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This piece is fluff.  I will be doing another shortly on the shortcomings.  Obviously this was the easier piece and therefore, being a normal human being, I chose to do the laziest piece first. Yawn, it’s summer.

I really did not know what Common Core was when I was first told of it’s inception and that it would be used on our children. Like the names of each of the educational programs that have gone before, I assumed it had its benefits, its drawbacks, and a lot of stuff that was debatable in the middle, but I also assumed it would make little difference either way in the long run.

I was wrong.  It actually employed many of the planks I had been arguing in the past decade, and therefore in a round-about way, I feel I have something at stake in its success.  Because it’s ideals are mine too.  Absolutely.

Common Core believes there is a basic standards everyone should know.  People are different but there are some things that need to be known and understood by everyone to function in today’s society. For example, everyone should know how to read; how to write, and how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide. Particularly in that last category; there are horror stories we can all tell of being the victim of a server, cashier, or clerk who seemed to miss one of those major building blocks.

Second, since public education is for the public, it should be relatively equal for all.  The same grade of instruction should occur in the Southside and Northeast of Wilmington as it does at Indian River, Newark, or Dover.  Income, race, or other influences should not be part of deciding who or whom, should or should not,  get a good education.   One never knows where the next genius will come from.  Education must be equal for all.

Third, is the realization that all students are not college material.  There is an IQ level of 100.  Half of the population is born above it; half is born below it.  Those events are beyond our control having been decided before birth.   Our only option is to decide what we are going to do, with what we have been given.  Nothing says those below 100 can’t meet the standards of those above; they just need more options required to do so.  As a society, we have chosen to invest those options, fully knowing that when the floor of the elevator rises all those above it rise also.   Since we are teaching for all, it makes sense that those who are gifted above the 100 IQ mark, should also get the best education they can possibly get to match their ability. This means instead of more repetition, they need more opportunity. Teaching these two together requires two exact opposite approaches at exactly the same time.

Therefore, tests should be required, exit tests, which show a person is ready to go into the next grade.  That way the lessons made based on a student’s level, not their age.  Students brains do not develop by age.  They develop when their genetic code turns them on or off. Putting a student who can’t carry over numbers when they add, into a class which will be doing triple digit multiplication, will create problems for a lot of people. Therefore we need to test at the end of every school session, to insure the student is ready to advance.

Which means it now makes good sense to also test at the beginning of each session.  From these we could determine what a student knows coming in, and compare that later with what they know going out.  Did that student learn?  If so, by how much?  This is and should become the guide on how we all will base all ratings.  We will compare thusly:  “This state’s school system provides more bang for their dollar; this school district provides more bang for their dollar;   this school provides more bang for their dollar, this teacher provides more bang for the dollar, this student provides more bang for their dollar and needs more opportunity to grow.

So in this ideal world, we have every student, no matter with what IQ they were born with, being challenged to meet the next step of their ladder, no matter at what the height it may be.  We have a tracking system that follows each student, so future teachers can know in advance what works and what doesn’t with each child. We have all students proudly meeting their goals at the end of each school year, eager to do it again the next year.

In other words, we create children excited to learn, confident in their abilities, ready to meet the next challenge.  And the same thing happens across all America, East, West, North, South, rich, poor, English speaking, non English speaking, or what ever.

The Core of knowledge is common among all.

Ecuador just offered the US $23 million for human rights training.

The US will probably turn down that little bit of free money with considerable strings attached.

How different that is from the Markell administration which gutted and revamped our entire educational department with its pursuit of Common Core…   just for its offer of  free RTTT money..

Where there is little chance the US will accept this Ecuadorian offer,  Delaware was all over its equivalent when proffered for our schools.  Its mantra as if before a limbo cord, was “how low can we go…”

Which just the opposite of  Markel, makes the Christina School District a bit more principled than the “Education Governor”,  when it comes to accepting free money with large hemp-wound ropes attached.

There is a traitor in the DSEA.   A mole whose purpose is to destroy the teachers union,  for forty pieces of silver.

I didn’t see it until now..   I remember Steve Newton upon SB 51’s  calling out the teacher’s union for actually supporting the “boss man” over teachers and children.   I thought it was a snow job then, and you know, we’ve all been snowed before, so it happens.

But the DSEA is now supporting another bill that gives away teacher’s rights for nothing… That  is HB 165…   John Young is paralleling this thought right now…

We will know who it is with the next promotion… Someone was promised a big step up if they delivered the union… They certainly did….

It was obvious early on that someone was approving the official line of the DOE without even looking at the bills going forward through legislature..,  but to think the Union Heads would sell out the teachers was unthinkable even a month ago….

But having thought they got away with it the first time,  they are trying it again…  That is just not in the cards so obviously, to a trained card dealers eye,  something fishy is going on…

So what are we talking about?  SB 165. Section 4. Line (m).

The Department of Education shall administer a performance fund for charter schools, to be known as the “Charter School Performance Fund”. The Department of Education shall establish threshold eligibility requirements for applicants desiring to apply for funding, which shall include but not be limited to a proven track record of success, as measured by a Performance Framework established by the charter school’s authorizer or comparable measures as defined by the Department. The Department of Education shall also establish criteria to evaluate applications for funding, which shall include but not be limited to the availability of supplemental funding from non-State sources at a ratio to be determined by the Department. The Department of Education shall prioritize those applications from applicants that have (a) developed high-quality plans for start-up or expansion or (b) serve high-need students, as defined by the Department. The fund shall be subject to appropriation and shall not exceed $5 million annually.”

Since I wrote the first part, the mist has become thinner and the vision clearer.

Nancy writes that:

DSEA’s recent attorney and now Exec. Director, Jeff Taschner, is a total Markell stooge as is his wife, Renee who is a Markell appointee to the DE Vo Tech Board and newly slated NCC DEM Party officer.

Go back to whom the Executive Director is…  the Executive Director of the DSEA….  A stooge, huh?  Let me guess, .. it’s Curly?  Larry?  Moe?

So … Guess what is in today’s release of the  appropriations bill?  

Section 272: During the course of the fiscal year, the Department of Education is authorized to continue the work of the Public Education Compensation Committee to review and make recommendations to the Governor and Joint Finance Committee regarding the public education salary schedules authorized in 14 Del. C. c. 13. The committee shall consist of the following individuals or their designee: Controller General, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Secretary of Education, Executive Director of the Delaware State Education Association (DSEA), one school business manager and one school superintendent. The committee shall review comparability of salaries statewide, in addition to surrounding areas and alternative compensation models. A report of findings shall be submitted to the Governor and the Co-Chairs of the Joint Finance Committee….

A seat at the table?  The DSEA is silent because of this one seat at the table.  And it is not occupied by someone like Tromka, the outspoken  AFL-CIO leader of the national chapter.  It is filled by “an attorney”

Forty pieces of silver buys a seat at the table… What’s for dinner, Jeff?

Here is what should have happened and didn’t.

There was no initial outrage.  There were no letters to the editor.  There were no materials sent home to parents.  There were no scores of people knocking on doors to spread the message that public schools were in trouble.  Instead of a Battle of Britain, … we got Czechslovakia and Austria… No!  Make that just Czechslovakia.  At least with Austria we got the Sound of Music!  There’s no music here today…  There was no one buttonhole-ing Senators and Representatives.  There were no lobbyists visiting the same, informing of the consequences of taking this action.   In fact, they approved it.  “Heragain” commenting on DelawareLiberal, documents the fact that when concerned parents questioned a certain Senator’s vote, their response was “the DSEA is for it“, and that was that. ..

Against this vacuum there were patsy rainbow letters describing unicorns dancing through the halls of Charter Schools, with everyone wearing glasses the color of roses, and only smiles were allowed all day…  the News Journal bent over backward to paint that picture…  The blogs tore those pieces apart.

But it should have happened earlier… by the DSEA… That is normal political behavior.   So now, legislators are getting hit with massive vicissitude, when to their point of view, they were suckered into this position.  If the DSEA had done their job!  and been an advocate for the teachers, these legislators would not have been misled that they were doing what was right by voting for these bills.

While they were thinking they were helping teachers!  When they were  really reporting their whereabouts back to the Sanhedrin!   Jacques’ HB 165 is a very destructive and harmful bill, and it took everyday normal Delawarean citizens to realize this and fight tooth and nail against it….  and let legislators know, they were fooled into making a very big mistake…  A very, very, very big mistake…  The DSEA for as long as I remember, has always advocated for teachers. This is the first time it has kept its mouth closed…

And all for a seat at the table, (and he’s not even a teacher, mind you)  worth 40 pieces of silver…..


……It was supposed to be unanimous.  Why, everyone wants education to be better.  Holding Charter Schools to higher standards was like, wait, holding the 37th best teacher school in the nation (yes, University of Delaware) to higher standards… (It’a make dem kids smarter.)  After all, didn’t the Teaching School Accountability Act just sail through the Senate unanimously, and with only two “naysayers” (see Jacques) votes on record in the House?

This time there were nine.

Nine people who put their kids before Charlie Copeland’s millions.

For those not paying attention, you may not see why they did?  “Oh, they’re just pollywogs” …you might mutter; “some people just like to make waves; the path was too smooth for them and they had to make it look harder than it was.”  But that is far from the truth.

The truth is that Bank Of America has donated part of their giant complex downtown (the 9 year old MBNA built complex) towards a charter school.  Charlie Copeland has a charter school that wants to move in.  However, “minor renovations” must be done to turn a former bank, into a Charter School.  “Minor renovations”  the investors don’t want to pay for. (see El Som, Al Mascitti, caller Ed).  So if the state passes a $5 million slush fund, one appropriated for “minor renovations”, it gets applied to the former MBNA building and the charter school can open.

A big charter school!  One handling close to 2440 students…. At well over $10,000 per student that this new Charter School will get, as it pulls from Colonial, Brandywine, Red Clay, and Christina,  it’s yearly income will be well over $24.400,000 dollars every year….  which means that the same $24,400,000  will not be going to Colonial,  to Brandywine,  to Red Clay, or to Christina.  Charter schools run a 60% profit return.  They really have few expenses.  Teachers, tests, and capital expenses.  If the state pays up the capital expenses, the remaining costs average around 34% putting the profit level at 56% or almost 60…. (60 should be achievable once settled in)…  The profit  on the new charter school will be 56% of  $24,400,000 or… $13,664,000 EVERY SINGLE YEAR!

Let’s say, over a 5 year contract, one should pull in $68,320,000 .. not top line… this is the bottom… This is what goes into Charlie Copeland’s and fellow investor’s bank accounts. over $68 million dollars in 5 years…

Now if you went to a bank to borrow $5 million for start up, and were going to get $13,664,000 back that same year every year, do you think a bank would loan you the money?  HELL,  F”N’ YEAH!  They’d literally be crazy not to.  Every bank would be fighting for a place in line just to serve you.

But why pay interest on something you can get for free?

Charlie Copeland, unless there is a revolt among those Republicans still wanting to win elections,  will be the head of the Delaware Republican Party. That means he  currently holds in his hands, the future of  8 Senators,  and 14 House of Delegates.

He needs only 3 Democrat Senators (easily bought) and 8 House of Delegates (here’s a donation for you)….  and he can write legislation which lets you the taxpayer fund his enterprise, which will make him and fellow investors richer by $68,800,000 in just 5 years….

But there is more.  Charter schools underperform in test scores compared to Public schools.  I mean how could they really match up?  They don’t have  the structure; they have to pay everything on a service basis.  They don’t have experienced good teachers; they can only get the bad ones not employed, or new ones with headlamps in their eyes.  They don’t have union support; just as a teacher finally gets decent, she gets fired for being “too expensive”.

So, for Charter Schools to work they have at the same time they go into business, start the process of tearing down public schools that have been adequate for a 100 years…  The public schools here will start losing $24 million a year.  They cut back.  As they no longer meet their performance guidelines; they get cut back even more.  More Charters move in, forcing even more public school cut backs.  The public schools barely have the money to pay for structure, much less lavish upon education.  More charters move in, and the district is forced to close schools…. Having charter schools and public schools duke it out over scarce resources, not unlike the recent movie Hunger Games, cuts our actual passing students down by almost half….

This is how Philly and Chicago and 3 years ago, Kansas City happened.  They let in large Charter Schools.  The numbers show that when Charter Schools move in, the test scores of an entire geographic area get lowered significantly. The charter schools don’t know HOW to keep them up; the public schools are too cash strapped to keep them up… True, some schools  who are allowed to attract the best and brightest, may go up, but for every one that does, far many more go down pulling the average across the city down with it…  Obviously those getting the worst treatment are Blacks, flat out they have no hope,  with Hispanics getting  the second worst deal of the century.

Delaware has been lucky so far. But as we can see from studies done on Newark Charter School,  segregation is back in full force..

We can turn this state into the educational waste land that is Chicago, that is Philadelphia, that is Kansas City…. and with the passage yesterday, under the auspices of “holding Charter schools accountable” while fixing their buildings “for free”, we appear headed down that direction.  Remember every other state who has tried doing what we proposed to do, has met abysmal failure.  Fact:  there are no successful charter stories out there. All are negative.

The good news, is that there were people in Delaware tuned in on the problem who stood up for every single Delaware child; yes they will face millions against them throughout their career, but for our children it was worth it…  Most people out of tune with politics may never realize the fear that going against the strong hands in Delaware can create. Its like looking into your open grave…   Nine people conquered that fear yesterday, and stood up for children, real children, like yours and mine, and did not kowtow to investors who will thank them campaign-time for netting them a cool, easy $68 million…..

They are:

Paul Baumbach (D)

Andria Bennet (D)

Stephanie Boulden (D)

J. Johnson (D)

Helene Keeley (D)

John Kowalko (D)

Edward Osienski (D)

Charles Potter (D)

Kim Williams (D)

Every parent needs to thank these very strong people for putting kids over Copeland.

Delaware Libertarian posted the talking points being emailed to Charter School Parents. Note: these are in support of HB 165 and were written by the Charter lobbyists for that organization.

So taking their memes and removing the lies and instilling the truth, gives us ours… Simple, quick, effective… (Thank you Charter Schools for doing our work for us…)

Pass this one on asap.

  • Hello, My Name is ________ and I am a parent of  ___ children in Delaware Public Schools ________, _________, _________ . I calling to ask you vote down the Charter School Wish List known as HB 165 for the following reasons.
  • It is a bad bill.  It takes money away from public schools and gives to Charter Schools. Public schools are public property and need to be fixed up first with public money.
  • This bill is being “sneaked through”.  There is considerable opposition to this bill by every public school parent whose child will lose if this bill is passed.  You may not know how mad they will be yet because this bill came out of nowhere overnight, and instead of being featured in the media and discussed up or down, it has remained secretly burried in a “working body” until last week.
  • The “working body” was even secret.  We just discovered it now.  The Attorney General yesterday ruled it was indeed a public body and was required to publish minutes, (which it didn’t), announce its meetings (which it didn’t) and respond to all requests for information (which it hasn’t).. This means this body broke the law in coming up with this bill.
  • We have the list of all Charter School owners.  Charter School Networks are huge businesses.  They are corporations who get rich by siphoning off our school taxes we pay yearly to maintain our public schools.  These owners are well connected state big-wigs who aim to get rich off this bill, while funds for our public schools get smaller, and smaller, and smaller.
  • Public School Parents who choice out of their feeder pattern school, have to drive their own kids to school.  Charter Schools get millions to bus their kids to school.  Why?  Why are they so special?
  • Charter School kids do worse on standardized tests than public school kids. This is documented.  Rich versus rich. Poor versus poor. Charter Schools don’t get the same quality of education as do students in public schools.  We need to fund what works; not take money away and give to what doesn’t.
  • Charter Schools are discriminatory to Blacks, Hispanics, and all Whites-not-having-incomes-over-$100,000.  Charter Schools are no better than private schools for rich white people, except now HB 165 wants to take a big portion of public money actually being spent on teaching Blacks and Hispanics, and put it into these filthy rich white school systems.

Dear Sir/Ma’am:  How you can possibly vote yes on this bill is beyond me and everyone whom I have talked about it so far.

Just got a ruling in from the Attorney General’s office. The working group that met secretly in the dungeon under Woodburn, was breaking the law….

I heard it from Transparent Christina and heard Nancy has it up too…

Here is the critical piece of the reply….

“…any prior meetings conducted without adequate public notice or compliance with other open meeting requirements may have been held in violation of the Act.” From: McConnel, Ian R (DOJ) Sent: Monday, June 10, 2013 3:45 PM

Even if it barely passes by the skin of its teeth, we now have basis for the filing of an injunction based on an illegal action resulting in this legislation coming forward, to stop it in its tracks.

“I’d like to point all to Jacques response over at Delaware Liberal.  A couple of items I’d like to respond to…  I should mention John has already done so here so I will not endeavor to be redundant.  I wish to pursue a different direction.

I would like to “cherry pick” a couple of phrases from the epistle of Jacques.

I’ve been working on a charter school bill for three years (rush?) …HB 165 is not a prefect bill but it will make some significant changes to our current charter school code to include: mandating breakfast and lunch programs to eliminate any possible discrimination toward low-income families, makes it harder for low-performing charter schools to exist, improves ever aspect of the application process, allows “impact” to be considered, and uses the Charter Performance Framework to help drive accountability and support in academic, organizational and financial domains. The alternative would be to do nothing – to me that is unacceptable!!”

Now in one dump, and I can do this because I color coded HB 165 here,  the following are all the changes.  Note, they are not as many as Jacque seems to portray.  Most of the long bill one reads, is in black, meaning it was the pre-existing piece of legislation.

Below are the necessary add ons….

(I) (f) If a child is unable to attend a charter school because the charter school does not provide lunch, and the child would otherwise qualify for a free or low-cost lunch under the federal National School Lunch Program, the charter school shall provide lunch to the child at no cost to the child’s family. Charter schools may not consider whether a child would qualify for no-cost lunches pursuant to this subsection when making enrollment decisions.

(II) Minor capital improvements shall be funded in the same manner as the Vocational Technical School Districts.

(III) In the event of the failure of a school district to make timely payments to a charter school as required in this paragraph, the Department of Education shall have the authority to direct transfer of such funds.

(IV) (l) Charter schools shall have the same access to conduit bond financing as any other non-profit organization, and no State or local government unit may impose any condition or restriction on a charter school’s approval solely because the applicant is a public charter school. It is the further intent that a charter school shall apply for conduit funding to issuers within the State of Delaware unless more favorable terms may be found elsewhere.

(m) The Department of Education shall administer a performance fund for charter schools, to be known as the “Charter School Performance Fund”. The Department of Education shall establish threshold eligibility requirements for applicants desiring to apply for funding, which shall include but not be limited to a proven track record of success, as measured by a Performance Framework established by the charter school’s authorizer or comparable measures as defined by the Department. The Department of Education shall also establish criteria to evaluate applications for funding, which shall include but not be limited to the availability of supplemental funding from non-State sources at a ratio to be determined by the Department. The Department of Education shall prioritize those applications from applicants that have (a) developed high-quality plans for start-up or expansion or (b) serve high-need students, as defined by the Department. The fund shall be subject to appropriation and shall not exceed $5 million annually.

(V) Upon approval of a charter school application, the Department of Education shall present applicants seeking a charter from the state with a charter contract (“Charter Contract”) that clearly defines the respective roles, powers, and responsibilities of the school and the approving authority and incorporates the provisions of the Performance Agreement entered into between the charter school and its approving authority pursuant to 14 DE Reg. 275. Other approving authorities may choose to present applications they approve with such a Charter Contract. Where a Charter Contract is utilized, both the school and the approving authority shall execute the Charter Contract.

(VI) all information furnished to it during the new charter school application process and may exercise its reasonable discretion in determining whether the proposed new school or expansion is contrary to the best interests of the community to be served, including those students likely to attend the charter school.

(VII) be among the bases for disapproval of an application or expansion if at least one criteria in § 512 of this title is also deemed not satisfied by the authorizer. The information regarding impact may, by itself or in combination with other factors, form the basis for conditions being placed on the approval.

(VIII) (d) The Department shall make an initial review of all charter school applications it receives in order to assess the completeness and viability of each such application based on the application submission criteria established in this title. Upon a finding that an application does not warrant a full review, the Department shall notify the applicant in writing of the deficiency or deficiencies and the application shall receive no further consideration. Each district that is asked by an applicant to serve as an approving authority may, in its discretion, undertake such an initial sufficiency review and make such an initial sufficiency determination.

(e) Applicants seeking a charter from the Department that have submitted an application deemed by the Department sufficient to receive a full review shall be offered an opportunity for an interview in support of the application. Such interviews will allow the Department to assess applicant capacity, allow it to clarify information provided in the application, and gather additional information. The information gained in the interview process may be among the factors considered by the approving authority in approving or denying an application.

(IX)  At least one such hearing shall be held prior to the issuance of the accountability committee’s final report on that application. The approving authority shall, in advance of the 15-day public notice period, post any and all charter applications under consideration on a public website maintained by the approving authority, and during this public notice period shall accept electronically submitted and written comments from the public.

(15) The school shall have a satisfactory plan to ensure the effectiveness of its board of trustees, including governance trainings conducted for any new board members and at a minimum of once every three years; and

(16) The school shall have a satisfactory plan for procedures it will follow in the case of the closure or dissolution of the school, including a plan to set aside sufficient funds to cover the salaries owed to those employees who are paid over a twelve-month period. For a new applicant granted under this Chapter, the application shall include a reasonable plan to establish sufficient available balances pursuant to § 516(l).

 Each charter school seeking renewal of its charter shall produce an annual report on or before September 30. The approving authority may, in its discretion and for good cause shown, elect to accept an annual report submitted subsequent to this deadline

§ 514A. Renewals and Non-renewals.

(a) Four years after a charter school has commenced its instructional program pursuant to this chapter and not later than every 5 years thereafter, the approving authority shall, upon notice to the charter school, review the performance of the charter school to determine its compliance with its charter and its satisfaction of the criteria set forth in this title for the purposes of renewal or non-renewal.

(b) A charter school may be renewed for successive five-year terms of duration. An approving authority may grant renewal with specific conditions for necessary improvements to a charter school. Where a charter school has demonstrated an outstanding record of performance, an approving authority may grant it a renewal term of ten years. Any charter school receiving such an extended renewal term shall, at the midpoint of the ten-year charter, be subject to an annual performance and program evaluation that includes academic, financial and operations data that looks back to all of the years of the charter up to that point. If, upon this evaluation, the approving authority determines that the charter school’s level of performance is deficient by renewal standards, the approving authority may initiate the formal renewal and non-renewal process set forth below.

(c) No later than April 30th, the approving authority shall issue a charter school renewal report and charter renewal application guidance to any charter school whose charter will expire the following year. The renewal report shall summarize the charter school’s performance record to date, based on the data required by this Act and the charter contract, and shall provide notice of any weaknesses or concerns perceived by the approving authority concerning the charter school that may jeopardize its position in seeking renewal if not timely rectified. The charter school shall have 10 working days to respond to the renewal report and submit any corrections or clarifications for the report.

(d) The renewal process shall, at a minimum, provide an opportunity for the charter school to:

(1) Present additional evidence, beyond the data contained in the renewal report, supporting its case for charter renewal;

(2) Describe improvements undertaken or planned for the school; and

(3) Detail the school’s plans for the next charter term.

(e) The renewal application guidance shall include the criteria that will guide the approving authority’s renewal decisions. Renewal determinations by the Department of Education shall be based on its Performance Framework, the terms set forth in the Charter Contract, and shall take account of the school’s Performance Agreement with the approving authority, consistent with 14 DE Reg. 275, and with this Act. Other approving authorities may choose to adopt the criteria utilized by the Department of Education. Each approving authority shall develop a rubric based on its criteria for evaluating renewal applications and shall provide this rubric to applicants as part of the renewal application guidance. The approving authority shall publish the renewal application guidance on its website and make it available in written form upon request.

(f) No later than September 30th, the governing board of a charter school seeking renewal shall submit a renewal application to the approving authority pursuant to the renewal application guidance issued by the approving authority. The approving authority shall rule by resolution on the renewal application no later than 30 working days after the filing of the renewal application.

(g) In making charter renewal decisions, every approving authority shall:

(1) Ground its decisions in evidence of the school’s performance over the term of the charter contract in accordance with the Performance Agreement set forth in the charter contract;

(2) Ensure that data used in making renewal decisions are available to the school and the public; and

(3) Provide a public report summarizing the evidence basis for each decision.

(x) (i) Prior to any charter school closure decision, an approving authority shall have developed and shall utilize a charter school closure protocol to ensure timely notification to parents, orderly transition of students and student records to new schools, and proper disposition of school funds, property, and assets in accordance with the requirements of this Act and other applicable laws. The protocol shall specify tasks, timelines, and responsible parties, including delineating the respective duties of the school and the approving authority. In the event of a charter school closure for any reason, the approving authority shall oversee and work with the closing school to ensure a smooth and orderly closure and transition for students and parents, as guided by the closure protocol.

(j) In the event of a charter school closure for any reason, all cash and cash equivalents held by or available to the school shall be distributed first to satisfy outstanding payroll obligations for employees of the school, then to the remaining creditors of the school. Remaining State general fund appropriations will be returned to the general revenue fund through the state treasury. Remaining funds received from local school districts shall be returned to each of the districts in an amount proportionate to the number of students from each district. Any remaining funds and assets will be managed by the charter, as appropriate. In the event that a charter school files for bankruptcy, the distribution of all assets will be managed by the bankruptcy court or otherwise in accordance with bankruptcy laws. Nothing herein shall be construed in any way to impair or preempt a lien or security interest on any asset owned by a charter school or to prevent the school from paying the costs required to close or dissolve.

(k) In the event that all State and local funds due to a charter school are paid timely as required by Section 509, a charter school authorized to operate in the State must by December 31 of that fiscal year maintain an available balance sufficient to pay the minimum costs necessary to provide students with the minimum annual instructional hours required by the Department of Education during the remainder of that fiscal year as reasonably projected by the charter school. Such costs include, but are not limited to, all employee compensation required to attain the minimum annual instructional hours during the remainder of that fiscal year. Such costs also include all fixed and variable non-payroll expenditures incurred through the final month of that school year. A school’s failure to maintain sufficient available funds by December 31 of its third year of operation shall be deemed a material violation of its charter.


It’s me now.  There are only ten additions.  But being practical, this is really all one needs to read, because this is the changes that this bill will wrought.

If the bill fails, these Items will NOT go into effect…  If there are some good parts of this bill, then the amendment process is to be the method to surgically remove those pieces that are not functionary and won’t work.

So in essence, here is what got changed.

(I) Children who qualify for national reduced breakfast and lunch, must be fed lunch on the school.  They must give up breakfast if they wish to attend a charter. For low income families, giving up breakfast is something they won’t do. By not allowing breakfast, this bill prohibits low income people from choosing to attend a charter….. Secondly, Newark Charter School does not have a cafeteria.  When they gave lunch in the past, the two choices were McDonalds and a pizza joint.  So not only are low income students skipping breakfast, they are being forced onto the fast track towards diabetes….

(II) Also changing, instead of minor improvements being the role of the charter, the private for profit enterprise conducting the school, they want to be able to charge off all improvements to the state.  It was as if you could get a new roof, and send the state the bill, without costing you a thing…  All the money you were making hand over fist, you got to keep and spend on something else…  Money for these improvements would be deducted from minor improvements originally slated for public schools.  The public schools fall apart, and the charters get repaired…  We use our own money; they should too.

(III) Charter Schools get paid from existing districts. When a child from Christina opts to go to a Charter School, that money follows.  Christina loses money; the Charter gains it.  If Christina does not pay the charter when the law decries,  the DOE will transfer the funds overtop of the elected boards of education.   One problem with this is that under the current arrangement, schools shipping students to Christina District for its special schools, are not obligated to pay Christina in a timely basis. Most are seriously past due.  Christina is short considerable funds from this action. It is therefore unfair to require the transfer of funds from public into private hands, yet ignore the transfer from public to public, or private to public..   This clause sets up Charter Schools with favored status.

(IV) Charter Schools want public funding.  A Charter School feels it should go into business, at no expense to itself, and then collect money from the state for each student, and cut teaching expenses to the bone, so they can make a hefty profit. Charter Schools want to be able to have the state give them money…  It is like Taco Bell wants to build a new restaurant and the state, says, ” sure, here’s the cash,, but better save me a chalupa!”… Recently as Pencader failed mid year, $350,000 was coughed up allowing those students to finish the year….  Again, all money going to charter schools is being taken away from traditional state supported public schools. This bill allows for $5 million dollars to be designated as a Charter School Slush Fund.

(V) When a new school applies to become a charter, it must now sign a contract with the state. It must agree to hit all goals in its Charter Contract as measured by the Charter Performance Framework. That is a document written by third graders and will be used by the state to evaluate the functioning Charter.  Public schools, however, have a far more difficult and stringent evaluation process. A Charter School will get asked if everyone learned something, and if they say “yes” they will get rewarded with staying open.  There is no provision to check whether the “yes” was correct or not.

(VI)  DOE gets to decide if a Charter will be approved.  No matter whose objections it is over.  DOE as complete power to decide; school boards be damned.

(VII)  The Department of Education will review each application to make sure all the blanks are filled and proper keywords are being used.  If done perfectly, there will be no homework.  Applicants disagreeing can appeal the DOE’s decision and it will decide again.

(IX)  If the DOE approves an application, and it will if there are lost of plans, it will have a secret public hearing sometime 15 days after it posts notice of the meeting on one it’s thousands of pages on its official website.  After that, Charters must be renewed every 5 years unless they get to be renewed at ten year increments.  To be approved and renewed, they must have plans, lots of plans…  Like Pencader, they don’t have to hit plans.. just have them.

(X)   In the event of closure,  there must be money to finish up the year.  If a school on January 1st does not have enough to finish the fiscal year it might not get its charter renewed….

We can see what Jacques did.  He takes credit for the bill and is willing to live with it. The changes do little for anyone but the Charter School owners.  They get to make the big bucks. it appears this bill is just a “gimme” for the charter school industry….

I would recommend an amendment to require breakfast, in order to put Charters in line with public schools.

I would get rid of the Charter Slush Fund of $5 million dollars,   Either that or give every Delaware District their $5 million too.  Except Christina…. they deserve $7.3 million…  for the $2.3 that was taken back.

I would recommend Charters must comply with all regulations currently mandated upon public schools, and that Jacques come up for a bit of air.


As we trace the footsteps backwards… from WDDE here is the 24 panel.… who at cost only to themselves, allegedly at zero state expense, met in the Vision office….

“The group has no chairperson, but Taber said that she and retiring state Rep. Terry Schooley, D-Newark, chair of the House Education Committee, are coordinating the group’s work.

Other members of the working group are: Mark Murphy, secretary of education; John Carwell, charter school office director in the Department of Education; Rep. Darryl Scott (D-Dover); Rep. Earl Jaques, (D-Glasgow); Rep. Donald Blakey (R-Dover South); Sen. David Sokola (D-Newark), chair of the Senate Education Committee; Sen. Gary Simpson (R-Milford); Patrick Heffernan, State Board of Education member, and Donna Johnson, the state board’s executive director; Frederika Jenner, president of the Delaware State Education Association, and Jeff Taschner, DSEA’s general counsel; Charles Taylor, president of the Delaware Charter Schools Network and director of Providence Creek Academy; Jack Perry, the network’s vice president and director of Prestige Academy; Jim Taylor, the network’s general counsel; Mark Holodick, superintendent of the Brandywine School District; Susan Bunting, superintendent of the Indian River School District; Victoria Gehrt, superintendent of the New Castle County Vocational-Technical School District; Dave Sechler, past president of the Delaware School Boards Association; Amanda Gonye of Wilmington, PTA board member; Rod Ward and Madeleine Bayard of the Delaware Business Roundtable; and Dan Rich of the University of Delaware School of Public Policy and Administration…

The amount paid to Vision this past cycle (not itemized) was…


This is John Kowalko commenting on Kilroy’s of Delaware

I will try to answer your questions. I have earned the right to be engaged in any attempts to reform charter school law. I was the only legislator who stood in front of over 250, somewhat hostile, citizens at the public comment session to discuss the NCS expansion. My comments are a matter of record and I never attacked NCS but I did enumerate and specifically call for a comprehensive reformulation of Charter Law. Since that time I have worked with my good friend Rep. Jaques to craft and write legislation to address the many flaws in the Charter Law. The many flaws included but were not limited to, impact on existing schools, failure of charters to offer innovations and ideas that could be replicated in traditional schools, lack of socio-economic diversity in charters comparable to their geographically located sister schools. Geographical and ability restrictions that seem to exclude members of the reflective public school community. It became apparent that we would not be able to move this legislation through last year so we focused on a rejuvenation of efforts this year. In between last year and this a mysteriously secretive task force was formed to study, and by their own account “NOT” offer legislation to reform charter law. I asked formally to be allowed to serve on the committee??, which was heavily weighted with pro-charter and business interests to the real exclusion of supporters of the needs and negative effects on traditional schools, and my request was denied. That brings us full cycle to the current legislation that has taken on a complexion of giving a peanut butter sandwich to traditional schools needs while offering filet mignon to charters. The efforts of Rep. Jaques in this matter have been responsible and well-intended and he has managed to get a few good and necessary items into this variation. The reality, however, is that our original bill was only a few pages and this construction is 20 pages long filled with many obscure, nuanced and ambiguous passages that have caused me concern. Not to mention one very clear stipulation that creates a fund accessible only to charters that will be doled out by DOE and funded with money we should be returning to traditional public schools that we have imposed draconian cuts on.
Specifically, I know I’ve proved my legitimacy and right to prime co-sponsorship on this reform legislation and that does not preclude any considerations or questions I may have about this variation of the original intentions of legislation. If you are responsible for decorating your home and you want to be able to move the furniture and pictures and paint the walls you will find in the political world that you better stay in the house and not outside on the porch looking in the window and trying to have your suggestions heard through the shutters.


The question asked, was how could Kowalko and Jacques have their names listed as  sponsors to a bill that was so bizarre.  Is it possible to request one’s name be removed a sponsor to a piece of legislation?  There is precedence for that.

So can everyone ask this question.  Why is something that is supposed to be this good, being whisked through without being vetted first?  I remember a lot of people criticizing Obama for letting the Affordable Health Care have its innards displayed and a compromised, sown back up bill move forward.  After seeing the debacle of  educational reform in this state being sneaked through the House and Senate, Obama’s wisdom becomes prevalent.  If there are faults, they get exposed before it becomes law.  The controversial law has a better chance of standing if it is vetted first….

,,,says the irascible Mr. Potter in the movie “It’s A Wonderful Life” who then continues…. “you can come and borrow money. What does that get us? A discontented, lazy rabble instead of a thrifty, working class.”

That seems to be exactly what is happening within the Markell administration in regards to Charter schools.   For in normal loans, Mr. Potter implies,  you have strict rules and guidelines to follow, unless one chooses, again as Mr. Potter is insinuating, to ignore them to assist ones friends….  Gee.  What happens when you do that?  …. (Wilmington Trust).

Charter Schools are given more leeway because they are “private” enterprises.   Thanks to John Kowalko, we now know this ….

By law, public schools if they do not use the millions in their transportation budgets for that very cause, must give it back…  Now with an few words of code inserted into Delaware Code, Charter Schools in the same framework, do not have to…

Why is this there?  The obvious answer is that it is being put in as a way to   s–l–i–d–e  some extra money into the hands of charter schools.

It is like you have a family of five.  You have to make appearances that your are treating all your children equally, but you really do like one better than the others…  So you give all of them the same allowance but to your oldest who is driving, you give them a very large transportation budget to pay for their gas.  They need $100 dollars.  You give them $200…  The other children don’t drive so they have no idea that $200 is too much to spend on gas for a weekend….  That is what is going on with this push for charters.

According to John Kowalko, here are the facts.

Charter Schools get (per pupil) in New Castle County -$908.75
Kent County——–$843.85
Sussex County—–$964.88

Traditional public schools get (per pupil) ——————$579.30…  (Why are Kent County Charter Schools the Redheaded Stepchild?)

Now, if public schools can contract to run on $579 per pupil, who is to say Sussex County Charter schools cannot do the same?  If they did,  they would now get to keep $385 extra for every student they transport.   That extra is 66.59% of another public school student….

It’s a gold mine I tell you. Scrooge McDuck would be proud.

Why the favoritism?  Charter Schools are private entities who receive state money to stay in business.  The state money comes into their doors, and they get rich off of that.  Some of that richness goes back into the campaign funds of those on the JFC who allow this to happen as a matter of course….  In truth, that is why this is happening.

So let us take that total of the extra per each Sussex County students:…  listing the one charter school in Sussex County, with 413 listed students, that amount over a public students cost is $159,000.

One school gets $159,000 for being business efficient, and the public schools have no incentive to do the same; for if anything is left over, they send it back with not even a thank you coming down from the DOE for their thriftiness.

It’s simply about “who you know.”

Why is this even important?

Granted.  If we could tax the wealthy whatever it might cost to educate our children, this wouldn’t be an issue.  However some members of legislature are still in dream world, and think austerity in public education will make all of us better.  Therefore, with limited funding this misdirection of money, is important.  Remember in the analogy above, that child who got the driving stipend?  That extra money is less the other four will now have with which to meet their expenses.  If they were to question why it was fair to give charters more money, they would have a valid point.

Second.  It violates our goal to educate our worst students.  That money would be better spent in a Wilmington District, where bang for buck, it could be used to actually educate a child who needs it, and not be spent on taking every Charter School student in Sussex County out for a movie.

Third.  It takes away from public schools.  Throwing the wealthy’s money at Charter Schools would not be a problem,  IF THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS WERE FULLY FUNDED FIRST.   But funds for public schooling is in disarray.  Public schools are running budgets far less on what they used to be.  This bill to slide more money into charter schools, takes that money away from those public schools hurting already.   Again, we have to look at results.  Which is better?  To give public-school funds to millionaires to help cover their children’s schooling in a private school, or, to instead use them to educate our inner city children who already have two strikes against them and their only home run available is through a good education?

Obviously the latter.  So why is Jea Street not screaming?

Point is. We are all human.  We can scream, point fingers, call out prejudice, wail, gnash our teeth, and say giving Charters extra money at the expense of public schools is corrupt and immoral…

But all of us take care of those who take care of us.  One can’t really fault the JFC for wanting to do this… even if it is wrong.  These Charter School owners, or the people the schools will be renting from, are these legislator’s friends.  We’re supposed to help a brother out?

The problem is not the money.  It is the principle of fairness…. So let public educational entities keep their money too.  Education?  It is a good cause…  let the public schools compete with charters (for that is what they do) on a level playing field, not one stacked against them.   Let the public schools keep their funds too..  And let’s move on.  There are many other important matters to attend to…  Just let public schools, who are responsible for handling the education of all our society, not just the rich cream of the crop who can get into exclusive charters,… have the same rights and resources as we have bestowed upon our charters…

Then, send the bill to the wealthy.  While everyone else suffered, they’ve done well.  They deserve to pick up the tab for a change.