The Last Post of 2014 Will Be A Huge Part of 2015

New Years Eve.  The transition from one year to the next.  Like I said a week ago, this blog will be changing gears soon, and it will be going against the grain.  Some things need to be talked about, and there needs to be an honest conversation about it.  It exists, and it is seldom talked about anymore with all the other talk in Delaware about priority schools and corporate education reform.  I understand teachers are pissed off, and I am to.  I can’t stand what has happened to education in the past ten years.  But one thing gets me angrier than anything, and that’s this:

jacobsbrain

This is an MRI scan from a boy with special needs.  He got hit in the head two days before Christmas on the last day of school.  This was his 8th physical assault this year.  That is 8 too many.  He got a concussion from the blow, and it’s considered moderate to severe.  He has had headaches and nightmares ever since.  He will be spending the month of January at home when the rest of his peers will be in school.  He will have homebound instruction with a tutor.

This child has an IEP, and he was approved for a one-on-one aide, but a permanent one has not been hired yet.  His IEP team was told on day one that he can say inappropriate things at times based on his disability, but it was his parents hope the social skills training in his IEP accommodations would help.  It would have helped this boy if that social skills training was given and not used as a punishment when he said something inappropriate to someone in his group.  Because of that, his social skills accommodation was taken away, and his parents weren’t even aware of this until weeks later.  He lost this accommodation for well over a month and much of the bullying and physical assaults against him took place during this time.

His school wants to say much of what is going on with him is behavior and not his neurobiological disability.  This has caused his parents to become very upset with the school on many occasions.  The boys parents feel they are not treated like peers, but as “guests” in this public school district.  The school has no problem in making my son take responsibility for his actions, but when it comes time for the school to do the same, things get very quiet.

There is so much more I can and may say about this boy.  His father understands the plight of teachers.  He understands the impact the Delaware DOE and Governor Markell, and all these bizarre shadow organizations have had on education.  He is against the current teacher effectiveness program.  He hates the priority school initiative.  But this father has to look out for the safety of his son, and when his son has to get an MRI because the doctor is worried about the results of an impact test from the concussion, this boy’s father has to start tackling the biggest problem in Delaware schools.  The problem that has been present for years in ALL Delaware schools.  The problem that all too often gets swept under the rug.  This boy has Tourette Syndrome, and he is my son.

 

Who Shot The Blogger, Round 1: The 32 Suspects and Polls

Okay readers!  You have to figure out who shot me tonight!  Like March Madness, there’s a bracket.  I’m keeping these polls up for a week, and then we are down to the Sweet 16.

*editors note: This is fan fiction, and is in no way meant to depict any of the “suspects” as dangerous violent criminals that go lurking around WaWa on New Years Eve looking to plug a blogger.  If any of these people have that in their past I have no knowledge whatsoever of that and I DON’T EVEN WANT TO KNOW!  When I tell people about my blog, the one consistent thing I hear is “You’re gonna get shot!”  So I thought I would make a joke of that.

The FOIA Divas: Alison May for the DOE and Danielle Blount for the Governor’s office.  Both have reason to hate me for all the damn FOIA requests I gave them!

 

The Charter Head of Schools.  From Providence Creek Academy, we have Audrey Erschen.  When that charter had some major security issues going on in October, I wrote A LOT about it.  From Family Foundations Academy, we have Sean Moore, the p-card fanatic!

 

The Senator vs. The Deputy Secretary.  Senator Greg Lavelle flip-flopped on his Smarter Balanced Assessment vote which helped the bill to pass after it failed the first time.  Blowman is the Deputy Secretary of Education.  Also runs the Charter School Accountability Committee, which I wrote MANY articles about this year.

 

The Proficiency Gainer vs. the ex charter school leader.  Noel Rodriguez ran the Academy of Dover but he “resigned”.  Nobody officially knows why, but I’m sure he and Sean Moore would get along really well!  Dale Brown is the principal of Booker T Washington.  I’m sure he didn’t like it when I pointed out all the flaws in how they “narrowed the gap” with their test scores!

 

The Charter Cheerleader vs. The House Rep Candidate.  Pencadermom is a Kilroy’s denizen who loves her some charter schools!  Went head to toe with me many times over there! Pete Kramer ran for the 29th District House Rep against Trey Paradee.  I publicly endorsed Paradee and said why.

 

The Ex Charter School Office Leader. *This poll has been closed and John Carwell advances to the next round!

*for reasons I won’t reveal, but I am very impressed right now!

 

The Smarter Balanced God vs. The Priority Cali Girl.  Brian Touchette is the director of assessments at the DOE. I’ve written many articles about all the problems with this horrible test.  Penny Schwinn is the California Charter transplant who runs the priority schools takeover for the six schools in Wilmington.

 

The Kilroy’s Delaware Pains In The Ass! Publius is the guy/girl everyone loves to hate over on Kilroys.  Another charter guy/girl who grates on everybody’s last nerve.  lastDEconservative just jumps in and insults as many people as he can and tends to side with Publius, Pencadermom and anyone who disagrees with the majority.

 

The US Education Guy vs. The Delaware Dictator.  Arne Duncan is the US Secretary of Education, and he loves Common Core, high-stakes testing, and screwing over public education.  Governor Jack Markell is the same, but he can be very duplicitous in his methods and bullys school districts.

 

The Delaware State Board of Education Members.  Pat Heffernan likes to talk…a lot…at state board of education meetings.  Some of the stuff that comes out is just bizarre, and he tends to tick off a lot of people.  Dr. Teri Quinn Gray is the president of the state board and she has helped guide Delaware education into the greedy hands of the corporate education reformers.

 

The Rodel Master vs. The Executive Director.  Paul Herdman is the puppet master behind all the corporate education reform in Delaware.  Refused my invitation to meet me at all the priority schools and Gateway.  Donna Johnson is executive director of the state board of education and she has had to deal with my public comments at different meetings she has been at.

 

The Ex x2 Head of School vs. The Behavior Coach.  Chuck Taylor ran Providence Creek Academy and “resigned”.  Served as temp Head of School at Campus Community and “resigned”.  Is a “consultant” at PCA and President of Del. Charter Schools Network governing board.  Janet Miller was the behavior coach at Campus Community for a year.  Both had actions which directly resulted in my story called “A Father’s Cry For His Son” over on Kilroy’s Delaware.

 

The Charter Lobbyist vs. The DAP Guy.  Kendall Massett hates me.  I wrote articles about her since I started this blog last June. I can’t think of one thing I like about that organization.  Vincent Winterling runs DAP in Delaware.  I wrote a few articles about the Interagency Collaborative Team that tends to send many special needs kids to residential treatment centers out of state including run he used to run.

 

The Secretary vs. The Former Assistant.  Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy is the Gilligan to Markell’s Skipper.  Seems to have a problem with social communication and pisses a lot of people off.  Ryan Fennerty is the latest golden boy I’ve written about.  Seems to be involved a lot with the priority schools, teacher compensation and whatever Markell wants him to do.

 

The Teacher Effectiveness Lord vs. The Special Education Lady.  Chris Ruszkowski runs the teacher effectiveness group at the DOE.  Public school district teachers loathe this guy for all his manipulations in screwing them over.  Mary Ann Mieczkowski is a sweetheart, but is very stubborn about changing things at the Exceptional Children Resources Group at the DOE.  I’ve called her out many times over the DOE failing to audit IEP denials.

 

The Newark Charter School commenter vs. The News Journal Jimmy Olsen.  Kilroy’s commenter Greg and I have battled over on Kilroy’s over the whole ACLU thing quite a few times.  I don’t like him and he doesn’t like me.  Matthew Albright is a really nice guy, but he writes whatever pleases Governor Markell with education.  I’ve called him out on this a few times.

 

 

 

Who Shot The Exceptional Delaware Blogger Part 2: The Suspects, You Decide!!!

*editors note: This is fan fiction, and is in no way meant to depict any of the “suspects” as dangerous violent criminals that go lurking around WaWa on New Years Eve looking to plug a blogger.  If any of these people have that in their past I have no knowledge whatsoever of that and I DON’T EVEN WANT TO KNOW!  When I tell people about my blog, the one consistent thing I hear is “You’re gonna get shot!”  So I thought I would make a joke of that.

Scan0003

To read the first part about the murder of Jon’s Loving Father/Kevin Ohlandt/The Exceptional Delaware Blogger go here: https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2014/12/29/who-shot-jons-loving-father-a-2014-year-in-review/

The reporter went back to the police station a few days later and he overheard the Investigating Officer talking to the Chief about the murder of the blogger at a WaWa in Dover on December 31st, 2014.

Chief: So what did you find out?  Do we have suspects?

Investigating Officer: Oh boy do we!  At first I had over 50 suspects, but I was able to narrow it down to 32.  These people were all in Dover that night.  Even the anonymous commenters from Kilroy’s Delaware.  I also found something very interesting from the deceased himself.

Chief: What the hell are you talking about Officer Scooby?

Investigating Officer: The blogger knew this was going to happen cause he was receiving death threats.  He was the one who provided the list of 32.  These are all people who had motive and a desire to see the deceased not writing anymore.  I was able to get into his blog when I looked at his last will and testament.  He gave the password to someone who was instructed to give it to the police in the event of his murder.  As well, he gave another person the identities of the anonymous.

Chief: This is getting more bizarre than that IDEA Awards show the Delaware Charter Schools Network puts on every year.  Which, by the way, is an insult to the actual IDEA law cause of the whole charter school enrollment preference thing.

Investigating Officer: Tell me about it!  Anyways, Ohlandt knew it would be one of the thirty-two, but he didn’t know which one.  He made a bracket, like the kind we have in that March Madness pool we have every year.

Chief: Don’t talk about that Officer Big Mouth.  That’s supposed to be a closely guarded secret, kind of like the methodology the DOE used for determining the priority schools up in Wilmington.  Do you have this bracket?

Investigating Officer: Yeah, and this is the weirdest part.  Ohlandt said his readers would be able to figure out the murder.  He gave brief descriptions of the suspects.  The readers would need to vote in rounds to figure it out.  Starting off with 16 rounds, then 8, then 4, and then the final 2.  After that, we have our guy or woman.  Ohlandt doesn’t want the person getting the death penalty.  He wants life in prison with no chance of parole.  Also, the murderer will have to take the Smarter Balanced Assessment AND that PARCC test every day until they get a perfect score.

Chief: Is there such thing as a perfect score on those tests?  The last I heard the idiots who made them don’t even know how to score the damn things.  But hey, if this guy could piss off all those people, he must have been doing something right.  We owe it to him to play this out his way.  Let’s do it!

 

The Full Family Foundations Academy Audit, and the State Audit isn’t even done yet!

As Kilroy and NewsWorks wrote, the full financial audit for Family Foundations Academy by Auphsite Consulting has been released by the Delaware Department of Education.  I have to say, I was suspicious of Auphsite at first.  When I viewed the initial 40 page audit, I thought it was odd.  When I heard about a 200 page audit, I assumed it was the state audit that was being done.  But then I heard it was still being worked on.  I had no idea this was also done as it was just put on the DOE website yesterday.

I seriously think criminal charges should be leveled against this Dynamic Duo.  There are a lot of low-income children in this school, but the heads of school treated funding like it was their own personal ATM machine.  And this only covers a certain period of time.  What about before that?  And sorry, I don’t believe for one second Sean Moore stopped using the p-card after this audit.  What about all those very high Comcast Spotlight charges Sean?  The ones done very recently?  I did see on your Instagram page that you had some fun courtside at a Sixers game recently.  But the big kicker: you two used a loan for Capital improvements to pay for your purchases.  You two are either the dumbest people I’ve ever met thinking you wouldn’t get caught, or the two smartest because the DOE turned a blind eye to it for years!  Was the John Legend concert in NYC a school field trip?

Auphsite recommended the following after completing the audit:

According to Kilroy there is an even bigger bomb to drop with this school.  Is that something with the attorney firm in Philadelphia they paid $300,000 to in 2014?  Or certain Mercedes Benz purchases?  Or certain purchases on a state purchase card that were bought and paid for and then sold through a Paypal account to members of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity?  Or the fact that Providence Creek Academy and Family Foundations Academy switched to the same auditor for their 2013-2014 charter school audit?  Don’t forget Chuck Taylor and Sean Moore were on the governing board at the Delaware Charter Schools Network and even though Chuck is no longer Head of School at PCA, a family member has a very vested interest in that school and Chuck is STILL President of the DCSN Governing Board.  Or is there something even bigger out there waiting to be revealed?

Lest we forget, there is also the audit by Delaware Auditor of Accounts Tom Wagner’s office.  Will that reveal even more?  An anonymous commenter wrote last week that Sean Moore was suspended from the school.  If he is out, and Dr. Brewington is on extended leave of absence, who is running the school?  And will anyone go after the Delaware DOE for allowing the heads of this school to use state credit cards for personal use?

To read more about this deeply troubled Wilmington charter school, please read NewsWorks article by Avi Wolfman Arent at http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/delaware/item/76803-audit-details-financial-impropriety-at-delaware-charter?l=df

 

The Delaware Battle For Public Education Is America’s War

In the grand scheme of things, six schools in the 2nd smallest state in the country really doesn’t amount to anything.  But the six priority schools in Wilmington, Delaware could change the face of education.  It’s not about making the schools better for the students.  It’s about two forces colliding in a battle that’s been in the making for over a decade.

On one hand is Governor Markell and the Delaware Department of Education.  Their public claim is the students aren’t reading up to their grade level, their standardized test scores are atrocious, and the beefed up funding will bring the schools back up again.  On the other hand are the Christina and Red Clay Consolidated school districts.  While Red Clay has already signed their Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and submitted it to the Delaware Department of Education, Christina is holding out and will vote on their draft MOU at their next board meeting on January 7th.

Both school districts have vehemently and publicly opposed the priority school initiative.  The biggest demands, new principals at $160,000 a year and teachers must reapply for their jobs, has insulted and demeaned many individuals throughout Delaware.  Recent Freedom of Information Act requests have shown a collusion with the major media outlet in Delaware, The News Journal.  Meetings with the Delaware DOE have been cut short, and language from the Secretary of Education Mark Murphy to certain members of the public have been extremely rude.  Murphy refused to answer questions from the public at a Wilmington City Council meeting in October.  FOIA emails have also shown that event was largely planned by the Delaware DOE and the Governor’s office.

The methodology for the priority schools has been controversial since day one.  The DE DOE has focused on these six schools, all within a square mile of the Community Education Building designed to hold charter schools.  Bank of America donated this building to the state, and only two charter schools reside in the large building with another one slated to open in the Fall of 2015.  Prior turnaround schools, such as Booker T Elementary School in Dover and Eastside Charter School in Wilmington have been held up as the biggest gainers in test scores, but mitigating factors have contributed to those increases, whether it has been rezoning of a district or massive expulsions changing the student dynamic and decreasing the size of a class by more than half.

So why should America care about these six schools in a city that was just labeled Murdertown, USA?  Three words: Governor Jack Markell.  He has taken a very active interest in education in this first state to sign the constitution but the last to follow.  In fact, he was on the original committees for Common Core and he holds a very powerful position among US Governors when it comes to education.  Many view him as a lame duck, which he is in Delaware.  But nationally the man can continue the corporate education reform until 2020.

In 2012, there was talk about US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan possibly leaving his post, whether voluntary or by force.  There were two names lobbied as potential replacements: Michelle Rhee, the former chancellor of schools for Washington D.C., and Delaware Governor Jack Markell.  While Rhee has fallen from public favor, Markell is still seen by many in political circles as the new voice for education in America.  The election of 2016 will work in Markell’s favor no matter which way it goes.  If the President-elect is a Democrat, Markell could very well be picked as the new US Secretary of Education.  If the country decides for a radical change and puts a 3rd Bush in office, Markell will still be picked for this slot.  Jeb Bush is very high in the food chain for corporate education reform, and you can bet your bottom dollar Markell has been cozying up to the former Florida Governor.

It all comes down to the Christina School District Board of Education.  As one of four school districts in Wilmington, Christina has always been the thorn in the DOE’s side.  They are fighters, and they don’t take kindly to bullying by the state.  Their refusal to follow the demands of the state with the priority schools has already put a chink in Markell’s armor.  On October 29th, at the Rodel sponsored Vision Network conference, Markell gave a speech and publicly stated he would not hesitate to takeover these schools if it came down to it.  Many in the audience were shocked at Markell’s overexertion of executive power, including many out-of-state guests.

This is what you will see if Markell takes over these six schools and turns them into charter schools:

-A precedent will be set in Delaware, and the DOE will be able to use flawed methodology via standardized test scores to “prioritize” any school in the state and turn it into a charter school.

-The DOE is already working on plans to penalize defiant school districts and potentially lead to the creation of Priority School Districts, which could then result in all schools within that district being turned into charter schools.  If you don’t think this can happen, look at New Orleans and York, Pennsylvania as cities that have turned into charter school towns.

-More Teach For America, The New Teacher Project, and Relay Graduate School teachers invading Delaware schools like a Nazi Blitzkrieg out of World War II.  These are teachers who excel at teaching to the test and are groomed to become future leaders of schools, with minimal training and hands-on experience in classrooms.

-The eventual busting of the unions.  The education unions are among the most powerful in the country, and corporate education reformers have found a way to finally break them up.  While some see these unions as a major detriment to education, they are the last man standing in the complete slaughter of public school district education.

-Even more Common Core, for not only English and Math, but also Science and Social Studies.  This will result in even more standardized testing through PARCC and the Smarter Balanced Consortium.  The US DOE used “waivers” to manipulate and blackmail and bribe states into accepting their reforms.  If the school districts didn’t comply, they would be labeled as failing due to No Child Left Behind guidelines.  Every single one of these waivers benefit the exact blueprint Markell and Rodel CEO Paul Herdman helped to create ten years ago, which has resulted in the current landscape of Delaware education.

-As more lower paid teachers come into schools, it sets up Rodel and Markell to initiate their “personalized learning” agenda through a company called 2Revolutions, which will result in the elimination of hands-on instruction in the classroom and will turn students into complete virtual zombies.  This will give the students of the future more screen-time than ever.  When they aren’t looking at screens all day at school, they will go home and do homework on the screen.  When they aren’t focused on school, they will be on their iPads and Xbox.  This “personalized learning” plan has already stated schools would need to do away with extracurricular activities like sports and band, or plays and art clubs.

-Special needs children will suffer the most from this plan, and they will be put at the bottom of the barrel.  Arne Duncan has already put things in place that will eliminate the very heart of IDEA law.  Do not believe for one second that states want to narrow the proficiency gap between special education students and regular students.  They are using this data to make huge decisions with our schools.  They will sacrifice a few of their own beloved charter schools to make this point.  For every charter school that is closed, there are many more waiting in the wings.

-Minorities and low-income students will continue to be targeted and clumped together in charter schools with their own.  Segregation will become the de facto method for all of education.

-Who benefits from all public school students going to charter schools, doing all their work in front of a screen, eliminating the diverse choices students have in schools, and being tested like guinea pigs in high-stakes testing?  The companies that have backed all of this and the politicians who have set up the pieces on the board to allow it to happen.

Do parents and the current school districts have a choice anymore with what happens in education?  Of course they do.  It is not too late.  Stopping Markell in Delaware would send a clear message to these companies that would benefit off the backs of our children.  The time has come to stop rallying on Facebook on our state “Stop Common Core” pages and actually do something.  Every single state in America that is driving these agendas needs to be stopped.  Citizens need to start sending Freedom Of Information Act requests to their governors and state DOE.  They need to expose these charlatans for what they are.  This isn’t something that can be held off.  You can’t wait and see.  You have to take a stand if you are against this, and it needs to be done NOW.

If the little state of Delaware Governor Jack Markell is not held in check, he will most likely be the next US Secretary of Education and that means more of the same in education, with even more steps being taken to destroy what we have.  This nonsense would continue until January 2021 at the earliest, if not longer.  By then, all that public school district education has will be gone.  It will become a whisper, and hundreds of thousands of educators will disappear.  Markell is viewed by many in Delaware as a dictator, and if he is allowed to be set loose as the leader of education in America, all bets are off.

This is the future of education in America.  Don’t let anyone fool you.  Don’t let them say you are crazy.  The people telling you this are already in key positions that are allowing this to happen.  Once you enter this matrix world of corporate education reform, the connections these people have and the paths they take become very obvious.  They are all pieces of the puzzle that lead to the complete annihilation of education as we know it.

Right now, Delaware needs your help America.  We have formed a group called  Delaware Parents and Teachers for Public Education.  We have started a petition against the priority schools.  We need your voice.  We don’t just want 1,000 signatures.  We want a million.  We want to send a powerful message to those that want to dictate rather than collaborate.  So please, sign our petition.  It is not about Delaware.  It’s about freedom, and voice, and our children.  It’s about America.

Please go here to sign our petition: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/lets-make-priority-schools-a-real-priority-2

 

 

Exceptional Delaware 2014 in Review By WordPress

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 94,000 times in 2014. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 4 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Is This State Of Delaware Employee The Man Behind The Priority Curtain?

 

Thanks to the anonymous emailer, who would only go by “BandAidRules”,  for sending me this.  But I verified his credentials on LinkedIn and they were an exact match!  Last summer, Kilroy posted an article about how Murphy goes through assistants quite a bit.  Well, it looks like this guy had a very specific reason for leaving.   But my bigger question would be why he would leave a lucrative job at Morgan Stanley to work for the Delaware DOE.  That is a huge career decline.  The top DOE employee, Mark Murphy, makes around $170,000.00.  I’ve bolded certain words and phrases for emphasis.  Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Ryan Fennerty:

Ryan Fennerty

Director at Committee to Advance Educator Compensation & Careers

Wilmington, Delaware
Public Policy
Current
  1. Committee to Advance Educator Compensation & Careers,
  2. Office of Governor Jack Markell
Previous
  1. Delaware Department of Education,
  2. Independent Consultant,
  3. Morgan Stanley
Education
  1. Yale University
500+connections

Background

Experience

Director

Committee to Advance Educator Compensation & Careers

July 2014 – Present (6 months)Wilmington, Delaware

Staff director for state-level committee comprised of the chairs of the House and Senate Education Committees, Secretary of Education, President of the State Board of Education, and State Education Association leaders (among others), to develop an alternative compensation system for Delaware’s 10,000 public school educators. Oversee supporting staff, policy development, analytical and financial due diligence, stakeholder engagement and public communications.

Special Advisor

Office of Governor Jack Markell

July 2014 – Present (6 months)Wilmington, Delaware

Special Assistant to the Secretary of Education

Delaware Department of Education

February 2013 – July 2014 (1 year 6 months)Dover, Delaware Area

Served as a policy advisor and project manager for the Secretary of Education on state-wide initiatives tied to school and district accountability, school choice, education funding practices and policies, public communications, and long-term strategic planning. Served as member of department leadership team which provides strategic direction for state-wide education policy.

Project Manager – Special Projects

Independent Consultant

September 2012 – January 2013 (5 months)Dover, Delaware Area

Served as a project manager supporting the Secretary of Education on priority projects related to school turnaround, district and school accountability, compensation reform, strategic communications, organizational realignment, and the development of a multi-year policy agenda.

Morgan Stanley

Senior Analyst – Investment Banking

Morgan Stanley

June 2011 – August 2012 (1 year 3 months)NYC

Third year investment banking analyst for Morgan Stanley’s Transportation team. Sectors of focus included airlines, aircraft leasing, contract logistics, services, trucking, and transportation infrastructure. Lead analyst on six live transactions including sell-side M&A, leveraged buyout, and debt and equity financings.

Morgan Stanley

Associate – Sales & Trading

Morgan Stanley

July 2008 – May 2011 (2 years 11 months)NYC

European market generalist providing sales coverage for New York-based institutional clients with investment strategies dedicated to European equity markets. Actively covered 20 senior institutional clients (primarily hedge funds) with a focus on event-driven, special situations, global fundamental, and long-short investment strategies.

And he has some very interesting companies he follows:

Following

Influencers

Companies

Didn’t a certain Governor used to be a consultant for McKinsey?  TNTP: Now that’s a shocker!  Sounds like this guy has his hands in a lot of different education pies.  Reread by big Rodel article from November, and see how this guy is the quiet man in that picture!

State Rep John Kowalko and Kevin Ohlandt Statements To The Christina School Board At Their Meeting Tonight

The following is State Representative John Kowalko’s public comment, given tonight at the Christina School District Board of Education meeting.

So long as the following section stays in the draft MOU, the District, Superintendent and Board are abdicating substantial authority that they now legally own. It also is a betrayal of the current school leaders and the districts rights to choose those leaders. Allowing the State, and DOE to name a list of acceptable alternatives by signing this draft keeps intact every ambition that this Governor and DOE have for a takeover of the district’s and board’s responsibilities and lawful authority. Please seriously consider refusing to approve this MOU unless the language giving the State authority to unilaterally submit their approved list is removed entirely.

i. The State and District must agree on the selection of the School Leader
.
If not in agreement, the State will provide specific rationale in writing to the Superintendent and the process will begin again.
II. Final contract approval will be up to the Board of Education
ii. Should the District fail to produce an approved leader the State may provide a list of candidates from which the District may select and submit to the Board of Education for approval.

This section retained in the MOU draft that you will be considering is a total abdication of the Districts legal authority and responsibilities to its employees and usurps the power of the Superintendent to seek out and hire the most qualified leaders for these schools based on their experience and knowledge of these schools, the students, the communities and the teachers. Ceding this authority is tantamount to approval of the Governor and DOE’s bullying and coercive abuse of power that has dominated the entire “priority schools” dialogue.

There are many other serious issues with the entire “priority schools” process and I will highlight a few.

  1. The artificial time frame unilaterally imposed by Ms. Schwinn and DOE is an obvious attempt to deny an open and honest dialogue with the stakeholders and public involved. This is evident in Ms. Schwinn and DOE’s refusal to attend and join in the numerous meetings that were held to attempt to craft a legitimate plan although DOE was specifically invited. This arrogant attitude has become a hallmark of this Administration, Secretary Murphy and DOE obviously intended to intimidate and coerce you into forfeiting your rights.
  2. The designation and measurement techniques employed in identifying the six priority schools are irreparably flawed and have no standing of merit. A cursory reading of the emails that I received under FOIA and forwarded to you reveals a nefarious collusion that ignores and misrepresents facts and portends to evaluate success and failure with absolutely no statistically provable measure. In fact, the DOE and Governors assessment of the success of Eastside Charter used an incomprehensibly flawed measuring cohort to wit:
  3. Nelia Dolan, on December 27, 2014 at 12:37 pm said: The greatest proficiency gains made in East Side Charter that everyone is touting was carried by a single cohort of students that went from 62 students in the third grade (2010/2011) to 29 students in the 5th grade (2012/2013).
    Unless you can look at the gains of each individual student, then the possibility that the students who left the school were ones that did not perform well enough to meet standard is too great to ignore.
    What difference does it make if the student body engineering is happening on the front end or somewhere in-between?
  4. In addition the FOIA documents also show that there was a concerted effort to deliberately exclude charters from being considered as failing in a desperate attempt to ignore the truth and reality and to isolate the selected six schools and their staffs as beyond redemption under current district leadership and mandating a DOE assigned leadership change that totally ignores the independent findings in the DASL report that showed significant gains while these schools were led by the current principals. These principals, that Ms. Schwinn and DOE are so willing to exile and disparage are depending upon you to defend them and protect them from those who would falsely and maliciously distort their records and abilities.
  5. Finally, I know that there has been discussion about the expense of challenging this abuse of power in court and is it worthwhile. Everything is worthwhile when you are defending the rights of children against an intrusion of power brokers who see them as a product or marketing device. Everything is worthwhile when you are defending the rights of dedicated professionals who are more family and friend to these children then these corporatist could ever dream of being. Everything is worthwhile when you are defending the rights, responsibilities and authority granted to you by an electorate that deemed you worthy of caring for their children and their children’s teachers and friends.
  6. A legal challenge would only be necessary if this Governor decided to fulfill his own ego-driven agenda to wrest power from the duly elected board that you represent. It would be premature to consider legal action at this time but appropriate to refuse to sign this MOU. I urge you to consider all of these things and many more and reject this abuse of power which will irreparably harm the entire Delaware public school system and its children and not approve this MOU as drafted.

 Representative John Kowalko

And next up is public comment from Kevin Ohlandt, some blogger from Dover.  Since I was unable to make it up to Wilmington tonight, Mike Kempski, President of the Christina Education Association was gracious enough to read this in my absence:

Esteemed members of the Christina School District Board of Education,
My name is Kevin Ohlandt.  I spoke at another of your board meetings almost three months to the day.  Since then, the bullying and intimidation on the part of the Delaware DOE has increased dramatically.  As well, our own Governor used a Vision conference as his bully pulpit in regards to the priority schools.  While it is okay to feel fear, it is not always okay to act on it.  In this situation, the DOE and Governor Markell are using fear as their biggest weapon.  This is the time to be strong, and tell them no.  This is the time to tell Governor Markell the Christina School District will not sit back and watch him take over their schools.  Whether you sign a draft MOU or let Markell take them over, either way you are giving them what they want: surrender.  They will use this as precedence and make you do the same in the future.  They will use you and every single student, teacher, administrator and parent to get what they want.  The priority schools initiative has never been about the betterment of student’s education.  This is corporate education reform in it’s filthiest, dirtiest form.  The truth will come out about what has been going on behind the scenes.  Bits and pieces have already been exposed.  The state wanted these six specific schools.  They have manipulated data and used race, income status, and special needs as the impetus for their decision.  This is not good for Wilmington.  This is not good for Delaware.  And it is certainly not good for Christina School District.  Be stronger than the fear they want you to have.  You have more people in your corner than you realize, and we will continue to fight for all of you.  Thank you!

Christina School District Board of Education’s BIG Meeting Tonight!

The Christina Board of Education will be having a meeting starting soon, at 7pm.  The main part of the agenda: Priority Schools.  Will they sign a draft MOU?  Will the board even approve it?  Will their education association?  Whatever they decide tonight, there will be consequences on a major level.  I pray they make the right choices tonight and let wisdom guide them over fear.  Here is the agenda:

Delaware Parents, Please Sign the iPetition To Show The DOE You Do Not Want Their Priority Schools Initiative!!!!

Just go to the link here: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/lets-make-priority-schools-a-real-priority-2

Do the right thing for the children of Wilmington who are being played by the Governor and the Delaware DOE in a power play designed to:

1) Bust the Teachers Union

2) Turn the Priority Schools into charters

3) Make education reformers richer than they already are

4) Set a precedent for future action in Delaware public schools

5) Use standardized test scores for political and financial purposes, not educational

Witness The Birth of the Evil Empire, From Day One

Look at the lot of them.  All at once.

“Many miles away something crawls to the surface of a dark Scottish lake.”

http://www.docstoc.com/docs/document-preview.aspx?doc_id=147859954

 

Delaware FOIA shell shocker: DE State Board President sits on Board of Directors for the US Education Delivery Institute. Delaware sends over a quarter million dollars from RTTT there. What???

How about them apples! Who would have thought…

Who Shot Jon’s Loving Father? A 2014 Year In Review!

Instead of the usual top 10 lists and all that, I thought I would do something a little different.  The following was found in a police report from January 1st, 2015.

Victim: Kevin Ohlandt

Time of Death: 11:59pm, December 31st, 2014

Method of Death: gun shot to the heart

Suspects: Really?  He was a blogger.  It could be anyone in the state!  See attached.

Witnesses: Three WaWa workers, a woman (wouldn’t give name), two DelDot workers, and another policeman.

Evidence found at scene: A laptop, a box of Entenmann’s Chocolate Chip Cookies, no fingerprints other than his on the car, a note that said “Bloggers Suck!”, and a gun with the serial number scraped off.

The following, transcribed by a reporter (anonymous, didn’t work for the News Journal because he reports with unbiased facts) who happened to be at the police station when the Chief of Police got the report.

Chief: What the hell kind of report is this? “He was a blogger.  It could be anyone in the state!  See attached.”  I don’t see any attached documents.  What is this, a charter school board meeting minutes posting on the internet?

Investigating Officer: Sorry Chief, but this guy had a lot of enemies.  It would be like finding an honest chief officer at the Delaware DOE!

Chief: So we just close the case Officer Numbnuts? This isn’t a goddamn FOIA request to Jack Markell’s office where we just keep it open-ended. Do I need to assign this to someone who can actually do the job?

Investigating Officer: I kind of wish you would. Have you read this blog? He’s one pissed off parent, always railing at the DOE, and Markell, and all those charter schools. Like I said, he’s made a lot of people pissed at him.

Chief: Like who?

Investigating Officer: From the Governor down to some youth group leader at some bird church.

Chief: Did he hate this Common Core crap my grandson struggles with all the time?

Investigating Officer: He opted his kid out of the Smarter Balanced thing in the newspaper last October. He talked about how stupid it was all the time.

Chief: Alright, read the blog, and get back to me tomorrow morning with a reasonable amount of suspects.

Investigating Officer: Uh, Chief, this guy kind of rambled on at times. Some of his articles take hours to read, like he was writing a frigging book or something. And then there’s the links to other stuff, and Oh My God, when he discovered Scribd it was insane. 

Chief: I don’t care. This guy is a hero in my book, taking a stand against those stupid ed reformers at the DOE. As long as it’s local, it should be easy to contain.

Investigating Officer: Chief, most of the people he pissed off live in Wilmington.  He was really against those Preference Schools.

Chief: They’re Priority Schools. We talked about this Officer Dumbass! Preference Schools are charter schools with their wacky application requirements.  Just give me the stupid list, I’ll give you three days.

Investigating Officer: But what about the Kilroys thing?

Chief: The Kilroys thing? Wasn’t that a Styx album from 1983?

Investigating Officer: No, that’s where he got his start.  That’s another blog. Some guy up in the Red Clay school district who is always ranting about school boards recording their meetings.  Anyway, Ohlandt wrote some insane 14 part series about his kid’s time at a charter school. He changed all the names of the teachers and the people at the school.  He even called himself Jon’s Loving Father.  And these were some long-ass articles Chief.  But he comments on Kilroys all the time, and he pissed people off there all the time too. And don’t get me started on all the board meetings he went to at the DOE. But back to Kilroys, some of those people on there are anonymous. Some Publius guy pisses everyone off.

Chief: Does anyone know who this Publius guy is?

Investigating Officer: Ohlandt did. I think that wicked smart Christina board member who writes his own blog does. I’m sure Kilroy does. 

Chief: Okay blog reading boy, do you know who Publius is?

Investigating Officer: I don’t know. I don’t think it matters who Publius is. He’s like the Darth Vader of the charter school movement in the state.

Chief: I thought that Kendall lady was the big mover and shaker for that. I always had to tear up parking tickets for her. She had big connections in the Governor’s office.

Investigating Officer: She’s high up on the list of suspects Boss. Along with Markell, that Rodeo guy, Paul Herdman…

Chief: For the last time, it’s Rodel! A rodeo is exciting and fun. Rodel is just kind of…there.

Investigating Officer: Whatever you say Chief.

Chief: Don’t get smart with me Officer Ass Clown. Just get me a list.

To Be Continued….

 

New Jersey Blogger Mel Katz Gives All The Reasons For Opt-Out To Superintendent!!!

My Response To SB Superintendent
At the last South Brunswick Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Dr. Jelling came to the podium for about 10 minutes to give a short speech on PARCC, testing, and opting-out. I recorded his short speech, which can be seen below (the link should bring you right to the video). After coming home from the meeting unsatisfied (to say the least) with a lot of what he said, I decided to go through and break down his main points.
Video of speech:
Breakdown of points:
“Something that we are going to administer to so many students across so many states.”

Continue reading New Jersey Blogger Mel Katz Gives All The Reasons For Opt-Out To Superintendent!!!

Common Core: Closing the Skills Gap or Expanding the Economic Reality Gap?

WagTheDog

Gilles_Tran_Le coup_d_vent

As I reflect upon the numerous changes in education policy and reforms that are underway across our nation, surreal is the best word to describe how it feels to be an educator as 2014 comes to a close.

Wonder if I am the only educator expecting Morpheus to walk into my classroom any day now and say; “This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.”

There is a huge disconect between the college and career readiness rhetoric of the ed reformers and the reality of our nation’s jobs outlook and employment trends that reveal a continuing shift away from manufacturing and to a service-based economy.

Many Common Core enthusiasts continue…

View original post 2,697 more words

Governor Markell, what are you doing the morning of January 7th?

Something is up the morning of January 7th.  I keep hearing this date.  Christina School District is having a board meeting on January 6th.  Certain FOIA requests have been postponed (one since October) until January 7th.  If I were a betting man, I would say Governor Jack Markell is going to make a big announcement the morning of January 7th concerning priority schools.

The DOE has gone ahead and set up a new potential leader hailing from the great state of New Jersey to oversee the priority schools.  And SHE comes from a big charter school chain.  The writing is on the wall people.  It has been since September 4th.  But if your mind is already made up Jack, did you think of this simple fact: Did you consult with special needs parents and IEP teams?  Uh-oh…did you know if you change kid’s academic placement it has to be approved by the IEP team?  Will they still be in the least restrictive environment?  You might want to check out what’s going on in York, PA before you make any hasty decisions Jack.  In the meantime, please tell your office to get rolling on the FOIA requests.

York City, Pennsylvania, Outrage!

Diane Ravitch's blog

Last Friday, a judge cleared the way to put the York City schools into receivership, meaning under state control. The Pennsylvania Department of Education previously announced its intention to hand over the entire school district to the for-profit charter chain Charter Schools of America.

Be it noted that today’s education “reformers” don’t much care for democracy. They would rather turn public schools over to a for-profit corporation that siphons off 20% in management fees and pays itself outlandish rental fees rather than trust parents and local citizens to do what’s best for their children.

Choice? There will be no “choice” for the families of York City. Their children will have to attend a charter school whose headquarters are in Florida. Yes, it is the death of local control and democracy in York City.

The news story says:

“State officials have said they would, if approved for a receivership, bring in…

View original post 511 more words

Did DE DOJ & AG Office Collaborate w/DE DOE on Legal Opinion About Priority Schools?

It sure looks like it.  Is that even legal?  Wouldn’t the whole point about getting a legal opinion from an Attorney General’s office about another state department be they should not go to that other state department to get legal advice about the legal opinion they have been asked to provide about something coming from that state department?  Is that the longest question I’ve ever typed in my life? (Yes) How corrupt is the Delaware state government?  Does the United States Department of Justice need to be notified of this?  Does the first email which specifically states “It is not a public document under FOIA” even count as “not an FOIA document” if it was included in an actual FOIA request?  With the priority school decisions coming in early January, someone needs to look at the shenanigans the Delaware DOE, Delaware DOJ and Governor Markell’s office have committed in this quest.  And there are still a lot of FOIAs left to come out that the state needs to provide which will give EVEN MORE answers!  Read the below and see how our state operates!

 

Governor Markell & Mark Murphy’s Boasting of Eastside Charter Scores Based On Bogus Claims! @TNJ_malbright

As pointed out by a brilliant commenter on Kilroy’s Delaware, Eastside Charters huge “gains” aren’t as transparent as we originally thought.  This criteria was based on a 2010-2011 3rd grade class of 62 students compared to the same class which only had 29 students in the 2012-2013 year.  How in the hell can you compare the two?  You can’t.  How do we know some of the lower scoring DCAS students didn’t choice out or leave the school for some reason?  Someone has some explaining to do….

More bogus claims from the DOE and Markell to justify the priority schools.  And reported by Matthew Albright with the News Journal a few times, including a huge article today.  And the governor says comparing schools is making excuses…  Stop the madness Markell.  Your comments are being exposed for the fraud they are every single day!!!!!  People are going to start wondering why you are pushing so damn hard on this a week and a half before January 7th.

Priority School FOIAs Part 5

Part 5 shows the complete and utter frustration on the part of Delaware legislators with the horrible lack of communication from the Delaware DOE.  So much so that one of them filed with the Department of Justice.  Another FOIA set of emails that will be released by one of the Delaware blogs today will indicate the Delaware DOJ had to get advice from the Delaware DOE since “they are the experts” to get a legal opinion on the legality of the priority schools initiative….read into that how you will….