I find it strange that the new Superintendent of Detroit Public Schools, Dr. Connie Calloway, has come out against charter schools. After all Detroit schools are among the worst performing and most dysfunctional in the nation. This is a district that is plagued by an intrenched bureacracy and intractable politics.
How can Dr. Calloway come out against charter schools when she is from one of the largest charter markets in the county, Dayton, Ohio? Dr. Calloway has even worked in a charter school herself as an administrator.
And I am shocked and rocked to my core about this statement she made in front of the uneducated and functionally illiterate people last night:
"Charter schools mean suicide for public schools."
STOP. Charters are suicide for public schools? Charters ARE public schools Dr. Calloway.
Look at where she spoke at last night (Kettering High School) where there is a high level of violence. Kettering High School is known for its ghetto culture as well as teachers who do not care about the needs of the children. In fact, several of my own students who I teach on a daily basis are here (in a charter school) because they could not handle that lifestyle anymore.
Then Dr. Calloway said this:
"What is it that we are doing that causes us to drive families away?"
Let's try violence, failing administrators and the Detroit Federation of Teachers.
Here is a sister who was fired by Trotwood for reasons that were never explained back in 2003. She came to Trotwood, a close in Dayton suburb that has consistently been one of Ohio’s low scorers on state tests, in 2000 as superintendent from Warrensville Heights, where she had headed the curriculum department.
In early 2003, teachers who had complained about Calloway’s management style showed up to a school board meeting to blast her for a series of involuntary staff transfers. They told the board morale was at an all-time low. A few days later the board placed her on administrative leave for the rest of the year, then it terminated her contract and paid her a $200,000 buy out for the remaining year left on the deal.
After Trotwood, Calloway worked briefly as the director of the Dayton Academy charter school. I wonder how many of the uneducated knew about that while she was leading parents to hell last night?
Connie Calloway was a leading cause for many educators to resign in Trotwood. She talks very highly of the children but watch how she makes decisions that causes a negative effect on children academically and socially. If you ask her “how is this good for the children” she replies in a very condescending manner “and who are you?” She will never answer the question placed before her. Connie Calloway has no interpersonal skills she is a very ineffective leader. She does not lead by example but rather by fear and trickery. Again, how can you be against charters when you worked in one and enjoyed it?
However, I am really sadden by the fact that she has deceived the Detroit Board of Education. She is being paid $280,000 a year. I also took the liberty of reading the letter she sent to the board expressing her interest as well as her resume. Please be aware that there are several untruths in these documents. Then again I did say she was a dishonest person. Connie Calloway is a detriment to children everywhere. If I had a child and she became superintendent of their district, without hesitation I would remove my child.
Her decisions regarding special education were unethical. At no time while under her leadership were the children of Trotwood a priority or even a consideration.
After interviewing people from Trotwood they have shared with us here at One Network how Dr. Calloway needless humiliation and verbal attacks toward the employees of Trotwood Madison schools have caused an exodus. She was a dictator trying to command with fear rather than a leader earning the respect of the position of Superintendent.
You see, the Governor condones a ILLEGAL teachers strike in Detroit last year. Yes there is a law that states it is ILLEGAL for teachers to go on strike. Nice message to send to the kids that statistically are at a higher risk for ending up in jail by allowing the teachers themselves to break the law. Secondly, the fallout from that strike is ongoing. 600 teachers have lost their jobs because parents opted to send their children to suburban school districts through charter schools. Not to mention prideful politicians now are at each other throats over how government money is spent, and our Governor as a blackmail tactic wants to TAKE FROM OUR KIDS EDUCATION, so she and others can continue to have their exorbitant pay, benefits and other perks.
The other thing I did not like was the fact that Dr. Calloway brought in 7 employees from her previous school district, Normandy, Missouri, without having spent one day on the job of Superintendent.
If DPS wants salvation this will require an in-depth analysis by Dr. Calloway, a plan that makes sense, and uncommon leadership to communicate and obtain the necessary support to implement the plan from colleges, like Wayne State, MSU and U of M, businesses, community members, inside and outside of Detroit, foundations, and the local, state, and federal government.
Despite their small size, Dr. Calloway did not improve the academic performance in Ohio and Missouri. So, unless "God" really brought her to Detroit, and plans to put Moses, Joshua, Elijah, Elisha and the Prophet Isaish on loan to help her turn around this rapidly declining school system, she ain't got much chance of doing much of anything here....except getting paid over $300,000 a year, plus benefits!!!!
So instead of Dr. Calloway and DPS showing piss-poor and ridiculous commercials about how charter schools are doing less why don't we look at the facts:
Educational choice is a topic of vital importance because polls have shown us that Detroit parents are desperate for quality school options for their families. A poll conducted by John Bailey & Associates found that half of the parents surveyed stated they have considered moving from the city in order to gain access to higher quality educational options. It’s clear many parents already have acted on this, as evidenced by Detroit Public Schools having lost more than 50,000 students in just a few short years.
Charter public schools are filling a vital role for families, now serving more than 27,000 students in the city; 45,000 in Wayne County, and more than 99,500 across the state.
Detroit is home to 44 charters, including 21 high schools. They exceeded the local traditional district on 24 of 27 MEAP tests this year, up from 20 in 2005-06. Charters tied on two other tests and were within 1 point on the last exam.
Statewide, charter public schools exceeded the average scores of their host districts* on 23 of 27 tests — compared to 19 last year.
Detroit Edison Public School Academy is the only Detroit school to receive a Michigan Department of Education 2006-07 Blue Ribbon for outstanding improvement strategies and delivering quality education. Further, DEPSA and David Ellis Academy were the only city schools (including traditionals) to receive two Skillman Foundation Good Schools grants last year, totaling $100,000 each.
During the past two years, the Skillman Foundation has recognized excellence among the city’s charters by awarding 14 Good Schools grants to them.
Nine Detroit charter schools — and 18 in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties — are “beating the odds,” using a state standard that requires at least 50% of students to qualify for free- or reduced-price lunch and at least 60% proficiency in math and English language arts on the MEAP. The Detroit charters are MLK Jr. Educational Center, Winans Academy of Performing Arts, YMCA Service Learning Academy, DEPSA, Plymouth Educational Center, Detroit Merit Charter Academy, University Preparatory Academy, Warrendale Charter Academy and Old Redford Academy.
University Preparatory Academy in Detroit sends 90% of its graduates to college.
In Detroit, 71% of charters made AYP last year, vs. 54% of Detroit Public Schools.
Financial Impact on Detroit Public Schools
DPS’s millage and bond revenue for facilities remain unchanged by the opening of charter schools
Charters can have a positive impact on a community’s well-being by providing educational options that attract and retain families and their associated tax base.
Detroit charter public schools hire teachers in Detroit, invest in city buildings, and help improve the tax base in Detroit.
With the passing of Proposal A, Michigan law allows parents to decide what public school is best for their children. Choices include the local district, a district nearby or a charter public school district…parents choose and funding follows.
In Detroit, 95% of charter teachers are certified or permitted, compared to 83% in the Detroit Public School System. Across the state 95% of charter school teachers are certified compared to 91% of non-charter teachers that are certified. This debunks the argument from DPS about teachers are not certified in charter schools. We are more certified than DPS.
By state and federal law, Michigan’s charter public school teachers must be and are certified. Charter teachers are quality teachers, as evidenced by the academic success of their students and as determined by parent choice.
Charters DO provide special education services. It’s the law. About 9% of charter students have special needs; some schools have rates topping 30%.
Significantly, charter school special education students out-performed their peers in their host districts by a dramatic 6-15 percentage points on the 2006-07 MEAP tests.
Detroit charters deliver value-added education, before, during and after the typical school day. Depending on the school, this can include:
Fine and performing arts — For example, students who attend the Marvin L. Winans Academy of Performing Arts receive the equivalent of nearly $225,000 in performing arts lessons by the time they graduate.
Tutoring — For example, DEPSA has a new student development center, engages middle schoolers in tutoring kindergartners, offers in-school assistance, before- and after-school academic programs and a voluntary Saturday program that draws 200+ students weekly.
Old Redford Academy offers sports programs and requires its high school students to maintain a rare 2.5 GPA in order to participate.
Community High School in Detroit won its district baseball title last year — after going a year without a team because coaches told students they had to improve their grades before playing.
Most importantly, charter schools are safer than Detroit Public Schools.
And what is Detroit Public Schools doing about the increase of violence? The district has agreed recently to stop random weapons sweeps and cut back on other security measures as part of a settlement in a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union. Under the terms of the agreement, school officials may no longer conduct sweeps to search students' clothing, backpacks, cars or other items unless they have reasonable suspicion that a student has violated school rules.
So, what is wrong with Detroit Public Schools Dr. Calloway? It's not charters.
A requirement for English Language Arts for a 9th grader is, "Use strategies and skills that emphasize fundamental competencies." Meanwhile, for 6th, 7th and 8th grade science student, they will be required to "Identify contributions made in science by diverse cultures and individuals."
And, of course, over in 6th grade social studies, they haven't got around to teaching anything about, oh, Africa, but they will "Design a map of Europe's natural and human resources and report on how these resources contributed to the continent."
Garbage in, garbage out - that is the problem with Detroit public schools. We should not take Dr. Calloway seriously.