When you lie with dogs…

You’re such a cool woman but I love you
Such a cruel woman but I love you
Open up your eyes and realise
You’re such a fool woman but I love you
But you give me all that you’ve got to give
Cause it sure feels good to me

I’m not your only man I’m just your lover
Not your only man just another
Open up your eyes and realise
I’m gonna take what I can like any other
Cause it don’t mean a thing to me

Well
You lie down with dogs you fall in with thieves
You’re gonna catch something but you do as you please
You’re scratchin’ an itch that nothing can ease
You lie down with dogs you get up with fleas

Get out and find yourself another lover
Why don’t you find yourself another lover
Open up your eyen and realise
You don’t mean nothing to me I’m not your mother
You gave me all that you had to give
But there’s a whole lotta fish in the sea

Well
You lie down with dogs you fall in with thieves
You’re gonna catch something but you do as you please
You’re scratchin’ an itch that nothing can ease
You lie down with dogs you get up with fleas

Delaware Voice dissected. @RodelDE @GovernorMarkell #DOE #truth

I am truly proud to serve with Elizabeth Scheinberg, her analysis of our good faith vote is spot on.

 

Another day, another misinformed opinion… |  

Children & Educators First

 

Dear Christina,
Here we go again.  More propaganda and rhetoric designed to distract Delawareans from the issue at hand: a state’s over-reaction to an appropriate step to remediate a lack of fidelity to process.  My comments, of course, are in red.  Let the dissection begin:

Christina board chair burns bridges in Race to the Top
8:36 PM, Apr. 28, 2011
Written by PAUL A. HERDMAN
Opinion, Delaware Voice

In his comments at the April 19 meeting of the Christina School District, board chairman John Young made some colorful points.  Absolutely.  Importantly, shared by many who harbor deep concerns about the RTTT reform models. 

Yet, his remarks only served to shortchange the future of the district’s 17,000 students and to disrupt the productive relationship that had been built over the past year as the state and the district worked collaboratively to develop a plan to turn around two chronically low-performing schools.  Actually, Paul, it was the state’s premature and uneducated response to an issue that they had stipulated was one of local control that has “shortchange(d) the future of the district’s 17,000 students” (including my own).  Did the state truly expect that Christina would defile teachers and affirm a corrupted process?  Perhaps, the business community did.  But, five board members were willing stand and support teachers, as the front line educators who are challenged daily by a herd of problems in their classrooms. 

Everyone agrees that Glasgow High School and Stubbs Elementary School need help. Everyone also agrees that bringing great teachers and leaders into the “turnaround” process is essential.  The district also saw that there is great potential in many of our teachers and that there is merit in retaining these teachers and offering intense professional development to improve their skills to meet the challenge. That PD is written into the plan that DOE, CEA, and CSD have all approved.

In fact, the district worked with its local teachers union to determine how the process would proceed, which then was approved by the state. The current controversy appears to stem from the board’s interpretation that the interview process to determine which teachers would stay in the two “Partnership Zone” schools and which would be transferred to other schools in the district was somehow unfair. Paul, as Rodel’s voice, you above all should recognize that accountability does not exist in a vacuum.  Let’s start with the fact that three separate entities weighed in on the plan and MOU and not one of them caught the incongruities between the two documents. It was at the behest of students, parents, alumni, and teachers that the board delved into the process for a thorough review.  Christina’s Board did not simply venture down this path because we yearned to dilute the reform process.  Our resolution to rectify missteps actually resulted in an increased scrutiny that will better serve Christina’s students.  How can one expect accountability if we fail to ensure fidelity?

Mr. Young brought this problem to the board meeting on April 19. Yet, rather than proposing a resolution, he chose to insult each of the partners who has been working to help his district: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who awarded Delaware $119 million; Delaware’s governor and secretary of education, who secured this grant for the state; Vision 2015, in which his own district participates; the Rodel Foundation and its founder, William Budinger; and Delaware’s businesses leaders, who have collectively contributed millions of dollars in direct investments, scholarships and mentoring to his district.  Really, Paul?  Really?  Did you bother to listen to the audio recording?  The proposed motion was set forth by Mrs. Saffer.  Mr. Young actually interjected that he believed the CEA President and the Superintendent should meet to attempt to reach an amicable agreement.  However, by this point in the night, the CEA president had left the meeting.  The board, after more intense conversation, then affirmed the motion on the table by a vote of 5 yes and 2 abstentions.  If Mr. Young had not cast his ballot in the affirmative, this action would have still carried by a majority of four.  I suppose that means you should be mis-representing the positions of all five of us. Should I expect my castigation in tomorrow’s paper?

This week, the board now claims that the controversy was simply a “process issue” and that the district had never stepped back from “Race to the Top” or its commitment to reform. Some board members publicly affirmed its commitment to the plans last week.  I know you read the blogs, you’ve referenced them in your visits to Norm Oliver’s tv show. Our weakness was our failure to publicly issue a collective statement on behalf of the district due to the start of the spring break and absence of staff.  This has always been a process issue.  A board’s most common functionality is to set policy and ensure fidelity to process.

If this were the case, why didn’t Mr. Young simply state those things on April 19? Moreover, what message was the full board trying to send with the president’s 15 minutes of angry rhetoric if the district is still on board with reform.  The board suspended several rules during the April 19th public comment.  Mr. Young may have spoken for 15 minutes, but the board actually suspended time limits for all speakers.  Each and every constituent who wished to address the board did so without limit because we value the opinions of all stakeholders.  However, you and many others, have seized upon Mr. Young’s comments to deflect from the issue at hand: a wholly-local problem that required relief and that five independent board members reviewed the information provided to us and arrived at similar conclusions.
Mr. Young’s speech was unfortunate and his comments about our foundation and founder were disrespectful and ill-informed.  Let’s agree to disagree.

Bill Budinger is one of the nation’s most thoughtful, entrepreneurial and generous contributors to public education and other societally pressing problems. He built a technology business, Rodel Inc., from scratch and employed thousands of Delawareans for over 30 years at his plant in Newark (part of the Christina School District).

When he sold his business in 1999, he set aside over $40 million to help Delaware improve its schools. You know, no one spoke to Mr. Budinger’s intent.  I believe he thinks that the fruits of his funding are helping Delaware’s students.   But, the fact remains that at least two of the Vision Schools, despite years of investment by Vision 2015, were named to the Partnership Zone by Delaware’s Secretary of Education.  Some might construe that to be an indictment of Visions’ effectiveness.

Over the last decade, his generosity has benefitted thousands of children through investments in early childhood education, parent engagement, district and charter school improvements, and the development of Vision 2015, which brought together hundreds of Delaware’s teachers, administrators and business, union and community leaders to develop a nationally recognized strategy for reform. “Teachers, administrators, and business, union, and community leaders.”  What’s missing?  Parents and their elected school board members.  School boards and parents were strong-armed into this reform process.  In my opinion, that most boards voted unanimously to sign the RTTT MOU was more reflective of our Governor’s efforts to decrease education spending via Delaware’s dollars and backfill it with one-time federal funds.

Yes, our foundation has a point of view: excellence in education for every Delaware student. Yet for more than four decades, Rodel Inc. and its successor foundation have attempted to interact with respect and humility with educational and community leaders throughout this state to improve the lives of Delaware’s students and citizens.

Turning around our lowest-performing schools will be incredibly challenging. I couldn’t agree more.  That’s why chosing models that are supported by longitudinal data, implementation with fidelity, and the flexibility to tweak and re-tweak when evaluations point to failure are absolutely necessary to ensure any chance of success for our students.  FIDELITY.  This is what this board has attempted to interject into the reform plans.  Yes, we individually harbour concerns about these reform efforts; however, we have never voted, nor even offered a motion, to exit RTTT or PZ.  We have instead interjected a heightened level of scrutiny into the process and asked for and not received the SUPPORT of the DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION nor the GOVERNOR of DELAWARE. 

The good news is that Delaware is a place where people have a long history of working together to make amazing things happen.

Unfortunately, the comments made by the Christina School District board president last week burned more bridges than they built. I will assert and re-assert that it was the state’s over-reaction that has damaged relations between these parties.  The state, without any notification to the board, went to the press to announce plans to freeze the RTTT and PZ funding.  It is the state, as the purse string holder, that is denying Christina the funding to robustly implement the plans they have approved.  

Going forward, we hope there is a civil exchange of ideas and that real change happens. We remain committed to helping where we can. Our children can’t wait.  I can offer only you one question:  Do want reform done right…or do you want reform done fast?

Cue the Character assassination: Once Again, Rodel and Mr. Herdman get it wrong….

Today, in the News Journal,  Paul Herdman of Rodel makes the following assertion:

“Mr. Young brought this problem to the board meeting on April 19. Yet, rather than proposing a resolution, he chose to insult each of the partners who has been working to help his district: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who awarded Delaware $119 million; Delaware’s governor and secretary of education, who secured this grant for the state; Vision 2015, in which his own district participates; the Rodel Foundation and its founder, William Budinger; and Delaware’s business leaders, who have collectively contributed millions of dollars in direct investments, scholarships and mentoring to his district”

Here’s what I actually said:

“Delaware unfortunately has experience with low-performing schools, and the Christina School District has carried the equally unfortunate burden of running some of these schools. Delaware has received the well-intentioned (albeit heretofore ineffective) assistance of the state’s single-minded business community and the misspent money of venture philanthropists who have invaded Delaware’s educational landscape, from Eli Broad to William Budinger and his Rodel foundation and Vision 2015 effort that has landed two schools into the newly defined Partnership Zone, also known as the PZ.”

 

You be the judge. I certainly do take issue with the effectiveness of the money; however, I never said anything about the people behind the money other than that they are well-intentioned. I know I have made myself a target, I accept that, but can we at least agree to tell the truth Mr. Herdman?

The Christina School Board did not stop Race to the Top

I am at a point where I realize that those that control the money are going to get their way in the press. I only have solace in the truth of our meeting and our decision.

If you listen, you will hear me, asking to amend the motion that passed to make it conditional upon our Superintendent and Union Chief meeting on Wed 4/20/11 to work out the difference. They had reached agreement before the process, so I was confident they could do it agin. I never suggested that we should undo a process in the name of stopping the PZ plan or RTTT, and neither did the 4 board members who joined me in simply saying: we got a very small part of this wrong, let’s get it right.

The Governor’s and Secretary’s hyperbolic response has both shocking and disappointing. I wish more press would be given to analyze their reaction to a legitimately benign, contemplative decision to introduce trust and respect into a flawed process so we can stabilize our schools and make them work for our students.

They seem to have picked this fight with us to pin us in a political corner and to get us to back down. We did nothing wrong, and I for one will maintain that we owe our employees a just process in order to create a school district that has  trust and resources as the twin solutions at our disposal to fix problems. The political reactions of paid elected and appointed stewards of the public trust should not be aligned with the goal of bullying local school boards.

When that happens, nobody wins.

Christina BOE Member get to the heart of it all. @GovernorMarkell #AudioFile

What does Gov. Markell want from Christina? |

Extensive links to the Board Meeting Audio file included throughout narrative.

Children & Educators First

Excerpt from Gov. Markell’s Delaware Voice Column in today’s News Journal:

When the Christina School District was told that Glasgow and Stubbs would be two of the four schools chosen for the Partnership Zone reform effort, they were given several options to make change happen for those kids. They chose to provide their own detailed plan for how they would transform those schools. The state accepted the plan, and the district committed to implementing it.

This week, the school board members seem to have voted to change their mind. Instead of making progress and moving forward, some members decided instead to point fingers at the state for local implementation issues they could have identified and solved. They offered angry speeches instead of offering options on how they were going to keep the commitment they made to the kids in those schools. They injected tremendous uncertainty about what those schools will look like next year.

Dear Gov.

This is a personal letter, in a public forum, submitting one individuals’ own interpretation of the recent series of events in Delaware:

As of Easter Sunday, you still don’t have your facts right.  I strongly suspect that you have not listened to the audio file of the April 19th meeting that is readily available to the entire listening public on the Christina District website.  If you had, you would draw vastly different conclusions.

You would know that Christina absolutely recognized that the fidelity of the implementation to the MOU as a local issue.  You would know that members of this board did seek out your Sec. of Education for guidance on this issue before April 19th. And that she confirmed this was a local issue.  You would know that this board agonized over what was the right and fair remedy and that we all spent many hours of our own personal time outside this meeting responding to constituents and researching our options. 

If you had listened to that audio file, you would know that this board owned the errors of process and the mistakes of implementation.  We accepted that as the elected policy-makers and custodians of the district.  We feel deeply that true reform will happen only with fidelity to the plan and that the absence of fidelity will result in the failure of this plan. 

If you had listened to that audio file, you would know that this board never, at any point, discussed deviating from the approved-reform plan, although many board members do have gut-wrenching concerns over the reform models and the total instability that these models are inflicting upon our students.

If you had listened, you would know that this board voted to “retain and retrain” its teachers.  That it is committed to moving the reform plan forward utilizing among other commitments, the professional development avenues already imbedded into the plan.   The retention of 19 teachers at these two schools did not in any way walk the PZ plan backwards and therefore did not jeopardize your Race to the Top. 

If you had listened, you would know that we at no time threatened your Race to the Top legacy.  As the PZ is regulated, we have no option but to continue on course.  You would know that the decision this board made was one based upon integrity, not fear, nor threats.  It was a vote to support our students and that one’s word is as valuable as one’s actions.  We made a promise to the teachers at our PZ schools that decisions regarding their futures would be informed by multiple measures.  We failed to keep our word.  We acted within the province of local control to remedy those errors. 

If you had listened you would know that the MOU could only be changed by mutual agreement of the two signing parties.  The board was one, the CEA, the other.  The DOE has no vote. 

If you had cared to contact us after the meeting and before you froze our funding, you would know that the CEA leadership has expressed their gratitude and support for undoing what was truly a tragedy to some wonderful educators. 

If you had cared to contact us before you froze our funding, we might very well have worked through these issues before they became national news and thrust Delaware and Christina into a bad light.  We may have avoided the angry rhetoric and propaganda campaign embarked upon by the state. 

You would know, Gov, that this board never walked away from the table and that the only party injecting tremendous uncertainty is your department of education.  CEA is committed.  Christina is committed.  Are you and DOE? 

Sincerely,
Elizabeth Scheinberg

Delaware Voice: 3 views on Christina School Board action: Dr. Lillian Lowery, Gov. Jack Markell, and mine. In today’s NJ.

  1. It’s time for Christina to honor the commitment to improving

    Lost in the heated rhetoric and misplaced anger against the state by some Christina School Board members are some difficult facts: Glasgow High School and Stubbs Elementary School are two of the lowest-performing schools in our state, and they have been so for years.

  2. Deeply flawed reform plan will hurt students

    In January 2010, the Christina School District Board of Education voted 5-2 to support the state of Delaware in the pursuit of $100 million in federal dollars to accomplish several tasks: improve teacher/leader effectiveness, recruitment and retention; deploy world-class data systems; link teacher performance to student testing data; and deploy one of four discrete strategies for turning around the lowest-performing schools.

  3. Christina board’s action a betrayal of pledge

    Our state’s children deserve every chance to succeed.

School Board Meeting 4/19/11

Well, it went down last night and here’s my speech. The audio from later in the meeting will be even more interesting to some for sure as there was spirited and lively discussion all night on the subject of the PZ. I am saddened that it has come to this though. It should not be this hard, but when politicians are involved it just seems like it is. I meant it when I said the BOE wants to work with Dover, Let’s see if they want to work with us going forward.

I am sure more than ever that I am about to be attacked by the big $$ supporters of ED reform. Game on.

Video COURTESY WDEL: HERE

News Journal Editorial and Cartoon by Rob Tornoe #RTTT

Deeply flawed
reform plan will
hurt students

Written by

JOHN YOUNG

12:21 AM, Apr. 23, 2011|

In January 2010, the Christina School
District
Board of Education voted 5-2 to
support the state of Delaware in the pursuit
of $100 million in federal dollars to
accomplish several tasks: improve
teacher/leader effectiveness, recruitment
and retention; deploy world-class data
systems; link teacher performance to
student testing data; and deploy one of
four discrete strategies for turning around
the lowest-performing schools.

Delaware unfortunately has experience with
low-performing schools, and the Christina
School District has carried the equally
unfortunate burden of running some of
these schools. Delaware has received the
well-intentioned (albeit heretofore
ineffective) assistance of the state’s single-
minded business community and the
misspent money of venture
philanthropists
who have invaded Delaware’s educational
landscape, from Eli Broad to William
Budinger and his Rodel foundation and
Vision 2015 effort that has landed two
schools into the newly defined Partnership
Zone, also known as the PZ.

The PZ is the creation of a special
designation in the Delaware code of
regulations that gives unilateral authority to
the state Secretary of Education, an
unelected position, to name schools that
are persistently underachieving, according
to the unique metric of standardized test
scores of our students.

The four models allowed to “fix” schools
come from this experimental wasteland
and include closure, a self-explanatory
strategy; restart, a model that calls for the
closing of a school, farming out the
operation to a charter or educational
management organization and reopening
it; turnaround, which requires the summary
dismissal of every adult in the building and
strictly prohibits the rehiring of leadership
or any more than 50 percent of the
educators; and transformation, which
entails replacing the principal and taking
steps to increase teacher and school leader
effectiveness, comprehensive instructional
reform strategies, increase learning time
and create community-oriented schools,
and provide operational flexibility.

On Oct. 5, the Christina School District
Board of Education voted unanimously to
support the transformation model. I
believed it to be the least distasteful
strategy of these four choices not
supported by research. Most important, it
did not call for the summary dismissal of
staff, which meant it was likely to be the
least disruptive.

Many of you may be thinking: but Glasgow
and Stubbs are failing — they need some
sort of massive disruption to break free of
the inertia that has allowed them to
perform so poorly. Educational reformers r
efer to this as the “status quo”: when bad
schools are allowed to make only
incremental changes that beget no real
results, the cycle of poor performance
repeats and persists.

This is a false label. The status quo is
actually a series of poorly conceived
strategies, often arising from the
business
community
, that fail to recognize the value
of educators, parents and communities.
Most important, they fail to focus on the
real constituents, our students. This status
quo has been with us as a nation in earnest
since the watershed report in 1983: “A
Nation at Risk.” Since then, an overly
healthy and robust sector of educational
consultants has dominated the “quick fix”
reform strategies than have “assisted” in
the nearly 30-year accelerated decline of
education in our country. Our current
version of the Elementary and Secondary
Education Act, No Child Left Behind,
continues a legacy of labeling schools,
communities and children as failures with
accountabilities that actually exacerbate
rather than ameliorate the problems. Now,
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan
has decided that America, with its firmly
embedded competitive culture, should
indeed compete for money, creating by
default a series of winners and losers. I
don’t believe any child should lose, and this
idea strongly drives my feelings about Race
to the Top and what we are doing to
Glasgow High School and Stubbs right now.

Our union, administration and board
entered into a Memorandum of
Understanding in support of the PZ plan,
approved by the DOE, to guide us through
transformation. In this plan and MOU, a
process of interviewing was designed and
agreed to by all parties for the selection of
educators to remain at our two PZ schools.
In retrospect, as a critic of the
transformation plan, I wish I had more
forcefully addressed the issue of
interviewing, but I didn’t, and the board
supported the cooperation of our
administration and union on the issue and
the MOU.

Then the process evolved, and it is
apparent to me that the rules for teacher
selection in both the plan and the MOU
were simply not followed. Most notably,
there is a requirement that the campus
principal be present for the interviews as a
participant, which was violated at the
Glasgow process.

From what has been described by affected
teachers and administration, it appears we
have centered on the sole metric of a high-
stakes interview process that was not
executed with fidelity to either governing
instrument, the MOU or the PZ plan. It
raises the question: what else in the plan is
arbitrary? Instructional models? Extended
day? Extended time? Annual yearly
progress goals?

Schools are not businesses; they are
bedrock institutions of a democratic
republic. They are a source, when run well,
of equity, excellence and opportunity for all
children who enter their portals.

We need better thinking from Dover right
now. I am more uninterested in federal

funds
than ever because of the chaos those
dollars are bringing to my administrators in
the way of painful planning sessions; my
teachers, as they add no resources into the
actual classrooms; and most importantly
my students, as those dollars ride
sidesaddle with the destabilizing policies I
have spent the last 10 minutes bashing.

In closing, I would like to ask that Gov. Jack
Markell and Dr. Lillian Lowery strongly
consider the testimony offered by real
stakeholders and to please do so
understanding, as chiefexecutive and
state secretary, that you work for us, all of
us, not the other way around. We are not
your employees — we are your
constituents, and we are asking for your
public service on behalf of the one, often
voiceless stakeholder block that matters:
our students. The issue at hand is local. We
are the governing body of the Christina
School District, and so we will decide what
happens in our district. If you wish to assert
your regulatory authority to effect a full-
state takeover of CSD, that is your
prerogative, and you are free to pursue it,
but I would suggest with a fair degree of
confidence that our stakeholders, whom we
will listen to, will advise us to fight for our
schools and for local control.

Related Links
  • It’s time for Christina to honor the
    commitment to improving
  • Christina board’s action a betrayal of pledge
  • Christina School District

DSEA President on YouTube asking for 100MM dollars in March 2010. #RTTT #singlemetric


“I also know that teachers want to be held accountable, with a fair and reliable measure, and not single snapshots” -Diane Donohue, DSEA President

Video mark: 15:33

So why are you not defending the CEA, our educators’ basic right to a fair process, and the Christina School Board’s action to protect educators from a single metric evaluation?????

Also…..

More interesting dialogue at  25:34, ugh “human capital” at 26:47


Selander attacks local control for @GovernorMarkell #DEblackEYEonREFORMnoDOUBT #MarkellMafia

Delaware education officials freeze local district’s reform money in Race to the Top dispute by Randall Chase (AP)

DOVER, Del. — State education officials said Thursday that they are freezing more than $11 million in federal Race to the Top dollars that had been earmarked for the Christina School District in a dispute over Delaware’s school reform effort.

The decision by the Department of Education follows a vote by the Christina school board on Tuesday not to honor an agreement to implement a previously approved reform plan for two of the state lowest-performing schools.

State officials said they also are reviewing other possible effects from Christina’s decision.

The dispute centers on the Christina board’s decision to allow 19 teachers facing transfer to other schools to remain at poorly performing Stubbs Elementary School and Glasgow High School.

The planned transfers, which generated complaints from teachers, were the result of a process in which all teachers at the two schools had to re-interview for their jobs in an effort to ensure that those who stayed were committed to reform efforts.

“The staffing process in dispute was outlined in an agreement that Christina’s leadership crafted, signed off on, and was charged with implementing,” said state education secretary Lillian Lowery. “After implementing the process they agreed to, the Christina School Board now wants to change those rules. That’s not fair to anyone, particularly the students who could lose out.”

Glasgow and Stubbs were selected last year as two of the first four schools in Delaware’s Partnership Zone program, a key initiative that helped Delaware become one of the first two states in the country to win federal Race to the Top education reform funds.

Under the Partnership Zone agreements approved by Lowery, Delaware’s lowest performing schools are offered additional financial resources and technical assistance to carry out aggressive reforms.

But Christina board president John Young said the process outlined in the Partnership Zone agreement and a memorandum of understanding between the district administration and the local teachers union was not followed.

“The Christina School District Board of Education believes that we need to do right by our educators and treat them with fairness and respect and due process,” said Young, who rejected the notion that the board was buckling under pressure from the local teachers union.

Young singled out four problems with the teacher evaluation process at the two schools. The first, he said, is that the district missed the March 31 deadline to issue commitment letters to teachers by more than a week. Another mistake, Young said, was that Glasgow’s principal was not included on the school’s teacher interview team, as required by the memorandum of understanding and the Partnership Zone plan.

Young also said questions posed to teachers during the interviews were not asked as prescribed in the Partnership Zone plan, and that placement decisions were based solely on the interviews when other factors, including a teacher’s certification, were supposed to be considered.

Without adherence to the process, Young explained, the board could not support the idea “that we must throw 19 educators out of these schools on the basis of a 20-minute, high-stakes, one-way interview.”

State education officials said the district followed the teacher selection process “with fidelity,” but that the board voted not to accept the results.

Brian Selander, a spokesman for Gov. Jack Markell, said the board, on behalf of the district, was shirking its responsibility to abide by the memorandum of understanding and signaling that it was not serious about helping students in low-performing schools.

“When things got a little bit hard, the board voted to break its own commitment to try and improve these schools,” Selander said. “… They certainly have the option to show they’re serious about change.”

But Young refused to back down.

“We’re definitely not serious about school reform in the manner it’s coming at us, in attempts to coerce us, bully us,” he said. “… If this money is so important, how dare they hold it back from us…. Their actions are filled with hypocrisy, brimming with hypocrisy.”

Selander denied that the spat has tarnished Delaware’s image as a leader in the education reform effort, which has been a hallmark of Markell’s tenure.

“I think it’s a black eye for the district,” Selander said. “I don’t think it is for the state.”

Last month, Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan traveled to Wilmington to celebrate the one-year anniversary of Delaware receiving more than $100 million in Race to the Top funding.

“The eyes of the country are on you,” Duncan told a crowd at Howard High School of Technology, another Partnership Zone school.

Goliath’s lies: Correcting DOE’s Misinformation Campaign Against Christina @GovernorMarkell


From Elizabeth Scheinberg: BOE Member

My comments are bold and in RED.

April 21, 2011 DOE PRESS RELEASE
State To Freeze Christina School District’s Race To The Top Dollars

Secretary of Education Lillian M. Lowery announced today that the Delaware Department of Education will freeze more than $11 million in federal Race to the Top (RTTT) dollars previously dedicated to the Christina School District. This action follows the Christina School Board’s vote Tuesday not to honor its agreement to implement its own previously approved reform plan at two of Delaware’s lowest-performing schools.

The Christina Board of Education did not vote “not to honor its agreement to implement its own previously approved reform plan.”  The CBOE discovered errors and/or flaws in the two documents governing the selection process for the teachers at the two PZ schools.  The Board voted to take corrective action – to retain and retrain the affected teachers – to offer positions to the 19 teachers.  The district has already committed in the DOE-approved PZ plan to providing the necessary professional development for all educators at the PZ schools.

In addition to the more than $11 million in reform dollars, the district will also lose out on programs paid for with the state’s portion of RTTT funding. The Department also is reviewing what other fiscal and regulatory impacts could result from Christina’s actions.

In January 2010, the CBOE met in public session with Dr. Lowery to discuss the RTTT MOU.  At that time, I asked Dr. Lowery what would happen if a district did not sign the MOU?  She responded that, should Delaware win the RTTT funding, such a district would still benefit from the services that the DOE was committing to providing.  She cited data coaches as an example.   She also stated that PZ would become a regulation and participation would not be voluntary.

“Over the last three years, the average math and English Language Arts proficiency for students at Stubbs Elementary School has declined from 54.65% in 2008 to only 40.42% in 2010. Similarly, at Glasgow High School, the math and English Language Arts average proficiency declined from 41.28% in 2008 to 35.59% in 2010.” Lowery said. “We have a moral obligation to these children to do better for them, and the school board’s recent action retreats from that obligation.”

We absolutely have a moral obligation to do better for our children.  I would argue that it is the Department of Education’s hasty and unreasonable response to an issue of local control that is a retreat from that obligation.

“We hope Christina’s leadership will come back to the table and return to the work they pledged to complete,” Lowery said. “The children in these struggling schools are counting on them to do so.”

Christina’s leadership did not walk away from the table nor the work they have pledged to complete. CBOE did NOT vote to exit the RTTT MOU or the PZ.  Those suggestions were never even on the table, nor were they even discussed at the April 19th board meeting.  The audio from that meeting is available on the Christina School District’s website.


This is blatant misinformation being dispensed by the Department of Education.  Since April 19th, the DOE has chosen to communicate with the board through press releases and local media.  They have not directed any concerns to this board member nor the board as a whole.

The children in these struggling schools are counting on the DOE to honor its commitment to fund the RTTT and PZ plans that Christina is actively implementing.

Because of the long-term failure of both schools to meet the needs of Delaware’s students, reform is needed.

Despite serious concerns regarding the models of reform offered to PZ schools and the lack of longitudinal data to support these reforms, and despite a culture of continuous reform and instability, I continue to support my educators who are dedicated to improving the achievement of our students.

In September, the state selected Christina’s Glasgow High and Stubbs Elementary schools as two of the first four schools in the state’s new Partnership Zone. Six more schools will be named this summer. As a key component of Delaware’s $119 Race to the Top plan, the Partnership Zone targets the state’s lowest performing schools with additional financial resources and technical assistance to implement aggressive reforms. Each school’s leadership chose a reform method and locally drafted a plan. Secretary Lowery approved those local plans in January.

Secretary Lowery has repeatedly articulated the need for learning from our mistakes and sharing best practices between the first cohort of PZ schools and six yet-to-be-named schools.  CBOE has identified mistakes in the utilization of process.  Rather than support CBOE in their exercise of local control and rectification, the DOE has frozen our funding.  Sadly, actions are indeed louder than words.

Christina chose the transformation model for both of its schools. Among other important changes — including shifts in curricula, the addition of content-specific academies, extended instructional hours and intense intervention models – the plan developed by the district calls for school leadership and staff to re-interview for positions. Those not invited back would be moved to a position in another building that better complemented their talents. No teacher would lose any salary, benefits or seniority.

Yes, the plan called for teachers to re-interview for positions. However, when the board evaluated the results of the interviews the governing documents were found to be misleading.  There were several interpretations of what should have occurred.  Ultimately, the 20 minute interview was the only rubric used to determine selection when the documents indicate that other factors would be considered.  In addition, the board found that there were violations of some requirements such as having the Campus Principal present at the interviews.  The process also failed to be completed by assigned deadlines.

Christina, with the support of its teacher union, created a process for that selection that included a review panel dominated by teacher and local administrative representation. The district followed the process with fidelity, but on Tuesday, the school board voted not to accept the results of that process and to return teachers to their original classrooms.

1.  Yes, the CEA  and the district supported the process as it was designed.  However, during the review of the utilization, the board identified flaws. 
2.  Board members voiced serious concerns about the fidelity of the process, the clarity of which was muddied by potentially conflicting documents. 
3. The affected teachers were never removed from their original classrooms as the DOE press release would lead one to believe. In reality, the corrective action that the board chose to employ was to offer these teachers positions at the PZ schools next year, to retain and train.  The teachers also retained the right to voluntarily transfer out of the PZ schools.

“The staffing process in dispute was outlined in an agreement that Christina’s leadership crafted, signed off on, and was charged with implementing,” Lowery said. “After implementing the process they agreed to, the Christina School Board now wants to change those rules. That’s not fair to anyone, particularly the students who could lose out.”

The board stipulated that union and district leadership “crafted, signed off on, and was charged with implementing” the agreement.  This was not a matter of board seeking to change the rules.  Again, we learned that we had failed to implement with fidelity and we took corrective action.   

“The Christina School District developed its reform plan and sought federal/state financial assistance to make the plan a reality. The Christina School Board now seeks to back away from the very plan that resulted in the awarding of these funds.”

A Complete and Total LIE.  The CBOE has not taken any steps “to back away from” that plan.

Lowery said she understands that real reform is going to bring push back.
“Change is hard, but it’s the only way to get different results,” she said. “Our children can’t afford for us to stick with the status quo because it’s easier or more comfortable. They deserve better, and as leaders, it’s our job to give them better.”

Improved outcomes for children:  Do you want your plan implemented correctly?  Or do you want it fast?  This board chose to do it RIGHT.  DOE has compelled the process to occur FAST.  The only thing here that is STATUS QUO is the constant culture of DEFORM. 


My message tonight to Christina, is that there are some among us who will continue to stand strong for our children, our students, who will work to cultivate an environment of success and achievement.  We will fight for this district, we will fight for you.

 

 

The Christina School Board has never voted to leave Race to the Top or the Partnership Zone

Despite my opinion that niether would be a bad thing, I feel it is imperative to dispel the misinformation, especially that being promulgated by a seemingly progressively manipulative DOE,  that is out there right now:

From WDEL.com:

The Christina School District might drop out of Race To The Top and the state department of education says they never saw it coming. WDEL’s LeAnne Matlach has more.

 

The State Department of Education expresses surprise over the Christina School Board’s recent decision to violate the partnership agreement the board entered into with the state in terms of Race-To-The-Top funds and partnership schools.

Board president John Young says the transformation plan the board chose for Glasgow High required teachers to re-interview for their positions, but Young says too much emphasis was placed on interviews.

Alison Kepner with the state D-O-E says they are surprised the board feels this way.
Here’s an idea: pick up the phone and call us to ask how we feel before you call a news outlet and lie to them about how we feel

The Department of Education is currently studying what the regulatory and fiscal effects will be if Christina does not participate in Race-To-The-Top and the Partnership Zone.

The Laughable Lies in today’s News Journal article. #coercion #collaboration

Delaware schools: Christina School District reverses reform plan | The News Journal | delawareonline.com

….Secretary of Education Lillian Lowery denounced the Christina board’s action Wednesday, saying that it put millions of dollars in funding for the district in jeopardy and would thwart plans to revamp Stubbs and Glasgow, which are two of the state’s worst-performing schools on academic achievement tests.

We are absolutely concerned that if the district is not going to abide by an agreed-upon memorandum of understanding — that has all the significant signatories signed on to it, has been vetted, discussed, agreed upon and signed onto — absolutely we are not going to spend this valuable opportunity of funding in a place where we do not think we can get this work done,” Lowery said. “Where there are 18 other districts, and there are 18 charters, and I am sure they would be more than pleased to have additional funds to move their plans forward.”….

This quote from Dr. Lowery is patently laughable. The precise reason the teacher retention decision was reversed was because the MOU was not followed:

Fact: The MOU demands the presence of the Campus Principal in the interview, none was present.

Fact: The MOU  demands that multiple criteria be used for evaluation: “certification, highly qualified status, system wide balance, and skills and other relevant information;”, the board received direct  testimony that only the interview was utilized and was done so as a sole, high stakes metric in direct opposition to the MOU.

Fact: Current staff will be required to sign a letter of commitment by March 31, 2011, this did not happen.

Fact: Current Staff will be required to sign a letter of commitment by March 31, 2011 agreeing to fully participate in the school’s transformation for two academic years, this did not happen

Fact: “This Memorandum of Understanding may be revisited at any time during the duration of the agreement where both parties (DOE is not a party) are in agreement”, so why is the DOE attempting to coerce the CSD with threats to withhold money?

All of these facts pale in comparison to the violation of process for teacher selection outlined the the DOE approved and mandated Partnership Zone Plan:

Focus on pages 34-38:

we’ll post that breakdown later.

The bottom line: The Christina School District Board of Education voted to SUPPORT that the MOU was executed with fidelity and integrity, when it became apparent that it was not, we took action to rectify that failure. The notion that the addled analysis of the DOE cannot embrace the understanding of basic, simple English, and wishes to brazenly threaten the Christina School District is just pure and true evidence that they themselves are invested in coercion and punishment rather than collaboration. If they had chosen to embrace our Board’s desire to get this right we could be on the path to a solution, instead they have just shown us their true, vicious, and callous spirit. Is this how Jack Markell intends to “fix” education in Delaware?  Good luck, from where I sit we are much better off without your prescriptive dollars that will find their way to consultants and not classrooms anyway.


Students’ get it, why can’t our @GovernorMarkell It’s not that hard for those that can read, parse and analyze…all skills taught in high functioning schools.

‘Reform’ taking its toll on teachers and students | The News Journal | delawareonline.com

As a senior at Glasgow High School, I am enraged by the transformations occurring as a part of the Partnership School Zone. The teaching staff at Glasgow as a whole is wonderful. Of course, there are always a few bad apples, but most really care about the students.

The vote by the Christina School District board was for transformation, meaning that the staff would not lose their jobs, but instead, they have been forced to transfer or sign two-year contracts. It’s upsetting to see teachers who have spent 20 years working at Glasgow in tears because they were not offered a position here. There is no rhyme or reason to the madness.

Students also have found themselves hysterical to learn that veteran teachers will no longer be a part of the Dragon Family. Where is the accountability for the students who choose not to attend class or continuously cause disruptions? Where is the recognition for students taking Advanced Placement and honors classes who have gotten reference letters and guidance from these teachers, who have treated us like their own children? There are plenty of good students at Glasgow who have outstanding educators preparing them for college and the real world.

Ashley Green, Newark

To the sad, sad truth, the dirty lowdown…… #Putthemoneyonthetableanddriveitoffthelot @GovernorMarkell

BOZ SCAGGS
“Lowdown”

(William Scaggs and David Paich)

Baby’s into runnin’ around
Hanging with the crowd
Putting your business in the street talking out loud
Saying you bought her this and that
And how much you done spent
I swear she must believe it’s all heaven sent
Hey boy, you better bring the chick around
To the sad, sad truth, the dirty lowdown

(Whooooo, I wonder, wonder, wonder, wonder who)
Taught her how to talk like that
(Whooooo, I wonder, wonder, wonder, wonder who)
Gave her that big idea

Nothing you can’t handle, nothing you ain’t got
Put the money on the table and drive it off the lot
Turn on that ole lovelight and turn a maybe to a yes
Same old schoolboy game got you into this mess
Hey son, better get on back to town
Face the sad old truth, the dirty lowdown

(Whooooo, I wonder, wonder, wonder, wonder who)
Put those ideas in your head
(Whooooo, I wonder, wonder, wonder, wonder who)

Come on back down earth, son
Dig the low, low, low, low lowdown

You ain’t got to be so bad got to be so cold
This dog eat dog existence sure is getting old
Got to have a Jones for this Jones for that
This running with the Joneses boy
Just ain’t where it’s at
You gonna come back around
To the sad, sad truth, the dirty lowdown

(Whooooo, I wonder, wonder, wonder, wonder who)
Got you thinking like that boy
(Whooooo, I wonder, wonder, wonder, wonder who)

(I wonder, wonder, wonder, wonder who)
(Say whooooo, I wonder, wonder, wonder, wonder who)
Ooooooh look out for that lowdown
That dirty, dirty, dirty, dirty lowdown
(Whoooo I wonder, wonder, wonder, wonder who, ohh, ohh)
Got you thinking like that