Recently the DOE just handed out some awards…

State announces almost $1.5 million in district, charter grants for innovative improvement projects.. August 20, 2013

Let us break them down, shall we?

“Gallaher Elementary School(Christina School District): $116,029 for GOALS (Gallaher’s Outstanding Approach to Learning and Student-Improvement) Program, which will target the necessary prerequisite skills in reading and mathematics to allow all students to have equitable access to the skills needed to master the Common Core State Standards. For example, in reading those skills include decoding, fluency and basic comprehension.”   WHICH AMOUNTS TO $239 PER STUDENT. (Gallaher  had 486 students)

 “POLYTECH High School (POLYTECH School District): $143,000 for Specific & Innovative Improvement Practices at POLYTECH High School, including instructional interventions, professional development and social-emotional supports. Specifically, the grant will fund: SpringBoard Enrichment Period curriculum training and materials; Lexile appropriate and Common Core State Standards-aligned trade books; Common Core State Standards teacher resources, professional development and site visits; Career and Technical Education programming development; and interactive technology.”  WHICH AMOUNTS TO $120 PER STUDENT. (PolyTech  had and enrollment of 1183)

“North Laurel Elementary and Laurel Intermediate schools(Laurel School District): $149,974 for i-Impact, which will provide student-specific skill instruction, reinforcement and remediation to all students in grades 2 to 6 via technology (iPods and iPads) in in school and at home. About 1,050 students will benefit.” AMOUNTS TO $142 PER STUDENT 

“BRINC(Brandywine, Indian River, New Castle County Vo-Tech and Colonial school districts): $600,000 for Linking to the Future (like Dr Who?), supporting personalized learning opportunities for students at Brandywine’s Brandywine, Concord and Mt. Pleasant high schools; Colonial’s William Penn High School; New Castle County Vo-Tech’s Delcastle, Hodgson, Howard and St. Georges high schools; and Indian River’s Indian River and Sussex Central high schools. BRINC envisions that students will be able to compare data about their progress against their learning goals, be exposed to new blended learning strategies for anywhere, anytime learning and have more options for non-traditional learning, such as online courses.”  THAT AMOUNTS TO   $50  PER STUDENT (BRINC  had 11,810 High School Students)

Brandywine, Concord and Mount Pleasant high schools (Brandywine School District): $26,500 for Increasing Student College and Career Readiness in the Courses of Biology and AP Biology, funding texts and professional development for teachers and classroom materials for students to offer students a true inquiry approach in their biology instruction.”  THAT AMOUNTS TO  $32 PER STUDENT ( Those  had 815 tenth graders)

“Chipman Middle School(Lake Forest School District): $17,714 for Engaging Students in History through Common Core, a classroom project that will provide students with opportunities to read and analyze primary and secondary source materials to engage them in the study of U.S. history through the eyes of the people who actually lived it and witnessed it.” THAT AMOUNTS TO $18 PER STUDENT (There  are 979 students across the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades )

“Stanton Middle School (Red Clay Consolidated School District): $45,083 for Implementing a Trauma-Informed System of Care for Stanton Middle School, aiming to improve school culture and social competence of students by training teachers in The Heart of Learning and Teaching: Compassion, Resiliency, and Academic Success framework and coaching in the collaborative problem solving process. The grant also will fund universal screening for behavioral deficits and targeted intervention planning for all students. THAT AMOUNTS TO $65  PER STUDENT (There  are 690  student at Stanton Middle School). 

A.I. duPont middle and high schools(Red Clay Consolidated School District): $39,000 for A.I. duPont Astronomy Cooperative Initiative, creating a cooperative high school/middle school partnership to allow rising 7th and 8th graders the middle school to work with students at the high school to create public presentations focused on Earth resources and astronomy. They will utilize the planetarium at the middle school and observatory on the roof of the high school, which will receive a new dome.   THAT AMOUNTS TO $23  PER STUDENT (There  are 1641 students in both Ai duPont Schools)·

Warner Elementary School (Red Clay Consolidated School District): $24,099 for WIZ (Warner Inspiration Zone), expanding the school’s fourth and fifth grade club period to second and third grades. Last year’s clubs focused on topics such as math, LEGO Robotics, Science Olympiad, poetry, Spanish and agriculture.  THAT AMOUNT TO $70  PER STUDENT (There  are 343 students in 2-5th grades)

Brittingham and Shields elementary schools (Cape Henlopen School District): $48,012 for Bridging the Gaps through Blended Learning, creating a district consortium to help close a socio-economic divide in the district. Focusing on fifth grade, the project will support teacher collaboration and training. Students will use digital media and blended learning. THAT AMOUNTS TO $39  PER STUDENT (There  are 1217 students in those two schools)

A.I. duPont, Dickinson, McKean, Conrad, Cab Calloway, Delaware Military Academy and Wilmington Charter high schools (Red Clay Consolidated School District): $70,500 for 11th grade SAT Prep Evening Program, offering free SAT prep classes to all juniors in the district over a 10-week period beginning in January and concluding before the state SAT administration in April. Transportation and materials will be provided. The program will run in five locations on different nights so students have a choice. THAT AMOUNTS TO  $57 PER STUDENT (There are 1235 11th graders in those  schools.) 

H.B. duPont Middle School (Red Clay Consolidated School District): $32,710 for CELEB (Cognitive and Emotional Learning and Esteem Building) Program, authored by Wilmington Pastor Derrick Johnson. The goals of the program are to reduce bullying, improve academic performance and decrease suspension rates. The grant will fund two five-week programs, one in the fall/winter and one in the winter/spring for students who are cultural minorities, free and reduced lunch-eligible and Wilmington city residents. THAT AMOUNTS TO $39  PER STUDENT (There are 826  students  at that school)

All Red Clay elementary and middle schools (Red Clay Consolidated School District): $122,600 for 4th to 6th Grade Partnership Institute, which will expand and deepen educator content knowledge related to the Common Core State Standards, creating vertical teams spanning fourth to sixth grades and incorporating educators from all 23 elementary and middle schools.  THAT AMOUNTS TO $31  PER STUDENT (There are 3935  4th,5th, and 6th Grade students in Red Clay)

Gateway Charter School(charter): $50,922 for Expansion of Reading Workshop Model, which targets special education students among others for the reading program. It incorporates the use of technology to enhance the child’s reading experience. Teacher training, parental involvement and other family literacy learning supplements the program.THAT AMOUNTS TO $404  PER STUDENT (There  are 126 Special Education  students at Gateway Charter).

As an aside here is how it broke down by district.

$116,029 Christina
$143,000 Polytech
$149,974 Laurel
$600,000 BRINC
$26,500 Brandywine
$17,714 Lake Forest
$333,992 Red Clay
$48,012 Cape Henlopen
$50,922 Charter Schools

$1,496,213 ($3787 shy of the 1.5 million touted.)

One sees that being good in grant writing does help acquire money. Hats off to Red Clay grant writers! The number one point of grant writing is to know what your audience thinks is important, not necessarily what IS important. Grant writing is the art of coaxing money out of someone else. In this case when you have the arbiter of grants as a gym teacher who as some have suggested was escalated into a position over his head, you could guess that he would naturally appeal to pretension and high sounding grandeur.

Read this out loud… “ for Implementing a Trauma-Informed System of Care for Stanton Middle School, aiming to improve school culture and social competence of students by training teachers in The Heart of Learning and Teaching: Compassion, Resiliency, and Academic Success framework and coaching in the collaborative problem solving process. “

Can anyone REALLY explain what that means? … In real English, we call that throwing random key words together, and using haughtiness and pretension to hold them together….

One may also note the higher intensity of money going to the charter schools, but in this case it may be warranted because is all goes towards special ed children.

So the overall theme as presented by the Department of Education and trumpeted by the News Journal, is simply put:  “woo-hoo, we’re giving out money, Yippie”.   And that would be a good story if that was all of the story.  But alas, if that was all of the story, I probably wouldn’t be writing this.  There is the darker, other side… of the story.

$1.5 million out of the Department of Educations total $680,511,685 budget, the money being celebrated is 0.22 of 1% (22 cents out of every hundred dollars)… Of course the Department of Education is huge and covers a large area, such as salaries, facilities, food, and transportation.  Most of those are set-costs.  But what if we ruled out all the schools, and just focused on what the office, that little room in Dover, spends upon itself… Out of the above amount,…  the part NOT earmarked for any school but for the administration of the Office of the Department of Education, $96,364,069… the celebrated amount still only becomes 1.5%..(or a $1.50 out of every $100 spent dollars).

So…. by now you should be wondering at least slightly, how a little office in Dover can spend the remainder of $94,864,069. So did I. Rest assured, a lot of it is for food; public schools do feed a lot of students. Equipment, computers, legal fees bite up some more… But as with any budget, there are always the curious things. The little things that make you kind of wonder. Things that don’t seem like they belong… Well, here are some of those I found. (Since I had no clue what many of them were, I googled them and put explanations of what I found alongside each one. Sorry for such detail)… 😦

You too should follow along. Open this link in another tab… Drop down and Click on Department of Education. Drop down alphabetically past the schools A-C till you come again to Department of Education. Click the blue “view all” to the left of it on that line. And wait for the page to open. When it opens you will see a list of every charge paid to the Department of Education this past fiscal period, starting with symbols, numbers, and then progressing alphabetically.  I recommend it;  its a sobering life-experience you really don’t want to pass over.

For those who like fine tooth comb-overs, this isn’t one. I just hit the big things.  There will be a lot which I won’t expose.  Others can pursue them if so inclined.

$3,935,052 to Wireless Generation 7/12 to 5 /13  The Delaware Department of Education partnered with Wireless Generation to implement the state’s data coaching program, originally funded with $8.2 million in federal Race to the Top grant dollars. Data coaches meet with small cohorts of teachers at least two times per month to review data regarding those teachers’ student data. Their goal is to help teachers identify areas of deficiency and progress, and offer suggestions for teachers to address student needs as identified by the data. All educators in core subjects will meet in small, relevant groups of about six to 10 educators for 90 minutes weekly in a minimum of 45-minute blocks and will be joined by data coaches two times a month. (psst. During this time, who is teaching our kids!) Wireless Generation is also maintaining the data base which will hold and keep all student scores as a permanent mark against their future livelihood and future. Parents should be advised that this company is owned 90% by Murdoch, who was complicit in the hacking of a missing girls phone to get the scoop, then deleting comments when they became full, giving the world hope that she was still alive. Your child’s information will be safe with him, for sure.

$1,355,706 to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt This is only a part of the entire state budget going to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. The total Delaware paid them was $2,229,229.12 which covers those items charged to the schools. Delaware’s million dollar contracts with “Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Leadership and Learning Center”, lasted for 30 months, covering three full-time coaches who worked with five principals each year while two part-time coaches together supported five more. The coaches were required to spend about 30 hours a month in the buildings. “The center’s cadre of certified professional development associates and school leadership coaches are poised to work shoulder to shoulder with principals from across the state to prepare them to complete a deep and effective implementation of Race to The Top initiatives,” said David West, senior vice president of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Educational Consulting Services.”

$8,135,481 American Institutes for Research (AIR) This is a think tank organization headquartered on lobby row in Washington DC, “that conducts behavioral and social science research on important social issues and delivers technical assistance both domestically and internationally in the areas of health, education, and workforce productivity. “- AIR makes tests. Online and paper tests. It brags it develops them scientifically, but many teachers and students who took the DCAS they make, would argue otherwise. The 5 year contract they received in 2009 will end at the end of this school year. Two of this firm’s featured clients are the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Chicago School System

$1,100,272 to Visions of Delaware This is the same Vision 2015 that a few months ago warped into Vision 2020 when it’s objectives set in 2006 were deemed to be falling way short. Their primary cause of failure came mostly from of a lack of state funding which got cut by the power that was, instead of getting enlarged as they had originally suggested. That recommendation of more state money is no longer set in their new goals, (they kind of dropped that by the wayside on the down-low)…. This is the same organization that paid a consultant $30,000 to redo the Christina Districts logo “because it would be good for children to have a “more inspired” logo, and he replaced the River (For the Christiana River) with a “sunburst”. It lasted 2 months before being trashed. Competence in its highest degree.

$400,000 to Teach for America Teach of America is a Federally Recognized Substitute Teacher’s Program. Although that was not its ideal at conception, that is essentially what it has become. If one can’t get enough teachers to sign up in one’s district, because one had to fire them over a standardized test, one can use “Teach of America” to staff those schools in which no one else would venture into. That’s the rough description. Teach for America takes non education majors who’ve recently graduated, runs them through 20 days summer training, then throws them into the worst schools in America. Their guiding philosophy was that since regular teachers were so dumb, smart people could teach as well with no training. Unfortunately reality was different. Now they are more successful, because they have copied all the practices that work well in public schools whose fired teachers they were hired to replace.

$329,982.53 Research in Action This is a two man shady (no info on the web) consulting firm out of Baton Rouge LA, that was contracted by the Delaware Department of Education to in conjunction with AIR (above) to get the DCAS to meet the requirements of the USDOE Standards and Assessment Peer Review of the DCAS. These people were responsible for the “holding teachers accountable” or the Component 5 part of the DCAS. The consultant was present at Day One of the May 2011 Sheraton meeting that devised the DCAS, but not at day two. J.K Beaudoin historically is the person credited who in 2002 first suggested to the national NCLB  board that by making the first cut at a escalated value, one could then respond to those not making AYP with an offer to take “a second look.” This concept would help state legislators get past the fear of misidentifying the teaching level of a certain school.. For example if a level of 60 is really passing, you fail at 70, then interview each of those between to pass them provided they were operating sufficiently upon seeing them in action…

$230,625 Education First consulting This firm’s consultants are themselves leaders in education reform. Based out of Seattle their clients include Achieve, American Federation of Teachers, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, Grantmakers for Education, Metro Nashville Public Schools, Seattle Public Schools, Tennessee Teacher Evaluation Advisory Committee, Texas High School Project, and state education advocacy organizations including Illinois’ Advance Illinois, Ohio’s Business Alliance for Higher Education and the Economy, Oregon’s Chalkboard Project and Washington STEM.

$130,639.05 to Teaching strategies LLC.. In Delaware, Teaching Strategies GOLD® has been customized as part of the Delaware Early Learner Survey (DE-ELS) which covers from birth thru kindergarten.. “First, it provides real-world examples of how children might demonstrate what they know and can do, which makes it easy for teachers to assign child ratings. Second, it has easily customized reports for teachers and administrators, as well as intuitive web navigation. Finally, and most importantly, the tool is directly aligned to the Common Core State Standards, which will help teachers learn the standards and use them appropriately.”

$99,750 to Progress Education Corp Progress Education was selected by the Delaware State Department of Education to serve as an objective third party evaluator to determine the efficacy of the DPAS II Pilot program in achieving both of its core purposes: quality assurance and professional growth. Over the course of this 2 year project, Progress Education Corporation was to develop and administer surveys, conduct interviews, and facilitate focus groups. The data collected via these three channels during the evaluation of the pilot will be used to test the proposed criteria, process, and forms for evaluating teachers, specialists, and administrators

$87,100 Anne Mitchell This was once the author of Financing Child Care In the United States; An Expanded Catalog of Current Strategies (2001). Also author in 1989 of Early Childhood Education and the Public Schools. In 2005 with the United Way of Delaware, she published “Stair Steps to Quality: A Guide for States and Communities Developing Quality Rating Systems for Early Care and Education” Her expertise is in the use of Quality Rating Systems used to rate Pre-K childcare and their impact on education.

$74,950 to Julia Stone/Harper Collins Publishers   Julie Stone is the daughter in law of a retired business director of Dupont.  Formerly she was the director of business development at Kaplan Learning Services of New York. Under the guise of Stone Consulting she was the final arbiter of Dan Rich’s “Early Childhood Development Plan”, and mitigated the alignment of early educational goals to those of Common Core in the Early Grades. She received partial credit for assisting in the publishing of this document.

$67,500 to US education Delivery Inst The U.S. Education Delivery Institute (EDI) is an innovative non-profit organization that focuses on implementing large-scale system change in public education. Their mission is to partner with K-12 and higher education systems with ambitious reform agendas and invest in their leaders’ capacity to deliver results. By employing an approach known as delivery, a proven methodology for effective implementation in the public sector, we help state leaders maintain the necessary focus to plan and drive reform. EDI provides intensive on-the-ground support, data analytics, ongoing professional development, and a network through which state systems can collectively build their capacity. They were originally tapped by Lowery in 2010, and their work can be seen here…

$64,312 to Grant Communications Consulting This is an award-winning publishing, public-relations and issues-management company. They are in charge of developing and implementing communications strategies designed to convey their clients’ message, whatever it may be, good, bad, or ugly. They do this through a variety of collateral materials, ranging from press releases, slanted opinion pieces in local newsprint, all the way to high-end marketing pieces. These professionals are ready to help you enhance your image and to raise your visibility, and if needed, bury truth where it will never be found.

$52,221 Caveon LLC Caveon, LLC operates as a security technology and consulting company. It offers detection services, such as security audits review services, which include security measures against industry-endorsed security standards to determine if a breach has occurred and to identify potential security problems. This company was hired to follow up on leaks. (Apparently knowing that their educational reform might not be well received by the public). Their prime duty is to patrol the web to identify unauthorized disclosures, as well as possible disclosers of sensitive test information.

$44,948 to Colyar Consulting Group Colyar Consulting Group is the leader in Child Nutrition and Food Distribution Management Software.. This company (CCG) has unequaled experience in the development of software products tailored to assist states in the management of federally funded Child Nutrition and Food Distribution Programs…

$42,450 to Positive Training LLC. No info found. Should be the first place Tom Wagner looks.

$39,000 to Christine Stoops No info found. Should be the second place Tom Wagner looks.

$37,878 to Gannet for advertising Now you can see the ulterior motive the News Journal squelches any anti-Common Core writing from appearing in its pages. This is just the amount for the office in Dover, of the Secretary of Education. The entire state government spends $436,821.33….

$34.000 Educational Research and Training Corporation Educational Research & Training Corporation is a business providing services in the field of Educational Consultants. Educational Research & Training Corporation is located in Greeley, CO.

$26,500 Andrew Geroski Specializing in advertising, brand identity and content development, his company, Left Hand provides “support on the creative side” for clients large and small, local and national, corporate and institutional. Recent project clients include Comcast Sportsnet, Herr’s Potato Chips, Longwood Gardens, World Café Live and the Philadelphia Zoo.

$23,000 to Evergreen Evaluation and Consulting EEC is a woman-owned firm located in Jericho, VT, founded in 1990 by Dr. Patricia Mueller. It’s role is to develop evaluation strategies and methodologies designed to provide formative and summative feedback.

$18,900 to Donna Marie King (consulting) Accomplished, versatile branding, communications, marketing and public relations professional dedicated to conceptualizing and implementing programs and campaigns that deliver results. Consummate professional experienced in traditional, non-traditional and emerging marketing strategies and tactics

$18,400 Amanda Seewald Author and Director, MARACAS Spanish Programs. focuses on developing strategies and new pathways to immersion and content based language learning to engage kids and prepare them for the global stage of the 21st century.

$18,112 to Goeins-Williams Assoc. Williams holds a doctorate in Urban Affairs & Public Policy, University of Delaware with a specialization in social policy, program planning, and analysis and an is an experienced assistant professor of Organizational Development and Leadership at the University of Delaware’s School of Urban Affairs.. Since 1986 GWA has helped over 40,000 individuals in corporate, government and non-profit organizations improve their performance and achieve their organizational goals.

$17,999 to Delaware Bullying Prevention The Delaware Bullying Prevention Association’s mission is to reduce and to eliminate occurrences of bullying among Delaware’s children and adolescents in and out of the school setting through prevention and intervention methods and education programs.

$17,077.50 to Janet Umble of DECEL In December 2010, Janet Umble shared a memo from the Delaware Coalition for Early Learning with the ECC. It said DECEL was pleased with the level of alignment between the goals of the ECC and those of the DECEL. DECEL strives to represent the child care provider community’s interests.

$15,000 to Judy Schrag Co-Principal at Education and Human Services Group. Former Director of the Office of Special Education Programs Dr. Schrag is a Senior Policy Analyst for the National Association of State directors of Special Education. In addition, she is a skilled researcher, policy maker, trainer, and educator working as a national educational consultant and co-principal of Education and Human Services Group. In this role, she works with a number of states and local education agencies and organizations, including CADRE. Dr. Schrag has also been a special and general education teacher and local director of special education.

$452.82 to James Dick; yes… they…. did….

I tried to show you how the DOE works. On one hand, they make a big deal over giving $1.5 million out in special grants to schools. If you were paying close attention, almost all of them were designed around implementing Common Core. There was no money made to grow children; as in field trips, enriching presentations, or hiring new staff or teachers. There is no money to mitigate the other duties teachers have, thereby freeing themselves to spend more time teaching. In many districts, these budgets have been cut.

All this extra money was to help with Common Core, a huge business proposition. But instead of helping,it gets made into a great corporate give-away, even though this money is being spent on something that a) has not been proven to work, and b) has been shown to give irreparable damage to children inflicted with it..

Yet, $16,417,306 gets spent on consultants. Why is no money being spent on kids in class?

The modus operandi seems to be to cut expenses as much as possible towards the class room, and give that cut to ones friends of Wall Street for stopping by. To my recollection, we’ve never had any administration so involved with paying off this many people before. And as documented here and elsewhere, what those consultants are proposing, doesn’t work in the real world…

What it boils down to, is it is your money,.. and your kids. Do you think this is the best use of your dollars? Or do you think that $16 million should have been granted as well as the $1.5 million, to things that would broaden childrens experiences, … instead of narrowing them down to one test, as Common Core does…..

it’s your money. It’s your kids. It’s your choice. But you can’t sit on your butts and do nothing. Otherwise this continues forward with no counter force to slow it down…