Final Delaware General Election Candidates

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The Delaware Primary reduced the number of candidates.  We now have a clear understanding of who will face who in the General Election.  Some seats in the General Assembly have been determined by the results of yesterday’s primary.  The election is November 6th.  Start your engines! Continue reading

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Delaware Education Roundup October Edition

There are always gems to be found when you comb through district and charter board minutes, agendas, and websites.  I did that last night and found a ton of stuff!  Instead of coming out with a dozen or more articles about it, I thought I would just combine all of it one fell swoop!  There is A LOT of material in here so dig in! Continue reading

Democrats Seething As Tom Wagner Appoints James Spadola As His Deputy, And I Don’t Blame Them One Bit!

James Spadola, you should have said no.  Today, Delaware State Auditor Tom Wagner appointed James Spadola, who is the Republican candidate for State Auditor, to be his Deputy in the Auditor of Accounts Office.  Spadola faces Democrat candidate Kathy McGuiness in the November 6th election. Continue reading

Sussex Montessori School To Delay Opening For A Year

In April, the Delaware Department of Education approved the charter school application for Sussex Montessori School.  They were originally scheduled to open in the 2019-2020 school year.  Now they will open in the 2020-2021 as long as they hit 80% of their enrollment target by May 1st of 2020.

The charter school submitted a minor modification request to the Delaware Department of Education last month and on October 9th, Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting approved the request.

Based on this, no new charter schools will have opened in Delaware during the five-year period between 2015 to 2020.

The reasons, such as having enough time to make renovations on the planned site and hiring a Head of School, can be seen below.

How To Insult And Offend Legislators In One Fell Swoop!

It’s that time of year when legislators get requests from organizations and media to do surveys.  One organization sent out a survey to all the Delaware State Representatives recently.  What was interesting was how this organization managed to offend many of them before the introductory paragraph!  As well, the actual survey is EXACTLY what I would expect from this organization. Continue reading

The Plot To Destroy DSEA

I am more convinced than ever that there are people in Delaware who are hell-bent on demolishing the Delaware State Education Association.  The resignation of Mike Matthews over old blog posts was just the opening salvo.  This is an all-out war on the teachers union in Delaware.

Yesterday, I received a letter in the mail.  The envelope was hand-written and the actual letter was typed.  The bottom part of the page was cut off.  There was no return address, just a Wilmington postmark.  I do not know who sent it but it feels and smells like a campaign to go after DSEA.  This is what the letter said: Continue reading

Odyssey Charter School Becomes 2nd Delaware Charter This Year To Join DSEA

Odyssey Charter School teachers and staff voted and an overwhelming majority decided to join the Delaware State Education Association.  This is the second charter school in Delaware to do so in 2018.  Last Spring, the Charter School of Wilmington also voted to join DSEA.  In 1997, Positive Outcomes joined DSEA but opted out in 2000.  Delaware College Prep joined in 2012 but closed a few years later due to low enrollment.

With 131 for and 16 against, over 89% of the educators in the school decided a teachers union was the best option for them.  Prior to 2018, it was virtually unheard of for Delaware charters to unionize.  What turned the tide?

For Odyssey, the decision was clear- they did not like decisions the board was making and felt their voices were not being heard.  When former leader Nick Manolakos did not have his contract renewed, the school hired two to take his place.  But the tipping point was when their former Board President, who had just resigned, became a leading contender for a third highly paid administrator.

Over the summer this led to those teachers and parents questioning the board about decisions that would affect the school.  Parents saw fundraiser after fundraiser to get more money for the school but didn’t feel the money was going towards what the school promised.  But they had money for all these administrators.

Congratulations to Odyssey Charter School for joining DSEA.  With two joining this year, will more Delaware charters follow?  Even with forces joining together to muffle DSEA it has become more apparent than ever that teachers want respect and to have their voice heard.  They are the second most important part of a school after the students.  They have rights and deserve to organize and fight for what is theirs.  They deserve due process and the right to air grievances.

Clueless DOE Can’t Even Support The Charter School Community Now!

Typically after a blogger posts something about the Delaware Department of Education they act pretty fast in trying to get something website related fixed.  Not the case with their Charter School Renewal section of their website.  I had to hunt last month’s State Board of Education agenda to find a document showing when the Charter School Accountability Committee meetings and public hearing will be held.

Last night I put up a screenshot of their charter renewal web page.  It was blank.  It looks like they did go into it today to modify the already blank page.  How does a blank page get modified?

Uhm, okay…

So like I said, I did find a timeline somewhere else.

Let’s see…today is October 15th.  Looks like there are two public hearings tonight.  There are three tomorrow night.  Two last week.  But what the heck is the public supposed to comment on when there are no renewal documents available?  Are they supposed to say “I’m drawing a blank on why I love/hate this charter school?”  This is an insult to the charter school crowd.  I believe this is also a violation of State Code, Title 14.  But what do I know? (more than the DOE these days)

Get  with the program DOE!  You are growing more incompetent by the day!  If you are having technical issues, put a note on the page.  We know you went on that page today!  Did DelawareCAN/Atnre Alleyne hack into the DOE’s website last week too?  And why are they having public hearings before the first CSAC meetings?  Typically it is the other way around.  Secretary Bunting, it is time to wake up now!  This shouldn’t be THIS easy for me!

I will update this if the DOE gets around to updating their non-transparent website or they modify the blank page again.

Which Delaware Education Leader Agrees With Betsy DeVos On The Proper Route To “Success”?

When Betsy DeVos made Delaware resubmit their state plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act, the Delaware Department of Education groaned.  It is no secret the Delaware DOE was not a big fan of Bad News Betsy.  According to the U.S. DOE, Delaware’s plans were not “ambitious” enough.  But one education “leader” agreed with them.  Who was the sell-out? Continue reading

John Kowalko Doesn’t Hate Charter Schools But…

When you think of those who don’t support charter schools in Delaware, one of the first names that pops up is State Representative John Kowalko, from the 25th Rep. District.  Known for his arguments against charter schools, specifically Delaware’s biggest- Newark Charter School, it can be easy to make the assumption Kowalko hates charter schools.  However, that is not the case.

Earlier this weekend, Kowalko sent out an email to his constituents with his thoughts and beefs on Delaware charter schools. Continue reading

Charter School Office At Delaware DOE Throws Transparency Out The Window

Good luck finding out any information on the many Delaware charter schools that are up for renewal this December.  Turns out the Charter School Office scrubbed that part of their website on Thursday.  This same office has also gone without a leader since July 1st, three and a half months after Denise Stouffer left the role for Providence Creek Academy.

While I’m sure the DOE will call this a simple technical error, that is one big error!  How do you empty a whole webpage?

I checked this page today because I knew the Charter School Accountability Committee would be holding their first meetings with the many charter schools under renewal this month.  The last thing I wanted to see was a blank page.

So which charter schools are up for renewal? Delaware Design-Lab Design Thinking Academy, First State Military Academy, Freire, Greak Oaks, Kuumba, Newark Charter School, and Positive Outcomes.  Maybe when the Charter School Office gets the email tomorrow morning about me writing this blog post they will restore the page.

The Charter School Office leader position has been posted twice for recruitment.  Does nobody want this job or is the DOE looking for someone in particular?  My bet would go to the former.  I’m sure any applicant would know that just having the role would put them in my crosshairs.  Which is fine as long as you are transparent and aren’t doing the shady charter school cover-up stuff that would cause me to write something bad about you.

We saw a charter school collapse this fall while the Charter School Office remained without a leader.  And now we should expect that office to deal with seven charter renewals?  Sounds like Secretary of Education Susan Bunting’s idea of the DOE as a support organization is a bit of a misnomer.  I see it as not-so-organized chaos.

Mike Matthews Speaks- From April 2006

This guest post is brought to you by the handle of The Bygone Blogger.  This blogger was one of those around back in the halcyon days of Delaware blogging- the time when the Iraq War commanded the headlines, America saw its first African-American President, and the Recession put America in severe dire straits.  In Delaware, it was the days of Governor Ruth Minner and the “I still have some hair” Jack Markell.  The Bygone Blogger covers the Mike Matthews situation and in the middle of it found some fairly recent material written by another Delaware blogger running for office!  We learn very fast that context matters!  This is something Atnre Alleyne, despite his vast amount of education, can’t seem to grasp.  Take it away Bygone Blogger!  Continue reading

How Did DelawareCAN/Atnre Alleyne Get A “Public List” Of Private Emails?

Alleynegate continues!  Hours after it was discovered DelawareCAN’s Atnre Alleyne decided to spam Delaware teachers with his “I hate Mike Matthews” blog post, many are wondering how the not so illustrious corporate education reformer got ahold of so many teacher’s personal emails.  In a response to one teacher, Alleyne responded by saying this: Continue reading

DelawareCAN’s Atnre Alleyne Sends Out Unsolicited Emails To Delaware Teachers With His Self-Serving Blog Post

Atnre Alleyne, the Executive Director of DelawareCAN, sent out an email blast to Delaware educators today.  The email was unsolicited and left Delaware teachers wondering how Alleyne even got their email address in the first place.  This pattern of abuse on Alleyne’s part ends a week filled with his mischief. Continue reading

Mike Matthews Gives Statement on DSEA Resignation & Apologizes For Comments Made On His Blog

I’ve seen Delaware divided over issues in my day but the social media comments about Mike Matthews old blog posts and his resignation from DSEA last night have lit Delaware up.  Today, Matthews turned off his radio silence and gave, what I felt, was a very mature statement about his resignation and his old blog, Down With Absolutes.

Throughout my time as an educator, local union leader, and state union leader, I’ve prided myself on my attempts to be honest, transparent, and open when confronted with any issue. I like to think that no matter how difficult the topic, at times we need to set aside issues, sit down, and have the conversations that can help move any debate forward.

Now is one of those times where I need to be completely open, honest, and transparent with you, my Facebook friends.

Two days ago, I was contacted by a reporter who shared with me he had come into possession of some old posts from my blogging days. He shared with me that some individuals have concerns with the content, tone, and language used in the posts and he wanted for me to provide a comment on whether my words from 10-12 years ago match my representation of the organization I now lead, DSEA.

First, I will say that my conversation with the reporter was cordial. I’ve had a relationship with him over the last few years and he handled the interview with care and with the utmost respect. It is not a phone call that I expected to receive, considering I’ve been very open with my past in multiple venues since I became a teacher in 2009 after shutting the blog down several months before I started my job.

Second, as I shared with the reporter, I take full ownership of the comments I made on my blog from the period of about 2004-2009. I will not deflect. I will not blame. I will not obfuscate. I own the outlandish, insensitive, at times offensive, and inappropriate posts that I wrote mostly on topics of Delaware politics. I cannot recall every one of the thousands of posts that I authored in those five years…and it wouldn’t matter if I could. Because I wrote them. And I must own them. For any hurt, pain, or grief I caused individuals because of my words, I can only offer a full-throated, genuine apology without exception or qualification and hope that the work I’ve done since entering education and my role as a union leader can, in some minor way, redeem the words that are in no way a reflection of where I am today.

We are in very challenging times right now…a time where individuals are being scrutinized for actions they’ve taken in the past and how those actions should be weighed on their present and future. While I own and take responsibility for the words I published nearly a decade ago, I do not condone them nor are they words that would ever slip from my brain to my hands to the keyboard ever again. It is no defense to say that I was a rambunctious, wily twentysomething attempting to find his way in the world who had suddenly found an audience willing to receive the often thoughtless words I posted on the Internet.

Nearly a decade ago, I entered a fifth-grade classroom in Red Clay. Nothing excited me more than showing up to work every day to help guide the young minds of the students who entered room 210. Soon after I started teaching, I found that I still had a lot to say. I found that my role as classroom teacher had to extend beyond my classroom walls if the stories of my students and fellow educators were ever to be heard. I began to find ways to use my voice in a more measured way and soon began to engage elected officials in a more productive manner. I found a vehicle in both my local and state union as a way to communicate thoughts and feelings of myself and my fellow educators. Even in those years where I used my voice in a more productive manner, I acknowledged the blog and its contents and at no time have I attempted to hide my past or stray from the scrutiny that it has brought.

So where am I right now? As someone who has always believed that he should take responsibility for his actions, I stand ready to accept any responsibility or consequence that comes as a result of my words. Within hours of the article appearing online, I submitted my resignation to the Executive Board of DSEA; I will not allow my past transgressions to define the finest organization in Delaware advocating for Delaware’s educators and students. As I learned when I took office July 16, 2017, DSEA is a bigger organization than one man. And, regardless of my actions, I will honor this organization by doing what I feel and what I know is in its best interests.

In rendering a final judgment on who I am, I would hope that you, my Facebook friends, as well as the members of our organization, DSEA, would be willing to measure my work over the past five or six years and whether or not that should have some bearing considering the words I published long ago. Neither am I absolving myself of my actions nor am I seeking absolution from you, my friends. I am asking only that consideration be given to my record as a whole when you eventually read about the past that has come back. As I shared with the Executive Board on a conference call Tuesday night, I consider what I did with my blog as running up a large credit card tab. And now the bill has come due. And I am willing to accept any consequences that come with that.

To anyone in the past who has been harmed or offended by my words, please know it was never my intention to do so. Intentions don’t matter, though, when the actions and hurt are so explicitly clear. To those individuals, I can offer nothing more than a sincere apology and the promise that my personal and professional growth over the last few years is reflective of who I truly am today.

Thank you, everyone, for your support over the years. Thank you to DSEA and NEA for your counsel during this time and for the continued strength your organizations show on supporting students and educators. Good luck to my friend Stephanie Ingram, who is going to make an AMAZING DSEA president. I hope our members will show her the love that you’ve showered on me over the last year. Thank you to the dozens of DSEA members who’ve reached out in the last 24 hours with messages of support. Thank you to those who’ve reached out with thoughtfully constructive messages urging me to take ownership and make this a teachable moment. Thank you, most importantly, to my family, friends, and my husband Jose for helping me realize that this is now a period for growth and reflection. I intend to do just that.

Thank you, all.

Breaking News: Mike Matthews Resigns As DSEA President

Following an article by WHYY earlier today, Delaware State Education Association President Mike Matthews tendered his resignation tonight.  Vice-President Stephanie Ingram will take over as President until the end of the three-year term in 2020.

DSEA sent the following email to its members this evening:

Dear DSEA members,

The educators who lead the Delaware State Education Association (DSEA) take seriously our responsibility to our members, their students and our community.  The Delaware State Education Association’s Executive Board convened an meeting this evening to discuss the blog posts written by Mike Matthews from 2006-2009 .  Regardless of the fact that these posts were created prior to Mr. Matthews becoming an educator and member of DSEA, they were completely inappropriate and contrary to the views or values of the educators who make up the DSEA.   
 
Therefore, Mr. Matthews has resigned as President of DSEA.  We thank him for his service to DSEA and its membership.
 
Per DSEA’s bylaws, as Vice President, I will now assume the position of President of DSEA for the remainder of the term, ending in July, 2020.

DSEA represents more than 12,000 classroom teachers, specialists, and education support professionals working in Delaware’s public schools. As educators we are dedicated to providing the best educational opportunities possible to all Delaware public school students. 
 
Our members provide a wide range of services to the students and the communities they live in.  They teach students in classrooms from early learning centers through high school.  They counsel adolescents and help them build career aspirations.  They deliver instructional assistance in every type of subject, prepare and serve nutritionally-balanced meals, provide needed transportation and ensure our schools and facilities are clean and safe.  They supply the professional services which help our schools run efficiently.

Since 1919, the members of DSEA  have dedicated their lives to supporting children and public education and we will never falter in that mission.  I am committed to helping DSEA to continue moving forward, building on the important partnerships with parents, community leaders, and elected officials, and maintaining our focus on the goal of providing all Delaware children with a quality education.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to email me at Stephanie.Ingram@dsea.org or call me at 302-734-5834.

In Solidarity,
Stephanie Ingram
DSEA President

 

My Friend Mike

Today, WHYY came out with a story about a former Delaware blogger named Mike Matthews.  This same Mike Matthews happens to be the President of the Delaware State Education Association.  It is no secret Mike wrote a blog back in 2004 to 2009 and it was nothing short of controversial.  He wasn’t the only one.  In all honesty, the first Delaware blog I read was Kilroy’s Delaware in 2013.

I met Mike Matthews at a State Board of Education meeting back in 2014.  At this time, I believe Mike was the President of the Red Clay Education Association.  He was cutting decorations for his classroom at Warner School.  I met him again at a 22nd State Rep debate a few weeks later.  And then Governor Markell announced the Priority School debacle in Red Clay and Christina and public education exploded in a day.

As a result of that, along with many other education matters, Mike and I became friends.  We didn’t always agree but I knew his heart was in the right place.  I read bits and pieces about what Mike wrote about in Down With Absolutes.  Little pieces scattered around the internet.  What I read in the WHYY article today was new to me.  It was beyond inappropriate but shock blogging was the thing back then.  Heck, if you look at many tv shows and movies around that time and even before then, they could never be made today.

Frankly, it shocked me it took nine years for this to come up.  The fact that it came out now speaks more to those who wanted to bring Mike down.  Let’s see- election season combined with someone who claims to be in it for the kids but runs the Delaware chapter of an organization that HATES public education?  That math isn’t hard to add up.  Especially since the former was quoted in the WHYY article.

I’m not condoning what Mike wrote.  Mike certainly isn’t.  He regrets it, no doubt.  He isn’t hiding from it.  The Mike from Down With Absolutes certainly isn’t the Mike I met in 2014.  Far from it.  I would have never dreamed Mike was capable of typing certain things like he did back then.  I believe Mike when he says he was outrageous with what he wrote.  Doesn’t make it right, but that’s how blogs were back then.  And people didn’t care like they do now.  It was a different time.  I have been outrageous in my own way on this very blog at times.  I once wrote a satirical article about Mark Murphy dressing up like a cross-dressing Kate Winslet.  It was all in fun.  That was in 2014.  I wouldn’t dare write that today.

But this instant crucifixion fixation for the mistakes of the past is getting tiresome on Facebook.   Even on my own Facebook post some folks commented with their pitchforks out who have said some pretty outrageous things on social media.

Since I wasn’t around in the “Golden Age” of Delaware blogging, I am copying what former blogger Steve Newton wrote on Facebook about the whole thing.

So let’s think about Mike Matthews for a few minutes. Not only is he my friend, I can say that I am one of the people currently around who knew him well “way back when” his blog “Down with Absolutes” was among the first half-dozen edgy political blogs in Delaware.

In publishing DWA Mike said things that nobody today would ever think about saying and expect to keep a job or a public position of trust, let alone leadership. As a 22-year-old radical literally blogging from his basement he was the enfant terrible of the blogging world.

I know better than almost anybody else (with the possible exceptions of the entire Delaware Liberal crew, Dave Huber, Dana Garrett, Dave Burris, Kilroy’s Slower Delaware, David Anderson, Nancy Willing, and the anonymous kavips) about what he published. I read it, laughed at some of it, winced at other parts, argued with segments, and even agreed with him at least in substance.

Blogging back then would have curled your hair today.

Flame wars filled with profanity and just plain disturbing images reigned supreme. Anybody remember the time Delaware Liberal gleefully published a picture of a Hillary Clinton nutcracker in 2008? I do. Anybody remember the blogger who called for all of his political opponents to be stood up against a wall and shot for treason? I do. Anybody remember the ones who ran obituaries for prominent people with tag lines like “I’m glad he’s dead,” or the prominent Delaware blogger who said all Catholics who didn’t leave the church had just admitted they were child abusers? I do.

(And a reasonably well-crafted Google search could find all of that–except that I didn’t give anybody but an old-timer quite enough information to do it.)

I’m not defending those times, I am remembering them. I ran a blog (with several partners on and off) in which the all-time most highly viewed posts were on Thai “ladyboys” and the civil liberties of the Missouri Militia. (I didn’t write the first one, which has to date 230,000 hits, but I did write the second one that actually ended up anthologized in a series of college Political Science readers.)

And then, one day, Mike decided to walk away from it.

He wanted to grow up and get a job. He wanted to teach kids, not just any kids, but special needs kids. He wanted to get out of the basement, lose a ton of weight, and get into the game of actually doing something positive for society instead of … whatever happens to people who blog too long.

His past was no secret. Red Clay was fully well aware of it when he got hired, and it is not especially confidential to say that a lot of people in power did not want Mike hired (his online faux-love-affair-from-afar with Christine O’Donell didn’t help), but his passion and his skills convinced them to give him a chance. That probably wouldn’t have happened today.

(Side note: Mike took down his blog not because it might harm the future of the political career he’d never thought of having by that point, but because it wasn’t something he ever wanted his students to stumble across. He was in deadly earnest from Day Zero that if he was going to teach kids, he had to become a role model for them. So he set about, systematically, becoming that person.)

Even Mike’s political enemies will have to admit he’s one helluva teacher. There are dozens if not hundreds of kids out there today (I know some of them personally) who are out there today in jobs (or went to college) who would never have made it to–let alone through–high school without having been in his class. Mike won’t tell you about them, even if that costs him everything, because it’s their lives and their privacy, and he wouldn’t compromise that to save himself from a lynching.

Down with Absolutes was never a secret as his career, first as a union grievance officer, then as RSEA President, took off. Anybody who was around back then who tells you they didn’t know about it is, frankly, either lying or at least suspiciously amnesiac. Having DWA in his past was, in fact, one of the reasons that he did not rise to prominence faster.

At every step of the way he had to prove himself, at each point he had to live down his irreverently misspent youth.

By the way, in case you doubt me, the bloggers who were trading insults with Mike back then today include senior Democratic and Republican Party officials; elected legislators and city council members (Dem and GOP) from around the State; and prominent attorneys.

At least two current bloggers who go back that far who seem to have mysteriously forgotten that they were not only there at the time, but that they participated avidly in the mudslinging of questionable taste. Both of them know exactly who I am talking about–I won’t “out” them because bloggers from that era never did that.

And he did. I am on record as not agreeing with a lot of Mike’s politics, but then I am the original iconoclast. But I cannot fault Mike for the courage of his convictions; his work ethic; his genuine concern for the welfare of everybody’s children; his push for good government; his outright advocacy of LGBTQ issues long before it was cool.

He has knocked on doors and carried signs. He has attended meetings and fundraisers, and gotten out his own checkbook time and again. He and his husband have dedicated their joint life to the causes they believe in.

Nope, he ain’t perfect. DWA aside, Mike can be pompous, overbearing, and self-righteous (sorry, guy, but we both know it’s true) and that makes him the kind of person that people want to go after.

They’ve tried it before.

Delaware’s right-wing social media attempted to crucify Mike as an enabler of child molesters (if not worse) over his stand for transgender rights for students.

One Delaware blogger (who’s at the movies) allowed himself to become the unwitting tool of a national right-wing smear campaign against unions to take some of Mike’s correspondence out of context.

There are certainly members of DSEA who resent the fact that he will not check his progressive credentials at the door, and continues to criticize President Trump, march for a $15 minimum wage, and stand up for LGBTQ rights.

He’s withstood that, and–as a person–he will withstand this, even if it costs him the DSEA presidency. Because you can’t really defeat a man like Mike Matthews, you can only kill him.

I will not stooge for forgiveness of his writings back then–I don’t think he wants that, and I think that to do so would disrespect both the young man he was, and the man he has become. He wrote some pretty horrific shit by today’s standards, and if you want to go back through all the blogs from the 2007-2010 period (that are mostly still actively archived) you can still find a lot of that, and a lot of responses in kind from many of our current political leaders.

(Is that the sound of scrubbing archives I hear? I truly hope not. I thought better of all of you.)

The difference between Mike Matthews and, say, a judge who now sits on the highest bench in the land, is that Mike has never lied about his youthful errors, and has lived a life that makes clear his atonement and growth.

So take your best shot at the man.

If you miss, you’ll probably hit me, because I will be standing beside him. I hope–and expect, damnit–to find a lot of other people who were part of that raucous conversation also willing to get into the line of fire.

Don’t make me have to go all Around-the-Horn on your asses to get you into the fight.

As I wrote on my own Facebook account earlier (before I went to the movies with my son), Mike is a friend first.  And friends are there for each other when the chips are down.  I remember a few nights where I needed a friend and Mike and others were there.  They might not have been aware that I needed friends those nights, but they were there nonetheless.  So Mike, if you need anything, I’m only a phone call away!  Like Steve Newton said, if you take that best shot at Mike and miss him and Steve Newton as well, you might hit me cause I’ll be standing next to Mike as well.

For some of you throwing their dull darts at Mike, I would first look in the mirror and see what you have said on social media.  I have some screenshots of some of it buried somewhere.  Bottom line- what you write has a damn good shot of being saved somewhere by someone.  It is very easy for someone to judge others but it is much harder to be accountable for your own actions.  Mike Matthews did that today.  But even in the midst of all this, I see many Democrats and Republicans alike sticking up for Mike.  Even some of those who vehemently disagreed with Mike over the years.  I respect the hell out of that!

For the kids in school these days- be careful! Always keep your eye on the future and don’t write words that may one day come back to haunt you.

DOE Gladly Accepts $10.4 Million For Charters While They Allowed The DAPSS Collapse

The Delaware Department of Education announced Delaware won $10.4 million dollars from a federal grant.  What is the innovative use for this whopping amount of money?  Absolutely nothing new.  Everything that charter schools are supposed to be doing already based on Delaware state code.  This is just U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’s way of screwing traditional school districts by siphoning more money off to charter schools under “education improvement”.

Meanwhile, our Delaware Department of Education didn’t have enough oversight to do anything about Delaware Academy of Public Safety and Security and watched them shut down a month into the school year.  They could have taken off their “do-nothing see-nothing glasses” and gotten some strong meds for their scorching case of Pretendonitis and actually shut down the school earlier this year.  But why do that when closing the school will actually disrupt students, families, and staff?

Does this grant money mean the DOE gets to keep some of this money?  Haha! Of course it does.  Maybe they can actually get a Charter School Office leader who can actually lead that office instead of covering stuff up for the charter schools!

Delaware wins $10.4 million federal grant to strengthen charter school system

Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018 – Delaware has won a $10.4 million federal grant to strengthen the state’s charter school system, including improved collaboration with other public schools.

Funds from the U.S. Department of Education’s Charter School Program will be distributed over four years to support:

  • Sharing best practices between charter schools and other public schools;
  • Evaluating and enhancing the impact of charter schools on student achievement, families and communities;
  • Strengthening the charter school authorization process; and
  • Providing subgrants for the planning, program design and initial implementation of new charter schools and expansion and replication of highly effective existing charter schools.

Secretary of Education Susan Bunting said the state always is looking for effective practices that can be used in schools across the state. The state’s role is to help share what is working across district and charter lines.

“Delaware designed charter schools with the legislative intent to improve education. This grant will assist the Delaware Department of Education in leveraging best practices and innovative ideas to help all Delaware students, regardless of zip code or socioeconomic status, to have access to a high-quality education,” she said.

The grant also will help the Delaware Department of Education to improve its charter authorization process by enhancing reporting to include additional measures, providing technical assistance to charter school stakeholders and addressing policy to strengthen authorization practices.

Delaware charter schools applying for subgrants from the state must show how they will use the funds to:

  • Increase academic achievement for all students in the school as well as educationally disadvantaged students;
  • Collaborate to share best practices with district and charter schools;
  • Engage the families of educationally disadvantaged children on school choice opportunities with a focus on Delaware’s rural and urban areas;
  • Leverage partnerships with local agencies (i.e. social services, behavioral health, mental health, educational support, job placement, before/after care) to enhance school services and ensure sustainability.

“Schools seeking subgrants must demonstrate that they have a proven track record of success in providing a quality education to all students and supporting the achievement of educationally disadvantaged students,” Bunting said.

Kendall Massett, executive director of the Delaware Charter Schools Network, said Delaware’s charter school community is excited for the opportunities this federal grant will provide.

“I have been advocating for an increase in the U.S. Department of Education Charter School Program Fund for the past six years,” Massett said. “I saw how previous grants from this fund positively impacted the lives of children in Delaware, and when the federal funding ran out, I knew we needed to get it back. Charter schools are an incredible choice for our children, but the funding challenges to open, expand, or replicate highly effective charter schools can sometimes be too much. The Delaware Charter Schools Network is excited to partner with the Delaware Department of Education on this grant that will open opportunities and provide more choice for students throughout the state.”

Hey Secretary Bunting!  How does pouring more money into charter schools help ALL Delaware students?  I just thank the good lord you don’t have Patrick Miller on the payroll at the Delaware DOE.  Cause if he pulled the stuff he did in Indian River with grant money, he would get to keep $24,000 of that money just for his own personal oversight of those funds.  But you didn’t know about that, right?

And no doubt the Delaware Charter Schools Network will partner with the DOE!  It is kind of their purpose! Mo money for mo charters!  Meanwhile, Rome burns…

DOE Develops A Case Of Pretendonitis With Education Funding Transparency Meeting

The Delaware Department of Education held their first public meeting for Senate Bill #172 which is supposed to show clear transparency with education funding so people can compare how much schools are spending compared to other schools.  The poorly attended event, filled with the usual stakeholders and barely anyone from the general public, showcased a Department that really doesn’t know what this bill means or what they plan to do with it.  In other words, they have a scorching case of pretendonitis. Continue reading

The Heat Is On At The Delaware DOE Building Tomorrow! Time To Fix Their Mess And Make Some Noise!

Tomorrow night, the Delaware Department of Education will hold the first meeting on education funding.  More specifically, cleaning up the hot mess where you can’t really tell how over a billion dollars in taxpayer dollars is spent.  The meeting is tomorrow (Monday) from 5-7pm at the Townsend Building in the 2nd Floor Cabinet Room.

I’ve been pushing for more transparency with this for years.  I love how the DOE ignores a federal mandate that passed in 2015 and waits three years to do something about it.  Here is the problem- none of our districts and charters code things the same way.  It makes it impossible to accurately compare.  One district may put something as “maintenance” while a charter school puts it as “operational costs”.

Nothing will satisfy me until there is a uniform coding structure for EVERYTHING.  That is the only way we can unravel what appears to be a Gordian knot.  And EVERYTHING has to be published in a clear and concise manner so people can understand it.  The current Delaware Online Checkbook is useless.  By the time you can figure the damn thing out it either freezes on you or you give up.

Senate Bill #172 is the state version of what the Every Student Succeeds Act already requires.  But it isn’t what is needed.  It would help a little bit but not the massive change that is needed.  My sense is the DOE already knows what they want and they are just putting on their dog and pony show to say the people wanted what they already want.  Seen it many times folks!  Don’t be fooled.  To read the final version of SB #172 with amendments, read here.  There should be NO exclusions when it comes to transparency of taxpayer dollars.  It is past time The First State became #1 with transparency.

If you have the means and the time, I would get there.  Sign up for public comment and just go for the throat.  Tell them you want to see every penny accounted for, by school and NO EXCEPTIONS!  You get five minutes for public comment so make it count!  This is what the DOE is looking for from the public according to their post on the Delaware Public Meeting Calendar:

The Department of Education will develop a standardized approach with input from district/charter leaders and other community members. To that end, three public meetings are scheduled for this fall so DOE can share its vision and hear from members of the public. Public comment will be limited to five minutes per person; DOE will accept written comments at any of the meetings or via email by Friday, October 12th to jennifer.roussell@doe.k12.de.us.
Both the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and Senate Bill 172, passed by the 149th General Assembly this spring, require the development of a statewide approach to define and report school-level expenditures so school leaders and the public can better compare per-pupil spending across Delaware. The Department of Education (DOE) will begin reporting school-level per-pupil expenditures in Dec. 2019.