Home > Uncategorized > In case I didn’t make myself clear…. NO on HB 165

In case I didn’t make myself clear…. NO on HB 165

June 10, 2013

By way of explanation, I’ll reprint a comment I made this morning on DelawareLiberal:

At a high level, the bill is a referendum on whether we want to embark on an uncontrolled and unaccountable expansion of charters that will disrupt and diminish our public school system. This expansion has never been brought to a vote and has not passed the usual vetting channels that determine where and whether we need a new school.

HB 165 is the enabling mechanism that will launch this expansion. The amount of money is not great, but it puts the camel’s nose under the tent. It’s what the charter movement has been waiting for.

The accountabililty supposedly provided by the bill is a deception. The bill is not a “compromise” and charters give nothing back of value. The bill actually reduces accountability, by limiting valid disqualifications that might derail a charter approval or renewal. And by extending renewals from five to ten years, charters have to face official accountability even more infrequently.

The bill makes a head fake toward taking impact on existing public schools into account, but removes the teeth by removing impact as a disqualifying issue (unless there are other issues as well. This is what public school advovates fear – charters can be plunked down willy-nilly, decimating the capacity and program planning of the districts they are plunked in.

The bill hangs all accountability on the Performance Framework which is designed specifically NOT to include all aspects of accountability. There is no accountability for impact, no accountability for diversity, no accountability for local control, no accountability for transparency. All the Framework asks of charters is that they be wonderful all by themselves within their four walls, never mind what resources they have to displace to do it, and with no larger responsibility to the system.

And then there is the arrogant way the committee deliberations were hidden from stakeholders, with no traditional public school advocates having a seat at the table, and then defending the process as somehow normal. That is the shabbiest treatment of voters I have seen in a long time, and those responsible have work to do to regain our trust on education issues. The way charter forces (including elected officials) tried to wire this bill and rush it through under the radar has left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.

  1. June 10, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    This is moving so quickly. We knew the charter work group? Committee? was formed, but not much else about it. And now suddenly it’s here and will be voted on tomorrow.

    Call your congresspeople!

  2. Coolspringer
    June 10, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    I am calling mine!!

  3. June 10, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    Call your friends who have students in public schools… Tell them how they can be a very important part in keeping Delawares school system from going the way of Philadelphia, Chicago, Cleveland, Milwaukee, who are closing down large numbers of public schools…

    You call is important.. But they expect that. The calls from your friends is far, far more important…

  4. June 10, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    The AG sent an expedited opinion saying the FOIA applies to the working group! Just sent from Kim Williams via Kowalko.

  5. John Young
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