Tuesday, December 11, 2012

If Charter Schools in Delaware are not public schools . . .

. . . then neither is the University of Delaware.

To quote the Princeton Review:
Founded in 1743, the University of Delaware is one of very few institutions who are both public and private (state-assisted with private charter).
Strangely enough, this privately chartered university is the recipient of tens of millions of dollars of unquestioned state support every year, while using entrance procedures that produce a racially identifiable student population (72.6% white; 4.9% African-American).

When it is time to belly up to the General Assembly trough (wherein a high percentage of lawmakers are UD grads), the University is Delaware's "flagship" public university.

When the Governor was mooting pay cuts due to budget exigencies a few years back, however, UD employees were NOT state employees (even though people who come to them out of the state system can opt to keep their state-back retirement plans).

And, better than the conduit capital funding that charter schools in Delaware often dream about, the University of Delaware has in its charter the ability (usually limited to governments) to exercise eminent domain to take away land it wants from private landowners:
Whenever the Board of Trustees of the University cannot agree with the owner or owners for the purchase of any land, with the improvements thereon, in New Castle County, deemed by the Board necessary for the purpose of erecting any building or buildings to be used by and in connection with the University, or for the enlargement of its grounds, or for any other purpose in connection with the University, or the agricultural experiment station connected therewith, to better carry out the purposes of the University and agricultural experiment station, the University, in the exercise of the power of eminent domain, may acquire the land and improvements by condemnation by proceedings in accordance with Chapter 61 of Title 10.
And even if you don't like that--you can't change it:
The General Assembly of Delaware, by Chapter 117 of 27 Laws of Delaware, did grant to the University of Delaware a perpetual charter which contains no reserve power in the General Assembly to amend the charter thus granted. . . .
All changes to the charter since then were made at the request of UD, and cannot be imposed on UD by the General Assembly without its consent.

So for all those folks who tell me that charter schools are not public schools, please explain to me how the University of Delaware is, and why it is not subject to the same criticisms.

10 comments:

Hube said...

Strangely enough, this privately chartered university is the recipient of tens of millions of dollars of unquestioned state support every year, while using entrance procedures that produce a racially identifiable student population (72.6% white; 4.9% African-American).

Hey! Sounds a lot like Charter School of Wilmington, doesn't it?

Maybe UD will shrug and merely say what Steve said about CSW's demographics: "We can do better."

Hube said...

BTW, Steve, what specific procedures does the university utilize that produce its racially identifiable student pop.?

Steve Newton said...

Actually, Hube, UD already did that. I can't find the link right now, but about two years ago, UD was criticized by the Feds for exactly that, and threw up its hands and said, "Maybe we can do better!"

Hube said...

about two years ago, UD was criticized by the Feds for exactly that, and threw up its hands and said, "Maybe we can do better!"

If it is good enough for CSW, then I guess it is for UD.

Steve Newton said...

You are making my point: it is sort of your point when you say, "Imagine if George W Bush had done X. . . .?"

Why is there a different standard?

As for the admittance procedures: UD uses standardized tests, student grades, recommendations from teachers, and interviews. . . .

Which is exactly what CSW does.

The only real difference I can think up involves the fact that a public K-12 education is guaranteed to everyone, which an undergraduate education is not, but can you show me that an unsuccessful applicant to CSW is thereby denied a free public education?

Hube said...

The difference is, the state charter school law doesn't permit an entrance exam as I noted (and linked to) some time back. Colleges usually always have one. I believe you (or perhaps someone else ... can't remember precisely) claimed that the exam was for CSW's "mission." IMO, that is some pretty specious parsing.

I don't have a beef with your point about UD being semi-public and what it gets from the state; however, you've injected the race proportion aspect before when it came to Newark Charter School and made a big deal out of its "exclusion" ... all the while CSW is every bit as exclusionary, but the difference there is that a geographical boundary like that which NCS uses is permitted in the state charter law whereas an academic entrance exam is not.

pandora said...

I have the same beef with UD - one of my biggest complaints (and I'm actively working on this) is the way our public/private university doesn't reach out to DE high school students (might have something to do with being able to charge more to out-of-staters) and doesn't make the use of their sports arenas/tracks, etc. easily accessible and affordable to those same high schools.

UD may as well be located in Nebraska. Neither one of kids will even consider the school - mainly because they have no personal connection their state university. That's a shame.

So... UD and Charter Schools are not public schools, unless you count the fact that they take public money. ;-) Seriously, if you take away the tax dollars, on what level do they behave (or have to behave) like public schools? They simply don't play by the same rules.

Hube said...

pandora makes a good point about UD. And it historically has had trouble aligning its teacher-prep courses with what DoE requires, not to mention what credits it will accept from incoming Delaware students who followed a state-prescribed curriculum.

transparentchristina said...

Why then, does UD get to annex the Chrysler site with help from the state and steal a 1MM tax parcel from the rolls of NCC and the CSD?

Duffy said...

I'd like to point out that the President of UD makes $728,329 per year. That is way out of proportion to the faculty let alone the staff. I, for one, am tired of these greedy 1% getting rich on the backs of working people. IIRC the proper amount a CEO should earn is either 6 or 8 times the average worker. Even if they used the full time faculty average I imagine he'd be getting a hefty pay cut.