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….