Delaware Rep. Kowalko refuses to bend-over for Governor Markell! #netDE #edude @greg_lavelle @dedeptofed

‘Slush fund’ for charters will hurt public education. News Jounral

  • Letters To The Editor by Rep. John Kowalko.

A piece of legislation purported to reform existing charter school law has been filed and House Bill 165 will have a public hearing in the House Education Committee on Wednesday. Contrary to normal practice the funding required for implementation of parts of this bill was allocated three weeks prior, in the JFC without any public input. This utter disregard for transparency and intellectual honesty further erodes any remaining public confidence in the political system.

More proof there is no accountability when there is no transparency! It’s time to stop blaming Governor Jack Markell and start holding Lt. Governor Matt Denn accountable for standing by pretending to be an advocate for transparency. Denn’s hand in helping block H.B.#35, the call for recording public session of public and charter school board meetings is more proof he is unfit to advance to governor.

The most offensive aspect of the proposed $2 million giveaway to a charter school “slush fund” is the very real fact that the percentage of public education funding provided by the state has consistently declined from approximately 68 percent in fiscal year 1990 to 59.7 percent in fiscal year 2010 and this reduction in the state percentage has resulted in a larger burden being placed on local funds and local property taxpayers. Since fiscal year 2008, state funding has been completely eliminated for a number of programs to the tune of $58.5 million dollars (Ref. Controller General’s report I received). In addition to these 10 program eliminations, districts have also experienced several reductions in base funding levels in the amount of $7 million. The Administration’s Educational Sustainment Fund budgeted to replace these $65 million in cuts totals $27.4 million, a woefully inadequate proposal.

I agree, cutting funding for programs like extra Reading and Math teachers and then create this charter school slush fund demonstrates Markell and Denn are out to undermine the traditional public school system. 

But when and if the public decides to vocalize its anger I hope they consider that these enormous strains on the traditional school budgets is causing dramatic cuts and layoffs of paraprofessionals, (where are you on this DSEA?), who are sometimes solely responsible for ensuring that “special needs” children have adequate, necessary and effective ratio counts in these classrooms.

Rep. John Kowalko

25th District

House of Representatives

Rep. Kowalko, the public voice cannot be heard over the voice of special interest. As far as DSEA, a recent News Journal indicated Governor Markell said DSEA was on board with H.B. 165 but for some reason failed to get a quote from DSEA officials. “This bill has the support of many stakeholders, from DSEA to the Charter School movement,” Markell said. However, local school districts like Red Clay have unions/ association and have their own voice! There comes a time to take off the apron and put the cookie sheets away and  man up! Those who are awestruck by the presence of Jack Markell and other elected officals need not represent their brothers and sisters. As far as Matt Demm, sure he is an amazing person. However, as Matt Denn bends-over to tie his shoes Rodel and Markell are filling his ass with the Wall Street ponzi scheme agenda. Matt Denn appears to be a follower not a leader! Anyone who blocks real advancements in transparency isn’t on the team of the people!

Rumor has it Rep. John Kowalko is a loose political cannon down in legislative hall. We need more outspoken legislators like Kowalko. His Republican counterparts all sit in the corner and cry a sad song like a elementary school chorus. As for fellow Democrats, many continue on their hands and knees to serve Jack Markell and Matt Denn looking for that political bone! Hats of to Kowalko for being the individual the people elected!   

47 responses to “Delaware Rep. Kowalko refuses to bend-over for Governor Markell! #netDE #edude @greg_lavelle @dedeptofed

  1. Publius e decere

    Sam Rayburn had a famous quote for this kind of behavior. 🙂

    Publius

    Like

    • kilroysdelaware

      Don’t you have yard work to do ? My bad, I forgot you have a gardener 🙂

      Like

    • Publius e decere

      C’mon Kilroy,

      Yes, I do hire a service to cut the grass. I do everything else myself. Fertilize, prune, mulch, pressure wash, and till. also, i did clean up a lot in NCC recently and hired an unemployed guy from the neighborhood to help. Does that make me a liberal? 🙂

      Publius

      Like

    • kilroysdelaware

      Fertilize, Publius ????? Damn!!!!!! I get it, your yard! I some how thought you were talking about your visits to Kilroy’s Delaware 🙂

      ” i did clean up a lot in NCC recently and hired an unemployed guy from the neighborhood to help”

      OMG !! you didn’t chew the poor guy’s ear off telling him he should have went to a charter school 🙂 But thanks for helping an unemployed republican!

      Like

    • and hired an unemployed guy from the neighborhood to help. Does that make me a liberal?

      Only if you paid his payroll taxes.

      Like

    • John Young

      Like

    • John Young

      um, liberal’s seem to have a tax paying problem too Mike: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/23/world/americas/23iht-23caroline.19614682.html?_r=0

      Like

    • John Young

      liberals

      Like

    • Publius e decere

      Actually, he told me a heart-wrenching about how his 18yo child was gifted in computers but would not leave the house to pursue it. I asked about it and learned that the child graduated from a “challenged” DE public high school in which the child was bullied to the point of being beaten and actually received a broken jaw. No wonder the child didn’t want to leave the house. And what a shame that the school didn’t respond well-enough to re-instill confidence to the victim to at least be confident enough to leave the house. Yeah yeah, if only we didn’t have charter schools his tragedy would not have happened haha. Give me a break, get a mitt and get in the game.

      And you wonder why people seek, in droves, to find a way to escape the one-size-fits-all public school system? Charters are a constructive escape. Dropouts not so constructive. “Traditional” district schools are just that — traditional — and possibly/probably anachronistic. There is not reason to believe, as does John Young, that schools of 30 years ago were the superior model. There is certainly no “research” to that effect, only a misplaced time-in-effect sense of entitlement. Stop wishing for a past which never existed.

      If my kid went to a “traditional” school and was bullied to the point of a broken jaw I would be suing everyone including John Young with every ounce of my being. Right down to garnished wages and houses and cars. Maybe even first-born. The man I hired was not as resilient nor did he have the resources. But he did have the rights. So in my opinion, the school system has abused him by allowing his child to be batteried without sufficient consequences to the system and the perpetrators. IF he could have fought back with means he would possibly have prevailed, but without means he was just another victim. A person lost in the insidious wonky debate against different kinds of schools. Stop wasting energy on fighting charters and start spending energy on fixing broken schools.

      If you can’t deal with SOLVING this vital and feral challenge to daily existence in schools then you will NEVER change the motivations which are driving people out of the TPS school system every chance they get.

      I bring this example out because you asked. This was a real person, really affected by a real failure of basic decent school management. I know you will find a way to blame me but that parlay will be foul, false and feckless. Last I checked I was the only person providing that guy with some income and some encouragement to seek redress.

      Stop crying about charters and start solving real problems. Really.

      Publius

      Like

    • yeah, and that TPS wasn’t like it was due to the siphoning of students and dollars to charters.

      You keep living your dream there Publius.

      Like

  2. I asked before, but I will ask again, based on this editorial from Rep. Kowalko, I am very curious about why he is a prime sponsor on this bill. What is it in the bill that he is so strongly in support of that he signed on as a prime sponsor?
    He seems to be railing against the bill not sponsoring it, not exactly what someone does that has signed their name to supporting legislation, these types of comments typically come from individuals against a piece of legislation.

    Like

  3. James M. Parks

    Kowalko has a small but very vocal group of anti-charter constituents. This is clearly a sop to them. He is also a heavy union advocate and is tossing a bone to the DSEA as well.

    I disagree with many of Kowalko’s positions but respect him as a legislator. He seems to be a pretty hard worker as legislators go and he has done some impressive work as a supporter of utility ratepayers.

    Like

  4. John Kowalko

    I will try to answer your questions. I have earned the right to be engaged in any attempts to reform charter school law. I was the only legislator who stood in front of over 250, somewhat hostile, citizens at the public comment session to discuss the NCS expansion. My comments are a matter of record and I never attacked NCS but I did enumerate and specifically call for a comprehensive reformulation of Charter Law. Since that time I have worked with my good friend Rep. Jaques to craft and write legislation to address the many flaws in the Charter Law. The many flaws included but were not limited to, impact on existing schools, failure of charters to offer innovations and ideas that could be replicated in traditional schools, lack of socio-economic diversity in charters comparable to their geographically located sister schools. Geographical and ability restrictions that seem to exclude members of the reflective public school community. It became apparent that we would not be able to move this legislation through last year so we focused on a rejuvenation of efforts this year. In between last year and this a mysteriously secretive task force was formed to study, and by their own account “NOT” offer legislation to reform charter law. I asked formally to be allowed to serve on the committee??, which was heavily weighted with pro-charter and business interests to the real exclusion of supporters of the needs and negative effects on traditional schools, and my request was denied. That brings us full cycle to the current legislation that has taken on a complexion of giving a peanut butter sandwich to traditional schools needs while offering filet mignon to charters. The efforts of Rep. Jaques in this matter have been responsible and well-intended and he has managed to get a few good and necessary items into this variation. The reality, however, is that our original bill was only a few pages and this construction is 20 pages long filled with many obscure, nuanced and ambiguous passages that have caused me concern. Not to mention one very clear stipulation that creates a fund accessible only to charters that will be doled out by DOE and funded with money we should be returning to traditional public schools that we have imposed draconian cuts on.
    Specifically, I know I’ve proved my legitimacy and right to prime co-sponsorship on this reform legislation and that does not preclude any considerations or questions I may have about this variation of the original intentions of legislation. If you are responsible for decorating your home and you want to be able to move the furniture and pictures and paint the walls you will find in the political world that you better stay in the house and not outside on the porch looking in the window and trying to have your suggestions heard through the shutters.

    Like

    • well said, John.

      Like

    • Thank you for your response but I still haven’t heard what part of the bill you so firmly support that you chose to be a sponsor. Just because you are interested in reform of the law doesn’t mean that you sign on to every bill that addresses a part of code that you have interest in changing. I was hoping for some specifics about the parts if the bill that you support instead of reiteration of the parts you do not support (it seems the charter performance fund is the main area that you do not support). You mention interest or admission preferences but my understanding is that they are not a part of this bill but plan to be considered by the task force created from the school choice bill, which you voted for in the House, correct? So why would you raise those questions again when you’ve already established a task force that will look further into those areas?
      I respect your passion for the issues but really was interested more in what you supported in the bill versus a part that you didn’t like. So, I will ask again what parts of the bill motivated you to sign on in support?

      Like

    • lastDEconservative

      Once again, Kowalko types many, many words, sanctimoniously, and dare I say, with a healthy dose of sophistry, that seeming to be the word of the day. Always the innocent observer(s), he and his pals in the Dover cesspool whose corruption hurts us all.

      And it all means?

      More government is the only cure for the more government that screwed it up the last time.

      And, oh yeah, repeat, ad infinitum.

      Like

  5. Pingback: Comment Rescue: How Charter’s Corrupt The Process | kavips

  6. I wonder if Kowalko would have supported this bill if it created said “slush fund” for traditional public schools with no provisions for charters. I suspect that would be the case. Kowalko has been decidedly anti-charter for a while. I have seen him get up and leave in forums when charter supporters spoke up. I have absolutely no respect for a man who will not listen to all of his constituency even if he disagrees with them.

    Like

  7. John Kowalko

    Guest,
    That is absolutely untrue.

    Like

    • It sure is.

      Like

    • Kowalko,
      It is absolutely true. I watched you get up and leave three separate times and only when pro charter speakers were commenting.This happened last year when the Education committee held a meeting in Dover for public comment. You can deny it all you want but I watched it happen. You were the only Representative to act in that manner.
      John, you are only in a position to speak on this if you were there. If not, how can you speak to the accuracy of the statement?

      Like

    • Riddle me this Guest, when the speaker are all pro charter and you have to leave a meeting for a bathroom break or a phone call, is that your standard for ignoring charter concerns?

      Seen the charter parade you refer to, nice try.

      Like

    • I guess you weren’t there, John. Yet, you once again feel qualified to speak as if you were. There were plenty of anti-charter people there. From several district union organizations bashing charters despite the DSEA’s public position to district board members complaining about charters.
      A couple of those members (I am assuming they were union members) loudly scoffed and shouted over charter supporters as they had the microphone. Been to that parade, John?

      Like

    • The bottom line is that Kowalko left three separate times and a pro charter person was speaking during each “break.” Seems like more than coincidence to me.

      Like

  8. Reblogged this on Transparent Christina.

    Like

  9. Publius e decere

    Kowalko is likely a stand up guy in most regards. But we disagree on charter schools.

    Things to consider:

    Charter schools are PUBLIC schools. They are governed differently than traditional district schools. But they are public nonetheless and they deserve all reasonable support as public schools.

    For as much as Kowalko want to profess transparency, his claim is a sham. Charter schools were moved — by his legislature — from 80% to 70% of Vo-Tech funding on transportation funds without nary a second of public debate or hearing, all being accomplished in the midnight-stealth fog of war of the Appropriations Bills of FY 2009 and FY 2012 respectively.

    Kowalko, want to have honest debate? Then start by renouncing the cowardice of midnight infringement of valid charter school rules. Restore the 80% to charter schools who do not draw on radius preferences. Let the radius-preference schools live with district funding levels. That is fair John. If you don’t see it that way then brace yourself for valid and compelling public opposition.

    Publius

    Like

    • Charter Schools are public corporations, too Publius. The line about them being public schools denotes their 100% dependency on taxpayer dollars, which ought to mean 100% transparency which you oppose.

      What gives?

      Like

    • the same stealth fog of war that moved TPS from 100% to 90%. Sounds like the same 10% to me.

      Charter Schools are Public Schools!

      Like

    • Publius e decere

      Johnny,

      If TPS’s moved from 100 to 90% and Charters moved from a relative 80% to a relative 70% then actually TPSs ended up at $90 and charters ended up at 0.9×0.7= $63. A compound effect. Do the math.

      As for transparency, charter schools follow the same laws as TPSs. You board might have “volunteered” more transparency, despite its obtuseness, but to compel it on other schools who may disagree with your one-sided view of transparency you need to pass a law. Capeche?

      If you have an issue with an individual school then bring it. Charters as a group are not breaking any laws nor are they genetically predisposed against transparency. You intolerance for opposing points of view on transparency is wearing thin.

      Publius

      Like

    • John Young

      If TPS’s moved from 100 to 90% and Charters moved from a relative 80% to a relative 70% then actually TPSs ended up at $90 and charters ended up at 0.9×0.7= $63. A compound effect. Do the math.

      I’m pretty sure I’m OK at math, so first, the TPS were slammed by an across the board reduction of 10% from the state.

      Second, Charters are indexed against a number, VOTECH, that already provides MORE $$ than the state number to TPS. SO when charters go to 70% VoTech FROM 80% VoTech, the reduction still yields more $$ per student than 90% state.

      your .9*.7 math = $63 is just made up nonsense.

      Pretty much like most everything your post here.

      Good Job! and Nice try though.

      Like

  10. I still laughing and shaking my head at guest… To base an opinion on one meeting? (Which evidence seems to preclude “did not occur”) Where do people like that come from?

    But back to your original contention… I can’t speak for John, but everyone who sees the numbers happens to think that a slush fund designated for public schools, say of about $78 million , of which charters can have none of,…is a very good idea and one that should be voted in this session… The top tax rate should be raised to pay for it.

    It’s really common sense, not politics. Charter schools are approved to teach 10,259 Delawarean students. That is their approval amount, not their actual occupancy which is much, much less.. Traditional public schools will teach 121,255 Delaware children. Public schools teach 92.1% percent of Delaware’s children… Charter school if maxed out to capacity, will teach 7.9% percent.. If you want to raise the scores of Delawares children as a whole, you get a lot more bang for the buck by putting all your resources where the kids are…

    $5 million for 10,259 students, exactly ratios into $59 million for the traditional public schools 121,255 students….The extra $19 million I asked for, is to reward the traditional public schools for giving a better education than one can possibly get at a charter school…

    Here isthe proof right here..… OH… MY… GOODNESS…. They took the site down… I guess they were too embarrassed about the truth, especially with sensitive bills up for a vote. But if memory serves me correctly the average across all the charters was a score of 38% scoring basic or above, MEANING 62% OF CHARTER STUDENTS FAILED. And that includes a couple of 90’s averaged down. There were actually schools in the 17’s…Yes really. Compare those numbers to our public schools, even our troubled ones…. Don’t even let anyone tell you the page is down by accident… If you ever saw the scores, you know better.

    So let’s outlaw charter schools, or force them to go private, and spend all public money on traditional public schools…

    Guest! doesn’t that make more sense than wasting money on charters and cutting funding from 92% of Delaware’s enrolled children?

    Of course it does… You have to be stupid to say otherwise….

    Like

    • Kav,
      I hope you’re over your fit of laughter after deciding an official and advertised meeting didn’t happen. I guess you follow the Kim Jong Un policy of denying events that actually happened.
      The transportation funding of charter schools would be more appropriate to follow vo-tech funding as they are limited in size and cannot redistribute the feeder pattern to save money as a district can. That being said, I don’t have a problem with the state requiring the same rules for excess transportation funding. Either all schools can negotiated and keep the money saved or must send saved money back. The problem is that I have seen district administrations spend all funding for something rather than save it for fear that the funding would be reduced the following fiscal year. Administrators have told me as much.
      That leads me to believe that districts have not negotiated prices for bus contracts because they fear the state budget will adjust the funding the following year.
      As for your support of outlawing charter schools – I guess I’m stupid. Charter schools that fail to show students are showing improvement that at least matches TPS students should be closed. Oh that’s right – that’s the policy. (See Kav “Kim” scream “No they don’t – charters stay open forever. Don’t believe the capitalists propaganda.”) How about making the same rule for traditional schools that fail to meet the performance of nearby charters? Why don’t we allow them to close? Wouldn’t it be stupid to allow them to waste that money?

      Like

    • Dear Guest:
      Thank you for your reply. It is always good to hear back from those with different opinions. I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised that you publicly accepted your stupidity. That was a very noble thing for you to do, and society should be blessed with more brave souls like you. Our world would be much simpler. You certainly should be proud of your courage and bravery for standing up and not hiding behind false statements and overdone bravado…. Your children should be very proud of you..

      That said, I must disagree with your assessment entirely. You certainly do not seem stupid to me. I am usually considered a very good judge of character, and am rarely wrong in my assessments. I would have to offer contrary to your own assessment, there is quite substantial evidence that the opposite of what you say is true….

      For one, you are here. On Kilroy’s of Delaware. In my eyes that alone disqualifies you from being stupid. People who are stupid, are over at the News Journal. They have facebook pictures and they are in the comment sections. it takes some intelligence to follow the events here a Kilroys.. Again, you being here, I think disqualifies you from being stupid, at least in my book….

      Two, unlike those who comment and sometimes write opinions at the News Journal, you seem to be able to put two thoughts together. Furthermore, unlike those News Journal opinion pieces that repeat lobbyists propaganda, you also seem to question assertions That also disqualifies you from being stupid, at least in my eyes…

      Three, you didn’t even meet my criteria for being stupid. In my comment I clearly said:

      “We should outlaw charter schools, or force them to go private, and spend all public money on traditional public schools…

      …..doesn’t that make more sense than wasting money on charters and cutting funding from 92% of Delaware’s enrolled children?

      Since you didn’t answer that question entirely, you have not reached the level of achieving stupidity which I set.

      You seemed to have stopped after the first phrase….

      “We should outlaw charter schools… ” …thinking that if you disagreed with that, you would enter the classification of being stupid. Nothing could be further from the truth…

      The sentence structure clearly states that to be considered stupid, at least in the author’s eyes,.. you must first.think that taking money away from successful traditional public school systems and wasting them on poor performing charter schools, … is the better alternative than a) outlawing charter schools, or b) forcing them to go private…

      Your reply has not met that claim, so I am afraid I cannot agree with your own assessment of your mental prowess.

      The statement can not really be interpreted personally… It is definitely aimed at being applied to a very general audience:

      Those who think taking funding away from very successful traditional public schools and wasting that money completely by putting it into failing charter schools, …

      I’m sorry. But that is stupid. Who would think to take the wheels of their brand Sheridan Ford automobile and put them on a junk heap and leave their new car stranded on the blocks, while they drove the piece of junk with new rims around town to wave at the ladies?

      Since you don’t think that way. I simply can’t agree with you when you say in your own words that you are stupid. I’m sorry, but I’ll need more proof….

      Like

    • 🙂 should have been tacked on above so it was clearly evident beyond a doubt that I was having fun here… No personal implication intended. It should always be taken in the tone of good natured kidding…always., 🙂

      Like

    • John Young

      Guest conveniently omits that the measures used to label the schools have zero research backing to suggest they are valid measures of, well, anything.

      Like

    • Deferring to your obvious superior intellect, kav. I must admit that I read your statement to apply one of two options (close or make them private) and then implementing the third element of your statement (spend all money on traditional schools). Clearly, for the third part to take place, one of the first two must take place. Must be my stupidity taking place in reading your post in that manner.
      Since you chose to make an analogy between traditional public schools and your Sheridan Ford automobile, I will use the same arena. Consider the possibility that the traditional public schools twenty years ago was similar to Ford and the rest of the big three in the 70’s. They were big, bulky, and ignored the needs of the American consumers (poor fuel efficiency and declining quality). Charters, then, would be the foreign cars that were introduced into the U.S. market in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Many were producing higher quality cars at lower prices. Those companies that could not (see the YUGO, early Hyundai) failed. Some redesigned themselves and some went the way of the dodo. The end result was that the big three and those foreign cars all improved quality and fuel efficiency. Some of those foreign car companies also employ thousands of American workers.
      Similarly, what happened when the big three could no longer run a profitable business? They got bailed out by the taxpayers.
      Now I see the similarity! Thanks for opening my eyes kav!

      Like

    • John conveniently fails to acknowledge that there are meetings that he did not attend and yet still feels completely qualified to comment on what happened during them. That is typical John Young, though. Deride the character of others simply to stay relevant in the conversation. Class Act!

      Like

    • Guest brings up a valid point. but cars are not children. Although his thought creation has merit, it fails to consider this. What if those cars were one’s sons and daughters? “Oh! We experimented and it failed! Too bad. Guess you’re not going to college. Don’t worry, you can get a job as a janitor somewhere.”

      When a Yugo or a Fisker goes under, … it is just money that is lost. When a Charter School goes under or fails to meet standards across 5 years, it is five years of your son’s or daughter’s life that is gone forever.

      Different parts of the mind turn themselves on and turn themselves off.at certain stages of development. There are strict time limits when that learning can sink in. If you give a child Yugo training, then years later put him on working a Cadillac, he will not make the jump required.

      Guest correctly describes the myth of charters. But over time is has been proven to be just that… A myth. Those schools we were told were doing so much better than public schools, were erasing and upgrading answers on tests. We know this now.

      Charter Schools provide a great benefit to certain members of society, even if or when they fail. One just has to open the Delaware checkbook and look at the checks written out for rent, to understand the commercial allure of having a charter, especially with so much unused office space in New Castle County. It is just sad that the beneficiaries are not children….

      Certain adults profit rather well from charters even if the kids get ruined forever. Which is why, we are arguing over this “Yugo of an institution” even now.

      Like

    • kavips, the fundamental flaw in your argument is the assumption that all traditional public schools are effective. If you don’t make that assumption, what do you suggest happens to TPS that are failing without any consequence. With no alternative, you are not talking about five years but generations of lost sons and daughters.
      Profit exists in the TPS as well. There are plenty of companies that make massive amounts of money building and updating schools at prevailing wage. I have also seen grants and programs that cost tens of thousands of dollars that were given to friends of local politicians. I am not justifying profiteering in charters, only pointing that is not exclusive to charters.
      You haven’t identified a single issue regarding charters that doesn’t exist, often at greater scale, in TPS.The myth you promote is that TPS will do just fine if we shut up and let them continue as they have.

      Like

    • Guest.

      Lets start by covering what we agree on.

      A) Not all traditional public schools are effective..
      B) With no alternative, you are not talking about five years but generations …
      C) Profit exists in the TPS as well….
      D) Grants and programs that cost tens of thousands of dollars given to friends of local politicians.

      That said, forgive me if for brevity I discuss them no further.

      I would like to probe these statements however…

      1) “You (meaning me) haven’t identified a single issue regarding charters that doesn’t exist, often at greater scale, in TPS.,

      2) “The myth you (again meaning me) promote is that TPS will do just fine if we shut up and let them continue as they have.”

      On the first, I don’t challenge your assumption. In fact, as in business or family, education too must have its common denominators.. There are things that must be addressed and they are the same; whether in charters or traditional public schools. For the record here are a few: discipline, test scores, content of educational material, human resources, capital expenses, repairs and maintenance, advertising and promotion, addressing the learning differences due to income disparity and genetics…. So, yes, there would be the similar problems within both frameworks. Since the problems are so similar, we should not use them in the comparisons, since they exist in both, and for comparative purposes only, allow them to cancel each other out.

      The issue is all about money… This is a money issue… The prime question is: is it fair to take public money that is acquired by taxing property, or income, and picking and choosing which private corporations get to have it?

      A secondary question is: is it fair to take that money away from public schools to pilot something that is experimental?

      The consensus on the first, .. taking public money and applying to private owners, is yes. Our nation has operated that way for a long time, whether the resources are mining rights, timber rights, railroad right of ways, or our children. Our nation’s resources are up for sale, and have always been…

      But the secondary question is the sticking point. Is it right to take from someone else and give it to another? We agree it is okay to take from America or society as a whole and give to private enterprise. We agree because there are winners and no losers.. But… is it right to take from one individual and give that resource to another? America has been fighting over this forever. Eminent domain creates a fight every time. The notion of taxation period, has its detractors. Obamacare still has left oozing scars. All are about taking money away from someone already having it, and giving it to someone else so they can get richer.

      And that is the primary issue. Taking funding from needy public schools, whether they score high or not, and giving it to charters which have a very poor track record, is not good sense. It therefore is probably not good policy.

      if you listened to Rick Jensen today on WDEL you heard him tell of when he was called “stupid”by his 8th grade teacher (his engineer Greg said “callers say that about you all the time, lol) , believed it, and began failing all his 8th Grade classes for what was the point, he was stupid. Well the same holds true with castigating our public school system. We are told our public schools are failing; that they are bad… That we have to tear it down, and rebuild everything anew from scratch. But data, tracked over time shows differently. It shows steady improvement in what kids get out of school…. From 1979 to today, the knowledge curve has steadily climbed upward…

      Our children are grasping things even we didn’t know… Our kids are smarter than we were back in our day in school.. Maybe not in certain things, but our society does not require them to know those certain things, just like baby boomers were not taught seeds, planting, and animal husbandry as just twenty years earlier most of their parents had been. So despite the evidence we have been told public education is failing event though it isn’t…

      So if we have a public education system that for the most part is doing a good job, why are we robbing it to pay for something that may or may not work? If you heard Astra Zenica was both cutting sales staff and billing clerks to put more money into finding how to enlarge the average male organ… you would being wise yourself, quietly divest yourself of all your Astra Zenica investments… Rightly you should. Yet we are pulling money out of our necessary survival operations, and applying it to risky speculation…. maybe it will pay off big… but more likely, is that it will bankrupt the entire kit and kaboodle…….

      Now the smart move, and this is what Astra Zenica and all other businesses do, is to take some of the money left over, their profit for example, and apply that amount to research and development to find the next big thing, and leave the sales force and accounts receivable staffs intact to do their jobs… Using extra money, money not necessary for the survivability of their business, is how they fund their expansion of new ideas….

      I agree with the original principle of charters. Guest, you brought many of them up yourself.. But that experimental funding needs to come from something or someone other than those entrusted with the future of America. If Public Schools were going backwards, your argument would make some sense, But they are going forward, and we are constraining, robbing, and siphoning off their resources in order to guarantee that they fail…

      Bottom line, is that charters can be just as effective as public schools and no more… However with charters, there is the greater chance that they will fail and take down our children with them…

      If as a society we are going to keep charters under the principle that a company invests in research and development, then we need an alternate source of financing…. The vocational model has been proposed. But the best solution for society overall, is that since the wealthy are the ones who mostly benefit from educating our future workers fully, they should be the ones to pay for it….

      We do cigarette taxes, liquor taxes, and even industrial boiler taxes. Taxing the top percent a tiny bit more with a charter school tax, would do wonders for our state… Our public schools could then continue to improve with the full funding of their tax base and our charter system, could then experiment and look for better and brighter ways…

      We should not defund our public schools that are currently doing so well. it is a sacrilege to destroy a fine educational system just so the wealthy get to keep a little more of what used to be our money.

      Sacrilege, I think, is the exact, proper word.

      Like

    • Kavips,
      I have to challenge you on the assertion that students are smarter today. Some are but many are not. The fact that so many businesses have to look overseas for qualified workers demonstrates that every day. The have adapted to understand some things that didn’t exist when we were young.
      I have to disagree with you on the your interpretation of the second question. While the U.S. and Delaware do take from some individuals to give to others, your answer does not address the actual issue.
      I’ll use “Obamacare” as you did. The actual issue regarding the law was punishing (through taxes) people who did not wish to participate in health insurance programs because they saw no benefit for themselves. This would be the same as punishing children (through forcing students to participate in [perceived or actual] failing schools and denial of other options) who see no benefit in the current program. It is the denial of choice that was the issue, not providing for those who don’t have it. It is not my favorite comparison but I wanted to use on of your own examples to make the point.

      Like

  11. “If you have an issue with an individual school then bring it. ”

    The thing is, nobody has an issue with an individual school. The opposite of pro-charter is NOT anti-charter. Opponents of this bill don’ t want to tear down charters, but they also don’t want to see an explosion of charter schools happen in an uncontrolled way with no meaningful voter approval or local control.

    By the way, I”m done with the sophistry that these are public schools. They of course are quasi-public and the more accountability is removed and the more specialized their admission policies become, the more they fit the profile of private schools, no matter the funding source.

    Like

    • “By the way, I”m done with the sophistry that these are public schools.”

      Agreed.

      Here’s the way charters come across:

      1. They want the same transportation funding as public schools, not Vo-Tech schools, but…

      2. They don’t want to go to referendum like public schools, instead they want to be treated like Vo-Tech when it comes to funding.

      Like

  12. John Kowalko

    Publius,
    I am including a part of the letter I sent to the JFC regarding transportation funding for public school pupils. Please note the proportional increase in charter school per-pupil funding relative to traditional school funding and please note the actual dollar amounts per pupil. I will send you the entire letter if you wish so you might understand that I am not trying to change and/or lower transportation allocations per-pupil to Charters, Vo-Techs or traditional schools but dispute the actions of the JFC to include epilogue language that directly contravenes existing Delaware Code that requires traditional and charter schools to return funds (specifically allocated for transportation of students) and keep those excess (specifically dedicated, in code and regulations), taxpayer for whatever purpose they choose. This is the violation of code and not a debate or attempt to change any transportation formulas. I hope you will take the time to assimilate this information and if there is an asking by this site manager for all of the written correspondence to post I will gladly send it.
    Following is an excerpt which contains the actual numbers.

    Just to clarify. Charter Schools have not asked to be given what Traditional schools are allocated for per-pupil transportation funds. In fact that would be a dramatic cut in money now given. See excerpt from my letter to JFC in the epilogue discussions here:

    “Second, you concluded in your response to me that the epilogue language is appropriate because it counters the decrease in transportation cost funding for charter schools. However, the epilogue language does not reference this theory, and the actual facts belie that point. The actual dollar figures for school transportation costs show that charter schools not only already receive far beyond the amount that traditional public schools receive per pupil, but also that this disparity continues to rise. Charter school transportation allocations are $908.75 per pupil in New Castle County, $843.85 in Kent County, and $964.88 in Sussex County, while the K-12 transportation funding in traditional public schools is $579.30 per pupil. This means that charter schools are, on average allocated 1.56 times the amount allocated to traditional public schools. Last year, charter schools were allocated 1.44 times the amount allocated to traditional public schools. This significant increase is due to the fact that transportation costs per pupil in traditional public schools have decreased, while those costs for charter schools have increased in every county during that same period”.

    The charters were not asking for a change in per-pupil amount but (by Delaware Code), money allocated for transportation of public school students by the state that is not used for that purpose is to be returned by both traditional and charter schools but the epilogue language imposed by the JFC violates that code’s intentions and the specificity of purpose for that (transportation) allocation. I can post the entire letter I sent to all members of the JFC and General Assembly which identifies the situation and offers a remedy that would not contravene existin code.
    John Kowalko

    Like

    • lastDEconservative

      ” … epilogue language imposed by the JFC … ”

      Those evil doers. What’s a bystanding blustering legislator to do?

      And clearly, the omnipresent distraction of statistical malarkey will distract. Let’s play along. “If I had my way, the charters could not be allowed to raise their transportation multiplier allocation from 1.44x to 1.56x in a single legislative year! I shall offer a bill this session, dammit, limiting their multiplier increases to 0.02, and provide for unicorn visits every Friday afternoon. Fixed. Done. Over.”

      Like

    • Publius e decere

      John,

      I get your point. I disagree, I think the Legislature exercises its lawful discretion in the Appropriations Bill and this is where the language appears. I don’t like it, but that’s the way it is.

      If that expression in the Appropriations Bill is unlawful, as you propose, and if it violates Code then please stand up for it “all the way”. The first consequence will be $500,000 owed to charter schools for FY2012 which is when the Legislature used the Appropriations Bill to vary from Code with respect to infringing Code-entitled transportation funding. There may be other examples, but this one will be an embarrassing first entrant if you go down this path sie you were part of the Code violation. And there will be a lot of charter schools holding you to you “conviction”.

      Don’t grab a tiger by the tail unless you are able to outlast the tiger. If you want to change behavior in the JFC then go for it as one voice among many. Just be responsible for the consequences. As a member of the Legislature your hands are already dirty here.

      Publius

      Like

    • lastDEconservative

      “Just be responsible for the consequences. As a member of the Legislature your hands are already dirty here.”

      Amen. Just Amen.

      Like