Red Clay Referendum Tomorrow

Filed in National by on February 27, 2012

Everything I’ve written has all been leading up to tomorrow’s referendum.  Info on where to vote can be found at The Friends of Red Clay (Red Clay’s SuperPac?) referendum site.

For those that want to catch up or review, here are the links to my past posts.

A Comment At Kilroy’s Sparks Another Education Post
Education Segregation: Delaware Black Caucus Threatens To Sue
Update: Red Clay Board Member, Kim Williams, Replies To Jack Wells
School Choice By District, Or One Of These Districts Is Not Like The Other
Jack Wells Questions Red Clay
Red Clay’s Referendum Meeting At Highlands
Rick Jensen Interviews Red Clay Officials On Referendum
NAACP Issues Charter School Resolution
In Red Clay It Shouldn’t Be City vs Suburbs
Is Capacity Really The Issue In Red Clay?
Red Clay Referendum And City Schools

Okay, that’s a lot of writing.

An education post wouldn’t be complete without linking to Kilroy‘s post “Red Clay’s political bedfellows take a hand at pouring Kool-Aid – which points us to the News Journal’s editorial by Fred C. Sears II, president and CEO of the Delaware Community Foundation and Karen L. Morris, managing partner of Morris and Morris LLC.

Our goal is to help the children of Shortlidge and Warner elementary schools improve their academic achievement and the ability to practice healthy behaviors. With a whole child approach, the pilot program consisted of professional development for teachers and securing a host of supports for children and their families. The pilot eventually became part of Delaware’s successful Reach to the Top application made to the federal Department of Education.

With the generous support of many partners, Red Clay is near completion of parent community centers at Warner and Shortlidge where students and their families can go for medical and dental, job advice and a multitude of services.

First, it’s Race to the Top, not Reach to the Top.

Second, “practice healthy behaviors?”  What does this mean?  And why is it isolated to city kids.  You Tube is full of school kids behaving badly.  The blog, Don’t Destroy Christina, is posting some of the jaw-dropping videos.  Talk about the need for behavioral training.

Third, this entire article is about the “need” for the new school.  Go read the entire thing, and point me to specific educational programs being touted in this article.  As I wrote on Kilroy’s, the article is pandering, and bad pandering, at that.

Programs like ours, and others that support Wilmington students and families, are concerned that if the new K-5 school proposed for Hockessin is defeated, the space that houses our programs would no longer be available. A growing pre-K program would be stalled. Class sizes may creep back up to numbers that affect the learning process.

If we ever held a referendum that didn’t include District threats – Vote for the referendum, or the kids get it – no one would know how to behave.

Fourth… Take a look at the editorial’s title:  Those “empty” classrooms hold hope for children’s future

Huh?  What empty classrooms?  Up until this article Red Clay has consistently said that there are no empty classrooms.

What this editorial says to me?  Red Clay is nervous, and trying to counter the blogs.  Of course, this could have been easier if RCCD had simply done it’s homework.  Let’s look at where Red Clay dropped the ball:

1. Red Clay didn’t even look at, or present as evidence, redrawing feeder patterns

2. When questioned on the Rick Jensen show about a Traffic Impact Study at the Graves Road site, Red Clay said they hadn’t done one.

3.  When asked about their own capacity numbers and existing seats in schools, Red Clay stated that the capacity numbers they provided weren’t accurate, and that those empty seats weren’t empty.  But… given the editorial above, they are now empty.  We really need to get a handle on these capacity numbers.

4.  When questioned by Jack Wells as to their hiring practices we were gifted by two responses, one from RCCD’s CFO and one by a RCCD board member, that didn’t answer the question and displayed unprofessional behavior.  Hey, I think I found another area that could benefit from those “behavioral” programs.

5. When asked at the Highlands’ meeting as to what RCCD’s plan was for their city public schools, Red Clay offered no plan, instead citing the possibility of a City School District and the “game-changing” mega-Charter at BofA.

6. Also at the Highlands’ meeting… Red Clay stated that the building of the new school would help free up Choice – Even though their referendum FAQs specifically states that Choice plays no role in the need for the new school.

7.  As well as Red Clay not conducting a Traffic Impact Study, they also claim to have not even looked at a Feeder Pattern for the new school.  They also had no answer to Kilroy’s question of what happens to Lewis’ dual language program when a proposed new dual language Charter opens (resulting in more empty seats) several blocks away from Lewis.

Talk about not being able to stay on message.  Other than desperately wanting this new school (and expanding AIHS for more Choice students, since nobody wants to go to Dickinson and McKean) I have no idea what Red Clay’s priorities are.  Perhaps, they should have to prove that they are capable of improving their existing schools before we hand them the keys to another new school.

But here’s what I’m thinking.  If the new school fails in the referendum, I expect Red Clay will find a way to go against the will of the voters and build it anyway.  Just like they did with Brandywine Springs.  Voters voted “no” on purchasing Brandywine Springs – they told the District, through their vote, that they didn’t want their tax dollars used on this school.  Red Clay ignored the will of the voters and spent those tax dollars anyway.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they tried to pull this stunt again.  This new school is very, very, very important to them.


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A stay-at-home mom with an obsession for National politics.

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  1. Monday Open Thread [2.27.12] : Delaware Liberal | February 27, 2012
  1. cassandra m says:

    You’ve done a yeoman’s job here, P, in rounding up all of the issues surrounding this referendum. And what I gather from all of this is that there is a constituency that Red Clay wants to be responsive to and a constituency that isn’t especially important to them. I’m hoping that City residents come out to oppose this thing.

    In the meantime, though, Richardson Park is having a parent’s Bingo Night on 28 February. Cute….