Rule Number 1: Anyone can make up anything about anything……..
So when the Markell administration through the mouthpiece of Mark Murphy says the RTTT funds were federally mandated to be used to pay $20,000 bonuses and then turns around and gives it to Charter Schools to use however, one must be skeptical.
This is 2013 and none of us were born yesterday. But, back sometime in our past, when we were born, … there was an argument that public schools were falling apart and that only by having a charter school take over an existing public school system, could any improvement be made…
Recently the Delaware Legislature passed a bill regarding teacher training. (SB 51)… So with the movement of money away from teachers in the traditional public school system of Christina, over to the pockets of those endorsing Charter Schools, I became curious how the education of teachers between the public sector and the private sector stacked up…
After all, wouldn’t you be curious too?
Of course you are.
If one travels to the Delaware State Educational website and looks at schools, one sees a wealth of information… One can choose a district and see how it stacks up, (unless that district is the Charter School classification and for purposes of obfuscation, they are all off-line).. From there, one can choose an individual school. Once on the page, one can click either of three tabs. One describes the school overall and with this, one can make easy comparisons. Two describes the teachers; one can readily compare. And three is for the student achievement (or fail) reports….
It is rather simple.
Which makes it confusing as to why various Senators and Representatives who purport in public to be on top of education, were so easily bamboozled and lulled into voting for a bill that destroys Delaware’s institutions of higher learning… (SB 51)
It also pokes very big holes into the lie that Charter Schools are better for students than the alternative.
I want to show you Christina and how that stacks up against Charter Schools….
Christina School District is the states largest… 52% of its teachers have masters, 47% have a bachelors, and 1% has their doctorate... The number of teachers it has, who are highly qualified to teach Reading/ Language Arts, is at the 100% mark… The number of teachers it has who are highly qualified to teach Mathematics, is also 100%..
In fact all its teachers except in English which is 99.5% highly qualified, and Social Studies which are 98.1% qualified, are at 100% highly qualified. SB 51 was designed to make our teachers all highly qualified but it looks like Christina is already there…
So, there is reason that the Board wanted to give smaller bonuses to all teachers instead of arbitrarily giving it to one or two who by luck of their student draw, got the highest score. All its teachers deserve to bonus. Not one.
Now, let us compare that to a charter. We will pick one… Delaware Academy of Public Safety and Security. This is a charter under the direction of one Charlie Copeland, heard of him? This school has 192 students, zero of them on low income. It has only 17 teachers. It averages close to the magic number; it has 12 students for each teacher. 23% of its teachers have a masters or above. It’s number of highly qualified teachers in English are 0%. It’s math is at 100%. So 100% of its students are being taught English by a teacher who is not “highly” qualified.
So let us jump to Newark Charter School. This is one that is always tooted by Charter School enthusiasts to promote their cause. It is the best of the best of the best. Yet the best of the best of the best falls behind Christina School District, considered by Murphy and his friend Jea Street, as the worst of the worst of the worst, with only a 91.3% highly qualified teaching staff in Reading and Language Arts, and only a 95.2% highly qualified staff in Mathematics.
The best of the best of the best is worse than the worst of the worst of the worst….
There is something really funny going on, when the official line from the Markell, Rodel staffed Department of Education is saying stuff being picked up by the News Journal and front paged… that its very own website contradicts!
So we take away $2.3 million from the Christina District that has students under 100% highly qualified teachers even in the poorest sections of town, a gigantic district where 61.7% of children come from low income homes, and give $2.3 million to Charters, representing 7.9% of Delaware’s students, who have do not have 100% highly qualified teachers and who have either a zero or 1/5 the percentage of low income household students that the Christina District forebears….
And we call that progress from the governor who wants to be known as the “Educational Governor.” ???
The fix is easy. Pay for charter schools by increasing the top tax rate to cover what charters need. Let Traditional Public Funds stay in traditional Public Schools. As Steve Newton pointed out which you all read, such was in the original RODEL Charter put together “back in the day.”…
If it was so good then, what’s wrong with it now? Let’s just do it and fix this education thing once and for all! Raise the income tax on the top marginal rate to cover the state’s cost of all charters.