Charter Schools want to come into Wilmington…  Delaware Charter Schools Network Executive Director Kendall Massett explains it this way:   “When you have an open field, you build a road into it, that is just what you do; when you have a shore line, you haul dump trucks of sand to the ocean’s edge and dump sand it it…Therefore even though we don’t really need one more Charter School, we desperately need 5, simply “… because it makes me look good if I can get them to all go in…. “”

State legislators disagree…  In a letter to Mark Murphy, 20 state legislators (one third) expressed their concerns… Their main concern was that new Charters would deplete financial resources from public schools, particularly Red Clay, costing it $2.6 million…

Delaware Charter Schools Network Executive Director Kendall Massett responded: “2.6 million?  That’s nothing.  That’s only half the number of bacteria living on on human hand …  Spectators noted that Mark Murphy, Delaware’s Superintendent of Education, recently promoted as a Chief of Pocket Change,  nodded approvingly.

However to the north of Delaware, in the district of Philadelphia, Charters have become a nuisance like banana boat roaches. Their infestation has grown faster than the training of exterminators.  In a 2007 analysis of Philadelphia’s persistent deficits, Pennsylvania State Budget Director Michael Masch indicated that reimbursement to charter schools account for the largest growth in Philadelphia school district expenditures over the last five years 

According to state records, Philadelphia’s School District paid $240 million to charter schools per year…..  These costs had to be met in other ways.

Kendall Massett says parents should have the right to choose a school for their child…. She brought up the beach sand analogy to prove its point… “Every year we truck sand in from the Pacific ocean across the nation at very great expense, to give beach goers an option to stand on either Atlantic or Pacific sand if they choose.  Without the great cost and expense, they would only have the sand of one geographical location, and their lives would be severely limited.”  The legislators pulled out a microscope and then challenged Kendall Massett to prove which grains were from the Pacific and which were locally beached.  Kendall Massett was unable to distinguish any difference between the two.

In Philadelphia, they discovered that overall, the results suggests that charter school performance is statistically
indistinguishable from the public school system’s students as neither the math nor the reading coefficient estimates for charter schools were statistically significant. This result is largely consistent with the existing literature that has generally found small negative, small positive, or no effects for charter schools across various locations (Solmon, Paark, and Garcia, 2001; Gronberg and Jansen, 2001; Hanushek, Kain, and Rivikin, 2002; Zimmer et al., 2003; Bifulco and Ladd, 2006; Sass, 2006; Zimmer and Buddin, 2006; Betts et al, 2006; Witte, et al., 2007; Hoxby and Murarka, 2007; Booker, et al, forthcoming)…..

So despite great expense in carting the sand from one side of the country to the other, and despite great expense in getting charters off the ground, as well as in running a public school system on $240 million less,  Kendall Massett insists we continue forward with Charters for the most serious of reasons:  “… because it makes me look good if I can get them to all go in…. ”

The analysis quoted above, further suggests that for students attending a charter school in its first year, charter schools have a negative and statistically significant effect in math….

To this Kendall Massett replied that unless you go forward and put Pacific sand on the beach, many beach goers will never get the opportunity again, to stand on Pacific grains of sand…  ” “We believe these schools will add unique value to Delaware because of their innovative methodology”..

When questioned by legislators what unique methodology Charter Schools could provide… Kendall Massett responded:  “Duh, I said they’re from a different place… So, that means they are different…In the case of two of them, a strong track record of success for kids.” meaning of course that three of the five have no record of success at all. but she insists, we should approve them all, because?

“… because it makes me look good if I can get them to all go in…. ”

Recently, when it was announced that Freire Charter’s application was in jeopardy, 41 parents of students in Freire in Philly, all wrote letters extolling the virtues of Freire, once  it was clearly told them that their child would fail the entire year, if glowing letters of recommendation were not forthcoming immediately…

Waxing eloquently, Massett wrote a letter in large hand printed script to her gym teaching mentor stating, that “It is perplexing that, in a city plagued by violence, charter opponents have criticized Freire’s nonviolence policy, which creates a safe haven in which students can learn and thrive.”

The legislators responded that Massett must have been smoking crack while they were talking.  No one said anything like that at all, they insisted.  If anything their opposition was not against Freire per se, but was instead directed against the loss of money that it would steal from the good existing schools already in place in the four districts surrounding Wilmington….

After the meeting, many legislators expressed amazement at Kendall Massett’s assertions…. Rep, Kim Williams, “the way she was acting, I almost pulled a chunk of green kryptonite I carry in my purse, just to see if she’d wither and collapse in a corner somewhere” she seriously pondered….

Said Charles Potter:  If Kendall Massett wanted to fill her pickup with sand and haul it across country at her own expense, we’d have no problem with that. But to make everyone pay an extraordinary price for sand that is identical to what we already have, is not the best use of taxpayers money at this time….

After all, the only reason Kendall Massett is so rabidly insistent is because?

“… because it makes me look good if I can get them to all go in…. ”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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