Monthly Archives: March 2014

Delaware: If a public / charter schools decides on e-textbooks should student be required to pay for E-readers?

lastDEconservative, on March 31, 2014 at 4:22 pm said:

Textbook Costs
“All students (except low income students) are required to purchase a netbook computer or device (Page 92). It might not be permissible for public schools to charge for textbooks or curricula. ((( WHAT? IT –MIGHT– NOT BE?? IF THIS AGENCY DOESN’T KNOW, WHO DOES? ))) If ((( –IF– ????? ))) it is determined that the school cannot charge students for these devices, the applicant must account for additional technology costs in the budget.”

Application Revision; Pike Creek Charter Middle School  See Page 93

The amounts listed for both curriculum and textbooks is low. On Line 22 of the budget sheet, funds for textbooks reflect $0 and the applicant notes that this cost is captured under curriculum expenses On Line 23 of the budget sheet, curriculum budgets are identified as $36,248, $26,651, $23,286, and $22,765 in years 1-4 respectively.

To address the concerns of the committee as it related to the cost being low for both curriculum and textbooks, we offer the following explanation: Textbook costs are low because we are intending on using e-copies of textbooks for the students so that they may access them on their netbooks. All students must purchase a netbook computer or device and that low income students will have purchased for them which is reflected in the budget. The other subjects, as you can see in the proposals, supply textbooks. As PCCMS expands cost of textbooks go down due to the fact that we are buying the bulk of the textbooks during years 1 and 2, and are just purchasing additional textbooks as needed as we expand. Curriculum expenditures are less due to the fact that PCCMS is participating in the Science and Social Studies Coalitions, which is significantly lower than purchasing textbooks and curriculums from a private vendor. We have attached the proposals for the remainder of the subjects for your review.

lastDEconservative just open a can of worms! School require students to buy calculators so whats the big deal requiring students to buy E-reads? Interesting debate!

We know for sure students are required to buy calculators and who knows I-phones might have an app for that. However, students are not required to buy the math textbooks. We’re treading in to new territory here. Public are to be “free”. Yep says so right here, TITLE 14, Education, Free Public Schools, CHAPTER 2. THE PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM, Subchapter I. System of Free Public Schools.

(a) The public schools of this State shall be free to persons who are residents of this State and who are age 5 years through 20 years inclusive when they are attending kindergarten through grade 12.

Looks free to me!

The Delaware Constitution 

Article X

Section 6. No property tax receipts received by a public school district as a result of a property tax levied for a particular purpose shall be used for any other purpose except upon the favorable vote of a majority of the eligible voters in the district voting on the question.

Hey lastDEconservative, not to get off the topic of e-readers but this section in the Delaware Constitution supersedes Title 14. Has anyone ever read on a local operational referendum ballot the question to local charter schools? We know local portion of the local districts operational funds aka taxes are transferred to charter. However, the local taxpayer were not asked to allow local funding to support for profit charter schools or to be used in the means of flexibility Title 14 allows charters such as using operational funds for capital needs. 

As far as e-books and e-readers, if the charter school, traditional public school or state requires them to delivery education material in lieu of textbooks via e-readers they must be provided free to all student as well as technical maintenance of. 

As far as your comment, “Uh, oh. Exec branch turns on one of its co-dependent legislators (PC Swim Charter).” I consider him a friend and he assured the public his interest is only as the landlord of the property and has no involvement in the planning, review and implementation of this charter school beyond landlord tenant relationship and requirements. If he were it would be a clear violation of conflict of interest. 

Delaware: Updates on new charter school applications

Note: The process will conclude with the State Board of Education meeting on Thursday, April 17, 2014 where Secretary Murphy will present his decision.


CSAC Final Meeting: March 24, 2014


A motion was made and seconded that the application be recommended for approval contingent on a required submission of revised budget materials, including a 100% budget and 80% contingency budget, that demonstrates economic viability and does not adversely impact other approval criteria by Friday, March 28, 2014. The motion was unanimously carried.

After the meeting, the applicant submitted revised materials that did not satisfy this requirement

Delaware STEM Academy


CSAC Final Meeting: March 19, 2014


Conclusion: A motion was made and seconded that the application be recommended for approval. The motion was unanimously carried.

Great Oaks – Wilmington Charter School


CSAC Final Meeting: March 24, 2014


Conclusion: A motion was made and seconded that the application be recommended for approval contingent on a required submission of acceptable revisions to the health curriculum by Friday, March 28, 2014. The motion was unanimously carried.

After the meeting, the applicant submitted revised materials that satisfied this requirement.

Mapleton Charter School 


CSAC Final Meeting: March 19, 2014 


Conclusion: A motion was made and seconded that the application be recommended for approval. The motion was unanimously carried.

Delaware: Looks like Freire Charter School Delaware on it’s way for a state board seal

Note: The process will conclude with the State Board of Education meeting on Thursday, April 17, 2014 where Secretary Murphy will present his decision.

Freire Charter School

(First charter renewal September 2018)


CSAC Final Meeting: March 19, 2014


1.2 Founding Group and School Leadership
14 Del. C. § 512 (1)
The applicant has adequately addressed the concerns noted in the CSAC Initial Report

1.3 Education Plan
14 Del. C. §§ 512 (4), (5), (6), (7), (8) and (11)
The applicant has adequately addressed the concerns noted in the CSAC Initial Report.

1.5 Staffing
14 Del. C. § 512 (6)
The applicant has adequately addressed the concerns noted in the CSAC Initial Report.

1.6 Governance and Management.
14 Del. C. §§ 512 (1), (2), (6) and (9)
The applicant has adequately addressed the concerns noted in the CSAC Initial Report.

1.7 Parent and Community Involvement
14 Del. C. §§ 512 (1) and (6)
The applicant has adequately addressed the concerns noted in the CSAC Initial Report

1.8 Start-up and Operations
14 Del. C. §§ 512 (1), (8), (9), (10), (12) and (13)
The applicant has adequately addressed the concerns noted in the CSAC Initial Report.

1.9 Facilities
14 Del. C. § 512 (8) and (12)
The applicant has adequately addressed the concerns noted in the CSAC Initial Report.

1.10 Budget and Finance
14 Del. C. §§ 512 (8) and (9)
The applicant has adequately addressed the concerns noted in the CSAC Initial Report.

2.5 Charter Management Company and Highly Successful Charter School Operator Supplement
14 Del. C. §§ 512 (1), (6), (8), (9), (10) and (11)
The applicant has adequately addressed the concerns noted in the CSAC Initial Report

A motion was made and seconded that the application be recommended for approval contingent on a required submission of acceptable revisions to the science curriculum by Friday, March 28, 2014. The motion was unanimously carried.

After the meeting, the applicant submitted revised materials that satisfied this requirement.

Mr. Blowman articulated the next steps in the new application process as follows:
 The CSAC Final Report will be issued to the applicants no later than March 28, 2014.
 The applicant’s final public hearing will be held on April 1, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. in the 2nd Floor Cabinet Room in the Townsend Building.
 The process will conclude with the State Board of Education meeting on Thursday, April 17, 2014 where Secretary Murphy will present his decision

Delaware: Per school board; Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” too obscene for high school students

CAPE HENLOPEN SCHOOL BOARD CENSORS? by Felix at The Colossus of Rhodey

It seems there was some pretty provocative happenings at this past week’s Cape Henlopen (Sussex County, Delaware) school board meeting. Colossus has learned via an attendee of the meeting that it seems a couple of school board members cited Delaware Code Title 11 Section 1361 — that related to obscenity — regarding a teacher assigning the novel Brave New World to her high school class. That’s right — school board members insinuated that a teacher could be hauled out of his/her classroom in handcuffs, and arrested on obscenity charges … for having his/her high school students read the eighty-plus year-old classic novel by Aldous Huxley.

The problem? GASP! There’s an “orgy” scene in the book. Yep. But as anyone who has read the novel can attest, it’s hardly written in language you’d encounter in a book today. It’s full of figurative language, metaphors and other imagery. The book was written in 1931. School board member Jennifer Burton was the one who referenced the “relevant” Delaware Code in regards to the novel. A man who identified himself as a Delaware State Police officer spoke at the meeting and agreed with Burton’s assessment of the novel with regards to Title 11 of the Delaware Code.

Read the entire blog post here …………………….

Other related blogs and news media spins:

Cape Henlopen Teachers Union upset at Board member for speaking against porno homework assignment by Dan Gaffney Delaware (blog) 105.6 

“Brave New World” Rocks Cape Henlopen School District“Brave New World” Rocks Cape Henlopen School District  DON RUSH Delmarva Public Radio WSDL 90.7

Cape school board debates book, explicit content Board members argue ‘Brave New World’ features inappropriate themes for students Written by Leigh Giangreco Staff Writer Delmarva Now

Is It 1933? Delaware Right (blog)Posted by  on Mar 28, 2014  

Should News Journal readers demand random drug for NJ editors?

Why are Democrats quiet about reform? our view /News Journal 

OK, where is the “party of the people” when it comes representing the rights of the people?

Delaware’s Democratic Party has been embarrassingly quiet about bringing the state’s campaign finance laws to the next logical step. Gov. Markell and other state Democrats have been accused of benefiting from what has been called Delaware’s “pay-to-play” political culture.

They deny it, of course. Some go so far as to say there is no “pay-to-play” atmosphere, despite a special prosecutor recently claimed. Fine.

Let’s suppose they are right. What difference does that make? Why shouldn’t the voters know more about who is giving candidates money to run for office? Why should the Democrats keep the citizens of Delaware in the dark because it inconveniences them?

When it comes to public education issues like school reform the News Journal gives proud card carrying capitalist Governor Jack Markell a golden ticket to stealthsyvania protecting him and his flying monkey circus of Rodel clones.

Well one thing for sure, some democrats are questioning Markell education agenda and the public is waking up from a Kool-aid induced coma. 

If the News Journal took a non-bias approach to their editors’ butcher editing they wouldn’t be view as a borderline third-world media outlet by many. Cherry-picking is big in this state from charter school admission methodology to the News Journals attacks on Governor Markell. Perhaps the News Journal no longer fears this lame-duck Markell Administration and can take political shots like today’s editorial.   

I am not sure who the NJ ghost writer is on this editorial peice but taking a swipe at the “party of the people” at the same time protecting party head Lame Chung Duck Markell on his communist takeover of public education warrants the question, either the News Journal editors are sniffing drugs or perhaps each others asses?       

The invisible burning cross in public education #edude #netde @destateboarded @ed_in_de @dedeptofed @cornelwest @tavissmiley @naacp @educationweek @HELPCmteDems @TheJLV @alfiekohn @rweingarten @CoryBooker @EdWorkforce @edworkforcedems

Fearing the clan who dress in white but not standing guard against those clansman dressed for success is allowing racism to continue in stealth mode and harm the promise of public education equal for all children. Poverty in public education has become a profit center with many roads leading to Wall Street and the Bush Family.

Delaware public school system is coming to a crossroad and discrimination will not be tolerated #edude #netde @ed_in_de @dedeptofed

State must address educational inequities By Jane Lord and Charlotte F. King | Mar 28, 2014 Cape Gazette 

A page one article in the March 25 Cape Gazette cites the concerns of school officials and citizens in Sussex County that there is need for more diversity in charter and vo-tech schools, as well as more equitable allocation of resources.  The League of Women Voters of Sussex County and of Delaware strongly share this concern, particularly since state- level education officials have long been aware of the diversity issues raised in this article.

During the Minner administration, the Delaware State Board of Education and the Delaware Department of Education commissioned a report on Delaware’s charter schools, headed up by a nationally recognized authority on education evaluation, Dr. Gary Miron of Western Michigan University.   Miron’s March 2007 report on a comprehensive study (240 pages) of Delaware charter schools had the following statement in its conclusions:

While moderate success is obvious in the charter schools, a number of negative or unanticipated outcomes need to be watched and considered carefully. These include accelerating the resegregation of public schools by race, class and ability, and the disproportionate diversion of district and state resources (both financial and human resources) from districts to the more recently established charter schools.

A bedrock principle underlying our public education system is that every child is provided with an equal opportunity to fulfill their potential and become a productive citizen in our community.  It appears that this principle has been seriously compromised for at least seven years by those responsible at the highest level in our state’s educational hierarchy.  Action by the governor seems called for, now.

Jane Lord
League of Women Voters of Sussex County
Charlotte F. King
League of Women Voters of Delaware

Delaware’s trend in establishing charter school and magnet schools is build them to accommodate whites and blacks in a way at-risk lower performing blacks do impede upon whites desire to be first inline to compete in the global economy.

I am still waiting for a response to this question; why is it rich white male billionaires and millionaire control the education reform movement of black children? 

When I look-down the road I see an African-American community waking up from the sweet dream of having an African-American President to the nightmare of reality! What has changed to address desegregation of public education? Why isn’t there a traditional public high school in the city Wilmington at the same time suburban whites cry for neighborhood school and are getting them? Why does Red Clay refuse to deliver a neighborhood traditional middle school in the city of Wilmington. I forgot, they are concerned about re-segregation!  A day will come when the new generation of minority leaders in Wilmington will rise up and ask the same question. I would at least expect the current crusty-ass minority leaders demand preferential Choice transportation accommodating the city of Wilmington children to have better access of school choice through the surrounding district.

As for charter schools who lock their front doors to struggling underachieving black children we need to change the law to end this discriminatory practice. The law should read all public funded schools must serve all students without discrimination to physical , emotional or “academic” challenges.

Discrimination should not be a designation associate with skin color but must be viewed as also going deep into discrimination of the individual within. Many black children struggle academically due to the impact of poverty that stagnates their ability to be academically successful.  Also, poverty impedes teachers and schools to delivery the highest “menu” of educational services.

Fearing the clan who dress in white but not standing guard against those clansman dressed for success is allowing racism to continue in stealth mode and harm the promise of public education equal for all children. Poverty in public education has become a profit center with many roads leading to Wall Street and the Bush Family.

My political friends in Dover Delaware are reluctant to deliver enhanced transparency in public education because there is truth in what I say. The cost of enhancing transparency is far far less that it is to fend of opposing candidates at the election polls. Social media grows and is progressively moving faster than mainstream media and is less constricted in voice and not subjective to bias editors. Pete, thanks for reading my E-mail and for that I’ll circle the field to see what it yields. Just remember, a transparent government is the best government and as long as the people fund public education, public education is representative of government. Pete what I said was sincere as you were in the video.       

It took 3 days for Apollo 11 to reach the moon and America has yet to reach debris of Flight 370

Why is it taking so long to get a U.S. Navy ship to the suspected sight of the crash debris of Flight 370?

Looks like Lillian Lowery trumps Mark Murphy when it comes to courage

Schools Move to Shorten Easter/Spring Break

Anne Arundel County Public Schools may shorten Easter/spring break by a day to make up a snow day. Posted by Deb Belt

State Superintendent Lillian M. Lowery has denied the request by Anne Arundel County Public Schools for a five-day waiver of the 180-day school year requirement. The district has forced to ask for the waiver after snow days piled up this winter.

The waiver requests do not affect teachers and other employees whose negotiated agreements stipulate the number of days they must work each school year, the district says. Any discussions on the length of those work years must be held separately.

So with Delaware’s wavier contractual employee such as teachers receive extra vacation pay and still go on Spring Break with students. 

Interim Superintendent Mamie J. Perkins plans to ask the Anne Arundel Board of Education to change the school so classes can be held the day after Easter, April 21. That day had previously been scheduled as the last day of Easter/spring break.

Parents won’t be happy and call it a sin.

State regulations stipulate that schools be closed on the day following Easter


I am sorry but I feel Spring Break should be cancelled or days be made-up on Saturdays or canceling in-service days moving them to Saturdays. It seems its always for the kids but when in comes to real courage its not. Looks like its only about kids when it comes to money and need to give teachers and administrators $$$ raises or increasing local share of pension fund contributions. Not when it comes to ensuring students have adequate number of school days. 

Red Clay Admins to present action plan on their failing charter school DCPA

With all the excitement over Red Clay’s inclusion plan many in the community weren’t paying attention Red Clay’s superintendent report on Delaware College Preparatory Academy a Red Clay chartered school.  

Red Clay’s Delaware College Preparatory Academy (charter) is skating on thin ice. Posted on  by kilroysdelaware

This school appears to be heading for closure and I’ll be damn if Red Clay taxpayers are going to bail it out! 

This Performance Agreement (“Agreement” is entered into this 19th day of December, 2013 by and between the Red Clay Consolidated School District (hereinafter referred to as “RCSD”) and Delaware College Preparatory Academy, a public charter school of the State of Delaware (hereinafter referred to as “School”). 

Delaware College Preparatory Academy’s overall financial rating is DOES NOT MEET STANDARD.

Delaware College Preparatory Academy’s overall organizational rating is DOES NOT MEET STANDARD.

And this in 2008

Hockessin Community News By Antonio Prado 
Posted May. 27, 2008 @ 12:01 am Updated May 27, 2008 at 2:23 PM 

In other business, the board scrapped a vote to give final approval to the Delaware College Preparatory Academy charter agreement. A year ago, the Red Clay board approved the school’s charter on the condition that demonstrate fiscal solvency and find a location. District spokeswoman Pati D. Nash said the conditions were set by the state, not the district, and once the school satisfied both conditions there was no need to have another vote.

District resident John Allison, a frequent critic of the district, said he supports Delaware College Preparatory Academy charter school. But he took issue with the way Red Clay approved its charter.

“God bless them with much success,” said Allison, who did not attend the meeting but spoke with the Community News afterwards. “The issue I have is with Red Clay school board and the tactics they used to approve this school’s charter. At the May, 2007 board meeting the board’s discussion prior to the vote referenced a conditional approval vote.”

The board required both schools granted a conditional approval to come back to the board with their financial position report and a location for their school. (The Prestige Academy was the other school Allison referred to, but it ultimately obtained its charter from the state after the charter law had to be changed to allow same-sex charter schools. Delaware College Preparatory bought the Christ Our King School building.)

Red Clay disregarded the one meeting rule and voted on Delaware College Prep’s charter after the school’s initial presentation to the board , district and community! The was no public notice of an action items to vote on charter application. The board member who made the motion didn’t say “conditional approve” he use the word approve charter. Still, there was no public notice. Also with Prestige Red Clay made the same vote on Prestige’s initial presentation. At the time of vote the law “prohibited” single gender public school. Rep Hudson came to the rescue and pushed legislation to allow it. By law Prestige’s Red Clay charter had to transfer to DE DOE

§ 506 Restrictions.

   c. By gender in the case of a same-gender school. Notwithstanding any provisions to the contrary, the Department of Education, with approval of the State Board of Education, shall be considered the approving authorizer of Prestige Academy, a same-gender school, and shall provide oversight to such school. The Department of Education, with the approval of the State Board, may waive any provisions in this Chapter that would limit the school from opening for the 2008-2009 school year. Any subsequent same-gender charter school shall make its application to the Department of Education and the State Board of Education

Charter school applications continue to rise By Antonio Prado Community News Posted Jan 03, 2011 @ 04:13 PM

“We embrace charter schools at Red Clay,” Superintendent Dr. Merv Daugherty said. “The charter schools have done a good job of pushing us to be better. It’s a healthy competition.”

Indeed, Delaware College Preparatory Academy, which is still adding grades, saw the number of applicants increase from 125 for the

2008-2009 school year to 200 for the 2009-2010 school year, Executive Director Nita Roberson said. The first year it opened, Delaware College Prep only accepted kindergarten and first grade. This year, applications for second grade are available as well

“Our first year, we were somewhat unproven and parents were skeptical,” Roberson said. “Next year, we’ll have a new building and a reputation. Parents will have something to sink their teeth into.”

Ms. Roberson was doing a good job and was passionate about her mission. Despite Red Clay improper charter vote, Ms. Roberson did deliver her initial presentation to the community with honest passion.   

And then after the renewal Ms. Roberson get’s the boot by DCPA’s board and get this, DCPA was rated “superior”. All starts to go down hill after Ms. Roberson’s departure. 

In June 2011 Red Clay granted Delaware College Prep a 5 year charter renewal under Ms. Roberson’s leadership. 

Community News By Danielle Bouchat-Friedman 
Posted Aug. 19, 2011 @ 12:01 am Updated Aug 19, 2011 at 7:15 PM 

A number of concerned parents attended the Red Clay Board of Education meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 17 to ask the board one question: Did they have anything to do with the termination of school founder and president of Delaware College Prep Academy Nita Roberson?

In short, Superintendent Merv Daugherty said no.

“Our responsibility is not with the personnel at the school,” Daugherty said. “Who they hire is the responsibility of the board of directors.”

Many parents were disconcerted with Roberson’s dismissal on Aug. 1, even though the school’s charter was just recently renewed for another five years. Many parents believe that her removal was calculated, since she was let go just two weeks before the first day of school. Parents said they will picket outside the school until they get answers, because many simply feel frustrated by the lack of communication that they are receiving from the school.

The petition to bring back Ms. Roberson 

Approximately 1 week ago it was brought to the attention of the parents of the children attending Delaware College Preparatory Academy that Nita Roberson, the Executive Director, had been terminated 2 weeks prior to the start of the 2011-2012 academic year. The Parent Leadership Council convened an emergency meeting on Friday August 5th to address this issue and to develop a plan of action to determine the steps we can take to have Nita Roberson reinstated. Based on the information we received at the meeting we believe the vote which took place was unjust and the entire situation appears to be related to “personal differences” rather than Ms. Roberson’s leadership of the school or what is in the best interest of our children. Furthermore, at the meeting it was stated the Boards’ decision to terminate Nita Roberson was made several months ago. As a parent I believe the timing of this announcement was calculated and intended to maintain enrollment numbers as many parents would have (and still might) removed their children from the school. However since many schools follow a different schedule many parents will be unable to make other arrangements on such a short notice.

As you know, under the leadership of Nita Roberson, Delaware College Preparatory Academy has been identified as a “Superior School” at a time when many charter schools are struggling to meet performance standards. I do not believe the school will continue to perform at this level with this current Board of Directors and interim Executive Director leading the charge. It is time to make our voices heard. At this time we are calling for the reinstatement of Nita Roberson as the Executive Director of Delaware College Preparatory Academy, a review of the actions/performance of the current Board of Directors, and the appoint of additional Board Members to ensure the needs of our children are being justly and fairly considered.

Please support our efforts.

See News Journal’s video interviewing Ms. Roberson;

Delaware College Prep Academy founder dismissed. Students and parents are protesting the sudden dismissal of the founder of Delaware College Prep Academy. (8/11/11)

Kilroy weighs in:

Red Clay School Board needs to come out from under the rock Posted on  by kilroysdelaware

Charter votes to join union. Del. College Preparatory Academy educators choose DSEA membership Jan. 19, 2012 Written by NICHOLE DOBO The News Journal

Educators at the Delaware College Preparatory Academy in Wilmington have voted to join the Delaware State Education Association, making them the state’s only charter school educators represented by a union.

Employees of the city school, which has about 270 students, approved joining the union by an 11-5 margin in a secret ballot on Jan. 13. While it is not the first Delaware charter school to select a union for representation, it is the first to do so in more than a decade.

“Ideally, having a union at our school will lead to a teaching staff that is treated fairly and respected and valued, ..

And here we are three years later! How did a school doing so well end up a major concern. 

Delaware College Preparatory Academy’s overall financial rating is DOES NOT MEET STANDARD.

Delaware College Preparatory Academy’s overall organizational rating is DOES NOT MEET STANDARD.

Looks like teachers and students are holding up their end even-though DCAS scores aren’t stellar but does met AYP. 

If Delaware College Prep goes down as you can see it would be due to organizational and financial shortfalls in governance. 

If Merv thinks the Red Clay taxpayers are going to bail them out he best be start packing the contents of his desk. 

In short, Superintendent Merv Daugherty said no.

“Our responsibility is not with the personnel at the school,” Daugherty said. “Who they hire is the responsibility of the board of directors.”

And Merv, our responsibility as local taxpayers is not to bail out private corporations. Send them to Re-Pete up at Longwood or to Ms. Hospitality at the Delaware Charter Schools Network. Merv and “Red Clay School Board” keep the cards on the table! 

Delaware DOE attempts to execute Facebook beat down of DE teacher regarding origins of CCSS. #DOEgoesBIGPIMPIN’ again for

Delaware: Fallout from historic charter school debate transcripts shakes admission preferences


SENATOR MARSHALL:  Understanding that the harshest critics of charter schools around the nation where they’ve been in place and operating, is the issue of the schools skimming off the top and creating an elitist academy with public money. 

My concern is looking at the focus of the charter schools by attracting the best at times for a specific educational discipline offered by that charter school; and the concern of recruitment. 

I looked at children throughout New Castle County in moderate low income neighborhoods, I looked at the City, the west side, the east side, hilltop, I need to understand how your board and how you will guarantee fairness and equal access to every student from every unit

MR. MANNING:  Thank you Senator.  Let me approach that question two different ways because I hear the creaming argument over and over again with respect to schools of choice. 

One thing that particularly bothers me about that argument is that whoever is making the argument, whether you’re a member of the State PTA or whether you’re a Superintendent from a school district 100 miles away from a district that wants to try a charter, that person is basically saying I know better than the parents of that child where that child ought to attend.   But that’s an argument that I’ve never really understood, and it’s always been a little offensive to me. 

You also hear the suggestion that for some reason children whose parents are college educated and have jobs that pay more will somehow get the better end of the deal.  Which suggests that children of parents who for some reason don’t have a college education somehow aren’t able to cope in this system and aren’t able to make good choices for their children.  I don’t believe that.  And in Red Clay the experience is just the opposite. 

In Red Clay we’ve had schools of choice for the last three or four years.  And no school of choice has ever been populated on any basis other than a percentage, which mirrors the District in virtually every respect.  Socioeconomically, racially, schools of choice mirror their community. 

But let me get more specific about this particular school that has been proposed for Wilmington High.  I can tell you that the proponents and the participants in that charter consortium every one of them have come to the table saying, Governor one thing I want to make sure is that this is a school that provides an opportunity to every child in this district, every child in this area and I want to make sure that this school is not marked as an elitist school.  Not a school that you can only get into if you do well in science and math in grades one through eight. 

So what can we do to make sure that doesn’t happen?  Well the first thing you want to do is to make sure that you promote the school in the entire community.  I can tell you that that has worked successfully in some of our choice programs already and that the intention of this charter group is to do just that with a very elaborate solicitation and marketing program. 

You might also want to make sure that children who might not have done very well in math and science up to the point of ninth grade, nevertheless, have an opportunity to benefit by this school, which will be excellent in math and science. 

Well that suggests that you need some catch up.  That you need to take those children who have an interest in attending that school, perhaps have an affinity for those subjects but just haven’t done well at them up until that point and give them the extra boost that they need in order to be prepared for ninth grade at this school, which is going to be a rigorous academic year. 

And for that reason there is an organization called D.A.R.E. and it is an organization that is dedicated to the promotion of engineering sciences through the study of engineering and sciences among the minority population.  It runs a very successful program in Red Clay now and that organization has agreed to run a summer program for children who need some remediation before that ninth year begins. 

This will be a school which not only caters to those children who have already displayed excellence in math and science and takes them one step farther; it will also be a school that reaches out to those kids who think they want to succeed in that area and it says for you we have a special summer remediation program that you probably can’t get elsewhere.  That’s going to be part of this program.  I say it’s going to be part of this program, although I really ought to say as a member of the school board, that we’re going to wait and see the application. 

There are some things that I probably can’t tell you about the admissions process and the application process.  But I do know what’s in the minds of the consortium that has come together and agreed to sponsor this school.  And I can tell you that that’s upper most in their thinking. 

One other feature about this school, but I think it will apply to other charter schools as well, is this school made sure that it had a place for everyone.  I believe that we will, as time goes by, read in the newspaper every June that graduates of this school have also graduated from the best medical schools in the Country, the best engineering schools in the Country and are headed for PhDs and professional pursuits.

We’re also going to see for example the Medical Center benefit by an infusion of workers who come right from high school, who choose not to go to college, and who need a preparation in the business that the Medical Center attends to, which is healthcare.  That’s going to be available at this school.  The Medical Center is a very important participant. 

This is a school designed to take kids who want to go to higher education and perhaps graduate school and is also designed to provide kids who want to go right to work after school with better preparation, more job specific preparation than they’ll probably get in their regular high school. 

So for all those reasons it is not fair and it is certainly not accurate to say about this school that it will be an elites’ school in the sense that you meant.  However, I think it will be an elites’ school in another sense. 

The children who will come from all over that District and will come indeed from all over the County I hope, will achieve at a level perhaps not equaled at any other school in that area.  And in that sense, it will be elite. 

There will be a rigorous academic program, well resourced and the children will come to this school for that reason.  I believe when kids come to a school for a particular reason they are more likely to succeed.  I hope I’ve answered your question.

MADAM PRESIDENT:  Senator Marshall. 

SENATOR MARSHALL:  Madam President.  Mr. Manning you did, but I’d follow up with one other question.  How do we guarantee the parents who have the high level of concern that a charter school is really towards a private public school?  And if you look at the executives and the managers involved in the private sector, their background is college and maybe more than one degree. 

They encourage their employees and their family to seek out college and yet in order to get that fair balance in the student population, you can’t have that attitude prevail at the management level of the school.  And here we’re handing it over to the private sector and saying you’re going to handle recruitment and set up standards.  I mean how do we overcome that the poor kid from the Eastside or the Westside of Wilmington will not be given a fair opportunity? 

MR. MANNING: You do a couple of things.  First I should say that those managers that you’re talking about employ people; they hire people.  They know what skills people need in order to succeed in this marketplace particularly those kids who haven’t gone onto college.

I think we shouldn’t ever assume that any rising ninth grader is not going to go to college.  That should be a level of achievement or a goal perhaps for every ninth grader in this State.  There will be some however who don’t.  And the charge of this school, and I would say any high school has the same responsibility, is to make sure that those who don’t go on can nevertheless have a set of skills that they can market immediately. 

I can’t think of a school in New Castle County, say perhaps for the Vo-Tech Schools that will do a better job than the school that is imagined for the Academy of Math and Science. 

I mentioned the Medical Center.  The Medical Center wants to make sure that it has a stock of future technicians out there.  Those will be children who by large don’t have college degrees, but they need skills.  And the skills that the Medical Center wants to acquaint these children with won’t be skills that you pick up in our high schools right now. 

The final answer to your question is, you make sure that each one of those kids who lives in the areas that you described has a guidance counselor in eighth grade that is looking out for them and says this is a school for this kid and has the opportunity to get that child in that school. 

Make sure that each parent of such a child has a video tape in their hands showing them in their own living room the benefits of this school and you make sure you hear from those parents.  And there will be an effort to do that.

SENATOR MARSHALL:  Madam President just one final comment.  I think what you have conveyed is that the schools will not be exclusively a college prep institution but a welcome to all students who may just plan to complete twelfth grade and move on to the workplace.  

MR. MANNING:  That’s one of the fundamental precepts of this experiment. 

MADAM PRESIDENT:  Senator Sharp. 

SENATOR SHARP:  Thank you Madam President.  Welcome Mr. Manning. 

MR. MANNING:  Thank you Senator. 

SENATOR SHARP:  Mr. Manning under the charter school concept that you folks are planning for Wilmington High School, what happens to those kids who are now attending Wilmington High School who live out in my area where you’ve extended the feeder pattern and brought kids all the way out from Kirkwood Highway into Wilmington High School?  What happens to them?  Where would they go to school? 

MR. MANNING:  Those who are currently attending Wilmington High will continue to attend Wilmington High.  You’re talking about the upper classman who are there now?

SENATOR SHARP:  I’m talking about the kids that are in that feeder pattern whether they’re in the school today or scheduled to go there in September.

MR. MANNING:  If they are in the feeder pattern but aren’t in the school, they’ll have the same choice that everyone else has in the District; the choice to go to any one of our four schools.  That’s the group that is ninth grade and below; the rising ninth graders and below.

If you are in the school now…

SENATOR SHARP:  Excuse me for a minute that only applies up to the certain racial quotas?

MR. MANNING:  No, no. 

SENATOR SHARP:  You can’t have a racially identifiable school can you under the court order?

MR. MANNING:  We haven’t had a racially identifiable school that is a choice school yet.  So there is no reason to limit what the computer does when it sorts out the applications for a choice school. 

SENATOR SHARP:  Choice is a relatively new project that you’ve tried; I think this is the first year for it, is it not? 

MR. MANNING:  We have schools of choice that are now going into their third or fourth year; I can’t remember which, at Wilmington High School for example…

SENATOR SHARP:  Yeah but that’s a little different concept than what you’re talking about.

MR. MANNING:  Last year for the first year…this will be the second year coming up where children can choose their schools from all over the district.  Now last year…

SENATOR SHARP:  Aren’t they still governed though by this court order?

MR. MANNING:   Yes sir they are.  Last year we had an experience with that.

SENATOR SHARP:  Then my question again would be, for the kids who live in my district, my neighborhood, who are now forced to go into Wilmington High School, can’t go across the street to Dickinson because of the court order and because of your feeder pattern.  When and if Wilmington High School becomes a charter school, where will those kids go to school if there’s not room in that charter school?

MR. MANNING:  If the court order isn’t lifted then those children will have to…the choices will continue…they won’t have choices, they’ll have to go to Wilmington High School if the Federal Judge says so.  We’re obviously working to correct that and I think we will be successful.

SENATOR SHARP:  Excuse me let me back up just a minute then.  How can it be a charter school if the kids have to go there, which they do now?

MR. MANNING:  I’m sorry I should have said this in the beginning.  The charter school that we’re talking about will only be a portion of what goes on in that building.  Just as is the case right now there are several schools within that school.  The charter school that the DuPont Company, Bell Atlantic, Zeneca, The Medical Center, and I’m sure I’m leaving somebody else out, which I apologize; that applies only to the new Academy of Math and Science; which is only a portion of what’s going on at Wilmington High. 

SENATOR SHARP:  How many students?

MR. MANNING:  It hasn’t opened yet.

SENTATOR SHARP:  Well I mean how many openings?  You’ve only got “x” number of seats in the school.  How many students will be in the charter school?

MR. MANNING:  It’s designed to have entering classes of up to 200 children. 

SENATOR SHARP:  So you’ll have a freshman class, 9th grade I guess of 200?

MR. MANNING:  Yes.  That’s the max.

SENATOR SHARP:  And how many freshmen do you normally have in the school?

MR. MANNING:  I’m going to say entering classes have been somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 children in that school.  But that’s an average and I’d rather you didn’t hold me to that because I don’t know the specific number.

SENATOR SHARP:  Okay but you said that 200 of the freshman class would be in the charter school but you’re also telling me that that’s a total of the freshman class.  So you have a student body of 800?

MR. MANNING:  The charter school if it takes as many children as it hopes to take, 200 children per grade, would have 800.  The school itself, the building, has a capacity, and please don’t hold me to this but if I’m in the right neighborhood of roughly 1,600.  And that makes room for the other educational programs that are going on in that building, for example the Calloway School has 300 kids. 

SENATOR SHARP:  You’ve confused me a little bit.

MR. MANNING:  I’m sorry.

SENATOR SHARP:  You say you have a capacity in the building for 1,600 students?

MR. MANNING:  Roughly yes.

SENATOR SHARP:  Okay I won’t hold you to that; 1,550, 1,650, somewhere in that neighborhood.  We’ll use 1,600 for round figures.

MR. MANNING:  Thank you.

SENATOR SHARP:  And you only have 800 in the school?

MR. MANNING:  In the Academy of Math and Science.  There will be other schools…

SENATOR SHARP:  No at the present time there are 800 students attending that school.

MR. MANNING:  Oh roughly. 

SENATOR SHARP:  Okay.  Where are you going to get all of these students?  I’m having a hard time and I’m looking at this purely from an appropriable point of view; my District, my neighborhood, my kids, who are now forced to go to Wilmington High School.

MR. MANNING:  They are forced to go to Wilmington High School because of an order that was entered in 1978 which hopefully will be lifted.  I can’t, as much as I’d like to, I can’t do anything about that. 

SENATOR SHARP:  I understand.

MR. MANNING:  We will provide a school for those children, a full blown traditional high school for those children, to the extent the court order continues to require those children to go to Wilmington High.  And there is room to do that. 

SENATOR SHARP:  So even with all this the kids in my neighborhood who would like to go back to Dickinson, which is a half a mile up the road or closer for most of them, would still not be able to go to Dickinson.  Keeping in mind the court order, we don’t know what’s going to happen with that. So they’re still going to have to go to Wilmington High School.  Now we’re going to throw the charter school in there.  Those kids may not be eligible to be charter school students. 

MR. MANNING:  Every child is eligible to be a charter school student.  There are no admission…

SENATOR SHARP:  Well there’s some criteria isn’t there?

MR. MANNING:  No.  The decision has been made not to impose admissions criteria on this school.

SENATOR SHARP:  You just got done saying with math and science.

MR. MANNING:  That’s correct.

SENATOR SHARP:  Not every child is suited or able to do well with a math and science curriculum.

MR. MANNING:  But there is no rule imposed by the District that says you can come and you can’t.  That’s a decision…

SENATOR SHARP:  But they’re going to be eliminated purely by their academic ability. 


SENATOR SHARP:  Well if you’re not proficient in math and science, how are you going to take that in a charter school?

MR. MANNING:  If you’re not proficient in math and science than presumably you wouldn’t seek admission to this school. 

SENATOR SHARP:  Well then you’re running me around a circle Mr. Manning; I’m starting to get a headache. 

MR. MANNING:  I’m sorry. 

SENATOR SHARP:  I’m talking about the kids in my neighborhood who have to go in there.  You said they could go into charter school.  I’m saying maybe they are not proficient.  You said well they wouldn’t have to go to that school.  Then where in the hell are these kids going to school? 

MR. MANNING:  To the extent that there are children who will remain forced under a court order to go to Wilmington High School, they will have the option of attending the Academy of Math and Science or the current traditional program that is there right now.  And those two programs will be run side by side for as long as the Federal Court requires the attendance of certain kids at that school.  Does that answer your question? 

SENATOR SHARP:  No.  But I’m not going to continue this conversation.  But I can tell you this I think what we’re talking about here and what this Legislation does will be extremely unfair to the kids that I represent. 

MR. MANNING:  The children that you represent have made choices this spring for what school they want to attend.  They have the option of attending any of the four schools in the district and those choices will be honored unless the Federal Court says you have to make them go to Wilmington High. 

SENATOR SHARP:  Mr. Manning do you remember last year when the kids made those choices…

MR. MANNING:  Yes sir.

SENATOR SHARP: …and you guys pulled the plug on them a week before school started?

MR. MANNING:  Yes sir.  And this year we have made sure that every child sending in the application and telling us what their choices are, and that’s every kid in the District including yours; we have made sure that every one in the District knows that this plan, which has nothing to do with a charter school, this plan may yet be foiled by the continued presence of that court order.  But we’re trying as hard as we can to get that lifted. 

MADAM PRESIDENT:  Senator Marshall.

SENATOR MARSHALL:  Madam President I move to excuse the witness. 

MADAM PRESIDENT:  Senator Venables you have a question for the witness?

SENATOR VENABLES:  Yes Madam President.  Mr. Manning you’ve been in the chamber I think most of the afternoon.  You’ve probably heard most of the statements concerning pilot programs.  You’ve heard that probably we need to go a little slower in this. 

Those two things kind of worry me a little bit and I think that as members of the Senate we ought to use all the wisdom we can gather in this issue and maybe some of the wisdom that we brought with us when we came up here. 

Do you see any validity in what was said here this afternoon as far as a pilot program?  It sounded like to me that you are very enthusiastic about this school.

MR. MANNING:  Yes I am.

SENATOR VENABLES:  And I am to some degree enthusiastic about a charter school.  But, I’m also enthusiastic you know that maybe we do need one particular charter school to start with to see how the thing works. 

The discussion that I just heard between Senator Sharp and yourself even maybe gives more strength to that issue that maybe we need to see how this thing is going to work before we unleash this in different districts all through the State. 

MR. MANNING:  Senator, the Bill as I understand it particularly with the amendments that were included today with the Bill, creates no risk that you or this body will be unleashing this throughout the State.  Because it now takes care to ensure that the parents and the teachers of schools throughout the State and the school boards throughout the State will be the ultimate bodies to decide whether any school becomes a charter school.  It won’t be dictated from Dover. 

SENATOR VENABLES:  Well I don’t mean it to be dictated but I think the scenario that Senator Marshall was talking about, maybe you do have 50 percent of these people that fall in the category that would want to start this charter school and maybe convince the Superintendent to go along with it. 

MR. MANNING:  Right.

SENATOR VENABLES:  Wouldn’t that give them the power to do it over the objections of the other people that might not want to?

MR. MANNING:  Yes there’s a one word answer to that question and it’s yes.  There will be a point if the question comes up with respect to any particular school where the majority of the teachers and the majority of the parents are asked to express their preference; whether they should become a charter school or not. 

I don’t know how else to decide whether there is a consensus in the community for doing that other than asking them.  But I say again, that’s much better in my view. Asking the community to decide that question is better than having the State Board of Education decide, having a local board of education exclusively decide or having folks in this room decide.  

This Bill does nothing but create opportunity for individual districts.  It doesn’t require them to take advantage of anything. 

SENATOR VENABLES:  I understand that and I feel a lot better with the Bill with the amendments on it than I did without the amendments.  But at this particular point do you understand what the so called, maybe it’s not a mad rush, but the rush to implement this so quick?  Are we going to lose the opportunity if we do more research or if we hold public hearings on this the way it was suggested by the PTA?

MR.MANNING:  Those public hearings have been provided for in an amendment which I understand was put on the Bill earlier this afternoon.  And the important public hearings that need to be held on whether any school becomes a charter school, I would submit with all due respect, are not public hearings in front of the State Board and are not public hearings in front of DPI.  They are public hearings in the area which is considering whether to become a charter school or not.   And the same evidence that Ms. Krause wants to talk about can be discussed by the community that’s actually going to be affected. 

There’s no need to prolong the extension of the invitation to local districts and to individual schools to become a charter school.  That opportunity should be made available now.  You’re not making the decision that any school is going to become a charter school.  But it seems to me that a decision ought to be made in that school community, not here.  And there’s no reason to delay this process any further so that people in some committee that’s created at the State level can look at data that is readily available to every school district in this State. 


MR. MANNING:  Thank you. 

MADAM PRESIDENT:  Senator McDowell.

SENATOR McDOWELL:  Thank you Madam President.  Mr. Manning when you talk about public hearings occurring at the school district level, let me ask you if we pass this Legislation and a school district, let’s say Red Clay, decides it wants to do a charter school, they have public hearings.  People come and say, they don’t want charter schools and the Red Clay Board goes in and has a charter school. What remedy is there? 

MR. MANNING:  If you pose in your hypothetical with respect to most of the charter school opportunities created by this Bill that the people say they don’t want a charter school, then under the terms of the amendment that was just passed, except for special circumstances, the school does not become a charter school. 

SENATOR McDOWELL:  And it has to be 50 percent of the teachers and the parents.  So you actually hold a referendum?

MR. MANNING:  Senator that’s what I understand as required by that amendment.  I have only seen it today so I don’t know. 

SENATOR McDOWELL:  Maybe I should have brought that up with the amendments here.  I just don’t know how that’s going to…

MR. MANNING:  I understood that to be the testimony on this floor when that amendment was before the Senate.  That it would require those votes among those two groups of folks, teachers and parents. 

SENATOR McDOWELL:  For the record, you said that you’ve got 200 slots for the Math Academy that you’re setting up in Red Clay, is that correct?

MR. MANNING:  That is a general target.  I need to say that the group that has come forward and said we’re willing to assist this school and expect we’re going to be its sponsor, has yet to file an application.  Obviously they haven’t filed an application because this Legislation hasn’t yet passed. 

We’ll learn a lot more about how they propose to proceed as that application comes in.  I’m in a sense speculating based on conversation that I’ve heard.  That conversation says roughly 200 kids per class. 

SENATOR McDOWELL:  You have an existing choice in math at Wilmington High, is that not right?

MR. MANNING:  The Academy of Math and Science, yes.  And there will be…

SENATOR McDOWELL:  An extra 200 slots you referred to?

MR. MANNING:  That was up to 200, there will not be 200…

SENATOR McDOWELL:  And how many applications have you had? 

MR. MANNING:  I think it’s somewhere around 60 the last time I looked. 

SENATOR McDOWELL:  And out of a student base of what?

MR. MANNING:  All rising ninth graders, which would make it 1,200.

SENATOR McDOWELL:  Sixty out of 1,200.

MR. MANNING:  That’s about right. 

SENATOR McDOWELL:  Thank you. 

MR. MANNING:  That application procedure will continue through the summer and we expect those numbers of applications to grow. 

MADAM PRESIDENT:  Senator Marshall.

SENATOR MARSHALL:  Madam President I move to excuse the witness. 

MADAM PRESIDENT:  Without objection the witness is excused.  Thank you very much.  Senator Sokola.

Please take comments to the seventh type (blog) Mike O here ……. Mike O has provided this documentation and his own personal views worthy of everyone viewing. Mike thanks for digging up this document it helps bring much of the debate towards the truth that was hidden in archives.  

Delaware Charter School Dead Sea Scrolls fall into Mike O’s hands! No place for Publius to hide

A remarkable document By the seventh type (blog) by Mike O March 26, 2014

A remarkable document landed in my inbox recently. It is a 103-page transcript of the 1995 Delaware Senate debate on SB 200 – Delaware’s charter school law. It is sort of like finding the Dead Sea Scrolls under a rock in your back yard, or finding the bill for the Last Supper stuck in an old pot. Go here to see the amazing “transcript”

Amazing stuff here folks and more the reason and “support” to end this discriminatory specific interest admission clause! It has to end ! Now!

OMG! Publius is having meltdown over the thought of ending specific interest admission to Delaware charter schools

  Publius e decere, on March 26, 2014 at 11:54 pm said: 

I’m pretty sure we should be bounding our debate to Federal and DE state law. If you want NY to define what should go on in DE, then lets include 1. their robust legal acceptance of the co-location of charter schools in public-funded school buildings; and 2. the right of exam schools to select applicants based on ability, where kids actually do compete based on ability and get accepted in the Darwinian world that your kin so ahbors. If NY is the model, the it is ALL of NY.

And what about the other myriad states who have far more individualistic performance and interest standards that DE does.? Oh they must be stopped, right? They are all in violation of law, right? I can tell you one thing — NONE of them are profiling and selecting students based expressly on race. John Young’s “initiative” in this regard will plow new (and unfortunate) ground for DE.

You want DE to do that? Welcome to the early 19th century.

Massah John, want to comment?
Brother Kilroy, want to comment?

Publius, Delaware charter school law was seeded by racist people who weren’t happy with the desegregation order meaning they din’t want their children attending public schools with black children. The call for public education reform starting with ESEA and was driven by the system failure to close the achievement gap between black  and white students most-likely due to southern influence. Some charter schools apparently prove whites can succeeded better without the presence or a minimal number of black students. Giving black students their own charter schools rounding them up like the Japanese during World War II and putting them in interment camps isn’t reform. Sad to say there are uncle Tom’s sitting on the sidelines counting their greenbacks. But than again, African tribesman and even African chiefs had a $$ hand in slave trade. Kind of funny we refer to school leaders as chiefs. 

Take a look at the mega downtown emerging charter school. Granddad funded revamping of Delaware public schools building new buildings for white student and buildings for black students. Why didn’t granddad with all his industrial might confront racism aka segregation? So grandson comes along and helps fund charter “designed” for black children. And tell me, why don’t black children deserve school buildings with all the amenities such as sports fields and play grounds?          

Public schools are meant of all children and all school buildings need to have services for all level of needs, physical and academically and yes Red Clay should have a district-wide special ed inclusion plan that includes “their” charter school. Merv cannot proclaim district-wide inclusion plan by excluding “Red Clay’s” charter schools.

Face it Publius, change is coming and you are nothing as I in the scope of things. We’re two peas in a pod you and I. I have a bottle of Johnny Walker Blue. Perhaps we need to have sit down to bring you off the edge! Change is coming either bend like a willow tree or break.