FINAL LIST of Delaware Filed Candidates for State Attorney General, State Auditor, State Treasurer, State Representative, State Senator, U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator

Featured

This is a list of the FINAL candidates for both the Delaware Primary and the Delaware General Election.  I will be coming out with endorsements in the next few weeks.

Election Day 2018 is four months away.  The Primary is in two months.  Candidates have until this Friday, the 13th, to withdraw and get their filing fee back.

Dates to know:

7/13/18: Last day to withdraw candidacy or switch offices without losing your filing fee

9/6/18: Delaware Primary

11/6/18: Delaware General Election

Last updated: 7/10/2018, 11:38am

Continue reading

Advertisements

Margie Lopez-Waite New Head Of School At DAPSS But Is Colonial Backing Out? Conflicts Of Interest All Over The Place!

After waiting an extra ten days to put up the audio of their June board meeting, the future of the Delaware Academy of Public Safety & Security is once again in doubt.  Immediately into their board meeting, Margie Lopez-Waite resigned as President of their board and was than voted into the new Head of School position. Continue reading

U.S. DOE Sued By Special Education Advocacy Group Over Failure To Implement Regulation

According to Disability Scoop, the United States Department of Education is being sued by an organization called the Council of Parents Attorneys and Advocates for delaying a final rule regarding significant disproportionality.

In a federal lawsuit filed Thursday, the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, or COPAA, alleges that the agency is skirting its obligation under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to ensure that students with disabilities receive appropriate services no matter their racial background.

The ruling was supposed to go into effect this year but the U.S. DOE delayed it for another two years.  However, this is a part of each school’s matrix for annual determinations for how they are implementing special education.

Despite the delay, states are allowed to implement the new standard if they wish to, the Education Department said, and they are still obligated under IDEA to assess school districts for significant disproportionality.

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is named in the lawsuit:

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia names DeVos and Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services Johnny Collett in addition to the department itself. It seeks to have a judge invalidate the Department of Education’s delay and reinstate the July 1 start date for the rule.

I seriously wonder why the U.S. DOE would put a delay on a ruling that makes absolute sense.

DSEA Endorses Kathleen Davies For State Auditor

Kathleen Davies received the crown jewel of endorsements today when the Delaware State Education Association endorsed her!

Kathleen Davies has the experience needed to get done the critical work of the State Auditor’s office. With more than 25 years of auditing and accounting experience, Kathleen is the most qualified candidate with the skills needed to serve as a strong watchdog for Delaware’s taxpayers. DSEA members want an auditor who is going to hold state agencies and school districts accountable for taxpayer dollars. We enthusiastically recommend Kathleen for State Auditor and believe she’s the best choice for voters to make on September 6th.

This just adds to Davies’ growing list of endorsements and accomplishments in this race!  On September 6th, vote Kathleen Davies!  There are things going on in this state as I write this that will demand someone with the full capacity and knowledge to do this job.  That is Kathleen Davies.  We need her now more than ever!

Exclusive: Odyssey Parent’s Email To Board About Unethical Board Practices & Conflicts Of Interest

No sooner do I post an article about Odyssey than an email comes in from an Odyssey parent who is fed up with their Board!  While this email has been circulating among Odyssey parents on social media today, this is the first time it has been open to the public like this.  The parent gave me full permission to post this and considers it a public document! Continue reading

Teachers & Parents Are NOT Happy With Odyssey’s Lack Of Transparency With New Leadership

Events at Odyssey Charter School have been bubbling for some time now but they are coming to a boil in recent weeks.  When the Odyssey Board of Directors chose not to renew Headmaster Nick Manolakos’ contract, they put forth Riccardo Stoeckicht as their new “Campus Operations Officer” and Denise Parks as their Head of School.  Between these two hirings, the school is looking at over $300,000.00 for these two positions alone.  But the shenanigans don’t stop there. Continue reading

Delaware DOE Has 7 Charter School Renewals To Contend With This Fall!

When you have 24 charter schools in a state, 22 of which are authorized by the state Department of Education, there are going to be years where the amount of charter renewals are going to go up.  This fall, the Delaware DOE Charter School Office and the Charter School Accountability Committee are going to have their hands full as seven charter schools go through their renewal process. Continue reading

Still Breakin’ The Law: Laurel School District, Charter School of New Castle, DAPSS, DE Military Academy, Eastside, Early College High School, & Freire

Hey, I know I got some districts and charters moving last weekend when I posted how they were not following state law in putting up their board audio recordings, but some of you didn’t get the message!

So… Laurel School District, Charter School of New Castle, Delaware Academy of Public Safety & Security, Delaware Military Academy, Eastside Charter School, Early College High School, and Freire… I will do this as much as I can until you are COMPLIANT with the law!

State law says you must record your board meetings and put them on your website within seven days.  No excuses, no exceptions, just do it!  I would have loved to go to your websites and not have to write this article.  Yeah, I know, I’m a pain.  But guess what?  I’m not breaking the law!  And until someone from the state calls you out on breakin’ the law, I’ll continue my citizen audits!  Transparency Rules!

And Laurel, you need to put up your board agenda.  That is a big FOIA no-no!

The “Automatic” Winners In The Delaware Election & Current Balance of Power In The Delaware House & Senate

After the filing deadline today and the final list of Delaware candidates for Delaware Election 2018, there are some things we can say for certainty.  Some candidates are running unopposed.  Sure, there is a chance opposing parties could nominate someone for an unfilled seat for their party, but that doesn’t happen very often.  So for now, I am tentatively going to call the following candidates “winners” and look at what it means for party leadership in the Delaware House and Senate. Continue reading

US DOE Rules Delaware “Needs Assistance” For Special Education

The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services for the United States Department of Education came out with their special education ratings for each state on July 5th and Delaware was rated as “Needs Assistance” in special education for IDEA Part B (ages 3 through 21).  For Part C, which covers Birth through Age 2, Delaware was rated “Needs Assistance” for the second year in a row.

While OSERS did not release the letters sent to each state, they did put up a document covering what each state received for their rating.  The individual letters are supposed to be up this month according to their website.

It is hard to give a lot of weight to these rulings by the US DOE.  Most of the ratings are based on standardized test scores.  I broke this down by school districts and charter schools a few weeks ago based on the letters sent to each district or charter by the Delaware Department of Education.  When over 60% of the ratings are based on the Smarter Balanced Assessment or the SAT, by grade, we are failing to properly grade our special education.  Students with disabilities, historically, are the worst performers on these type of tests.  These tests do not give an accurate gage of the ability and knowledge these students need to succeed in school.  While even the education reformers are jumping on the “standardized testing does not show the full picture in education” bandwagon, for the US DOE, the almighty standardized test is the basis of everything.  These tests, based on Common Core, which President Trump swore up and down he would abolish (like he even could if he wanted to).  Furthermore, these ratings are always two years behind.  This current rating is based on the 2015-2016 school year.

Repeat after me, IDEA is more than a standardized test.  IDEA is more than a standardized test.

Once the US DOE releases Delaware’s findings letter I will post it.  Last year we were “Meets Requirements”.  We tend to flip back and forth between “meets requirements” and “needs assistance”.  In 2014 we were rated as “Needs Intervention” which upset me to no end until I found out just how flawed these ratings are.

 

Brandywine School Board President John Skrobot Jr. Passed Away

An hour ago, the Brandywine School District announced that Board of Education President John Skrobot Jr. passed away.  This is very sad news.  I never met Mr. Skrobot but I have no doubt this is a great loss for the Brandywine community.

It is with much sadness that we share the passing of our School Board President, John Skrobot Jr. Mr. Skrobot served on the School Board since 2011 and as Board President for the last five years. He was a longtime supporter of BSD in many, many ways. In addition to his service on the School Board, he was a very active member of the District’s Renovations Oversight Committee. As a student at Mount Pleasant High School in the 70s, he was a founding member of WMPH Radio. He also was involved in the creation of the Brandywine Education Foundation.

Mr. Skrobot cared deeply about the Brandywine School District and the children and families we serve. It was quite common to find him attending District and community events as he was, indeed, a hands-on leader. His commitment and dedication to supporting District improvements and ensuring the success of all students could be seen and felt in both his words and actions. Mr. Skrobot will be greatly missed, but he has left an indelible mark on the BSD community. May his memory be eternal.

Rest in peace John Skrobot Jr.

Changes To Exceptional Delaware: Your One-Stop Delaware Search Engine!

I’ve been wanting to do this for years!  I’ve changed this blog to include links to every single Delaware school district and charter school.  As well, I’ve added all the Delaware media (newspaper and radio) websites.  I’ve included many State of Delaware websites: Delaware DOE, Governor Carney’s website, The General Assembly, Auditor of Accounts, Attorney General and more!  Various education support groups have been added: DSEA, Delaware Charter Schools Network, Delaware School Boards Association, Delaware Association of School Administrators and more!  You will still be able to find a list of current Delaware blogs as well as closed Delaware blogs.  I cleaned up those lists to take out ones that are not current anymore (nothing written in 2018) and those that are non-functional.  In addition, I’ve added some links to what I call “transparency” sites that folks ask me about all the time.  I’ve found a ton of information over the years at many of these links and so can you!

If you are not on these list of links and would like to be added, please let me know.  I try to get everything but I’m not perfect!

I hope these changes will allow Delaware citizens, parents, students, teachers and more be able to navigate through our state easier.  These are just the first of many changes coming to Exceptional Delaware!

Appoquinimink CFO Chuck Longfellow Is The New DOE Associate Secretary of Operations & Other DOE News

While the Delaware Department of Education has not formally announced Chuck Longfellow as their new Associate Secretary of Operations, it looks like his former home, the Appoquinimink School District, let the cat out of the bag on their website.  No start date has been announced yet and Longfellow still appears on the Appo website as their Finance Director. Continue reading

Audit: All School Board Agendas, Minutes, & Audio Recordings; Caesar Rodney, Brandywine & Laurel Are Breaking The Law Big Time!

Transparency in public education is a must.  When more than a quarter of Delaware’s state budget goes to public education, the citizens expect, and rightfully so, transparency.  But some of our districts and charters struggle with transparency.

I haven’t done this since 2016, but I thought it was a good time to see how Delaware’s traditional school district and charter school boards were doing with transparency on their websites.  I checked for board minutes, board agendas, and board audio recordings. Continue reading

What Is Up With Superintendent Richard Gregg In Christina School District?

Something is up in the Christina School District involving Superintendent Richard Gregg.  The following appears on Board Docs for their next Board of Education meeting on July 10th: Continue reading

Nørrefjord

Something to keep you cool on these hot summer days here in Delaware!

Outside Ittoqqortoormiit

The most memorable experience for me this winter was a visit to Nørrefjord, Liverpool Land, in the beginning of march.

I have put off posting about it, in part because I could not find the right words to do this astonishingly beautiful spot on earth any justice. And I still can`t!

Just thinking about it makes my heart ace. It feels – like homesickness.

It has to be experienced!

Lunch break in Klitdal

Camp close to Triasdal

Storefjord

The cabin at Nørrefjord …

… surrounded by hot springs

Contrasts

A quiet evening

Slien

Peaks

Feeling small in the big fjord – Storefjord

Fixing the sledge runners on our way back home

——————-

Good news are – there`ll be a new winter, sooner or later!

So for now, let`s just enjoy what is – summertime 😉

View original post

Christina Board President’s Unprecedented Power Grab Is Fascist In Nature

A new board policy under review for the Christina Board of Education would give their Board President an overwhelming amount of power and weaken their board considerably. Continue reading

What Ever Happened With Patrick Miller, Former Chief Financial Officer of Indian River?

In December of 2016, days before a crucial referendum, Delaware State Auditor Tom Wagner released a scathing audit inspection of the Indian River School District.  The number one culprit of shenanigans in the district was their former Chief Financial Officer, Patrick Miller.  What is Miller up to these days? Continue reading

Photo Of The Week

I haven’t done this in years, but this picture is awesome!

I have no doubt it was some electrical glitch.  If it wasn’t, Academy of Dover is in for a very rough school year with 1 enrollee!  It is all in fun!