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SCHOOLS OF DREAMS I

Filed at 3:26 pm under by dcobranchi

SCHOOLS OF DREAMS I just want to get my thoughts and impressions about the conference down. The Rodel Foundation- Delaware sponsored the event along with the Wilmington (DE) Urban League. The Schools of Dreams Education Fair consisted of a series of workshops for parents as well as an expo consisting of booths representing approximately 30 educational options: public, private, charters, and HSers. There were also several community-based organizations that provide tutoring services to kids.

The conference seemed to be rather sparsely attended, though Rodel staffers said that they had had more pre-registrtions than they could accomodate. Apparently, there were a lot of no-shows on a rainy Saturday.

The big hit of the expo was a new charter school, Delaware Military Academy. Our booth was right next to theirs so I got a good chance to learn about their school. It’s being run by a couple of retired career military guys (one army, one navy). “Sponsored” in part of the USN, some of their expenses will be covered by the Navy. Big on discipline and academics, their goal is to have a school-wide average SAT score of 1200. They have just started taking applications for their opening class in September 2003. The main interest so far has been from parochial students and HSers.

Our little booth was right up front but didn’t generate too much interest. No biggie; I met a few newbie HSers and was able to answer some questions. I did have an opportunity to needle the PTA booth (very anti-vouchers) and my local school district. The school district had a bunch of their academic calendars out. I was astonished to learn that the kids have already taken their state tests. These are the ones that they have to pass to be promoted. They were barely back in school six weeks. What the heck are these tests showing? Are the kids being tested on material they should have learned last year? If not, how much new material could they have covered since Labor Day? The school district employees sheepishly agreed that it was pretty crazy. Last year parents didn’t get the scores back until late May. Does it really take half-a-year to grade these? Kim Swygert, we need some help here.

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