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teacher depletion

43,140 teachers shorted across just 5 states.

Taking a page from the Republican play book, where one takes an event, finds the worst possible thing in it, and harps on that one thing ad nauseum.

So it is with the Newark Riots.

In an embarrassing glitch of sensational journalism, that could only have one purpose, elevate charters to appear better than public schools, Newark High was portrayed as having a giant riot requiring 4,000,000 policemen to come in from neighboring states to break it up…

Instead. Two gangs. 11 people, were fighting each other… and… no one was hurt.

Caught in the exaggeration of 4,000,000 cops coming in to handle the riot, the News Journal continues to drill down on it today…

You have already seen the NHS student letter written to the News Journal… The newspaper lied; a student calls them on it… Pretty sad when someone too young to vote has infinately more credibility THAN THE ONLY DAILY NEWSPAPER IN THE STATE…

“But it can’t be ignored that officers of the law were prevented from performing their sworn duty – which included protecting the rowdy onlookers. Their parents and guardians should be made aware of their role and some measure of responsibility and punishment needs to be considered”..

Can someone bitch-slap them for me?

It was 7 am… The students have just gotten off their buses and are headed to class… the halls are 15 feet wide. All students must pass the A cafeteria. There are over 1,500 students… No student is going to walk by people fighting in the hall… They stop. 1,500 students stop behind them…. The police who come last have to maneuver through 1500 students to get to the fight…..

Imagine police trying to crash through the waiting line to get inside Space Mountain?

There is nowhere in the original report of any mention where students intentionally were trying to keep police from getting to the fights. In fact, 99.9% of the students were on the police’s side of this. Arrest the bums and get them out! But there was nowhere to move.

Here is how a more responsible news organization reported the event….

“”They found a large crowd, as you can imagine at 7 a.m. in the high school, in the hallways at that location and multiple individuals were fighting,” he said.

And here is exactly how the News Journal reported it on Monday….

“The school staff handled it, but while officers were there several other fights broke out in the C and D hallway where officers found several hundred kids gathered, impeding their access to the ones fighting and [officers] called for assistance,” he said.

“Impeding” as in being stuck in the middle; not interlocking arms in protest to prevent passage of law enforcement!

And here is how the News Journal spins that story, and this comes from the editorial board itself…..

“It’s necessary to reinforce the value of respect for law-enforcement servants, who have sworn to protect the very students who interfered with their obligation to keep them safe. Those interlopers helped extend the brawls, and as a result, should be held equally responsible by school officials and city police.”

This is the textbook definition of “liable”. Falsehoods perpetuated by a commercial media. It is past time for a class action lawsuit against the News Journal over its damage done against every student in our public schools… If one takes the enrollment of last year from across the state… 133,369 and figures that they’ve done $1,000 damage per student (college remedial classes to undo Common Core), the minimum of the class action suit should begin at $133,369,000… This is the amount for what the News Journal should be sued over this defamation; it owes Delaware’s children for its past deceit and for choosing to not report facts going on inside the Delaware Department of Education, as they truly were…..

When it comes to education in Delaware and the News Journal editorial board…. you are always being lied to….. Either they are too lazy to check out a story; too rich to care, or are working solely off an agenda to elevate charters (which all know are worse than public schools) by denigrating public ed

Today, instead of paying $2.84 for per gallon of gas, we’d be paying $2.94: the price of gas last Friday.

Now because we aren’t paying what we paid last Friday for gas, we can’t have improvements on any of our roads.  We won’t be able to fill pot holes.  We can’t properly plow the roads during snow time. Bottlenecks will remain bottlenecks with no plans to expand the highway system.

And there will be 7,700 fewer people working at high paying jobs in Delaware as a result…

Thanks Valerie Longhurst, for making Delaware a second tier state…… What on earth were you thinking?

Markell and Murphy’s argument for establishing priority schools, just melted away… If you were holding on to anything of theirs, check and wash your hands…..

Their ideology behind priority schools is that teaching is easy and can be done by animals and the only reason learning isn’t happening is because lazy and dumb teachers are not teaching…..

This is the only way their approach to these 6 schools makes sense…. Fire the principal.. Establish a leader who will whip teachers into teaching, and then fire all the teachers and only rehire the top half who seems to do the best job teaching.  Fill the other slots with newbies you can fire later to keep the top teachers scared for their jobs…

HOWEVER…  

Poverty remains an issue despite Mark Murphy and Peggy Schwinn saying that poverty itself is no detriment to learning….

We have a study out now collaborating that poverty is….

A new study, conducted by Donald J. Leu of the University of Connecticut, which found “a large and significant achievement gap, based on income inequality, in an important new area for learning—the ability to read on the Internet to learn information,” according to a news release from the university.

What this means is that poverty not only impacts written words in book form, but it is exacerbated when the testing with a screen and keyboard. Research shows that poverty increases the achievement gaps when measured on electronic devices.

The lower the parent’s income levels, the less skilled a student is at reading or doing math on line.

Poverty impacts learning.  No amount of teaching can overcome that. Since when does a gym teacher become more of an expert on how poor people learn than a Phd. in education teaching at the University of Connecticut?

What miracle or magic potion makes a gym teacher or a Nextell salesperson become an expert on how a child’s brain works?

M&M’s… whether in your mouth or hands, their argument just melted….  Sadly we do know what to do to turn these 6 schools around…. and it is being ignored….. That is…

A) 11:1 student teacher ratio across k-5 and 9th Grades in schools having 50% levels eligible for reduced lunch .

B) Tax the top 1% fairly to pay for funding of any increased costs.

C) Dissolve teacher accountability from test scores.  Use standardized tests solely as a tool to see what a child has missed and what he needs to learn to fill in those holes. Then patch those holes.

D) Divorce Charter Schools from per pupil funding and pay for them directly per line item in the state budget, as has been done for vocational schools since their inception.  A new Charter school opening should not impinge even slightly upon all others remaining in public schools!

E) Let teachers teach.  Hold teachers accountable for getting their 11 students to perform at the best of their abilities.  After all they too just as the DOE should be allowed to be rated based upon their fidelity of implementation…

Kuumba, East Side Charter, and Howard are held up as models for changing the 6 new schools over to Charters.  Good things can be done….

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Kuumba:  $12,769 per pupil

East Side Charter:  $13,929 per pupil

Howard:  $18,572

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Now onto the Priority Schools.  These $$$ are district wide average student costs.

Bancroft  $13,058

Bayard   $13,058

Stubbs  $13,058

Highlands  $12,520

Shortlidge  $12,520

Warner  $12,520

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Kuumba looks compatible.  But WHOOPS.  There was a $425,000 gift from the Charter Slush Fund that did not make it into that total…  Gosh. Darn. … So if we take that, and divide by each of Kuumba’s students in its student body…. 298… we see there is an additional per student cost of  ($425,000/298) an additional $1,426 dollars per student that needs added on…

Kuumba  $12,769 + $1,426 =  $14,195  per student….

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Now assuming public schools could just wave their magic wand and get money?  How much if we added $1426 for every student in these 6 soon to be taken-over schools?

Bancroft  $591,790

Bayard    $660,238

Stubbs     $463,450

Highlands  $546,158

Shortlidge  $469,154

Warner  $797,134

That is per year… So compare it to the $322,222 per year (if not counting that planning year) these priority schools supposedly are getting.

And couple in to the argument these six schools can’t pick the cream of the crop as do all three other schools being held as examples, but must spend what they get on everyone who comes into their door….  Meaning they will have more special ed. They will have more English as a second language. They will have more poverty and children entering the educational system with a vocabulary of less than 500 words….

There is simply no way one can compare a school that should be receiving $797,134 a year extra per student to one that actually did receive $425,000 extra dollars…. above and beyond its normal allocation…

If you want equality, then make Charters compete on budgets of $12,520 per student and not a penny more.  Only then, can we see how good they REALLY are……

In any regard, we can see the scale of the paltry amounts being offered by the DOE in its priority school takeover bid.

Recognizing that parents constitutionally should be in control of their child’s education and no one else, the Capitol School District of Delaware unanimously voted to allow parents to opt out of the Smarter Balanced Assessments.

Take your child’s test.

You will see why there is really no alternative other than opting your child out.  It is the only right thing to do… If any other district does not vote along these same lines, it is because they are too cowardly to do what is right…

Mayor Baker’s op-ed piece struck a sour chord… Basically his message was thus…

It’s money, do what you have to take it…..

It is reminiscent of what a client would demand of a whore.  It is reminiscent of what a boss would say to a female employee who had to feed her family and knows he could count on her “not saying no”.

Baker seems to know too little.  I doubt that he knows the value is $5.8 million and not $6 million. I doubt that he knows it covers 6 schools across three years (not counting the planning period according to Penny Schwinn), meaning if split evenly it comes to $322,222 per year if not counting that planning year…

Baker seems to not know that this money will be bitten in two by the hiring of a leader over 5% more than what some principals make in New Castle County. ($152,380) thereby leaving  the remaining $169, 841 per year extra for the running of each school…

Baker seems not to understand after himself running the city of Wilmington, how little $169,842 dollars per school will do to raise test scores of children who go home to no meals, go home to fights and violence inside moldy walls, go home to areas where death walks by their windows nightly, and expects those children to suddenly respond to a test that even successful, professional adults have trouble understanding what question is being asked upon it….

In fact, it looks like Baker just walked off the plank of the stupid boat and fell into the stupid ocean.

Seriously, I’m trying to toggle my mind around this… Why would someone who fought the Civil Rights battles of long ago, even write tripe like this?

A.)  Does he simply not know?

B.)  Did he get paid for it, so it is like Michael Jackson endorsing Pepsi? (Great Balls of Fire said the hair follicles).

C.)  Was he tricked into making a fool of himself?

I would probably guess the first is correct.  (A).  He like many people doesn’t know the details…

He sees it as  “Hey buddy, got a couple of dollars here I’m givin’ out… want some of them?”  The right answer for that is:  “sure”…..

But when it goes this way:  “Hey dude, that’s a nice house you got there…. Look, I’ll give you $30 dollars if you sign it over to me…”   The right answer is “no ‘effin’ way, dude.  It’s worth much more than that….”

I’m surprised that Baker doesn’t know the difference.

Markell in New Orleans

Photo courtesy of Children & Educators First

They are below Mississippi even… Is this also Delaware’s future?

Thanks to Exceptional Delaware’s exceptional coverage, we have the evidence we need to understand this is now a done deal.  The motions are simply continuing forward as a pretense or smokescreen to cover what is coming…

Whether or not the MOU gets signed by the individual boards by December 31st, the “The Chief of Change”, Mark Murphy currently has no plans to accept it…

6 school leaders will be in place on January 1st regardless of how the MOU comes down….

As Exceptional points out from last Tuesday’s City Council Meeting….

Chukwuocha: Another question, regarding the salary of the school leader, it’s mentioned here there is $75,000 that is paid from January through June but there was a note that $160,000, how is this related to that $160,000?

Schwinn: The $160,000 that you are referencing, in the MOU, is proposed school leader salary through the MOU. The $75,000 would be this January to June. If the school leader was able to and interested in coming on early. So they would actually be able to be funded, not out of district dollars for specifically setting up the school and the new school modeling plan for the year ahead.

The clincher is that the $75,000 is already allocated… If the MOU were to be signed after lengthy debate and delay, the earliest one could get a school leader would be June.  One would assume he would be currently employed, would have to give notice, etc, would have to negotiate contracts with former employers, etc…

One doesn’t put an ad in the News Journal, interview those who walk in, and hire six school leaders.  Which professionally, means this has already been done.  For a leader to take over on January 1st, which Penny Schwinn specifically said is to happen, this being mid October, means the contract has already been signed between those six leaders and the Delaware Department of Education… They are already hired….

So what if Red Clay says no?  They are already hired.

So what if Christina says no?  They are already hired.

To change either would breech the contract and the RTTT money goes to them anyway ($75,000 each) while the districts continue on without them.  Which won’t happen.  Which is why the MOU and the state code specifically give the Secretary sole discretion to accept or reject any plan he wishes…

So the plan is thus, and Exceptional Delaware accurately calls him on this:  Mark Murphy really doesn’t care what concerns any of the following:  parents, teachers, city council, State Senators, State Representatives have about handing these good public schools over to private companies to slaughter.

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Therefore us working within the rules is out… It is time to work outside the box, create a gigantic political albatross around the Governor’s neck, make him such a laughingstock even Chuck Todd will lampoon him…. and draw a line, and say,….

  • All of Christina School District and Red Clay schools will go on strike.
  • All teachers will stop working across the entire state until this privatization plan is tabled.
  • All parents (if schools do continue) will hold their children home during the times the Smarter Balanced Tests are given.
  • The County will hold all school taxes assessed in escrow, until the privatization plan is tabled.
  • The City will change its tax assessment and with a county vote, make the mega-Charter building responsible for paying the taxes the Bank of America or MBNA used to pay….

Some say these can never happen.  But look closely.  See just how easily they could happen?  Most people reading this already are planning to withhold their children this spring… Why?  Because of their knowledge… Because they know the sham that the Smarter Balance perpetuates and they know the damage it will do to children.  They also know that it will hurt the implementation of Common Core.

Those that don’t know…. well,  can’t they have their opinions changed as well?  Education of the public and communication to our citizens allowing them to make decisions affecting their children, is where this needs to go…..

What needs to happen is that “this” becomes “THE topic”. and to do that…. we need an actual threat….  Those reading this, know exactly what they have to do… Sometimes fate gives you no other chance then to do what is right……

There are times when we stand at a crossroad.  A road goes to the left. A road goes to the right.  Both leading in the same general direction… Which to take?

We are currently considering how best to educate our children.. On one hand we have the business model, which is one size fits all and those who don’t make it, too bad…

The other is the spiritual (for lack of a better model).  One that says the best education is one that challenges a child to be all that he can be, but accepts that child can take it any direction he sees fit to choose…

The proper terms for these two methods are Common Core, and Montessori.

In 2007, Common Core was pushed by the worlds wealthiest man, privately funding ($238 million)  every think-thank that came up with a Common Core agenda.

In 1907 Montessori began experimenting in the poorest regions of Rome, literally among the poorest of the poor. Within 2 years, her single classroom had become world-famous. Something marvelous was going on there…

Today in 2014, Montessori schools flourish in nations on every continent. Her classroom has be copied to teach every nationality, every race. Today in 2014, Common Core has been refused only four years after its inception, by a majority of states and is facing increasing new criticism with every new school year.

Some Montessori schools are dirt poor, literally taught on dirt floors.  Others charge $25,000 tuition per year… But in both, the same standards are being taught, a true common core embedded in every student who goes through the Montessori process.

The main difference between these two novel and innovative methods, is that Montessori did not create her educational theories and then work to put them into practice.  Just the opposite! Montessori created her practice and then pulled out of that process, her educational theories.

She observed the children, experimented, recorded the results, and then she created her theories.  Those theories were not conjecture for her, because they were based on observable data, the kids themselves.  Not surprisingly, scientists have since verified nearly every theory she posited.  And at the “core” of Montessori’s method was and is a simple maxim: Follow the child.

(You already know how well the Bill and Melinda Gates top down approach is working.)

So we are at the crossroads and ready to make a choice.  We can choose to continue down the path we started, one of standardized tests, and forcing teachers to teach to that test to keep their jobs…. As other states abandon the Common Core, Delaware can continue onward and hope to be at best near the top of mediocrity. or at least try very hard to keep from being last.

Or we can scrap what we have and try to knock Massachusetts of its top spot as being the best. To do so means we have to try something different.  Something time tested and something that works…

If Delaware truly wants to be the first state in education, it can readily do so.  It simply needs to put resources in the hands of teachers and allow the focus to be on each child and nothing else… The formula for such as been stated over and over and over… We know how to do it…

A) 11:1 student teacher ratio across k-5 and 9th Grades in schools having 50% levels eligible for reduced lunch .

B) Tax the top 1% fairly to pay for funding of any increased costs.

C) Dissolve teacher accountability from test scores.  Use standardized tests solely as a tool to see what a child has missed and what he needs to learn to fill in those holes. Then patch those holes.

D) Divorce Charter Schools from per pupil funding and pay for them directly per line item in the state budget, as has been done for vocational schools since their inception.  A new Charter school opening should not impinge even slightly upon all others remaining in public schools!

E) Let teachers teach.  Hold teachers accountable for getting their 11 students to perform at the best of their abilities.  After all they too just as the DOE should be allowed to be rated based upon their fidelity of implementation…

There is absolutely no reason Delaware cannot be first in education… We need to pivot away from the top down imposed Common Core, and work with what has worked very well before….

We can be the best. We can do this… Unfortunately to do so, we need to get rid of our biggest hang up… And our biggest hangup is our current leadership… Poor leadership is sending America’s future into the spittoon.

The priority zone of 6 schools does not show good leadership.. It shows bad leadership. Good leadership would see what works and do that first.  Bad leadership does what it wants and hopes it works…..

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