Many thanks to everyone who took time out of their busy schedule to attend tonight’s public hearing in Dover. The room was filled with Pencader supporters from all different constituencies. Each speaker eloquently chronicled their ties to the school and their reasons for wanting the school to remain open. The remarks were passionate, clearly articulated, and framed in a respectful tone. I was especially proud of the students who summoned the courage to speak in front of the large audience and their poise under pressure was gratifying to watch and a glowing tribute to the school.
In addition, representatives from the Charter School of Wilmington, Providence Creek, and the DE Charter School Network publicly gave the school their support. Board members discussed how much they have learned about the teachers and students in the short time they have gotten to know them. In short, I left feeling we had delivered a powerful, moving opening act.
Now, it is time for the second act. I hope that we see even more people at the Wednesday evening hearing at Del Tech. The Monday speakers have set the bar high, but we have countless more “stories” that will make their way into the record on Wednesday. Thanks to all of the parents who helped spread the word about the two meetings. Their hard work paid off tonight and with 48 more hours to fan the flames, we will fill the rooms at Del Tech, too.
See everyone on Wednesday!
They say all is fair in love ad war and if Pencader can pull-of a hat trick more power to them. At the end of the day power belongs to the people!
Attached is the Delaware Department of Education’s Charter School Accountability Committee’s January 11. 2013 Final Report that states, “The Charter School Accountability Committee recommended that the charter for Pencader Business and Finance Charter High School be revoked”.
Criterion 1: Governance & Administration – NOT MET
Criterion 3: Mission, Goals, Educational Objectives – NOT MET
Criterion 6: Educational Program and Student Performance – NOT MET
Criterion 7: Serving Students with Special Needs – MET
Criterion 8: Economic Viability – MET WITH A CONDITION
Criterion 9: Administrative and Financial Operations – NOT MET
The committee’s vote to revoke Pencader’s charter is a “recommendation” and is not the final say. The public meeting is to give the general public, parent and students of the charter school, advocates for and against charter schools and anyone with an opinion to weigh in. From there the Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy weighs all the committee reports, the committee’s recommendation and the public input to formulate his final recommendation the Delaware State Board of Education who has holds the vote to allow Pencader to stay open or vote to close. That vote will come February 21, 2013.
Being a Delaware native I can tell you public opinion carriers a lot weigh and in Pencader’s case the support of Delaware’s most successful charter school, Charter School of Wilmington and the Delaware Charter Schools Network whose governing board has some power-hitters will help save the day for Pencader.
Kilroy tries to weigh the meter of closure or not as the events unfold. Up until now it appeared Pencader would closed and I put 90% rating on that. I knew the Delaware Charter Schools Network would come out in support of Pencader but was a bit surprised Pencader reported Charter School of Wilmington got involved. This is a game changer when you have the most successful charter school reaching in the quicksand to save the most unsuccessful (governance) charter school. But do make note, the current Pencader board isn’t at fault for what led Pencader to be put on review. Pencader never met the conditions set by the last review. If the current board is guilty of anything it would be not advancing transparency and approving a FY2013 final budget based on September 30, 2012 student count among other transparency requirements.
All and all, Delaware is at a crossroad with the charter school approval and oversight process. DE DOE claims to have set a framework that guides decision making but at the end of the day public opinion can override any framework, Is this process fair and just? Well, I do remember in 2011 many of us used public voice to save Pencader from closure. Some blame us for allowing Pencader to continue the cycle of failure to get us right back here, on the verge of closure. Kilroy was hero back them but now “Killjoy” aka coded threat not to show his face at the public meetings is the enemy.
Pencader may have structural problems however, the Delaware Department of Education has not proven to be a partner in the way of providing technical assistance. DE DOE pointed out areas of concern using their framework technique but failed to offer technical assistance in resolving those issues. As far as the financial concerns DE DOE failed to send in the FRT as required by law. Though it would have perceived to be punitive the fact remains the FRT would have up-righted Pencader financial governance and could have offer a loan as they did with Christina and Red Clay school district whom both failed financial at the hands of failed leadership. If the state board votes closure Pencader can use this in an appeal.
There is this argument that traditional public schools are too big to fail and charter schools should not be offered assistance and be allowed to fail. DE DOE has proven a state takeover of a charter school is not a good option. DE DOE managment of Moyer during that state takeover was a complete failure and couldn’t survive a charter school review using the same framework used on Pencader. However, Moyer is out of state hands and under an new charter group and is making some forward progress. Hopefully we’ll see better transparency. Like with Pencader if Pencader survives closure, parents need to push transparency. We shouldn’t have to pour kool-aid and hold seminars to educate parents as to what’s going on! They should know!
If Pencader can pull off another successful charge up the hill I’ll put Pencader staying open at 75%. But I must say, parents need to step-up and end this cycle that keeps putting Pencader on review. They need to demand transparency and a voice at the table to ensure the flow of information required by law is reaching them. A school of business and finance should have never be on review for such structural failure.
Please remember don’t comment here bashing each other with personal attacks as they will be deleted. Also, some of you commenting are getting caught in a spam filter because you are using unacceptable words or trying to out others commenting. I am getting tired of looking through spam and releasing those who can comprehend the little grounds rules in place. I am not sure where the News Journal is during these review meetings but whatever I get I’ll share. Tomorrow Wednesday February 13, 2013 is the last of the final public meetings and February 21, 2013 the state board will vote on closure or not. So after that, we can end this Pencader saga and move on, either way.
I will continue my fight for transparency and make suggestion to state legislators to enhance transparency that can help reduce wasted time and productivity on DE DOE’s part.