Daily Archives: March 29, 2012

The shock and awe of dontdestroychristina: Delaware charter school debate

I’ve been getting tons of private E-mails asking that I block dontdestroychristina from commenting and from my blog roll.

I’ll admit she does take things to the edge and beyond. But I think if you are afraid of dontsestrouchristina you must also be afraid of the dark.

Kilroy has never called for an end of charter schools in Delaware but has some serious reservations about the charter school laws. Steve Newton has taken the time to point-out some deep views and opiniosn on charter schools using some data he feels relevant. Dontdestroychristina pretty much goes for the heart with concerns of racism and elitism associated with charter schools.

Taking all in to consideration, I feel it comes down to one real hard question. If charter schools were to be allowed to expand unchecked for the next 10-20 years what will the impact be on traditional charter schools?

We do see some school districts taking proactive action to compete with charters such as with Dickinson High School. Though Race to The Top might come into play with Dickinson the fact remains transformation had begun before the signing of the RTTT MOU. Red Clay also transformed Conrad Middle School into a grade6-12 magnet school and I know for a natural fact that process began way before Obama and Arne Duncan came to power. The reality of Red Clay is NCLB actaully worked to an extent. But for Conrad there is an ugly twist Conrad continues to shed black students. Does Red Clay feel poor minorities are stupid and not see how the new Conrad rolled them under the bus? 

The community has a voice if they chose to stand. Just like what Newark Charter parents did at the last DE DOE charter review meeting. The voice of the community doesn’t always win out. But that doesn’t mean those who feel their views weren’t considered or taken serious should just wither away. There is no doubt a real battle going on with charter vs traditional schools.

If Delaware charter school movement goes unchecked for the next 10-20 years and more charter school added each year traditional schools would crumble. Sounds real good for charter school reformers. But do make note, those charter schools failing to make the grade will also crumble. Some say students are the victims of traditional public schools but yet when a charter school is forced closed it for the kids. Delaware charter school law nor the Delaware Department of Education have no safety-nets to address what happens to those students when charters are forced closed. They try to find other charter schools or forced back to traditional public schools. The state has no plans to ensure those students be placed in schools rate “commendable” or “superior”. Sorry folks, I don’t think the life is not fair analogy should apply. I think some of dontdestroychristina point is, Newark Charter school parents seem to have no concerns with life outside their happy bubble. Gathering coats and food for the poor at holiday time doesn’t always cut it. But parents first instinct is to protect their own and that’s human nature. But when it comes to education many parents don’t see the connection that they must protect their children’s right quality education. Even in the poorest of poor charter school parents see the value of wanting a quality education. Now we look at the re-segregation concerns of charter school. If charter schools were to be the save all why does academic performance seem higher in schools with low poverty than ones with? But always exceptions to the rules. Charter schools nor traditional public schools cure the impact of “existing” poverty. Education is certainly a ticket out of poverty but the lesson plan must include parents and community leaders and charter schools aren’t relevant to that dialogue. Are we rebuilding the Titanic with the same blueprint as the old?

Red Clay uses the failure of a school to justify it’s transformation but were there agendas to make sure a school failed to reopen as a charter or magnet? Dickinson failures could be a result of Red Clay’s charter school obsession in that it failed to see the impact Charter School of Wilmington and a Choice school program. It was the Red Clay school board who allowed Choice expansion at A.I.H.S to a point more space would be added to accommodate those “in Red Clay” who didn’t want to attend Dickinson or Mckean? Yes indeed there were board members who raised concerned. But let’s no forget they were voting on the recommendations of their super. The serious questions might be with the supers.  There are serious reservations about Red Clay school board’s role (some) in charter school expansion. Any charter equation should be part of the total district reform with though to overall impact. That didn’t happen in Red Clay with the last school board. And you can see where a few former board members are today! They seemed to follow their hearts. Indeed their could have be charter Trojan horses within Red Clay. Why are some board member seem to be working with charter school reformist outside the district circle. Yet, let’s no forget school board members are elected public officials that service the interest of the “community”. Charter board of directors are appointed and pretty much serve the interest of the “school”. However, there are charter school leaders and board members who work for the expansion of charter schools in general. 

OK, we’re 20 years out and there are now at-least 100 new Delaware charter schools. Who can describe what traditional public schools in Delaware look like?           Should Delaware continue charter school expansion without a serious impact plan address some of today’s charter concerns?

Dontdestroychristina might be a bit ugly and insulting but there are some ugly truths about Delaware school reform that includes charter school impact. Delaware government’s role in education is to ensure fair and equatable education for all Delaware school age children and they shouldn’t buy into Meece’s baskets of crabs. We’re talking humans here and human impact.  

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