Thanks to Ms Ravitch’s blog post on this very important subject and thanks to Ms. Buckley and Mr.Ohlandt for their incisive and relevant comments. I am a State Representative in Delaware and I have found it to be statistically provable and accurate that the Delaware Charter School law, as written. has permitted (and encouraged) a segregation of minorities, low-income and special needs students throughout the entire public school system. This law was/is inherently flawed and the recently passed HB 165, promoted as a charter law reform measure, contributes to a further segregation of student population and resources $$$. I made numerous attempts to amend the bill and could not muster the votes due to pressure brought by the wealthy charter school network and its patron organizations such as RODEL, Vision Network and Innovative Schools et.al. If the amount of money being spent to fight legitimate reform needed in the charter school law is any indication, then it is surely a hugely profitable venture for those privateers of public education who seek to drain public taxpayer money and resources from the less fortunate. An average of 8-10 well-heeled lobbyists roam the halls of Dover whenever legitimate attempts to correct the many flaws in the existing code are proffered or whenever there is a proposal to create more access to public funding (exclusive to charter schools) that they support. Quite frankly it can be exhausting, encouraging those people who have an appropriate sense of fairness, justice and equality for all, to raise their voices and demand fair-play. This is notable and somewhat understandable, especially in the face of such a logistically wealthier special interest that seems to promote a tunnel-vision ambition that excludes many more than it includes and erodes already inadequate resources that are needed to provide equal and accessible educational opportunities for all Delawareans. So let me express my thanks to ACLU and CLASI and all of the Buckleys and Ohlandts and Ravitchs who clearly see the reality that this is an honest and just fight for equality. Let me conclude with an apology for my own failure to convince enough of my colleagues and others of influence that we, on behalf of all of the children and families in Delaware, must do better and must do more to correct these inequities.
State Representative John Kowalko (25th District Newark)
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