Race continues to divide education in Wilmington Delaware #netDE #edude

Some on Christina board take refuge in feigned fears Written by Rhonda B. Graham,Apr. 4, 2013 11:26 PM

First was the wasted time spent complaining about New Castle Councilman Jea Street’s letter, objecting to the board’s turning down $2.3 million of federal Race to the Top funds to help struggling high-poverty schools improve academically. He was clearly piqued at the board majority for a failure to give the public a sense of when it would be forthcoming with a response to the federal government’s ruling that it address unfair disciplinary action in the state’s second largest school district.

WTF ?? Race to The Top has zero to do with the federal ruling on unfair disciplinary practices under the former school district superintended and board members serving at the time of the federal investigation. No Race to The Top money is designated to go towards addressing district disciplinary policies.

God only knows why Jea Street supports giving teachers bonuses for doing “their jobs”.

Even the local teachers union disapproves of bonuses. Jea should be upset that the process for purging under-performing teachers harms all children is secondary to bonuses. The money being pissed away on bonuses for people paid to do their jobs could be better served going toward helping entry-level and under-performing teachers do a better job, Losing the $2.3 million does does nothing to address the concerns of the federal ruling.

Instead some board members stoked unimaginable fears of another possible Sandy Hook, Conn., massacre, based on Mr. Street’s traditional no-holds barred criticism of their loyalty to all of the district’s students, particularly black students. “The language in the letter was incendiary and totally uncalled for,” board member Shirley Sutton-Safer intoned. “With some of the lunatics who are out there, who knows what they might do if they saw this letter?

We’ll I for one like Jea Streets style and rants!  We know Jea is Jea and nothing will change him! That’s a good thing! However, Shirley Sutton-Safer’s concern seems to be Jea’s over the top comments could be view but others that certain members of the board are racist and social cancer that has to go. Sure he called for the superintendent to step-down and the superintendent happens to be African-American which might be a smoke screen. Yes Rhonda there are lunatics out there.

Perhaps what most rational folks would have done after reading the document – determine it wasn’t incendiary. It expressed the frustration embedded of parents and politicians who have worked for years to try to determine why black children seem to get the harsher end of the disciplinary actions for the same infractions, which the data suggests were committed by those among the majority population. The federal Department of Education Office, after conducting its own review raised the same question.

Black children get fucked-over more than white children because many of the so-called community leaders proclaiming they are civil rights leaders bow-down to kiss the hand of white knights such as Jack Markell. During Markell’s bid for governor he acknowledged charter schools were “skimming and creaming” students causing re-segregation. Markell stood side by side with those during a ceremony when Bank of American donated an office building to the Longwood Foundation that will house a mega charter school serving mostly black students. Jea Street’s fight is with Dover! But again, Race to The Top’s $2.3 million dollars in question has nothing to do with the federal report!

Truthfully, the district appears to act in bad faith by not keeping to their Race to the Top agreement. They reneged for reasons they thought more honorable – among them that the deal came with money that singled out teachers rated as highly effective for $1,000 bonus. That flies in the face of tradition which holds that the rising tide of pay in a school building should lift every employee’s compensation accordingly.

So giving a $1000.00 bonus to many more teachers rather than $10,000-$20,000.00 to a selected few is bad faith? Also, next year is the end of Race to The Top and I wonder if Jea and the News Journal would yell foul if Christina didn’t raise local school taxes to continue the bonuses at a time they continue to take the class-size wavier. How does it serve children when we rob Peter to pay Paul? The deals I see with Race to The Top are the Limo Deal where Judas sowed some seeds on the way down to the D.C. sellout game, $8.2 million dollars to Wireless Generation subsidiarity of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp for “data coaches”. The there is Markell’s stock portfolio surely enriched with shares of News Corp and K12.inc stock! Don’t remember, Jack Markell is a self-proclaimed proud card carrying capitalist and knows there is profit in poverty when it comes to education! So where do you think Markell career wil end up? Take a look at the leaders in education reform! All a bunch of rich white guys and many the same who did nothing about racial diversity in their organizations and who had unfavorable lending policies towards blacks! Damn even Joe Biden’s brother Frank Biden is cashing in on charter schools.

He ended this violent manifesto with a call for the resignation of the school superintendent and particular members responsible for “broken promises and bad faith, ongoing discrimination and exclusionary, race-driven practices.” Then he did a “George W. Bush” on them terming such actions as “weapons of mass educational destruction” which he promised would be dealt with accordingly. Could that be why he cc’d the governor, local and state politicians with oversight of the district’s operation?

What has he governor done to address the de facto segregation left in the wake of the Neighborhood Schools Act, charter school laws laced with discriminatory practices, class size cap laws with loopholes and support of federal intervention in local school board control? Why is that governor can’t see the need to record school board meetings and leave it up to me? Perhaps Markell rather not want the public to hear the Jea Streets of the world! Hear parents raise concerns about problems with school choice! Hear how their children are being bullied! Hear school administrators complain about Markell’s state budget cuts! Hear school board members raising concerns about the financial unsustainable Race to The Top. 

The fight for real change is in Dover Delaware and issues of civil rights won’t improve until a few good sisters step-up and sound the charge for real change! Black or white, it’s the mom’s towing the line when it comes to education. 

13 responses to “Race continues to divide education in Wilmington Delaware #netDE #edude

  1. Add Rhonda Graham tot he list of Kool-Aid drinkers.

    Was she at the meeting? Um, no. Did she listen to the audio in full? Appears to clearly be no.

    Weak shot at a couple of board members pointing out that Councilman Street’s letter was at best poorly worded e.g. “dealt with accordingly” and at worst an abuse of county council letterhead to lend supposed gravitas.

    Notice how she accepts his assumptions about district employees and the nuanced discussion on the RTTT funding concern at hand as fact.

    I be she’s never read RTTT, our plan, or bothered to call a CSD board member about this or any other issue in the last 4 years.

    She’s a hack.


    • Oh, and in case she gets the “gull”, as Jea puts it, here’s my number: 219.308.5338


    • Also, it’s 10,000 per teacher for 2 years, it’s unsustainable, and reneged is a lie and exactly the DOE Kool-Aid.

      She should call Reps Kowlako or Osienske or Senator Townsend to get herself schooled.

      She just threw up all over herself in this FACTLESS editorial diatribe.

      Who’s got feigned fears, Ms. Graham?


  2. Correction: Osienski.


  3. deconservative

    John, you should have never taken the money to begin with. We warned the Board repeatedly that they would do this. RTTT is a power grab…just like Common Core.

    As for Jea Street, he’s the Al Sharpton of Wilmington. He wouldn’t have a job if it weren’t for his continued blathering about racism. It exists, sure, always has and always will. However, bussing kids out of the city, sending them to “white schools”, none of this improves anything. The root of the problem is that education has become daycare…you drop the kids off, pick em up and of they learn something, awesome. Parents have no accountability, teachers have no authority and quite frankly, when we’re putting 25 yr olds with no real world experience in the classroom, we’re doing everyone a disservice. Not to mention that the union mentality has I invaded, corrupted and weakened the teaching corps or the fact that the government monopoly forces kids into faing schools. Charter Schools work better than traditional public but the real answer (which John won’t like or admit) is choice. Vouchers that allow parents to take control of their kids education. It WILL close schools and put bad teachers out of work and that’s necessary when the system is this broken. It will also improve quality and outcomes. It’s worked everywhere it was tried from D.C. to Minnesota.


    • and as you well know, I was one of 2 board members to vote against joining the MOU in 2010 that had us at this point.


    • My problem with voucehers is not political or ideological, it is 100% efficacy, they don’t work.

      Now that 17 states have authorized vouchers to “save kids from failing schools,” it is time to review the evidence from Milwaukee, which has had vouchers for 22 years.

      The “independent evaluator” of the Milwaukee and D.C. voucher programs is Patrick J. Wolf of the University of Arkansas. As we learned during school choice week earlier this year, Wolf is a strong supporter of school choice and he even wrote an editorial saying that his home state of Minnesota needs more school choice because it was in danger of falling behind Arkansas in doing so. How much more independent can an evaluator be? It is perhaps also noteworthy that the University of Arkansas is generously funded by Arkansas’s biggest philanthropy, the Walton Foundation, which pours millions every year into charters and vouchers and anything that has the possibility of undermining public schools.

      Not even Wolf’s evaluations have shown any test score advantage for students who get vouchers, whether in DC or Milwaukee. This is the DC final-year evaluation. The main finding of the final-year evaluation: “There is no conclusive evidence that the OSP [Opportunity Scholarship Program] affected student achievement.” Remember that boosters for vouchers seldom use the V word; they prefer the euphemism “opportunity scholarship.” The family gets an “opportunity” to take their child from a public school, where he or she has low test scores, to a private or religious school, where he or she will also have low test scores.

      The Wolf evaluations claim an advantage for voucher students in graduation rates. But consider this. In Milwaukee, according to this analysis (see the summary here) of Wolf’s evaluation, 75% of the students who started in a voucher school left before graduation. So of the 25% who persisted, the graduation rate was higher than the Milwaukee public schools. But what about the 75% who dropped out and/or returned to MPS? No one knows.

      The Milwaukee voucher schools have never outperformed the public schools on state tests: See here and here. The only dispute about test scores is whether voucher students are doing the same or worse than their peers in public schools.

      Accountability? Read here about some very low-performing schools in Milwaukee that have never been held accountable. One of them opened in 2001. Over the past 11 years, it has collected $46.8 million but its students perform worse than those in the public schools. Some choice.

      And anyone who looks at the NAEP reports on urban districts will see that after 22 years of vouchers, charters, and competition, Milwaukee is a poster child for the failure of vouchers, charters, and competition. The students in those schools all perform about the same level. No sector is better. The Milwaukee schools are ranked among the lowest performing of the urban districts tested by NAEP, ranking just above sad Detroit.

      If choice was the answer, Milwaukee should be at the top of the nation’s urban districts. But it is near the bottom. Why? Because choice is not the answer. Addressing the causes of low test scores is the answer, and choice does not address the causes of low test scores: poverty and segregation.


    • vouchers


  4. Delaware’s mistake was writing Common Core into the RTTT application. Now Common Core is wrapped up in RTTT politics rather than being evaluated on its merits.


  5. A quick study of scores from charter schools show this. They do not improve education of inner city children.. Yes, proponents of choice point to some charter schools with good scores, but upon closer investigation, they get to choose who can and who cannot get in. The ones who don’t, under-perform those students in public schools.

    There is no reason why inner city children can’t learn as well as suburban whites, once you factor out the environmental problems inner cities impose which are the real causes of what set this group behind…. Brains are brains and have no connection whatsoever to melanin.

    What would work, would be to recognize this problem! Instead of separate but equal, we should re-frame the motto into separate but better…

    I think we all feel the frustration busing has caused, and would like a Wilmington district to be formed. But first, before anything, it’s finances must be fixed. If there is big money, then it will be a viable choice. If there is NO MONEY, then students are better off bused in the status quo.

    One revenue source that should be explored, since a city is geared to big business, is to figure how to move enough money out of corporations and businesses in Wilmington, into funding a Wilmington district.

    This is almost fair upon first hearing. Residents in the suburbs pay a property assessment for their schools. Why shouldn’t businesses downtown?


  6. Ow, listen how cute the young brother sounds: (from the article about Biden’s younger brother)

    “…“I enjoy automatic acceptance or at least listening to what I have to say.””

    Owww, how sweet … he is just a humble real estate mogul in some shiny Florida …

    On a separate note none of the voices of REAL parents and REAL kids are heard up on the mount Olympus where DOE has been drinking abrosia …


  7. Kavips’s point about Wilmington is very real: where is the tax base that would support a school district? That question has to be answered before plans can be made. Wilmington has a wage tax but there are many exemptions and it’s far from sufficient for funding a school district. However, there are families and kids there who need equity. It’s a question that is at least 35 years old….