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Before any of you buy into this Administration’s, Secretary Murphy’s and DOE’s false assertion that they are trying to improve the educational experience for the “high poverty”, “inner-city” schools by offering roughly $200,000 per year to six schools (not a penny of which will actually reach the children) ask yourselves and then ask this Administration why massive funding cuts that eliminated so many programs that were geared to allow for student achievements, improvements and survival were not restored.

It is the height of arrogance and hypocrisy to pretend to create a program helping students avoid the need for collegiate remedial courses when the money necessary to fund “Reading Resource Teachers” (Gov. Minner’s excellent initiative) and “Math Specialists” has been eliminated in public schools to the tune of $12.5 million.

To also promote advisory boards to examine needs of poverty ridden schools and inner-city schools while continuing to deliberately ignore the poverty epidemic in this State and refusing to acknowledge the legitimacy of smaller class sizes, (not bigger and more bloated & higher paid leadership) is unconscionable propaganda that is insensitive to the reality of the plight of the children.

If the DOE wishes to establish a priority, please join me to establish the funding for more class sizes and the funding for it, should be the “high” priority.

The MOU should go into a shredder to save the Department of Education staff further embarrassment.

(abridged version)

I will be brief which I know is a change from the way we have our “nice discussions”.

As a proud product of Christina School district, a graduate of Glasgow High School, and a graduate of Stubbs Elementary, I just want to express today that I urge you to vote to reject the proposed Memorandum of Understanding.  i think there is no doubt that we need to do a much better job of serving the students in all of our schools.

I think there is a lot to discuss in regards to how these schools were identified and the validity of the various tests that we subject our students to, but for the purpose of  tonight I’m not looking into getting into that, because I think it is  important that elected officials do a much better job of what I think was not done here, which is to listen to folks in the schools, listen to the lay leaders, listen to the parents, listen to the teachers, dare I say listen to even the students perhaps?

Because that has not seemed to be done here, this plan seems to have been announced (perhaps with the best intentions), I think in that way this falls short of engagement in a very direct way with the teachers, the school leaders, the parents, the students, and I believe the only way we are going to get where we should go as a school system, is to have that kind of collaboration.

I wholeheartedly urge the board to reject the MOU and to reach out of hand to the Department of Education with an offer to meet and collaborate on a plan that is very nuanced and very targeted for our schools on what is actually happening in our schools, and I can think of no better point to illustrate that than to note that of the  three principals of the three Christina Schools that are now priority schools, One is in his first year, his very first year, a few weeks in the building now. One is in his second year, and one is in his third year now, as I understand it.

And to announce a plan that would basically say to these new three leaders, without explaining in any way, shape, or form what these leaders have or have not done, that are currently in these schools, at the very least shows, an unwillingness, an inability , or perhaps just forgetting to engage with the schools about what is actually going on.

So I think there are a lot of good questions that will come of this process, but I think that it needs to start with a real conversation and dialogue, and not agree to an MOU which in my mind would certainly impose restrictions and requirements on the district,  in a way, which doesn’t seem narrated by individual, targeted investigation analysis of what’s going on

As always, I’m happy to take questions, but I’m also happy too to sit down and listen to what others have to say, and to be a resource for the board and for the schools, students, parents, teachers as we try to have more effective ideas come out of Dover.

{Applause:  (quick, turn down volume}

Board: Thank you very much Senator.