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Newark City is thinking of privatizing their garbage collection.

Here are things to remember:

  • As a public service, their prime duty is to their customers. Which is you.
  • As a private service, their prime duty is to their investors, not you.
  • As a public service, there is public input allowed on raising the rates.
  • As a private service there is no public overseer of rate rising.
  • As a public service hiring locals, all the money spent on labor, returns to your economy.
  • As a private service the money spent on labor goes to where each employee lives.
  • As a public service if you complain someone follows up.
  • As a private service they can tell you, we just don’t do that…
  • As a public service, a contract is valid as long as the city is standing or until it is replaced by City Council
  • As a private entity, a contract is null and void as soon as the company is acquired by another investor.

These are the grand points to ponder… Another is this…  can a private service perform the operation as well or cheaper than the city.  If savings are sufficient, it may pay to switch….

But this concerns all of you…  Please go to the Church of the Nazarene on Paper Mill Road for the discussion and public airing of this proposal… Set this date… Monday, September 21, 2015 … at 6 pm….  Don’t be pushed around… And don’t believe everything you hear about privatization… some of you still remember what happened with Delmarva Power….

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Thanks to Exceptional Delaware’s exceptional coverage, we have the evidence we need to understand this is now a done deal.  The motions are simply continuing forward as a pretense or smokescreen to cover what is coming…

Whether or not the MOU gets signed by the individual boards by December 31st, the “The Chief of Change”, Mark Murphy currently has no plans to accept it…

6 school leaders will be in place on January 1st regardless of how the MOU comes down….

As Exceptional points out from last Tuesday’s City Council Meeting….

Chukwuocha: Another question, regarding the salary of the school leader, it’s mentioned here there is $75,000 that is paid from January through June but there was a note that $160,000, how is this related to that $160,000?

Schwinn: The $160,000 that you are referencing, in the MOU, is proposed school leader salary through the MOU. The $75,000 would be this January to June. If the school leader was able to and interested in coming on early. So they would actually be able to be funded, not out of district dollars for specifically setting up the school and the new school modeling plan for the year ahead.

The clincher is that the $75,000 is already allocated… If the MOU were to be signed after lengthy debate and delay, the earliest one could get a school leader would be June.  One would assume he would be currently employed, would have to give notice, etc, would have to negotiate contracts with former employers, etc…

One doesn’t put an ad in the News Journal, interview those who walk in, and hire six school leaders.  Which professionally, means this has already been done.  For a leader to take over on January 1st, which Penny Schwinn specifically said is to happen, this being mid October, means the contract has already been signed between those six leaders and the Delaware Department of Education… They are already hired….

So what if Red Clay says no?  They are already hired.

So what if Christina says no?  They are already hired.

To change either would breech the contract and the RTTT money goes to them anyway ($75,000 each) while the districts continue on without them.  Which won’t happen.  Which is why the MOU and the state code specifically give the Secretary sole discretion to accept or reject any plan he wishes…

So the plan is thus, and Exceptional Delaware accurately calls him on this:  Mark Murphy really doesn’t care what concerns any of the following:  parents, teachers, city council, State Senators, State Representatives have about handing these good public schools over to private companies to slaughter.

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Therefore us working within the rules is out… It is time to work outside the box, create a gigantic political albatross around the Governor’s neck, make him such a laughingstock even Chuck Todd will lampoon him…. and draw a line, and say,….

  • All of Christina School District and Red Clay schools will go on strike.
  • All teachers will stop working across the entire state until this privatization plan is tabled.
  • All parents (if schools do continue) will hold their children home during the times the Smarter Balanced Tests are given.
  • The County will hold all school taxes assessed in escrow, until the privatization plan is tabled.
  • The City will change its tax assessment and with a county vote, make the mega-Charter building responsible for paying the taxes the Bank of America or MBNA used to pay….

Some say these can never happen.  But look closely.  See just how easily they could happen?  Most people reading this already are planning to withhold their children this spring… Why?  Because of their knowledge… Because they know the sham that the Smarter Balance perpetuates and they know the damage it will do to children.  They also know that it will hurt the implementation of Common Core.

Those that don’t know…. well,  can’t they have their opinions changed as well?  Education of the public and communication to our citizens allowing them to make decisions affecting their children, is where this needs to go…..

What needs to happen is that “this” becomes “THE topic”. and to do that…. we need an actual threat….  Those reading this, know exactly what they have to do… Sometimes fate gives you no other chance then to do what is right……

(Sometimes the best part is writing the title, 🙂 )

By now we know how Ferguson, Missouri leaned on the indigent black population to exhort money to pay its bills so it could continue to live high off the hog…  That is what this new School District Alignment will do for Wilmington’s inner city schools.

The ultimate aim is to allow large mega-state charters, friends of Markell and investors, run Wilmington’s school system.

Here is how it works.  These  6 schools are deemed failing schools due to their scores.  A new leader is installed and given a hefty salary.  These leaders are already known and loyal to the cause…  These leaders all fail, collect their money, and retire to the good life, probably in some school system down in Florida…  They leave the six schools in shambles.

These schools are switched to Charters.  The charters get to select their students either directly or by stacking up those eligible for entrance into the lottery.  The good students flock to the charters and those scores are shown to improve.  The losers matriculate over to the public school system, which now has even a harder time to raise its overall score, because all the smart people are gone.  These schools drop for that reason and are cited as failures and turned over to charters.  These bottom level charters perform no better, but by then, no one cares.  Money is already flowing from public coffers into private pockets. The reason those schools failed is due to poverty, they then say.

Here is why this will not work.  In a comparison, we showed exactly how much better these schools were run compared to charters.  Public schools teach better across all income levels than do charters.  Simply put, they have more depth.  To use a basketball metaphor, little Butler can make a strong challenge if lucky enough to connect all its pieces, but it can never beat a University of Kentucky which has a larger selection of candidates who are almost as good as the top squad of little Butler…

So there is no way, in a fair competition that a charter school can ever outperform a public school.  Therefore they have to cheat.  They have to keep the good, and get rid of low scoring students; the advantage they have that public schools do not.

When this program was unveiled, Governor Markell said:  “LOOK AT BOSTON…”   So I did.

I figured the teachers union would have already researched it and I was right.  This was pulled from their report:  “Charter School Success or Selective Out-Migration of Low Achievers? Effects of Enrollment Management on Student Achievement.”

Despite claims that charter school lotteries give all potential students an equal chance to attend, the enrollment data do not reflect the diversity of students in the Boston Public Schools. This was especially true in the award winning charters up there, just as it is here with Wilmington Charter and Newark Charter…

  • Virtually no limited English proficient students.
  • Lower percentages of special education students than the Boston Public Schools. Of the special education students enrolled in BCRS, there were:

– Almost exclusively special education students with mild learning disabilities whose needs are addressed through full inclusion in regular education classrooms.

– Virtually no students with moderate learning disabilities whose needs are addressed through partial inclusion in regular education classrooms and instruction in substantially separate classrooms.

– Virtually no special education students with severe learning disabilities whose learning needs are met in substantially separate classrooms.

All of which pull down scores considerably….  How considerably?

Special ed students often test in the 100 range where proficiency is established at the 700 point range…  If you have 20% of your students in the 100 point range, here is how it stacks up:

100 + 100 + 700 + 700 + 700 + 700 + 700 + 700 + 700 + 700 = 5800/10 or a 580 average…

Now with only 10% and then 0% scores in the 100 range…..

  • 100 + 700+ 700 + 700 + 700 + 700 + 700 + 700 + 700 + 700 = 6400/10 or a 640 average…
  • 700 + 700 + 700 + 700 + 700 + 700 + 700 + 700 + 700 + 700 = 7000/10 or a 700 average.

The number of low performers makes a difference. Which is why it is silly to compare schools that are not identical and say, one is better than the other when the EXACT OPPOSITE IS JUST AS LIKELY TO BE TRUE…

Both Kuumba and Wilmington’s Thomas Edison Charter School were touted as examples that charter schools could perform in the inner city better than public schools…

Kuumba has a 5.7% Special Education rate…. or 1 out of 20….  Thomas Edison has  6.8%…. In comparison, the schools being closed and switched over to charters have the following: 14.7%; 19.0%; 9.5%; 15.4%; 14.0%; 11.5%…

Using the same method above and comparing the averages of the two extremes… Kuumba (5%) and Bayard (20%),

(100 + 700)/2 + 700+ 700 + 700 + 700 + 700 + 700 + 700 + 700 + 700 = 670 average

100 + 100 + 700 + 700 + 700 + 700 + 700 + 700 + 700 + 700 = 580 average…

The first is Kuumba; the second is Bayard… The only difference in this illustration is the percentage of special ed students who we assumed would score in the hundreds which is infinitely better than had they never gone to school at all…

We would need access to private personal data to determine what is equally important, which would be the extent of each student’s disabilities. If someone has a mild disability, they may still be working off an IEP but with accommodations can score as well as regular students.  If all of Kuumba’s disabled were of such high caliber, that would not pull down the scores… Since public schools have to accept everyone, if a child had brain cancer as was missing parts of his hardware, his score would pull down the lower levels.  A zero would have great impact on the total scoring…

Since the cut score for proficiency is set in the 600’s, Kuumba would list at 95% proficiency and Bayard would be listed as below proficiency and put on a remedial plan, a plan which is doomed to continue to fail, unless the new $160,000/year leader kicks out those special students who dropped his score…

The school failure rate is all math.  The recent push for Red Clay to mainstream all their special-ed students, would also directly drop Red Clay’s overall average scores and that of course, opens it up to be used to ram in Charters (which in turn will siphon the better students and let the bottom drop out entirely).

Another piece of evidence being withheld is how many of these students now below standard, but would have been C students, and not D or F students under a system less Draconian than today’s. (Such as back when we went to school.)  The proficiency level is cut to around a B+ level. All those high school students in the 80’s and 90’s who came out with a B- or C averages, went to the University of Delaware and have professional jobs now, were not a failure then, but would be considered one now… because the cut level of what is deemed acceptable is now raised….

Now there is another troubling issue from Boston’s study:

How many of Charter School students actually graduate?   In Boston a charter school boasted that 99% of its students went on into college…  They only counted who was remaining.  They did not count out those who they kicked out or who dropped out…  Over the course of time, the majority of students who have “won” the lottery and gained admission to these charter schools leave and for the most part are not replaced by students on the waiting list.

In the first six graduating classes of the school boasting a 99% rate, no more than 136 students out of 367 entering students completed the curriculum.  At this rate, only 37 percent of students entering have been accepted in four-year colleges.. This score is no different from that of urban schools.. And is certainly worse than the public school system at large….

Imagine if you had only one senior left and he went to college, you could still state that 100% of your seniors went to college compared to 56% of public schools…  This is equivalent to the hype being given in regards to charter schools…

This is why this has to be fought… Not for those lucky enough to win the lottery; but for all of those in a pool 4 times greater who get left behind because those who know the governor, can afford lobbyists, now get to make money running charter schools and bill the government for all expenses…

That is why this is equivalent to the Fergusonization of Wilmington’s little black children.  The landlords, the wealthy, the connected, will all take the money currently directly going into education, and the little black children will be bused from closing school to closing school with worsening conditions at each successive one.

It is a rather nice get-rich scheme, and inner city students are the collateral damage…. The only obstacle is if public opinion interferes.

But… there IS something every citizen can do.  Opt out of the test.  Don’t let your child be tested, and then there is no contrived test score showing how well or how poor ones school did… Plus, no legislator will stand up and say to his voters, “you are wrong, you don’t know what you are doing”…. Instead, those legislators will point the finger at Markell and Murphy and say, “you lied to us, YOU don’t know what you are doing”….

If that can happen, this Fergusonization, can be stopped….

Opt out and save Wilmington’s schools and save their children.

Anyone who has ever grown fruit trees knows that you HAVE to prune branches that have borne fruit several years in a row to make new growth available that will produce at higher levels than tired old branches…

The same is with the reform movement…

It appears that a small branch budding out from the fiasco of corporate driven reform may take American education up to the next level of learning…  It just poked out its head this year, and is causing a stir among those in the top of the corporate movement who are frustrated their investments have gone sour….

It looks promising, but with that we should also take note that when Common Core was rolled out, it too look promising…. And still is, if it hadn’t been hijacked by others with not-so-hot agendas…..

But IF handled right, and IF teachers are given the entire responsibility of driving the educational process, this new technological advancement could indeed revolutionize the results of educational success……

It is called “individualized learning”….  I have at times mentioned that is what we need in classes and that was the driving force between an 11:1 student teacher ratio… So the teacher and student had a educational relationship that drove learning across the board… Individual attention pays off….

What the fiasco of Common Core and the two national tests have done, is drive broadband into all schools…  This will be the prime achievement of Common Core when viewed backwards from the future… All those fiber-optics laid, those pieces of hardware purchased, even if for the wrong agendas, are still there and can be now used, for “individualized” or “personalized learning”…  The lessons are catered and based on the progress of each individual student…..  Smarter students can pass the bars quickly and move on; students challenged by poverty can get individualized instructions on the individual pieces missing, and meet those standards set for them….  Teachers have computers track all so they don’t waste their personal time grading sheafs of papers… All testing will be done electronically… spitting out grades, printed results, rankings, and custom needs each student could use….

I should mention that this movement is being fueled from the ground up; not like Common Core from the Exec’s down…. Educators and entrepreneurs are applying their teaching experience into making this next generation of products, which in turn will be bought by individual districts across this country….

In the end, it will be teachers to transform learning… student by student…..

Today’s reality is that we are in the “early days.”  Things are confusing.  Marketers are hawking but no Consumer Reports type ranking has yet tested and rated these wares upon their effectiveness….  But if we can indeed move ourselves in this direction, we can truly be pioneers in education….

But it really isn’t hard with today’s testing, and it could come from AIR, or Pearson, or someone we’ve never heard of who comes up with the right feedback system…. But we can see which questions are being missed, and if we can program our software to know which pieces of knowledge that question covered, we can quickly see what is missing in that child’s development….

Likewise any gifted child, as soon as he has met his standard, can advance up into the next level quickly mastering that and moving forwards…  With such a wealth of knowledge detailing the educational needs and abilities of each child, the necessity of going to an 11:1 student teacher ratio is even more acute….

As with any Big 10 Football Program concerned with achieving the National Championship…. we simply have to disassociate ourselves from concern over cost.   Instead we like them need to focus on results….  With football it is measured in … wins.   In eduction…. it will also be measured in…. wins….

From the blog of the Roosevelt Institute.

“Common Core is just one of several examples of corporate influence in education. The foundations and consortiums behind these policies, like the Gates Foundation, Pearson, and others, all stand to profit from adoption of their methods, resources, and technology. What is truly surprising has been the full-fledged support of high-stakes testing by the US Department of Education (DoE) under a Democratic president and in a state supported by a Democratic Governor, continuing the infamous legacy of No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The mission of the DoE has been to fire “bad” teachers, as determined by their students’ test scores, and close schools which don’t meet these arbitrary and subjective goals.”

“This is the crux of the issue. It really is all about money. Merit pay, standardization, union-busting, school closures, austerity budgets, unregulated charters, all coupled with persuasive messaging and the endorsement of both major political parties means corporate reform will make a few people very rich at the expense of equity and inclusiveness. Education is just another avenue where the profit motive has been pecking away at the remains of public institutions ….”

“It seems like grassroots uproar is finally coming to a head. The start of National Education Week this year saw anti-Common Core protests in New York, South Carolina, Maryland, and several other states. Much like the solidarity seen in recent fast food employee strikes and Black Friday protests from workers demanding fair wages and labor practices, teachers, parents, administrators, and legislators from all political stripes are uniting in opposition to unproven policies and their slapdash implementation across the country. Parents and educators should not be pitted against one another but realize their interests are very much aligned.”