Just looking at tonight’s headlines popping up around the state, tells the whole story….

OMG did Moyer really miss their DE DOE charter modification application meeting 1/29?

Unbelievable! New charter school board member starts of with LIES

Delaware Libertarian kicks NJ’s Jimmy Olsen in the nuts..

Those aren’t sensationalized News Journal headlines, usually having the ring of those of National Enquirer.  Instead, these are the real news happening off of news feeds, public notifications, and task force meetings.  All with no spin.

The Charter Organization is falling apart in Delaware.  It is frayed.  It has no idea what it is doing.  It is fractured.  it is a classroom being run by the kids when the teacher has left the building…

How could this happen?

Well for one, putting all hope for Delaware’s educational needs in a ex-Maryland gym teacher, may just have been the beginning.  No district experience. No charter experience, No legal experience. No business experience.  Only some grooming by an out-of-touch think-tank… Repeat after me:  Charters are Good… “Charters are Good”…. Teachers are bad….”Teachers are bad”…. Bust Labor Unions… “Bust Labor Unions”…   Perfect score there buddy, you are ready to … implement policy… Go get ’em Tiger…

if someone asked you, I mean you personally, who do you think would be the best candidate to carry Delaware’s schools forward into the future… would your first choice be…  a gym teacher?… Really?  That would be your first choice?…

I am told the interview went like this….

Markell:   So, Mark Murphy… You want to be a Secretary of Education?  What’s your experience?

Murphy:   Sir, I was a gym teacher once… for about 3 years…

Markell:  Gym teacher, eh?  Was it high school?  Did you coach?  Get any school championships?

Murphy:  Uhhh.  No Sir… it was an elementary school;  they don’t compete at that level over in Maryland….

Markell:  Oh, I see.. So why do you think you can be a great Secretary of Education.. then?

Murphy:  Well sir. What is your biggest concern?  Not with me, but education in general?

Markell:  Darn it, Right now I’m caught up dab-middle in this Race To The Top thing… Trying to get a little Federal cash, and this thing is a nightmare… All these new parts, I need someone to take the reins and giddy-up, know what I mean…

Murphy:  I’m good at teaching people to race.  I did that in gym for 3 years.

Markell:  What, you know how to race;  Even  better, how to teach it?  Can you like Race To The Top?

Murphy:  Well, Sir, usually our races were on the horizontal plane but once I had my kids do an obstacle race and the finish line was on top of the monkey bars… i guess that could qualify as a Race To The Top, Sir…

Markell:  Brilliant.. Someone already experienced with Race To The Top.  I’m always amazed at my good fortune.  Mark, I’m hiring you,  When can you start, right away?  Go tell Lillian she needs to be out by Friday…  This is awesome,  A leader who’s done Race To The Top…

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And thus, we inherited a gym teacher as the head of our state’s education department… Sadly, there are many other parts of running a state school system that do not require such implicit gym teaching knowledge… One of which, is how to run a school system.  Fortunately the bureaucracy of the district public school systems can hold themselves together through any vacuum of leadership at the top.  However, Charter Schools are often run by people unfamiliar with running school, who are winging it themselves; they don’t have that bureaucracy…. It is easy to pretend to run things by picking up a phone and yelling into it… Saying things like “You’ve better figure that out and get it done, pronto”… Anyone can do that, even an ex felon off Spruce Street.  No talent required for that.  But when they don’t know what to  do, and have no mentor to answer their questions, and it is all equally new to the person yelling from the top, then you have a situation ripe for disaster…..

And that is what we are seeing.  Pencader…. Moyer….. Reach….  Tomorrow we will see that Newark Charter is failing.   The inner city boondoggle will be teaching in a giant building, with no soap for students in the bathrooms… (There are inner city; they don’t need soap)  simply because unlike public schools, no one in the Charter organization has a checklist. or the experience to develop one.

And this is why Charter Schools fail children.  Newark Charter School has a rigid application process, and only those with “a certain bent” are allowed in its doors.  The public schools still have to teach everyone. But when they have certain classes also with “a certain bent”, those classes get so much more than anything a charter can offer…

It all comes down to experience.    If Charter Schools were ever rated internationally on their dodge-ball skills, Delaware might have some of the finest in the world…. Alas, but they aren’t……..

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