Why are Delaware elected leaders lying to us? Do they think we do not know how to google?

from WDDE.com: http://www.wdde.org/26222-charter-school-task-force-delaware

main quote:

As the session drew to a close after nearly two and a half hours, Schooley announced that House Speaker Robert Gilligan (D-Sherwood Park) had agreed to create “a blue-ribbon committee or task force,” with Schooley as its chair, to study an overhaul of the current charter school law. The panel would include members of the House and Senate, representatives of the Department of Education and Gov. Markell’s office, leaders of charter schools and traditional school districts and other stakeholders. It will likely take a week or two to get the group organized and determine its scope, Schooley said.

One of the final speakers at the hearing hinted at the difficulties the panel will face and the importance of its decisions.

A week or two? Come on Dover, we deserve better than bald faced lies like this. Is this your legacy, Speaker Gilligan, lying to Delaware?.

News Journal has news of denial up on web. #netDE #PCHS

Article here: http://www.delawareonline.com/article/20120730/NEWS03/120730020/Pension-office-denies-Pencader-teachers-appeals?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Home

 

 

The Delaware Pension Office denied the appeals of two Pencader Charter High School teachers who claimed they were not double-dipping by collecting a state pension and a salary – a violation of state law.

In addition to denying Shirley Roccia and Bob Lewis’ appeal, the board referred Lewis’ case to the state Attorney General’s Office for further investigation and possible prosecution of misdemeanor charges.

Earlier this month, it was revealed during a public pension board meeting that school leader Ann Lewis paid her husband, Bob Lewis, and two other teachers thousands in wages after the state pension office warned in September it was a serious violation of the pension law. The teachers were wrongly double dipping by collecting both a pension and a paycheck from Pencader, the state alleges.

Pencader donor list question? #netDE

Children and Educators First reveals here: http://elizabethscheinberg.blogspot.com/2012/07/pencaders-tax-exempt-status-revoked.html

that Robert and Ann Lewis are $1000 donors to Pencader. The Lewis’ company Educational Consulting, used apparently to defraud the Delaware Pension system billed Pencader for Mr. Lewis’ salary save a few occasions. Below is one of them:

I wonder what the date of their $1K donation was? From the checkbook:

EDUCATIONAL CONSULTING

OFFICE SUPPLIES

1/3/2012

$1,000.00

Why are the various Pencader Charter Business and Finance High School scandals dominating Transparent Christina? #netDE

    In the last 3-4 months, this blog has reported various transgressions and scandals at Pencader Charter High School (PCHS). I think there are many reasons for what may been seen as a departure from the core mission of the blog despite my disclaimer about “other random opinions”. There is a firm commitment to the exposition of the modern reform movement which is inextricably linked to charter schools and their expansion.

    I think there are reasons for this blog, and others, to spend time on the subject. They include but are not limited to:

  • Christina feeder pattern students attend the school and I am on the CSD Board of Education.

  • There have been two front page scandals involving the school leader

  • The school is under formal review by the DOE so there is an opportunity to follow the efficacy of state oversight

  • There are villains: the Pencader Board of Directors, the School Leader, a Pencader teacher, the Delaware Charter Network organization, and the DOE (lack of public statement/empathy for the problems at PCHS).

  • There are victims: Pencader students, Pencader families, Delaware Taxpayers, DE Charter network schools not named Pencader

  • There are heroes: Nichole Dobo, Harrie Ellen Minnehan, the Delaware Pension Board, Elizabeth Scheinberg, Patricia Gould, Kilroy, Michele Kleinhomer, Miranda St. Pierre, Joey St. Pierre , Catherine Carr to name a few brave souls.

    This dynamic causes drama. The kind that draws attention and focus. Right or wrong, it just does.

    So, what is the distilled essence of why this sprawling story is getting so much coverage? It’s about right and wrong, the effects of our current charter law, and accountability for personal and institutional behaviors, both legal and ethical, and most importantly it’s about how the adults, from every angle including this blog, are producing a real time epic example for the student body of Pencader that is so sad and dysfunctional that they must, to a person probably, regret the decision to attend.

    For me personally, the accountability lies in the laws: laws about pensions, laws about public meetings, laws about charter school corporations (501-c-3), laws about boards of directors, and laws about the formation of and oversight of public charter schools in Delaware.

     Delaware has a charter law that was passed in 1995. It’s 17 years old, and counting. There has been a loud cry to reform/revisit/tweak/overhaul this law, especially this spring during the NCS charter expansion debate and we have had elected officials declare the impending appointment of a “blue ribbon commission” to examine and recommend charter law modifications and enhancements. That panel has not been seated, and absent any public explanation I am left to conclude it is a function of the failed leadership of Rep. Terry Schooley and charter ideologue Sen. David Sokola.

    No one is arguing to abolish charter schools. No one. The goal is to account for the amazing 17 year period that has occurred during it existence that includes: Goals 200, NCLB, DSTP, DCAS, RTTT, and now ESEA flexibility waivers. A great deal has changed, the law remains static

    PCHS is a shining example of how the system of charter school authorization and oversight is failing.If you have watch Joey St. Pierre’s video, post here and on Kilroy’s blog, it is 30 minutes of raw, devastating dysfunction. This should never happen. Ever. The DOE was in the room for that meeting. They are the agency, charged by the State Board of Education, with oversight for charter schools. Evan a casual observer must conclude that it is failing/has failed in the case of Pencader to ensure a viable organization that earns and keeps the public trust and spends its state allocated monies in compliance with laws, rules and ethics that taxpayers expect, but more importantly, deserve.

    In the end, it always comes down to people and their behaviors. Until someone (are you listening Jack Markell?) steps out of their bubble and takes affirmative, extraordinary action to stabilize this terrible situation, PCHS will not escape the scrutiny that the few (Kilroy, TC, News Journal, Children and Educators 1st) are providing as the service the public deserve. The charter community at large would be very well served to inject their own sensibilities and monitor themselves with internal pressure as these scandals have spread beyond PCHS and are shaping public opinion about charter schools that are doing EXCELLENT work. But their silence is deafening thus far. Use your organization, the DE Charter Network to get in this game and work to keep charter schools in the good graces of the public as I am afraid continued coverage will only serve the opposite effect.

    This will not end until it is righted. I am tired of this coverage, it makes me sad. But this coverage must not stop as long as PCHS continued to stick its middle finger at its customers( parents and students) and its benefactors (DE Taxpayers). And until that happens, TC will continue to report and show the truth, we all deserve that.

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

All of U.S. education policy is now firmly hitched to standardized test scores.

Although the President said in his last State of the Union address that teachers should not teach to the test, he surely knows that federal policy demands teaching to the test.

Test scores determine teacher evaluation, teacher salary, teacher tenure, teacher bonuses. Test scores determine whether teachers and principals are fired. Test scores determine whether schools get closed or commended.

Test scores determine whether students are promoted or held back.

Today, the New York Times reported that a professor at the University of Texas has concluded that the standardized tests are not reliable or valid. He says they predict how students will do in the future in relation to how well they have done on the same standardized tests in the past. They do not show what students have learned.

The story begins:

“In 2006, a math…

View original 307 more words

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

Mike Deshotels of Louisiana has figured out how the scheme works.

Create a program that rates all schools by a standard that assures that half will be above the standard and half will be below.

Of course, schools that enroll affluent students will appear largely in the top half, and schools that enroll poor students will rank largely in the bottom half.

Declare those in the bottom half to be failing schools.

Privatize those schools.

Start over.

View original

Originally posted on educationalchemy:

Today I experienced what might be defined as the highlight of my twenty year professional education career.  I met Maxine Greene; writer, philosopher and education activist extraordinaire.  She is as brilliant, warm, and engaging as anyone might imagine.  I was ushered into this personal introduction by Nick Sousanis; artist and scholar-an equally brilliant, warm and engaging individual.  By the end of a day of sharing our individual and collective visions for the future of education, I arrived at my inspiration for this week’s blog.  My title, Escape from Flatness, emerged from looking at some of Nick’s artistic work; using comic book art to create an alternative form of discourse around education issues (among other things).  Principally, Nick recognizes that art, as a form of visual communication, can articulate theories, ideas, and concepts via synchronous forms of narrative engagement.  Some of his illustrations deal with the theme of “flatness.”

You can…

View original 1,480 more words

Comment Rescue, the price of political inaction is mounting re: Pencader Charter #netDE @GovernorMarkell

Comment here: http://transparentchristina.wordpress.com/2012/07/28/ann-lewis-smilng-and-laughing-as-pencader-board-vp-details-the-horror-of-his-godsons-innovative-pencader-experience-pchs/#comment-26022

Kathy says:

I can see that it would be very difficult to resign from her job since she probably relies on the income for her livelihood. However, isn’t she past old enough to draw social security? She looks like she would be, and her husband obviously is old enough to draw a pension at least.

At any rate, if she would have just shown some compassion, integrity, remorse, common sense, and even apologize for her actions, people might have been willing to forgive and forget? (Yes, I am naive enough to believe in apologies and forgiveness.) The problem is that it just keeps exploding, and she never backs down. It’s the sign of a pathological liar that has to keep lying to cover up her lies. In fact, a pathological liar lies so much they can’t remember all their lies, and they even begin to believe the lies that they spew.

I am so ashamed of our state DOE, and it’s lack of regard for all the kids that are being affected. I won’t be voting for Markell come November. Really, Lewis is stealing from each and every one us (taxpayers) including the futures of all the kids that are watching both at Pencader and those that are not. Our children are watching and learning from everyone involved, and it is molding their belief systems.

I hope parents are having a lot of talks with their children about integrity and character, and what those words really mean. I know that we are!

I don’t think you are alone in withholding your vote Kathy.

John Young:

Never happen in Delaware. Never. The DOE says so.

Originally posted on Seattle Education:

 

They say that everything grows big in Texas and I must say that this could go into that category.

From the New York Times,

A Serious Design Flaw Is Suspected in State Tests:

The students’ improved grasp of mathematical concepts stunned Walter Stroup, the University of Texas at Austin professor behind the program. But at the end of the year, students’ scores had increased only marginally on state standardized TAKS tests, unlike what Mr. Stroup had seen in the classroom.

A similar dynamic showed up in a comparison of the students’ scores on midyear benchmark tests and what they received on their end-of-year exams. Standardized test scores the previous year were better predictors of their scores the next year than the benchmark test they had taken a few months earlier.

Now, in studies that threaten to shake the foundation of high-stakes test-based accountability, Mr. Stroup and two…

View original 555 more words

*** BREAKING NEWS*** Secret communications with Pencader school leader released in the wake of “smilegate” #PCHS #netDE

Below are a series from e-mails from an anonymous stakeholder and the Pencader school leader. Ann Lewis uses her Pencader state e-mail account. All e-mails are FOIAable and public.

This release has been authorized by my source, the other half of the communication and is being done as a result of Ms. Lewis’ reaction to being told by her own board member that student may have been neglected in her school. This isn’t about betraying a confidence, this is a sad, additional chapter in Delaware Charter School history. At the time of this e-mail, the Delaware Charter Network is maintaining its silence on this issue. Notably, so is the unfailingly pro-charter, “philanthropic” Rodel foundation.

Below are two series of e-mails asking for clarification surrounding the diploma mill scandal and the pension fraud. Sarah_Ster is fiction from the standpoint of identification, but her questions and Ms. Lewis’ answers are additional nuggests of information that inform taxpayers, stakeholders, and public agencies (we all hope):


From: “Ann Lewis” <ann.lewis@pcs.k12.de.us>
To: “Sarah_Ster” <sarah_ster@comcast.net>
Sent: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 6:38:23 PM
Subject: RE: Questions
Hi Sarah,
One more note to be sure you have ALL of the information…the previous Board President, Mrs. Minnehan is the one that approved all salaries for everyone…I don’t approve salaries, it is not part of my job. We have Human Resources and the Board who follow State guidelines for pay, and we only pay 90% of the Christiana School District’s Salary Scale (which is online for everyone to review). We use their salary scale because that is where most of our students come from.
Again…just making sure you have all the information you need.
Thanks again!
Warmest regards,
Ann
From: “Ann Lewis” <ann.lewis@pcs.k12.de.us>
To: “Sarah_Ster” <sarah_ster@comcast.net>
Sent: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 2:46:46 PM
Subject: RE: Questions
Hi Sarah,
I forgot to mention that Mr. Lewis never taught a business ethics class…his background is in mathematics and EnglishJ
Warmest regards,
Ann
Ann E. Lewis
School Leader
Pencader Charter HS
170 Lukens Drive
New Castle, DE 19720
Phone: (302) 573-7760
Fax:       (302) 472-0796
ann.lewis@pcs.k12.de.us
www.pencadercharter.net
From: “Ann Lewis” <ann.lewis@pcs.k12.de.us>
To: “Sarah_Ster” <sarah_ster@comcast.net>
Sent: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 1:57:08 PM
Subject: RE: Questions
Hi Sarah,
Thanks so much for being willing to seek clarification, I wish more would do this…the News Journal quote things incorrectly, and that seems to be the usual for them. First of all, his compensation was not for volunteer work and the amount stated was gross…because he was a contractor, no taxes is taken out so he is responsible for paying that. He handled the resource room and a lot of work with our Special Education students, along with teaching a full time class…he also helped with lunch duties, bus duties, and handling overloads from being short-handed last year because of what happened with the previous administration and being so far in debt. He worked with students all day and throughout the afternoons, often to 5 pm or later.
He was in every morning early and handled incoming buses as well as monitoring them in the afternoons. Every student met him every morning, and I must tell you, that they missed him terribly when he was no longer there to greet them. Having him handle this particular duty left Mrs. Fraser and me free to work directly with students from the moment they arrived until classes began…and then, of course, he was involved with kids all day long.
What is interesting to me about the article, was that all three teachers are in the same situation relative to being pensioners (as are hundreds of pensioners state-wide) but the NJ makes him and me appear to be doing something illegal, but not anyone else…I just don’t get it…but, then again, it is the NJ.
Please feel free to continue to ask anything you would like. I am happy to share the correct information for you.
Warmest regards,
Ann
Ann E. Lewis
School Leader
Pencader Charter HS
170 Lukens Drive
New Castle, DE 19720
Phone: (302) 573-7760
Fax:       (302) 472-0796
ann.lewis@pcs.k12.de.us
www.pencadercharter.net
From: Sarah_Ster [mailto:sarah_ster@comcast.net]
Sent: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 1:30 PM
To: Ann Lewis
Subject: Re: Questions
I thought I would send you an email to try to get more facts around what is going on at the school.  The News Journal did not portray things as going very well regarding teacher salaries.  The most disturbing part had to do with your husband collecting $6,500/month for teaching a morals and ethics class.  The article said you felt justified giving this salary because of the volunteer hours he puts in.  That doesn’t sit well.  Is there an explanation for this that the News Journal didn’t print?
Thank you,
Sarah

From: “Ann Lewis” <ann.lewis@pcs.k12.de.us>
To: “Sarah_Ster” <sarah_ster@comcast.net>
Sent: Tuesday, July 3, 2012 1:57:58 PM
Subject: RE: Questions
Hi Sarah,
I would agree…and it seems that anyone will hang on to a thread of information and go viral with it prior to actually finding out the facts.
I certainly understand…and you are a good friend…but please let anyone know that I am happy to discuss anything with any parent/community member. I too am in the same position you are…this is a very small state and it seems the facts don’t seem to matter.
Thanks so much…
Best,
Ann
Ann E. Lewis
School Leader
PCHS
170 Lukens Drive
New Castle, DE 19720
Phone:  (302) 573-7760
Fax:      (302) 472-0796
ann.lewis@pcs.k12.de.us
http://www.pencadercharter.net/

From: Sarah_Ster [sarah_ster@comcast.net]
Sent: Tuesday, July 03, 2012 1:45 PM
To: Ann Lewis
Subject: Re: Questions
I am helping out a friend who does not feel comfortable addressing her questions directly.  It is kind of sad that we live in such a small state that some people fear something they say may be used against them.  I have to say I feel that way too.  Not just with schools.

Sarah


From: “Ann Lewis” <ann.lewis@pcs.k12.de.us>
To: “Sarah_Ster” <sarah_ster@comcast.net>
Sent: Tuesday, July 3, 2012 1:22:32 PM
Subject: RE: Questions
Hi Sarah,
Not a problem at all. I do not recognize your name as a parent of a student here at Pencader.  If you are a parent, who is your student. As I mentioned, I would be happy to sit down to discuss any issues/concerns that you or anyone else might have.
Warmest regards,
Ann
Ann E. Lewis
School Leader
Pencader Charter HS
70 Lukens Drive
New Castle, DE 19720
Phone: (302) 573-7760
Fax:     (302) 472-0796
ann.lewis@pcs.k12.de.us
http://www.pencadercharter.net/

From: Sarah_Ster [sarah_ster@comcast.net]
Sent: Tuesday, July 03, 2012 1:15 PM
To: Ann Lewis
Subject: Re: Questions
Thank you for the response.  I think it is important that your information be shared with everyone.  It seems you have reasonable explanations for the different questions that are being posed on the blogs.  That should help eliminate some of the negative discussion that is going on.  I will share the information with a couple of my friends.  I think it will make them feel better. Maybe a question and answer section on the Pencader website will help with communicating the answers to questions that are coming up.  I was tired of listening to the blog discussions and wanted to try to find out what was really going on.
Sarah

From: “Ann Lewis” <ann.lewis@pcs.k12.de.us>
To: “Sarah_Ster” <sarah_ster@comcast.net>, “abraham jones” <abraham.jones@comcast.net>, “Amanda Fraser” <amanda.fraser@pcs.k12.de.us>, “Judi Kennedy” <judi.kennedy@pcs.k12.de.us>, “Steven Quimby” <steve.quimby@pcs.k12.de.us>
Sent: Tuesday, July 3, 2012 9:12:20 AM
Subject: RE: Questions
Ms. Ster,
Our e-mail system had been down since 9 am Friday morning due to an e-mail migration from Google Mail to the State e-mail system. We are just now beginning to receive e-mails from the final migration. None of us received your e-mail of June 29th.
Please see my responses below. If you need further clarification, please feel free to question any of our Board Members.
Ann E. Lewis
School Leader
Pencader Charter HS
170 Lukens Drive
New Castle, DE 19720
ann.lewis@pcs.k12.de.us
http://www.pencadercharter.net/

From: Sarah_Ster [sarah_ster@comcast.net]
Sent: Tuesday, July 03, 2012 8:17 AM
To: abraham jones; Amanda Fraser; Judi Kennedy; Steven Quimby; Ann Lewis
Subject: Fwd: Questions

From: “Cruce Daniel” <dcruce@DOE.K12.DE.US>
To: “Sarah_Ster” <sarah_ster@comcast.net>
Sent: Tuesday, July 3, 2012 12:15:00 AM
Subject: RE: Questions

The school leader and/or the Board should indeed respond to your questions
________________________________

From: Sarah_Ster [mailto:sarah_ster@comcast.net]
Sent: Mon 7/2/2012 11:38 PM
To: Cruce Daniel
Subject: Fwd: Questions

Mr. Cruce,

On Friday, I sent the Pencader board the following questions.  Their website says to contact them if anyone has questions.  Am I correct in expecting information or is this information that I shouldn’t be allowed to know?
Thank you,
Sarah
________________________________

From: “Sarah_Ster” <sarah_ster@comcast.net>
To: “abraham jones” <abraham.jones@comcast.net>, “amanda fraser” <amanda.fraser@pcs.k12.de.us>, “judi kennedy” <judi.kennedy@pcs.k12.de.us>, “steve quimby” <steve.quimby@pcs.k12.de.us>, “ann lewis” <ann.lewis@pcs.k12.de.us>
Sent: Friday, June 29, 2012 10:20:49 AM
Subject: Questions

Can you provide some information about the following questions I have.  A lot of what I know comes from the blogs.  I am hoping you can provide some clarification.  I figure I will go to the source.
-How will the school operate without a school leader after tomorrow.  If I understand correctly, Lewis’ contract expires tomorrow.  I am still the School Leader. None of our 12 month contracts have been renewed and won’t be until we begin to put together the next year’s budget.
-According to the blogs, there are payments being made to a consulting firm that has a business license address at Lewis’ home address.  What is that? PCHS has several staff members on contracts through their own business. Mr. Lewis was one of them. All staff members with their own contracts have their home addresses listed on their business licenses. Contracted employees are used throughout the State in almost every school district. Contracted employees actually save the organizations dollars because they pay their own taxes and medical benefits.
-The budget shows a very small amount of money allocated for lawyer fees in the 2012-2013 budget yet the lawyer fees for this year were many, many times more than that.  How is this an accurate budget? There were several lawsuits left from the previous administration. These suits took a great deal of attorney input to end them in a way that benefited PCHS with no reprecussions; going forward, attorney’s fees should be minimal, but no 2012-2013 expected budget was presented. That process begins shortly, so we are not sure even where you think allocations for lawyer fees was presented.
-Were new board members elected last night? No new Board Members were elected, only presented, but Ms. Dobo was at the meeting, she could have told you that.
-How are two lease payments being eliminated from the 2012-2013 budget? If needed, the same thing that occurred this year will occur next year. The lease payments were not ‘eliminated’ but rather placed at the back end of the current lease, thus extending our lease with our landlord.
-When did Lewis get her Westfield University degree?  She has been calling herself a doctor for a couple of years now.  Have you seen the verification about her degree yet?  I know it isn’t necessary for her job, but she stated she has it and would provide it. It was several years ago. I am still waiting to hear from them. As soon as my documentation arrives, it will be shared. I would be happy to discuss this with you. Please feel free to stop in any time.
-I am hearing that two of the pro-Lewis speakers last night were vendors and the third speaker was a relative of the Lewis family.  True? As anyone at the meeting will share, no one was ‘pro-Lewis’ but rather concerned that the NJ does not print all the positive events. Mr. Carbine is our IT Coordinator and is a vendor. His son graduated in June. Mr. Evans is not a vendor, but the parent of one of our students. There was no family member of mine at the meeting on Thursday, June 28th. 
I believe other parents have similar questions but are afraid to speak out because of the consequences their kids may experience at the school.  There seems to be a group of kids that have an in with the administration and a bunch that don’t. No one should ever be afraid to speak and certainly no one on campus would ever use a child in that way. There is no special group…students are treated fairly and equally across the board. Before making accusations or assumptions, we welcome anyone to spend time on campus…talk to our staff, speak with our students…you will find a very different atmosphere than the one you are projecting.

Sarah

A very interesting question was asked last night by PCHS Vice President, Dr. Abraham Jones. #PCHS #netDE

He asked that PCHS released the disaggregated data on summer school participants.

For those not in edu-babble circles, he is asking the school to reveal the racial makeup of summer school, offered as remediation for poor performance in the normal school year. It would be easy to assume he has a concern, so let’s see if PCHS will release this information and we can see if any particular subgroup of students is over represented in summer school at PCHS.