When both the Red Clay and Christina School Districts "balked" last night at accepting the DE DOE MOU for the so-called "priority schools," and suggested they needed time to negotiate an alternative, Delaware Education Secretary Mark Murphy had this to say:
The state had originally planned on districts signing the plan by Tuesday. Murphy said the department will work with the districts to come to an agreement, but said the process needs to move quickly.
"Our kids cannot wait," he said. "We need to have a sense of urgency about this."
If the state and districts can't reach an agreement within 120 days, the state could force the six schools to close or hand them over to charter school operators or other outside agencies.Here's the appropriate response: Secretary Murphy, you're a hypocrite.
This Priority Schools agenda is being mounted with fourth-year left-over funds from a three-year Race to the Top grant. The State received $119 million to spend on improving schools. You handed nearly $2 million to the Vision Coalition. You paid out millions to corporations for "data coaches" and "data consultants." You handed out millions to charter schools and other schools that were already performing to standard or even exceeding it. You paid Rebecca Taber a $12K/month "consulting" salary.
In the add-on year (because you failed to spend all the money) you discovered "a sense of urgency" about these six poverty-riddled urban schools, and are now hectoring the school districts about how quickly they have to move?
Let's not forget that the Delaware Department of Education, in recent years, cut the following out of its budget: Minner Reading Specialists, Minner Math Teachers, full funding for transportation for homeless children. Where was the sense of urgency about helping these students in these schools then?
Here's the reality behind the "urgency" hypocrisy: Secretary Murphy has his marching orders. The City of Wilmington is to be converted into an all-charter school district so that corporate education reformers can do for Delaware what they did for such beacons of hope as inner-city Washington DC and Newark NJ.
The State intends to use its vast expertise (so well demonstrated in the overwhelming success of Moyer) to make Wilmington a beacon for for-profit charter companies operating at taxpayer expense.
That's what all this "urgency" is really about.