At this point I would prefer all correspondence between us to be in writing, via email. Someone has been lying to me, and I’m not sure who. This is in regards to the matter surrounding the call you told me your office, the State Board of Education, received from two members of the Christina School Board. You advised me these two board members wanted your office to report the Christina School District to the state auditor. You explained the two called Dr. Teri Quinn Gray at home. When Dr. Gray explained this to you, you had the State Board attorney check on this and your office explained to the as-yet unnamed duo that the State Board couldn’t give the tip because it would be hearsay. When I published information surrounding this on Exceptional Delaware, but not going into specific details, you called my cell phone again, and advised me it was two female members of the board. As I had already been in contact with board member Elizabeth Paige on this, I knew it wasn’t her, which left only Harrie Ellen Minnehan and Shirley Saffer, which you later confirmed in a 3rd cell phone conversation I had with you. You explained to me the two of them told Dr. Gray they couldn’t trust some of the other board members and that was why they were coming to you. You also advised me the State Board is obligated to report any calls of this nature to the State Auditor’s office, which your office did, and you were told by that office they had already received a call from Ms. Saffer and Ms. Minnehan.
You have given me information in the past, more for clarifying purposes, but when I wrote an article entitled “What the hell is going on with Christina School District” on July 28th, you emailed me within minutes to call your cell, and gave me the number. You explained you were shocked at a House Education Committee meeting when the State Auditor’s office said they were not investigating any traditional school districts because of the above information. Which is why you wanted me to call you in the first place to advise me of this.
Where this gets very sticky is my public comment at the Christina Board meeting the other night. After careful consideration, I determined the board should be fully aware of who the two board members were who made this allegation to your office. Especially after hearing Harrie Ellen talk about the board doing what is best for the district. Since the State Auditor’s office announced they are NOT investigating Christina, which would mean any information they received was not eligible for an investigation, I found it puzzling that the two board members would resort to this. Of course, it is legal for any citizen to make a tip like this, but when the two serve on a board with five other elected officials, I found this to be against the spirit of what they are meant to do as a board.
Harrie Ellen stopped my public comment after I named her and Shirley, and stated she had read this on my blog and it was absolutely not true. I later received a Facebook message from her stating the same and that she wanted an explanation as well as an apology. So I am in a rut right now. I don’t know who to believe, and I was hoping you could help me out with this.
Some of the information you have given me in the past, in regards to the Smarter Balanced Assessment results, I am now finding to be suspect. You indicated to me Governor Markell didn’t want to pay for preliminary results which was why DDOE didn’t announce any when other states were, but we also had a specific conversation about the results, and you informed me they wouldn’t be in until the day after Labor Day for the districts, and they would most likely be announced publicly at the State Board of Education meeting in September. But DOE had the results all along because as we were having that conversation emails were going out to state legislators to set up appointments to go over the results. I’m not sure why DOE and the State Board are refusing to release the results and meeting w/the General Assembly individually before schools and parents receive the information.
As well, through WordPress capabilities, which I vaguely hinted to you before in an effort to give you a heads up, when you use multiple screen names to comment on WordPress blogs, the IP address stays the same, and the host (in this case, me) can see this. You have been commenting on my blog for a long time under numerous pseudonyms including “MHS”, “Dee”, “Former HS Math Teacher”, “it could go either way”, “You’re kidding right”, as well as others. Under these many different aliases, you have attempted to sway public opinion in regards to several different matters I’ve written about. While this is certainly your constitutional right, I find it very manipulative in a position such as your own to do so and it is not something a State Board of Education Executive Director should be doing. I am unable to verify if you are the same MHS that has commented on Kilroy’s Delaware the past several years, but given the nature of the comments I am inclined to believe it. While you have helped to clarify information, such as the rumor last March that it was a matter of days Mark Murphy would be removed as Secretary of Education, you have also given me medical information on Penny Schwinn and Jennifer Nagourney which made me very uncomfortable. While Schwinn’s was just her going into labor, Nagourney’s was much more detailed and I know if someone at my job was giving out such personal information I would be very upset.
Yes, I did help you out when a commenter was attempting to reveal some personal information about you, and I did remove those comments, but that by no way imaginable made it so my blog could be used to sway public opinion. I understand the need for multiple aliases at times, but not to abuse policy while sitting in a position of power, and this has gone on since last September.
Conversations on a cell-phone and texts are not subject to FOIA, and I believe you know this, which is why you want me to call your cell today, as you have texted me and emailed me asking this. The games you are playing are very dangerous and I have to wonder who benefits from all of this. At this point, I am inclined to believe Harrie Ellen in her assertion that she did not call your office. Harrie Ellen knows I can make her Facebook message public at any point, and she has already gone on the record denying the allegations. If she and Shirley had called the State Auditor, at this point I am inclined to believe she would have let the board know despite any issues surrounding board members. But you I don’t get. You know what I blog about and the issues surrounding my problems with the DOE and education in Delaware. I have never shied away from that. So why would you risk your career and reputation by giving me “secret” information concerning the Christina School District?
If I had to theorize, I would say it is because like others in the DOE and the State Government, you do not want Christina to succeed. I believe they have been Governor Markell’s punching bag for a long time, and you are adding fuel to the fire. I published a FOIA from John Kowalko last December in which you stated in an email that Senator Townsend and State Rep. Kowalko must have helped John Young with his speech at their board meeting concerning the priority schools last September. I have been suspicious of you ever since I read that. I know John Young, and he does not need others help in coming up with his own words. Whether you like him or not, he has always been right about the machinations of the DOE and the State Board and I respect him immensely for that. Whereas you on the other hand have always been in the thick of all things with the legislation surrounding education. Every time I have been at Legislative Hall, you have been there, hanging out with Paul Herdman, Kendall Massett, folks from the DE Business Roundtable and other lobbyists if you weren’t speaking out against legislation that would actually help the students of Delaware. I find it absolutely abhorrent what has become of education in Delaware and the very specific railroading of the Christina School District by state employees needs to stop.
Everything all the anti-corporate education reformers have said has always been right, and you have perpetuated these ideas which are absolutely horrible for students. On it’s face, I can accept that, but you have come onto my blog under different names, and possibly under others, as well as given me false information in an attempt to further that agenda. I do not appreciate being used at all, and it will not happen again from you. But even worse, doing it under the guise of friendship to further your own career is an all-time low. Any explanations you care to give are more than welcome, but this is where I stand and why I will not call your cell and get further ensnared in your web. As well, if Dr. Gray wants to clarify any of this information in writing, she is more than welcome.