Exclusive: Why the Delaware DOE Really Can’t Stand Teachers… It’s Not What You Think!

Delaware DOE

DPAS-II.  Component V.  Teacher Evaluations.  Standardized Testing scores.  Priority Schools.  Smarter Balanced Assessments.  Teachers have it rough now.  It’s not like the halcyon days of old.  The Delaware Department of Education doesn’t make it easy on teachers.  Where did this apathy come from?

In a very extensive investigation, I have stumbled upon the unfettered truth.  I interviewed many members of the DOE.  None of them wanted to go on the record with their actual names for fear of reprisal, not only from their superiors, but also the actual teachers.

One employee, who would only go by the name of Nickle Huffy said “It’s our priority to put teachers in their place.”  When I asked why she would only say “You know why.  Don’t try to make me look stupid.”

Another employee, very high up, named Davina Gustwoman, said “It’s obvious Mr. Ohlandt.  They get something none of us do.  It’s called summer.  They are off.  Sure, some of them do some ESY classes or work other jobs, but they have a flexibility we don’t have at the DOE.  We have to work year-round.  And we don’t get “professional development days”.  We get meeting after meeting, all year long.”

I checked with another employee, who would only say his name was “Surfer Boy”, said “I take every chance I can humanly get to put these teachers in their place.  They are nothing but human capital, fit only for the dregs of society.  I’m working on something I can only call “Component VI”.  This will solve the problem once and for all.”  I asked Surfer Boy if this hatred had anything to do with the DOE not getting off in the summer.  He just looked at me for a while.  “Yes, it has everything to do with that.  Look at me, I was born to be at the beach.  But no, I have to do report after report.  Screw those teachers.  Why can’t they just do the normal thing and go to Teach For America?”

One of the state board members, who would only go by the name of “Professor Beige”, said “Do we give teachers a rough time?  I wasn’t aware of this.  I know they come to our meetings sometimes, but I don’t pay them any mind.  Is this related to Common Core?”  I just kind of shrugged my head and walked away.

I was talking to a receptionist about some current legislation when the oddest thing happened.  The Secretary came out of his office as I was talking about a bill concerning “death with dignity”.  I mentioned the word euthanasia and the Secretary said “Yes, youth in Asia know all about rigor.  They don’t opt out of tests.  They would be shot!”  I asked the Secretary what he thought of teachers in Delaware.  He said “Kids can’t opt out of the test, they aren’t allowed.  Kids have to take tests.  It’s a part of life.”  The receptionist said he has been saying that ever since he appeared on the Delaware Way a couple months ago with Larry Mendte.  Apparently it takes weeks to train him on these things, but the effect doesn’t go away for a long time.

I saw Nickle Huffy again.  She said things haven’t been the same for the Secretary since all the teachers were rated effective last year.  “Something popped in his brain, and it never popped back into its proper slot.”  She said this happened to many of the employees there last August.  She said at meetings the Secretary just kind of stares into space.  “We don’t know where he is most of the time, even when he is sitting right in front of us.”

While interviewing employees, I accidentally walked into a leadership meeting.  “Suzie Wannamichelob”, as she preferred to be called, said “What are you doing here sir?”  I looked at her and said “Calm down.  It could be worse.  I could be Mike Matthews.”  Everyone looked at me as if I dropped a bomb in the room.  It got quieter than the DOE at a Race To The Top Q&A House Education Committee meeting.  “We don’t say that name around here,” Suzie said.  “Mr. Ohlandt, I think we’ve given you enough information.  Why don’t you just go back to your blogger batcave and write more horrible and nasty things about us,” Surfer Boy shouted.

On the way out, I saw a State Board employee named “DJ”.  She was very secretive about not revealing her identity.  She told me some more about what happened the day all the teachers were rated effective.  The Governor came in and had a sit down with the entire Department.  The Secretary just kept banging his head on the desk.  The Governor said to the group “What is wrong with you people?  It’s not supposed to go down like this.  How can we ever get rid of a group of perfect people?”  He told them from here on out they had to increase the gap between a horrible teacher and effective teachers.  “Only I get to say who is a good teacher.  Or my buddy Paul and his illustrious dream team.  But you sorry sacks of… You just aren’t proficient enough!”  At this point, no one was able to keep it in anymore.  Everyone started crying hysterically.  “It was the darkest day I’ve ever seen at the Department,” DJ explained.  “We all thought we were doing such a rigorous job, but somehow the teachers made us look like a bunch of standard government employees.”

It was obvious the DOE was infected by some sort of illness I’ve never seen before.  It was like rigor mania.  But I at last knew why they couldn’t stand teachers… the whole summer vacation thing.  At the end of the day, they were jealous.  I walked out of the DOE and I had to wonder… how soon would this Department collapse under its own weight?

How Much Rigor Is Enough? For The DOE, There Is No End In Sight…


Ever since Common Core was introduced, one word has annoyed the hell out of me.  That word is Rigor.  This is the word the Delaware Department of Education uses on a daily basis.  I hate it.  Not only does it sound ugly, but it makes it sound like children are meant to be little worker slaves for these corporate education reform masters.  The DOE continually believes that with enough rigor, all children can succeed.  I’m sure when the Great Wall of China, the Egyptian Pyramids, and the Erie Canal were built, all the workers used rigor to get finished.

The DOE’s latest is more grants!  To get kids ready for college, and use more rigor in middle school so they can take more AP classes in high school.  I guess being a person is out of the question for Delaware students these days.  Fun is NOT ALLOWED!!!!  You must work, and sweat, and use RIGOR!!!!  Here is the latest from the Department of Exhaustion….

From: May Alison <alison.may@doe.k12.de.us>
Sent: Monday, June 8, 2015 8:36 AM
To: May, Alison (K12)
Subject: Seven districts earn state grants to support college readiness, access efforts

For immediate release

 Contact Alison May (302) 735-4000


Seven Delaware school districts will begin implementing comprehensive, innovative strategies to increase college readiness and access with grants from Delaware’s College Access funds.

The strategies include getting middle school students ready to take advanced classes when they reach high school, increasing training for teachers of advanced classes, working with counselors on college access and partnering with community organizations to increase support for students.

The grants from the department’s Higher Education Office are part of a broad state strategy to increase college-going that includes the Getting to Zero campaign and investments in boosting success in Advanced Placement classes.

The Delaware Higher Education Office selected five districts to receive 2015-2016 Delaware Goes to College grants that were open to all districts and charters to promote their comprehensive strategies:

  • Brandywine School District ($39,000) will strengthen its high school college and career readiness elective courses, expand its middle school course offerings, and provide training to middle school students and their families on how to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, otherwise known as FAFSA.
  • Capital School District ($68,600) will offer college transition seminars, hold a school-wide application week at Dover High, provide FAFSA training, offer freshman summer bridge programs and underwrite visits to college campuses.
  • New Castle County Vo-Tech’s Delcastle High School ($14,800) will implement Project WIN (What I Need), a four-year program for first-generation college-going students, English language learners, males of color and students from low-income households focused on promoting academic success, college awareness and transition, and college persistence.
  • New Castle County Vo-Tech’s Howard High School ($69,960) will implement “Howard Goes to College,” a multi-year program using college access, success and affordability metrics to increase college readiness and awareness. Howard is partnering with FirstGEN mentors (First Generation College Students from University of Delaware and Delaware State University), TeenSHARP, Delaware Technical and Community College, the College Board and businesses such as Barclays bank.
  • Sussex Technical District ($7,521) will collaborate with StandbyMe, Delaware Tech’s Owens Campus and Lou Hirsh Consulting to encourage students who are eligible to attend college to enroll and show up on campus in the fall, dual-enrollment courses for career and technical education (CTE) majors, college and scholarship essay coaching, and education events for families and students in all grade levels.

    Through a separate competitive grant open to all districts and charters, five districts received Advanced Placement Incentive Grants, including two that also received Delaware Goes to College grants.

  • Brandywine School District ($20,990)
  • Capital School District ($31,173)
  • Colonial School District ($18,500)
  • Delmar School District ($45,731)
  • Milford School District ($11,120)

    The districts will use the grants to provide teachers of AP classes with professional development and to increase the rigor of middle school courses to better prepare students for AP classes in high school.

 Thank you Alison May, for letting hear the word rigor one more time.  What I always want to hear at lunch on a Monday afternoon.  I hope you have a rigorous day!

Numerous Parents, Delaware PTA, and DSEA Support Parent Opt-Out…Will The Senate?

House Bill 50, Parental Opt-Out of Standardized Testing

Opt-Out.  It’s here, it’s real, and it may soon become law in Delaware.  What started out as a resolution in DSEA last year has morphed into one of the hottest topics during this legislative session.  We all know the House of Representatives voted 36-3 to pass a bill designed to codify parental rights to opt out.  Will the Delaware Senate show similar gusto in the face of harsh opposition?

We will find out, but not the full effect, on Wednesday at the Senate Education Committee meeting.  Sources are telling me House Bill 50 will be heard first in the committee.  With numerous schools already done for the summer around the state, I expect a hearty crowd.

Meanwhile, the House will be voting in full for quite a few education bills on Tuesday.  House Bill 82 w/Amendment #1 is about the Secretary of Education and his ability to rule on collective bargaining while giving authority to the Public Employment Relations Board.  House Bill 146 is in regards to teacher educator license fees.  And House Bill 148 would create the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission.  Across the hall in the Senate, they will vote for SS1 for Senate Bill 79, which would create a task force to go over education data and privacy around it.

Meanwhile, House Bill 61 sits on the ready list, as it has the past three years.  Speaker of the House Pete Schwartzkopf needs to get this bill to a full vote.  Maybe he isn’t aware how much the people do want a bill like this.  Perhaps it’s time to make him aware of that…

Perhaps Apathy is the Best Friend of the “Reform” Movement



They say that when conservatives get mad, they take to the voting booth, but when liberals get mad, they take to the streets.

Only one method effects change in the America you and I inhabit. It is called voting and public discourse.

One of the main reasons I began this blog was to offer solutions to the issues of public education.

It is simple to bitch and whine.

It is honorable to find solutions and to work towards them.

Honesty is paramount – the issues in public education in one of apathy, disconnect and greed. A growing apathy on the part of our clientele we serve, a disconnect between the rule makers and the students they are supposed to serve and a growing greed on the part of the profiteers and politicians.

If we are to make public education work in Delaware – or anywhere in our world – the…

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