Another blow to Delaware charter schools coming today re: SB #209

147th General Assembly
Senate Bill # 209 w/SA 1

Primary Sponsor:

Townsend

Additional Sponsor(s):    Sen. Sokola & Rep. K. Williams & Rep. Scott

CoSponsors:

Sens. Blevins, Marshall, McDowell, Peterson, Venables; Reps. Barbieri, Baumbach, Bennett, Bolden, Brady, Carson, J. Johnson, Q. Johnson, Keeley, Kowalko, Longhurst, Mitchell, Mulrooney, Osienski, Potter, Schwartzkopf, Viola

This bill requires the Department of Education to promulgate regulations to further define the meaning and process for consideration of impact in the charter school application review process, to be considered and approved by the State Board no later than its October 2014 meeting. It also clarifies the conditions that an authorizer may place on an approved application, and provides that the State Board of Education may place or modify conditions to address considerations of impact.

I don’t see this a direct attack against charter schools in Delaware but rather an attack on those serving DE DOE for the sake of political agendas. This legislation cuts a few Rodel and Markell puppet strings.

The demand for charter schools may be artifical proven by the fact three charter schools approved to open next school year 2014-2015 couldn’t even fill 40% of approved enrollment. Senator Dave Sokola is an additional sponsor of Senate Bill #209 but look close at the legislation in the pipeline that questions his sincerity on SB #209.  See this post on SB #234 Hiney (Rep. Scott) and Hole (Sen. Sokola) stealth legislation to allow charter schools with less than 200 students Posted on  by kilroysdelaware. SB#234 is on the Senate Education Committee agenda for 06/04/2014 and Senator Sokola is Committee Chair. If he cares about how charter schools have impact on local school districts why is he advocating for micro-charter schools? One reason he is, is to throw a political rope to three charter schools approved to open next school year 2014-2015 that failed to meet enrollment requirements where none of the three even secured 40% of enrollment promised for their first year and failes to meet state charter school enrollment laws. Passage of SB #234 would legally allow those charter school failing to meet enrollment prescribed by current law to open. Many House Republicans are set to vote no against SB#209 but are foaming at the mouth to vote yes for SB#234.

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28 responses to “Another blow to Delaware charter schools coming today re: SB #209

  1. John Young

    good bill, more than we ever had before, but in the end, the SBE CAN NOT use impact to deny application, even if they determine it would devastate a community.

    It is incremental change.

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    • Eve Buckley

      Democratic politics involves proposing what you think can get passed, often. I doubt the ideal version could get through…

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    • I have no doubt you’re right, but when it comes to kids being incremental is just a tragedy.

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  2. I question the benefit of this bill . I see it makes no change. I base that on the approval of its two co-sponsors. If passed, the status quo continues. So why pass it? I would rather see a bill that does indeed make change, get voted down so we can then go after those who voted against it and make them feel parents wrath. It is an election year.

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    • Eve Buckley

      It makes some good changes–as John says, incremental. Kim Wms. and Bryan Townsend are good-faith legislators. They may believe that co-sponsorship by Scott & Sokola is essential for anything education-related to get passed. Good, dead bills don’t help students.

      I’m sympathetic to your desire for greater change, faster–but it’s also clear that there is a great deal of resistance to making DE charters truly public (and less damaging to other public schools, etc.). Among the population of active voters, charters are pretty popular (b/c that’s the same pop’n that’s being well served by the existing inequities, by and large)–at least in NCCo. Less so elsewhere in the state, where many parents who are reasonably happy with their local public schools see the harm that charter expansion has done to similar schools up north. That’s my sense, anyway. The more vocal opposition to charters & votechs is coming from places like Smyrna and Cape Henlopen.

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    • Unlike you, I do not see support for charters in NC County. I see apathy, but that comes from ignorance…. The more people know, the more dangerous charters appear…..

      There may be some residual old schoolers, that is too be expected, just as there are people still denying global warming despite overwhelming evidence of future disaster….

      But once one sees the better knowledge scores in the public system, and hears of all the problems compounded in the charter system, one has no choice but accept the inevitable, that to improve education one must launch an attack on poverty. Poverty is too big a problem for charter schools to handle. Public schools have unlimited resources, if we choose to assess them….

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    • Eve Buckley

      kavips, I think from the perspective of most elected officials, support vs. apathy = public support. Apathy doesn’t cost a candidate votes, so the views of the apathetic don’t matter to a calculating politician.

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    • Pencadermom

      What is the opposition to vo-tech? Seriously? It needs to be expanded in a big way.

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    • Eve Buckley

      The opposition concerns their admit policies. It’s very difficult for many of the kids who would most benefit from a vo-tech option to get in–b/c there are GPA minimums and other vague parameters (basically the v-ts admit the students they want–no lottery, even). But apparently when the vo-techs were est’d, v-t curricula were cut from regular public HS, so now the students who aren’t thriving in traditional college/career tracks can’t opt for vo-tech training instead, since their schls don’t offer that.

      So really the “opposition” is to v-ts not serving the role they were intended to fulfill.

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    • Pencadermom

      ” But apparently when the vo-techs were est’d, v-t curricula were cut from regular public HS, so now the students who aren’t thriving in traditional college/career tracks can’t opt for vo-tech training instead”- really? so when was that? and what exactly does that mean? it was made for dummies who couldn’t cut it (or ”thrive”) but now they are not letting them in? And even if this were true, maybe you are barking up the wrong tree. Instead of trying to ruin what is good and positive to those of us who can’t afford private school, who actually have a stake in it, unlike you, maybe try to help fix where the problems start.. like at the K-2 level. Maybe if we focused on the early years, more kids could and would get into Cab, Conrad, CSW, vo-tech, and all the other schools are are helping families who work their asses off to help their kids get a good education but can’t afford private school.

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    • Pencadermom

      Eve, I read your comment to my husband, he said it was a 45 minute class called ‘shop’, so there’s your curricula. He started vo-tech around 1978 or 79 so whatever you’re talking about was long before that if it ever existed. And he was poor. very very poor. Oh, and he mentioned reading a few of your (and others) comments and the word condescending came up a few times. If it’s a slow process making progress with the poor people you’re trying to help, you might want to steer clear of the actual people.

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    • Eve Buckley

      I don’t personally have any participation in the vo-tech debate. The opposition I was citing has been raised at the HB 90 task force meetings (which are open to the public, if you want to attend–and there is always a public comment period). Most recently–and this mtng. I missed, so was updated by a neighbor who went–it was the reps from Smyrna schls who cited how the v-t was siphoning off their “college-ready” students, which was really the opposite of what the schl was created and funded for. I think it’s the Kent and Sussex schl district folks who have been most concerned about the v-t impact on their schl demographics (and thus public perception of their schools’ “success,” schl disciplinary climate, etc.) They would like the v-ts to serve the role for which they were created & funded, by taxpayers.

      At a mtng for CSD parents a few months back, I heard super. Freeman Wms. mention, when discussing the needs for change at CSD HSchls, that he thought one should be turned into a real vo-tech, to provide useful job training for the kids whom the state vo-techs won’t accept. I don’t know how serious a proposal that was, but sounded like a good idea. If we want those students to graduate and become productive members of society, they need some skills that mean something to them (so they stick with the program) and are marketable.

      Your observation that vo-techs substitute for private schools is right on point–that’s what they’ve become (like selective charters).

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    • Eve Buckley

      If you’re interested, I and others are making some slow progress talking to “actual poor pele” in Newark about the charter situation. You should hear their views on the expensive NCS uniform!

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    • Eve Buckley

      Not “pele,” people. My ipad is dreaming about the World Cup.

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    • Why is there not as much interest in charters in Kent & Sussex?
      1. The TPSs are, by and large, neighborhood schools.
      2. Kids live and go to school with kids they know and have common interests with. The “enlightened” haven’t mandated that their enlightened view of diversity trumps free will and choice….yet.
      3. Districts are not Gerrymandered (socially engineered) to create some idealized or counterintuitive distribution.

      Why would a local board ever approve of charter or alt school? Hello Mr. fox, here’s your hen house to protect, some hens may want to leave and you wouldn’t deny them their choice to leave, right? Yeah, that’s a scenario I’m sure would play out very well. Many here rip RCCSD routinely for their choices so why would a TPS board approve a charter application?

      Kavips- “Public schools have unlimited resources…”then why don’t some people choose them? . Because they’re ignorant and apathetic? Sorry, I’m too uncaring and stupid to understand these things.

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    • Eve
      Should the world cup teams be forced to have more players that are novices? It would only be fair since some players haven’t been given the same (opportunities) training as the top tier guys. I think the U.S. team should cut some “good” players and replace them with third stringers. That would make it “fair.” They will “feel” better about losing to the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid knowing they didn’t have their best team but gave the novices a shot at playing at the top level. It will be great to see a 15-0 thrashing of the U.S. team by Arsenal. The top tier guys didn’t really have to train or perform to get to the team. They were given their spot on the team.

      By the by, Uniforms are available at NCS to any student at discounted prices for second hand items prescreened for quality. How dare those nasty NCS people require uniforms at discounted prices. They should just let the kids wear regular clothes and high priced sneakers.

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    • Eve Buckley

      MR, I don’t think governments like Brazil’s should spend what they do to host the WC, while many of their citizens are illiterate & malnourished, but that’s a debate for a different forum. The whole spectacle, like the Olympics etc., is a bit of a racket. Maybe best to have only private teams (which is what most WC players are on when they’re not playing for their “national” teams–nearly all of Brazil’s players are due back in Europe ~48 hrs. after the tournament ends, to honor their professional contracts)–and privately funded tournaments.

      I think you’re largely right about K & S counties. However, take a look at the demographics of Georgetown MS (can’t remember if that’s the name–but the public MS in G’town) as compared with Sussex Charter (Sussex Academy) up the street. It would appear that the purpose of SA is to allow Georgetown MSers to attend school w/o the low-income Latino population that is now very much part of their local community.

      I have no problem with school uniforms. Shue has them (or at least a narrow dress code). NCS & Odyssey’s embroidered logos are the problem. I agree that poor kids should be willing to wear the cast-offs of more privileged children (I did, K-12). But what I’ve heard from some parents of new, low-income NCS students is that the more seasoned students are attuned to who’s wearing “old” clothes even though they’re “new” kids (and largely poorer & darker than the returning students)–and it’s a source of ridicule. The school should aim to make its uniform as accessible to a range of families as possible (Kuumba appears to have tshirts, judging by photos of their students–bought in bulk, those can be quite cheap). If logos are essential (why?), then maybe buttons, or iron-on patches–anything that allows families to procure khaki pants and plain polo shirts wherever they can afford them. Is there a good pedagodical reason for requiring embroidered logos available only from Lands End and wherever–uniform place? Smells like prep-school inspired snobbery.

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    • lastDEconservative

      pMom said, ” … the word condescending came up … ”

      See also smarmy, superior, smug, fulsom, grandiloquent, pompous … and just plain tiring. But that’s what distinguishes grand progressEves, isn’t it … tenacity, tenacity, tenacity.

      Seeing nothing changed, I’m off again. Somebody let me know if this lot ever gets intellectually engaged above the level of 2% or 1% free milk. Your host wouldn’t even bite on Rodel renaming itself 10 years into the future to save themselves the trouble of recasting failure so often. That’s probably past Budinger’s life span and Herdman’s working life.

      I’ll be trying to stop the Singapore Sycophants from nationalizing what little bit of govt schooling *not education* is still in local hands. In case anybody is interested in “what’s really going on.”

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  3. John Young

    I like the bill, it just leaves me wanting.

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  4. This bill (SB209) has already passed the Senate and House ed committee and is on the House agenda for Tuesday. This bill was talked about quite a bit previously. It is a GOOD BILL and takes the right first steps in identifying how to define and use a rubric for utilizing impact in the decision making process for the state.

    With regards to SB 234 – it does not allow for kitchen table or microcharters because of the changes that were made previously to section 511 of code which strengthened the authorizers’ ability to review for quality and viability including economic as well as organizational viability. Quite frankly to say a school needs only have 200 or 100 students is not accurate. A proposed charter must have the number of students necessary to be fiscally and organizationally viable. A “microcharter” would not generate the units necessary to meet that threshold, quite frankly neither would 200 and removing that number actually aligns better with that language and standard of review established last year in 511.

    Another note: the assertion that this bill would make those three schools which in April had not met their minimum required enrollment compliant and able to open could not be more UNTRUE. Those schools still couldn’t have opened if they had 200 or even 100 students, because the reason they were out of compliance was because they HAD TO HAVE 80% OF THEIR APPROVED ENROLLMENT. that noncompliance had absolutely nothing to do with this section of code nor would it. That section of code had to do with the definition of a charter and quite frankly I find it very hard to believe that you could come up with a charter that is proposed to open that is financially and organizationally viable that proposes to have less than 200 students in their entire school.

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    • kilroysdelaware

      SB#209 is a good step forward and for damn sure impact to other surrounding schools is important. Also, sooner or later other charter schools might feel the impact of new nearby charters that duplicates what they are doing!

      AS far as SB#209 striking out the 200 minimum requirement enrollment is nothing more the appeasing those charter schools that failed to meet their enrollment to open next fall and the unibrow-man must have egg on his face! In fact did he step-down from that charter’s school board? Yea I know re “THOSE SCHOOLS” won’t benefit from this law. But in Delaware who knows!!!!.

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    • MHS, you argue precisely for the withdrawl of 234 as unnecessary. Write your senator.

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    • John Young

      to be clear, if having less than 200 makes a school being viable “hard to believe”,then why remove such language in code setting such a minimum?

      This is a clear gateway to kitchen table charters, just like Mike O. declares. Your implicit expression of faith that the SBE would never approve such a low enrollment need only be compare to the waiver-palooza mentality in effect now to be shattered.

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  5. To be honest, I don’t even hear that much debate about the charters and public school and vo-techs in slower lower. Aside from Providence Creek, I don’t see huge waiting lists for the charters down there. Something to watch out for will be Capital School District’s next board meeting. Their opt-out of the tests thing could change everything for this state. I know there is a question of the legality of it all with the state, but if they were able to pass it, how many parents would run for that school district? More than we think.

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  6. Eve Buckley

    Does anyone know the hist. of v-t curricula in DE? Was there a point in the ’90s or early ’00s when some district HSchls offered training in trades, which was then moved to the state vo-techs? This seems to be the argument that some district reps. have made, during the enrollment task force discussions (with regard to whether v-ts play their intended role in the public ed. system).

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    • I listened in on a telephone town hall meeting with Congressman Carney earlier this evening. The subject of vo-techs came up, and he would like to see more funding going to them. They didn’t get around to my question, but that will come another day!

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  7. Rep Paul Baumbach

    SB 209 passed the House this afternoon with 24 votes in favor.

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