Academy of Dover… Stop Hiding Things, There Are No Words…

Academy of Dover

Kilroy’s Delaware published an article tonight with information I heard about last week.  Go ahead and read what Kilroy wrote, but make sure you click on the link to read the letter the Delaware DOE just sent the school last Thursday.

I’m not going to distribute the details about what I heard about the “incident”.  If it happened the way I heard it happen, it should have been all over the news.  Why isn’t it Academy of Dover?  Too worried about your school getting shut down?  Parents put a level of trust in a school when they choose to send their child there.  You have squandered that privilege time and time again.  This latest thing is not even comprehensible.  You need to go public and let the community know about the act of violence against a student by a teacher.  You need to let people know what the consequences were for the teacher and let us know why the police were not notified.  I remember a time when my family considered applying there.  I thank God we never did.  Because I can think of a few things that would cause me to be full of rage.  What happened there is one of them.

Exceptional Delaware Endorses Tara Greathouse For Appoquinimink School Board!!!

Appoquinimink School Board


Tomorrow is school board election day in Delaware!  For Appoquinimink, Exceptional Delaware is endorsing Tara Greathouse.  This is a woman with a lot of soul, and a lot of grit.  During the great debate about parent opt-out, Greathouse has been there in the trenches with other parents at every important occasion: Delaware PTA Town Hall, The House Education Committee, and the full House of Representatives vote.

What impressed me the most was the House Education Committee meeting on House Bill 50.  She came with a prepared statement, but after hearing the arguments against the bill, she chucked her speech to the side and winged it with absolute perfection!  This is a woman who isn’t afraid to take chances and can adapt to a situation easily.  That’s exactly what a school board member needs, and she has it in ample supply.  She would be a fresh new voice with all the love and devotion of a parent, but with the knowledge and strength for what needs to be done for education in Delaware.

She has a deep and abiding concern about the impact of standardized testing on our students.  She understands special education and knows these matters need to be seriously looked at.  She knows the Common Core standards are not good enough for our students and she believes in local control.  What more do you need?

Don’t get lost in the number of names on the ballot, because only one should stick out, and that’s Tara Greathouse!

Rodel & State Board of Education Stop DSEA From Using Questions In TELL Delaware Survey, DOE Postpones Until 2016

Delaware Teachers

Before I get to this story, I think it’s high time the Rodel Foundation got OUT of education in Delaware.  And since the Delaware DOE seems to be a clone of them anyways, they can go too!

The TELL Delaware Survey, scheduled to start tomorrow, has been postponed until next year.  Why?  Because the DOE and Rodel didn’t like questions the Delaware Educators Association wanted to put on the survey.

Why should the Rodel Foundation have ANY input on teacher surveys?  This is utterly ridiculous.  This “non-profit”, where their Executive Director made $283,000 in 2013, has been more of a disturbance in Delaware education than anything else.  But anyone who voted for Jack Markell as Governor should have known it was Rodel and Markell that won the Governor race.  Who wants to be Paul Herdman will be the next Secretary of Education?  I know, he doesn’t qualify, but I’m sure Markell would put in an executive order to bring in his boy.  Rodel, get the hell out of Delaware!

This is the same survey that was supposed to come out last year, but DSEA advised the DOE the results would be horrible cause of the priority schools initiative.  Who does the State Board of Education answer to?  I guess Rodel, whenever they call.  Maybe aside from board meetings, the State Board needs to record ALL their meetings, even the ones with lobbyist non-profits.

You can read it all here:


May 12, 2015

Dear DSEA Member,

Last month we informed you that TELL Delaware, an anonymous statewide survey of licensed school-based educators to assess teaching conditions at the school, district and state level, would be opening on May 13th.  Early this week, the Delaware Department of Education (“DDOE”) announced that TELL Delaware would be delayed until 2016.

So what happened?

Remember last month we told you that prior to agreeing to participate in TELL Delaware, DSEA, DASA and the Superintendents insisted that the Statement of Partners include language guaranteeing that TELL Delaware data would not be used by DDOE for accountability purposes.  After several months of discussion, it was agreed that the Statement of Partners would include the following language:

“Coalition Partners agree that data collected from TELL Delaware will be used solely for purposes authorized and agreed to in this Statement and will not be utilized by the Delaware Department of Education in any form of teacher, specialist, assistant principal or principal evaluation and/or school/district accountability without prior approval of all Coalition Partners.  In regards to Local Education Agencies (LEAs), any use of TELL Delaware data by LEAs for such purposes shall be determined by the LEAs and shall be consistent with and subject to the terms of any collective bargaining agreement or individual contract to the extent they address such usage.”

We also told you that DSEA, DASA and the Superintendents insisted upon including additional questions to assess educator perception on the impact of DOE/RTTT initiatives on student achievement, DOE responsiveness to educator and principal concerns, and those working conditions that would motivate an educator to work in or transfer to a high needs school.  Again, after several months of discussion with DDOE, we reached agreement to include the following questions:


The following initiatives have had a positive impact on student achievement:






The revised teacher/principal evaluation systems

Common Core State Standards

Professional Learning Communities

Delaware Talent Cooperative

Common Ground for the Common Core

The state school accountability system used to rank schools and identify priority and focus schools

Professional Development provided by DOE

DOE makes a sustained effort to address teacher/principal concerns about:







The teacher/principal evaluation system

The amount of time spent on student testing

The use of student testing data

Professional Development needed for Common Core State Standards implementation

The state school accountability system used to rank schools and identify priority and focus schools

Alternative compensation systems

The following teaching condition(s) would strongly influence my decision to teach in/transfer to a high needs school:






Effective school leadership

Teacher leadership opportunities

Community support and involvement

Additional Compensation

Access to facilities and resources that support learning

DOE technical and financial support

Instructional innovation is encouraged and supported

Time to teach and plan

Student conduct is well managed

High quality professional development is provided

On April 17th, DDOE sent an e-mail to the TELL Delaware partners advising them that it had worked with the TELL Delaware Advisory Committee (comprised of DSEA and DASA) to address concerns about the customization of questions and the Statement of Partners.   DDOE also advised them that the 2015 administration of the survey was slated to begin on May 13th, 2015.  


In response, several partners – most notably the State Board of Education and the Rodel Foundation – raised concerns with the inclusion of the additional questions requested by DSEA and DASA.  Efforts to reach an agreement among the partners failed and therefore DDOE decided to delay TELL Delaware until 2016.  While willing to consider changes to the wording of the questions, DSEA and DASA insisted upon their inclusion in TELL Delaware.  Without the questions, DSEA and DASA would not continue to support TELL Delaware.  Looking forward, while DSEA and DASA are hopeful that TELL Delaware will happen in 2016, we will continue to insist upon the inclusion of questions similar to those listed above.  We thank you for your time and patience throughout this process.  We will provide future updates as additional details become available.


Yours in Solidarity,


Jeff Taschner

DSEA Executive Director

Jill Shilling’s Letter To The Senate Education Committee Should Open Many Eyes!!! Incredible!

House Bill 50, Parental Opt-Out of Standardized Testing

Jill Shilling hit a grand slam home run with her letter to the Senate Education Committee!  Keep ’em coming Delaware!


Letters To Legislators

Letters To Legislators

Delaware parents, teachers and citizens are emailing Delaware Senators feverishly this weekend.  It is so awesome to see everyday citizens become heavily involved in matters of education with their children, neighbors, and family.  In my view, this is what democracy should be about.  Legislators represent their constituents, not only in their district, but the entire state

If you would like to have your letter to the legislator published, please let me know and I put it up here as soon as possible.  Please advise if you want your name published.  My email is and I will gladly take both pros and cons of House Bill 50.  I will be posting letters I’ve received from folks who sent letters to the House of Representatives in the coming week.  In the meantime, please keep writing your district Senator, the Senate Education Committee, and Mark Murphy.  Murphy?  Sure, why not!  His email is and he should be receiving emails ALL DAY LONG if you are against the policies HIS Department of Education have created against our schools, teachers and students.  He is the Secretary after all!

Campus Community & Providence Creek Begging Parents Not To Opt Out Cause Of “Charter Renewal”

Parental Opt-Out of Standardized Testing

Both Campus Community School and Providence Creek Academy have been telling parents they really shouldn’t opt their kids out because their charters are up for renewal next fall.  Even though the Smarter Balanced Assessment scores will not count against their school’s accountability for this school year.  I’ve even heard Campus is telling parents who do opt their child out not to bring the child to school during testing.

Parents, please don’t be fooled by this latest excuse schools are giving.  While it is true both schools are up for charter renewal, the Delaware Department of Education will most likely go by the MAP scores or some equivalent assessment to determine school accountability.  I can picture parents succumbing to these threats.  “Where will I send my child to if this great school closes?  Oh my!”  House Bill 50 can’t pass fast enough!  All these schools that are still acting like this are merely arranging deck chairs on the Titanic AS the ship is sinking…