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Gov. Carney proposes partnership to focus on Christina's Wilmington students

Delaware Public Media

Gov. John Carney met with the Christina School District School Board Tuesday night to discuss a potential partnership to improve outcomes for the district’s Wilmington students.

Christina board members like John Young remain cautious, but hopeful about a partnership with Carney.


Young fears some of Carney’s proposals will repeat past mistakes, pointing to $119 million in federal race to the top dollars spent in 2010.


“We literally deployed interventions with extra learning time, project-based expeditionary learning…in these same schools that they’re saying are problems," Young said.


However, Young also feels Carney is willing to listen to the district and take what it says into consideration. That’s important to Young and board member Elizabeth Paige, who say that wasn’t former Gov. Jack Markell’s style.


“That hasn’t happened in my tenure on the board that somebody who wants to help our schools actually met with us to talk about it in person, Paige said. I think we all recall Priority Schools being announced from the steps of Warner Elementary feeling like it was done to us and not with us. I just want to make sure it’s truly a partnership and that we’re hearing from our teachers who are in the classroom with the students about what they want and what they need, and not telling building leaders: you need autonomy.”


Paige says a lot more research – and meetings – need to take place before anything specific is agreed upon. She and other board members expect Carney to continue working with the district’s superintendent to discuss next steps.

Carney suggests giving principals in city schools more flexibility in staffing, schedules and program and creating weekend or vacation academies to help bolster low achieving school.  He also wants to find ways to address how trauma and poverty affect Wilmington students.

Carney hopes to sign a memorandum of understanding by the end of the year, and have new plans in effect for the 2018 school year.

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