Charter Schools

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Local schools boards in Delaware being given more discretion in how to handle incidents involving students bringing weapons other than guns to school.

A bill being signed Friday by Gov. John Carney moves away from a "zero-tolerance" approach and gives district school boards and charter school boards more discretion on a case-by-case basis in deciding whether to suspend a student for possession of a deadly weapon other than a firearm.

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Governor John Carney has called on Delaware state educators to come up with anti-discrimination policies for transgender students in the public and charter school system.

The memo was sent to Education Secretary Susan Bunting calling for strong regulations that would prohibit unlawful discrimination against these students.

The new regulations are to be made available by November 1st for public comment.

But the Wilmington News Journal reports it is not clear how the state Department of Education would enforce the guidelines if there is noncompliance.

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There will be more flexibility in Delaware’s new education plan for schools for accountability and funding.

In addition, there will be a five star rating performance system.

But the plan did get some opposition from the Delaware State Education Association.

State Representative Kim Williams, vice chair of the Education Committee, questioned the fairness of the system because of school choice with some schools having a larger group of higher performing students.

A final draft is expected to be submitted to the federal Department of Education later this spring.

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Maryland’s two Senators were among the 50 votes against the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education.

Democratic Senator Ben Cardin told Capital News Service that he believes even his Republican colleagues would have wanted a more traditional nominee with experience in education.

Cardin and Senator Chris Van Hollen said they were concerned about DeVos’s lack of support for public schools as she pushed for private and charter schools.

DeVos was confirmed when Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie breaking vote.

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Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons denounced President Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees in fiercely worded statements.

Carper, who is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, questioned Scott Pruitt’s nomination to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Delaware Democrat noted that as Oklahoma Attorney General Pruitt eliminated the environmental protection unit and raised millions of dollar from the fossil fuel industry.

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Senator Ben Cardin says will not support the nomination of Betsy DeVos to head the Department of Education.

The Maryland Democrat said he was deeply troubled by – what he called her lack of support for the nation’s public schools.

Cardin said that the charter school programs supported by DeVos would drain revenue and resources from the public schools.

In addition, he said that he was concerned about her lack of ability to discuss the long-standing issues being debated in education community.

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The Christina School Board is set to consider rescinding its settlement agreement in a lawsuit involving charter school spending.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the legal action taken against the school district and the Delaware Department of Education had been settled on Monday.

The paper reports that John Young one of those who voted against the settlement said that he believed the likelihood of backing out of the agreement was low.

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The gubernatorial candidates in Delaware appeared yesterday during a town hall at Delaware State University that focused on issues affecting the African American community.

Both Democratic Representative John Carney and Republican State Senate Colin Bonini said that there was a need for greater access to preschool and greater scrutiny of state government for systemic discrimination.

Both said the efforts were needed to deal with high unemployment rate in the community.

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A lawsuit has been filed against the Christina School District by 15 charter schools who claim that local officials have kept them from getting millions of dollars in tax revenue.

In addition, the suit alleges that the Department of Education has been complicit in depriving the charter schools their fair share of the money going back years.

The suit was sparked by a readjustment by the Department in the formula for the amount of money that should go to charter schools from local tax revenues.

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Public school districts across the nation have been struggling to keep up with the new regulations and testing required by Washington -- from No Child Left Behind to Race to the Top.  Delmarva Public Radio's Don Rush spoke with Frederika Jenner, president of the Delaware State Education Association about the challenges the school districts face.

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