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Posts Tagged ‘charters’

Go Kenny!

May 15, 2014 2 comments

From WDEL:

Red Clay’s School Board creates a new committee to investigate charter and magnet school admissions policies for possible prejudice.

Board member Kenneth Rivera, District C, introduced the topic at Wednesday night’s meeting.

“If you look at the demographics at some of the schools, it is a vast disproportionate number of students who are of low income, special ed, certain races who are not attending certain schools,” Rivera says. “So my question is, why?”

As commenter Publius often notes over at Kilroy’s, Red Clay is simply responding to demand. WDEL continues:

There’s no doubt charter and magnet schools in Red Clay School District are a popular option.

Yes, and separate drinking fountains were once a popular option in certain quarters.

But race aside,

Numbers also show 53.9 percent of kids in Red Clay are considered low-income, but 5.7 percent of Charter School of Wilmington students are low-income. […]

Rivera says action needs to be taken to ensure institutional hurdles aren’t stacking the odds against race or economic groups.

“What are the proactive measures we are taking as a district, because we do value diversity and we do value the opportunity for everyone to have an equal chance to attend these schools,” Rivera says.

But here’s a hint Kenny. Expand your horizons – resegregation isn’t just about charters, it is also about other decisions made by the Red Clay board. Take a look at feeder patterns, and the impact of “choice only” Brandywine Springs, and the fact that Red Clay doesn’t have any neighborhood secondary schools in the city.

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Megacharter update: capacity balloons to 2800 students

April 9, 2014 4 comments

The Longwood Foundation-sponsored Community Education Building will accept another round of applications this spring for occupancy in the fall of 2015. This round of applications is for middle and high schools only. Current tenants are Kuumba Academy (K-8) and Academia Antonia Alonso (K-5), which will move in by this summer.

Since its announcement in 2012, the planned capacity of the building has ballooned to 2800 students.
. This comes at a time when six charters are up for either initial approval or expansion this spring. One of them (Great Oaks) has met with CEB about locating in the building.

A while back I wrote:

…northern Delaware is in fact on the cusp of a dramatic charter expansion not approved by any voters. […]The underlying risk is that a greatly expanded charter presence would harm traditional public schools, at worst turning them into second-class dumping grounds and forcing Districts to close or repurpose schools. Suburban parents who are used to tuning out Wilmington issues should take note: the new mega-charters will have an impact on suburban schools.

 
And in fact, the Red Clay board cited negative charter impact on its schools when it voted to oppose HB 165 last summer, which provided additional funding and relaxed oversight of charters. The bill passed over the objections of the state’s most populous districts (Red Clay, Christina, and Capital), which predictably started the current gold rusn of charter applications.

This year, Red Clay wrote a letter to the State Board of Education detailing the negative impact the new charters would have on the district, and warns that:

“Three high school openings in one area would necessitate the closing of another school.”

CEB has also announced the building will provide “wrap-around life services (healthcare and wellness services, after-school enrichment, etc.” So far, no word on how organizations should apply, or which services will be available.

Timeline for the current CEB application process is:

Application instructions and data template released – April 28, 2014
Deadline for submission of written application and data template – COB May 30, 2014
Notification of Finalists by June 13, 2014
Finalist In-Person Interviews by June 27, 2014
School selection notification by July 15, 2014

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Enrollment Preferences Task Force meeting cancelled and will be rescheduled

April 4, 2014 Comments off

Monday’s meeting of the Enrollment Preferences Task Force (meeting #5) is cancelled and will be rescheduled, according to co-chair Kim Williams. Stay tuned for the new date.

ACLU letter finds choice/charter questions “likely” violate several Federal statutes

March 30, 2014 1 comment

A February 27 letter from the Wilmington ACLU notes that certain questions asked on applications for Delaware charters, Vo-Techs, and other choice schools are likely in violation of Federal statutes:

The questions probably lead to a disparate effect on groups who are protected by two federal statutes, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Since there is no need to ask those questions during the admissions process, it is likely that asking them violates both statutes.

This is in contrast to a memo from the Delaware Attorney General’s office, which did not find any legal prohibition against the same set of questions. The ACLU letter notes of the AG memo:

The memorandum recognized the regulations under Title VI and Section 504 that require data collection, but did not consider the federal regulations at 34 C.F.R. § 100.3(b)(2) and 28 C.F.R. § 41.51(b)(3)(i), which prohibit questions that have a disparate effect on protected groups

The Enrollment Preferences Task Force received the letter from the ACLU, and it was distributed at the March 24 meeting of the task force. Here it is:

Public hearings on charters Tuesday/Wednesday this week

March 30, 2014 Comments off

All meetings are in the Townsend Building in Dover:

John G. Townsend Building Cabinet Room
401 Federal Street
Second Floor
Dover, DE, 19901

Tuesday April 1 5:00 pm. New charter application hearings for Mapleton Charter School at Whitehall, Delaware STEM High School, and Freire Charter School.

Tuesday April 1 5:00 pm. Charter modification application for Odyssey Charter School.

Wednesday April 2 6:00 pm. New charter application hearings for Great Oaks Charter School and Pike Creek Charter Middle School.

Wednesday April 2 6:00 pm. Charter modification application for the New Maurice Moyer Academy Charter School.

The following links to the 2013-2014 applications don’t seem to be available from the web page of the charter office – I had to find them the hard way:

2013-2014 New Charter Applications
2013-2014 Charter Modification Applications

All upcoming charter meetings: http://egov.delaware.gov/pmc/#agency12

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Sussex League of Women Voters calls for action on education inequities

March 29, 2014 Comments off

From the Cape Gazette:

State must address educational inequities

By Jane Lord and Charlotte F. King | Mar 28, 2014
A page one article in the March 25 Cape Gazette cites the concerns of school officials and citizens in Sussex County that there is need for more diversity in charter and vo-tech schools, as well as more equitable allocation of resources. The League of Women Voters of Sussex County and of Delaware strongly share this concern, particularly since state- level education officials have long been aware of the diversity issues raised in this article.

During the Minner administration, the Delaware State Board of Education and the Delaware Department of Education commissioned a report on Delaware’s charter schools, headed up by a nationally recognized authority on education evaluation, Dr. Gary Miron of Western Michigan University. Miron’s March 2007 report on a comprehensive study (240 pages) of Delaware charter schools had the following statement in its conclusions:

While moderate success is obvious in the charter schools, a number of negative or unanticipated outcomes need to be watched and considered carefully. These include accelerating the resegregation of public schools by race, class and ability, and the disproportionate diversion of district and state resources (both financial and human resources) from districts to the more recently established charter schools.

A bedrock principle underlying our public education system is that every child is provided with an equal opportunity to fulfill their potential and become a productive citizen in our community. It appears that this principle has been seriously compromised for at least seven years by those responsible at the highest level in our state’s educational hierarchy. Action by the governor seems called for, now.

Jane Lord
president
League of Women Voters of Sussex County
Charlotte F. King
president
League of Women Voters of Delaware

A remarkable document

March 26, 2014 6 comments

A remarkable document landed in my inbox recently. It is a 103-page transcript of the 1995 Delaware Senate debate on SB 200 – Delaware’s charter school law. It is sort of like finding the Dead Sea Scrolls under a rock in your back yard, or finding the bill for the Last Supper stuck in an old pot.

Here it is: SB 200 Transcript

The filename says it is “Vol. 2,” and I suspect there is a Vol.1 still to be found. If anyone has it, please send it to me at mike01@seventhtype.com (hey, it can’t hurt to ask).

There don’t seem to be any surprising revelations, though Kilroy hasn’t yet gone over it with his new bionic eye. The first 48 pages of the transcript are debating amendments to the bill. The rest of the transcript is fairly mundane, except for some fairly tense questioning of Bill Manning (then President of the Red Clay board) by Senator Marshall.

Marshall presciently grilled Manning about the potential for the new school eventually coming to serve mostly the economically advantaged, while leaving lower income students behind. Manning replied – well, you read it:

SENATOR MARSHALL: Understanding that the harshest critics of charter schools around the nation where they’ve been in place and operating, is the issue of the schools skimming off the top and creating an elitist academy with public money.
My concern is looking at the focus of the charter schools by attracting the best at times for a specific educational discipline offered by that charter school; and the concern of recruitment.
I looked at children throughout New Castle County in moderate low income neighborhoods, I looked at the City, the west side, the east side, hilltop, I need to understand how your board and how you will guarantee fairness and equal access to every student from every unit.

MR. MANNING: Thank you Senator. Let me approach that question two different ways because I hear the creaming argument over and over again with respect to schools of choice.
One thing that particularly bothers me about that argument is that whoever is making the argument, whether you’re a member of the State PTA or whether you’re a Superintendent from a school district 100 miles away from a district that wants to try a charter, that person is basically saying I know better than the parents of that child where that child ought to attend. But that’s an argument that I’ve never really understood, and it’s always been a little offensive to me.
You also hear the suggestion that for some reason children whose parents are college educated and have jobs that pay more will somehow get the better end of the deal. Which suggests that children of parents who for some reason don’t have a college education somehow aren’t able to cope in this system and aren’t able to make good choices for their children. I don’t believe that. And in Red Clay the experience is just the opposite.

There’s more in that vein; go read the whole thing.

Another thing that may be of interest: the roll call vote. I was surprised by how close it was 11-8, with 2 not voting.

MADAM PRESIDENT: Mr. Secretary would you please call the roll on Senate Substitute No. 1 for Senate Bill No. 200 as amended.
MR. SECRETARY: Senator Adams?
SENATOR ADAMS: Not voting.
MR. SECRETARY: Not voting. Senator Amick?
SENATOR AMICK: No.
MR. SECRETARY: No. Senator Bair?
SENATOR BAIR: Yes.
MR. SECRETARY: Yes. Senator Blevins?
SENATOR BLEVINS: Yes.
MR. SECRETARY: Yes. Senator Bonini?
SENATOR BONINI: Yes.
MR. SECRETARY: Yes. Senator Connor?
SENATOR CONNOR: No.
MR. SECRETARY: No. Senator Cook?
SENATOR COOK: No.
MR. SECRETARY: No. Senator Cordrey? Absent. Senator Haig?
SENATOR HAIG: Yes.
MR. SECRETARY: Yes. Senator Henry?
SENATOR HENRY: Not voting.
MR. SECRETARY: Not voting. Senator Marshall?
SENATOR MARSHALL: Yes.
MR. SECRETARY: Yes. Senator McBride? Absent. Senator McDowell?
SENATOR McDOWELL: Not voting.
MR. SECRETARY: Not voting. Senator Reed?
SENATOR REED: Yes.
MR. SECRETARY: Yes. Senator Sharp?
SENATOR SHARP: No.
MR. SECRETARY: No. Senator Sokola?
SENATOR SOKOLA: Yes.
MR. SECRETARY: Yes. Senator Sorenson?
SENATOR SORENSON: Yes.
MR. SECRETARY: Yes. Senator Still?
SENATOR STILL: Not voting.
MR. SECRETARY: Not voting. Senator Vaughn?
SENATOR VAUGHN: No.
MR. SECRETARY: No. Senator Venables?
SENATOR VENABLES: No.
MR. SECRETARY: No. Senator Voshell?
SENATOR VOSHELL: No.
MR. SECRETARY: No.
SENATOR CORDREY: Madam President.
MADAM PRESIDENT: Senator Cordrey.
SENATOR CORDREY: Voting no.
MR. SECRETARY: Senator Cordrey from absent to voting no.
MADAM PRESIDENT: Senator McBride.
SENATOR McBRIDE: Yes.
MR. SECRETARY: Senator McBride from absent to voting yes.
MADAM PRESIDENT: Senator Still.
SENATOR STILL: Not voting to yes.
MR. SECRETARY: Senator Still from not voting to voting yes.
MADAM PRESIDENT: Senator Henry.
SENATOR HENRY: From not voting to voting yes.
MR. SECRETARY: Senator Henry from not voting to voting yes. Madam President the roll call on Senate Substitute No. 1 for Senate Bill No. 200 is amended by Senate Amendments No. 5, 1 and 6; eleven yes, eight no and two not voting.
MADAM PRESIDENT: Senate Substitute No. 1 for Senate Bill No. 200 having received the required number of votes is declared passed the Senate.

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