Governor Jack Markell, the state board of education’s approval of Newark Charter School’s expansion was the right vote. The issues surrounding the approval are results of flaws within the charter school law. You and I know who penned that law and it wasn’t in the interest of fair and equitable education.
The issue of diversity in student population has been ongoing and you yourself raised concerns about re-segregation. I support diversity and see the charter school law that allows segregation even by choice counterproductive.
From the News Journal; “Lowery issued her recommendation last week to allow the expansion as long as Newark Charter met certain conditions to diversify its student body. Without specifying how it should accomplish this, Lowery said Newark Charter must do significant outreach to attract more minority applicants. Currently, about a third of the students are racial or ethnic minorities. The school also will need to add free and reduced-price lunches for low-income students, a change charter school leaders had agreed to during the application process”.
Lowery’s position has merit but it is only a reaction to The American Civil Liberties Union of Delaware complaint not the obvious concern thats been brewing for years. Jack you and Lowery can brushoff complaints and concerns from the people but when organizations step-in the issues become a concern because of potential political backlash on you. However, in the scope of things, Lowery opened a can of worms that go far beyond Newark Charter School and questions the entire charter school system. The sad part is, the new head of the Delaware Charter Schools Network is out of touch and lacks real capacity for understanding the issues. Currently she is rallying parents to descend on Dover to asked for more funding for charter schools. Hello queen, the roof is on fire and asking for buckets of money is wrongheaded.
Jack, in no way what I am about to say is supporting Newark Charter School. Lowery’s conditions on Newark Charter School to create a more diversified student population is illegal. Lowery is imposing stipulations on one school charter school whereas it needs to be on all charter schools. Under Title 14, Chapter 5, Section 506 Restrictions that pertains to student admission preference, those preference comes with the word “may”! Lowery is imposing the word “must”. The worms are crawling out of the can Jack! Are we heading to a law where charter schools student population “must” be reflective of the racial and ethic diversity of the surrounding area of 5 miles at best? If that were the case, then we need to question schools near 100% African-American. Hey professor need your help here. I am not trying to make this sound like reverse discrimination but rather highlight the concerns many raised about re-segregation. Lowery actions puts the Charter School of Wilmington is direct fire of similar action. Red Clay School District is the approving and oversight authority for Charter School of Wilmington and may have to align itself with that of Secretary Lowery if in fact what she has requested of Newark Charter School is legal. Her actions suggest Newark Charter School is circumventing the intent of desegregation.
Jack, do we need changes in the charter school laws? Yes! You may see me as opposition to your administration and perhaps charter schools. But we can agree on the first part! During our phone conversations prior to the your primary elections against John Carney you led me to believe you were in full charge and had an education plan with great concerns regarding the achievement-gap. I did raise concerns about the influence of the business round-table and Rodel by name. Damn Jack, I took the bait and jumped political ship and voted for you. That was a bold move for someone who had a leadership position in the opposing party. What I did was put what I thought was social justice before politics. But, I was hoodwinked by your obsessive ego that is fixated on future political goals. Jack keeping your naysayer blinders on keeps you from being an effective leader. You are an obvious shoe-in for a second term isn’t about your success but rather the opposition’s failure to call you out on critical education issues. Education represents nearly one-third the state budget and is the key to Delaware’s economic future. Its kind of odd there is no republican response to all these failures in your education plans and cracks in the charter school foundation. You and I know the republican company you keep and the obvious education reform connection joins the left and the right. Skipper called you the “change agent” but in reality you are his pool boy. Jack, I think its time for you to man-up and form OMG yes, a committee to review what changes we need in the charter school law and how to implement them allowing existing charter schools to adapt rather than shoving a new law up their asses.
Jack, beside concerns with the charter school laws we have issue with the Delaware Department of Education leadership capacity when it comes to the charter school division. Its time to purge those inflicted with the little man syndrome. Also, the Delaware Department of Education mission should be partnership and support. We must end this ridged authoritarian posture the department has taken. I am all for giving people in organization empowerment to get the job done at the same time reducing the need for micromanagement. But when employee of DE DOE act as if they have the power of elected officials we have a problem. Jack, Delaware education is at its best when assigned leaders are at their’s. You make Lillian Lowery and obvious political puppet and embedded Rodel clones that in my opinion holds her back from earning the respect for the position and more importantly as a key leader in Delaware’s education. Everyone I meet and discuss education issues with agree Lillian Lowery is a wonderful person. But sorry to say, the political poison in the air holds her back from being a great leader which is a loss to all of us.
Jack, we can’t call charter schools public schools if they don’t want to be one! Charter schools that target at-risk students are more prone to fail than those who cherry pick. School ratings are important but can stigmatize a good school. A successful school plan that finds the means to extract the best and brightest or students with engaged parents ins’t really a successful school but rather successful at manipulating the system. The Delaware charter school law is nothing more that a deck of cards that are marked. We need a simple charter school law that give sibling preferences and preferences to employees children but end it there! Applying to a charter school should be as simple as applying to a traditional public school. There should be no question on an application such as handicap, income and current grades. Those things shouldn’t have anything to do with enrolling in a public school. Once in, those records will indicated what services students will need. Let’s just called it blind-justice school admissions. Trust in the system starts with trust in the people who manage those systems. Allowing bankers to run our schools is nothing more than allowing the Mafia to run our police departments.