Earl Jaques Tries To Silence And Censor John Kowalko On Email Chain

Earlier this evening, Delaware State Rep. John Kowalko sent an email to over a hundred people about his thoughts on the latest round of NAEP scores, which are showing a downward trend.  Several folks responded, including State Rep. Earl Jaques.  What Jaques did is symptomatic of what is wrong in Delaware politics.  Follow the email chain, and let me know if you agree or disagree with Jaques.


From: Kowalko, John (LegHall)
Sent: Wednesday, October 28, 2015 6:06 PM
To: Bennett, Andria (LegHall); acherry@wdel.com; aloudell@dbcmedia.com; al@wdel.com; Bohm, Adriana L (K12); albydm@aol.com; “alan@greendel.org”; Alyssa Van Stan; amywroe@gmail.com; Volturo, Andrew (LegHall); Bradley, Juanita V (K12); Short, Bryon (LegHall); Baumbach, Paul (LegHall); Townsend, Bryan (LegHall); Hall-Long, Bethany (LegHall); Mike Begatto; Bentz, David (LegHall); Torbert, Betty (K12); “Graves, Bianca”; Bolden, StephanieT (LegHall); Bush, William (LegHall); Potter, Jr, Charles (LegHall); cciferni1972@gmail.com; Thompson, Cathy (K12); Carson, William (LegHall); Collins, Richard G (LegHall); Yvonne; downwithabsolutes@gmail.com; Rufo, Donato (K12); “dresler@verizon.net”; Sokola, David (LegHall); Lawson, Dave (LegHall); Wilson, David L (LegHall); “delawaregrapevine@comcast.net”; Hudson, Deborah (LegHall); Nelia Dolan; john_allison@comcast.net; Mitchell, John L (LegHall); Viola, John (LegHall); kevino3670@yahoo.com; Keeley, Helene (LegHall); kempskim@comcast.net; kenhaas@udel.edu; Osienski, Edward (LegHall); eve.buckley@gmail.com; Minnehan, Harrie E (K12); Paige, Elizabeth (K12); Henry, Margaret Rose (LegHall); hegedusfamily@comcast.net; frederika.jenner@dsea.org; Polaski, Fred (K12); Newton, Faith (K12); “flally@council81.org”; Frank Sims; Katie Gifford; Brady, Gerald (LegHall); gerri.coble@dsea.org; george.evans@christina.k12.de.us; Godowsky, Steven (K12); hegedusfamily@comcast.net; McDowell, Harris (LegHall); Kenton, Harvey (LegHall); Jackie Hilderbrand Kook; Hudson, Deborah (LegHall); jdf0000@aol.com; jyd1988@gmail.com; james.dawson@wdde.org; Jaques, Jr, Earl (LegHall); Spiegelman, Jeff (LegHall); Bradley, Juanita V (K12); Williams, Kimberly (LegHall); Peterson, Karen (LegHall); kavips2006@yahoo.com; kempskim@comcast.net; Lynn, Sean M (LegHall); lehman@bgisolutions.com; lpkaplan@comcast.net; Lindell, Matt (K12); Lawson, Dave (LegHall); lewis@udel.edu; Lindell, Matt (K12); Longhurst, Valerie (LegHall); Matthews, Sean (LegHall); Matthews, Michael J (K12); malbright@delawareonline.com; Nancyvwilling@yahoo.com; Tyler Nixon; Braddock, Nicole (K12); Marshall, Jayne O (K12); Piccio, Mike (K12); Sedacca, Paul A (K12); Paradee, Trey (LegHall); Puffer, Richard (LegHall); Johnson, Quinton (LegHall); rick@wdel.com; Marshall, Robert (LegHall); Ramone, Michael (LegHall); Zoe Read; Rivera, Brie E.; robgiff@gmail.com; BriggsKing, Ruth (LegHall); Thompson, Seth (LegHall); Frank Sims; tbarchak@nea.org; tobinpolitics@yahoo.com; “terri.hodges@delawarepta.org”; Williams, Freeman (K12); Walsh, Lynn (NBCUniversal); andy@pasenate.com; Yearick, Lyndon D (LegHall); Young, John (K12); Yvonne
Subject: Reflections on NAEP score declines and who’s/what’s responsible

 Dear all please read and seriously consider the harmful effects foisted on our children by these “education reform” salesmen. The NAEP test is one of the most widely used, highly respected and proven (over decades) accurate assessments of education results. If this latest development doesn’t strike a warning chord in any of you that consider themselves as advocates for children and public education than I’m afraid it’s time for an introspective look we all should take.

Representative John Kowalko

Here is part of my response to a media interview regarding my feelings as to why NAEP scores went down and my conclusion why that occurred.

Very simply put Markell’s, Arnie’s, RODEL’s, Gates’, and all of the other (for personal profit) “education reformists” have foisted a failed system on our children with a horribly harmful result under the guise of a “common core” system that is ruining America’s and Delaware’s public education structure and willfully hurting children. Brief statement follows:

Scores down for NAEP
They’ve changed the curriculum. When they are now teaching algebra and geometry (under common core) in 3rd grade what are they not teaching or no longer teaching. If kids don’t truly understand and know multiplication, how are they going to perform the higher level skills required?
The NAEP is a generalized test given to kids all over the world. It is a consistent and reliable measure of comparison. You can’t “study” for it. So when we look at countries that do well (i.e. Finland/New Zealand) and see that their curriculums are nothing like what we have just adopted/imposed we should ask “what are we doing”?
Common Core is not a curriculum but it is so specific in its standards that it becomes a de-facto curriculum. Covering those prescribed “standards” forces teachers to teach only those skills. This presents two significant problems. There is no time for anything else and teachers are being handed a curriculum and much like the “Balanced Assessment Test”, it is being written (and profited from) by the same people who wrote common core who are (in most cases) not qualified teachers in these fields.


Editor’s note: to save space, I’m not going to keep copying the to: part of the email.


From: Jaques, Jr, Earl (LegHall) <Earl.Jaques@state.de.us>
Sent: Wednesday, October 28, 2015 6:39 PM

John,

Your personal views shouldn’t be part of our email system.  Your email isn’t based on any facts but filled with innuendoes and bias against people you dislike.  Please take your postings to the blogs – not on the state email system!!

Earl Jaques


On Oct 28, 2015, at 6:58 PM, Rufo Donato wrote:

Hey earl
I like john and what he is doing…. He cares… Seems like your email is the snippy one….
When your in politics you have to learn how to deal with things….

Perhaps you should start to blog…. Maybe then people will know who’s side your on….

Donato C. Rufo

Social Studies Teacher

NCCVTEA President

From: Matthews Michael <michael.matthews@redclay.k12.de.us>

I have no problem with Rep. Kowalko’s email because, in essence, it directly calls out the leaders of the failed, multi-billion dollar policies at the state and national level that have most assuredly contributed to the embarrassing drop in NAEP scores.
We’ve had 15 years of education reform policies under Bush/Obama/Markell.  Those policies have includes — but are not limited to — more charter schools, more testing, most consultants, RttT, fewer reading and math specialists, more bloated bureaucracy at the Department of Education, more threatened school closures and turnaround, PLCs, “deep data dives,” “rigor,” “grit,” Teach for America, priority schools, focus schools, focus plus schools, Charter School Performance Fund monies for schools who a) don’t show a financial need for it or b) have shown no track record to deserve it, data coaches from FOX News’ Wireless Generation…need I go on?
The same policies and ideologies towards which millions of dollars have been ostensibly wasted all in the name of student achievement and heightened teacher accountability that could have been used to provide immediate supports to our neediest of schools. These are the policies of the last 15 years that have attempted to corporatized and privatize our schools.
And you know what? They’ve failed. Miserably. The gold standard of assessment — the NAEP — tells us we’ve failed. And you know who takes this stuff the hardest? The classroom teachers and specialists who’ve been saying for years that failed policies under two presidential administrations and this governor have given many cause to quit well before they’ve hit their peak.
It’s too late for the kids who’ve already gone through the system these last 15 years. Will we have the courage to stop the insanity NOW so we don’t risk the future of the next generation of kids?
Mike Matthews

From: YOUNG JOHN
Sent: Wednesday, October 28, 2015 7:45 PM

Earl,

Your email epitomizes the problem. The state system is the peoples’ system. Why are you so concerned with stifling it? Why do you deign to denigrate John’s email as if it not informed by taxpaying constituents? Who are you to silence opinion and debate? Who elected you Governor? Our tax dollars pay for this, so you should probably consider it an EXPEDITED FOIA request.

I echo Mike Matthews sentiment completely.

Why don’t you show up to another CEA meeting and berate them over Opt Out again after it passed out of your committee and overwhelmingly by your colleagues after you declared the possibility of such as ZERO.  This is the peoples’ bully pulpit and I am deeply offended that an elected official, fresh off of calling my son a quitter over his parents’ reasoned decision to opt him out of high stakes tests would dare stifle dissent in such a brazen, callous manner. Tests imposed by this Governor, with your overt, glowing approval that have clearly been ineffective by the way. That was John’s point, and it is not only true, it resonates.

Why don’t you go read the Race to the Top Grant Application: https://transparentchristina.wordpress.com/delawares-race-to-the-top-grant-application/and check the goals with the results. Get back to me when you realize the depth of failure you have chosen to embrace.

We need more John Kowalko’s and less Earl Jaques’. We need elected representative who actually understand representative republics and know that the House they do their work in is only on a visitor’s pass and at the exclusive behest of the people they represent.

Lastly, you are free to denigrate the blogs, but know this: we are the last line of truth in a free society, free from corporate influence.  Feel free to attack bloggers all you want, but we are not going away. We live to hold ill informed, power hungry, tin-eared politicians like yourself accountable.

John, thank you for speaking truth to power. Everyone does not have to, nor should agree with you at times, but they should never ignore you or denigrate your motives.

Earl, thanks for confirming what we already knew about your iron-fisted, bullying and intimidating style. It went out of fashion in 1985, but thanks for keeping it alive. (sarcasm intended)

John Young


Editor’s note: I sent a reply but I couldn’t reply to all with Yahoo, so I asked Rep. Kowalko to forward it to the recipients.


From: Kevin Ohlandt <kevino3670@yahoo.com>
Sent:
Wednesday, October 28, 2015 6:57 PM
To:
Jaques, Jr, Earl (LegHall)
Cc:
Kowalko, John (LegHall); Schwartzkopf, Peter (LegHall)
Subject: Re: Reflections on NAEP score declines and who’s/what’s responsible

Earl,
I applaud Rep. Kowalko for getting the word out on these matters.  It shows courage and conviction that some legislators won’t dare to show for fear of opposing Governor Markell.  The only reason I am not including everyone on this email is because my yahoo Email won’t allow me to respond to that many people.  Just my two cents: I would listen to John.  I’m sorry you don’t see the inherent danger with what Governor Markell and others have done to education, but this path is clearly not good for Delaware students.  My best suggestion for you Rep. Jaques: You can either sink with the ship or grab ahold of a life-jacket as soon as possible.
Furthermore, by not personally sending John a reply with just him, you are using the very same email system you don’t want him using.  That seems odd, but putting a fellow State Rep. down over something and accusing him of bias without any facts is completely false.  I believe he is showing facts based on data from the NAEP scores that education reform isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
I saw you battle John during the House Education Committee meeting over House Bill 50, and it was almost like you had a personal grudge against him.  There is no place in Delaware politics for that and I hope we don’t see that kind of behavior again come January.
Thank you,
Kevin Ohlandt

Earl, Earl, Earl, when are you ever going to learn?  You can’t silence people like that.  You need to let the people speak, whether it’s through opt-out or public comment.  Legislators are not exempt from public comment.

Delaware DOE To Form Working Group For Charter Schools & Organizational Framework

Move over AFWG, there’s a new, uhm, FWG coming to town!  The Delaware Charter School Office at the Delaware DOE looks like they are gearing to change the organizational part of the charter school Performance Framework.  This is mighty interesting, and I have to wonder how this came about.  Perhaps many of the events going on at some of the newer charters that opened this year?  Like Delaware Met, First State Military Academy, Freire, and Delaware Design Lab High School.  This could cover a lot of issues several Delaware charters go through, such as board transparency, charter heads of school going crazy with money, and leadership which is vitally needed at the newer charters.  Maybe Kilroy’s lifelong dream of having charters record their board meetings will come out of this!

Here’s the way I look at this: charters aren’t going anywhere and neither are traditional school districts.  Since charters are public schools but get more leeway for how they do things, they are also under the microscope more.  I’ve actually heard some charters say they would prefer more accountability so they can ensure they are doing the right thing and not wind up on formal review.  Charters in Delaware have had a few rough years, starting with Pencader.  I will have to assume these are going to be public meetings.  The last things charter schools in Delaware need are closed-door secret meetings.  If I know Jennifer Nagourney at the DOE, this will be very transparent.  She has done an excellent job with transparency of charters on the DOE website.

My suggestion?  They may not want to make this JUST charter related members.  Having the perspective of a traditional school district financial administrator, board member or superintendent could potentially help charters to see things in different ways they may not be used to.  And it would go a long way towards the charter-district collaboration that was discussed at the Vision Quest thing today.  Just my two cents!  Here comes the OFWG!

Call for Organizational Framework Working Group Members

The DDOE is convening a working group to review the Organizational component of the Performance Framework. The Organizational Framework Working Group (OFWG) will review the existing Organizational Framework against national models and requirements under Delaware law. The OFWG will also identify areas of potential further improvement and potentially make recommendations for future changes.  
Who We Are Looking For: A total of 10-12 participants from Delaware charter schools (may include school leaders, board members, administrators, parents, teachers, and community partners)
Time Commitment: A maximum of 6 3-hour meetings from November to February (exact times and dates to be determined when group formed)
Deadline to Express Interest in Participating: November 13 
How to Express Interest in Participating: Complete the form below:
Name *

  • E-mail *
  • Charter School *
  • Affiliation *

    Charter School Leader
    Board Member
    Charter School Staff
    Parent
    Community Partner
    Other

  • Why do you think you would a good addition to the Organizational Framework Working Group?
  • Submit

Delaware Senate Confirms Secretary Of Education Dr. Steven Godowsky

Dr. Steven Godowsky is the new Secretary of Education in Delaware.  Today, the Delaware Senate voted 19-2 to confirm Dr. Godowsky to serve at the pleasure of the Governor as the new Secretary of Education.  The sole nay votes belonged to Delaware Senators Colin Bonini and Greg Lavelle.  Red Clay Educators Association Mike Matthews was present at the Senate Confirmation and put a lot out there on Twitter.

Mapleton Charter Withdraws Modification, Has To Start Over With New Application

Mapleton Charter School has withdrawn its major modification request to move to Dover and change their name to Discovery Charter School according to David Paulk with the Dover Post.  I have to give the board a heads up for recognizing they were not prepared to open up in the 2016-2017 school year and avoiding some of the huge mistakes like Delaware Met this year.  I admit I was concerned when I looked at their modification request and only saw a budget for one special education teacher with an anticipated 200 students.  You know at least 30 of them would be students with disabilities, if not more.  But perhaps they recognized this along with other matters and they are being proactive.

Allison May with the Delaware DOE said:

“If Mapleton decides to withdraw its modification application and forfeit its charter, then the school approved to open in Middletown next year will not open,” she said. “The involved parties could submit a new application for another school, including one in Dover as their modification application suggested. If so, that would go through the entire application process again just like any other new applicant.”

But not so fast, because House Bill 56 with Amendment #1 states no new charter schools shall open in Delaware unless they were previously approved until June 30th, 2018, or until the State Board makes a better plan for all of this.  From HB56:

Section 2. There shall be a moratorium on all new charter schools opening until June 30, 2018 or until the State Board of Education develops a strategic plan for the number of charter, district, and vocational-technical schools in the State, whichever occurs first. The aforementioned strategic plan shall be based on a systematic evaluation of educational needs using national models and best practices that align with the public education system, such as the National Association of Charter School Authorizers guidelines.

This strategic plan is the Statewide Review of Educational Opportunities currently under review by the State Board of Education and the Delaware Department of Education.  While I am sure they will be completed with this prior to 6/30/18, how does that work with applications?  If they can’t approve a charter for opening in 2017 if the review isn’t done, how can this school open in 2017?  This will be one to watch.

The legislation passed last year which placed a moratorium on new charter schools applies to Wilmington

Kevin Welner: Reformers, Please Stop Making Excuses for NAEP Scores!

Diane Ravitch's blog

Kevin Welner, executive director of the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado, has advice for the test-loving reformers: Stop making excuses!

For the past 15 years or more, a passel of organizations have pushed test-based accountability; they never met a test they didn’t like and they used test scores to bash teachers and American public education. They ARE the status quo. They own the U.S. Department of Education. Their views are backed by federal law, the No Child Left Behind Act, and by the billions handed out by the federal Race to the Top. They have had the admiration and financial support of Bill Gates, Eli Broad, the Walton family, and dozens of other philanthropic (testophilic) foundations. Their theory was simple: More testing will produce higher achievement; test scores can be used to weed out bad teachers; test scores can be used to fire teachers and principals…

View original post 695 more words

Vision Coalition & Student Success 2025 Is A Joke, All The Kiss-Asses Need To Stop The Charade #vcconf15

I’ve been following the live tweets from the Vision Coalition and their idiotic Student Success 2025 most of the morning.  I see lots of district admins, Delaware PTA reps, teachers and legislators buying into this absolute nonsense.  All you are doing is lining up the pockets of Rodel’s Dr. Paul Herdman and his corporate education reform buddies.  Enough.  You attend this event expecting some kind of miracle every year, and it is more of the same.  Endless talk with no true progress.  The NAEP scores came out today, and students did worse.  Smarter Balanced is a complete failure.  You talk and talk and do nothing about the true problems: crap like this making its way into the classroom.  All this talk about personalized learning…you have no idea what you are turning children into.  Drones for the millionaires and hedge fund managers.  And who is going to pay for all this?  Our state is facing a probable $200 million dollar deficit in the coming months, and you want to spend more money.  While funds are siphoned out of the classroom for these events?  Come on people, wake up!

If you want to do something meaningful for Delaware students, stop attending events like this.  Get in the classrooms, see what teachers really need.  See what students need.  Personalized learning is not it.  Standards-Based IEPs are not it.  You can talk about community and parent engagement all you want, but I guarantee you the bulk of the parents in this state could not give a rat’s ass about this kind of thing.  Stop trying to reinvent the wheel.  All you are doing is making clowns like Paul Herdman rich.  And trust me, he is laughing all the way to the bank.  He likes to talk about unintended consequences a lot.  You have no idea what just attending an event does to the students you like to think you represent.  If you are there for the awesome eclairs, I get it.  But if you are there to go back to your district, school, or association and fill heads up with all these great ideas, you are barking up the wrong tree.

I’m sure Jack Markell will give some rousing speech to go along with all the other bs you heard today.  Don’t forget about the students and stop going to these “all-star country club” events.  You are all culprits in the traps being set for students and teachers by merely attending.  You should be supporting a nationwide push to get outside companies the hell out of education.  You should be digging your heels in against standardized testing and all it’s punishment tactics.  Support opt-out.  Support special education.  Stop bullying.  Turn the discussion on how we can lift children out of poverty and reduce crime.  Stop with the apparent racism that exists in our state.  Stop the segregation and the tactics used to make it continue.  This isn’t education, it is a corporation.

Dr. Godowsky’s Big Day! From Vision To Senate Confirmation!

Dr. Steven Godowsky, the Acting Delaware Secretary of Education, is expected to be confirmed by the Delaware Senate in an Executive Session at 2:30pm today.  Earlier this morning, he gave a speech at the Student Success 2025 event sponsored by the Vision Coalition and tons of corporate education reform companies.  I’m hearing lots of good things about Dr. Godowsky, but I am cautiously optimistic.  The Delaware Senate needs to grill him on what his true intentions are.  If he is just there to follow Governor Markell’s bidding, he should step away now before Delaware students come under more harm with false ideologies and tainted dogma coming from the destroyers of public education.

We all know many are in attendance at Student Success 2025 for the eclairs.  No one is fooled.