Exceptional Delaware has the full transcript.. Reading over it makes one thing very apparent. The corporate push for charters which has destroyed urban American education, is very much in play here. In a sad way, I guess it makes sense. Like a tick bite, as the original tissue dies the infection must spread ever reaching outward into new healthy tissue in order to stay alive. Philadelphia is now dead to new charter growth. Delaware having an urban area unsaturated with charters, makes it a good target as any.
Make no mistake. If one scans the entire nation looking for dead zones in education one can find them easily: Washington DC, Milwaukee, Chicago, New York, Cleveland, Newark, and next door Philadelphia… All which made the mistake of going full forward with rapid charterization. As study after study has shown, the average score across an entire city goes down when charterization is allowed to happen, but rise upward whenever charters are banned…. We only have to turn to old-school math to explain why… When you hurt 4 students for every one you help… averages must go down…
The only way a charter system could ever work, is if it helps all students at the same time, both those in charters and in public schools… No one has yet ever been able to find a formula which will do all of that, not even across the entire 30 years charter schools have been in action. But quite the opposite, in a non-charter school district, public schools DO help all students at the same time.
Charter schools are enormous lucrative business enterprises… They have the rare unique ability to siphon your tax dollars straight into people’s private personal pockets. Which is why, like the tick bite analogy above, this disease or vice, continues every time it come into contact with an uninfected cell.
Make no mistake. Wilmington is the next targeted cell… Philadelphia has now after suffering infection after infection, become too wise to invest in charters any further. The WEAC should be viewed as nothing more than a carpet bombing prior to the charter invasion getting underway…. Here is the report… I will quote from this below.
Like everyone else, I was hopeful this was a real attempt to get at Wilmington’s problems and to actually do something to better the education of those children who through no fault of their own, are stuck there. I was hopeful that the things we know are necessary for child development would be included in this report… Things like an 11:1 student teacher ratio in all schools k-5 and in 9th Grade wherever the poverty level is above 50%. Things like taxing the top one percent’s income adequately for one to garner all the necessary funds required to pay for this necessary 11:1 student teacher ratio. Things like decoupling performance data imported from the bankrupt assessment tests, from being included in teachers, principals, schools and district’s performance reviews… when all know that a great teacher in a low poverty area will get fired by her scores, while a poor teacher in a high income area, will be considered exemplary when this approach is the sole determiner. Things like mandatory programs for pre-schoolers which would have as their prime design, to elevate the vocabulary of poor inner city children from 500 words upon entering the school system, up to a 5000 word vocabulary at that age… Things like paying for charter schools with line items in state budgets as we would for any other state contract, and not steal money desperately needed for educating the majority of children, so huge profits can be made off a few who are in the minority.
These are concrete examples of what are needed. Yet this report does not even express awareness that those issues exist… Instead, as seen from the tone of this report, it was solely about how to get charters to come into Wilmington… The report is not for kids; only for owners and wealthy business people.
From this document some things are more clear.
It was only after the Priority School debacle and the highly visible public push-back against the forced charterization being proposed by the state, that the need for a commission like this to back charterization became apparent. The Governor “hired” Dr. Allan; a commission was formed.
The deceit begins with the stating of the 7 Guiding principals. Though all sound mushy-feely good, the reality is that they are detrimental to public schools; highly skewed to promoting charters… Some would call them myths.
1) Wilmington education is critical to the success of the entire state. At first read one would say “sure” and be rather general in their agreement. But let us challenge that!… Is Philadelphia’s education critical to all of Pennsylvania’s success? If so, Erie is in a lot of trouble. How does the failure of New York City’s public schools directly influence the success in Niagara Falls, or Plattsburg? if so, they are doomed. Does Newark, NJ’s failing system spell doom for Penn’s Grove? My guess? No. So how does the success or failure of Baltimore’s outlying school district, impact the success or failure of students or businesses in Ocean City? I guess if true, they can all fall back on careers as a wave surfer…. Point is, that statement deflates quickly when poked one time. It is intended as more a buttering up to the rest of the state, most likely in order to get them to go along with whatever it will be that is forthcoming…..
2) Wilmington schools should set high standards of learning. Here we go again. You cannot take toddlers who cannot jump over a 3 foot bar, raise it up to 5 feet, and expect better results. You cannot take children entering with vocabularies of 500 words, and expect them to catch up in performance to children entering with 5000 word vocabularies.. Just as we would balk at having to take a test our employer hands us in Mandarin, our children balk at tests on random material over which they have no knowledge. Our standards should be based on improvement as one makes progress; not some arbitrary line sketched too far up in the sand. A better goal would be to say we want a higher number of our children to be productive in society… and measure that by crime statistics, drop out stats, and other social data. If it drops, we are doing something right. Setting a political grandstanding standard that we want all of our inner city to go to Harvard, is laughable as it is impossible. Even still, based on the nation’s report card, the NAEP test, Wilmington children have already have made great strides since the days just after the occupation ended… Can they do better? Perhaps, but only if they get the close personal attention their income handicap requires. That means an 11:1 student teacher ratio, not a new more difficult curriculum when the lack resources to even fulfill the old one that for the most part was working, are sorely inadequate.
3) Wilmington should be served by traditional, charter, and technical public schools, Why do we need charter? Evidence shows us that 2 such charters were closed down by the state this year! Why do we need more? So we can close them down too? Two years ago, another charter barely struggled to the end of its school year? So why do we need charters? We don’t. Vocational and traditional do not fight over funding. Charters and vocational do not fight over funding… Only charters and traditional fight over funding… Therefore more charters means less funding for traditional… Less funding for traditional means the opportunities at traditional will be less. So by allowing charters, we are limiting the opportunities for over 80% of our children… Point blank, when you allow charters, you limit opportunity for 80% of children… Point blank. There is no way around that fact… No way around that fact…. unless you agree to fund charters as you do vocational schools: so there is no conflict of finances between the two. By failing to deal with charter funding and simply stating that Charters are a given… the entire sincerity of this group is undercut…
You simply cannot improve education in a scenario where you punish 80% of your children financially. Ignoring this elephant in the room, shows a lack of any sincerity behind the aims of this commission…
Make no mistake. It’s single goal is to turn Wilmington into a Charter School District… (More later: (this is turning into a giant book so it will come in a series of installments.))