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Archive for September, 2013

Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? HELL NO!!

September 22, 2013 8 comments

IMark your calendars; it’s time to get up and get down to the Enrollment Preferences Task Force meeting Thursday Sept. 26 at 6;30 pm! i’t;s at the Buena Vista Conference Center.

Over the summer the Governor dropped the big one on public schools, personally lobbying for the HB 165 bill using a variety of distasteful high pressure tactics and a corrupted public debate which snubbed the public and “may” have been illegal.

The new law relaxes oversight and showers money on charters at the expense of public schools. It is a major setback for for charter reform. True reform in accountability for equity, for local control, for resegregation, for impact on district schools, for transparency, now must start from even farther back.

But the Governor himself offers advice on where to go from here. In his successful efforts to win the support of the Chief School Officers Association (the superintendents),the Governor rreportedly suggested that the superintendents’ concerns could be addressed by the Enrollment Preferences Task Force. And they were deep and serious concerns.

So I suggest we take the Governor up on his offer, and make this task force the new vehicle for charter reform. These meetings are public and public comment is specifically allowed.

If you remember the Newark Charter expansion hearings, the charter lobby cannot stand up to any informed opposition at all. The Newark Charter hearings were the first time the charter lobby had been questioned by informed individuals, and they went whining to the press and to their legislators As one charter drama queen breathlessly put it, “Our state cannot take this divisiveness much longer.” And the legislators obliged by packing the Governor’s Working Group on Charters with charter supporters, and keeping the public out. The charter lobby doesn’t like being knocked off its script by the public.

So do your research and then get yourself down to Buena Vista this Thursday at 6:30 pm!

the task force will meet on the following dates: Thursday, September 26th; Thursday,October 24th; Wednesday, November 20th; Thursday, December 12th; and Wednesday, January 22nd. All meetings will be held from 6:30pm-8:30pm in the Buck Library at the Buena Vista Estate (661 South DuPont Highway New Castle, DE 19720).

All meetings will be opened to the public and will allow for public comment. Meeting agendas will be posted to the state’s public calendar within 24 hours of each session. For further information, please contact 302-577-5246.

Here’s what to look out for:

1. Some influential person on the committee trying to set ground rules that unduly limit the scope of discussion. Jeers, boos, and a general grumbling would be in order if that heppens. And then a strong objection during the public comment period. Enrollment preference has its tentacles into all the major issues: resegregation, local control, cherry-picking, and more. Everything is on the table; don’t let them take anything off.

2. Look for anybody who appears to be drafting legislation!

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Feelin’ good about Common Core

September 14, 2013 4 comments

Last week in science class my ninth-grader was assigned to develop a test to measure the absorbency of paper towels, including a few store brands plus whatever they put in the school bathrooms*, and then to write a procedure on how to perform the test. It fit right into the lesson. The teacher selected hjs procedure as a good example to read for the class.

Is this the big deal about teaching informational writing? I remember having to write procedures for every lab in my 7th grade lab notebook. It’s just how science is done.

Common Core? Bring it on.

* the school bathroom brand failed miserably

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Take back RCPAC – Monday Sept. 16, 6:00 at Stanton Middle School

September 14, 2013 Comments off

Monday Sept. 16 is the first opportunity this school year to take back RCPAC and put the “Advisory” back into the Red Clay Parent Advisory Council.

The meeting is Monday, Sept. 16 at 6:00 pm at Stanton Middle School.

Anybody may come to the meeting under the Open Meetings laws, but if you want to be a voting member, ask your principal to appoint you as a member representing your school.

There are some big changes coming to RCPAC in the 2013-2014 school year. We have a new district liaison – Malik Stewart will be the liaison this year, taking over from Christine Miller, who is assuming additional duties elsewhere in the district in addition to everything else she does. Thank you Chris for your role in RCPAC. Chris will still be organizing the annual Red Clay Resource Fair (this year Saturday, November 16th from 10-1:00PM at John Dickinson HS). Mark your calendars, and email Chris if you can volunteer that morning; it’s a blast!

In addition, it seems that the parent members of RCPAC will have an opportunity this year to revise the bylaws, which have become a bit musty over the years. Perhaps this year we can clarify exactly who the Parent Advisory Group is advising, and get it involved in some issues that haven’t already been decided.

HB 90 task force members named; first meeting September 26

September 14, 2013 2 comments

The members of the Enrollment Preferences Task Force established by HB 90 have been named (see list below). There are the usual suspects but also some pleasant surprises. I’ll have more comment before the first meeting.Thanks to Rep. Kim Williams for all her hard work.

Mark your calendars; the meeting dates and locations are listed below:

TO: Members of the Enrollment Preference Task Force
FROM: Rep. Kimberly Williams, Enrollment Preference Task Force Co-Chair
Sen. Nicole Poore, Enrollment Preference Task Force Co-Chair
DATE: September 4, 2013
RE: Meeting Schedule- Enrollment Preference Task Force
CC:
Jack Markell, Governor of Delaware
Pete Schwartzkopf, Speaker of the House
Patricia Blevins, President Pro Tempore
Michael Barlow, Chief of Staff, Office of the Governor
Sean Finnigan, Chief of Staff, House Democratic Caucus
Valerie McCartan, Chief of Staff, Senate Democratic Caucus
_____________________________________________________________________________
Section 8 of House Bill 90 creates the Enrollment Preference Task Force, which is designed to consider the current landscape of enrollment preferences and practices used by magnet, vocational technical and charter schools, and to develop recommendations, as necessary. The task force is to present a final report of its findings and recommendations to the governor, the speaker of the House, and the president pro tempore of the Senate by January31, 2014. Full text of the bill can be found here:

http://www.legis.delaware.gov/LIS/lis147.nsf/vwLegislation/HB+90/$file/legis.html?open

Given this timeframe, the task force will meet on the following dates: Thursday, September 26th; Thursday,October 24th; Wednesday, November 20th; Thursday, December 12th; and Wednesday, January 22nd. All meetings will be held from 6:30pm-8:30pm in the Buck Library at the Buena Vista Estate (661 South DuPont Highway New Castle, DE 19720).

All meetings will be opened to the public and will allow for public comment. Meeting agendas will be posted to the state’s public calendar within 24 hours of each session. For further information, please contact 302-577-5246.

The members are:

 

Two members of the Delaware State Senate appointed by the President Pro Tempore or designee, one of whom shall act as a co-chairperson of the Task Force;

1. Senator Poore

2. Senator Sokola

Two members of the Delaware State House of Representatives appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives or designee, one of whom shall act as a co-chairperson of the Task Force;

1. Rep. Kim Williams

2. Rep. Scott

The Secretary of the Delaware Department of Education or designee;

Secretary Murphy

The president of the Delaware State Board of Education or designee;

Randall Hughes – SBE Board Member

The president of the Delaware State Education Association or designee;

Frederika Jenner – President DSEA

The president of the Delaware School Boards Association or designee;

Susan Francis DSBA Executive Director

The president of the Delaware Parent Teacher Association or designee;

Yvonne Johnson – State PTA President

The president of the Charter Schools Network or designee;

Chuck Taylor – President Delaware Charter Schools Network

A representative from the Delaware Business Roundtable appointed by the chair of the Delaware Business Roundtable Education Committee;

Gary Stockbridge – President of Delmarva

A representative from the Governor’s Advisory Council for Exceptional Citizens (“GACEC”) appointed by the Council Chair;

Terri Hancharick

A representative from the Office of the Governor appointed by the Governor;

Lindsay O’Mara

One superintendent from each county, or designee, appointed by the president of the Chief School Officers Association;

1. Dr. Merv Daugherty – RC – NCC

2. Kevin Fitzgerald – CR – Kent

3. Shawn Joseph – Seaford – Sussex

One school administrator appointed by the president of the Delaware Association of School Administrators or designee;

Dr. Matthew Donovan – Principal Appoquinimink High School

The superintendent of each of the Vocational Technical Districts or designee(s)

1. Victoria Gehrt – NCC Votech

2. Deborah Zych – Poly Tech

3. AJ Lathbury – Sussex Tech

Two representatives from Magnet Schools or Programs appointed by the Secretary of the Delaware Department of Education in consultation with the President of the Chief School Officers Association;

1. Mark Pruitt – Conrad Schools of Science

2. Julie Rumschlag – Cab Calloway School of the Arts

Two representatives from Charter Schools with selective enrollment criteria appointed by the Secretary of the Delaware Department of Education in consultation with the Charter Schools Network;

1. Diana Ruth – CSW Board Member

2. Don Mell – Prestige – President

Three parents appointed by the Secretary of the Department of Education or designee.

1. Terri Hodges – PTA

2. Elizabeth Lockman – PTA

3. Katie Hegedus – Newark Parent