To fix our schools, we need solutions, not sound bites by John M, Young (John M. Young is a member of the Christina School Board.)
Delaware’s RTTT initiatives are not doing as well as our Governor thinks they are (Professional Learning Communities, teacher eval, teacher retention) nor as bad as others think (DCAS testing, Partnership Zone), but the rhetoric is getting steep. Referring to teachers as human capital, not holding data coaches accountable, and masking “turnarounds” inside of “transformations” is eroding local control, betraying trusts and stiffening the inertia.
Shit! Data Coaches are nothing but spies for building administrators! As they help teachers utilize DCAS data they are also keeping notes on teacher performance. Also, when Race to The Top funding dries-up in two-years data coaches will be no more! They say current data coaches are training district personnel how to be data coaches. But again, when money is gone so is the positions. I’ll be damned if local taxpayers will pick up the tab! FYI. Markell has this thing about keeping his naysayer blinders on he lives in a bubble of real denial. The self-proclaimed Delaware education czar is in over his head! Don’t worry Jack, Pete and rePete have your $$$$ back!
Mostly though, I feel the root cause of much of Delaware’s simmering discontent is the single most misused phrase of all in this education debate: status quo. I hereby submit that it says far more about those who use it than those it is intended to describe. It is intellectually dishonest and only serves to widen the chasm between Dover and our communities. Those inside the system also want it to get better.
The root cause in the disconnect is the lack of capacity at the Delaware Department of Education. Hidden behind the neckline of key DE DOE officials is puppet strings. And how in the hell could the charter school review committee approve a charter school application that doesn’t have the means to help free and reduce lunch students? It’s really not the applicants fault by is the fault of people who seem to lack real passion for children. Markell has allowed the federal government full control of Delaware schools for 9-12% of total funding. What a deal for 100% control. Local school board members goes through the motions with no real empower to local flexibility. I was there at Red Clay’s RTTT MOU board meeting where DOE Dan said ether vote yes to the MOU of fund Race to The Top embedded in new state education regulations. One board member “Becnel” voted no! The others kind of did the right thing under the circumstances. The when it’s all said and done DSEA Judas comes up smelling like a rose and was knighted into the DE DOE round-table.
Actually, one could effectively argue that forcing constant change upon schools from politicians and business leaders is the real status quo in American public education. In this regard, Delaware is not a leader, but rather just a sad, uninventive follower.
Delaware is great but leaders like Markell driven by personal political ambition should be tared and feathered! He uses the backs of the heads of poor Delaware students as stepping stones to Washington. When Markell’s political finances like Rodel and the business round table forked over some campaign contributions they stuffed the blue-print for Delaware school reform in his pack pocket. Markell had the nerve to bring a banker to the Race to The Top Washington USDOE interviews.
Educators need to lead the way to better schools, not us politicians: federal, state or local. We need to seek a better understanding of the landscape of our schools and then provide solutions, not sound bites. Our students deserve nothing less.
Those who signed the Race to The Top MOU and PZ Plans did the crime and now have to pay do time. And they’ll endorse Markell once again.
Governor we all want better schools.
Help us get it right in the classroom: holding court with Arne Duncan, following his polarizing rhetoric, and deploying his unproven reforms is a poor excuse for state leadership. He hasn’t fixed a school in his life.
Sorry Mr. Young Markell’s Arne Duncan knee pads has a few good miles left on it.
If you really want to do what he only claims to have done, and to remove the political pretense that drives all of our discussions here in Delaware, then please take your eyes off Washington, D.C., because that’s where important work like this doesn’t get done. See entire article