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Often battles are fought in far away places.  On the edges of the known world but their win or loss has ramifications for all civilization.. On can think back through history and see many examples of the fact.  Rome’s fate was decided not in Rome, but the extreme edges of their known world….

The 8th is a battle between the incumbent Dave Sokola and Republican challenger Meredith Chapman… It lies on the outer northwestern edge of the state, from west Newark up to Hockessin.

The incumbent Dave Sokola, it has recently come to light, is in favor of using data and tacking it on a child in preschool and running that file through his life.  Data is a mine and support of such, ties one to very wealthy interests…

Here is what Dave Sokola has secretly been writing into Delaware’s code to align us to in regards to education…

“Currently,  Section 134 of the Federal Higher Education Act wisely prohibits the development, implementation, or maintenance of a federal student unit-record system (one that would allow the government to collect personally identifiable information (PII) on individual higher-education students and link education data to workforce data)”.

Interests both nationally and through Dave Sokola are seeing to overturn that….

First, it would compile students’ personally identifiable information (PII) without their consent – or even their knowledge that their data is being collected and disclosed…

Second, the purposes of the proposed system would be so open-ended that the repository is certain to be expanded over time to centralize data far beyond collegiate and employment data….

Third, the idea that this massive repository of PII will be protected against unauthorized access and data breaches is quite simply delusional….

Those behind Dave Sokola argue thusly:  think how much more efficiently our nation could operate, and how much more the government could help people run their own lives, if it maintained a centralized repository tracking almost every conceivable data point about every citizen – where he attended school, what courses he took, what grades he earned, what extracurricular record (good or bad) he compiled, what jobs he applied for, what jobs he got, what salary he made, whether he was promoted, what salary he earned in his new position, whether he lost his job and why, whether he joined the military, what sort of military record he established, whether he was arrested and for what, whether he went to jail, and on and on ad infinitum.

This is not a description of a free and open United States of America. This is a description of a totalitarian society that keeps tabs on its own citizens…

Who among us would be hired if this information had been available on us at critical points in our life’s journey?

Which is why longterm thinking Americans have united in supporting Meredith Chapman for Senate against Dave Sokola in  Delaware’s 8th District.

This it not politics as usual… This is about the future of a free America.

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Hats off to El Som for knowing the best music for each occasion.. .

As anyone who has engaged charter supporters in their quest to determine what is best for education in the long run, knows these myths are false…..

  • Charters teach better.
  • Charters score better on standardized tests
  • Charters have few discipline problems
  • Charters have a high demand for seats, you can’t argue against high demand.

None of these hold up under scrutiny…  One quickly finds that in Delaware, whenever anyone argues for the continuation of Charter Schools, they are arguing for the continuation of one single charter school:  The Charter School of Newark. or CSN for short.. (One almost wishes they would add Yorklyn to their title so we could experience fond memories whenever we called it:  CSN & Y…)

There is only one argument for charters that has any merit, and that merit is not logical, but a strong one politically… People want to send their children to charters so why get rid of them…

True, Newark Charter (sorry Yorklyn) does have a waiting list, and so does Red Clay’s Wilmington Charter…

But what about the great and prestigious Academy of Dover?

Kevin tells us… 

Mr. Blowman noted that the school’s enrollment has declined steadily over the years, from 308 students in school year 2013-14 to 247 students this school year.

Their approved charter enrollment is 300 students.  Charters can’t go below 80% of that, so their magic number is 240.  How bad is it?  To put things in perspective, they decreased their Kindergarten classes from 3 to 2 this year because of lower enrollment.  That is their bread and butter for future growth….

So… Here is the bottom line….

IF……

  • Charters can’t teach better.
  • Charters can’t score better on standardized tests
  • Charters can’t have few discipline problems
  • Charters can’t have a high demand for seats,

Why do we still have this failed policy in place???  For just one school protected by the legislator who wrote the original legislation allowing Delaware to expirement with the then new innovation then called the Charter School theory?  He is, after all the head of the Senate Education Committee and he will have to be voted out or overridden by all other members to effect any change…

Why are we letting one person run the rest of Delaware’s public schools into the ground?  Even with one fifth of their income stolen from them, Delaware public schools are still the main choice of Delaware parents… Charters can’t even keep the minimum required number of seats filled?

This is why all need to send a donation to Dave Sokola’s opponent, Meredith Chapman.   If you live in the eighth, which runs the western border from Newark Charter School up to Hockessin, you lucky few get to vote to replace him.

 

In a battle of hearts and minds between the lobbyists of reformers and the advocates for making young black lives truly matter, the NCAAP just resolved to call for the end of Charter Schools…   The significance being: that the truth is growing daily inside people’s brains that the only reason to have two separate and unequal school systems (one for the affluent and another for the poor), is to segregate.

There is absolutely and unequivocally no other reason.

More here……

Final Rules on Teacher Preparation — page 91-92;  US Department of Education.

As the Rogue Ones all gather their forces to defeat the dark monstrosity being built on the edge of their star system, they got a much needed assist from the Feds coming to their rescue.

It was anticipated that teacher colleges would need to provide proof of their graduates’ classroom skills in helping advance student learning, under proposed rules issued Nov. 25 by the U.S. Department of Education…

Programs that failed to do so could eventually be blocked from offering financial aid to would-be K-12 teachers in the form of federal Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education, or TEACH, grants, according to the long-delayed proposal.  The rules are the Obama administration’s attempt to toughen what have long been considered ineffectual requirements left over from “No Child Left Behind”, for teacher-preparation programs in Title II of the Higher Education Act…

The U.S. Department of Education yesterday released its long-awaited final rules on teacher preparation.

Under the rules, states will be required each year to rate all of its traditional, alternative and distance prep programs as either effective, at-risk, or low-performing….

The annual ratings will be based on several metrics, such as a) the number of graduates who get jobs in high-needs schools, b) how long these graduates stay in the teaching profession, and c) how effective they are as teachers, judging from classroom observations as well as their students’ academic performance...

This is in direct opposition to the thrust of Dave Sokola’s educational policies which have had the direct consequence of destroying public education, thereby elevating and illuminating Charter Schools as the more desirable.  His policies preclude running off teachers, they preclude closing schools, and they preclude holding public schools to low ratings while providing Charter Schools with high ones… 

As of today, the thrust of all those policies now take us in the wrong direction to get Title I funding.

  • Instead of running teachers out of high needs schools, we need to get them to stay in high needs schools.
  • Instead of helping the state achieve it’s educational goals, TFA (Teachers For America) now hinders the state from achieving its goals.
  • Instead of making life hell on teachers in high needs schools, the state needs to all it can to maintain, grow, and prosper all those teachers in high needs schools. Every teacher in a high needs school  who quits, now endangers the income the state receives from the Federal Government. Free money that would need to be made up, if it were ever lost.

In a major change from the proposed rules—which were subject to heavy criticism from the fieldstudent learning will not have to be based on test scores or the proxy of teacher evaluations based on student test gains; rather, states will have the flexibility to use other measures deemed “relevant to student outcomes” and determine how various components of their systems are weighted…

 

This is the exact passage which will require the tweaking of SB51 or now it would just be reworking Title 14, Chapter 12…Subchapter VIII – Educator Preparation Programs.

e) Educator preparation programs shall collaborate with the Department to collect and report data on the performance and effectiveness of program graduates. At a minimum, such data shall measure performance and effectiveness of program graduates by student achievement. The effectiveness of each graduate shall be reported for a period of 5 years following graduation for each graduate who is employed as an educator in the State. Data shall be reported on an annual basis. The Department shall make such data available to the public.

(f) The Department shall promulgate rules and regulations governing educator preparation programs pursuant to this subchapter in collaboration with Delaware educators.

And here is the proper tweaking necessary to put Delaware’s Empire of Education, back under Inter-Galactic Law….. 🙂

e) Educator preparation programs shall collaborate with the Department to collect and report data on the performance and effectiveness of program graduates. At a minimum, s Such data measures performance and the effectiveness of educator preparation program graduates by student achievement. The effectiveness of each graduate shall be reported for a period of 5 years following graduation for each graduate who is employed as an educator in the State. Data shall be reported on an annual basis. The Department shall make such data available to the public. State mandated student test scores which have been proven to be ineffective determiners of teacher effectiveness, cannot be part of the evaluation process.

(f) The Department with the approval of the General Assembly, shall promulgate rules and regulations governing educator preparation programs pursuant to this subchapter in collaboration with Delaware educators.

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I look forward to these being put on the table in the first days of the new legislature…

For the timeline is thus… Under the rules, states must establish their reporting systems in the 2016-2017 school year, and can use the following school year to test out their systems. All reporting systems must be in effect by 2018-2019 school year.

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In another change from the draft rules, states will no longer be required to ensure that programs only accept top-performing students, as long as all students are held to a high bar by the program’s end. The aim here is to ensure that prep programs can recruit diverse candidates into the teaching profession.

Requiring another change in Sokola’s SB51 which is now

Title 14  Chapter 12…

Subchapter VIII.  Education Preparation Programs

  • (b) Each educator preparation program approved by the Department shall establish rigorous entry requirements as prerequisites for admission into the program. At a minimum, each program shall require applicants to:

    (1) Have a grade point average of at least a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale or a grade point average in the top fiftieth percentile for coursework completed during the most recent 2 years of the applicant’s general education, whether secondary or post-secondary; or

    (2)(1) Demonstrate mastery of general knowledge, including the ability to read, write, and compute, by achieving a minimum score on a standardized test normed to the general college-bound population, such as Praxis, Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), or American College Test (ACT), as approved by the Department.

    Each educator preparation program may waive these admissions requirements for up to 10 20%of the students admitted. Programs shall implement strategies to ensure that students admitted under such a waiver receive assistance to demonstrate competencies to successfully meet requirements for program completion.

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    Never underestimate the power …of the Force…..

 

As tiny pieces of evidence slowly matriculate like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle which slowly begin to show the image of what is to come, another critical piece of the puzzle became available to the public today….

What a full blown audit of Newark Charter School would give us, would be the equivalent of looking at the image on the box the puzzle came in, as opposed to trying to guess blind what the puzzle would look like when finished…

We can either do the audit now, or we can do it later. But as the pieces of the growing puzzle now show, there is a very strong oder of malfeasance emanating from the structures off Elkton Rd., just this side of the Maryland State Line.

A  well-esteemed state auditor was pulled off the investigation of this school by her political boss. Instead of the investigation going forward, it was halted. Letters to the charter schools were sent privately outlining what had been found. You can see some of those letters here….

Newark Charter School is in violation of the IRS mandated law that all charter schools file IRS form 990.  Newark Charter School has never filed… Doing so would leave a track record allowing one to track money disappearing from year to year.  One can see why there is a lot of political heat applied to anyone attempting to investigate the insides of that furnace….

Furthermore, under the new audit law passed last year… any Charter School failing an audit, can be audited by the State Auditor.  Otherwise they can employ their own auditors who they can control….

“The State Auditor of Accounts office would also be audited for that fiscal year by the Auditor of Accounts.  By making the petty cash audit turn into letters instead of a full-blown inspection report, those five charter schools will not get a full financial audit by the Auditor of Accounts office this year.”

Which would make signories of the lawsuit against Christina School District for even more funding than legally required,  all guilty of a gross mishandling of money they already have….

In other words,  the thieves did not want it known they were stealing money, until the money was first delivered into their hands…

So… if you really want to fix this, what do you do?

First and foremost:  cut the head off the body.. Defeat Dave Sokola in his Senatorial Election for District 8 in North Newark to South Hockessin.  If you live there, vote for Meredith Chapman for State Senate.  If you don’t, please go here to donate… Meredith Chapman for Senate.

Why is this critical?  Because in the Senate this year a tough audit bill on charter schools was winning and Dave Sokola, the more senior of the legislators and one to whom many legislative favors are owed, substituted the bill allowing guilty charters to “hire” their own auditor. This left no doubt for all to see that any attempt to make public schools better and charter schools more accountable, will be shot down as long as he is in legislature…

You HAVE to take out the gun doing the shooting… Please donate… Please vote for Meredith Chapman…

Secondly and more to the point. you need to began the clamor of an audit of Newark Charter School.   Why do they need more money than public schools when they are the largest Charter in Delaware?  How are they financing the two new buildings they have built and staffed off the per student funding from Christina? Why are they charging parents for their child’s field trips and student activities to the tune of $440,000 and then billing the state for at same amount (Delaware Checkbook) ?  What are they doing with that extra money? Is it legal? Is it extortion of the parents?  Can public schools also charge parents of their students $440,000 per each 2000 students?  Is there a double standard? Why did they continue to flaunt the IRS standard requiring they file a IRS 990, even when explicitly warned by the IRS not to do so?  Is everything really “ok” there, or are they in very huge deep trouble and are simply moving the same shell around to whomever is looking next?

All these demand a full audit of the Newark Charter School and obvious from the release coming from one of our own state legislators elected to Delaware’s House of Delegates, we cannot trust the Republican Tom Wagner to fulfill society’s obligation and tear into the financial labyrinth that obfuscates Newark Charter School’s accounting.  The number one reason for doing any audit, is that is always cheaper to find a problem early on and then correct it as opposed to let it go unattended, finally costing millions to correct damage that could have more cheaply been nipped in the bud….

Delaware taxpayers need to demand a full audit of Newark Charter School … and hopefully will be able to do so when Dave Sokola is no longer there to squelch it….

Thirdly:  if there is nothing wrong with Newark Charter School, and everything is on the up and up,  a full blown audit going back to 2008 would certainly do very much to dampen the anti-Charter movement growing like a flash fire in this state…  “Ok”, all would say, “so the biggest charter is NOT corrupt, we can move on then”… It would be the best thing that could ever happen to the entire Delaware Charter Network….

So then…. With what they know…. why are they fighting it so stringently?  Why did they ask that the State Auditor of Accounts not investigate their finances though required by law to look at all public entities?  Why did they lobby for a bill to allow their own auditors, ones they can direct and force to hide things is necessary, instead of impartial ones?  Why did they demand and get a very awesome public servant pulled off the ongoing audit of all charters, and have her removed from the force and kept under a gag order?

When one is doing wrong, they always telegraph by their actions exactly where it is they do not want you to look…

All signals point that place to be Newark Charter School… That is where all the dirt is hidden… That will either bring down the entire charter myth that they are indeed good institutions, or it will exonerate many of doing their best under the hard circumstances they encountered…

What we need is a bill passed thorough legislature, ordering the Christina District to hire the auditor and receive the report of Newark Charter Schools finances from 2008 to now… After all, it is all Christina’s money keeping that Charter School afloat; it should be them to whom the auditor must answer and appease…..

 

 

I think not many of you know how hard this is….

“It takes great courage to stand up against one’s enemies.  It takes even greater courage, to stand up to ones friends…”

James Spadola and Meredith Chapman really need you to back them as they not only face entrenched Democratic opponents, but also the chagrin of a majority of their own party…

A common criticism they get from the red hats, is how can you do this to your party?   When finding oneself on the receiving end of such a question, silence for them is the best answer and to leave the answers to those questions coming from someone else….

Like me…

I wonder how Charlie Copeland, Colin Bonini, Greg Lavelle, La Mar T.Gunn, and a plethora of state reps and senators, can support and work for putting a non registered sex offender in the White House…

“Locker Room talk” said the non-registered sex offender… “It’s just talk” say both Copeland and Bonini… An “unfortunate choice of words” one of them called it…

If the party is run by such people, it cannot stand.  There is nothing worse than saying you believe there is a place for all people in the Republican Party but your actions support someone who will send all Mexicans, legal and illegal to concentration camps… ghettoize and starve all Afro Americans,  shoot to kill all Muslims attempting to legally enter the country, … encourage every man to grab a women’s pussy because “HE” can get away with it because Donald is President…

How can anyone support as their leader someone who has no care, no empathy, no concern, or no feelings for anyone’s perspective but his own?

The answer can only be one thing… People who support Trump and are doing it publicly, support what he is doing or has done, regardless of all words and slogans said otherwise…

All bad people are Republicans, but not all Republicans are bad…

There are two who probably possess a higher quality of humanness than the Democrat candidates they are opposing…

Voting for either Spadola or Chapman is doing something right for this country…  Electing a higher grade of human for office is always a win-win, regardless of party affiliation.

The Delaware Republican Party needs a top down change before it can ever again be relevant in Delaware politics… Instead of appealing to our worst instincts, they need to start appealing to our best one… The best way to achieve that is to support with your votes or finances these two candidates who not only stepped up for America to run for office, but, very early one, disavowed the non registered sex offender running for our nations highest office, long before “dissing the Don” was cool…

These two are heroes and we really need both quality individuals in the Delaware General Assembly…

Although not named as the primary litigant, for all intents and purposes, this lawsuit will herein be referred as the “Newark Charter’s Lawsuit Against The Christina School District”, or “Newark Charter’s Lawsuit” for short….

Those who know,… know why.  No further explanation required or will be given.

The lawsuit seeks to do several things.

First, it wants to freeze the $7 million of Christina’s Current Funding it disputes. This is to prevent it being spent before the court can deliver a verdict.  Doing so would have a negative effect on Christina’s 22,000 children by depriving their district of funds needed for operation of specific tasks pending the court trial.

Second, it wants those funds to eventually go to charter schools because that was the certification as of September 1st.  You may remember that certification was reversed when the public got outraged and …. well, basically after the DOE got caught with their pants down, and really, had no choice, other than change the certifications back to their original levels.

Third, it wants the Christina District to pay all of its legal fees.

Fourth, it wants to add other monetary damages it discovers during the trial, or makes up on its own…

That is basically it.  The suit does include the DOE and the state superintendent for overriding the certification originally made which the court must now decide either was a legal correction, or one made outside the law. The lawsuit of course also includes the Christina District and its financial director.

ANALYSIS

The bone of contention is whether or not, a levy approved by voters in a referendum for one specific item, can be used for any other item later at anyone’s future discretion… The Christina District passed a levy still in effect for four specific things…  That money is collected separately and is separately paid to the exact penny for that single group of items. Brandywine District just recently passed a levy to put artificial turf on its field… It was on the ballot specifically for that single item, and was approved by the voters of that district for that single item.  Charter schools say they are entitled to part of that payment under per student funding. District schools say that is unconstitutional because the voters did not approve of that money for anything other than that single item…  The DOE has always sided with Christina District since 2003, even during extreme pro-charter administrations. .All this attempted lawsuit appears to be,… is an ill-defined attempt to get charters’ fingers on funds they are not entitled to..since those moneys are not part of regular operations of the district, but are allotted instead for a specific function that was “over and beyond” the regular operations of the district.  Expect the court to rule it to be unconstitutional to go against voter’s wishes….

As to the holding of the money, most of it is for a specific function… Holding the money would put that function in jeopardy.  Switching funding from future use to augment those programs could be accomplished by the district, but it should be unnecessary because the voters themselves said this was their sole reason for voting to be taxed that amount. .. The proper court decision would be to NOT invoke an injunction upon using those funds, because that would be unconstitutionally violating voters’ directives; later, if the court decided to favor those charters making the lawsuit, the district would then pay the amount from different funds and the Charters could still get their money.  There is no harm in denying the injunction, and there is harm to innocent parties for honoring it.  Expect the court to rule not to allow the injunction.

The principle legal claim by those suing is that equity is not being provided to those students going to charter schools… Their claim is that since Christina is not allowing that specific funding to be split up and follow each Charter student to their school,  those students going to Charters get less per student money than do those remaining in public schools and therefore it is not equal… The correct argument against that, is that these moneys are not going to Christina’s students either… Just as the turf money at Brandywine does not go to augment those public schools’ educational expenses, nor should it go to those fleeing to charters… Since none of that funding goes to either public or charter (private) school students, equity is preserved.

The plaintiffs counter argument will be that whereas grass is on the field, these payments are for programs in the classroom and therefore are part of the expense of running a school.  The obvious counter to that, is to point out that since Newark Charter has a new school building, that too is an “extra” they can provide their students. That is also an external form of “non-equity” that enables Charter Students to have a better environment than those public school students in Christina’s older buildings.  Should some form of equity revert back to Christina for that?  Of course not, and neither should it go the other way… Some advantages are endemic to certain entities. and these programs supported by the Christina District’s voters, are a perk these voters of the Christina District insisted on paying for…

Furthermore the Charter Schools are alleging they were harmed by Godowsky’s reversal of their allotment.  They were promised one thing, and given another… To some extent this is true.  Two operatives (with or without Godowski’s knowledge) changed the allotments by raising them for Charters, then informing the Charters their allotments had been raised, but neglected to tell any of the Public Schools about the changes.  The public schools got walloped by the surprise, and had this decision not been properly reversed on September 7th, the public schools most certainly would have sued the DOE on the exact same grounds these Charters now are…. The ineptness of the DOE and its leadership (done either with or against Godowski’s knowledge) may have caused some future funding shortages in some charters… If  those claims are real (ie charters hiring additional staff) then the party responsible for repaying the damage should rest solely with the ineptly run DOE, and not with the Christina School District.

Judging by the weakness of the claims, and the huge mental stretches at the complaint’s beginning in trying to establish legal precedents for pushing the suit forward,  it appears that the law firm Saul Ewing is simply taking Charters on an expensive ride…