Will John Carney Make The Changes To Education That Delaware Needs?

John Carney

With Delaware State Senator Colin Bonini looking at bowing out of the 2016 Delaware Governor election, it looks like there is no real challenge to John Carney.  This is NOT what Delaware needs.  We need a bigger candidate pool so the real issues are talked about and the candidates can challenge each other.  I have never been a huge fan of a clear shot to an elected position.  Be that as it may, what can we expect from a potential Governor Carney in Delaware?  More of the same and business as usual, or will he make the necessary changes we need.  Delaware needs a strong leader to clean up the corruption and lack of transparency of the Markell administration and to forge a clear path for Delaware’s success in the future.  We need someone to reign in the runaway spending and get more businesses attracted to Delaware.  What we don’t need is a cheerleader for Rodel and the education reform companies.  This has led to state corruption on a massive scale.  What kind of Governor will you be John Carney?

Secretary Godowsky Gives Lame Response To Shutting Down Delaware Met

Delaware MET, Dr. Steven Godowsky

This morning, after hearing even more things going on at Delaware Met, I took a drastic step and emailed Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Steven Godowsky and pleaded with him to close Delaware Met down for good.  I also cc:ed Governor Markell, his education policy advisor Lindsay O’Mara, Attorney General Matt Denn, other leaders at the DOE, and every single legislator in the 148th General Assembly.  His response was very shocking given the nature of the email.  The responses I got from legislators had more meat than what Godowsky had.

From: Kevin Ohlandt [mailto:kevino3670@yahoo.com]
Sent: Tuesday, November 10, 2015 10:39 AM
To: Godowsky Steven <Steven.Godowsky@doe.k12.de.us>
Cc: Blowman David <david.blowman@DOE.K12.DE.US>; Nagourney Jennifer <Jennifer.Nagourney@doe.k12.de.us>; Haberstroh Susan Keene <susan.haberstroh@doe.k12.de.us>; May Alison <alison.may@doe.k12.de.us>; Markell Jack <jack.markell@state.de.us>; Denn Matthew <matthew.denn@state.de.us>; Williams Kimberly <kimberly.williams@state.de.us>; Kowalko John <john.kowalko@state.de.us>; Matthews Sean <sean.matthews@state.de.us>; Lynn Sean M <sean.lynn@state.de.us>; Baumbach Paul <paul.baumbach@state.de.us>; Bennett Andria <andria.bennett@state.de.us>; Schwartzkopf Peter <peter.schwartzkopf@state.de.us>; Jaques, Jr Earl <earl.jaques@state.de.us>; Potter, Jr Charles <charles.potter@state.de.us>; Bolden StephanieT <stephaniet.bolden@state.de.us>; Paradee Trey <trey.paradee@state.de.us>; Keeley Helene <helene.keeley@state.de.us>; Brady Gerald <gerald.brady@state.de.us>; Smith Melanie G <melanie.g.smith@state.de.us>; Heffernan Debra <debra.heffernan@state.de.us>; Short Bryon <bryon.short@state.de.us>; Short Daniel <daniel.short@state.de.us>; Johnson Quinton <quinton.johnson@state.de.us>; Johnson JJ <jj.johnson@state.de.us>; Hensley Kevin S <kevin.hensley@state.de.us>; jeff.spiegelman@state.de.us; Hudson Deborah <deborah.hudson@state.de.us>; Mitchell John L <john.l.mitchell@state.de.us>; Longhurst Valerie <valerie.longhurst@state.de.us>; Bentz David <david.bentz@state.de.us>; Mulrooney Michael <michael.mulrooney@state.de.us>; Smyk Steve <steve.smyk@state.de.us>; Ramone Michael <michael.ramone@state.de.us>; Miro Joseph <joseph.miro@state.de.us>; Osienski Edward <edward.osienski@state.de.us>; Viola John <john.viola@state.de.us>; Carson William <william.carson@state.de.us>; Outten Bobby <bobby.outten@state.de.us>; Peterman Jack <harold.peterman@state.de.us>; Sokola David <david.sokola@state.de.us>; Townsend Bryan <bryan.townsend@state.de.us>; Yearick Lyndon D <lyndon.yearick@state.de.us>; Wilson David L <david.l.wilson@state.de.us>; Kenton Harvey <harvey.kenton@state.de.us>; BriggsKing Ruth <ruth.briggsking@state.de.us>; Gray Ronald <ronald.gray@state.de.us>; Dukes Timothy <timothy.dukes@state.de.us>; Collins Richard G <richard.g.collins@state.de.us>; McDowell Harris <harris.mcdowell@state.de.us>; Henry Margaret Rose <margaretrose.henry@state.de.us>; Marshall Robert <robert.marshall@state.de.us>; Lavelle Greg <greg.lavelle@state.de.us>; Cloutier Catherine <catherine.cloutier@state.de.us>; Lopez Ernesto B <ernesto.lopez@state.de.us>; Blevins Patricia <patricia.blevins@state.de.us>; Peterson Karen <karen.peterson@state.de.us>; Hall-Long Bethany <bethany.hall-long@state.de.us>; Poore Nicole <nicole.poore@state.de.us>; Pettyjohn Brian <brian.pettyjohn@state.de.us>; McBride David <david.mcbride@state.de.us>; Ennis Bruce <bruce.ennis@state.de.us>; Lawson Dave <dave.lawson@state.de.us>; Colin J. Bonini <senator-colin@prodigy.net>; Bushweller Brian <brian.bushweller@state.de.us>; Simpson Gary <gary.simpson@state.de.us>; Hocker Gerald <gerald.hocker@state.de.us>; Richardson Bryant L <bryant.richardson@state.de.us>; O’Mara Lindsay <lindsay.omara@state.de.us>
Subject: Delaware Met

Dr. Godowsky,

I know we have been at odds over the whole Delaware School Success Framework, but I implore the Department to act immediately with regards to The Delaware Met.  This place is an obvious danger to students and staff, and the DOE needs to shut it down immediately.  The issues there are getting worse, and the DOE needs to act now.  Not in December at a State Board of Education meeting, and not at the end of the year should their charter be revoked.  I completely understand this is a very delicate situation, but student and staff safety need to come first.  With all the information I have heard, I believe there to be a clear and present danger in that school.

I am calling for others to reach out to you on this as well.

Thank you,

Kevin Ohlandt

Here I am, reaching out in good faith to them, and they know I know what is going on over there.  I would think the words “clear and present danger” would warrant something other than the response I got from Dr. Godowsky.  But no, the typical Delaware response which says “I read your email.  I’m not going to do anything about it Chicken Little, but you should feel lucky I bothered to respond.  That’s more than Mark Murphy ever did.”  Okay, it didn’t really say that, but that’s how it felt.  No, this is what I got:

From: Godowsky Steven <Steven.Godowsky@doe.k12.de.us>
Kevin Ohlandt <kevino3670@yahoo.com>
Tuesday, November 10, 2015 1:38 PM
RE: Delaware Met


I appreciate the notice. Thank you.


Steven H. Godowsky

Delaware Department of Education


Gee, thanks Steve.  No action plan, or even a “We will look into it” or any questions.  Nothing.  And they wonder why I blog about the DOE so much.  Are these people that arrogant and condescending to think they are above the rest of us and aren’t accountable for their actions?  They want to lord it over teachers and schools all the time, but when the time comes for them to answer for themselves they hide behind Governor Markell.  Don’t get me wrong, there are some good people working over there, but when the leadership responds like this, it doesn’t show a concerted effort to communicate better with the public.  It shows a “We are better than you” attitude.  Does he have to wait for Markell’s permission to respond effectively?  Cause we all know Jack was gallivanting around today giving a speech about teacher quality on the taxpayer’s dime without putting it on his public schedule.

Meanwhile, this school needs action taken on it now.  What is going to be the DOE’s spin when things come out?  Something like “we were aware of the situation and took every step necessary to deal with these matters.”  I’m telling everyone right now, when things are revealed about this school, don’t look to the DOE for answers.  Because you will get a response akin to the one I got from Secretary Godowsky today.  You’re going 0-2 on me here Steve.  That is not a good start.  While I appreciate you helping to put Delaware Met on formal review to begin with, that doesn’t solve the immediate problems going on there.  And your betrayal last week with the opt-out penalties is not endearing you to Delaware at all!

If no one will take quick action on this school than something bad is going to happen.  We all know it.  And I’m sure the last thing the DOE wants to do is prove me right.  I am hereby declaring the DOE a Priority State Education Agency.

*I did edit one name in the email.  Poor State Rep. Jeff Spiegelman.  I can never remember the i before e except after c rule with his name.  Both default when I start to put his name in my email address field.  My profuse apologies Rep. Speigelman!

Teacher Prep Programs Not Created Equal


The Buzz

I just read Kevin’s post about Jack Markell’s engagement to deliver a keynote speech today in the nation’s capital, at the launching of Teachstrong by the Center for American Progress.  Something doesn’t fit. Given the recent departure of the great Mark Murphy, a growing disatisfaction with DEDoE and the State Board of Education, the veto of the opt out bill, the Priority Schools debacle (Where IS that promised money, anyway?), and the state’s looming budget shortfall, why would Jack Markell be of interest to anyone at a national level?  Where is the logic in that?

The Teacher Compensation Plan that Markell has been pushing is all over this. Or is  it the reverse? Afterall, Jack surely isn’t planning on retirement after 2016, and has mastered the art of pleasing those who can do for him. See for yourself how his plan is aligned to Teachstrong.

The Center for American Progress‘s press release…

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DOE: Stop Being An Ostrich And Do The Right Thing! Shut Delaware Met Down!

Delaware DOE, Delaware MET

This is a short and simple message for the Delaware DOE: The Delaware Met is a dangerous place for students and staff.  Events there are out of control, much more than the public knows.  You need to shut this place down immediately!  Would you rather go through a week of having a black eye and getting negative press or do you think it is okay to leave an unsafe school open and run the risk of someone getting seriously hurt?  This is not your normal formal review charter school and you know it.  You need to do something NOW!  We both know much more is going to come out regarding this school.  You may even be hailed as heroes for doing the right thing in the long run.  But the longer you wait, the higher the risk.  How is that going to look when something really bad happens there (bigger than all the bad stuff that is going on there) and YOUR Department failed to act?  You will be a national embarrassment.

When Governor Markell Speaks For Reformer Companies, Why Isn’t It On His Public Schedule?

Governor Markell

Very interesting.  Each week, Governor Markell’s website releases his public schedule.  Since the Governator is speaking at the Center For American Progress today I thought I would check his public schedule today…

Monday, November 9th at 7:15 p.m.

Governor Markell will attend the 14th Annual Cornerstone Awards- Joined by restaurant industry partners and Delaware restaurateurs, the Governor will attend the 14th Annual Cornerstone Awards event, which is held in recognition of the work that the restaurant industry maintains throughout the year. This event will also celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Delaware Restaurant Association. World Café Live at the Queen, 500 N. Market Street, Wilmington

Tuesday, November 10th at 12:45 p.m.

Governor Markell will participate in the Broad Valley ribbon cutting ceremony. Georgetown Circle, Georgetown

Tuesday, November 10th at 4:30 p.m.

Governor Markell will present a proclamation in recognition of the 2015 Radiation Protection Week. Governor’s Office, Tatnall Building, 150 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard South, Dover

Wednesday, November 11th at 10:30 a.m.

Governor Markell will speak at the Annual Veterans Day Service.Memorial Plaza, Delaware Memorial Bridge, New Castle

So if Governor Markell is not including this in his public schedule for this, and he is using taxpayer funds for transportation, how is this even allowable?  We know he has done this before when his bodyguard had a bit of an argument with a citizen in Washington D.C.  And if he is giving the keynote speech in D.C. around 10am, is that enough time to get back to Georgetown at 12:45pm?  I sincerely hope he isn’t travelling by helicopter for a non-public event at an education “non-profit”.  When he spoke at New America last summer, I emailed his Education Policy Advisor Lindsay O’Mara to find out who pays for transportation for things like this.  I never received any response.

As announced everywhere yesterday, Delaware came in 48th out of 50 states for public transparency from our state government.  Add this one to the list full of reasons why we did.  One of the marks Delaware got an F for was public access to the Governor’s schedule.  It is far past time we stopped allowing Governor Markell to abuse his executive power for corporate interests and flipping the bill to the state.

I emailed Lindsay O’Mara again on this issue and included several other folks in the email:

From: Kevin Ohlandt <kevino3670@yahoo.com>
O’Mara Lindsay (Governor) <lindsay.omara@state.de.us>
Markell Jack <jack.markell@state.de.us>; Kowalko John (LegHall) <john.kowalko@state.de.us>; Jonathan Starkey <jstarkey@wilmingt.gannett.com>; “claire@clairesnyderhall.com” <claire@clairesnyderhall.com>; Flaherty John <jdf0000@aol.com>; Visalli Ann <ann.visalli@state.de.us>
Tuesday, November 10, 2015 9:44 AM
Asking again

Good morning Lindsay,
Last summer when Governor Markell spoke at New America about education, I asked you how that was paid for with the transportation costs.  Does Governor Markell pay for it personally?  Does the company reimburse the state for travel expenses?  I never received a response on this.
This morning, I learned Governor Markell is speaking at the Center for American Progress in Washington D.C. at 10am, but this is not on his public schedule.  Why is that?  He has spoken out of state before and it is on his public schedule.  As I am sure you are aware, Delaware ranked 48th out of 50 in public integrity and transparency, thus receiving a grade of F.
So I will ask again, how does the state pay for transportation to these non-public events the Governor speaks at?  Does the Governor get paid for these events?  If you do not know the answer, can you please direct me to who does know these answers.  Thank you,
Kevin Ohlandt

What Is Jack Markell Up To Today? Teachers Beware!

Governor Markell

Delaware Governor Jack Markell is speaking at an “all-star” panel today about the best paths to move the teaching profession forward.  Who is the latest education reform think tank Markell is speaking for?  None other than the Center for American Progress.  From their press release:

Washington, D.C. — In order to ensure that all students are taught by excellent teachers, leaders must reimagine the systems and structure of the teacher career continuum. Yet the United States has never made a serious commitment to modernizing, elevating, and professionalizing the teaching pathway. This Tuesday, November 10, will mark the kickoff of the TeachStrong campaign, a diverse and powerful coalition of 40 education organizations that have come together to call on the nation’s leaders to make modernizing and elevating the teaching profession the top education policy priority in 2016 and beyond.

The TeachStrong launch event will feature Gov. Terry Branstad (R-IA) and Gov. Jack Markell (D-DE), who will deliver keynote addresses on their efforts to elevate teaching in their states. An all-star panel of education leaders will discuss the path forward around this critical issue.


Opening remarks:
Carmel Martin, Executive Vice President for Policy, Center for American Progress

Keynote remarks:
Gov. Terry Branstad (R-IA)
Gov. Jack Markell (D-DE)

Amanda Ripley, Author, New York Times bestseller The Smartest Kids in the World

Peggy Brookins, Interim President and CEO, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
Bobby Miles, Multi Classroom Leader and Science Teacher, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools; Member, North Carolina Association of Educators
Rep. George Miller, former U.S. Representative (D-CA); Senior Education Advisor, Cengage Learning
Mary Cathryn Ricker, Executive Vice President, American Federation of Teachers


TeachStrong Launch Event


The Mayflower Hotel
Palm Court Ballroom
1127 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, D.C., 20036


Tuesday, November 10, 2015
10:00 a.m. ET – 12:00 p.m. ET

Is it just me, or is Markell doing more education speeches for national organizations than he is in Delaware?  Is he posturing himself for life after 2016?  He is definitely up to something.  My greatest fear for education is Jack Markell as the next Secretary of Education under President Hilary Clinton.  Last summer he spoke at New America where he called the Smarter Balanced Assessment “the best test Delaware ever made”.

The other forty organizations involved in this Kool-Aid festival?  The usual suspects but also some other surprising organizations including the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers.  Those are the two largest national unions in the country for teachers.  Why are they participating at this corporate education reform mess?  Bad move…teachers beware…

Why does the state continue to insist on punishing schools?



I have to say that I am very disappointed that the state may not take the recommendations of the Accountability Framework Working Group who met for over a year and a half. Instead, they are doing exactly what Donna Johnson with the State Board and the Governor’s Office wanted which was stronger penalties for schools who fell below the 95% Smarter Balanced state assessment participation rate.

I was at the last two meetings of the AFWG and I heard first hand what the Governor’s Office wanted; stronger penalties to be placed on our schools. Donna Johnson stated that the State Board was probably not going to approve the final recommendations that the group made. She indicated that the State Board would want stronger penalties as well. Really, how did the State Board come to that conclusion because they were not at the meetings. How would Donna know that they would…

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The Official Delaware Met Formal Review Meeting Report

Delaware MET

The Delaware DOE Charter School Accountability Committee released the initial report of their formal review.  This meeting took place last Wednesday, 11/4/15.  It is a long read but chock full of information.  I do see areas where I was not able to get everything when I wrote my article based on the meeting.  As well, there are some items I may need to clarify a bit from my article, but I’m tired and I’m going to bed!