The News Journal published a story of $10,000 bonuses being given out to 28 teachers in Delaware. Someone had deemed these to be our outstanding teachers, over all others employed in Delaware.

If any teacher does a great job, they deserve this $10,000. Hell, if the wealthy Republicans are paying; they deserve $100,000 in bonuses…

Notice I said…. “any” teacher… I read through the article glad these teachers had gotten awards, and glad they’d been called in to give their opinions and advice which may be used to help other teachers and then at the end of the article, I came upon this.

Award Recipients

These teachers and administrators earned a $10,000 award from the state Department of Education for improving the achievement levels of their students.
Capital School District: Lesley Louder, Jennifer Gumble, Gillian Fuller, LaTynia Young-Whitby, John Strong, Kristen Tanis, Karin Synoski, Stephanie Thompson, Takara Hopps, Laura Marecki
Laurel School District: Ann Lewis, Leroy Travers, Jessica Page, Julie Davis, Jennider Teagle, Julia Reader, Michelle Flynn
Kuumba Academy Charter School: Sally Maldonado, Tamara Price, Douglas Cuffy, Colleen Sheeron, Samantha Connell, Jennielle Eger, Chelsea Baxter
Academy of Dover Charter School: Danielle Sherman Mackey, Patricia Miller
Prestige Academy Charter School: Mansa Raifa
East Side Charter School: Brianne Kennelly
SOURCE: The Delaware Department of Education

Like any good parent I skim to see if I know any of these. I’ve see a lot of teachers come and go…

There was nothing from the Christina School District.
There was nothing from the Red Clay School District.
There was nothing from the Brandywine School District.
There was nothing from the Appoquinimink School District.

That is odd. No one in New Castle County? Not one teacher was excellent? Not only does that defy common sense, but it also defies my experience. Every school has a “teacher of the year”. Every district chooses one of them to become the districts “Teacher of the Year”…. Yet none of them were in contention?

Then there is the Capital School District, in Dover, next to the Education Secretary’s office. In that district, ten of the twenty eight awards, were given.

Next there was Laural School District. 7 of the 28 awards were given. In just these two districts near the Education Secretaries home, 17 of the 28 awards came….

Third, the Kuumba Academy Charter School. 7 came from there… The total is now up to 24. Two of the other four came from Academy of Dover Charter School. The balance was made up of one from Prestige Academy and one from East Side Charter School….

For the record there are 579 charter School Teachers; there are 7793 public (non-charter?) Teachers in Delaware.

11 Charter winners out of 579 or 1.2%. 17 Public School winners out of 7793 or 0.2 of one percent….

I would like to know the standards on how these particular individuals were gleaned. It appears that the administrator made a few visits, sat in on some classes, and awarded everyone he saw….

If one looks at the ratings across the state, there is nothing different between Capital, Laural, and all the other commendable districts. There are 12 other public schools with Commendable Ratings. One must wonder why all the brilliant teachers wound up in only two.

In Reading (5th Grade), both Capitol and Laural Districts were surpassed by Appoquinimink, Brandywine, Caesar Rodney, Cape Henelopen, Christina, Colonial, Delmar, Indian River, Lake Forest, Milford, Seaford, Smyrna… or in other words, almost all the districts were better at reading than these two….

And in none of them could one good teacher be found?

In Math, Capital District was the second lowest district in the state. It had the most winners out of any district…

In the Charter School’s territory, we have Kuumba taking the lion’s share of $10,000 prizes. The school has 19 teachers. 7 of them are better than all 7793 public teachers scattered across the entire state.

I’m not defaulting the excellence of any of these teachers. In may view, any teacher who can get some learning into a kid’s head today, IS an excellent teacher. Seriously, how does one compete with Assassin’s Creed Three? Not even Donald Trump has problems like that….

But one cannot help but think, Mark Murphy had 28 $10,000 checks in his pocket, and made a road trip visiting schools and handed them out arbitrarily…. “Oh, I love the way you did that; you’re awesome. Here’s $10,000…..”

I hope I’m wrong…

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