Charter School Cherry Picking Was Predicted

Filed in Delaware by on March 28, 2014

Mike O., The Seventh Type blog, found an interesting document in his inbox.  Go over to his place and read the whole thing – the link to the entire document is at Mike O’s place.  I’ll post some of the highlights from this 1995 Delaware Senate debate on SB 200 (DE Charter School Law).  This document pretty much puts an end to the but, but… whocouldhaveknown debate.

Here’s part of the question and answer segment with Bill Manning (Red Clay’s School Board President at the time)

SENATOR MARSHALL: Understanding that the harshest critics of charter schools around the nation where they’ve been in place and operating, is the issue of the schools skimming off the top and creating an elitist academy with public money.
My concern is looking at the focus of the charter schools by attracting the best at times for a specific educational discipline offered by that charter school; and the concern of recruitment.

I looked at children throughout New Castle County in moderate low income neighborhoods, I looked at the City, the west side, the east side, hilltop, I need to understand how your board and how you will guarantee fairness and equal access to every student from every unit.

MR. MANNING: Thank you Senator. Let me approach that question two different ways because I hear the creaming argument over and over again with respect to schools of choice.

One thing that particularly bothers me about that argument is that whoever is making the argument, whether you’re a member of the State PTA or whether you’re a Superintendent from a school district 100 miles away from a district that wants to try a charter, that person is basically saying I know better than the parents of that child where that child ought to attend. But that’s an argument that I’ve never really understood, and it’s always been a little offensive to me.

You also hear the suggestion that for some reason children whose parents are college educated and have jobs that pay more will somehow get the better end of the deal. Which suggests that children of parents who for some reason don’t have a college education somehow aren’t able to cope in this system and aren’t able to make good choices for their children. I don’t believe that. And in Red Clay the experience is just the opposite.

In Red Clay we’ve had schools of choice for the last three or four years.  And no school of choice has ever been populated on any basis other than a percentage, which mirrors the District in virtually every respect.  Socioeconomically, racially, schools of choice mirror their community.

Keep in mind that right around this time Red Clay was going to referendum for Brandywine Springs – an all choice school – that once opened made the highlighted portion above moot.  So while at the time this claim was true, once Brandywine Springs opened it wasn’t.  I won’t re-post the data, but I wrote about it here.

(Mr. Manning cont.) But let me get more specific about this particular school that has been proposed for Wilmington High.  I can tell you that the proponents and the participants in that charter consortium every one of them have come to the table saying, Governor one thing I want to make sure is that this is a school that provides an opportunity to every child in this district, every child in this area and I want to make sure that this school is not marked as an elitist school.  Not a school that you can only get into if you do well in science and math in grades one through eight.

When I look at CSW (Charter School of Wilmington) today I have a hard time believing this initial claim.  For years we’ve been told that the demographics (socially and economically) of CSW just happened.  To see these concerns actually addressed in 1995 is depressing.  And it seems CSW had a plan to address this issue:

(Mr. Manning cont.) So what can we do to make sure that doesn’t happen?  Well the first thing you want to do is to make sure that you promote the school in the entire community.  I can tell you that that has worked successfully in some of our choice programs already and that the intention of this charter group is to do just that with a very elaborate solicitation and marketing program.

You might also want to make sure that children who might not have done very well in math and science up to the point of ninth grade, nevertheless, have an opportunity to benefit by this school, which will be excellent in math and science.

Well that suggests that you need some catch up.  That you need to take those children who have an interest in attending that school, perhaps have an affinity for those subjects but just haven’t done well at them up until that point and give them the extra boost that they need in order to be prepared for ninth grade at this school, which is going to be a rigorous academic year.

And for that reason there is an organization called D.A.R.E. and it is an organization that is dedicated to the promotion of engineering sciences through the study of engineering and sciences among the minority population.  It runs a very successful program in Red Clay now and that organization has agreed to run a summer program for children who need some remediation before that ninth year begins.

This will be a school which not only caters to those children who have already displayed excellence in math and science and takes them one step farther; it will also be a school that reaches out to those kids who think they want to succeed in that area and it says for you we have a special summer remediation program that you probably can’t get elsewhere.  That’s going to be part of this program.  I say it’s going to be part of this program, although I really ought to say as a member of the school board, that we’re going to wait and see the application.

There are some things that I probably can’t tell you about the admissions process and the application process.  But I do know what’s in the minds of the consortium that has come together and agreed to sponsor this school.  And I can tell you that that’s upper most in their thinking.

Does anyone know any student recruited for the D.A.R.E. program?  Did Red Clay implement the D.A.R.E. program in all  its middle schools?  I don’t know, but what I do know is that CSW, today, is a school for kids who “have already displayed excellence in math and science” mainly through their parent’s financial advantages and the ability to access math/science programs/clubs through their low poverty K-8 schools as well as afford special camps/programs outside of their school.

The back and forth between Senator Sharp and Mr. Manning is interesting as well.  I’m copying the entire conversation because it’s quite a dance and should probably be read in its entirety.

SENATOR SHARP:  Mr. Manning under the charter school concept that you folks are planning for Wilmington High School, what happens to those kids who are now attending Wilmington High School who live out in my area where you’ve extended the feeder pattern and brought kids all the way out from Kirkwood Highway into Wilmington High School?  What happens to them?  Where would they go to school?
MR. MANNING:  Those who are currently attending Wilmington High will continue to attend Wilmington High.  You’re talking about the upper classman who are there now?
SENATOR SHARP:  I’m talking about the kids that are in that feeder pattern whether they’re in the school today or scheduled to go there in September.
MR. MANNING:  If they are in the feeder pattern but aren’t in the school, they’ll have the same choice that everyone else has in the District; the choice to go to any one of our four schools.  That’s the group that is ninth grade and below; the rising ninth graders and below.
If you are in the school now…
SENATOR SHARP:  Excuse me for a minute that only applies up to the certain racial quotas?
MR. MANNING:  No, no.
SENATOR SHARP:  You can’t have a racially identifiable school can you under the court order?
MR. MANNING:  We haven’t had a racially identifiable school that is a choice school yet.  So there is no reason to limit what the computer does when it sorts out the applications for a choice school.
SENATOR SHARP:  Choice is a relatively new project that you’ve tried; I think this is the first year for it, is it not?
MR. MANNING:  We have schools of choice that are now going into their third or fourth year; I can’t remember which, at Wilmington High School for example…
SENATOR SHARP:  Yeah but that’s a little different concept than what you’re talking about.
MR. MANNING:  Last year for the first year…this will be the second year coming up where children can choose their schools from all over the district.  Now last year…
SENATOR SHARP:  Aren’t they still governed though by this court order?
MR. MANNING:   Yes sir they are.  Last year we had an experience with that.
SENATOR SHARP:  Then my question again would be, for the kids who live in my district, my neighborhood, who are now forced to go into Wilmington High School, can’t go across the street to Dickinson because of the court order and because of your feeder pattern.  When and if Wilmington High School becomes a charter school, where will those kids go to school if there’s not room in that charter school?
MR. MANNING:  If the court order isn’t lifted then those children will have to…the choices will continue…they won’t have choices, they’ll have to go to Wilmington High School if the Federal Judge says so.  We’re obviously working to correct that and I think we will be successful.
SENATOR SHARP:  Excuse me let me back up just a minute then.  How can it be a charter school if the kids have to go there, which they do now?
MR. MANNING:  I’m sorry I should have said this in the beginning.  The charter school that we’re talking about will only be a portion of what goes on in that building.  Just as is the case right now there are several schools within that school.  The charter school that the DuPont Company, Bell Atlantic, Zeneca, The Medical Center, and I’m sure I’m leaving somebody else out, which I apologize; that applies only to the new Academy of Math and Science; which is only a portion of what’s going on at Wilmington High.
SENATOR SHARP:  How many students?
MR. MANNING:  It hasn’t opened yet.
SENTATOR SHARP:  Well I mean how many openings?  You’ve only got “x” number of seats in the school.  How many students will be in the charter school?
MR. MANNING:  It’s designed to have entering classes of up to 200 children.
SENATOR SHARP:  So you’ll have a freshman class, 9th grade I guess of 200?
MR. MANNING:  Yes.  That’s the max.
SENATOR SHARP:  And how many freshmen do you normally have in the school?
MR. MANNING:  I’m going to say entering classes have been somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 children in that school.  But that’s an average and I’d rather you didn’t hold me to that because I don’t know the specific number.
SENATOR SHARP:  Okay but you said that 200 of the freshman class would be in the charter school but you’re also telling me that that’s a total of the freshman class.  So you have a student body of 800?
MR. MANNING:  The charter school if it takes as many children as it hopes to take, 200 children per grade, would have 800.  The school itself, the building, has a capacity, and please don’t hold me to this but if I’m in the right neighborhood of roughly 1,600.  And that makes room for the other educational programs that are going on in that building, for example the Calloway School has 300 kids.
SENATOR SHARP:  You’ve confused me a little bit.
MR. MANNING:  I’m sorry.
SENATOR SHARP:  You say you have a capacity in the building for 1,600 students?
MR. MANNING:  Roughly yes.
SENATOR SHARP:  Okay I won’t hold you to that; 1,550, 1,650, somewhere in that neighborhood.  We’ll use 1,600 for round figures.
MR. MANNING:  Thank you.
SENATOR SHARP:  And you only have 800 in the school?
MR. MANNING:  In the Academy of Math and Science.  There will be other schools…
SENATOR SHARP:  No at the present time there are 800 students attending that school.
MR. MANNING:  Oh roughly.
SENATOR SHARP:  Okay.  Where are you going to get all of these students?  I’m having a hard time and I’m looking at this purely from an appropriable point of view; my District, my neighborhood, my kids, who are now forced to go to Wilmington High School.
MR. MANNING:  They are forced to go to Wilmington High School because of an order that was entered in 1978 which hopefully will be lifted.  I can’t, as much as I’d like to, I can’t do anything about that.
SENATOR SHARP:  I understand.
MR. MANNING:  We will provide a school for those children, a full blown traditional high school for those children, to the extent the court order continues to require those children to go to Wilmington High.  And there is room to do that.
SENATOR SHARP:  So even with all this the kids in my neighborhood who would like to go back to Dickinson, which is a half a mile up the road or closer for most of them, would still not be able to go to Dickinson.  Keeping in mind the court order, we don’t know what’s going to happen with that. So they’re still going to have to go to Wilmington High School.  Now we’re going to throw the charter school in there.  Those kids may not be eligible to be charter school students.
MR. MANNING:  Every child is eligible to be a charter school student.  There are no admission…
SENATOR SHARP:  Well there’s some criteria isn’t there?
MR. MANNING:  No.  The decision has been made not to impose admissions criteria on this school.
SENATOR SHARP:  You just got done saying with math and science.
MR. MANNING:  That’s correct.
SENATOR SHARP:  Not every child is suited or able to do well with a math and science curriculum.
MR. MANNING:  But there is no rule imposed by the District that says you can come and you can’t.  That’s a decision…
SENATOR SHARP:  But they’re going to be eliminated purely by their academic ability.
MR. MANNING:  No.
SENATOR SHARP:  Well if you’re not proficient in math and science, how are you going to take that in a charter school?
MR. MANNING:  If you’re not proficient in math and science than presumably you wouldn’t seek admission to this school.
SENATOR SHARP:  Well then you’re running me around a circle Mr. Manning; I’m starting to get a headache.
MR. MANNING:  I’m sorry.
SENATOR SHARP:  I’m talking about the kids in my neighborhood who have to go in there.  You said they could go into charter school.  I’m saying maybe they are not proficient.  You said well they wouldn’t have to go to that school.  Then where in the hell are these kids going to school?
MR. MANNING:  To the extent that there are children who will remain forced under a court order to go to Wilmington High School, they will have the option of attending the Academy of Math and Science or the current traditional program that is there right now.  And those two programs will be run side by side for as long as the Federal Court requires the attendance of certain kids at that school.  Does that answer your question?
SENATOR SHARP:  No.  But I’m not going to continue this conversation.  But I can tell you this I think what we’re talking about here and what this Legislation does will be extremely unfair to the kids that I represent.
MR. MANNING:  The children that you represent have made choices this spring for what school they want to attend.  They have the option of attending any of the four schools in the district and those choices will be honored unless the Federal Court says you have to make them go to Wilmington High.
SENATOR SHARP:  Mr. Manning do you remember last year when the kids made those choices…
MR. MANNING:  Yes sir.
SENATOR SHARP: …and you guys pulled the plug on them a week before school started?
MR. MANNING:  Yes sir.  And this year we have made sure that every child sending in the application and telling us what their choices are, and that’s every kid in the District including yours; we have made sure that every one in the District knows that this plan, which has nothing to do with a charter school, this plan may yet be foiled by the continued presence of that court order.  But we’re trying as hard as we can to get that lifted.
MADAM PRESIDENT:  Senator Marshall.
SENATOR MARSHALL:  Madam President I move to excuse the witness.

There are several points in this exchange that I’d like to highlight.  First is that Dickinson was a highly desirable high school in 1995.  I remember those days, but my guess is that parents/community members who arrived after the Red Clay choice explosion and the opening of CSW don’t.  And I’d bet that after CSW and rampant choice hit Red Clay that Senator Sharp’s constituents weren’t fighting to get into that school.  In fact, I know they weren’t.  They were fighting, and still are fighting, to get into A.I. duPont high school.  Why is that?  What happened to Dickinson, a highly sought after school, after CSW opened and choice exploded?  Basically, CSW cherry-picked its students which then impacted Dickinson and McKean, leaving A. I. as the only high school sanctuary.

Let’s take a quick look at Dickinson’s numbers of Low Income students over the years (I’ve done 5 year spreads, but you can go year by year on the DDOE site).  The school Senator Sharp was advocating for his constituents to attend had 25.1% low income in 1999-2000.  In the 2004-2005 school year low income jumped to 32.7%.  In 2009-2010 low income was at 54.9%, and in 2012-2013 (the last low income numbers available since, for some reason, DDOE is no longer posting low income stats with all other info.  Hmmm… ) the low income number at Dickinson is 62.4%.  Which leads me back to where I’ve always been:  Charters and Choice hurt public schools.  Disagree with me?  Then make your case, preferably with data.

Now, take a look at this part of the exchange:

SENATOR SHARP:  So even with all this the kids in my neighborhood who would like to go back to Dickinson, which is a half a mile up the road or closer for most of them, would still not be able to go to Dickinson.  Keeping in mind the court order, we don’t know what’s going to happen with that. So they’re still going to have to go to Wilmington High School.  Now we’re going to throw the charter school in there.  Those kids may not be eligible to be charter school students.
MR. MANNING:  Every child is eligible to be a charter school student.  There are no admission…
SENATOR SHARP:  Well there’s some criteria isn’t there?
MR. MANNING:  No.  The decision has been made not to impose admissions criteria on this school.

Really?  Then why does CSW have an admissions… er… “placement” test given before a child is accepted?  Why not administer that test after the child is accepted – and I contend that a student simply applying at CSW has already demonstrated the required interest.

You know, reading through this 1995 document I can understand why someone would vote for this school.  After all, it sounded wonderful in theory.  No admission criteria.  “A school which not only caters to those children who have already displayed excellence in math and science and takes them one step farther; it will also be a school that reaches out to those kids who think they want to succeed in that area and it says for you we have a special summer remediation program that you probably can’t get elsewhere.”  Choice will not re-segregate.  CSW will never be elitist.

Go read the whole thing, and hats off to Mike O. for posting this info.  And after you read it, come back and tell me if any of the promises made in this hearing were kept.

 

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

Comments (37)

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  1. Mike O. says:

    CSW draws a lot of students rrom the Milltown area around Dickinson and McKean. It is odd to see those suburban kids get on the bus headed for CSW in Wilmington each morning, passing buses with Wilmington kids going in the opposite direction out to their feeders Dickinson and McKean.

  2. Eve Buckley says:

    Thanks for this analysis, pandora (and for the doc-post, Mike!). It’s remarkable (and saddening) to see how prescient the “naysayers” were. And lo, their predictions have come to pass.

    In terms of enforcement of DE charter law, there seems to be a huge disconnect btwn what was promised in this leg. debate, leading up to SB 200’s codification, and what actually happened in subsequent years to produce the test-based admissions and selective demographics that CSW has now (with reciprocal impact on other RCCSD high schools, as you point out). I am reminded of the initial Newark Charter application (in 2000?), which made explicit that the school would participate fully in federal breakfast and lunch subsidies. That charter was approved by the state Board of Ed., and within a few months the meal program had been eliminated by school admin. because not enough of the families (>90% white or Asian–serving a lower African American/Latino percentage than any PRIVATE school in the surrounding area) made use of it. Subsidized meals, for which all “low-income” children qualify (2/3 of Christina district students) were not reinstituted until lunch became mandatory for DE charters this fall as part of the wrangling over HB 165, with breakfast supposedly to follow this coming fall. That’s more than a decade after NCS opened; it’s now a K-9 school enrolling >1,700 students and expanding by 2016 to K-12; currently 79% white/Asian with ~14% low-income students–still waiting for DOE to release those figures for this school year! Nearby Newark HS is 50% African-American or Latino students, Glasgow HS is 70% Afr-Am or Latino & the other CSD HS, Christiana, enrolls 80% minority kids. In other words, NCHS is the racial inverse of Christiana HS, although a large swath of their respective enrollment areas overlaps.

    If our political reps–or appointees, in the case of the unelected state board–are going to authorize charters, they should certainly enforce the terms of that authorization. One can apparently make a range of claims about a proposed public charter school during a legislative or state board hearing which then do not need to be enforced after taxpayer funds begin flowing in. Why do we tolerate this?

  3. pandora says:

    And that’s the thing, Eve. CSW and NCS went back on what they promised (no admission criteria, outreach to all children, free/reduced lunch, etc. – and how about those charter school fees?) and by the time, if ever, they get called out they’ve already established the demographics for the school.

    It would be (sorta) like saying you’re going to build low income housing, get the approval and all the gov. benefits that go along with this and then build condos that require extra funds/conditions (condo fees, no kids allowed, must own a car – any number of rules that would shape your population) to rent/own as well as an admission’s test and interview (to see if you would fit in with their specific interest) and then say you have no idea why poor people aren’t living there.

    Okay, probably not the best example, but hopefully you get my point – which is: present these schools one way to get approval, then don’t follow through on those promises and by the time you’re called out it’s basically too late.

  4. SussexAnon says:

    “MR. MANNING: If you’re not proficient in math and science than presumably you wouldn’t seek admission to this school.”

    What about the rest of the schools? and used-to-be-vo-tech schools turned college prep schools? Sussex tech is have a huge budget problem.

  5. Geezer says:

    You failed to note that the discussion in question took place six years before passage and implementation of the Neighborhood Schools Act, which passed easily on bipartisan votes in 2001 and vastly changed the terms of the discussion.

    Also, there is a world of difference between a math-science academy like CSW and a white-flight academy like Newark Charter. First of all, if CSW’s racial breakdown is out of whack, I’m willing to bet without knowing the numbers that Asian kids are over-represented more than white kids. Nevertheless, the notion that we should give some kids remedial math and science so that we can then place them with the highest-achieving math and science students is exactly the kind of pandering that liberals can’t seem to live without. It sounds swell in theory, but in practice it was not possible to take underachieving kids and turn them into overachievers while skipping the middle step of grade-level achievement. And whatever you think you know about the school, that’s what was happening. (No, my children did not attend, nor did they ever apply, to CSW).

  6. pandora says:

    First, overturning the court ordered “forced busing” law was very much in play in 1995, and when I entered the fray in 1998 the Neighborhood School Act was in play, as well. So these things (charters, NSA, and the Court Order (busing) – which Mr. Manning cites as being possibly overturned (soon) in his comments) were running parallel to each other. So, your six year separation claim doesn’t really hold up.

    As far as CSW… did you read how this school was presented in the post above? Senators had clear concerns about this becoming an elitist school with admission criteria. They were specifically told that this would not be the case.

    I’m fine with you being fine with what CSW turned out to be. What bothers me is that you don’t seem to be taking into account that the way it is today is not the way it was presented and voted on. And that’s the point.

  7. Eve Buckley says:

    @geezer, just to clarify: CSW is dramatically skewed toward white/Asian non-poor students. Last time I looked at its demographics on the DEDOE “school profiles” site, it had 12 low-income students out of 980, within a district (Red Clay) that has 50% low-income students, and within an urban area that is much poorer even than that. So we’re not talking about a minor imbalance or “tilting” of enrollment toward white or Asian, nonpoor children on the basis of academic merit. We’re talking about an entire public school dedicated to serving relatively affluent families, and run at the cost (in financial and human resources) of district high schools serving significant concentrations of low-income African American and Latino children. In my view, it’s a fair question whether that is a wise use of limited public resources. It’s a regressive policy, aiding the better-off at the expense of the poor. NCS has the same impact in the Christina area (esp. its “suburban” portion), without even the “meritocracy” justification that one could debate (in the CSW case).

  8. Davy says:

    Your problem with CSW is not that it is a charter school; your problem with CSW is that it is a magnet (or in New York’s terminology, specialized) school.

    Note that New York’s specialized schools also use an entrance exam.

    The program is not regressive; it’s progressive if you consider that property taxes fund Delaware’s public schools and per pupil spending is not radically different among schools. If you own property with a higher value, then you pay more toward our public schools. That said, I’d rather property taxes, which hurt fixed-income seniors, be replaced with more income taxes or something different altogether.

  9. Eve Buckley says:

    @davy, certainly one criticism that has been leveled against DE charters (e.g. recently by former UD provost Dan Rich, in a memo provided to members of the HB 90 and HB 147 task forces, examining DE charters) is that some are de facto magnet schools. According to Rich, this is not at all typical of charters across the US–and yes, in many areas magnets are demographically unlike their districts. (I’m not personally a fan of that model.)

  10. pandora says:

    Davy says: “Your problem with CSW is not that it is a charter school; your problem with CSW is that it is a magnet (or in New York’s terminology, specialized) school.”

    Um… no. CSW (The Charter School of Wilmington) is a charter school, not a magnet.

  11. Geezer says:

    “So, your six year separation claim doesn’t really hold up.”

    I was presenting the facts. Your interpretation is up to you.

    “CSW is dramatically skewed toward white/Asian non-poor students.”

    Nice to know that whites and Asians all look the same when you’re advocating for blacks and Latins.

    ” Last time I looked at its demographics on the DEDOE “school profiles” site, it had 12 low-income students out of 980, within a district (Red Clay) that has 50% low-income students, and within an urban area that is much poorer even than that.”

    Ninth grade is not the place for making up for lost time. I don’t give a flying fuck what the racial breakdown is.

    “So we’re not talking about a minor imbalance or “tilting” of enrollment toward white or Asian, nonpoor children on the basis of academic merit. We’re talking about an entire public school dedicated to serving relatively affluent families,”

    Who pay all the taxes for educating everyone. But fuck them, right? Because poor people are intrinsically more valuable than middle-class people, so we should deny capable middle-class students in order to live up to your horseshit liberal belief that we can not only equalize opportunity but equalize outcomes as well.

    ” and run at the cost (in financial and human resources) of district high schools serving significant concentrations of low-income African American and Latino children. ”

    Really? In what way? Are low-income students receiving no education, or just not an education at high levels of math and science? If those teachers taught those classes to those students, except in the same building, you’d have no case at all.

    “It’s a regressive policy, aiding the better-off at the expense of the poor.”

    Except not a thing in public education is done at the “expense” of the poor, because THEY HAVE NO FUCKING MONEY.

    So, in short, you have exactly the outlook that holds all progressives up to ridicule, because your ideals have no connection to the real world. In the real world, kids who haven’t paid any attention to schoolwork until ninth grade are not going to play catch-up in a school that teaches math and science at a higher-than-grade level.

    Now go play in your fucking fantasy world, and know that your absolutist attitude will do just as much to kill public education as the “reformers” will.

  12. Geezer says:

    IF you want to fix public education, Job One is getting rid of standardized tests as a measuring unit for quality of teacher/school effectiveness.

    Everyone understands, or should, that test scores reflect far more than in-school teaching effectiveness, and don’t even reflect that metric very well.
    The top metric for predicting performance on a group basis is economic standing of the family.

    The system, therefore, rewards not good education practices but a well-off student population. It will always be easier for a school to score well on these tests by attracting more affluent families and kids than by teaching stuff to lower-income children.

    Charter School of Wilmington performs that function by bringing some private-school kids into the public system (Jack Markell’s daughter Molly switched from Tower Hill to CSW for ninth grade, and so did some of her classmates).

    In short, Red Clay, too, is simply gaming a system that wouldn’t work even if nobody was trying to game it. And when you attach millions of dollars to the outcomes, you have guaranteed that any intelligent player will try to game the system.

  13. Geezer says:

    “Um… no. CSW (The Charter School of Wilmington) is a charter school, not a magnet.”

    Oh, now the facts matter. Davy was pointing out that whatever its name, CSW better fits the definition of a magnet school.

    Are you going to attack the problems of education by having arguments over definitions?

  14. pandora says:

    Boy, did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed!

    Moving on… Here is what you said: “You failed to note that the discussion in question took place six years before passage and implementation of the Neighborhood Schools Act, which passed easily on bipartisan votes in 2001 and vastly changed the terms of the discussion.”

    I am simply pointing out that the NSA didn’t materialize in 2001. It was underway years before it passed – I heard about it in 1997 (when we started looking into kindergarten for my 1st born), and I don’t flatter myself in believing that I was in the loop. So when do you think NSA was hatched? 2001? Just like lifting the court order (busing) was going on at the time of this discussion – and was actually referenced in the transcript. And once the court ordered was lifted RCCD re-segregated through choice. Go look at the facts. I even linked to an older post of mine above. Or, if you don’t believe me go to Delaware’s online school profiles and look at the data yourself.

    As far as charter and magnet. I have been quite clear on my problems with magnets and have called them out for the very same cherry picking as charters. And seriously, where in my post have I presented non-facts?

    And I’m having trouble understanding your view on PUBLIC schools. Are you saying that poor kids should have less education (or less educational say) because their parents pay less or no taxes?

    And charters are taking things away from public schools because there’s only so much money. If CSW pulls AP kids out of RCCD then there will be less AP students in its public high schools and less AP classes available to students at A.I., Dickinson and McKean. A school only receives so many teaching units, so if the number of AP eligible students drop, so do the AP courses offered.

    And as far as your claim… “In the real world, kids who haven’t paid any attention to schoolwork until ninth grade are not going to play catch-up in a school that teaches math and science at a higher-than-grade level.”

    I’m calling BS on this. Yes, there are kids who have goofed off (at all socioeconomic levels, btw), but the majority won’t be able to access CSW due to lack of programs in their K-8 school. Unless you want to make the case that kids assigned to Warner have just as much educational/extra-curricular programs as kids at North Star – and the reason kids at North Star have access to CSW is because the Warner kids simply didn’t pay attention? Is that really what you’re claiming?

  15. AGovernor says:

    We all know the Charter School of Wilmington is an elite school. It is commonly referred to as the “private” Public School. Students who attend believe the school is more prestigious than a number of the Private Schools.

    A little off topic but the neighborhood school act is a joke. A.I. DuPont is less than 5 miles from my home in 19802, yet my feeder HS is Dickinson 10.7 miles away. Because the city is split into a number of districts my feeder middle school is Skyline (Red Clay), 12 miles away, though I live 0.6 miles (8 blocks) from PS DuPont MS (Brandywine). The only neighborhood school in my feeder is Warner Elementary.

  16. Geezer says:

    On the issue of timing: I observed all this from the political perspective. Sue Robinson’s decision wasn’t something even contemplated, except by the obsessives, until a couple of years before it happened. I”m sure Wayne Smith had the Neighborhood Schools Act in mind from his start in the GA in ’90, but nobody gave it much of a chance to pass until a year or two before it did. Your perspective better suits your narrative, but it doesn’t jibe with the way I recall those years.

    “once the court ordered was lifted RCCD re-segregated through choice. Go look at the facts.”

    Never in dispute. I know the facts better than you because I’ve been here longer. Red Clay’s taxpayers have always borne the brunt of the legal efforts to undermine busing/desegregation, even though the most virulent opposition to it came/comes from Christina.

    “As far as charter and magnet. I have been quite clear on my problems with magnets and have called them out for the very same cherry picking as charters.”

    And I disagree with your views on magnets for the same reasons I disagree with your views on CSW.

    “And seriously, where in my post have I presented non-facts?”

    Never said you did. My disagreement stems from your interpretation of those facts.

    “I’m having trouble understanding your view on PUBLIC schools. Are you saying that poor kids should have less education (or less educational say) because their parents pay less or no taxes?”

    No, I’m saying that through efforts to close the achievement gap, middle-class parents perceive poor kids as getting MORE education (or more educational say) because their parents pay less or no taxes. Even educators will acknowledge that you can’t close that gap with equal or less attention, so from the middle-class taxpayer perspective, her kid is being ignored in favor of lower achievers, in large part because he is. That’s just classroom dynamics with 30 kids to a class.

    If the deterioration of Delaware’s public schools over the past 40 years teaches us anything, it’s that middle- and upper-middle-class parents must feel they are getting their money’s worth. If you lose the buy-in from those people the schools will decline no matter what you do.

    “charters are taking things away from public schools because there’s only so much money. If CSW pulls AP kids out of RCCD then there will be less AP students in its public high schools and less AP classes available to students at A.I., Dickinson and McKean. A school only receives so many teaching units, so if the number of AP eligible students drop, so do the AP courses offered.”

    Your position, then, is that the AP students should be spread out among all the high schools rather than concentrated to a greater extent in a single one, because that increases opportunities for — whom, exactly? Kids who want to take just a single AP course? We should deny some high achievers the experience of a high school in which they are not the small clique of nerds but the majority of the student body because some other kids might not get prepped for a test that will save their parents college tuition money? Sorry, but that simply sounds like competing visions to me. We come down on opposite sides.

    Beyond that, wouldn’t the proper response to all this be to address the funding inequities that have bedeviled Delaware’s system for decades?

    “Yes, there are kids who have goofed off (at all socioeconomic levels, btw),”

    I never meant to suggest that the kids who goofed off were all from one socioeconomic level. But to my knowledge nobody has ever shown that dumb but well-connected kids were getting in. If they were, that’s a different story, and a big one.

    “but the majority won’t be able to access CSW due to lack of programs in their K-8 school.”

    No, a majority won’t be able to access CSW because of the academic standards and the pace of the curriculum. Remember, we’re talking about all kids, not just the poor ones.

    At any rate, I was unaware that curriculum varied from school to school within individual districts. Is that true? How do they justify that? I thought that in the age of standardization, they would at least standardize curriculum so they could bulk-order textbooks.

    “Unless you want to make the case that kids assigned to Warner have just as much educational/extra-curricular programs as kids at North Star – and the reason kids at North Star have access to CSW is because the Warner kids simply didn’t pay attention? Is that really what you’re claiming?”

    Not at all, because I don’t know anything about the curriculum, let alone the extra-curriculum. I’m happy to be enlightened. A link will do.

    ———

    For what it’s worth, I started out in the ’80s as a strong advocate for public schools, and changed my mind only after years of frustration with the experience. Having made the switch to private schools, I can speak of just as many frustrations along that route. If I speak for anyone but myself, it’s for other parents who chose to switch rather than fight.

    After 23 years of educating three kids in a variety of settings, I have come to believe that educating anyone is damn hard, and that teachers cannot be measured accurately by standardized means. The best of them spark in their students a love of learning for its own sake — teaching them to fish, as it were, instead of handing them tuna sandwiches. But I know of no formula that produces that result, and I don’t think anyone else has found one, either.

    What worked for me, and for my children in turn, was individual attention from a teacher who took an interest. Smaller class sizes — that is, more teachers — is in my opinion the best educational investment we could make. Size doesn’t matter until it drops below 15? Then why isn’t that the target class size? Money, of course.

    Educational research showed decades ago that the lecturer/class structure is best for a plurality of students but ineffective for a majority, who respond best to a handful of other methods, yet our public system has done nothing to identify which methods work best with which kids, let alone to serve those kids accordingly. Why? Money, of course.

    I spent money on private schools because that was the only way to get more individual attention for my kids in time for it to benefit them. I will gladly pay more to achieve those goals, but I don’t kid myself that most others would.

    While I believe education is best achieved through personal attention, our system is going in precisely the opposite direction, and the results have been disastrous. Aggregating data has led to aggregating children, and I believe virtually all the problems in education stem from that. I therefore support most attempts to break out of the standardization mold.

    I realize my stance is the same one struck by racists, but just as I believe that fraud is not a legitimate reason to end social programs, I believe fraud is not a reason to disallow charters and magnet schools. I find your argument about AP classes persuasive, but I still think it’s a case of competing interests, not right and wrong.

  17. Davy says:

    I attended Warner and CSW.

    Also note that Geezer and I are agreeing on something.

  18. John Young says:

    didn’t the most virulent disagreement come from Brandywine, which just ignored the law altogether?

  19. AGovernor says:

    Brandywine has no charter schools.

  20. pandora says:

    Geezer, seems like we’re both relying on our memory and our experiences. Obviously, we were in different places talking with different people. The lifting of the court order and the charter law ran parallel. The NSA became possible when the court order was lifted. On average, suburban residents cheered, city residents were concerned. I remember it being a big deal. I remember my neighborhood meetings discussing the coming re-segregation. My community and the politicians (state and local) who represented us (and attended our meetings) knew what was coming when that court order was lifted. We knew that plans were underway for neighborhood schools (even though it wasn’t officially named that). We knew the fight to have the court order lifted came with a purpose – that it was in no way symbolic.

    What I also remember is the1998 RCCD referendum which called for the buying of Brandywine Springs. RCCD never received voter approval on that purchase, but went ahead and purchased it anyway. To this day I don’t understand how they were allowed to do that without voter approved capital funding. I do, however, understand why they needed that school.

    I’m sure you remember that RCCD came out against NSA. They proposed an “All Choice” district. (I attended all those meetings) And they didn’t oppose the NSA because it would re-segregate (They were already doing that through choice, quite successfully). They opposed it because they thought the NSA would be challenged in court. The State Board denied RCCD’s proposal for an All Choice district.

    I also remember suburban parents being upset that BSprings was going to be an all choice school, and it was at that time (late 1997 during the referendum information meetings) that I first heard the words Neighborhood Schools.

    I guess my point is, as a city resident with a child entering Warner, I had a different experience than yours. Not better. Not more/less informed. Different. Together we could probably create an amazing timeline/chart of exactly how things happened and when.

    And why would you assume you’ve been here longer than me? And why would your being here longer mean that you know the facts?

    Later you say you have 23 years of educating children. I have 20. I was born and raised in DE (never escaped… yet!) I’m not even sure why this matters. That said, we, too, have done both public and private school (looks like our experiences are pretty similar!). We started out in public, moved to private and then went back to public when my daughter entered middle school. By far, the best education my children received was at their middle and high public schools.

    As far as middle class parents and their perception that kids in poverty are getting more… well, they’ve sorta created that dynamic. High poverty schools are very, very expensive, so they’re already losing funds and possible programs for their kids. Which brings me to my AP/programs example…

    Teaching units are like gold. They are utilized where needed. A high poverty school will use these units where the need is greatest and by doing so will drop programs like TAG, Tech, Odyssey, Music, etc. At the K-8 level the lack of these programs pretty much means that these children will not be going to CSW. And it’s sad that I can predict who will not attend CSW simply by knowing which elementary school a child attended.

    In high school, teaching units matter as well. If you don’t have enough students to make up a certain AP class, then you won’t offer that class. This was one of the concerns raised with the NCS expansion – that it would affect the Cambridge program at Newark High School due to a drop in student population. There’s only so much money. And when charters (and magnets) pull from one pool of students it affects the demographics of the public school those kids left – usually by making the public school higher poverty and more racially identifiable. Which then means that teaching units are thrown out of balance.

    And the middle class parents who applied to CSW and NCS but didn’t get in are the most upset people out there. And why wouldn’t they be? Not only didn’t they get their “choice” but are then asked to basically suck it up (as well as called charter haters or told they have sour grapes and are jealous – go read the comments at Kilroy’s for proof) and deal with the rising poverty/loss of programs at their public school. These mostly white, suburban middle class parents are living with the charter fallout, and RCCD’s solution for them was to overcrowd A. I. duPont HS while letting Dickinson and McKean crash. And if you’re looking for parents even more upset, talk with those that not only didn’t get their choice of charter, but didn’t get their choice of A.I. or Newark HS. If you think I’m passionate about these issues… go speak with those parents.

    Yep, there’s a storm brewing and my bet is that it hits NCS first. Non NCS Christina parents are not only upset, they are organizing. And given the fact that there are more non NCS parents I can see why NCS parents are panicking and lashing out. Should be interesting to watch what happens there.

    As far as a link to available programs at RCCD elementary schools… I would suggest visiting each schools website. Altho… these websites use to contain much more info than they do today – they’re really generic now – when did that happen? Or you can do what I did and visit these schools (mostly on choice open house nights) as a prospective parent and hear all about it. Actually, you don’t need to visit every school – just go to Warner and North Star. It will be an eye opening experience.

    John, BSD cited hardship (that the NSA would re-segregate and create expensive high poverty schools) and got out of complying with the NSA. It was an amazing thing to witness (I attended the meetings – community and State Board). Watching what was possible when a school district and parents mobilized was inspiring.

    AGovernor, Brandywine doesn’t have charters because charters can’t get a foothold in the district. They accomplished this by not implementing NSA, not allowing rampant choice, stopping charters from taking over existing public school space, and by placing their most desirable programs in their least desirable (by suburban standards) schools. Are they perfect? No. But of the 4 districts that host city kids they were the only district that addressed the ramifications of NSA and choice and took steps to try and keep all of their schools viable.

  21. AGovernor says:

    My child is now in college. My child did not live in DE until High School.

    Coming from Georgia, I was shocked at the reports I read before our move and how poorly DE schools were rated.

    Still it annoys me that my feeder HS is not the closest HS and my feeder MS is so far away from my home and to attend the MS closest to my home, only 8 blocks away, I have to choice into a different school district. My next door neighbor with elementary aged children never even considered sending her son to Warner. They looked at Harlan (Brandywine) because of the IB program and Charters. Her child is enrolled at a Charter, Odyssey. I can not think of any of my friends or acquaintances living in my neighborhood sending their child to the feeder elementary, Warner. RCCD is failing city residents, the middle class choice out of Warner and the low income students suffer due to a dearth of enrichment programs that would prepare them for high achieving schools such as CSW. It is sinful.

  22. Mike O. says:

    I can not think of any of my friends or acquaintances living in my neighborhood sending their child to the feeder elementary…

    and

    low income students suffer due to a dearth of enrichment programs

    The two statements are not unrelated. The first one leads to the second.

  23. pandora says:

    Yes, it does. However, what happened when Brandywine Springs opened and RCCD went Choice crazy was that the middle class in the city wasn’t enough to save programs – there weren’t enough of us.

    In one year Warner went from 34.9% low income to 51.3% low income. The following year it was at 66.8% low income (last year it was at 92.4%). I had a child attending Warner at this time. The school was overwhelmed with need. Programs vanished overnight. This is what I’m referring to when I speak of teaching units. Warner had to address its increase in high needs students (100% for that, btw) at the expense of teaching units and programs.

    When we left Warner we felt driven out.

  24. Davy says:

    Last year 87.8% of students at Kuumba Academy were from low-income families.

  25. Tom Kline says:

    Delaware schools have been on the road to failure for decades. Why do most Astra Zeneca employees live in PA… Lower Income Taxes and much better schools. Now…real estate taxes are generally higher but you get what you pay for…

  26. Eve Buckley says:

    @ Davy, you’re right about Kuumba. On the other hand, its parent manual (online) states that each family must contribute 30 volunteer hrs annually, and this will be tracked via a logbook kept in the main office. That isn’t a req. that ordinary public schls can impose (however beneficial it may be)–some incentivize parent volunteerism, but they can’t require it. This suggests that there are ways of selecting the most motivated families from among the poor, for a charter. Maybe there’s some justification for that in a very high poverty community (a lifeboat mentality), but it’s impt to understand that Kuumba and surrounding public schls are probably serving fairly distinct populations. Obviously the demographic categories that DOE provides are coarse, with a lot of internal variation.

  27. Eve Buckley says:

    Charming @geezer, a few quick responses to your rabid post of 12:12 3/29 (pandora has covered much of the relevant terrain–thank you!): I’m not arguing that public schls should cease to address the needs of high-performing mid class students. My contention is that there is more value for the public dollar in providing challenging programs (like IB, and AP options) within trad’l public HS that accept all kids in their feeder zone. Once you extract the brightest (CSW) or least poor (NCS) students into one of four public HS within a district, you drain the remaining schools of human (e.g. parent volunteer) and financial ( e.g. fundraising potential) resources in a way that makes those schools decreasingly attractive. This precipitates further outmigration of the voting, tax-paying mid class from those schls until they have little public support. Maybe they do a great job with their 90% low-income students, but the academic struggles and disciplinary challenges that many of those students present leads most families in the area to view the school as undesirable. Not good for property owners (whose taxes support the schls) or families who have to remain in those schls due to lack of other options.

    On the other hand, if a largely poor (and in RCCSD and CSD areas, that means largely black and Latino–look at DOE’s schl profile stats if you don’t believe this) HS adds a program to “lure” higher-performing, more affluent kids back in, as Dickinson has done with IB, there are benefits to many sectors of the school’s community (including tax paying residents of the feeder area) beyond the students enrolled in those courses–who are also, I contend, well served. As long as schls retain a critical mass of ambitious, bright students, those students’ needs can be met. And those kids’ predominately better-off parents are invested in the schl and its district, at least to some degree. Instead, we’re eroding that kind of support for the public HSchools available to all–incl. families who move in after charter admission deadlines have passed, etc.–by concentrating most-engaged families from across the district in the same public school. I find that foolish, and damaging overall (and unnecessary).

  28. Geezer says:

    “By far, the best education my children received was at their middle and high public schools.”

    Then our experiences differ significantly. I found middle school the last straw. Politicians were arguing about the high rate of discipline for minority kids while my kid was being shaken down for his lunch money every day. That was the point at which I decided that while societal engineering is a swell idea in theory, it wasn’t worth sacrificing the education of my kids for it.

    You know far more of the details about what happened in the ’90s because I had gotten my kids out by then. And one reason was that I didn’t have the time or will to spend that much time and energy fighting the system and advocating for my children.

    I have no doubt — indeed, I know several of my children’s peers who could illustrate this — that you can secure a wonderful public education for a child. But you can’t do it simply by sending your kid to school; it takes a level of time and effort that I wasn’t able to put in.

    If you were raised in Delaware (I was not), then you know that public support for the schools evaporated after the busing order. Watching that unfold taught me the folly of missing the trees for the forest.

  29. Geezer says:

    Eve: The argument still boils down to tapping a minority of engaged parents (and students) to perform the function of bringing up the bottom part of the school population instead of excelling themselves. Good luck selling that to the taxpaying public. I wouldn’t buy it. Sorry, but I pay taxes so I DON’T have to take responsibility for personally educating my own kids. I’m theoretically paying for professionals to do that and, since that wasn’t happening in public schools, I got out.

    I would point out that your position follows logically from your own desire to maximize opportunities for your own children. Please realize that maximizing their opportunities involves creating less than optimal circumstances for others. The parents who want their kids in Newark Charter think that’s the best route for escaping the discipline-as-racism thinking that so dominates public schools — at least the Red Clay schools my kids went to. You and I might think they’re wrong, but that’s pretty condescending of us, isn’t it?

  30. Geezer says:

    “My contention is that there is more value for the public dollar in providing challenging programs (like IB, and AP options) within trad’l public HS that accept all kids in their feeder zone.”

    Really? How do you measure “value for the public dollar” in this field?

  31. Mike O. says:

    “I pay taxes so I DON’T have to take responsibility for personally educating my own kids”

    Actually, you pay school taxes precisely to ensure you share responsibility for educating other kids, regardless of what you do with yours. That’s why even people without children pay school taxes, and that is why the benefits of those taxes should not be focused on creating academies for the advantaged.

  32. pandora says:

    Look, I completely understand doing what you think best for your kids – it’s more the fact that we are forced into these decisions that infuriates me. Seriously, choice isn’t a choice if you have to choose. We only have one shot of getting them educated. I get that.

    When I was fighting RCCD for their irresponsible behavior my husband came to me and said, “I 100% support what you’re fighting for, but we need to take our kids off the front line.”

    So I kept fighting. I kept attending school board meetings, state board meetings, served on committees, etc. while we sent our kids to private school. I finally ended up choicing into BSD. What an eye opening experience – to leave RCCD for a district that actually fought for all its students. Have they been 100% successful? No. But at least they acknowledge the impacts of irresponsible choice and charters. And you have to wonder, with all the money in North Wilmington, why charters can’t find a foothold in BSD. Actually, you don’t have to wonder. BSD bucked the pro-segregation system that Red Clay embraced through rampant choice and charters. In fairness, the new RCCD board has been left with the 1990’s/2000’s board’s mess. And I don’t think it’s a coincidence to find previous RCCD school board member’s names linked to today’s (and yesterday’s) charter schools. I’ve always wonder how a public school board official justified putting the interest of charter schools ahead of those they were elected to serve. Call me naive, but I have higher hopes for today’s RCCD school board.

    My children thrived in BSD public schools, and experienced the diversity I highly value. My son is in college, on scholarship for mech engineering, and I give a huge amount of credit for his accomplishments to his public school teachers. Then again, BSD doesn’t foster, and encourage, white flight public schools.

    When we bought our house in the late 1990’s we moved into RCCD due to its reputation. Huge mistake. However, like most young couples, we weren’t in a financial position to say, “Oops, we should move into the Brandywine District.” So we ended up scrambling. Fortunately, we had the education and the financial means to make sure our children’s education served them well. That was our main advantage, and the main reason we never considered a Reach, Pencader or Moyer charter. We knew, educationally, they were selling snake oil and relied on parent panic (due to propaganda) to fill their seats.

    I am not blaming those parents. I am saying that parental choice is over-rated due to the fear that these charters propagate on the unknowing. Saturday night we had friends over for dinner. She’s a realtor, and she asked me this, “I know you’re really informed on education issues. Can you tell me why my clients no longer want to buy a house in Red Clay?” She probably ended up with more info than she wanted! But it basically boiled down to this – no one in Red Clay or Christina wants to buy a house that comes with a lottery ticket. CSW, NCS, A.I. duPont and Newark High School are, for the most part, lottery ticket schools. People buy property, in part, based on their guaranteed feeder school. So people with a Dickinson (altho RCCD is working to make that school desirable), McKean, Christina and Glasgow feeder aren’t buying into these schools – which is, and will, affect property values.

    I swear, I could give a class on how to get the most out of public education and put your child on the track for academic scholarship. Perhaps I should get working on that! :-)

  33. Geezer says:

    “Actually, you pay school taxes precisely to ensure you share responsibility for educating other kids, regardless of what you do with yours.”

    Nice reading comprehension you’ve got there. I said I don’t want to PERSONALLY educate them. If I had time for that I’d keep them at home and educate them myself. I should not have to advocate for them constantly. But the logical extension of the “thinking” you represent is that I am somehow robbing the system by not sacrificing my kids on the altar of your idea of “fairness.” My response, as you might expect, would be to tell you to go fuck yourself.

    “That’s why even people without children pay school taxes, and that is why the benefits of those taxes should not be focused on creating academies for the advantaged.”

    I see. The benefits should be focused on the disadvantaged, and any attempt to segregate kids based on academic achievement levels is taking resources away from them.

    While you’re fucking yourself, perhaps you should take the moral high ground you think you’re standing on and pound it up your ass, because it’s actually a hill of sand. If you can’t get me on your side, and I agree with your position to the point of being willing to pay higher taxes, what chance do you have in the real world, where people don’t want to spend more money?

  34. Geezer says:

    “My children thrived in BSD public schools, and experienced the diversity I highly value.”

    I’m glad for you and him, but there’s one big difference right there: I don’t “value” diversity for its own sake. All my son learned is to stay away from black kids because they’ll beat you up for your lunch money. Multiply that by tens of thousands and you’ll understand why all the highflown rhetoric in the world will not make busing a good idea.

    Something else that might interest you: At one point, BSD and RCSD switched feeder areas from the city. Brandywine got the more middle-class sections and Red Clay got the high-poverty areas. Money has more to do with this than race does. That’s why RCSD didn’t live up to its reputation.

    “My son is in college, on scholarship for mech engineering, and I give a huge amount of credit for his accomplishments to his public school teachers.”

    And my daughter — the one who barely qualified for the gifted program — graduated medical school. I give a huge amount of credit to her private school teachers, who worked for half the salary your kids’ teachers get.

    “Then again, BSD doesn’t foster, and encourage, white flight public schools.”

    In large part because the white-flight — excuse me, Catholic — schools skimmed the best of BSD years ago. White-flight charters exist in RCSD and CSD in part because those areas didn’t have an existing parochial school network to handle the white-flight load, and indeed you see lots more “Christian” schools in those areas.

    “it basically boiled down to this – no one in Red Clay or Christina wants to buy a house that comes with a lottery ticket. CSW, NCS, A.I. duPont and Newark High School are, for the most part, lottery ticket schools. People buy property, in part, based on their guaranteed feeder school. So people with a Dickinson (altho RCCD is working to make that school desirable), McKean, Christina and Glasgow feeder aren’t buying into these schools – which is, and will, affect property values.”

    Exactly. And why people like Mike O. expect others to sacrifice equity in their homes for some chimerical idea of “fairness” is a question you’ll have to answer if you expect to sway any of the 75% of households without a school-age child.

    Given a choice between something “fair” and something that benefits my child more than others, I’ll take No. 2 every time. Just like every other parent.

  35. Mike O. says:

    Who says I want you on my side? With your “I got mine, now pull up the ladder” attitude I’d rather have you weighing down the other side.

  36. pandora says:

    Oh wow! This is going to come out wrong, but…

    You don’t have to value diversity, but when you say this, ” I don’t “value” diversity for its own sake. All my son learned is to stay away from black kids because they’ll beat you up for your lunch money.” I’m thinking some diversity would have benefited you and your son. Not trying to be mean/snarky/sarcastic, but if that’s all your son learned then I’m guessing that not only do you not value diversity for diversity sake, but that you live, and raised your son, in a pretty non-diverse world.

    Seriously, in order for that stereotype to hold, in your son’s world, then the only exposure he had to minorities were minorities in poverty with problems at the school he attended. Sheesh, I know this is coming out wrong. Deep breath. My children have never learned the “lesson” your son learned because our group of friends are extremely diverse. It allowed them to not rely on stereotypes (in fact it made them call BS on stereotypes), or to judge people by their limited experience. Still not coming out right. I give up.

    As far as white parents not willing to sacrifice… well, I contend that those white parents made a deal with the devil and are now being held hostage. Remember RCCD’s last referendum? The one where they told suburban parents to vote yes or else they’d bus their kids back to RCCD’s city schools? Middle class white parents only think they’re in charge.