Look at that. It only took a few months for the actual impetus behind the School District “Consolidation” Task Force to reveal itself. Kevin Ohlandt has the scoop:
“State Representative Earl Jaques, as the Chair of the School District Consolidation Task Force, dropped the mother of all bombs at the latest meeting tonight. When going over all the sub-committee reports, Jaques discussed potential proposals for the task force to discuss moving forward. He brought up how the state holds charter schools accountable based on their Performance Framework. He said a proposal from one of the Structure Sub-Committee meetings dealt with a proposal to give the State Board of Education the authority to have the charter Performance Framework for traditional school districts and if a district (not a school) did not meet those performance benchmarks they could be eligible for state takeover. Another option could be to have that struggling district merge with another district.”
Note the last sentence. I know I’m armchair quarterbacking here because I’ve been out of the education scene in Delaware for quite a while- BUT, this is a trial balloon. Jaques floated this and immediately followed it up with “OR merge with another district” to gauge reaction. Judging by the responses in the room that Kevin describes, this trial balloon was made of lead.
Look, it should come as no surprise to anyone who followed DE Education for even 5 minutes that Christina School District has been the bane of certain State Legislators’ existence. It should also be no surprise that the State of Delaware continues to find underhanded ways to attempt to 1) Take it over (again) 2) Force it to merge with another District (probably Colonial) or 3) Hi. I’m Troy McClure, you may remember me from such initiatives as “Partnership Zones”, “Priority Schools”, Christina Wilmington Consolidation, and now the “School District Takeover Force”.
Every. Single. Time. one of these “plans” is proposed it follows the same formula: throw a bone to the primary drivers for academic struggle, poverty, trauma, hunger, language barrier, but fail to provide anything of substance to help. Then point to the district and say “You’re not improving!”. And lastly, find a roundabout way to threaten a takeover.
You (Jaques) are going to tell me that the State takeover of Christina (or ANY district for that matter) is going to “Fix” its academic struggles? Based on what success stories? This is not like taking over one school and turning it around. A school district is *slightly* more complex.
ESPECIALLY when academic struggles are not limited to Christina alone. It’s all over the State. It’s all over the damn country as a matter of fact.
Much wringing of hands has occured in Leg Hall over the last several years about how to boost DE’s public school system. Many commissions, teams, task forces, MOUs, resolutions, orders by fiat, have attempted to “fix” the school system. Yet here we are. The threat of takeover for poor performance while educators say the same things to lawmakers: Poverty. Trauma. Hunger. Language. Address those needs. How you ask? If only we had a group of people- an association, perhaps an EDUCATION association (or a several of them!) to help navigate the complex paths. And before someone throws this in the comments, no I am not insinuating that throwing money at Districts will fix it, because it won’t. The way Delaware approaches systematic education HAS to change. The system is broken. Has been for some time. People continue to try and get enough lawmakers to pay attention so a transformation process can begin.
Hostile takeover has been and remains the dumbest frigging idea I’ve heard come out of Dover regarding education.
I apologize for the cynicism & sarcasm, but for God’s sake, it’s the SAME damn thing being proposed AGAIN. Round and round we (continue to) go.