Delaware: attempts to shield duplication of traditional public schools by charters in state senate

Charter school bill heads to Senate Jon Offredo, The News Journal

The Delaware State Board of Education can study more closely the impact charter schools have on surrounding districts and impose conditions on them under legislation sent to the full Senate on Wednesday.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Bryan Townsend, D-Newark, said the legislation gives board members the latitude to understand how proposed charters and charter expansions would affect the overall education system.

“The bill in my mind gets at the issue of the state board of education being able to take a holistic view of the education system,” he said.

I agree with taking mayoral control away from Delaware Secretary of Education but at the end of the day the state board answers to Delaware President Jack Markell. Perhaps the next legislation should be requiring the state board of education members to be elected by the public not appointed by the agenda I mean governor.

The vagueness of the term “impact” came into play last month after the board and Secretary of Education Mark Murphy approved four new charter schools to open in New Castle County over the next few years. Townsend was among 20 state lawmakers who wrote to the board before that decision voicing “deep concerns” about the amount of money and number of students traditional districts could lose

The deep concerns should be with the qualification of the Delaware Secretary of Education. Three years as a gym teacher, two as a building principal than abrupt exit from St. Mary’s County Public Schools ending up on Rodel’s Vision 2015 doorstep. Obviously Markell’s liking to Murphy was all Rodel and the sinister agenda to break the back of traditional public schools to own the unions.

Representatives from public and charter school associations, as well as the governor’s office, all supported the bill, saying it added much-needed clarity.

Well somebody is going to lose here so who comes out on the short end of the stick! Either charters duplicate traditional schools with programs like STEM and IB or traditional schools losing out to the bright-flight to charters. At the end of the day it will be traditional school losing out no matter how hard they compete. 

Lindsay O’Mara, Gov. Jack Markell’s education policy adviser, said the bill adds a lot of value to the approval process by defining impact, which in the last bill wasn’t very well defined.

“I think one of the most valuable things this bill does is ask the Department of Education to look across the country, examine best practices and really come up with some factors and rubrics and some structure around how impact would be considered as part of the process,” she said.

O’Mara? Why does that name sound familiar? Anyhow, I thought it was giving the state board of education a little more latitude in the final charter school application approval! Somebody just slipped-up saying this legislation is a feel good legislation and the department of education in which the state board is not part of will continue to rule. The same tactics DE DOE and Murphy uses to make parents feel part of the process but they aren’t. Parents are always indoctrinated after the facts. As far as Title 1 parents protection under federal law Title 1 Section 1118, you can thank the good righteous brothers claiming to be civil rights leaders for letting Title 1 Section 1118 becoming null and void.

Despite the call for this legislation, the notion parents and students are screaming for more charters was trumped when four charter schools approved to open next school year 2014-2015 couldn’t even make 40% of promised enrollment. One of these charter already had a year-delay because they struggled to enroll students. Two years for this charter school and they couldn’t even enroll 40% of promised enrollment. Charter schools failing to meet the 80% rule / law should be terminated before they open their doors. There is no need for the BS charter school review procedures for charters that aren’t full operational. They failed to meet enrollment required to open their doors!   Also, charter schools who borrow money from family members should be questioned and that practice be prohibited. I don’t care if it’s below market interest rank! It’s improper and unethical. 

2 responses to “Delaware: attempts to shield duplication of traditional public schools by charters in state senate

  1. “Representatives from public and charter school associations, as well as the governor’s office, all supported the bill, saying it added much-needed clarity. ”

    OK, now I’m suspicious of the bill.


  2. Based on listening to the April board meeting at the DOE, I think some different decisions could have been made had this bill passed prior to that. Some of the board members had very strong objections to these charters for valid reasons.