--we now know, thanks to Representative Kim Williams (with a nod to Transparent Christina) that the attorney generals office thinks there is possible reason to believe that the Governor's Charter School working group broke the law:
--we also know that, when confronted, Representative Earl Jacques gets really, really testy with school board members:
First the fund you are referring to is not a "slush" fund. If you attended yesterday's public meeting you would know that it is not used for capital projects. It is connected to the Charter Performance framework, which will ensure that is used for education issues for either high-performing or high-need students. The money allocated came from the last budget numbers - NOT from the Department of Education. So this isn't a case of taking money away from our public schools. In fact, the number one priority, according to the testimony from the School Superintendents to the Joint Finance Committee was money for technology. That money is in the budget! The Charter's number one priority was money for this Strategic Performance Fund, which again the Joint Finance Committee granted and is in the budget based on whether the legislation passes.Let's take a moment to point out Earl's rather fuzzy math here. There are 19 school districts that serve 85+% of Delaware children, and then there's the charters, which serve about 15% or less.
So fair, according to Earl is giving the 19 school districts $5 million for computers to split among the 85% and $2 million to only certain "high-performing charters" who together probably deal with about 3%.
That seems fair. And my name is Earl, too.
But that's not the point of this post (think of it as the usual long-winded Newtonian prologue)...
Today, going out via email to parents from their charter schools all around Delaware, were variations of this letter:
Here's the intro:
The writing here is not only a masterpiece of cowardly anonymity (say what you like about the Delaware Family Policy Council, they at least have the guts to own their own material), but is also incredibly distorted while at the same time making both Representative Williams' and the Attorney General's point.
To say, "The were charge with improving the law around how charter schools operate, how they are governed and led, and how they are sustained and supported financially," is also to say that there was a WORK PRODUCT expected from this group, which makes it a "public body."
Moreover, the anonymous writer of this broadside very carefully DOES NOT attribute authorship of HB 165 to Representative Jaques: "House Bill #165 was presented by Representative Jacques."
Interesting language. Not that Earl "wrote" the bill (as he has rather unconvincingly claimed) or that the bill was the result of their deliberations. No, apparently HB 165 was an immaculate conception that Earl simply sort of midwifed on behalf of truth, justice, and conduit capital funding.
Our safely anonymous writer and organization then proceeds to give instructions for how to use "talking points" on your legislator, via email or phone:
Notice all the wonderful memes that we are putting into play here:
"The result of a group of diverse stakeholders coming together around the issue and through cooperation and compromise ..."
Uh, hold the f--king phone here, folks: exactly who in the room, according to the only list any of us has ever seen, was not directly related either to charters or Vision 2015 (excuse me, Vision 2020)?
Or this one:
"Additional funds for charter schools will remove some of the funding inequities between charters and districts."
You mean like the left-over transportation funds that charter get to keep but districts must turn back to the state?
Here's my favorite:
"Fair funding is needed to educate all Delaware children ..."
And good ole Rebecca Taber, and Earl Jaques, and even Governor Markell are so worried about fair funding for ALL Delaware children that's why they have sat back on their wide-bottom chairs and done nothing while virtually every district up and down the state is cutting classroom teachers and paraprofessionals?
What the totality of all the diverse issues surrounding HB 165, and Vision 2020, and Rodel, and DSEA, and all of them is not a discussion of educational priorities in Delaware.
What we're seeing is bare knuckles, bare-naked political power, sort of the legislative equivalent of a motorcycle gang fight at Hooters.