Back during the first of May, SB 51 sailed through the Senate committee and sailed through the Senate unanimously. Led by hte Educational Chair Dave Sokola, debate on the one amendment was less than a minute.  It was all “ok, Sokola, if you say so”….

It met resistance in the House, with 3 people standing up against it. (2 actually voting).. and went on to be signed. The bill HB 165 slipped out of the House Committee after much drama (refusing to let one opposing legislator come in the door!)  and had vigorous debate on the floor. This time there were 9 against it…  Next, it barely, just barely, squeaked out of committee in the Senate.  No one but the chair really wanted to sign on.  Arms got twisted and it made it out onto the floor.  But, … in trying to get to the floor, it got caught in the door, the caucus door.  Responding to a challenge yesterday between Bryan Townsend and Dave Sokola over the addition of amendments,  Bryan was able to get the caucus to let the amendments stay on, and Dave Sokola pulled the bill.  It WILL be discussed on Wed. June 26 beginning at 2:30 pm…. (hands rubbing in glee)

The amendments are an attempt to fix some egregious holes but they still leave the capital funding in place.  This capital funding is the reason this entire bill exists.  It is not there to put guidelines up for charters.  This bill allows for 100% minor cap funding even though many charter schools buildings have no partial ownership by the state…. When asked point blank a spokesperson for the Charter School Network was noncommittal when asked if they would pursue major cap funding in the future….

In fact, this bill has so riled up the entire educational structure, that a board member from the Capital School District, sent Senators a request to kill this bill… Just kill it.

Delaware is not big state. It does not have unlimited funds to throw at all matters involving education.  That funding, instead of haphazardly being scattered like nitrogen fertilizer, creating who knows what algae blooms at the end of the watershed, needs to be parsed where the crops are growing best:  Delaware’s public schools.

A farmer does not take expensive fertilizer and spread it across his entire property. He puts it only where he needs it; where the seeds are….  This is what public funding has done for hundreds of years.  Charter Schools have been in Delaware for 19 years. They have a track record.  Those schools who can weed out minorities and the impoverished, tend to do well. Those schools who only cater to the impoverished, don’t do as well.  In both cases, public schools do better, whether rich or poor.

SB 165 intends to change that.  In an effort to force feed Charter Growth, this bill will use money that would have gone to public schools, and use it to increase the number of charters here in Delaware….

At first one would think… oh great, more schools; more choices. But it doesn’t work that way.  Consolidation creates economics of scale.  it it cheaper to educate 1000 students in one school, than educate that same 1000 spread across 100 different schools.  That is the definition of: economics of scale; that is just how it is.  For one, we would have to hire someone just to check on every school,  That extra expense alone would need to be added on to the per cost per student…

If someone wants to fund a charter, because they feel they can make a difference in education, they should be able to find the funds from a private source to do so.   Once they have established their school, then they should be able to take students and receive money per student from the state, as long as they don’t hurt that student…  Because it is their investment.  Even so, this action hurts public schools, but if it provides a better learning environment, as long as it is privately funded, it is allowed under current law.

But what if we built tens of hundreds of new schools, then gave the property and its keys to someone else, and then sent students with $10,000’s attached, all of which were pulled out of public schools?

What would happened?

The state invested money into the competitor of itself, and now, it is giving that competitor its own state money so that competitor can become successful in competition against the state who is feeding it….  It’s like paying the card shark to give you only bad cards.  its like robbing the wife’s private bank account in order to buy jewelry for one’s mistress… It will cause a lot of expensive trouble at some point in the future.

Is this dumb?  Absolutely

Is this ridiculous?  Absolutely

Is this immoral?  Absolutely.

Is this a bad idea? Absolutely….

The public financing for private schools needs to go. Be gone, Disappear.  That will only lead us down the long road to ruin…

We then need to put that public money back where it belongs… into private schools…  All of it.