Daily Archives: May 18, 2014

Impressed! DE DOE finally get’s it re: ongoing monitoring of charter schools

Compliance Monitoring

Monthly Monitoring Pilot (February to April):
-Audited Financial Statements
-Monthly Financial Statements
-Approved Board Meeting Minutes Posted
New Compliance Items:
-Current Bylaws
-List of All Board of Directors Meetings
-Board of Directors Meeting Agendas
-List of All CBOC Meetings
-CBOC Meeting Agendas
-Approved CBOC Meeting Minutes

School websites are windows to transparency and should have enriched data on school operations and oversight by the school boards. Charter schools lag far behind many school district in meaning for data.

Charter school board members are not elected and are recruited from local businesses / corporation. Though the get school board training there mentality is aligned with the corporate world and Delaware charter school law sends mixed messages. 

Title 14, Chapter  5 § 504 Corporate status.

(a) A charter school shall be organized and managed under the Delaware General Corporation Law.

(b) The board of directors of a charter school shall be deemed public agents authorized by a public school district or the Department with the approval of the State Board to control the charter school. No person shall serve as a member of a charter school board of directors who is an elected member of a local school board of education.

(c) A charter school shall be considered a public school for all purposes.

Talk about big loopholes, Delaware’s charter school law loopholes are the size of the Grand Canyon. 

When you put non public elected charter school board members together with non public elected state board of education members you have a very disconnected process. And the sad part of this equation is, the Delaware Department of Education has politically shifted in the pecking order placing it higher than the state board. The state board has become a rubber stamp factory for DE DOE and near irrelevant.  

In Delaware education agenda, data data data is the driving force when it comes to teacher quality and student achievement. However, when it comes to critical structural changes in regards to data needs in charter school oversight folks like Publius play the “we’re corporations” cards. The truth is many charter schools are playing a game of Where’s Waldo with the facts aka transparency as Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy looks the other way. 

All the charter school naysayers combined don’t do as much damaged to the charter school movement as those charter schools lacking in transparency. The call for changes seems to be on the heels of each failed charter school and struggling application. Pencader was a clear wake-up call. No Publius, Pencader Frank wasn’t at fault. However, under his leadership he failed to takes steps to move Pencader into the sunlight. He should of called for a complete top to bottom audit! What he did was recruit a former district superintendent that drove a district into bankruptcy and a former board member who was asleep at the wheel! But he knew!

You damn right I am going there, H.B.#23. The state board recordings are amazing an I think has helped legislators see how state board members hands are often tied by DE DOE. Red Clay, Christina, Capital, Brandywine, Delmar and Colonial school district record their meeting and put online voluntarily. These communities don’t have to rely on vague board meeting minutes. Charter schools fear this kind of transparency because the truth would be told!

What’s stopping Governor Markell form making an Executive Order mirroring H.B.#23? Well it’s the likes of Rodel and the Delaware Charter Schools Network! H.B#23 is heading for a desk drawer veto by the Delaware Speaker of The House and his little partner in political crime Rep Longhurst! H.B.#23 key sponsor Rep. Hudson cowards in the corner fearing the power of Rep Longhurst! These are the legislators parents and taxpayers need to oppose and we will! 

The only way to improve public education is to reveal the truth! Matt Denn who chairs the Worker Compensation Task Force records all those meetings and makes available to the public. Folks were are in the information technology age and there is no excuse for any public boards not to record their meetings and share with the taxpayers.

As far as DE DOE’s new pressure on charter school’s flow of information via the schools Webpage, it’s a step in the right direction and monthly monitoring by DE DOE is NECESSARY! Hopefully after the departure of Sec of Ed Murphy we’ll see a new leader willing to push for transparency such as H.B.#23. Blowing the horn for data, data, data and not demanding the best in transparency is a losing game and signs of a weak leader! Sec Murphy is an intellect but his biggest weakness is needing a corporate politically lace script to follow. He is far from a classic leader and is a typical follower. I can’t see how he can have an honest conversation with the public and educators when the fact is, he can’t have an honest conversation with himself. The talent-base is there but Murphy lacks the capacity and grit to deliver “himself”. 

Delaware: Senate Bill 205 a lifesaver but school liability may increase

Senate Bill 205, which cleared the Senate on a 21-0 vote, requires Delaware schools to take steps to screen athletes for hidden heart conditions that can lead to sudden, frequently fatal incidents.

Also under the measure, coaches would be required to be certified to administer CPR and be trained on operating automated external defibrillators. Students and their parents also would receive information on the condition, technically known  as sudden cardiac arrest.
The condition is the No. 1 cause of death among high school athletes, striking while they’re taking part in a game or practicing.

“We have a responsibility to protect Delaware’s student athletes,” said Sen. Cloutier, who worked closely with prime sponsor Sen. Bethany Hall-Long (D-Middletown) on the bill. “All of the parties involved have worked very hard to get this right. The DIAA has done an excellent job with changing regulations internally since we passed a resolution looking at this issue last June, and I am excited these regulations  will be solidified through a bill.”

The bill is named in honor of Gracie Firestone, a three-sport, all-state athlete
at Tower Hill School, who suffered sudden cardiac arrest in her home just after  she graduated. Firestone, who now attends the University of Delaware and has an  implanted defibrillator, said it’s an honor to have the law named after her.

“This is a great honor, because I’m still here today to see this law being passed,” Firestone said.

This a copy of an E-mail I received  via DE GOP Senate updates. For sure it’s a game changer as far screening student athletes. 

3) Require each student athlete to complete a heart history questionnaire as part of the pre-participation physical examination;

After reading the actual legislation I was relieved is see the clause (3). The E-mail stated this “Delaware schools to take steps to screen athletes for hidden heart conditions that can lead to sudden, frequently fatal incidents.”

The screening is not some medical or physical administrated or the responsibility of the school. 

(2) Prior to participating in practice or competition, require each student athlete and the athlete’s parent or guardian, sign and return a sudden cardiac arrest information sheet designed by the Association;

I find it odd that all these years no such requirement was in place related to health history that included the heart. But it is very possible that schools and district ask for such information.

(4)  Hold a current cardiopulmonary resuscitation (“CPR”) certification for all school appointed head coaches, which includes training on the use of an automated external defibrillator; 

GOP E-mail said this Also under the measure, coaches would be required to be certified to administer CPR and be trained on operating automated external defibrillators. However (4) for stated “head coaches” not coaches which could be many. But surely schools and district will train all assistant coaches.

In the big picture of school sports the medical liability has increased responsibility of the schools and district. With school staff and coaches being responsible for CPR and using defibrillators and the increased responsibilities associated with concussions and traumatic brain injury, I wonder what impact it has on insurance liability rate and legal fees? What I am getting at is, as time goes whereas the school and district that on such important and complex responsibility will the legal risk factors been the beginning to the end of competitive sports? It’s not a question of what extent we go to protect the health and safety of school athletes because no price is too big to pay or is it?One error or oversight on the school, district or coaches part could be responsible for serious injury or death of a student and create million of dollars lawsuits. The financial pressures on Delaware public schools and charter schools have increased with inflation and budget cuts. Will football become more valued than AP classes? The concern has nothing to do with disapproval of this legislation which I support 100%. The concern is, where is the break-point for schools and district in regards to liability risks and cost to run school level sports programs.