Time to fold the Delaware Priority Schools tent

Face it, Markell is getting his way with Priority Schools even though the MOU’s might be slightly water-down. Markell will be long gone when we’ll know if the plan was a success. But Markell still gets the feather for his cap for getting tough on failing schools and taking on the union. That’s what it’s all about, feeding Markell’s ego and padding his resume.

So what will 2015 bring on the education front?

Will we see passage of legislation requiring and school districts, votech districts and charter schools to record their board meetings?

What about school vouchers? Will we see any legislation laying the groundwork?

Which legislator will be selected as new chair of the House Education Committee?  

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17 responses to “Time to fold the Delaware Priority Schools tent

  1. I think Earl Jacques has already been given this position on the Education Committee.

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    • lastDEconservative

      Hold on. A white Frenchman? Seriously?

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    • yes, seriously. Gonna be a rough two years,

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    • Let DOE have the 3 schools. Seriously. Let them control them lock stock and barrel. If they think its Christina’s fault then let them prove it and let the voters decide if DOE has a single brain cell among them. I have sympathy for the task of the principals and staff since it isn’t their fault but let coach and Marxell prove they can do something (or not do anything). They won’t and maybe it will start to sink in that Democrat controlled delaware way needs to end. The schools and students almost don’t have anything to lose. They are already below acceptable academic levels, can it get worse?

      I guess it could but it wouldn’t be CSD’s fault.

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    • M Ryder says: Let DOE have the 3 schools. Seriously. Let them control them lock stock and barrel.

      But that’s not the plan. The plan isn’t for DDOE to take over and run these schools; the plan is for DDOE to privatize or convert them to charter.

      I could get on board with your idea (not for the kids, because nothing in the priority schools’ plan has to do with the kids) if DDOE was actually going to show everyone how it’s done. But that isn’t what they’re proposing. All their “plan” consists of is taking these schools away from districts and handing them to charters and private corporations. DDOE will still have zero responsibility – and that’s a big part of their plan, as well.

      And… how would this work? The DDOE plan removes public, neighborhood schools and replaces them with schools parents must choice into, and be accepted into and be kept in. What happens to the kids who don’t choice, or who aren’t accepted, or who are counseled out? Where do they end up? Feeders/attendance zones will have to be redrawn under this plan since charters are all choice schools.

      All the DDOE plan does is, yet again, skim off the most involved families while writing off the neediest kids – who will end up on a suburban bound bus. Unless you can explain how this won’t happen?

      And it is happening. Take a look at East Side Charter’s numbers:

      Nelia Dolan, on December 27, 2014 at 12:37 pm said: The greatest proficiency gains made in East Side Charter that everyone is touting was carried by a single cohort of students that went from 62 students in the third grade (2010/2011) to 29 students in the 5th grade (2012/2013).
      Unless you can look at the gains of each individual student, then the possibility that the students who left the school were ones that did not perform well enough to meet standard is too great to ignore.
      What difference does it make if the student body engineering is happening on the front end or somewhere in-between?

      Test scores improve when East Side “lost” half of its student body. Is that really success?

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    • lastDEconservative

      “Test scores improve when East Side “lost” half of its student body. Is that really success?”

      What were your first three words again?

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    • lastDEconservative

      Where’s my favorite gunner and scorekeeper, delawareway?

      Here’s something to compare my prediction to in 8 days (or administrative extensions thereof).

      pan v. last

      pan says, ” … the plan is for DDOE to privatize or convert them to charter.”

      last says, “Five’ll get you ten that -whatever- either district puts up will be approved with no more than a couple perfunctory changes … ”

      Denizens, pull up your chairs. Who will be right on this one? I’m already grinning with anticipation!!!

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    • My suggestion is that CSD’s proposal should be to leave it all on DOE’s doorstep. If DOE is going to “tell” CSD what CSD must do, without acknowledging the social and economic conditions that have lead to the circumstances, then CSD should simply turn over all responsibility (financial and administrative) to DOE. Making a proposal to DOE that CSD cannot pay for, administrate effectively or insure success will not benefit CSD, the schools, or the children. Turning over to DOE / Marxell will force the governor and his minions to put up or shut up. Attempting to accommodate ANY DOE recommendation without real funding or a plan for success is a waste of CSD’s time and effort. If DOE wants to stiff arm the district, in this case, I’d say go limp. It, in NO way, is a healthy circumstance but our DSEA, district, DOE, governor relationship is not healthy to begin with. The circumstances of Wilmington, the district boundaries, and the use of districts for redistributive transfer payments needs to come to a head. It needs to force our governor and the legislative branch to actually step up with a comprehensive plan for Wilmington and for the rest of NCC.

      If they take the schools away from the districts, they’ll have to re-allocate how they’re funded, reassign how they’re administered, develop the plan, etc. Even if it goes to charterization (a word?), do you think the politicians are going to be willing to “take the heat” for political incorrectness? Doubtful. I’m not saying I know what they’ll do but it will force the issue to the State level instead of continually passing the buck to the districts to address social problems the districts are incapable of correcting. I have repeatedly commented that using the schools and districts as a social services funnels is wrong. That isn’t their purpose. The NJ identified paraprofessionals doing the children’s laundry because the parents won’t do it. Ummmm, that is plain wrong and every effort the schools make trying to fill the parental role will fail. Telling parents/ children that ARE doing what they’re supposed to, that they are also responsible (financially or educationally) for the children who’s parents AREN’T doing what they’re supposed to is truly misplaced responsibility.

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    • I have to say I agree with a lot of what you are saying here. And even though it isn’t their job, the paraprofessionals who are doing those things deserve the highest accolades from the state. Coming from CA, NY and PA, I have to say DE has some of the oddest school systems and districting I’ve ever seen in my life. Not that those states are much better, but in DE everything is so compacted due to the small size of the state.
      While I do agree with a lot of what you say, I can’t picture CSD dumping these schools in the DOE’s lap. That would be like giving your child to a sex offender. Children should not be toys for a state department to play games with.

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    • MR, I have some sympathy for your perspective, as a practical matter (that is, let DOE take the blame for the chronic challenges of DE’s under resourced and overtaxed city schools, and stop passing it off on Christina and other districts). But the moral quandary for the CSD board is that those citizens–believe this or not–actually are in this for the kids. All of them, including children in Southbridge & East Side. And many, maybe all, CSD board members believe, with good reason, that those children will be ill-served by yet another round of school upheaval and whatever the end game of that is, for the state.

      Also of course, once things go sour for those kids DOE will find a way to shift blame again, while perhaps holding up a few selective city public schools as success stories–a shell game, in relation to impoverished Wilmingtonians’ real needs. There seems little reason to think that DOE will own or learn from its errors–not unless that agency undergoes some kind of radical transformation.

      I think a better solution would be for our legislature to dramatically downsize DOE. Make it merely an accounting dept. that funnels state and federal Ed. $ to districts, which determine locally how to spend those public funds via elected boards. Re-examining the current NCCo. district configuration, with care, is also reasonable–though given DE’s history in these matters, odds are very high that Wilmington’s least privileged students would end up with even less satisfactory options than they have now. But the DOE is both expensive and harmful; reducing its size, funding and authority seems essential in order for local communities to attend adequately to their own affairs.

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    • I don’t understand why you think, given the penalties, that this will land on DDOE’s doorstep. They’ve already removed themselves from the consequences. Have you read the MOUs? Nowhere is DDOE accountable. In my opinion, that was deliberate. But I’m all ears if you can show where DDOE is accountable.

      As far as… “If they take the schools away from the districts, they’ll have to re-allocate how they’re funded, reassign how they’re administered, develop the plan, etc.” Could you show me where this is stated? I’m not seeing it.

      Moving on to… “The NJ identified paraprofessionals doing the children’s laundry because the parents won’t do it.” Won’t or can’t? Washers and dryers cost money (not to mention adequate hook up). Going to a laundromat costs money. Don’t be so sure you’re “won’t” isn’t a “can’t”

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    • lastDEconservative

      “Washers and dryers cost money (not to mention adequate hook up). Going to a laundromat costs money. Don’t be so sure you’re “won’t” isn’t a “can’t”.”

      Wow. Is there nothing “they” are guilty of? Is it really ALL M’s fault?

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  2. I wouldn’t fold the tent on priority schools just yet…you never know which way the wind could blow in winter…

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  3. lastDEconservative

    ” … when we’ll know if the plan was a success … ”

    Make a note:
    This capital S State schooling (not education) plan will fail, as has every one before it, and as will every one which will follow it. As the tip of the hull sinks out of sight in the not distant future, victory will be declared and the celebration will be marked by … another capital S State schooling (not education) plan.

    — lastDEprophet

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  4. lastDEconservative

    “What about school vouchers? Will we see any legislation laying the groundwork?”

    Good question. Will Caesar Rodney oblige Russo to put on a toolbelt and go to Dover to lobby for something other than whatever it is he’s after for himself?

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  5. The plan has always been for the city to go charter, which is why the only thing that ever mattered in the MOU was that all roads led to charterization, privatization and closure (but we all know they won’t close those schools, unless it’s to reopen them as charters or as privately run corporations within months).

    Of course, they will have to keep one or two public elementary schools operating so that those schools can take the kids charters won’t. And… if they don’t keep some/enough city public schools open then I guess we’ll be busing city kids to suburban elementary schools. That should go over well.

    Whether these schools charterize/privatize immediately or in four years isn’t the point – the point is that they will end up charterized and privatized. That’s always been the end game.

    As far as folding… I disagree. It’s time to make some noise. Will that change the outcome? Probably not, but neither will folding.

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