Delaware Auditor’s Office Issues Follow-Up Report To Indian River School District Audit Investigation

The Delaware State Auditor, Tom Wagner, released a follow-up today to the Indian River School District audit investigation.  The original report, released days before the district’s December referendum, showed very damning allegations against the district’s former Chief Financial Officer Patrick Miller.  Today’s memorandum from Wagner came out before another referendum the district will be holding on March 2nd.  While the follow-up shows significant improvement there are still some areas of concern as shown in the below report.

Earl Jaques Threw A Doozy Out There On Friday. Does It Have Legs?

Last Friday, Delaware State Rep. Earl Jaques responded to a post I put up on Facebook concerning the Delaware State Auditor’s office.  One of his replies was news to me as well as everyone else I asked about this reveal. Continue reading “Earl Jaques Threw A Doozy Out There On Friday. Does It Have Legs?”

Governor Carney & Secretary Bunting Will Be At Big WEIC Meeting Next Week

The Wilmington Education Improvement Commission will hold their next meeting on Tuesday, February 28th.  On the agenda is an appearance by none other than Delaware Governor John Carney and Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting.  This will be interesting!

weicagenda22817

This week, Carney gutted a proposed weighted funding formula for the FY2018 state budget stating there is no money for it.  WEIC doesn’t work at all if the money isn’t in that budget either.  The state is facing a $350-$400 million dollar budget deficit.  In November, WEIC Chair Tony Allen publicly announced that if WEIC doesn’t go through he can foresee some type of legal action against the State of Delaware.  Interestingly enough, WEIC member Meredith Griffin filed today to run for the Christina School District Board of Education for the election in May.  That sets up that election for a four-person race with still another week to file for potential candidates.  This week, issues of race and due process came up in Red Clay stemming from an incident at a basketball game between A.I. DuPont High School and Delaware Military Academy.  Carney and Bunting are getting an hour to talk.  That is actually a long time.  I can’t say if I’ve ever heard Carney talk about education that long.  I don’t know if all of these issues will come up at the meeting, but this meeting comes at a very interesting time.  This will also be a big moment for Secretary Bunting as she is new in office and will be tasked with restricting the Delaware Dept. of Education.

WEIC and it’s earlier incarnation, WEAC, have been around for two and a half years.  Eventually, WEIC presented a plan to send Christina Wilmington students to Red Clay along with several other initiatives throughout the state to improve education for high-needs students.  After a long and drawn-out battle with the State Board of Education, WEIC’s plan turned into legislation.  That legislation failed to pass in the Delaware Senate.  New legislation extended the planning period for another year.  But with this year’s budget deficit looking dismal, will WEIC get the bypass again?  If it does, what will folks like Tony Allen and Jea Street’s next move be?

This could be a crowded meeting.  Get there early.  And what is up with five minutes of public comment?  They may want to stretch that out!

Get The Balance Right #TeamMarino

Tomorrow is the biggest day in Delaware history since Washington crossed the Delaware!  Not really, and that crossing was between New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  But voters in the 10th Senate District will choose their new Senator: John Marino or Stephanie Hansen.  I am really hoping they do the logical and sensible thing.  First off, they need to get out and vote.  Second, they need to vote for John Marino.

I won’t even play Pacman with all the crazy spending going on in this election.  Both sides have spent gobs of cash on this election.  The Dems are fighting for their triumvirate of state government control while the GOP is hoping for a slice of the pie.  Caught in the crossfire are the actual candidates, Marino and Hansen.  It comes down to choice, pure and simple.  But this is NOT just a vote for John Marino, it is also a vote for Delaware.  Eight long Markellian years have brought our economy down, our education to a standstill, and disenfranchised citizens up and down the state.  Dem control led to Governor John Carney telling people in a virtual town hall the other night that we don’t have money to help low-income schools.  We have a $350-$400 million deficit heading into the Fiscal Year 2018 budget.  That’s nearly 10% of our budget.  Can you afford a 10% reduction in your paycheck?  I know I can’t.  Delaware can’t either.

When one party has control, the other side doesn’t really matter.  Majority rules, so they say.  This gives us bad legislation and slush funds inserted into the state budget.  This gives our schools less while they pay more.  The Dems should be nervous.  They realize their reign of power is coming to an end.  They will use fear mongering about Right To Work as an excuse to vote for Hansen.  God forbid we actually get compromise in Delaware!  God forbid the two parties are forced to work together for the betterment of the state.  Please, let’s keep one party in control so my quality of life suffers.  One party control does NOT work.  We are seeing this more than ever with our federal government.  I am not a one party guy, but as Senator Brian Pettyjohn stated in a letter to the editor in the Delaware State News, it is about balance.  We need to get the balance right.  So tomorrow, if you live in the 10th, vote for John Marino.  He’s a good guy who will stick by his principles no matter what.  Don’t lump him in with all the rhetoric coming from the Hansen side.

For the first time in nearly a decade, a select group of people in the state can determine the future of Delaware.  Will they choose the status quo which has put us in the very precarious situation we are in now, or will they vote for change and compromise and a shot at a better tomorrow for all and not the few?  Delaware teachers: what has one-party control brought you?  Delaware parents: do you like all the aggressive testing in our schools?  Delaware citizens: Has the massive loss of businesses in our state helped you or your property values?  If I lived in the 10th, I would vote for Marino.  But I don’t.  I can only endorse him.  Again and again if need be.  Delaware without one-party control can be a frightening thought.  It is unknown what could happen.   Our unions will shrivel up and die.  That’s what the Dems campaigning for Hansen would have you believe.  But what is very known is what one-party control has wrought, and it is not good.  Get the balance right.

Questions About Due Process Surround AI duPont Basketball Team Suspension

A group of parents demanded answers today from Red Clay Consolidated School District officials regarding the suspension of the basketball team from their last game and the playoffs.  As I wrote yesterday, the team was suspended when they got off their bench at the end of a game after they were told not to.  Allegations of racial slurs have been central to this matter but neither Red Clay or Delaware Military Academy have said anything in an official capacity that these epithets came out despite numerous witnesses coming forward on Facebook, comments on Delaware Online, and witnesses that have come forward to Red Clay officials.  Now those parents are demanding the suspension decision be rescinded based on what they are perceiving to be a lack of due process based on policies within Red Clay.  The following letter was sent to the district today.  As well, Red Clay board member Adriana Bohm asked the district to rescind their decision.

**Updated, 4:25pm: According to The News Journal, the district may reconsider the team’s suspension for their remaining game and the playoffs.  Still no response from Commandant Pullella at Delaware Military Academy.

https://www.scribd.com/document/340126552/Appeal

Delaware Racism: It Is Reality And It Is Not Going Away

Racism in Delaware is very real. We saw it clearly with the situation at a Delaware Military Academy basketball game.  Alleged racial slurs were yelled out by DMA students.  When the A.I. Dupont High School basketball team was told to stay in their chairs after the game, members went to go towards the seats where they heard the horrible words.  No adult will come forward about this and use honor instead of protecting their charter school.  Why?

Racism is rampant in Delaware.  Our media, especially The News Journal, does not do enough to curb this.  Every time they post any article about issues that could possibly involve race, the hatred pours out in their comments.  Perhaps they remove these but they have no filters whatsoever to prevent words like nigger being thrown out there.  Don’t believe me?  Check out this comment from their poll last night about the DMA/AI incident:

delawareracism

I don’t condone the use of that word by anyone, whether they are black or white.  It is a word from history that signifies a time when black people were owned by white people.  I don’t believe any race or culture should own the word.  It is ugly and full of hatred.  We all bleed the same blood.  We all smile the same smile and we all shed the same tears.  Maybe because I was raised in a home where the value of respecting others was instilled in me at a very early age is the reason I can’t even fathom this kind of hatred.

President Trump, for all his faults, does not bring out this kind of hatred in people.  It is there and always has been.  There are those who may not like the words but fail to do anything about as evidenced by this comment from a DMA parent:

dmaparent

Fear of retaliation.  I’ve heard those words so many times to justify bad decisions in others.  If you find those words unacceptable then do the right thing and speak up.  What kind of message are you sending your child?  That it is okay for others to say things that are unacceptable in today’s society?  That adults can act just as bad as kids which further perpetuates racism?  Speak up parent!  By hiding things and covering them up, you are teaching your own child that it is okay for these things to happen.  It is not okay.  It is not right.  Your job as a parent is to prepare your child for adulthood and instill in them a sense of right and wrong.  We all want to protect our children, I get that.  But if doing it has a cost that could make anyone think certain things are okay are you really doing your job as a parent?  If administrators allow this to continue, what does that say about the school you chose to send your child to?  Taking away a senior night, which is the first I’ve heard of any punishment for DMA students, is not enough.  If this indeed happened, that would indicate wrong-doing on the DMA team and cheerleaders.  If no racial slurs were thrown out, why a punishment at all?

Schools like Delaware Military Academy, Charter School of Wilmington, and Newark Charter School all have very low African-American populations compared to the schools around them.  Some have even suggested they allow this culture of racism to continue so they get more white students.  This furthers segregation in Delaware, especially around Wilmington.  If these charters truly cared about diversity, they would do something about it.  Instead, we get long drawn-out essays, significant expenses surrounding school uniforms and sports, and specific interests that dissuade low-income families and minorities from even applying.  Despite the many who have called them out on this, our General Assembly turns a blind eye to this and allows this to continue.  Despite federal guidance suggesting any specific enrollment should be designed to let students with the highest needs in.

Did the A.I. DuPont H.S. coach do the right thing?  Many have suggested he did.  By suspending the team for the rest of the season he sent a message that despite what others say reacting to it can only make the situation worse.  But what about those players who are being called one of the most vile words in existence?  The News Journal wrote an editorial and said the coach made the right decision.  However, they did not mention one word about the alleged racial slurs.  To me, that word is meant to strip away the humanity from a person and make them feel like less then a human being.  Even though the above comment no longer appears in the comments of a poll they put up last night they allowed it to go up.  Even by putting a poll up to see if the coach did the right thing without all the information conveyed to those answering the poll, they are slanting the issue.

Delaware is an odd state.  We are a state between the south and the north.  One only needs to look at the riots in Wilmington in the 1960s to see Delaware’s history with race issues.  We still struggle with this in the present.  Generations of hatred against black people still exist to this very day.  But no one wants to really bring it out in the open.  Those of us who try are chastised and told to shut up.  That we have no idea what we are talking about.  But it continues, every day.  Every time we allow any institution to further issues of race, we are allowing the problem to continue.  Any time we allow a school, a building of education, to not have student populations that match the local area, we are letting it happen.

The charter schools I mentioned were a cure for not-so-wealthy parents of white students who couldn’t afford to send their kids to private schools.  They didn’t want their kids in “those” schools so some of our legislators created the perfect situation: schools with predominant white populations and barriers that effectively prevented “those” kids from even getting into that system.  And many parents rushed towards the opportunity.  Attack one of those charters and the parents will come out in full force to defend the school with a “How dare you” attitude.  They will defend these institutions that further discrimination at the cost of their own souls.  They don’t even see they are doing it.

Any person who makes themselves better than another with words designed to hurt someone based on race, gender, disability, age, or social status is discriminatory.  They are racist.  They are advancing their old-world vision on present-day society.  Anyone who fails to speak out about these things happening is living in a fear basket cuddled up in a blanket called enablement.  You are allowing this to continue.  You are just as bad.  If your child was given a hard time at school would you not speak up for them?  Most of us would.  We wouldn’t worry about fear of retaliation because it is the right thing to speak up for your child and advocate for them when they are unable to.  So why would you not speak up when you see your child’s environment is hostile and ugly?  That can be just as damaging as any situation where someone comes after your child.  You are failing as a parent when you don’t speak up about injustice.  If we all did that when we should, there wouldn’t be so much injustice.  It would send a clear message that this will not be tolerated.  It is unacceptable.  We will not be a victim to your cruel words and hatred.

Children are the most susceptible and vulnerable population in this country.  They absorb what is around them.  If parents show racism as issues at the dinner table or use words to describe people that are not good, kids pick up on it and at a very early age.  It becomes part of their personality.  It goes both ways with race.  Putting down the white man in front of your kids can elicit the same behaviors in kids.  I go back to “Remember The Titans”.  If it really went down that way, I don’t know.  It had to have been “Disneyfied” to some degree.  But the message is clear: when we band together we are all one.

I am not afraid to speak out.  I will not stop defending the rights of any human being on this planet.  And you can throw all the stones in the world at me but I will not let your cowardice stop me.  This is why I loathe the use of high-stakes standardized testing in schools.  It is just another system that puts up divides instead of unity.  Far too many parents say “I don’t want my kid going to that school.  Look at their test scores”.  And they cycle continues.  For the Delaware racists, you know who you are.  You know what you harbor in your innermost thoughts.  You may think you are right.  You may go to church on Sundays and count your blessings.  You may believe you have the might of angels behind your beliefs.  But what you lack in humility and grace takes all of that away.  As for media like The News Journal, telling half a story isn’t addressing any issue.  Covering up things that went down and hiding behind “accounts on social media” as if that whitewashes what really went down is not journalism.  It is cowardice.

Almost a day since I broke this story, DMA Commandant Anthony Pullella has not responded to my request for information about this incident.  I can’t say I’m surprised.  Many charter schools like to live in their own bubble and want to ignore the outside world.  As if they are the beacon of society and can do no wrong.  Why shouldn’t they think that?  Our own state government has allowed them to thrive in that belief.  Our legislators can sit in their legislative chambers and condemn actions that took place 150 years ago but when the time comes for them to address the true issues that are perpetuating racism, discrimination, and segregation in our state, far too many of them do nothing.  Especially when it comes to education.  There are those who will fight on these issues, reps like Kim Williams, John Kowalko, and others.  But they do not hold the majority.  All too often, bills are saturated with words that eventually continue Delaware’s backwards slide into racism.  Some don’t even realize this at the time.  Critics of issues involving racism and discrimination are all too often marginalized in this state.  Our issues become back burner because money and power have the influence in Dover, not what is right.  It becomes politics, not morality and doing what is right.

Unless you have been spoken down to like you are less than you are as much as African-Americans have in our very racist state, how can you effectively say you are right?  Have you ever walked in the shoes of someone who has been demeaned and humiliated?  If the answer is no, then kindly shut up.  We don’t want your hatred spewing out of your mouth.  I will never condone violence as a response to hatred.  It does nothing except make the situation worse.  But to point out the potential of violence without addressing why it got to that point is highly irresponsible.

 

 

February Shuffle 2.0

Round 2 for February.  What will come up on the shuffle?  I have no clue.  But let’s start!

“Sway”, Blue October: This came out four years ago.  When you get married, you can fall into the same routines.  Couples do this all the time.  Make time for each other even if you have a billion things going on.

“If Anyone Falls”, Stevie Nicks: 1983.  For some reason, I consider this one of the “big” music years for me.  It seemed like every band that was out there had music out that year.  At least to a teenage kid.  Nicks sultry voice captured many fans between Fleetwood Mac and her solo work.  People listening to this song now probably think “Damn, they used a lot of keyboards back then.”  It was all synth back then.  Even Van Halen went through a stint.

“Messiah”, The Farm: I miss The Farm.  They had three albums out in the early 1990s and vanished into obscurity.  I remember driving back from my friends Jerry and Rich’s apartment one night when I first heard this song.  I was driving off the Blue Route in Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  The sun was setting on a warm June night.  Or was it July, I don’t remember.  I always think of that sunset when I hear this song.

“Rio”, Duran Duran: Another blast from the 1983 past!  Duran Duran came out just as MTV was getting really big.  “Cherry ice cream smile, I suppose it’s very nice.”  I don’t know what the hell they are talking about but the chorus just flows from the lips when you are alone in your car and you hear this on an “oldies” station.

“This Time Of Year”, Better Than Ezra: One of my faves from 1995.  I went through a period of about two months that fall when I had to be VERY patient.  It was tough.  I used the time to my advantage and attempted to learn Swedish before I moved there.  I don’t know why this song reminds me of that.  All those index cards and books trying to learn this language.  I didn’t do too bad.  When I got to Sweden no one knew what the heck I was saying.  My tone probably sounded like I was from Mars or something.  This is in a country where everyone knows English, except in the places you really need it: banks, doctor offices, girlfriend’s parents house, etc.

“Breathing Underwater”, Metric: We all have these times, when the pressures of life just mount and build up.  Before you know it you reach a point where you feel stuck and trapped in the deep vastness of it all.  If you aren’t careful, you can get stuck in this rut.  That’s when you need to reach out to those around you.  Never be afraid to ask for help.  Or a listening ear.  And never ignore someone when they ask the same of you.

“Please Don’t Go”, KC & The Sunshine Band: I am not afraid to admit this was the first record I ever bought.  Well, the 45 that is.  It was late 1979.  Truth be told, I didn’t actually buy it.  A bunch of us in our neighborhood went Christmas caroling (does anyone do that anymore?) and after, there was a party at our house with Hot Chocolate and cookies.  There was a gift exchange.  I really, really wanted to get this as my present.  I remember the days after I got it, just spending time in my bedroom playing this song over and over again.  Singing very loud.  Probably too loud for the rest of my poor family.  I always loved the ballads.  Not sure why.

“The Gambler”, Kenny Rogers: The song is better than the movie.  Another song from the same era as the last song.  I loved living in Roanoke, VA.  It was only four years, but all of us in the neighborhood were like family.  At least the way I remember it.  Everyone eventually left.  But it was a great time in my life.  Innocence…

“You Will Leave A Mark”, A Silent Film: The beginning of this song is crazy!  A slow piano bit and then it just opens up and kicks ass all over the place.  This came out in 2010.  A time of reflection and what I call the slow learn.  I used to spend way too much money on an old comic book hobby.  This was the last gasp of that bad hobby.  Not that I don’t read them from time to time, but this was the beginning of the end of a habit gone wrong.  Hindsight is always 20/20, but it took me a long time to realize why I engaged in this activity.  I realize those answers now and I made peace with it a long time ago.

“Angel Dust”, New Order: Speaking of synth music, New Order was the king of it back in the day!  I didn’t get into them until 1986 when Brotherhood came out, but I still remember hearing this song and just being amazed at what a band could really do with a synthesizer.  Go on Youtube and listen to “alternative music” from the old days.

“Time Of Our Lives”, Paul Van Dyk: During the early summer of 2004, I spent a lot of time inside my house.  Jacob was only a few months old.  HBO always has awesome songs when they do a trailer of all their shows and movies.  I heard this and spent the next few days trying to figure out who sang this.  It took forever!  Deb and Jacob left California about six days before I did.  I stayed back and finished packing, made sure our cars got towed, and stuck around that last day for the movers (which came a day late).  I rented a car during the last few days.  One day I had some time to myself so I just drove around the Imperial Valley.  I played this song a lot.  When I dropped the car off at the airport, I remember the check-out guy asking if I enjoyed my stay.  I said “Yes I did!”  It was an almost four year stay.  I got married and had a child when I lived there.  Of course I enjoyed my stay!

“Flight of the Snowbirds”, David Foster: I’ve spoken on past shuffles about how I fell into a depression in the Fall of 1990.  As hard as it was, digging out of it was an interesting time.  That moment when you realize it is over and life can begin again is one I will always remember.  It was snowing out and I put this instrumental song on.  It just seemed perfect for that moment.  It was a new beginning.

“I Grieve”, Peter Gabriel: The first time I heard this song was when “City of Angels” came out in 1998.  That movie haunted me, but in a good way.  I often wonder if angels are on Earth like they were in that movie.  Watching over us.  Coaxing us in moments when we need them the most but don’t realize it.  A gentle push here or an awakening moment there.  I still remember when the little girl died in the movie.  An angel asked her what she liked the most here and she said “Pajamas”.

“People Are People”, Depeche Mode: This was one of those songs that got a lot of airplay back in the 80s.  It was just kind of there.  Years later I actually listened to the lyrics and they were brilliant!  Things like racism and discrimination have always bothered me.  We all live on the same planet.  We all bleed the same blood.  When this song came out, the Uncanny X-Men was the best selling comic in the country.  If you’ve seen the movies, you know the X-Men are mutants.  People feared and hated them.  They were bullied and even killed.  It was the comic equivalent of what this country did to black people for centuries.  Laugh if you want, but I think that comic instilled my hatred of people hating other people.  “I can’t understand what makes a man hate another man help me understand.”

“Tom Sawyer”, Rush: If you listened to rock music in 1981, this song catapulted Rush to the top of the charts.  There are some songs you switch when you hear them on the radio or on a shuffle.  This song is not one of them.  I listen to it from beginning to end, start to finish.  The world is love!

“The Same Moon”, Phil Collins: Never released as a single, I have always felt this song was one of Phil’s best.  It holds a very special meaning for me.  Once upon a time someone told me something about the moon.  It was one of the sweetest and most beautiful things anyone has ever said to me in my life.  They say words are just words and actions mean more.  But for this memory, the words were the action.

“Time Ago”, Black Lab: When you chase a dream you need to be very careful you aren’t just wanting what you once had.  Tricky words and hard to explain.  Sometimes, and it really sucks, you can’t get something back that you once had.  You can drown in that loss or rise above it and move on.

“Universal Daddy”, Alphaville: The first time I went to Kryptons, the coolest nightclub in Westchester County in the mid to late 1980s, I heard this song.  I was with my friend Pete.  I wasn’t much of a dancer, but when this song came on I got my groove and went out on the dance floor.  I danced the rest of the night (except when my friend Vicki the waitress kept hooking me up with drinks, thank God I didn’t have my driver’s license yet).  By the end of the night I was a sweaty mess.  But it was fun!

“The Trick Is To Keep Breathing”, Garbage: I actually had a Facebook conversation with someone about this song just last week.  Life is funny like that!   This song, along with the whole album it came from, Version 2.0, reminds me of a trip I took to visit friends in Sweden in 1999.  I left two years earlier and truth be told I broke up with my Swedish girlfriend and moved back to America.  Going back there felt very strange.  She was engaged and about to get married.  I was still bitter about that but I was the one that made the choice to move back.  Looking back now, going back was the right thing to do.  It helped me to realize I made a choice that was best for all involved.

“Some Nights”, Fun: This song reminds me of Campus Community School.  Not the bad memories, but the good ones.  When I was teaching the 8th and 9th graders.  Mrs. Eldridge and her Brainstormers or whatever she called them.  Talking to the kids.  Trying to understand this new generation.  Once in a while I see one of those students and some remember me, some don’t.  Most of them graduated last year.  At the time, I gave serious thought about going into teaching.  But then things went bad for my son and I lost that desire.  And after all I learned about what teachers go through the past few years, no way in hell would I get into teaching in this environment!  But some nights I did want to.

“Here Comes The Feeling”, Asia: 1982 and 1983 belonged to Asia in my house.  All of us Ohlandt brothers loved this band.  I think at one point we each owned their albums separately.  No sharing allowed!  Funny how that worked out.  Nowadays we could just download it from each other’s iPod and save a ton of money.

“Elevation (Influx Remix)”, U2: Have you ever created a situation where a song fits an action?  I did that with this song.  When I lived out in California, I would take long drives.  I remember one Sunday afternoon when I just drove towards a mountain.  I wanted to drive up that mountain.  So I did.  When you see Hollywood movies of people driving along the coast and the windy roads, forget about it!  Mount San Jacinto is an interesting place.  When you drive up it, there are tons of rock formations.  But when you get to the top, pine trees take over the landscape.  There are a few lookout spots for drivers where you can see for miles and miles.  At the top of the mountain is a town called Idyllwild.  It is an artsy type town that is over 5,400 feet above sea level.  If you go past the town, there is a lake where folks go camping.  I found all this in a day.

idyllwild

“Hear Me”, Imagine Dragons: We all want to be heard.  I always think it is very sad when someone can’t get their feelings out.  It is humiliating.  With that comes a level of decency with how someone gets those feelings out.  But all too often when someone feels they aren’t being heard, those feelings become confusing and feel out of control.  We are only human.  What was once someone not being heard morphs into something bigger and the problems get bigger and bigger.

“You Learn”, Alanis Morissette: A few months after I moved to Sweden, I was on a bus going to my girlfriend’s parents house.  She had gone back a couple days earlier.  I spent a lot of that time writing a letter to my parents.  I remember writing about this song to them in the letter.  At the time, I didn’t picture one day leaving the country.  It was hard to express that to my parents who were across an ocean.

“The One I Love”, David Gray: Once upon a time I heard this song and thought of Deb and I getting old together.  Flash forward eleven years later.  Deb and I were at John Carney’s Inaugural Ball.  We were on the dance floor and there was this older couple dancing together.  I remember saying “That’s us in twenty years.”

“All We Ever Knew”, The Head & The Heart: I wonder every day what happens next.  I just don’t know.  A million thoughts swirl through my mind.  A million different paths and roads I could take.  It is consuming.  I miss the days when I could just sit back and enjoy life.  But it is a time of responsibility and courage.  Of making decisions that seem like the right thing one day and a horrible one the next.  Why isn’t this enough?  There are things I cannot control.  Things where I don’t even factor into the decision-making process.  That is the hardest part.  Coming to terms with this and having to accept it.

Racial Slurs Appear To Go Unpunished For DE Military Academy While A.I. DuPont Basketball Team Suspended Rest Of Season

At a recent basketball game between Delaware Military Academy and A.I. DuPont High School, a fight broke out when DMA or students in the stands allegedly used racial slurs including the “n” word.  As a result, the A.I. team has been suspended the rest of the season while the DMA players seemingly have not been punished for instigating the incident.  I do not condone using force to resolve issues.  If there was fighting, then certainly the A.I. players should be punished.  With that being said, the use of racist slurs should NOT go unpunished.  Details are sparse on this incident and I did reach out to Red Clay Superintendent Dr. Merv Daugherty and Delaware Military Academy Commandant Anthony Pullella to see if they can confirm what actions took place.  As of this writing, I have yet to receive a response from either of them.

Apparently, this is not the only incident involving charter schools within Red Clay and Red Clay high schools.  Several parents have suggested there was an incident between Charter School of Wilmington and Cab Calloway and the incident with DMA is not the first time racial slurs were said by DMA players.

Without “actual” documentation, much of this is hearsay.  However, when enough parents start talking about something, expect a lot of noise.  I don’t think this matter is going to quietly go away.  For the current school year, DMA has a population of African-American students of 5.8% while A.I. DuPont has 36.1% according to the Delaware Dept. of Education website.

Updated, 10:42am: The News Journal covered the team’s suspension but not a single word was written about the alleged racial slurs.

Updated, 10:55am: The incident did not involve actual assault but players from A.I. rushing to the student seats at the DMA home game.  Their coach had explicitly informed them to stay in their seats.  Red Clay closed the investigation last week but it was reopened as of today.  If anyone has firsthand knowledge of racial slurs being used at this game, please contact the Red Clay Consolidated District Office and Delaware Military Academy.

Updated, 11:00am: I have not received any response to my request for information from Daugherty or Pullella.

Updated, 12:34pm: Red Clay Board of Education member Adriana Bohm put the following message on Facebook:

In regards to the AI/DMA situation and based on information I received I requested the case be re-opened and it was reopened this morning. If folks heard the “N Word” and other racially derogatory language being used at the game please file an official complaint and write a letter to the Red Clay School Board. The email address is RCBOARDMEMBERS@redclay.k12.de.us. You may also message me so we can talk.

Updated, 1:27pm: I heard back from Red Clay Superintendent Dr. Merv Daugherty.  I will include my initial request as well as his response:

Merv,

Several people have reached out to me this morning in regards to a fight at a DMA basketball game.  What I’m hearing is the AI team has been suspended the rest of the season.  I’ve also heard the catalyst for this fight was the use of racial slurs by DMA players that have gone unpunished.  Can you confirm any of this?  This is under the assumption you would not know or be able to control what kind of punishment would occur for DMA players.

Thanks, 

Kevin Ohlandt

Dr. Daugherty’s Response:

Kevin,

We have investigated this incident for several days. We have interviewed coaches, administrators,  security personnel, and parents of players from both teams who were at the game.  None of those persons interviewed reported hearing any racial slurs. The decision to forfeit the remainder of the season (one game) and the playoffs was made because of the players actions at the conclusion of the game. The account of the incident in today’s News Journal is accurate. And, you are correct in that Red Clay is not responsible for the discipline of DMA students. 

Respectfully,

Merv

I have yet to receive a response from Commandant Pullella at Delaware Military Academy.  There appears to be some confusion on whether the alleged racial epithets were coming from DMA basketball players or students in the stands.

Updated, 2/23/17, 4:28pm: I have updated this article to reflect that the alleged racial slurs came from Delaware Military Academy students in the stands, not their basketball players.  There have been several reports about a hostile attitude at the game towards the A.I. DuPont High School team.

Delaware NEEDS John Marino

E.R. +Educators to the Rescue+

I formally met John Marino when we both participated in the Delaware PTA Parent Opt-Out Rally at Legislative Hall in January 2016.  He was rallying alongside of the Delaware 9-12 Patriots group.  I was impressed that this group’s members, many with no children in the public school system, came out to support House Bill 50, which sought to codify a parent’s right to opt-out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment.

While talking with John, I asked him what he thought about different issues in education.  He was unwavering in his disdain for the Common Core Standards, and he referenced the Constitution many times when he spoke about how educational issues should be decided upon by the individual states.  He went further to say that each district within our state has its own set of unique demographics and circumstances, and that power over education really needed to be given back to the…

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Become A Reading Angel!

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I had no idea this existed until last week.  The United Way of Delaware is looking for volunteers to read to kids at Delaware schools.  I signed up for one this week.  I always wanted to do something like this, for many years.  When I first thought of it, I thought about reading to sick kids in hospitals.  Time and life got in the way of doing anything about it, but when I saw this the door opened for me.

This is during the week, so it can be tough for many of you.  But if you have time, please consider being a Reading Angel to a local school.  The schools participating in this are North Georgetown Elementary School in Georgetown, Fairview Elementary School in Dover, Bancroft, Pulaski, Shortlidge, Stubbs, and Wilmington Manor Elementary School(s) in Wilmington, Lewis Dual Language, and Eisenberg Elementary School in New Castle.  I have no idea what I will be reading to the kids, but I look forward to it!

To sign up for this, please go to the United Way Delaware: Reading Angels website and pick a school and date!  Why is this important?  As per the United Way of Delaware website:

Books have the power to benefit children in a myriad of ways. As a Reading Angel, reading to students is one of the most important things you can do to prepare them with a foundation for academic excellence.

Why Does it Matter? Children who do not read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school as those who read proficiently.  Help us improve our kid’s literacy scores and their reading capability.

Commit to reading to students for one hour at a local school.  We’ll help schedule a convenient time and place – you will help inspire a love of books in local children!

Amen!  Thanks United Way of Delaware!

February Shuffle 1.0

Continuing the tradition from last month, this non-education series of articles is all about the music!

“Kick”, INXS: Heh heh heh.  About all I can say about this!

“Nothing Lasts Forever”, Echo & The Bunnymen: I actually didn’t find this song until 2006 when I picked up a greatest hits compilation of the band.  The title says it all.  At least in its current form.  Life is like energy, it doesn’t disappear, it just evolves.

“The Drugs Don’t Work”, The Verve: Drug addicts have a tough time of it.  I would like to think each and every one had a moment in their lives when they could have taken a different turn and stopped the rough road they went down.  Nothing good comes of it.  It tears apart families and destroys lives.  Sometimes it kills people.  It is an epidemic no matter how you slice it.  One addict is one too many.

“How Do You Love?”, Collective Soul: There are people in this world who do not get love from the time they enter the world.  It leaves horrible scars.  They don’t get that basic foundation that most people get.  They were deprived of that nurturing comfort that forms who they are.  They grow up.  It is incredibly sad what happens to these people.  Is it their fault for the decisions they make when they are older?  Hard to tell.  The problem is they believe they are always the victim and it is always someone else’s fault.  Things like accountability go out the window and they are in a constant state of self-defense.  They don’t even realize this.  If you offend them in any way, you are the enemy.  They will justify any event or situation to fit their needs, which tends to be fleeting in the grand scheme of things.  When they do something wrong, they believe it is not their fault.  They are hard-wired at a very early age to never really trust anyone.   They will lie based on fear.  The truly sad part?  Many of these people don’t get the help they need and there is no medicine that can cure this.  They can be the hardest people in the world to give love to because the odds are very high you won’t get it back in return.  But be assured, they are loved.  Even when those who love them think they can’t give anymore to give and the well has run dry, they are there.  Sometimes that is the truest love of all.  It isn’t romantic or glamorous or sexy, but it is very real.  When they want to cast you aside, as they have done so many others, based on a perceived threat that is not ground in reality, they will smear your reputation and leave you feeling hopeless.  I’ve heard some say this kind of person can never be fixed.  That can be a very bitter pill to swallow.  With God’s love, I think anything is possible.  But they are also His lost sheep.

“The Imperial March (Darth Vader’s Theme)”, John Williams: How many of you have hummed this piece in your head when you know trouble is coming into a room?

“Waiting In Vain”, Bob Marley: Nothing soothes the soul like a little Bob Marley!  I remember days after school hanging out at Scott’s Reservoir, a man-made body of water between New York and Connecticut.  On one end of “the res” as we called it was a rope swing.  On the other end were cliffs you could jump off.  Down from the rope swing was the end of the res and it was there I camped out at times.  You had a limited time each year to enjoy the swimming adventures at the res.  Usually between Mid-May to the beginning of July.  After that they drained the res for a while.  My parents didn’t want me going there, but that didn’t stop this rebellious teenager.  A lot of good times with friends at the res.  I met a lot of people there as well.

“Bliss”, Tori Amos: What do you do when you finish a book in your life?  You start a new one.  But sometimes that beginning is very slow and boring.  This was the place I was in back in 1998.  Little did I know what was lurking around the corner!

“Upside Down”, Jack Johnson: Like Marley, Jack’s music is awesome for the soul!  I always think of the Curious George movie when I hear this song.  My son Jacob loved watching the video to this song.  His favorite part was when Jack Johnson slips on a banana peel and falls into the water.  I can still hear the laughter through the years!

“Into The Night”, Julee Cruise: Back in 1990 I was in a nasty depression.  The years and some bad stuff took their toll on me.  The absolute worst thing you can do while in this state is watch a show like “Twin Peaks”.  But of course I did it anyway.  David Lynch’s mega-opus into the bizarre and surreal town in Washington captured audiences as they wondered who killed Laura Palmer.  They solved the murder but the show fizzled after that as the central hook was gone.  But it is coming back this Spring for… who knows!

“Rain King”, Counting Crows: This is a Summer of ’94 song!  I just graduated college.  Between the New York Rangers finally winning the Stanley Cup again and O.J. Bronco chases, it was a crazy summer.  But for me, it was very quiet.  Just the way I wanted it!

“The Rose”, Bette Midler: This is one of those songs that holds several different meanings for me, going all the way back to 1980 when it first came out.  Each time, each era, I feel as though it holds more importance, more weight.  Love means so many different things to so many people.  It can be the greatest comfort in the world or it can bring immense pain and sadness.  It all depends on where you are at.

“Bleecker St.”, Simon & Garfunkel: When I hear songs like this that came out from the years before I was born I am envious.  I always wondered what I would have been like in the 1960s.  Judging by this blog and the content I tend to put up on here, I think I know the answer to that question!

“Tears In Heaven”, Eric Clapton: Nothing hurts more then losing a child.  I remember when Eric Clapton’s son fell out of a window and died.  I was working at a deli and it came on the radio.  I felt so bad for Clapton and his family.  This song perfectly summarizes his anguish.

“Going Back”, The Outfield: In the summer of 1992, I got to back home to New York for a few months.  I was working on a magazine about comic books and I stayed with my aunt and uncle near where I grew up.  That was a great summer!  I lost touch with my friends Steve and Neil a long time ago and haven’t been able to find them.  The highlight of the summer was going to San Diego for the first time.  Watching the sun set over the Pacific at Mission Beach as I sat in a bar with my friend Steve.  There are many reading this who may have seen the sun rise at the beach, but if you have never seen it set over the Pacific, make sure you put that on your bucket list!

“New Dress”, Depeche Mode: You think political angst is just an American thing?  To the British in the 1980s it was everything.  But the media focused on celebrities.  Thus this song.  But the message is about Princess Diana’s new dress.  It is actually a get out and vote song when you really listen to it!

“Sleeping Satellite”, Tasmin Archer: Another summer song, this one belonging to 1993.  Another summer at my aunt and uncle’s place in New York.  This summer wasn’t as much fun because I was a co-editor on a book about comic book artists.  There were many late nights getting all the pieces together for this mammoth undertaking.  I did get to San Diego again that summer.  But this was one of those songs that I played over and over again that summer.

“Noah’s Dove”, 10,000 Maniacs: Probably in my top ten songs of all time.  The first time I heard it was driving into a small town in West Virginia.  During Spring Break my senior year of college, I spent that week helping out people in that small town.  It was refreshing and a nice change of pace.  I have always felt giving and volunteer service is good for the soul.  But this song… it’s like “The Rose”, holding different meanings over the years.  At times I felt like Noah’s Dove.  Sometimes it is someone else.

“Ring The Bells”, James: Man, this shuffle sure is picking out a lot of songs from the nineties!  When bad stuff happens, we feel alone a lot.  Like no one can help us.  And sometimes we feel God isn’t there either.  Be assured He is.  He may not be there the way you want Him to be, but he is definitely there!

“The Dolphin’s Cry”, Live: Beginnings are usually awesome.  Full of promise and hope.  New feelings and excitement.

“Daysleeper”, R.E.M.: In the fall of 1998, I got a new job at a mortgage company.  I wanted to do really well at this new job.  A few months into it, I got a call from someone.  This person let me know they got engaged.  Being that I used to date this person, hell, moved across the Atlantic Ocean to be with this person, it crushed me when I heard it.  Cut to my taking a break at work, smoking a cigarette outside.  This woman I had seen before came out.  She could tell I was upset.  I told her what happened.  We talked for a while about it and she helped me to not let this news ruin my day.  These are the moments where friendships are born.

“Song2”, Blur: If you were into the Grunge movement in the nineties, this song was almost an anthem.  Body-surfing, the grunge dancing, the loud music.  Yeah, it was a movement!

“Brother”, Needtobreathe: If you see your brother is down, go to him.  Doesn’t have to be your biological brother.  We are all brothers and sisters on this planet, no matter what color we are.  Some people may not seem like they want help.  Give it a shot.  You could actually save a life!

“What Does It Take?”, Honeymoon Suite: If one song could perfectly encapsulate what my life is like now, this would be it.

Time for bed.  I’ll post this in the morning.

 

East Side and FFA Board’s Big OOPS & How To NOT Hire Teachers!

East Side Charter School and Family Foundations Academy (now Charter School of New Castle) share the same board under the umbrella name of Vision Academies.  Yes, that name should sound very familiar to Delawareans.  I guess throwing the word “vision” into the name lends clout in certain corners of the state.  But what did the board do in December that could be seen as a big no-no and has even been named as something school boards shouldn’t do in recent audit investigations?  And is their latest recruitment strategy really something that screams “Hire me”? Continue reading “East Side and FFA Board’s Big OOPS & How To NOT Hire Teachers!”

Decaying Buildings and the Rise of Digital Education

Wrench in the Gears

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“DeVos doesn’t think we should be funding school buildings as much as students.” The line caught my eye as I scrolled through social media this weekend. How could it not? I’ve been working hard over the past year to try and convince other education activists that the true endgame of the reform movement is to make school buildings obsolete. So I listened to the video of DeVos speaking to attendees of the Magnet Schools of America National Policy Training Conference in Washington, and there it was at timestamp 11:40: “I don’t think we should be as focused necessarily on funding school buildings, as much as we should be having a conversation around funding students.”

DeVos, being from Michigan, surely knows the deplorable conditions students in Detroit face daily trying to access a free and appropriate public education. And Detroit is not alone. Parsons completed a Facility Condition Assessment for…

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Breaking News: DSEA To Hold Run-Off Election To Commence On February 27th

The Delaware State Education Association made a very smart move last night at their Executive Board meeting last night.  Due to the overwhelming amount of concerns expressed as a result of their January election which ended in a tie for the President role, the Delaware educator’s union is holding a run-off election to determine who will become the next DSEA President.

Voting will begin on February 27th and will last until March 13th.  I sincerely hope more than 20% of Delaware’s educators actually vote this go-around!

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Crickets From Water Street

The Delaware State Education Association held an executive board meeting last night.  On the agenda was determining what to do about the tie in the election for a new DSEA President.  As of this writing, nothing has come out regarding the outcome.  Their main office, located on Water St. in Dover, has been exceptionally quiet.  No leaks are coming out and nobody seems to know what is going on.

Mike Matthews, one of the candidates running for President who received an unprecedented tie vote against Karen Crouse, reported on Facebook this morning that he hasn’t heard anything about the results of the meeting.  Kilroy’s Delaware keeps asking teachers on Facebook if DSEA has a new King or Queen.  We will have to wait a little bit longer fair readers to see if there is a new leader or if DSEA will hold a run-off election to break the tie.  This wait and see is like waiting on a new Pope!  If you see white smoke coming from the vicinity of Water Street, I guess that means they have a new leader!

The Unpresidential President

Today, President Donald Trump held a news conference with members of the media.  Full of boisterous self-praise and self-adulation, Trump got to cut off and interrupt reporters like it was a World Wrestling Federation prep rally.  Thanks to The New York Times for putting up the full transcript.  I got to watch part of it while at Wayback Burgers in Dover eating a late lunch (great burgers by the way).  I wanted to touch on a few of the highlights of the conference and put my thoughts around them.  Trying to formulate a thought for some of Trump’s comments is like trying to touch wind since there was no basis in reality for some of his comments.

I don’t think there’s ever been a president elected who in this short period of time has done what we’ve done.

Yes, we have the billionaire club disguising themselves as a Presidential Cabinet and children of illegal immigrants crying to their teachers they are going to be deported.

This morning, because many of our nation’s reporters and folks will not tell you the truth, and will not treat the wonderful people of our country with the respect that they deserve.

Respect goes both ways.  Respect means letting others have a viewpoint and allowing them to convey it.  It’s also called The First Amendment in case you’ve forgotten.

North Korea – we’ll take care of it folks; we’re going to take care of it all.

How are you going to take care of a rogue nation that doesn’t show up on satellite maps at night because all the lights are off in the country?  If you do indeed fix it all can we make you the savior of the world?

We have had great conversations with the United Kingdom, and meetings. Israel, Mexico, Japan, China and Canada, really, really productive conversations. I would say far more productive than you would understand.

Is that because we are too dumb to understand President Trump?  Us little people and measly reporters just wouldn’t get it?  Unless we are in the boardroom, ahem, Oval Office during these conversations and meetings?

We’ve even developed a new council with Canada to promote women’s business leaders and entrepreneurs. It’s very important to me, very important to my daughter Ivanka.

No conflict of interest there.  Yes, let’s drain the swamp and create a council with Canada at taxpayer expense!  I can see all that government waste circling the drain (sarcasm intended).

I’ve ordered plan to begin building for the massive rebuilding of the United States military. Had great support from the Senate, I’ve had great from Congress, generally.

When you say this, please don’t think anyone believes it is because they want to work with you.  Both houses are controlled by the GOP so it is easy-peasy for all of you to get your way.  I highly doubt they will balk too much against your plans because you carry that veto pen.

And the wall is going to be a great wall and it’s going to be a wall negotiated by me.

Because that worked so well for Berlin… Yes, I have no doubt this great wall will be negotiated by you but paid for by we the people.

We’ve ordered a crackdown on sanctuary cities that refuse to comply with federal law and that harbor criminal aliens,

How long until they start coming into schools?

I keep my campaign promises, and our citizens will be very happy when they see the result.

Common Core is still here President Trump.  How many votes did you get based on that promise?  Quite a few I bet!  Instead of getting rid of it, we got Betsy DeVos!

Wal-mart announced it will create 10,000 jobs in the United States just this year because of our various plans and initiatives.

I think that had more to do with their plans to begin selling cars and beef up their online presence.

It’s all fake news. It’s all fake news.

Will this be the new “thing”? Anything that goes against President Trump will now be called fake news?  Better believe it!

You know, he was doing his job. The thing is, he didn’t tell our vice president properly, and then he said he didn’t remember.

For someone who made part of his vast fortune by telling people “You’re fired!”, wouldn’t part of his job be, you know, giving proper information to the Vice President and remembering what happened?  Duh Donald Duh!

And just while you’re at it, because you mentioned this, Wall Street Journal did a story today that was almost as disgraceful as the failing New York Time’s story, yesterday.

So the alleged purpose of this news conference was to improve relations with the media but he does so by referring to two of the biggest newspapers in the world as “failing” and “disgraceful”.  I can see that collaborative spirit flowing Don!

I mean, I watch CNN, it’s so much anger and hatred and just the hatred.

And Fox News is NEVER like that, especially when Dems were in power.  Okee-dokee!

Nobody mentions that Hillary received the questions to the debates. Can you imagine — seriously — can you imagine if I received the questions? It would be the electric chair. OK, he should be put in the electric — you would even call for the reinstitution of the death penalty, OK.

President Trump, if you lost the presidential election do you think anyone would still be talking about this?  No.  Why are you continuing to beat up on Hillary Clinton?

No, that’s how I won. I won with news conferences and probably speeches. I certainly didn’t win by people listening to you people. That’s for sure. But I’m having a good time.

Trump is referring to members of the media that didn’t like him here.  This is his victory lap around the news pundits and giving them a tongue lashing while also putting himself up in bronze for the whole world to see.  Look at me, I’m President Trump.  I’m King of the World.

But tomorrow, the headlines are going to be, “Donald Trump rants and raves.” I’m not ranting and raving.

I believe this should be the lead for any examples of idiocy going forward in history.

The greatest thing I could do is shoot that ship that’s 30 miles off shore right out of the water.

This was said in jest by Trump, but given that this ship was 30 miles off the coast of the state I live in, Delaware, my ears perked up when he said this.  I don’t recall any big naval battles off the coast of Delaware in the past 200 years.  That could have been interesting!

I can’t believe I’m saying I’m a politician, but I guess that’s what I am now.

Lightbulb moment for the leader of the free world…

And I can tell you one thing about a briefing that we’re allowed to say because anybody that ever read the most basic book can say it, nuclear holocaust would be like no other.

Wow! Nuclear holocaust would be bad?  I never knew that.  I thought “The Day After”, which aired in 1983 and showed Kansas City getting nuked and the aftermath was just a pre-Thanksgiving special.  Nuclear holocaust is just that, the end.  Did you just learn this from reading a briefing?  Jesus wept…

…does anybody really think that Hillary Clinton would be tougher on Russia than Donald Trump?

When you refer to yourself in the 3rd person, that is nothing but a big old ego.  Mr. President, this isn’t Rocky III promoting a fight between Apollo Creed and Clubber Lang.  You are a leader.  Please act like it! 

Can’t believe I forgot this one!

Trump: Are they friends of yours?

Reporter: I’m just a reporter.

Trump: Well, then set up the meeting.

This was in response to an African-American reporter if Trump consulted with the Congressional Black Caucus to deal with his upcoming Executive Order to deal with crime in American cities.  Like we should just assume every African-American knows every African-American.  But this is the world we live in now.

Respect goes both ways like I said earlier.  If you want the media to respect you and your agendas, you also have to respect them.  You can’t cherry-pick who you like because they give you positive press.  Watching just part of the press conference today was embarrassing.  Reading the whole transcript gave me severe heartburn!  I have to believe Trump has someone guiding him who would say “Mr. President, I really don’t advise you holding this news conference.”  If not, I’m sure he will VERY soon!

 

 

 

Capital School District’s VERY BOLD Long-Term Plans

The Capital School District has mighty plans for the district!  As part of their ongoing strategic plan, the district will discuss potential building and grade configurations at their board meeting this evening, beginning at 7pm.

While these plans are not set in stone, there is serious discussion about what the district will physically look like in the long run.  Referendum haters may want to relax because the plans I am about to discuss are long-term and could take twenty years to reach the finale.  But current plans call for sweeping building changes, grade configurations, and a new way of looking at middle school.  The district began earnestly looking at these changes last fall and held staff and community forums earlier this month after a facility master plan was presented to the board.

With the proposed changes, two current elementary schools would disappear and another would be renovated. Fairview and Town Pointe Elementary Schools would be demolished and Dover East would get a new building.  Both plans call for a potential expansion at Dover North.  Where things get very interesting are the plans for the existing middle schools, William Henry and Central Middle.  Central Middle would become an elementary school.  Since William Henry is connected to Kent County Community School, the plan is to use room in William Henry to house a growing high-needs special needs population.  This does not mean all special education students in the district would be going to this potential facility!

For the middle schools, they would be two separate schools but joined by a common area.  Potential plans would called for shared resources between the two such as a cafeteria and large gym.  But it would also allow the district to have Career-Technical education programs in one school and arts programs in another.  But since the schools would be in the same location, it would be difficult for diversity issues to come up since they are both there.  The district is looking at potential magnet programs in the future.  The proposed site for the new middle schools would be on the property of the old Dover High School.

Those are the major changes.  Other options call for an early childhood center attached to Dover East and potentially one next to Booker T. Washington Elementary School.  Both of the potential options would call for what is known as a “Main Campus” which would house the expanded Kent County Community School, Booker T. Washington (which holds the district Delaware Autism Program inclusion program) and the proposed early childhood center.  As well, other space in William Henry could house the Transition program for students with high needs between the ages of 18-21.  The district now leases space in a building across from the Department of Education in Dover.

In terms of grade configurations, the plan is to have the following: early childhood centers would hold Pre-K to Kindergarten, elementary schools would hold 1st-5th grade, middle schools would have 6th-8th, and high school would be 9th-12th grades.

So how much is all of this going to cost?  Probably millions and millions of dollars.  But not all at once.  The goal is to look at the projected growth of the district based on a capacity of 600 students in each elementary school, 750 in the middle schools, and 1,800 for the high school.  Keep in mind, this is a twenty year plan.  Things could very well change during the next two decades.  Projections are good but you never know when a huge business could come to Dover or Kent County which could change all the numbers.  But I like this plan.  I like the idea of sharing resources at the middle school level.  Having the “Main Campus” could also allow for that which could save the district tons of money.  Of course, any new construction or renovation costs tons of money but everything old must one day become new!

OPTION A

option-a

OPTION B

option-b

As the above diagrams show, Hartly Elementary School, Dover South Elementary School and Dover North Elementary School would have the least amount of changes.  The revamped district would actually have one less elementary school than present, but the populations in each school would change based on removing Kindergarten and adding 5th grade.  As a citizen of Dover, this will definitely be one to watch!  When the strategic plan process began last year I strongly advocated for changing the middle school grade configuration to what they are now proposing.  To hear the plans in more detail, come on out to the board meeting at the district office!

John Young Takes On Donald Trump!!!! Resolution On Safe Zones For Christina Schools Pending!

Christina School District Board of Education member John Young is going head to toe with President Donald Trump in what could be a first for Delaware!  In response to what many are viewing as President Trump’s very heavy-handed immigration tactics initiated shortly after his inauguration, Young crafted a brilliant resolution declaring the district a safe zone for any student within its property.

The resolution would make it so any United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement official would have to get permission from the district Superintendent and coördinate any activities before entering any of the buildings of the district.  When asked what prompted the decision for the resolution, Young stated the following:

This resolution is in response to current political environment which was spurred on by a presidential immigration ban but it was not designed to be a reaction to it but an act to protect our students and our schools as the learning environments that they were and are designed to beBasically students should not fear coming to school for any reason and no student should be subjected to being a witness to a federal immigration and customs enforcement action.
There should be no reason any logical board member would not say yes to this resolution.  All students deserve to have schools be a safe haven!  If approved, this would be the first Delaware school district to institute this type of resolution.  The Christina Board of Education will vote on the resolution at their board meeting this evening.  The meeting will take place at Gauger-Cobbs Middle School and will begin at 7pm.
*Updated, 9:45pm: The resolution failed to pass with a vote of 3 yes and 4 no.

What To Make Of Bad News Betsy’s Letter About ESSA To Chief State School Officers

On Friday, newly christened U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos sent a, how shall I call it, awkward letter to all the education leaders of each state.  Alarm bells went up immediately.  Many people are scratching their heads about the missive dealing with state Every Student Succeeds Act implementation plans.  The word “may” in relation to Title I, II, III, IV and V funding is the part that is confusing many.  Is this Betsy’s way of phasing from Title funding to her school voucher plan?  And how many enemies of modern-day accountability standards are equally confused about Betsy gutting the John King regulations from last fall?  This could be a Trojan Horse leading to more Competency-Based Education.  We all know CBE is a darling of the ed reformers these days.  Read the below letter and sit and wonder like the rest of us!  I have no doubt President Trump is clueless about any of this and is applying his next daily helping of orange glow.

1 to 5 Star Ratings Are Being Pushed by Some Members of the State’s ESSA Advisory Committee

DelawareFirstState

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I was a member of the ESSA Advisory Committee and our last ESSA meeting was last week. I read the entire updated draft ESSA Plan, 90 + pages, and there are a few things that are very troubling – one being the state would like to move forward with the continued labeling of our public schools with a 1 to 5 star rating – similar to a hotel rating. There were members of the ESSA Advisory Committee who support the 1 to 5 star rating but there were members who opposed it. 

There are schools in Delaware that are allowed to select their students based on grades, attendance, behavior, a test, an interview, or a state assessment. There are schools in Delaware that have low percentages of ELL, Spec Ed and Low Income students compared to other schools in our state. How can we compare our schools when some…

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