CEA president Mike Kempski says he appreciated process to negotiate first MOU and is hopeful future negotiations are as positive. — Mike Matthews (@RCEAPrez) January 14, 2015
Ten days ago, Delaware House Speaker for the State of Delaware Pete Schwartzkopf kicked State Representative John Kowalko off the education committee and removed him as chair of the energy committee. While Kowalko has been very outspoken about the decision, including having a press conference before the General Assembly convened on the first day of their legislative session, Schwartzkopf stayed silent on the issue. Until today.
According to a report from Amy Cherry with WDEL, Schwartzkopf denied his decision was based on Kowalko’s stance on the priority schools which he has made very public. According to the WDEL report, Schwartzkopf said the following:
He said “I don’t agree with the governor’s plan on the priority schools. I don’t agree that all the teachers up there should have to resign; I don’t think they should have to re-apply for their jobs. I don’t think these principals need to be moved out of their schools,” he said. “I’m directly opposed to it.”
Cherry reported the following statement: The speaker said he’s been largely silent on the priority schools plan because it’s not a Sussex issue.
Thank the Lord this stuff doesn’t happen down in Sussex. Newsflash Pete: You represent the state as Speaker of the House, not the county you live in. How many other statewide issues do you stay silent on cause they happen in your neck of the woods?
“You know, the bottom line is this, if he wants to come in and talk to me, that’s fine, I’ll sit here and talk with him. I don’t have a problem with that, but the committees aren’t changing.”
Way to be flexible there Pete. Blame the guy for speaking out on an issue that you completely agree with but manage to stay silent on for over four months.
Meanwhile, at Kowalko’s press conference, the state representative told members of the public to:
“Send letters to every member of the General Assembly and demand they give you honest answers.” “There are alterior motives at play here.” “41 people are chilled by this leadership attitude.” (speaking about the 41 state representatives)
Kowalko said he is not afraid of being marginalized in the caucus, but he does view Schwartzkopf’s decision as punitive and a punishment. He views the often phrased “Delaware Way” as a “Department of closeness” and this way of doing things is “incestuous and cronyism”. He believes the state should have an Inspector General to investigate and “patrol and police a willingness to hide things.” This new agency, according to Kowalko, should have “no allegiance to anything.” Referring to the bias of the media in Delaware, Kowalko said “If we have silence of the media, we have silence of the public.”
I will definitely say I take Kowalko’s side on this matter, and not just because I agree with his opinions about the priority schools. Cause I agree with Schwartzkopf’s newly found opinion as well. I take issue with anyone doing something punitive for being an “activist”. Someone who rallies the people is an activist. So what exactly are you doing when you are trying to get their vote Mr. Speaker?
For more information on Schwartzkopf’s side, please read AND listen at http://www.wdel.com/story.php?id=65449
Governor Jack Markell is hosting a dinner at Woodburn Mansion in Dover tonight for all the legislators and their families. Meanwhile, the Board of Education for Christina School District is having their third board meeting in 15 days to go over the Memorandum of Understanding for each of their three priority schools.
The dichotomy here is amazing. How much money does it cost for a dinner at a mansion with 200 people in attendance? How many of the low-income students in these schools could be fed for a month with those kinds of funds? I highly doubt Markell ordered Taco Bell for everyone.
Meanwhile, Mike Matthews reported the following on Facebook:
This should be fun. Mark your calendars: There will be a Joint Education Committee meeting in Dover on Wednesday, January 21. I’m told that because education has been such a hot topic that both houses of the legislature will be joining forces to get an update from DoE on any host of hot messes going on right now.
That might be a meeting worth going to if it is open for the public. As of right now there is no notice of this meeting on http://legis.delaware.gov/LEGISLATURE.NSF/?open but I’m sure that will change.
I caught the tail-end of the swearing-in ceremony for the Delaware State Representatives. It was a packed house with no actual legislation discussed. I expect they will be seeing me around Legislative Hall quite a bit during the next six months.
I expect final decisions will be made by the DOE and Governor Markell within the next week on the six priority schools in Red Clay Consolidated and Christina School Districts.
Go Kim! I’m glad to see a legislator getting involved in education matters like this. She found this out in a few weeks. Imagine if the DOE took that active a role in what goes on at these charters?
At the Family Foundations Academy Board meeting last night, Sean Moore and Dr. Tennell Brewington, previously suspended with leave, were terminated by the board. This ends their long tenure with the school amidst allegations of financial impropriety and mismanagement.
Two other board members, Byron Brooks and Gregory Smith resigned. Out of the original board, only Monnica May and Rayne Fletcher remain. There were five new additions to the board: Jocelyn Stewart, Faculty member Jason Casper, and three Eastside Charter Board members are coming over to the FFA board- Charlie McDowell, Thomas Humphrey and Charles Tolliver. Sadly, I was not given any consideration in my bid for a board seat. I think I’ll be okay.
With the new board, there is much more diversity. Previously, the board had been all mostly all male African-Americans, but now there are four Caucasian and three African-American members with two of them being female and five male. Dr. Lamont Browne from Eastside Charter will be supervising the situation at Family Foundations for the foreseeable future.
The big question will be if these changes are enough for the Delaware Department of Education, who will decide on the embattled school’s charter renewal this Thursday, January 15th, at the State Board of Education meeting. Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy and the State Board will determine if the school will remain open after the end of this school year.
Yesterday, a federal judge ruled the Delaware charter school Reach Academy For Girls must be shut down by the end of this school year. The judge found no change in the school from last year when the school sued the Delaware Department of Education for it’s attempted closure at that point. Because the charter law will allow for one same-sex school for each gender, the judge ruled in the state’s favor based on that.
That’s two of them closing this year, and the fate of Family Foundations Academy will be decided on Thursday at the State Board of Education meeting. What could possibly fill in these holes? Read the article right before this one to see the master plan revealed…