Delaware DOE Blows Off Legislator’s Request For Information

Delaware DOE

Looks like legislators don’t get anywhere with the Delaware Department of Education.  I’m sure if Rodel called, they would have any information for Dr. Herdman lickety-split.  A few days ago, I threw down the gauntlet for the DOE and Governor Markell, and State Rep. John Kowalko joined in!  The current row started when I asked for some information about the Smarter Balanced Asssessment and which Delaware teachers participated in the achievement level settings.  The DOE’s Public Information Officer, Alison May, treated it as if it were a FOIA request.  But she knows damn well if I want to submit a FOIA I will go through the actual form.  This set me off, and I included several people in an email response to Alison May.  As a result, State Rep. John Kowalko asked for the very information and said he expected it the next day.  What he received back, while not shocking, was certainly symptomatic of the arrogance and hubris those infected with temporary power have become at the DOE….

From: May Alison <>
Sent: Friday, October 9, 2015 11:06 AM
To: Kowalko, John (LegHall)
Subject: RE: Smarter Balanced Achievement Level Setting

Rep. Kowalko,

Thank you for your message.  I will be happy to include you as a recipient of  DOE’s response to Mr. Ohlandt’s request for information.


Note the key words in her email- DOE’s response.  She did not respond to my email at all.  Is that how we are operating now Alison?  Really?  You don’t have to like me and you don’t have to understand me.  But what I damn well expect is that you acknowledge my request with a real answer.  Not this farce of a response.  Like I said the other day, your days are numbered at DOE along with the other power-hungry denizens at the Townsend Building.  You may think you and your buddies hold all the cards, but mark my words, the day is coming when all your actions will be revealed.  I really hope you all have to stand before a grand jury and I can’t wait to see if you give the same cocky and smarmy answers then.  Your armor is rusting and falling apart over there DOE.  Your Emperor won’t be so quick to throw you a lifeline when he has to answer for his actions as well.  Remember these words, remember them wisely…

Delaware DOE’s Grant Application For Statewide Longitudinal Data System From 2012

Delaware DOE, SLDS Program

Data, data, data.  The DOE is obsessed with it.  And apparently, so are many other companies.  The DOE will contract with anyone who agrees with their spend-test-spend more-try to fix-do more damage-fix again-spend-create new test mantras.  How does anyone keep track of all this?  That’s pretty easy.  The Statewide Longitudinal Data System came around pretty soon after the Common Core implementation and Race To The Top.  It’s Big Brother meets the Matrix when it comes right down to it.  So what did Delaware put in the application for grant funds for this huge endeavor?  The application is 89 pages, but it should be when you are applying for over $4.6 million dollars…  I would give this one a very thorough read folks, and there is more to come…

Innovative Schools Bold Plans For Education In Delaware

Innovative Schools

Innovative Schools started as a charter school management organization, but they are trying to get bigger.  They have already infiltrated Seaford School District with their Delaware New Tech Academy, and they have plans to get even bigger by 2020.  In the application for Delaware STEM Academy (opening next fall), Innovative Schools comes right out and says what these plans are.

Innovative Schools Plans

All of these “partnerships”, like this Alliance of Model Schools, and the BrINC program run by four school districts, is it for the students or a way to solidify those in power?  Do we really need charter schools within actual school districts like Seaford is doing?  Sorry Innovative Schools, this is just more Rodel inspired Vision.  I think we are all getting a bit sick of all this because we have yet to see the results of all these partnerships…

With NO charters set to open past Mapleton (whatever happens with their change to Discovery and their move to Dover) and Delaware STEM Academy next fall, and a one to two year turnaround for charter application, how is this going to happen?  Does this mean we should expect a flood of charter applications coming in to the Delaware DOE in the next few months?  Where are we going to put all these new charters?  Wilmington is stacked to the brim.  Dover is starting to get a bit crowded especially if Mapleton/Discovery gets their major modification approved.  I can picture a drive to get more charters into Sussex County.  Doesn’t mean I agree with it, but I can see it happening…

The Arrogance And Hubris Of Emperor Markell and His Education Mafia

Governor Markell

If there is one thing I can’t stand, it’s a bully.  Delaware Governor Jack Markell is that, and so much more.  He truly believes this is HIS Delaware.  That all decisions he makes are the right ones, and if they aren’t, who cares, it’s his state.  We have fifteen more months of this pretend dictator.  And trust me, he is going to make it miserable for a lot of people.  I predict one of two things happening, either of which accounts for his belligerent and arrogant attitude towards education.  He thinks he will become the next Secretary of Education with the new President.  He is laying all his ducks in a row.  If Hilary wins, he is in.  If Biden decides to run, he is definitely in.  If Jeb Bush runs, he is in.  Keep in mind this is all in his head.  Or, another scenario, he will become the CEO of a major corporate education reform company.

This is a man who doesn’t like relinquishing power.   He has been in power for a long time, and he will not take a step back.  From his days in Chicago, and his rise to power through Nextel, and McKinsey brothers, all the way to the Delaware State Treasurer’s office.  He used that time to solidify his power base and get in with the really important people in the education world, joining the Aspen Institute and aligning with Rodel’s Dr. Paul Herdman on his education takeover schemes.  By the time he ran for Governor, he knew exactly what he was planning for Delaware education.  And the rest is history.

At this point in time, he knows his next journey to power will be by appointment, not by a general election.  Which is why he doesn’t care what you or I think.  All the power in the world can’t replace character, and I don’t see that in Jack Markell.  I see a man so power hungry that anything else is less than perfect for him.  He is a corporate guy, pure and simple.  He knows how to make money, and he has.  This isn’t what he wants.  If it was, he wouldn’t be Governor.  He would be a CEO.  It’s all about power.  But he is getting sloppy due to his hubris and arrogance.

In looking at Jack Markell, you have to think like a corporate CEO.  A good CEO would get rid of the dead weight.  The ones dragging the company down.  The Delaware Department of Education has a lot of bad employees.  They are costing the state millions of dollars, both in salaries and in their endless quest to perfect education under Jack’s expert direction.  Jack has become so blinded by power in the education world that he is forgetting the obvious direction this is going on.  The people don’t want it.  They tire of his endless preaching about how we need to strive for proficiency and growth.  Because we all know it’s based on a very crappy test.  But of course Jack thinks it’s the “best test Delaware ever made”, because anything less would show he was wrong about everything and that just wouldn’t fit in Jack’s vision of himself.  Which is why he came off looking like a petulant child with the opt-out movement in Delaware.  Saying anything to get his way.  I’m sure he thought “How dare my people turn on me like this.  They won’t get away with it.”

If you want to take a look at Jack Markell and what he really represents, see the looks on the faces of children when they take his beloved test.  See the looks on parents face when they realize the horror inflicted on children in the name of greed and power.  See special needs children forced to be like their peers and being afraid they don’t measure up.  See teachers struggle through their days wondering about their next evaluation based on the same crappy test.  See the legislators who no longer buy what Jack is selling and their frustration when they can’t seem to have the necessary checks and balances that government should be, even members of his own party.  See the looks of the homeless in Wilmington who Jack Markell never talks about.  See the unemployed, or those who have been forced to take jobs they are highly overqualified for because business in Delaware is not what it was before his reign.  See the teenagers in Wilmington who drop out of school because their educational needs are not being met because of a Governor who thinks poverty is a financial gain for himself and others.

This is life under Emperor Markell.  And his disease has spread into the General Assembly and other places.  We see it in some of the legislators now.  Those who bow to Jack and do whatever he wants, like Jester Jaques.  And other legislators who take great offense if they are questioned about things.  We see it in disillusioned teachers and citizens who become a part of Jack’s happy education world.  We see it in the State Board of Education.  Some members get that far-off, distant look in their eyes right before a vote as if they are thinking “should I really be doing this?”  We see it in those who should know better but join up anyways.  We see it in those who think power and not following the rules go hand in hand.  We see it in those who think transparency is only for those deemed worthy to see the unseen.  We see it in regulations handed in without anyone noticing before it is too late.  We see it in grand spectacles with flashy lights and lots of balloons at Del Tech in another “far-off” future.

Jack Markell has turned Delaware into Education Inc.  But if I were Standards & Poor, I would give Jack Markell’s Education Inc. a “D” credit rating.  Jack Markell has defaulted and breached his imputed promise of better education.  Jack Markell and his cronies at the DOE and spread out into splinter groups all over the state have filed for moral bankruptcy.  He has defaulted on his obligations as Governor of Delaware.  He has defaulted on his obligations to the students of Delaware by what he has done to THEIR education.  He has defaulted on his obligations to Delaware citizens by promising an open transparent government that is anything but.  He has defaulted on his own judgment by not trusting those who he appoints to do the right thing.

This is the world we can continue to live in.  Or we can live in a different world.  Fifteen months is actually a long time.  Do we need fifteen more months of Emperor Jack Markell and His Education Mafia?  We can make a very bold choice now.  One that has never been done in this state.  To do this, we would need to band together.  Those who go with the flow need to step into a new direction.  Because the stench in the wind coming from Governor Markell is suffocating our students, our children.  Now is the time.  Now is the time to put unbearable pressure on our legislators to do one thing, and one thing only: Impeach Delaware Governor Jack Markell.  The only way to stop power gone mad is to silence it.  Yes, you must be thinking “This would be horrible for Delaware”.  It would, but the alternative is far worse.  The alternative is here and The Delaware Way is not good enough.  It is not right, and we are better people than this.  We have an opportunity here.  We have a chance to seize a moment, and take back our own destiny and elect those who are for the people, not their own power.

This is a revolution.  We can sit back and take it.  Or we can make a change.  A big change.  It is very radical.  But 239 years ago, our country was founded by those who did not want to live under the rule of tyranny one day longer.  They wanted freedom.  We need freedom from Jack Markell.  Our children need it more.