Monthly Archives: February 2015

Delaware PTA President Terri Hodges leads the way by opting-out her child re: Smarter Balanced Assessment! @ed_in_de @destateboarded #edude @dedeptofed @washingtonpost @huffingtonpost #neatoday @NSBAComm @NatlGovsAssoc @Fox26Philly @DoverPost

Exclusive: Explosive Events At Delaware PTA Parent Opt Out Town Hall Last Night **UPDATED** BY Exceptional Delaware February 20, 2015 

The Delaware PTA felt the Delaware DOE will not concede on this point.  Hodges stated the Delaware PTA talked with Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn on this matter and he doesn’t feel it is illegal for a parent to opt their child out of the state assessment.  The PTA is going to ask for a formal legal opinion on this matter.

There is nothing in state law mandating students “must” take the state test! Therefore the question of legality for parents opting-out of state assessment cannot be answered by the AG. The AG’s opinion must be supported by written law. There is no law relevant to the question to be interpreted.

Hodges announced at the meeting she would be opting her own child out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment.

And that’s how you measure a leader! Thank you Ms. Hodges! 

Delaware Governor Markell put local school tax referendum in danger and children will pay the price!

Red Clay to hold referendum Matthew Albright, The News Journal

One issue that has complicated Red Clay’s pitch is Gov. Jack Markell’s proposal to cut in half a subsidy senior citizens get that currently pays half of their property taxes or $500, whichever is less, to 25 percent or $250.

Previously, school district leaders have been able to tell seniors that tax increases would not affect them, but some educators and lawmakers worried reducing the subsidy would cause older voters to come out against referendums.

In a letter sent to Red Clay parents and staff last week, Superintendent Merv Daugherty and School Board President Kenny Rivera emphasized that Markell’s proposal is not final and that many lawmakers on the budget-writing joint finance committee have said they do not support the cuts.

Sorry guys but coming from a school administration that drops to it’s knees for Markell it’s not to comforting to assume Markell’s proposal is not final. Markell needs to step-up and announce he is dropping his call to reduce the tax rebate on senior. He OWES Merv that!

IN THE BIG PICTURE !!!!!!!!!!!! Red Clay’s CFO Jill Floore has done an amazing job tending to the finances of Red Clay. It was her skills that lead Red Clay out of the financial nightmare that plunged Red Clay in near bankruptcy requiring a state bailout and commercial loans caused by the previous administration. Ms. Floore took charge and brought Red Clay out of financial recovery two years ahead of projections. When Ms. Floore join Red Clay the Red Clay Community Financial Review Committee was being formed. She spends countless hours sitting side by side with the community members of the committee educating them and providing all information upon request. In the beginning the committee pushed hard for real transparency well before state law establishing Citizen Budget Oversight Committees. I was there and I know for a fact! What I am trying to say is, Ms Jill Floore is honest as they come! She works with the administration and does her best to help the administration meet goals and new innovations. She keeps Merv is check to realities to financial obligations. She deserves community support! 

From the public view I’ll be honest as I can. During the great recession where many people loss their jobs, 401K’s going down the tubes, families losing their homes to foreclosures, seniors cutting the budget beyond bare-bones and many people taking jobs for half the pay, Red Clay continued to provide raises for administrators and union contracts were met. Even the step-pay continued. When it’s time for referendums we hear the call “it’s only the cost of a cup of coffee day”, “it’s for the kids” and those who oppose aren’t for the kids. Asking educators to pay more for healthcare is met with strong resistance! But at the end of the day, we need to realize public school teachers are very valuable members of society and currently targets of those who want to re-engineer public education by allowing for profit schools. Then there is Governor Jack Markell who plays shell games with state education funding moving money to expand his agenda that mirrors Washington intrusion game and feeding Wall Street capitalist. Jack Markell is a bully! He bullies school superintendents and school boards by threats of state budget cuts if they don’t drop to their knees! He did it with Race to The Top! I was there! Sadly to say, Red Clay must go to referendums sooner than later because their forced to back-fill programs like Race to The Top a federal grant no longer being funded by the state. 10 millions dollar for the Smart Balanced Assessment whereas DCAS was more cost effective and proved itself re: historical low dropout rates and higher graduation rates. 

Markell is not for the kids! He is all about Jack’s ego and personal agenda sowing seeds for life are being governor! The only education reform plan he had coming into office was stuffed in his back pocket by Rodel allow with their campaign contributions.

As for Red Clay and it’s referendum, it is for the kids and without passage by the voters extracurricular activities will be cut for children whom many are grandchildren of our senior citizens. However, the train left the station re: the governor outraging seniors citizens. But, Red Clay’s school board votes to extend the senior citizens local school tax rebate as noted in the law. The board must vote to approve whereas the state cannot order local school district to cut reduced taxes. At best Merv and the board must put it online that the board will not eliminate senior citizen’s rebates /discounts for at least three years if Markell get’s his was as he always does! Money talks bullshit walks Merv and Kenny! Give the senior reassurance and protection from bully Jack Markell!

Historically Red Clay’s referendums don’t pass on the first round! So Merv and the board better offer something more tangible to the senior citizens if Markell doesn’t get off his high horse! The odds are state legislators won’t give into Markell! So Red Clay can go out on a limb and offer seniors some level of comfort with a promise to continue the rebate for three years even if Markell gets his way!  

Let us not forget State Representative Debbie Hudson who claims to be for open government and transparency! She introduced House Bill #23 at the request of a citizen and then killed it at the request of for profits school advocates. This legislation call for all traditional, votech and charter school boards to record the public sessions of their board meetings. Red Clay, Christina, Capital, Delmar, Brandywine and Colonial schools districts do this voluntarily and the Delaware State Board of Education does by legislation. Markell isn’t the only sick in the mud down in Dover! Hudson supported H.B. # 334 which is an endorsement of Governor Jack Markell’s wrongheaded education agenda that forces local taxpayer to $$$$$$$$$$ back-fill. I haven’t heard Hudson come out and oppose Markell’s call to reduce school tax rebates for seniors! 

Great !! Delaware GOP wants common core school construction! More railroading of upcoming referendums!

The Delaware GOP has been a no-show on Markell reckless education agenda supported by Lavelle’s support of H.B.#334 and now they want common core school construction. I swear there must be a political conspiracy to railroad Red Clay’s and Christina’s upcoming referendum. First Markell calling for elimination of senior citizens school tax discount and now the GOP acting as if school districts are ripping off the public on school construction.   

Rep Hensley looks like and sounds like Greg Brady running for president of student counsel. 

Great day for Odyssey charter school and the community

State helps Odyssey get $34 million for Barley MillMatthew Albright and Xerxes WIlson, The News Journal

Thanks to the state’s help in securing $34.6 million, Odyssey Charter School can now turn 35 acres of the Barley Mill office complex into a new K-12 campus

This is wonderful news! In the past Odyssey had some push-back on expansion due to land uses issues. As for converting 35 acres of land at Barley Mill office complex to education! This is great news also. Though that property will be exempt from school taxes it’s worth it to keep over-development re: commercial in check.

No taxpayer money will go to the bond, the state’s credit is not at risk and the state will not be liable for repayment if the school defaults, according to Bernice Whaley, deputy director of the Delaware Economic Development Office.

Municipalities are able to provide such tax-free conduit bonds to nonprofits like health care services and schools. Odyssey is not the first charter school with such an arrangement with the state and it isn’t the largest such bond approved by the state.

Those who oppose conduit loans for charter schools are clearly anti-charter school! Conduit “loans” doesn’t cost the taxpayers one dime and there is no additional capital funding from the state. From my point of view, the charter school debate is all about unequal admission practices giving charter schools the competitive edge. Odyssey is very diverse and has an open admission process where all applications are place in an open lottery systems. Like choice traditional schools, Odyssey gives sibling preferences. Also, Odyssey doesn’t use the cherry-picking like Charter School of Wilmington. And as far as Charter School of Wilmington, their board doesn’t have the skill-set or capacity to move CSW out from under Red Clay like Odyssey did. The time for CSW to expand beyond 9-12 grade configuration is long past and their near deficit spending is a reflection of weak governance. When Odyssey broke-free from Red Clay authority I thought for sure the end was in sight for Odyssey. However, the opposite happened, they prospered and expanded. CSW has a lot to learn from Odyssey.  

Delaware Secretary of Education Murphy get’s bitch-slapped by DE House ED Committee

Lawmakers grill education leaders on Race to the Top Matthew Albright, The News Journal

Secretary of Education Mark Murphy and members of his staff faced a grilling from state lawmakers on Wednesday as they pitched spending $7.5 million to sustain programs from the mammoth federal Race to the Top grant that ends this year.

Several lawmakers said their constituents are telling them that too much of Race to the Top’s millions have gone to state bureaucracy and too little has actually helped teachers in classrooms.

Like I said, Markell will use local monies to back-fill this wrongheaded agenda! This is what is on local taxpayers’ minds and the referendums don’t look good.

 “You may have a view of the wonderful things Race to the Top has done, but the public does not appear to share that view,” said Rep. Joe Miro, R-Pike Creek Valley

Joe, you voted for H.B.# 334 empowering Markell to keep the race going! Enjoy your last term old man! 

Murphy said Race to the Top is “a journey that is working. It is working for teachers, it is working for leaders and most importantly is working for our kids.”

Murphy is full of shit and needs to take a journey like in booting his ass out the DE DOE door! 

“Most races have a tape that the racers get cross, a finish line. When is the finish line for Race to the Top?” asked Harris McDowell, D-Wilmington North, who co-chairs the JFC. “When do we finish this, or are we just building a permanent bureaucracy?

Harris, you voted for H.B. #334 and you’re full of shit!

“One of the biggest complaints I hear from my constituents is that education is just loaded down with all these administrators,” Peterson said. “Here we have $1.5 million going to 10 people. And in some places, we’ve got schools trying to scrape up one more teacher? It just seems so out of whack.”

Karen, you voted for H.B. # 334! So your credibility is shaky! 

Murphy said the programs the administration is asking the state to pay for are what educators have said they want to keep. But some lawmakers said that didn’t match up with what their constituents were hearing. 

The state ain’t paying shit! Markell makes cuts to other programs and transportation to fund this Race to Nowhere and the local taxpayers must also kick in!

“You said that teachers and educators are asking you to continue these programs. That’s not the feedback from what we’re getting,” said Rep. James “JJ” Johnson, D-New Castle.

JJ vote no on H.B.#334. Thank you!

Rep. Kim Williams, D-Newport, for example, pressed Christopher Ruszkowski, head of the Teacher and Leader Effectiveness Unit – whose job is among the 10 the Department is asking the state to fund – about the Delaware Talent Cooperative, a Race to the Top program that gave big bonuses for teachers who earned high ratings and stayed or moved to low-income schools.

Williams pointed out that only a handful of teachers moved to high-needs school under the program and argued that it didn’t make sense to give big bonuses to teachers who are already working at those schools.

Kim voted no on H.B.# 334 ! Set the record straight Kim! No of it makes sense !

 “I know your hands are tied by the federal government with some of these programs, but a data warehouse or some pipeline is not going to yield the results we need,” said Rep. Sean Matthews, D-Talleyville, a schoolteacher. “It saddens me. I wish it could have been better spent.”

Yep hands are tied and Rep Hudson and Sen Lavelle handed the feds the rope to tie those hands. GOP is all big talk when it comes to fighting the overreach of the federal government! Hudson kills her own transparency bill H.B. #23! 

U.S. Secretary of Arne Duncan is scheduled to visit Delaware on Thursday, and is expected to praise the state for its efforts to improve schools.

What a joke!

Breaking News: Delaware State Reps Kowalko and Matthews Open Letter To Arne Duncan for his visit tomorrow

Charter School of Wilmington’s overall DE DOE rating slips to 83.1% an all-time low!

Is Delaware Academy of Public Safety skating on thin ice ?

Aging Infrastructure Does What Secretary Murphy Couldn’t Do

kavips

It shuts down Bayard School… 

Sprinkler pipes burst flooding the school forcing its closure until Monday Feb. 22nd…

Governor Markell and Secretary Murphy issued an ultimatum.  Because something happened beyond the school district’s control. the Christina District must either a) close down the school, or b) turned over to a management company, or c) make it into a charter school… (Christina opted to punt the problem to Red Clay school district…. )
Massive poverty.  Low outside temperatures… What’s the difference?

Fact is… there really isn’t any… Those kids will not get an education on par with others in Shue Middle School for example, because they will miss 4 days of school.. That is beyond their control.  Yet allegedly that makes no difference when they take the Smarter Balanced Assessment. … None.  Just like not having dinner every night for the past few years, allegedly makes no difference when one takes the Smarter Balanced…

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Arne Duncan’s visit to Delaware on February 19th will have negative impact on Red Clay’s and Christina’s referendum

Thursday, February 19th – Governor Markell will meet with U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who will be visiting the state for the day.

10:00 a.m. – The Governor and Secretary Duncan will make classroom visits and participate in a teacher roundtable. Howard High School, 401 E. 12th Street, Wilmington  

12:30 p.m. – The Governor and Secretary Duncan will speak to members of the Wilmington Rotary Club. Gold Ballroom, Hotel DuPont, 1007 N. Market Street, Wilmington

2:30 p.m. – The Governor will participate in a student and employer roundtable with Secretary Duncan and U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Thomas Perez. Delaware Technical Community College, Stanton Campus, 400 Stanton-Christiana Road, Newark More information to come on the day ahead 

You can bet your ass Arne Duncan will do all the fed code-talking about leadership courage is take to make change and confront the naysayers. Folks Race to The Top federal grant is GONE! The shit Duncan will be selling has to come from state and local dollars and we all know state fiances are a mess due to Markell’s failed leadership .

Duncan’s message comes with a price tag that local taxpayers must bear the cost! Yet many Delaware republican leaders will be attending this event in the shadows!

You can bet many seniors citizens living in Red Clay and Christina school districts will be reading the News Journal’s Markell bias reporting that will fuel the anger associated with Govenor Markell’s call for the elimination of senior citizens school tax discount. 

Hey John Young and other Christina board members showing courage to stand up to Markell and Duncan’s reckless education agendas! Did you get an invite to the media circus? If so please were some Opt Out buttons :).

It’s pretty bad when the D.C. circus clowns have to come in and bailout Markell’s ass! But for sure , they’ll do more damage than good! As always! Hey Lavelle did you get your ticket to this media circus or was the free ride IEP committee ticket the only one you got for your H.B.#334 sellout vote? You can bet DE DOE Jenny will be leading the DE DOE charter cheerleader section! 

Jeb Bush wants to tear down the Berlin Wall monopoly on education !!

Priority Schools BREAKING NEWS!!!!!!!

Christina Schools legal fees FOIA response.

Delaware’s High School Dropout Rate drops to 2.1%!

Go to slide 18, Delaware high school dropout rate is 2.1% for 2013-2014 school year. 

Grad rate and dropout rate presentation