments. I find that disgusting. Steve doesn’t, so I published his DSU IP address too.

    All in all, the outings are at my lowest level of concern. I am not here for etiquette, It doesn’t work for issues like this. and oh my does it not work for NCS parents. They were one sick group of advocates in Dover on 3/7/12. Saw it with my own eyes. So sympathy is not an option.

    The issue are, were, and will be: segregation, unfettered access, free lunch and “decorum the NCS way!” My blog etiquette will only be an issue for others.

    They don’t have to read. But I have a feeling they will……back to my jasmine tea and my March Cosmo!


  46. The outing of commenters is wrong, DDC. There is no justification for it. Blogger’s may be considered pirates, but we do live by a code. If you won’t accept those rules, or think they don’t apply to you then *sigh* consider this…

    The issue you care so dearly about is taking a back seat to “you.” No one is discussing NCS with you – they are discussing you. You have become the issue.

    You seem passionate about this issue. Will that passion, and your blog, go away once NCS’s expansion is approved?


  47. dontdestroychristina

    I am in this to see/stir up the pathway to a revision of the law.


  48. Greg Mazzotta

    CharterMom, Pandora, Steve,
    This link may provide some insight as to
    (Barack Obama Charter )School Performance…


  49. dontdestroychristina
    • Greg Mazzotta


      The Barack Obama Charter is lead by…

      Richard DeLorenzo – Education Director

      Under Richard “Rich” DeLorenzo’s leadership as Superintendent
      for 1994 to 2004, Chugach School Districtmade dramatic changes
      in its approach to education yielding phenomenal results in both academic achievement and transitional skills. Community standards linked with state and national standards, effective instruction, meaningful assessment, and a strong accountability system were
      at the forefront of this reform effort, which culminated in Chugach becoming the only K-12 district to receive the New American High School Award and one of the first two school districts to receive the highly coveted Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

      Rich has more than twenty-four years of experience working with
      high risk youth and students with disabilities of all ages in a wide variety of settings, from urban classrooms of 30 multi-age elementary students to rural school settings of “at-risk” secondary pupils. Often described as a visionary, Mr. DeLorenzo has the unique ability to involve others in his dreams for advancing the educational system specifically, making changes thought to be impossible a reality.

      Due to his success at Chugach, Rich has captured the attention of many organizations. Internationally, He has been invited to present in several different countries, including India, Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Japan, and England.

      Rich co-founded the Re-Inventing Schools Coalition (RISC), whose mission is to help other educational systems reinvent themselves so that every child has the opportunity to achieve his or her dreams.


  50. dontdestroychristina

    Ok, he sounds like a good guy, so why all the screening info on the app and enrollment form? Can you get us enrollment stats compared to surrounding schools?


  51. DDC try reading the enrollment procedures polices and the suspension/expulsion policies. The enrollment is by third-party supervised lottery, and the EEO policies of the school (and the State) prohibit discrimination based on the information in those applications. The suspension/expulsion process is more rigidly protective of due process rights for students than the ones in most public schools in Delaware.

    Kilroy believes that charter schools should not have any access to students’ prior records. I disagree, but there’s absolutely nothing in here to show that this school uses that information to screen kids out of the lottery. The burden of proof lies on the people making that accusation.

    Although one does wonder if you have to ask Barack Obama to attach his name to your school. . . .


  52. Greg Mazzotta

    The answer to your two questions is,,,NO, and besides, we just are getting acquainted. However, you might find Rich’s work in 2001 of interest…

    It appears that innovation is catching on world-wide.


  53. dontdestroychristina

    poverty eliminator?

    Q. Is transportation for BOCS students provided by the school?

    A. At this time, all families must make their own arrangements to ensure their student arrives at school and returns home safely. BOCS will utilize staff and volunteers on the school property and immediately surrounding the campus to assist with their safety.


  54. Greg Mazzotta


    Your point about the naming of Barack Obama was associated
    with the fact that Congress in 1999 invited both Health Care and Education to participate in our country’s highest aware for Performance Excellence AND the only award The President,
    himself, presents to the recipients.

    It seems that they wanted to leverage the student achievements
    and operational results of the 2001 Role Model Schools that year ad Chugash was one of three.

    FYI, at DSU, your (Middle States) self study is based upon this model.
    Also, Delaware historians will note that in 1994, New castle Vo-Tech
    was a recipient of the DE State Quality Award program (now defunct).


  55. DDC, while I agree overall with the issue of transportation, does the fact that this school sits smack in the middle of Compton, one of the poorest areas in LA mean anything to you?

    The student population of the school is 87% Free or Reduced Lunch; the school is 79% African-American and 19% Latino–and so is Compton. If you look at the demographics of the public schools in the area they are no different.

    so it hardly looks like they are cherry-picking.

    On the other hand, the school has been criticized for low test scores, an inability to work with special needs students, and a high teacher-student ratio.

    So there’s as much of an honest answer to your questions as I can pull up in two minutes worth of research.

    I would not that what I can see of the Compton school district (not just BOCS) makes Christina’s schools look like Harvard by comparison, which is a good reminder that no matter how low you think you are in the food chain there is always somebody further down.


  56. DDC bear with me, I put a comment with links that directly answers your questions but the links have caught it in moderation.


  57. Greg,

    If you look at the, ahem, rather modest record of the BOCS to this point in terms of achievement and meeting special needs, you might conclude that Barack would be happier with it named after Joe Biden or John McCain. 🙂


    • Greg Mazzotta

      Steve, really…is this you best first impression (with me)… as I’m
      giving you such good information and insight here?

      BTW, I believe the model was adopted in 2010 if my research is correct. Also, it’s Iris Metts, former SecED

      The more substantial conversation need to be:
      – Where’s Delaware with Quality Education
      – What STEM initiatives are in place?
      – Will DSU be accredited?
      – The (Baldrige) Core Values help guide an organization towards
      a shared vision as versus the confusion you and others are expressing.

      To Dana’s point, I was with the Education Magisterium (Director)
      of The Netherlands and they’re BENCHMARKING Finland.
      – WHO is Delaware BENCHMARKING?


  58. “Will DSU be accredited?”

    DSU is accredited, Greg. This is a re-accreditation visit, a cyclical visit that all universities undergo. Having been involved in the process, seen the documents, and met the accreditation team, plus having behind DSU accreditation of its teacher ed program by NCATE and its college of business by AACHB within the past two years, there’s little doubt about the outcome.

    You have been clear in various blog posts, Greg, that you pretty much buy into Quality Education as the Holy Grail, and that’s OK. But it places nobody else under compulsion to buy into it.

    Please try to avoid drawing conclusions about my typo with Iris Metts’ last name when your own first sentence includes one.


    • Greg Mazzotta

      Thanks for following my posts…I write to inform, and occasionally error, and, if substantive, offer an “errata”. Thought you might take the correction (Metts) graciously like the intent it was offered.

      The Holy Grail you cite is really the Plan-Do-Study-Act – the
      Shrewheart Cycle – is the basis, along with others provide a
      foundation for Quality Education. I’m more than a purchaser.

      The Historically Black Colleges were an early adopter of Baldrige
      as demonstrated by the leadership at Howard.

      I’ve witnessed this nationally and recently, globally and express
      my dis-appointment with DE Education Leaders for not even window shopping.

      I remain eager to provide facts, case studies, and info to help
      leaders understand this methodology dating back to 1983
      when W. Edwards Deming was invited to speak with a small
      group of Superintendents in New England.


  59. Greg, to put this as gently as possible: Pandora and even DDC come across as concerned parents.

    Your posts come across as infomercials.


  60. kilroysdelaware

    “Frankly I think that (in complete disagreement with Kilroy) that only districts should be allowed to grant charters for schools. That way you could not have a charter placed inside a district that didn’t want to sponsor it.”

    I live and learn and open enough to move from positions. Last year’s DOE fiasco with Reach and Pencader that was nothing more than a DOE Dan ego power trip makes me think twice! Regardless of the charter school debate, Red Clay chartered schools have that flexibility promised in the charter law. DOE has lost the capacity to be effective i many areas. Chuck Baldwin did express how he can do his job much better without DOE’s over-site. Red Clay students do benefit from CSW Red Clay preference not 100% but growing. If CSW is a Red Clay school than Red Clay student must come first and perhaps that’s the trend we need to see with new charter schools,

    The downside is board members who align them selves with the charter school reformer seems so fixated pleasing them that the disregard the impact charters may have on their existing school. Dickinson failures are a direct results of CSW and a choice program that pacifies those who demand a seat in A.I.H.S. (relax just expressing myself) Bottom-line there is an impact and the old Red Clay guard seemed not to care, Personally I would like to see CSW go 6-12 but they do need to reach out to students struggling but show real potential. I have issues with the charter school law not with the charter concept. Baldwin knows this and knows my passion for what I feel is just. I see the charter queen in action at Fridays’s forum and they better find a new spokesperson! I don’t buy the BS life is not fair but let’s not drag those down who found an escape.


  61. Kilroy (and DDC), here’s how I would fix the NCS situation if I ran the zoo (and note that I am not offering this as a global fix for all charters in the state):

    1. Entrance to NCS shall be by opt-out rather than opt-in lottery. In other words, every Christina student within its zone (however defined) will be automatically entered in the lottery each year. Parents may choose to opt out if they wish. When the lottery is conducted by a third party, parents will have 2 weeks to signify acceptance or their child’s name will be dropped and we move down to the wait list. Sibling preference will be maintained.

    2. If the original lottery pool of winners is more than one standard deviation below the surrounding schools with regard to low-income or special education students, students from those categories will be given preference on the waitlist until the variation disappears.

    3. If NCS expands to include a high school, there will be a separate lottery for entrance into the 9th grade. Sibling preference will be maintained.

    4. NCS will be required to have a transportation plan that guarantees all low-income families of a bus stop within one mile or less of their residence.

    5. NCS expulsions and exclusions must be approved by the Christina School Board, and will be characterized not as “return to the district” but as expulsions or exclusions from the district.

    6. No child will ever be required to sign a Free/Reduced Lunch waiver to attend NCS; NCS will be in full compliance with F/RL.

    #4 and #5 are, in particular, why I think districts should be chartering the schools.

    I don’t think that’s so difficult. And what’s amazing, for all the rhetoric, I don’t think that would find DDC or Pandora so far away from me.


  62. Barbara J. Finnan

    Other things have kept me busy, but I really want to point out to Steve that nowhere in my statement did I condemn all charters and charter supporters. I did criticize the lack of civility, and sometimes the language during what should be, one hopes, a genuine concern about how to really improve our schools. In a face-to-face, language can be whatever, and I cannot be shocked by any of it. I make allowances for Kilroy because he is so passionately trying to be fair to all. So, Steve, if you would like to meet where you can harangue me in person, just name the time and place. Yes, my comment about the powers that be was broad and didn’t include the few like Kowalski who do seem to have all the kids in mind when they make decisions. Since they are so few I probably should have listed the exceptions so you’d be happier. Yes, money is an issue in improving all our regular schools, and that’s an excuse why? We can lower a lightering fee to a mere $25 but there’s no money for Laurel? Yes, we spend a lot of money here in Delaware, but where is it spent? It certainly doesn’t reach the classroom. You, while condemning me as anti-charter, for which you have no true basis, seem equally disdainful of the regular schools. I, too, have memories of Pat Forgione, Iris Metts, et. al., and I do know the background of the Charter Law, perhaps even better than some others. I am not focused on CSW or NCS in any discussion of charters. They are definitely good schools – for good reasons. My focus is and will remain on what should be provided for all the students in public education. Why that makes you think I’m anti-charter will have to be your problem. If treating everyone with a wider view of what is needed in education, according to you, makes them anti-charter then I guess I’m there. Finally, you are so very adept at picking out the one or two points to focus on that irritate you and to ignore the main ideas of someone else’s entry (and not just mine, i. e. correcting spelling? Really?) that I still would like to know who you are and what your background is in education/business. Yet, somehow, I’ve yet to read anywhere in your statements any acknowledgments that you might be either in error or mistaken. Must be nice to be omniscient. Feel free to get personal again.


  63. Barbara J. Finnan

    BYW: Steve, if you are the Newton I believe you to be, give my regards to Faith, Please.