26 July 2010

Insanity Beckons; Delaware Teachers' Union Votes on Contract Changes Via SURVEY MONKEY

Seriously...THIS is what the Union has been reduced to?  A bunch of Keystone Cops protecting our teachers by online proxy? 

DUhhhh...I know wat we cans do -let's vote on contract carve-outs on dat dere Survey Monkey on the interweb. 

Completely confidential, you say... Arne, here's your chance to really make a difference in our public schools!  Jack Markell - Get off your ass and get out the vote!  C'mon Esquire, you know you wanna still feel relevant.  Visit the Union's My Space page...I mean Survey Monkey poll.

You too, my little sheep.  We've all paid our dues (and then some!).  Get your two cents in, before the polls close.  When you're done monkeying around, make sure you bid on my Ebay auction before it closes - "One ounce of dignity" - absolutely priceless in Delaware!  (shipping and handling not included)  

July 26, 2010

Posted At: 04:59 PM
Author: Alexander Russo
Category: NCLB News , On Maryland Avenue , Teachers & Teaching

SIG: Computerized Voting To Change A Contract

"To vote for this school improvement plan, press 2." Well, almost. A Delaware district is asking teachers at three low-performing schools to vote on the district's $2 million SIG plan -- using Surveymonkey. But there's no differentiation among the three schools -- they're all lumped together for voting purposes -- the information provided is limited to time and pay issues not curriculum or other key issues, and it's not clear that the survey is open only to teachers at the schools (try it out, maybe you can enter your vote). One additional wrinkle: if the teachers vote the SIG plan down then the schools will may become part of a Mass Insight turnaround zone, in which case the options include also closing, firing staff, etc.

25 July 2010

Common Carrier/Out-of-State:  $363.55
Other Travel/Out-of-State:  $488.00
Hotels and Lodging:    $1681.44

Voting him out of office:  PRICELESS

Okay, folks, George Evans, of the Christina School District is an easy target.  And relatively irrelevant.  While he wasn't the only Christina Board member who spent money last year, he was by far the biggest spender.  And I can't help but wonder why, as Delaware School Board Association President, he charged back his expenses to the National Conference to the Christina District and not the school board association...

Take this for what it is, in a time when a school district is going broke (which it was, until a narrowly won referendum), we must hold our school board members accountible to ensure that they are not spending money that we (the tax payers of the district) don't have... 

The Evans Epilogue
GEORGE E EVANS 17 payments $2,759.42 Who knew that board members could charge back magazine subscriptions to the district?

BOBBY BENJAMIN 11 payments $499.01
COLONIAL SCHOOL DISTRICT OFFICE SUPPLIES 4/23/2010 $103.47  Not sure why this guy's getting reimbursed for office supplies...

I'm sure there are more curious charges... http://checkbook.delaware.gov/

15 July 2010

Update: Moyer Files OCR Complaint, last ditch effort

Moyer May Rise Again...

Well, folks, in a few short hours the deal will be done.  The building formerly known as Moyer will be sold to the state and Virginia-based K12 will move in for the kill.  Do I smell a sweetheart deal?  Who do we know who is also from VA?

So long, Moyer.  It was nice knowing you...

Looks like Moyer's going to pull on last ditch effort to free themselves from the grip of DOE -

Don McQueen, National President

African American Association of Charter School Administrators
3211 Bramer Drive
Raleigh, NC 27604

The African American Association of Charter School Administrators (Association) has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights against the Delaware State Board of Education and the Delaware Department of Education alleging that Maurice J. Moyer Academy (a Wilmington, Delaware based charter school) was discriminated against on the basis of the racial makeup of the school when the State Board of Education failed to renew its charter on allegations that the school did not meet state performance standards in violation of Title VI of Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Association has asked the Office of Civil Rights to take action to restore Moyer’s charter and allow it to continue to operate.

The Association asserts that Moyer outperformed the state composite score and the composite scores for Brandywine, Red Clay, Colonial, and Christiana School Districts (the surrounding regular public school districts) when the scores are controlled for race and income status. Moyer’s student population was 96.9 percent black, 2.2 percent Hispanic, and 22.5 percent Special Education. Moyer’s student population was 89.2 percent low-income. When you take the state composite scores which includes all sub-groups (white, black, Hispanic, Asian, American Indian, and so forth) and compare that composite to Moyer it appears that Moyer did not perform. However, then you isolate the scores and compare homogeneous subgroup to homogeneous subgroup Moyer significant outperformed the state and local school districts.

According to Don McQueen, National President of the Association "it makes absolutely no sense to close Moyer or remove its leadership when it was clearly doing a better job of serving its student population than the state and local districts. The data shows the students are better off under Moyer’s current leadership."

In May, 2010 the Association completed a report entitled: "Study of the Maurice J. Moyer Academy: Student Performance." The study notes that "The Delaware Department of Education did not make equitable comparisons and has reached an erroneous conclusion about the performance of Moyer Academy." The study also notes that "Across the nation States are attempting to carry out the President’s mandate to close low performing charter schools without developing fair and mathematically sound methods to determine whether African American, Low-income, and Special Education populations are better served by the Charter school than the traditional public schools. The result is states are closing Charter schools that serve special targeted populations that are outperforming traditional public schools due to erroneous information. This does a disservice to our educational infrastructure and to high risk African American students."

( Visit the Association on the Internet at : http:/!aaacharteradministrators.or~/default.aspx )

11 July 2010

Not everything you wish wasn't true is a MYTH!

Sorry, folks, I haven't had time to post in a while...

But, I'd like to thank Paul Herdman for the shout out tonight on Norm Oliver's Community Crossfire!  I hear ya, Dawg, but not everything you wish wasn't true is a myth.

For example:


Public education was never meant to be a revenue-generating venture!  The only entity that should profit from the millions being spent in Delaware is our students.  Get that through your thick skull, peddle your wares elsewhere!

25 May 2010

We Won?

26 votes. Now THAT’s a cause for celebration. And CELEBRATE they did. Your tax-payer money at work. Did you get your invite for the referendum results party at the Porter Road School? It was thrown by the Christina School District. Invitation only.

WHAT?!?! You didn’t get your invitation??? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. If my minions are right, NONE of the Principals in the City of Wilmington were invited either. If you’re wondering, as I am, why YOUR invitation never arrived, contact the District’s Facilities Manager. My sources tell me, third-hand (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) that the emailed invites came from her, on behalf of the Queen herself.

You’d think that a more appropriate place for a party of this importance would be in the newly vacant music room at Christiana HS, or the former Latin classroom at Newark, or even in one of the City schools, as a last harrah before we release them back into the wild as part of the Race To The Top initiative. We don’t hide our shame too well in this district, do we? Extorting taxpayer money, while holding their kids hostage, because wasteful expenditures in the past and current administrative blunders are bankrupting the district is NOT a cause for celebration.

SO, what did your hard-earned money buy you, you may ask. Chips and dip? A catered affair? Alcohol? Alcohol consumption in one of our schools?!? Inquiring minds want to know! I’m not kidding, I WANT TO KNOW, don’t you?

24 May 2010

No More Teachers, Lot's of Perks, This Is How It Really Works!

May 24, 2010 10:59 pm US/Eastern I-Team: Superintendents' Super Pay & Perks Reporting


In these difficult economic times, the CBS 3 I-Team decided to request contracts for school superintendents in 15 districts so we could see how they're compensated.

That includes Cherry Hill where they've cut 45 teachers, sports and music programs.
Superintendent Dr. David Campbell's salary is $277, 392 a year. The state average is 160-thousand a year.
Dr. Campbell says his experience and work ethic justify the pay.
"Most superintendents I know have an average work week of 60 hours and 70 to 80 hours is not uncommon," said Campbell.
Since 2007 Dr. Campbell has been reimbursed more than $23,000 for expenses including since June 2006 a total of $15,000 in payments for a monthly car allowance.
Plus, 16-hundred of your tax dollars paid for Dr. Campbell to go to a five day conference in Florida. That covers airfare and hotel.
We even found a meal receipt at the Capital Grille in Orlando.
We found another $1900 tab for Dr. Campbell for a conference trip to New Orleans.
The Superintendent says the conferences are continuing education.
"To me our goal for young people is to be a life long learner and the Superintendent should be the poster child for life long learning," said Campbell.

In Washington Township education cuts have hit hard as well.
"We lost about 93 positions. Some of them ranged from administrators to gifted and talented teachers to elementary teachers," said Simone.
Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Simone makes $182,000 per year.
She gets a $300 monthly allowance for traveling the district.
She has spent about 10-thousand dollars since 2005 on conference trips.
Simone has agreed to a pay freeze. She will forgo a 5-thousand raise she was due to share in the sacrifice.

Ken Hartman, a former Cherry Hill school board member, says parents need to become involved at a time like this.
"It is not only their right but also their responsibility to ask the difficult questions." said Hartman.

For example, let's take the Medford Township School District.
Dr. Joseph Del Rossi's contract - if he accrues enough unused sick and vacation time - could get a $280-thousand dollar payout when he leaves the district.

In the Lenape High School District, Emily Capella received a 15 percent raise since 2008. She now makes $213,000 a year.
Plus, she receives an additional $12,000 a year in a stipend to pay for expenses.
The district also gives her a car and a computer for use at home.
And she doesn't have her Doctorate degree unlike the other Superintendents in this story.

The Medford and Lenape Superintendents refused to do "on-camera interviews" even when we showed up in person.
Some school superintendents say its market forces which dictate salaries and perks.

Recent changes in New Jersey Department of Education "accountability regulations" have reined in some of the perks in future Superintendent contracts.
For example, in Dr. Campbell's case from Cherry Hill, he'll be reimbursed mileage for any district travel.
There will be no more car allowance.

A number of local superintendents are taking pay freezes but we did find two who are taking massive pay cuts to save jobs.

11 May 2010

Who Knew So Many People Liked Latin?

Na na na na, na na na na, hey, hey, hey, goodbye!

Powerful message, Christina voters! Lesson #1 - learned (voting is a privilege not to be taken lightly). On to lesson #2.

Lesson #2: Now hold them accountable. You elected them to represent YOU. A public school district is NOT a business, even if it sometimes vaguely resembles one. The only purpose of a public school district is to provide children with a free and appropriate education. It’s that simple. The only purpose of the school board is to provide representation for it’s constituents to advocate on the behalf of the children. It’s not about ego. It’s not about perks. It’s most definitely NOT a benevolent dictatorship.

Tonight, we celebrate the potential for positive change. Sleep well, my friends…there is a LOT of work to be done, and a lot of damage to be assessed and repaired, if we are to truly turn around our district. Together, we can accomplish anything.