Read the whole logic-proof, absurd letter from the Delaware Department of Education here. Anyone who thinks this agency is working in 100% good faith is deluding themselves.
This organization either suffers from amnesia or several delusional schizophrenia considering in years’ past across districts they’ve worked their hardest to specifically increase attrition at high-needs schools by either contracting with the saviors from Teach for America or invading key high-needs schools with the authoritarian “Partnership Zone” ideology.
Read it here. And do something.
Almost every teacher with whom I’ve spoken thinks teacher bonuses are a bad idea. Almost every administrator with whom I’ve spoken thinks teacher bonuses are a bad idea. Almost every board member from multiple districts with whom I’ve spoken thinks teacher bonuses are a bad idea. Even some individuals with the State Department of Education have told me in conversations that there is no solid evidence to prove that teacher bonuses are an effective means to attract the “best” teachers to our neediest schools.
But there they are. The Department of Education acting as bully instead of as partner in attempting to bridge the divide between some of our “highest-performing” and “lowest-performing” schools. And I put those phrases in quotation marks because the means for labeling schools “highest-performing” and “lowest-performing” are so nebulous and generally only guided by one metric: test scores.
This is a department and an administration that has proven time and again that it just doesn’t get it. Their view of education reform is one in which Wall Street drowns out the opinions of those who are guiding our schools forward every day: the educators actually in the classroom. It’s been disappointing having what I thought were genuinely positive face-to-face conversations with some in the Department of Education only to have them turn around and pull foolishness like this. Read the whole thing. The News Journal’s Nichole Dobo has done some excellent digging and sequencing of events for this story.
I have much more to say, as well, but let me leave you with this: This cannot be tolerated. If the Department of Education’s goal is to see unfathomable levels of division and rancor in Christina’s schools by forcing this ill-thought-out bonus program on them, then they’re doing a good job. If the Department’s goal is to pull those $2 million dollars should the District be “non-compliant,” then will the Department ask itself: Are we really doing what’s best for kids? These types of threats are more characteristic of the grade-school playground bully than a state agency that should be charged with working WITH our highest-needs schools and students in tangible ways to achieve positive results.
All I can say is I’m deeply disappointed in what the Department of Education has become and where it seems to be going.
Voices4Delaware Education Action Fund is an off-shoot of the uber-business-friendly education think tank Rodel Foundation. Rodel is a think tank that likes to be taken seriously, but they’re seriously engaging in negative, harmful, and deceitful campaign tactics in the Christina School District.
The first nasty-gram hit on Wednesday. Among other things, the piece — which endorsed candidate Valene Harris over incumbent Shirley Saffer — placed the “failures” of the Christina School District on its seven-member Board. This advertisement may have had no approval from Harris; these PACs can do as they please. However, within 24 hours, Harris should have issued a statement condemning the harsh and inflammatory rhetoric within. She did not.
48 hours later, another negative piece arrived from Voices4Delaware Education/Rodel attacking Saffer and the Board. Question: Why would anyone want to volunteer to run for an unpaid office like school board if they knew they’d be victim to such nasty, vile, and hateful rhetoric?
At this point, it is beyond time for Valene to disconnect herself from this organization that claims it’s “4Education.” The organization could perhaps use a few lessons in kindness, honesty, and respect. Until that happens, and if I were managing Harris’s campaign, I would release the following statement condemning those awful ads:
While I appreciate the work of an advocacy group supporting my candidacy, I completely disagree with the tactics they’re using against my opponent. Serving on the Christina School Board would be a privilege and an honor. Tarnishing that honor by making outrageously offensive and belittling statements regarding the Board as a whole is where I draw the line. I ask Voices4Delaware to apologize for the ad and, further, I ask that they leave me off any further communications sent to constituents in the Christina School District if they are to continue employing such a tone. There is no room for negativity in this race.
That’s all. Valene Harris would come out smelling much better than she is now if she released something to the effect of the above statement. I do accept tips in the form of iced coffee and really good key lime pie, Ms. Harris!