Attendance Zone Decision for Cooke Elementary School Results In A Protest

Filed in Delaware by on November 10, 2014

An ipetition landed in my email.  Here’s what it says:

Protest of Red Clay School Board’s Attendance Zone Decision for Cooke Elementary School

We demand that the Red Clay Consolidated School District School Board reverse their October 15 decision to deviate from the Attendance Zone feeder pattern that had been presented by the Attendance Zone Committee and accepted by the community. This last-minute decision undermined six months of work by the Attendance Zone Committee and did not give the community an opportunity to voice concerns. The students of Lancaster Court Apartments will not benefit from this decision, and the decision contradicts the Neighborhood Schools Act. The Board’s action was not ethical and the decision is not acceptable.

So… I made some calls to try and figure out what happened.  I’m piecing this together from various conversations, so if anyone has additional insight please let me know.  Here’s what I heard:

It seems Lancaster Court Apartments were added to Cooke Elementary’s attendance zone instead of Marbrook’s due to Marbrook’s plan to add Pre-K and the additional space needed for that program.  I was also told that Cooke has the space, and several people I spoke with said that Cooke was projected to be under capacity.  Let me know if you’ve heard anything different.

Redrawing attendance zones is always a nightmare.  People end up unhappy.  But this is actually the first time I can remember the fight being about keeping a community out.  Normally, the battle consists of moving a neighborhood into a preferred attendance zone.

But this petition is interesting. Let’s take a look at the comments on this petition:

“Everyone MUST show up at the 11/19 (6:30PM) Shcool Board meeting at Brandywine Springs School. It’s our chance to be heard and to get the board to reverse their decision!!!”

Fair enough.  Everyone should attend school board meetings and speak their mind.  I’m all for that.  The second comment appears to be from the organizers of the ipetition:

Concerned Neighbors of Cooke Elementary School said:

“Absolutely agreed, Xudong! Board member Cathy Thompson (the only Board Member to vote AGAINST this motion) said that if we have an awesome turnout at the meeting, then there is a chance for the decision to be reversed!!! Show up no later than 6:30 at Brandywine Springs School prepared to share your points in 3 minutes or less. Main points can include:
1) The Board’s decision was not the right thing to do;
2) The community was given no voice as a result of their last-minute action;
3) This decision is NOT in the best interest of Lancaster Court Apartment students as they will not be eligible for Title 1 (special school funding and other benefits) that they would receive at another school. How is this helping students??
4) This decision violates the Neighborhood Schools Act;
5) Passing of the upcoming referendum is at risk if this decision is not reversed
The more presence we have at the meeting, the more of an impact we will make!!!”

Um… why would they think students who qualify would not be eligible for Title 1, special school funding and other benefits.  This point is perplexing – and I’m thinking the writers don’t understand Title 1.  Are they saying that Cooke Elementary, a public school, won’t/can’t serve all public school kids?  How would that work?  If someone in the Cooke attendance zone lost their job and needed school services would they have to leave Cooke?  Of course not.  So what really is their point?

The final comment asks some questions:

“Hi, I am a concerned Red Clay parent, too, and I’d like to hear more details about the negative reaction to the inclusion of this community in the Cooke attendance zone? I think there might be some confusion about the way Title I funding works and its purpose, as well as the applicability of the Neighborhood Schools Act to our district at this time. What is the concern, really? Please advise…”

Can’t wait to read the responses to these questions, if there are any.  ‘Cause I’m not buying into their stated concern for the kids at Lancaster Court Apartments.  And I’d really like to know why they think their public school wouldn’t offer services to public school kids who need them.

And… if the board reverses their decision on this vote due to a petition then that’s the new precedent.  Which I’d be okay with because I’m sure I could generate a petition for equitably funding city schools, or changing other attendance zones… and get a ton of people to sign it.  But that hasn’t been the way it’s worked in the past and we’ve all dealt with it.  Plenty of people were upset when North Star’s attendance zone was drawn, but they lived with it.

Everyone might also want to consider the new Priority Schools.  Remember, the plan for these city schools, should they continue to “fail” – and given the lack of funding attached to priority schools, they probably will – they will be closed, converted to charter or privatized.  If these things happen where will the kids who attended these public schools be assigned?  District lines aren’t changing, so children living in the Red Clay School District will still have to be assigned to a Red Clay school.  Right?  Charters are all choice schools and don’t have an attendance zone, so if (some) priority schools become charters then attendance zones will have to be redrawn again – to take the kids not attending the new all choice charters.  If (some) priority schools are closed down then the kids in their attendance zones will have to be assigned to suburban schools in their home district.  If this happens (and I’m beginning to think it will) then we’re in for redrawing attendance zones across the board.  Just food for thought.

 

 

 

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Comments (98)

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  1. Mike Matthews says:

    I wish they would just come out and say what they really want to say.

  2. Nancy Willing says:

    *gulp* this is likely to get even uglier.

  3. Geezer says:

    What they want to say is they don’t want their kids going to school with poor kids, because poor kids pull down test scores, making the schools look as if they’re failing.

    City school scores aren’t low because city school funding is lower. They’re lower because the kids’ parents have less money.

  4. puck says:

    I wish they would just come out and say what they really want to say.

    After all these years, it was never that far below the surface. It is the same impulse that drives the creation of selective charter schools.

  5. Geezer says:

    Red Clay parents vote with their feet: Over 21% of Red Clay students attend private schools.

  6. Steve Newton says:

    @Geezer: across NCC the percentage is close to 24%, which (when I last checked about two years ago) placed our county in the top ten nationwide for largest percentage of school-age children in private schools.

    But whether this is still an artifact of deseg or a response to more recent developments is an open question: the percentage was once (back in the early 1990s) closer to 28-29% if I recall correctly.

  7. Geezer says:

    Steve: I go back far enough to remember that one of the promises made about charter schools was that it would lure back many of those students to public schools, thereby improving test scores, therefore proving they are more successful as educators.

    You can’t fix anything if you’re working on the wrong problem.

  8. mediawatch says:

    Often it appears that the biggest problem for those in charge of the education system is that they have been unable to identify a problem that they are capable of solving.

  9. pandora says:

    This isn’t a post about the percent of kids attending private school. This is a post about a group of people wanting to overturn a school board’s decision and keep an area out of their attendance zone. It’s specifically about the petitioners’ actions.

    It’s also about their stated reasons, which are uninformed when it comes to Title 1 – benefits and services offered – as well as how a board votes. The board can vote to accept/reject a committee plan OR amend it. Didn’t the RCCD do this with the Social Media Policy plan in September? I was at that meeting… wasn’t the committee’s plan amended?

    Hey! Lookee here! Know what else has been amended since I wrote this post? The Petition’s wording. They dropped this sentence: The students of Lancaster Court Apartments will not benefit from this decision. Guess they realized how revealing that faux concern statement was.

  10. Geezer says:

    Yeah, so? Are you now playing the “on-topic” police? I can get that over at Delaware Politics.

    Yes, the parents are probably a bunch of racists/classists. This isn’t rocket science.

  11. Geezer says:

    Or let’s put it another way: Parents’ attitude is that they didn’t pay a premium for a home in Hockessin so their kids could go to school with the kids from Lancaster Court.

  12. pandora says:

    *sigh* I wrote a post on a specific petition that will be presented at a specific upcoming event – RCCD’s board meeting next week. I asked if anyone had additional insight into what was going on. I put a lot of time into calling, emailing people to find out what was happening and hoped our readers could help piece things together.

  13. Geezer says:

    I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to be flip. I just put all such things into the NIMBY file automatically. In this case, it’s lower-class kids they don’t want in their back yards.

    My kids are beyond school age so I’m not plugged in anymore, so I can’t tell you what the suburban parents are saying. It’s worth noting, I think, that this area of the county (along the Del. 48/41 corridor) has seen its feeder patterns affected by the neighborhood schools act, the rehab of Brandywine Springs and the construction of North Star. By the same token, these buildings could be seen as long-overdue replacements for Yorklyn, Hockessin and a third one whose name I can’t recall but it’s now a nursing home along 48.

    Your concerns are real, but in my years of parenting I’ve found a majority of suburban parents are most concerned about how many different schools they will have to drive to on any given day. The actual educational interests are secondary.

    Given only the information you presented, I reach the conclusion that people out in the sticks thought they’d get suburban students rather than urban ones at the school. I won’t be at the meeting, but I will predict people will bring up crime in the neighborhood as a concern, and that nobody will raise the point I did — that if you want your child to get the “best education” by our current bass-ackwards measure, then you want a highly-rated school, and the easiest way to get a highly-rated school is to exclude as many poors as possible.

  14. puck says:

    Parents’ attitude is that they didn’t pay a premium for a home in Hockessin so their kids could go to school with the kids from Lancaster Court.

    Those same parents would send their kids to whites-ohly schools if they were available.

    I live in the affected feeder pattern and I haven’t heard anything about the petition except here. I hope the Red Clay board brushes it off with the revulsion it deserves.

  15. Nancy Willing says:

    this pulls together a lot of the recent work on rich v poor in education outcome –
    http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/27360-enough-talk-about-grit-it-s-time-to-talk-about-privilege

  16. Geezer says:

    Nancy: Thanks. Here’s a story that discusses the problem and actually finds a solution:

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/novemberdecember_2014/features/the_new_segregation052709.php?page=all

  17. Al says:

    I’m a little puzzled, so the complaint is that the kids at this apartment complex will go to Cooke instead of Marbrooke? I guess we dont know how good a school Cooke will be, but is Marbrooke that great a school with a better demographic? I didn’t think Marbrooke was that great and Cooke seems to be pulling from a lot of Hockessin and Pike Creek? Not sure what the argument is.

  18. Meesh says:

    Name calling is so much more appropriate! Everyone is entitled to an opinion and I believe that this ipetition is wide open to interpretation.

    I am a resident of this feeder pattern and I also signed the ipetition for the simple reason that the school board was deceitful and dishonest with the community and that is where my problem lies. If we allow the board to make last minute motions and never give the public the opportunity to respond or ask questions where will that lead us as a district? At the same time present a referendum to increase taxes? Comments that the city residents are paying for the school negates the fact that so called “classist” are also had their taxes increased , I would like to see how much money comes from the city in comparison to the suburbs. I would also like to see how many residents of the city voted in the referendum to build the school in the first place.

    Now as for Title 1 funding, this a a subject that I am not well versed in but I have read up on and my understanding is this:
    Schools are determined by the percentage of low income students that attend to qualify for funding. Cooke will not be a title 1 school therefore limiting benefits. Benefits available will still include discounted lunches but will have to be applied for individually by families. There are four types of grants within title 1 funding and there are regulations on how these funds are distributed and used and not solely at the discretion of the school district.Pandora, since you seem to know this subject better than I perhaps you could elaborate on your previous comment about not understanding title 1 funding and explain how it works.
    You also commented on equal funding, do you have documentation on each schools funding because I would like to see where the discrepancy lies.

    So, NO this is not about Lancaster Court Kids or poor kids going to school with our kids it’s about the Boards conduct. The decision was changed last minute leaving no opportunity for public comment nor were there any valid reasons given for the motion to change what had been the AZcommittees recommendation ( also what had been presented to the public) their comment about Westwoods not wanting to go to Cooke from NS was hearsay. They did not ask any of the kids or families from other neighborhoods their feelings on changing schools. The board made comments about distance ( there are 3 other schools in closer proximity ) according to GPS…I drove the route to Marbrook and Cooke and there is over a 4 min difference not the 1 min difference indicated by GPS. There was mention of traffic at Faulkland rd. But no mention of the traffic at Graves rd. Which is already a nightmare in the morning. And then the kicker, Marbrook’s capacity is down in the 65% range and that’s fine because they MAY start a preschool program there.. Wow another program without a plan or funding. On top of it regardless of how you feel about, there is the neighborhood school act the districts responsibility is this ” develop a neighborhood school plan ..that assign[ed] every student within the district to the grade-appropriate school closest to the student’s residence, without regard to any consideration other than geographic distance and natural boundaries of neighborhoods.”
    The act was put in place and what DE failed to do is create a school district for the city of Wilmington but instead further deteriorated our public school system and kept the city divided amongst the 4 districts. I think they should of considered creating a district for just the city.

    KILROY makes an opposition constantly against CSW… Those kids start preparing themselves for that admission before junior high, why would we want to hold back those who want to achieve ? Why are we always rewarding mediocrity and dumbing down to bridge a gap and punishing those who work hard.
    I appreciate the last 2 articles posted and read them thoroughly, but I don’t think the issue is about poor versus affluent and not wanting our kids to be with poor kids( I am neither, I work hard and serve the under privileged ).
    As a society we are always trying to make things equal/fair but as I tell my own children LIFE is Fair because it’s unfair to everyone.
    So the schools have historically tried de-segregation based on raced and were unsuccessful now the focus is bridging a gap in academic achievement by desegregating socioeconomic status , the bottom line is this there will always be a difference! When this fails, as the desegregation of race did, what will we try next hair color? There will always be a gap because as we try to close the gap the children that don’t need supplemental help will continue to advance as well.

  19. Steve Newton says:

    OK, this one is so good it requires careful parsing …

    I also signed the ipetition for the simple reason that the school board was deceitful and dishonest with the community and that is where my problem lies.

    But, strangely, that’s (a) not what you spend most of the rest of the comment talking about; and (b) let’s assume the board had followed whatever you think is proper procedure and still voted the same–can we then assume you would have refused to sign the petition? A simple yes or no to that one would suffice.

    I would like to see how much money comes from the city in comparison to the suburbs. I would also like to see how many residents of the city voted in the referendum to build the school in the first place.

    Immaterial, unless you are arguing that people with high property values are entitled to better public education (which, by the way, they are already receiving).

    Benefits available will still include discounted lunches but will have to be applied for individually by families Read some more, apparently. By State law children who qualify for free and reduced lunch at any school must be automatically enrolled by the district without having to make an application.

    There are four types of grants within title 1 funding and there are regulations on how these funds are distributed and used and not solely at the discretion of the school district. True but misleading. Your argument comes down to: poor kids should be left together in majority poor schools so they will benefit from Title 1.

    Actually, the research is pretty clear that poor kids who are in with more affluent kids in a non-Title 1 school will do better than their peers in a Title 1 school. Those affluent schools have all sorts of additional “soft” resources that Title 1 schools generally never get–like constant parent volunteers in the classrooms, PTOs that can raise thousands and tens of thousands of dollars instead of the hundreds raised at events in the city, multiple parent and faculty sponsors for enrichment programs from Gifted and Talented to Odyssey of the Mind that don’t exist in any quantity at the Title 1 schools.

    Marbrook’s capacity is down in the 65% range and that’s fine because they MAY start a preschool program there.. Wow another program without a plan or funding. Nice try. To start the pre-K program there first has to be classroom space available. Moreover, you pull a neat little trick where you demand pandora show you stats on equity of funding, but don’t bother to source your (inaccurate) assertion that there has been no planning or funding for the Pre-K. Care to cite a source?

    On top of it regardless of how you feel about, there is the neighborhood school act … which has (a) never been effectively enforced, and (b) is almost totally meaningless in the suburbs where there are multiple schools often equidistant from your house depending on the route selected or whether you use direct-line distance. Maybe you should go back and review why NSA couldn’t have existed while NCC was under the desegregation orders.

    CSW… Those kids start preparing themselves for that admission before junior high, why would we want to hold back those who want to achieve ? Why are we always rewarding mediocrity and dumbing down to bridge a gap and punishing those who work hard. I love this one: who, in your scenario, would be those who DON’T want to achieve? Well, let’s see from your subsequent comments …

    So the schools have historically tried de-segregation based on raced and were unsuccessful now the focus is bridging a gap in academic achievement by desegregating socioeconomic status , the bottom line is this there will always be a difference!

    Yep! It’s non-white kids and poor kids, and your whole conclusion is-despite your blathering about process and distance–based on the idea that your kids and those of other suburban parents should not be put in close quarters with poor black kids who will hold back those who want to achieve. Whatta humanitarian. I’m tearing up over here.

    And as the climax, you point out that neither black nor poor kids will ever catch up no matter what we do, so why bother trying: There will always be a gap

    but I don’t think the issue is about poor versus affluent and not wanting our kids to be with poor kids … except that’s what your position comes down to–in your own words.

    You really ought to try reading it back before you hit that Post Comment button if you don’t accidentally want to tell the truth about what you’re thinking.

  20. Geezer says:

    @Meesh: I appreciate the candor. I would point out that the experience in Montgomery County, Md., showed clear benefits to the poorer students, not immediately, but over the course of an entire K-5 or 6 experience. Like it or not, the mandate is to eliminate as much of the achievement gap as possible, so one can see why it would be wise to avoid moving them out of Marbrook only when the need arises.

    A couple of points:

    The very fact that you want to know tax revenue from city residents vs. county residents illustrates the class friction in play.

    If you think high-handed behavior by the Red Clay board is new, you haven’t been around long. What difference would it make if you got a say?

    And while your concern for the well-being of children is nice, shouldn’t the interests of the Lancaster Court parents come first? It’s nice that you want their kids to attend a high-poverty school so they can get services without asking, but why would your concern trump the concern of those kids’ parents?

    The trip is 4.4 miles, and it’s a reverse commute from the city. There’s even a DART route that runs every 40 minutes and stops at Coffee Run, a 2-minute walk from the school, so even parents without cars can get to school when they have to. My kids are grown, but I’m still a Red Clay taxpayer, and I think on balance it sounds like a good idea.

  21. pandora says:

    I love it when Steve does the work for me!

    Yeah, this group’s concern is all about the school board’s procedure. I’m sure this uproar would be happening if the board moved an area of Greenville into the attendance zone… right? Of course not, and you proved that point with everything you wrote after your first four sentences.

    Steve addressed most of the points. I’ll point out this: I never commented on equal funding. I commented about equitable funding.

  22. Mike Matthews says:

    I’m gonna call BS on meesh’s comments, particularly the insinuation that the Board is acting shadily for putting this through. Maybe there’s some question there, but not to the screen meesh is claiming. This topic of sending Lancaster Court to Cooke was discussed over multiple months by the Attendance Zone Committee, of which I was a member. At every public meeting there was ample time for public comment and I found the meetings to be pretty well attended by the public. My chronology and memory is a bit off, but at a certain point I actually thought the committee had made this recommendation to the Board as part of the overall package. I could very well be wrong though. So it’s not like this was some evil and deceitful last-minute thing here. It had been discussed for months during the very open committee process.

  23. pandora says:

    Meesh’s point seems to boil down to this: 1.) Cooke elementary will be located in an affluent area and should serve its surrounding community. 2.) Title 1 kids should attend Title 1 schools.

    If we buy into #1, then Highlands should be able to make the same claims – after all, Highlands is an extremely affluent area whose poorest part of their feeder lies closer to Baltz.

    And what about Warner, whose attendance zone is non-contiguous?

    And if we buy into #2, then isn’t Meesh calling for Title 1 eligible kids to be sent to Title 1 schools? This is mind boggling. Especially since Meesh seems to think that Title 1 eligible children can only receive services if they attend a Title 1 school.

    And if we flip his/her argument, then wouldn’t non Title 1 children attending Title 1 schools have grounds to demand that their community (Highlands, Trolley, Triangle, Forty Acres, etc.) have their attendance zone changed to a school that reflects their neighborhood?

  24. pseudo elitist says:

    Bravo, Meesh! Agree on every point!

    @Mike Matthews, regarding the board being shady and deceitful, please differentiate the board and the committee. The committee did its job, made its recommendations, with public inputs. Importantly, the committee considered the idea of adding Lancaster Court Apartments to Cooke, but equally importantly, it decided against it. Remember, this work was done with public input and careful elaboration. Kudus to the committee!
    Furthermore, the proposal from the committee was widely distributed early on, and with time well accepted in the community.
    The board, however, did not respect this accepted feeder proposal (and the efforts and money spent behind it). Not only that, but it made MAJOR change (they are claiming minor change, but who could believe that??? Even you won’t!), at last minute (timing of Choice process starting), without any communication to affected public. I was one of the parent who was in the dark, and when I learned this from my neighbor, I was furious. Then, when I talked with my friends who are also affected by this, I found that they were all in the dark. I bet 99% people don’t even know about this, before the petition and awareness efforts started by concerned neighbors.
    The board claims that they are striving to be transparent and being proud of their efforts to letting people being heard (source: public letter from Board members). Why are they doing this to the public on this hugely important issue?

  25. pseudo elitist says:

    @Pandora, regarding who should go to which school.

    We should follow Neighborhood School Act. Lancaster Court Apartments should go to Marbrook, or Baltz, not going over several neighborhoods to Cooke.

    It is not an excuse that the law was never reinforced before. When we are given the opportunity (we were), we should follow the letter and spirit of the law. You cannot say that the law was broken before, therefore, I don’t need to follow it this time. If you do that often, you will land in jail sooner or later.

    Cooke was in the center of an affluent area, according to Neighborhood School Act, it would have affluent neighborhood kids. That was the results of the law, and also the expectation of the community. That should not be the point for the debate, period. No need to argue that some affluent neighborhoods are assigned to poor schools, because those are in accordance to the Neighborhood School Act.

    Now, let’s look at the feeder map. By and large, the map makes sense looking through the lens of Neighborhood School Act. Most of the feeders have contiguous boundaries. Did any of you find it odd that Cooke jump out and had a piece that was so removed from its other major feeder area? In fact, the distance between the two pieces is almost the same as the width of the whole school feeder area. In fact, if the board did not make the change (according to the committee’s proposal), the feeder pattern largely followed the letter and spirit of the Neighborhood School Act.

  26. pseudo elitist says:

    @Geezer, regarding true reason to assign Lancaster Court to Cooke.

    It goes without saying that the true reason for the petition is to prevent the school from degrading from potentially a good school to a bad school. Everyone has the same desire: to have their child/children to go to a good school. What is wrong with that? As you pointed out, the real reason for assigning Lancaster Court to Cooke is to let their children to go to a better school. However, the result is the school becoming not a good school (or not as good a school) any more. The close-by neighborhood children will suffer as a result. If you argue that the kids at Lancaster Court have the right to go to a better school, the same argument is true for the Hockessin kids. They are going to a worse school as a result of providing benefit for Lancaster Court kids. This becomes a purely political debate. Who would have what. Who is more entitled to what…

    That’s why we have to go back to Neighborhood School Act. We need to follow the law. If the law is unjust, try to change that. Under the law, everyone is equal. The poor kids do not have more rights that the rich ones, vice versa.

    Regarding the benefit for the poor kids, cited research. No doubt. There should be benefit, and that is expected. I bet that same research did not measure the corresponding degradation of the performance of the other kids (which added together will exceed the small gain for the poor kids). Yes, if the goal is to eliminate as much of the achievement gap as possible, this is wonderful, because you increase performance of poor kids, and decreased performance of richer kids. Everyone is more alike, or “equal”. However, have you thought about as a whole, as a country, as a society, is it better overall? By dragging down the better kids, do we have a better future now? What kind of competitive position do we have with China down the road/years? If there is no competition, perhaps this is just a domestic political issue regarding who get what. However, in reality, everyone’s benefit would be affected by this kind of stupid short-sighted thinking.

    There is a need to improve education for the poor kids. However, this is a much more complex issue that require far more complicated solution than busing some poor kids to rich schools.

  27. Steve Newton says:

    True motives on display: fear that your own children are so fragile that contact with poor children will destroy their education:

    It goes without saying that the true reason for the petition is to prevent the school from degrading from potentially a good school to a bad school.

    Amazing the power that 100 poor kids could have in determining the fate of the entire school. No matter what teachers and programs we have, no matter how committed the parents might be, putting poor kids into an affluent school will turn the whole thing to shit.

    You make me sick.

    How about we just lock up all the little dark-skinned poor mongrels behind fences and keep them off soccer teams and give them different parts of the stores to shop in, because you never know when poverty or, excuse me, non-affluence, might rub off on vulnerable middle-class kids.

    In one way I am pleased that the gloves are off. It is no longer being pretended that that (a) it was the process by which the vote was taken that matters; or (b) that attending Cooke is not good for the Lancaster Court kids (original version of petition); or even (c) that the Neighborhood Schools Act wasn’t intended to reinforce de facto segregation on behalf of affluent suburban parents. Notice how all of that left play over the past few comments.

    What is in play now is that poor, non-white school children have now been exposed as education vampires, and commenters like pseudo-elitist have been exposed as … well, what they really are.

  28. Dorian Gray says:

    I love it when Prof Newton gets fired up! The idea that poor black kids somehow make the school bad is fucking disgusting and racist. So there, I said it.

    “Dragging down the BETTER kids…” Psuedo Elitist is a geniune racist. Stop channelling George Wallace circa 1963. Oh, and the only reason the issue is “complicated” is because the real motivation is the hatred and the idea the poor black kids somehow bring down rich white kids.

  29. Geezer says:

    @Pandora: As I said earlier, it ain’t rocket science.

    @Pseudo: “this is a much more complex issue that require far more complicated solution than busing some poor kids to rich schools.”

    No, actually, it isn’t. Did you read the story I linked to? The greatest gains were shown by schools that had poor kids going to rich-kid schools. In the case of Montgomery County, Md., that came about by putting low-income housing in higher-income neighborhoods. If you think Hockessin residents are bitching and moaning about a few score poor kids attending school there, cover your ears before broaching the subject of locating any low-cost housing there.

    As I noted in an earlier comment, the trip is 4.4 miles, an estimated 7 minutes without traffic. It’s also on a DART route, ameliorating the usual problem of access for poor city residents.

    If you really think your kids will be ill-served by such an arrangement, you can always choice them into North Star or Brandywine Springs.

  30. pandora says:

    Oh my, my my!

    Question pseudo elitist: Why is adding Lancaster Court Apartments a “MAJOR” change? Yeah, you answered that in later comments and your answer is really vile.

    The thing I’ve come to realize from the Cooke community is, for all their talk about educational superiority, they are pretty stupid when it comes to facts. For instance, the board has always been able to amend committee recommendations. You people act like this broke some law, or was never done before.

    Here’s another fact you got wrong: You guys state that Cooke, according to your flyer (yes, I have a copy) is the only non-contiguous elementary school attendance zone. This point was soooo important that you even bolded it on the flyer. You’re wrong again. Warner elementary has a non-contiguous attendance zone. You geniuses even printed the AZ map that showed Warner’s AZ. If you had bothered to look at it you would have seen you were… what’s the word? Oh yeah, wrong again.

    Third, you do not understand the NSA, which can only exist in spirit and can only be followed to the letter if the schools were located in different areas. They aren’t, so the letter and spirit of that law cannot ever be implemented.

    But here’s the money quote:

    It goes without saying that the true reason for the petition is to prevent the school from degrading from potentially a good school to a bad school. Everyone has the same desire: to have their child/children to go to a good school. What is wrong with that? As you pointed out, the real reason for assigning Lancaster Court to Cooke is to let their children to go to a better school. However, the result is the school becoming not a good school (or not as good a school) any more. The close-by neighborhood children will suffer as a result. If you argue that the kids at Lancaster Court have the right to go to a better school, the same argument is true for the Hockessin kids. They are going to a worse school as a result of providing benefit for Lancaster Court kids. This becomes a purely political debate. Who would have what. Who is more entitled to what…

    Disgusting. I hope RCCD school board reads these comments, because all this talk about contiguous attendance zones, shady board votes and the spirit of the NSA is complete and utter BS.

  31. Geezer says:

    @Pandora: You’ve done a wonderful job of expressing disgust. Do you have a non-emotional reason for backing the plan, or are you going to go with the cheap, easy PC response?

  32. John Kowalko says:

    pseudo elitist,

    Some people might suggest that it is inappropriate for sitting legislators to weigh in on blog sites but your statements, ( e.g. “degrading from potentially a good school to a bad school. Everyone has the same desire: to have their child/children to go to a good school”), shows a vile disdain for the truth that “all men are created equal…they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights”. Your statements resonate with a certain undertone of bigotry and resentment for those less fortunate and exposes your true lack of understanding of the public education system and its responsibilities to all children. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    John Kowalko

  33. pandora says:

    I’m sure you’ll be asking Steve and Dorian the same question.

    But, yes, I have reasons. Lancaster Court Apartments was reintroduced into the Cooke feeder because a.) Marbrook has applied to add Pre-K which would use the available space, and b.) Cooke has available space.

  34. Geezer says:

    Steve and Dorian aren’t childishly ignoring me, so no, I won’t be.

  35. pandora says:

    What? How am I ignoring you? And where did Steve and Dorian answer you? (Days ago, Steve responded one time about private school percentages) Seriously, this is becoming tiresome.

  36. Dorian Gray says:

    The only thing I miss about moving out of Windy Hills is not being able to vote for John Kowalko again. Mr Kowalko puts the fightin’ in The Fightin’ 25th!!

  37. Mike Matthews says:

    Pseudo elitist:

    And the facts have changed. Back during the committee process, we didn’t know that the District was interested in beefing up its PreK program, a program that has shown PHENOMENAL success with the students who’ve attended it and then continued through Red Clay schools in recent years. It makes MUCH more sense to put a PreK program into Marbrook — where the high-needs population will have easier access — than it would be to put it at Cooke.

    And I doubt I need to explain Board procedure to you. The AZ committee made a RECOMMENDATION. The Board is still the governing body of the District and can make adjustments to or vote down recommendations at any time. See: Inclusion.

  38. pseudo elitist says:

    @ School capacity and facts

    Before board change, Cooke at 86%, after at 96%.
    Marbrook before at 84%, after at 67%.

    Really, for a “potential” PreK program whose funding is nowhere to be found (see Board member communication)? What a waste! Besides, Marbrook at 84% has the capacity to accommodate PreK, even in the event of it getting funding. However, based on past experience of North Star, it is highly likely Cooke will get over 100% shortly after it opens, even starting at 86%, let alone at 96% to begin with. How stupid of a decision is that? Unbelievable. Yet, there are people here spew and spin. Truly disgusting.

    As for Warner school, it appears to be true that it has two pieces not joint together after some digging (it is not clear in the approved feeder pattern chart). With that I will say, fine, if they so desire, join the fight for truly Neighborhood School! I will surely support their effort!

  39. pseudo elitist says:

    For the haters, I can only say: the feeling is mutual. You gave me hate, disgust, and shame, I give it all back to you, and then some! The very fact that people like you exist disgusts me. Why don’t you take the time to create, to give, to contribute, to achieve (and I never dreamed of the fact that over-achieving actually could be a bad word, but what do I know)? But, NO, what is the fun in THAT? Taking from other people is more fun and game (now I known…).

    Me, I’m just a hard-working, colored, immigrant, came from a humble background (came to the US with absolutely nothing). I respect everyone who works to get himself/herself (and family) fed, and I despise anyone who leech on other people’s labor and efforts. No race, poor/rich, gender, background, etc. matter to me. I am color blind.

  40. pseudo elitist says:

    @John Kowalko

    According to our founding fathers, we should have equal opportunity in the pursuit of happiness. Please note the pursuit part (which actually takes efforts). Not equal amount of happiness. You do understand the difference, right?

    Even Obama knows to champion equal opportunity to prosper, not equality given directly.

    What a preacher! Not knowing (or maybe intentionally confusing people) his own sermon! Please don’t dream of it. You think if you tell a person to suicide, they will just do it, right?

  41. Steve Newton says:

    Obviously you dropped in for this one issue and don’t know either the media or the players …

    The very fact that people like you exist disgusts me. Why don’t you take the time to create, to give, to contribute, to achieve?

    In no particular order you’ve been dialoging with a former PTA President; a teacher’s union president; and awarding-winning newspaper/radio commentator; and a university professor at an HBCU who trains teachers …

    Between three of the four (the other is single) have been raised multiple high-achieving kids, most of whom are in or done with college now (one more to go next year) …

    There’s nothing wrong with achievement … there’s plenty of it to go around here …

    What’s offensive is your insistence that your children’s education will be ruined by having other children from a particular neighborhood in their school … and your insistence that poor urban children of color can’t succeed and should therefore be left in their own Title 1 ghetto to receive services and be safely away from your children.

  42. Pseudo Elitist says:

    @geezer

    Yes, I did read your linked story. At an intellectual level, I agree that there is benefit for the poorer kids. I also agree that the more benefit could be derived from blending residents. Actually it is desirable to blend residents because the benefit is more sustainable and more fundamental. I personally may not desire to live in such a community, though. One key issue I have with this is the omission of the detrimental effect on other kids. Any one who denies it was either delusional or deceitful. In my personal opinion, the damage is greater than the benefit overall. Thus as a society, it is not the right way to deal with the underlying problem.

    The fact that by blending residents the benefit to the poorer kids is more organic and perhaps damage to the better kids are less severe suggest this is a more advanced approach and probably more effective. This is only looking at solving students problems, though, not solving society problems. Thus at a higher level, I am not sure it is the right way to go.

    And, Yes, I am planning to choice into BSS, given the shits going on at Cooke. However, it is easy to understand that I am being forced into this.

  43. Mike Matthews says:

    More than anger at your comments, you leave me with a genuine sense of sadness that you would classify the children from Lancaster Court as “shits.” I’m not even sure debating you is an option at this point.

  44. Rufus Y. Kneedog says:

    Parenthood – at once the most selfless and selfish of pursuits.
    The real crime here was putting a brand new public school on Graves Rd in the first place when the need is so much greater in Wilmington.
    @P.E. – there is nothing wrong with wanting the best for your kids. There is something wrong with denying a public resource to others less fortunate. Obviously there are societal problems here that are difficult to solve, but we have to at least try don’t we? You can say its not your fault but you can’t say its not your problem. You plan for your kids to be high achievers and under your guidance I am sure they will be. The kids in the apartments, by and large, have no one advocating for them other than Pandora. You will make the best choice for your kids schooling. The kids in the apartments will go where their feeder sends them.

  45. pandora says:

    It is really sad. All these adults fighting to keep children, ages 5 – 10, out of their brand new, tax payer funded school because, somehow, these little, poor black and brown kids will contaminate their child’s education.

    We always knew this had nothing to do with school board transparency and non-contiguous attendance zones. What I wasn’t prepared for is how easily and openly you guys reveal your true motivations.

  46. LeBay says:

    And, Yes, I am planning to choice into BSS, given the shits going on at Cooke. However, it is easy to understand that I am being forced into this.

    Reread those 2 sentences, Mike Matthews. Pseudo Elitist is an asshole, but he didn’t call the Lancaster Court kids “shits”. It appears he was referring to the “shit” going on at Cooke.

    I feel like I’ve entered a time warp. We heard all these arguments in the ’70s when busing became mandatory.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desegregation_busing#Wilmington.2C_Delaware

  47. Pseudo Elitist says:

    Exactly, at heart this is busing, an it is wrong!

  48. Pseudo Elitist says:

    @pandora

    I understand and respect your right to advocate for the poor kids. I myself may do so in a different situation. Why on earth can’t you understand our kids have rights too, and I have the right to champion for my kids? So in essence this is your interest vs. mine kind of problem, at the fundamental level. You can not hide behind moral high ground. When your advocated kids got their interest, mine are losing their, and more! As a society we are losing because of your advocacy.

    I have no intention to hide my intention, and I have no interest of fighting with you on that ground here, because it is just that, your represented interest vs. mine.

    But we are talking about breaking the letter and spirit of the law, and that is worth fighting! When you are breaking the law, you better give me some good reasons. Just looking the data and fact about attendance, numbers don’t lie! Your given reason is shitty excuse at best!

    @poor kids contaminate our kids.

    I am being reasonable and were saying that there is detrimental effect (not from 100% to 0%, but more like to 80%). The problem is that you completely ignore this. Maybe that is just not important for you. It is extremely important for me. I care the difference at 1% level. Some other parents I know even care to 0.1% level. If you can not understand this, or just purely deny any of this, I have nothing else to say. We are probably living on different planet and have brains made of different material.

  49. pandora says:

    I’m sorry, but that’s complete nonsense. Advocating for your kids shouldn’t involve hurting other children. Advocating for programs in a public school is one thing. Advocating to keep a certain population out of a public school is not advocating – it’s ugly.

    If you want to control who attends school with your child then send them to a private school, or one of the “selective” charters. Every citizen owns Cooke.

    And you really don’t understand how the NSA is implemented. You guys also don’t understand Title 1. You don’t understand that the school board has every right to amend a committee’s RECOMMENDATION – it’s why it’s called, you know, a recommendation. And you’ve already lost one of your main points – non-contiguous elementary AZs already exist in RCCD.

    And I do think you strongly implied that Lancaster Court kids are “sh*ts” because that’s the only sh*t that you’re concerned about… Unless you can name me another reason why you would choice into BSS?

  50. Geezer says:

    @Pseudo: Do you have access to any research to support your claim that well-off kids who go to school with poor kids suffer academically? I would be interested in reading it.

  51. Pseudo Elitist says:

    @pandora,

    Your above response is complete nonsense. I don’t even know where to start. Given that you don’t have the mental capacity to entertain any opposing ideas, I am getting out of here. No worth my time. There are some more reasonable people here, you aren’t one of them.

  52. Pseudo Elitist says:

    @Geezer

    This is the most basic common sense there is. How hard is it to understand? Unless your value system is there to block it for you to see it. No one would give money for this purpose to research, can’t you see?

  53. Mike Matthews says:

    In reading pandora’s last comment and you’re odious, ridiculous response, pseudo, it’s clear pandora has won.

    Good day, sir!

  54. pandora says:

    Geezer, since Pseudo Elitist hasn’t mastered The Google here’s a link (link to the actual study contained in the article).

    Here’s part of the findings:

    A recent research paper by the National Coalition on School Diversity (NCSD), “How Non-Minority Students Also Benefit from Racially Diverse Schools,” concludes that white students benefit from attending multicultural schools in a number of ways. For instance, white students in diverse learning environments are exposed to complex classroom discussions and they also develop better critical thinking and problem-solving skills than their counterparts in racially homogenous schools.

    The paper’s author, Dr. Genevieve Siegel-Hawley, an assistant professor at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Education and a member of NCSD’s Research Advisory Panel, said white students in diverse learning environments are also more likely to understand issues of social injustice and exhibit lower levels of racial prejudice.

    Her research challenges the longstanding notion that integrated schools serve the best interests of minorities exclusively.

    White students won’t be “dumbed down” by attending schools with black and brown peers. In fact, their test scores actually improve with diversity. According to NCSD’s research review, an analysis of 59 social science articles about the impact of school demographics on math scores found that students from all racial and class backgrounds who attended integrated schools performed better in math at each grade level

    So, Pseudo, remind me again what your advocating for?

  55. Geezer says:

    “This is the most basic common sense there is. How hard is it to understand?”

    Well, I thought it was common sense to protect the country from Ebola by blockading West Africa, too, until I listened to the experts who said it backfired when they tried it with SARS. So you see, I don’t accept “common sense” as a factual support for anything.

    “Unless your value system is there to block it for you to see it.”

    I’m not sure what that means. My value system, to the extent I have one, is “fair is fair, right is right,” and I have tried to parse the issue in those terms.

    If it’s any comfort, my anecdotal evidence from when my kids went to Lewis, then Mote, then HB, where they and I were exposed to students and parents of all sorts of backgrounds, is that schools with good principals had few problems, and schools with weak principals had lots of problems. The makeup of the student body presented various challenges, but the quality of the administration was paramount.

    “No one would give money for this purpose to research, can’t you see?”

    You would not have to “give money for this purpose to research,” it would be apparent in research on how the poor kids did in school with well-off kids. I just wanted to see if you were speaking out of knowledge or prejudice.

  56. Pseudo Elitist says:

    Believe whatever you want. I’m voting with my feet, and I’m out of here, and out of the Cooke school, even painfully at a lot of extra expense (on top of the thousands of dollars of tax I pay). Right, I’m putting money where my mouth is. I think a lot of other parents may well do the same. Then you can all enjoy the brand new school to yourselves (and you wonder why those schools supposed to be desirable became deserted by well off people whom you terribly wanted to get ahold of, and here is why: this is a free country, and people have free will, if they see injustice, they can always get away with their feet). Congratulations! You have won. But for what? The whole society is not better off after your win, it gets worse. But that’s someone else’s problem, at the very least, you have won whatever you wanted….

  57. Pseudo Elitist says:

    Here is a break-down of what is happening. Our tax dollars already are paying for both city schools and suburban schools. I’m not complaining for this in particular, since it is already going on, and who else would pay for those poor city kids anyway (not like their parents, if they have one, would), so for the country and those kids’ sake, I accept that. Now you are saying the city schools are not nice, so better get them into nice suburban schools (which by the way only become nice because of the composition of the students). So now in addition to paying for both schools, I have to pay for my kids to get out of that supposedly nice suburban school. How nice! Congratulations again. You WON! Triple times! As long as there is someone else picking up the bills!

  58. Geezer says:

    “on top of the thousands of dollars of tax I pay”

    I have no idea how expensive your house is, but for you to pay “thousands” of dollars in property taxes in Red Clay, it must be quite the McMansion. I suppose you could add in about 1/3 of your state taxes, too, but at more than $9K per student, even then I doubt you pay enough to pick up the tab for more than one-third of a child annually.

    Given the attendance figures you cited, I calculate we’re talking about 60 or so kids. You really think 60 kids, no matter what they’re like, will ruin a school? Yet you offer no evidence, other than your “common sense,” which sounds more like prejudiced thinking to me.

    While it might be possible to launch your invective if we were talking about a middle school. By those grades, poor kids can easily fall behind, and that will affect the school’s performance on standardized tests. But for elementary school, no such argument exists.

    I truly doubt that you are in fact a member of a minority group. If you were, you would be more humble, because you’d know that some of your white neighbors look at you with the same revulsion you are expressing about the Lancaster Court kids.

    “Now you are saying the city schools are not nice, so better get them into nice suburban schools (which by the way only become nice because of the composition of the students). ”

    It has nothing to do with the schools being “nice.” It has to do with the socioeconomic status of the students’ parents. That’s all.

  59. puck says:

    @Pseudo: that’s the problem with white flight – you never get to stop running.

  60. Pseudo Elitist says:

    105 kids for a 660 capacity school, 526 other kids.

  61. Pseudo Elitist says:

    Don’t count the 10s of thousands of dollars of federal and state tax I’m paying, which of course could go into schools in one way or another.

  62. Pseudo Elitist says:

    In spite of the fact that I’m not white, I’m forced into fleeting with them! Sad indeed!

  63. puck says:

    You don’t have to be white to participate in white flight. There are plenty of “colored” professionals of an ethnicity and an income level that is not an object of white flight.

  64. pandora says:

    105 kids would equal approximately 18 children per grade which would then breakdown down to approximately 4 children per classroom (if each grade consists of 4 classrooms). This is why you’re upset? This is what you feel would ruin/hurt Cooke elementary and your children?

  65. Pseudo Elitist says:

    They had to kick 44 kids from Cooke to North Start (which reverted back to close to 100% capacity, 97% to be exact), to make room for those 105 kids. Who knows, the 105 may well become 150 or even 200, and that isn’t unimaginable at all…

  66. Pseudo Elitist says:

    Do you know how much teacher’s attention those 4 kids would suck up? By my imagination, it may well be 50%. Yes, that is not acceptable in my world.

  67. puck says:

    They had to kick 44 kids from Cooke to North Start (which reverted back to close to 100% capacity, 97% to be exact),

    I’m sure the North Star parents were just devastated…

  68. pandora says:

    They did not kick 44 kids out of Cooke to North Star due to Lancaster Court Apartments. I know one of the families of those 44 kids and was told that the community had asked to remain at North Star. But maybe I’m wrong – if so I’ll expect to hear from those upset 44 kids’ families at the board meeting. I guess we’ll have to wait and see. Altho, if what you claim is true why isn’t the ejection of these kids back to North Star part of your petition?

  69. pandora says:

    Do you even know anyone from Lancaster Court Apartments? Given everything you’ve written about them you surely must know someone who lives there.

  70. Pseudo Elitist says:

    Those kids could go either way. It is in accordance with NSA anyways. But the fact that the move makes North Star close to over-capacity has not gone unnoticed, and it is part of the wrong done by the board.

  71. Pseudo Elitist says:

    I was there for lunch one day recently, and when I was waiting in the car, some guys came around and were gesturing to me trying to deal drugs to me. Unbelievable.

  72. pandora says:

    Your kid could go either way. So could mine. And you still do not understand the NSA. Why don’t you take the attendance zone map and the capacity figures and try redrawing AZs. You will quickly find that the schools are not located where they need to be to form perfect attendance zones.

    You act like you, and your community, are the only ones who pay school taxes. Have you ever been to Red Clay’s city schools and the neighborhoods surrounding them? You paint with a mighty broad brush and your stereotypes are getting old.

  73. Pseudo Elitist says:

    Except, in the case of Lancaster Court Apartments and Cooke, it is clearly a wrong, no escape for this one, no matter who looks at the map. Crystal Clear! You can not explain it away, just need to take a quick look. Nothing more!

    And just look at the capacity data, and numbers don’t lie. People do!

  74. LeBay says:

    Pseudo Elitist-
    I think you misunderstood my point. My point was that white racists made these same arguments nearly 40 years ago. You are making these arguments today. The only difference between you & the parents of my classmates is that they were more openly racist.

    I’m a white guy from the suburbs. I was bused for one year. My classmates from the city were bused at least 5 years. Some were bused from grade 4-12.

    Riding the bus from Yorklyn to Wilmington & back every day sucked, but I definitely benefited from it.

  75. Pseudo Elitist says:

    If they didn’t kick out the 44 kids, Cooke would be over capacity. You need to look at the capacity numbers more closely.

  76. LeBay says:

    You need to look at the capacity numbers more closely.

    You need to look at your attitude toward poor people more closely.

    Poor does not automatically mean “raised poorly” or “disruptive dirtbag”.

    Do you know how much teacher’s attention those 4 kids would suck up? By my imagination, it may well be 50%.
    You judge people based on your IMAGINATION? Are you serious?
    You’ve judged these kids based on your own assumptions that they’re of a lower class than your family. YOU’VE NEVER MET THEM, yet you don’t want your precious children to share a school with them.

    Fuck you and everyone like you. Is that clear enough?

    Your children will benefit from the presence of these kids, so long as your uppity attitude doesn’t poison your children before they even meet the kids.

    Grow up, asshole.

  77. Pseudo Elitist says:

    No comments, no need…

  78. pandora says:

    I need to look at capacity numbers? Perhaps you might want to take a trip down capacity numbers lane because these numbers have always been extremely fluid. But you must know that, right? You know that the numbers you cite today are new, right? You know the difference between design and program capacity, right?

    It is not crystal clear. Not one RCCD school has a 4 mile circle drawn around it. Not one. The attendance zone map is crazily cut up due to physical school location.

    And… one more time. Warner Elementary has a non-contiguous attendance zone. It’s had it for years. So, if your issue is non-contiguous attendance zones you should probably be consistent.

  79. John B says:

    I’m renting a house in a nicer neighbrohood in Hockessin since I just moved here for work (engineer at a refinery). I received a physical copy of this petition in my mailbox today. Knowing nothing but feeling like there was more to this than “bad school board,” I looked up the dotmaps (http://demographics.coopercenter.org/DotMap/index.html) and the Title 1 information and all it looks like to me as an outsider new to the community is the school board decided to let hispanic folks go to the nice, shiny new school and people are angry about that.

  80. pandora says:

    Welcome, John!

    And yep, this is about poor black and brown kids, and that’s not me claiming that – that’s what certain future Cooke parents are actually saying on this blog. Which boggles my mind.

    Up thread Steve asks, “Let’s assume the board had followed whatever you think is proper procedure and still voted the same–can we then assume you would have refused to sign the petition?” Notice how no one answered this question. Why is that?

    And I question whether Cooke petition signers would have ever made a peep if the non-contiguous attendance zone consisted of an affluent city neighborhood. I can guess…

  81. John Kowalko says:

    Dear all.
    Why do you keep encouraging this “racial misogynist” with the repulsive and repugnant personality and hate-filled production values and intellect of a rodent. Ignore this immoral stain and eventually it will be washed into the gutter of hatred that it obviously prefers and the cleansing of stupidity will be accomplished. “Pseudo Elitist” thy name is hate and bigotry and racism, wallow in your own feces of thought and leave normal people to their own intelligent dialogues. You promised. more than once on this thread, to be gone so go already. Somewhere there’s a cesspool of hate and selfishness for you to wallow in.
    John Kowalko (please note the lack of anonymity)

  82. pandora says:

    John, was the flyer in your mailbox? If so, that’s illegal and carries hefty fines.

    Section 1725 of Title 18 of the United States Code states that Whoever knowingly and willfully deposits any mailable matter such as statements of accounts, circulars, sale bills, or other like matter, on which no postage has been paid, in any letter box established, approved, or accepted by the Postal Service for the receipt or delivery of mail matter on any mail route with intent to avoid payment of lawful postage thereon, shall for each such offense be fined under this title

  83. LeBay says:

    John B.-

    You’re absolutely right. There’s a huge back story here, and it dates back to the ’70s.

    To make a long story short, racist white people are STILL pissed off about a nearly 40 year old court decision that led to forced busing of city kids (largely black and Puerto Rican at the time) to suburban schools.

    These people, and their children NEVER got over that decision. People who hold these views are now in power, and that’s why we have a Neighborhood Schools Act. At face value, the NSA makes sense. If you live near a school, you go to that school. That’s how things worked prior to mandatory busing.

    In reality, it’s simply a re segregation scheme. City kids go to city schools, suburban kids go to suburban schools. Care to guess the demographics of Wilmington vs. Hockessin?

    The funny part is that Indian and Asian children in Hockessin make the demographics look BETTER for any given school when one compares white vs. non-white. These kids are almost ALWAYS high achievers from high income families. Comparing those children to low income city (or near-city, it the case of the Lancaster Court children) is not realistic. Lancaster Court is approximately 1 mile from Greenville (one of the wealthiest ZIP codes in the state.) It might as well be in China, as the kids in Lancaster Court have nothing in common with their neighbors 1 mile away. Hell, the illegal Mexicans living in Greenville Place Apartments are “well off” (they work hard enough to afford the rent) compared to anyone who lives in Lancaster Court.

  84. LeBay says:

    Pandora-

    You’re right, but that shit never gets enforced.

    I’d STILL be serving federal time if it did. I delivered The Evening Journal and The News Journal in the ’80s. Most customers wanted the paper in their mailbox, and that’s where it was delivered.

    Lots of my friends took joy in blowing up mailboxes with M80s & other explosives. I can’t think of a single time when anyone was ever prosecuted for it.

  85. pandora says:

    You’re correct, Lebay. However, this group identifies itself, and if they are putting flyers in mailboxes and someone complains it will be easier to trace than the kids who blew up mailboxes and ran. I’m sure your friends who did this were poor city kids, because middle class suburban kids would never do such a thing. ;-)

  86. LeBay says:

    LOL–

    They were all white boys from the suburbs. Fine upstanding young men! HAHAHAHA!

  87. LeBay says:

    @John B-

    You’re clearly not from DE.

    When I was in high school (late 1980s) seemingly EVERYONE knew who John B. was. He sold a lot of cocaine. He & Bill B. (different last name, but well connected) were caught, but were connected enough (sold enough coke to state troopers & DAs) to skate.

    Welcome to Delaware.

  88. Geezer says:

    “Don’t count the 10s of thousands of dollars of federal and state tax I’m paying, which of course could go into schools in one way or another.”

    I’m calling bullshit. If you paid tens of thousands in state and federal taxes annually, your kids would be in private school, like 21% of the kids in Red Clay. And even if you were paying that much, the portion of your federal taxes that goes to education is minimal.

    I get one thing, though: I don’t blame you for wanting your kids to get a better education than you evidently got.

  89. Proudly Bused says:

    Yeah, we all know what this petition, and a million other whinings related to school assignment mechanisms over the past 20 years, is really about. And I’m frankly exhausted, pissed and ready for an honest discussion over it, ugly as it may be, so we can correct fallacies and put it to rest. Like climate change or vaccinations, people can have all the opinions they want about integration – but there is a true and right answer and aren’t we bound to formulate policy to do the best for the most rather than serve the interests of a noisy, well-resourced, wrong minority?

    As far as I am concerned, I pay taxes to support a functional and efficient educational system in which my kid, and her peers (that’s ALL kids regardless of background, btw), can thrive. In order to please those who feel like pseudo-elitist, we have created a dysfunctional system, in which the affluent concentrate and derive a pseudo-private education at the expense of our at-risk children being properly served. As a taxpayer it makes me wonder who’s really leeching here? Delaware has made this not only possible but highly affordable for affluent, suburban parents (while costly for everyone else in many ways) and hopefully the days of this are numbered. Many of those of us who were successfully bused, and benefited, are back.

    If you are participating in the public system, you ought to be willing to rub elbows with ALL members of the public. If that democratic reality displeases you, and you refuse to take the long view of why it matters for society’s and even your own children’s future – you have every right to remove yourself from that system at your own expense. Like a public park versus a country club. Go where you want, but I strongly believe that prejudice ought to be costly rather than catered to in our public systems.

    We need to repeal the NSA, which we only ever blow the dust off of in order to discriminate anyway. Those who can self-bus when they choice wherever they want – leaving NSA with a very limited, and damaging, purpose. And we need to do what we have to do to prevent choice/charter programs from continuing as a glorified reseg scheme. It’ll benefit all of our kids when we focus on quality education rather than playing socioeconomic shell games.

    If creating a more functional system means people like pseudo-elitist abandon it, I think we’ll be all right in the end. I don’t care what race PE is, I don’t care how much money people like this make or even where exactly their lack of empathy or value for diversity comes from, I just care about getting Delaware schools headed in the direction they always should have been. No one has the right to hold that back to serve their singular self interest.

  90. Mike Matthews says:

    Damn, Proudly Bused! I second Pandora’s “Bravo!”

  91. Mike, that was a fantastic piece in today’s Journal!

  92. mediawatch says:

    ^^Mike, I’m with John and El Som. Well done. ^^

    Meanwhile, Ron Russo keeps on talking about the “original draft” of the 1995 charter school regulations. He sings this song because he helped write them but he keeps on forgetting to mention that the original draft was never adopted. Ron is still living in a decades-old dream world and his old pal John Sweeney keeps on giving him the opportunity to blather.

  93. John Manifold says:

    Mike had to rassle both Rodel and the CR Institute. Did just fine.

    Herdman and Russo glibly speak of “accountability” [meaningless testing]. Herdman says “educators … should receive specialized training,” citing Teach for America’s cram course.

    And who takes seriously anything from multi-failure Ron Russo?

  94. Geezer says:

    Multi-failure? Can I see your scorecard?