Bourbon, Boone’s Farm, Tony Allen & The Chicken or The Egg: The Great Facebook WEIC Debate!

The true conversations about WEIC don’t happen at all those committee meetings, they happen on Facebook.  Tonight, we got the rare privilege of having the Chair of the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission join the fray!  I’m not sure where to start, but since I started the WEIC debates today with my Colonial School District article, I guess we can start there.

Kevin Ohlandt Why I refuse to support WEIC going forward…

Tony Allen Kevin,
As always, I am happy to talk with you directly. You make several claims in here that are not substantiated.
We did meet with Ted and Dusty. I don’t consider that a “back door” meeting. They were both clear in the board’s desire to maintain the current boundaries. And yes, I disagree with their decision as I (not Dr. Rich) noted in a letter to them. However, we do want them to continue to be engaged in the overall work of the Commission which, as you know, involves much more than redrawing lines and is consistent with the FIVE YEAR charge of the Commission’s work.

 As for the financial incentive for Colonial in keeping their kids, I have not made that claim and am certain no one on the Commission’s leadership team has done so either. In fact, our analysis suggest that there would have been very little, if any, financial impact to Colonial if they had been comfortable with moving forward.
Finally, I am a very proud Colonial alumnus and believe that reasonable minds can disagree. I did ask that they reaffirm their commitment to the city portion of their children. And they were clear that such was — and has always been — their intention. That’s fine by me and while I hope they commit to doing even more, there is no quid pro quo.
Again, feel free to call me and discuss. My intention is not to change your opinion, but rather to be clear on the facts and note that Ted and Dusty have been honest brokers in all of this. I trust they feel the same. That’s what civil discourse is all about.

Kevin Ohlandt Tony, thanks for responding to this. In terms of the letter, I went by what was said in the audio recording. A lot of what I wrote was based on the audio recording. My end opinions about my support (or now not supporting) WEIC were based on what was said on that audio recording and my wondering why it was so important and stressed to Colonial to pass a resolution about something they already said no to, even if that is in the resolution. Then I went back and read Title 14, and it made sense. If this school district does not want their students redistricted, that should be the end of the conversation, period. They should not have to be asked to “reaffirm their committment”, because that makes it sounds like they are not already committed to those students. I would love to talk to you about this, but you didn’t return my call the last time I called! wink emoticon

Tony Allen OK, Kevin, again I am not trying to change your point of view, but the notion that our only focus is redistricting is misguided. Again, we will know where we are on that portion of the work by March 31st. Wherever we land, we will have much more work to do on the many other recommendations outlined in the report. Colonial will be a part of that process and I am encouraged by that.

Kevin Ohlandt Tony Allen My point is this: the redistricting is very important and there are a lot of details. Why have the State Board vote on it in December which gives the General Assembly three+ months to vote on it? It makes no sense. My fear is 1) a lack of transparency, 2) legal loopholes in the final draft, 3) even relying on the State Board (which is another matter entirely), 4) all the things in the package regarding funding which not only affects all the other districts and taxpayers in the state without representation but also our entire state’s financial outlook as we are heading into a major deficit, and 5) rushing this without getting everything right in the package. Why aren’t the charter boards being asked to sign a “committment to the students of Wilmington”?
Tony Allen Let’s have the dialogue. First, by law, the State Board has until March 31st to make a decision. If they do, we don’t expect implementation until Fall 2018, a point you will see more clearly when we actually release the plan.
As for the “rush,” I have no idea why anyone thinks that after somewhere between 40 and 60 years of no action by any legislative actor, moving expeditiously now is of any more consequence than kicking the can further down the road. Moreover, I am of the strong belief that moving on school governance is the “price of admission” to get moving on many of the other priorities outlined in the WEAC report and upon which you consistently write. We can disagree on the merits, but I am not sure that there is anything in Delaware education reform’s recent past that suggests that we can have real movement in other areas if we can’t agree to do something in a system that no one argues is appropriate or fair.
On the funding, I have been clear — as you well know — if there is no funding support for the change, then none of this should move forward. Additionally, such funding should cause no undue burden on residents in the affected districts or taxpayers overall. In my view, it’s a matter or priorities and phasing, both of which are possible with a reasonable timetable.
Finally on charter, all I can say is wrong again. I have asked the Charter network and individual charter schools in and around the City of Wilmington to make a unified pledge in advancing the interest of city children specifically. That ask occurred in the Spring with the Delaware Charter School Network and continues in my many meetings with the Charter School community.
You might remember that we were also the catalyst for halting continued charter school approval until there was an overall plan for the number and net benefit of school and school types throughout the State. As you might imagine, I don’t have a lot of fans in the charter community either which, in my view, is the point. Everybody has concerns, good concerns in fact, but it doesn’t mean that such concerns should force us into another generation of inertia.
To be clear, save for the timeline for implementation, none of this is new and can be found in the WEAC report.
I appreciate the exchange and the opportunity to be clear on the facts and our position.
Kevin Ohlandt Tony Allen, I understand that SOMETHING needs to be done, And after 40-60 years of what amounts to segregation, no matter what form it is in, it is time. I just don’t understand why, when the community and dialogue is open for it, there is this three month window for a plan to be developed with four school districts tackling the huge funding issue. Everyone is saying “The State Board will vote in December” when the original goal was to have them vote in January or February at the first WEIC meeting. On something this important, I believe you will get one shot and any misfire will cause huge issues down the road. I would rather see it take another 2-3 months to get it right. Have the State Board vote on it in February, which gives the Gen. Assembly plenty of time to vote on it. Those guys can get a bill introduced, suspend rules, and get it passed all in one day. Not that I think they should do that with this, but you know what I’m saying.
You know I don’t trust the Governor, that is common knowledge. But so much of what is going on with education right now is based on his very lopsided education agendas which are mostly federally mandated but he had a very large seat at the table when many of those mandates were created. And we are seeing the results of those right here and right now. Which is the current education landscape in Wilmington. If we as a state are not questioning and tackling those issues, then no matter what happens, students in the most need will continue to be labeled as failures and will bring down the schools they attend with standardized test scores. Which by default, with choice, results in the can being kicked down the road. What we are seeing very clearly with Christina is the adverse effects of school choice on an entire district.
In terms of the charters, if this was asked of them why aren’t they producing these resolutions? And why go through the Delaware Charter Schools Network? That would be like going through DSBA instead of the individual school district boards in Wilmington. I think fair is fair with this, and if the school districts are being publicly asked to agree with this, so should the charters.
I’m not going to pretend to know how to fund all this or what should happen with that. But I can say people down here are reading draft proposals of this and saying “Why should we help fund Wilmington when we don’t have enough resources for our own schools?” and “Why aren’t we being represented?” In my opinion, there should be town halls all over the state explaining to everyone what the plan will mean long-term for all the school districts in the state. I’m not saying have one for each district, but I don’t think 2-3 for each county is asking a lot (but in this short time frame would be). And by default, they will go their legislators and you know the rest.
I think we both agree on the charter moratorium up there. One only needs to look at Delaware Met to see why this is needed.
I’m not asking for another generation of inertia, just a couple more months. Colonial had some valid points about their vote last month, but in the public perception, it looks like a meeting was held with the board president and their superintendent with three of the major power players on WEIC, without notification to the rest of their board, and then the two of them hammer out a resolution in a couple days, do not let their board see it ahead of time nor do they put it up on Board Docs for the public to see it and comment on it (which might be a violation of FOIA) and it comes up as an action item without even being listed on their agenda and their board passes it. When the public sees that, they may not see it as how it was intended, but rather a “backdoor” meeting whose purpose was to get Colonial back on board which was exactly what happened. But there was no transparency behind that meeting and no openness amongst the different Colonial players (not something you can control). It appears, and I’m not the only one to say this, they were pressured into doing this.
I am all about improving education, but there are crucial things going on right now which will have an impact on all of this that aren’t even being discussed. If the State Board passes their Regulation 103 which gives a harsh opt-out penalty against schools, you are going to see a bit of a revolt in this state. And it is not going to be pretty! The DOE is getting away with a lot these days with no oversight or controls and no one seems to be able to put a lid on that which is truly frightening. These are also crucial issues but nobody except crazy bloggers want to tackle that because they either don’t want to go against the Governor or they can’t because they will lose their job. Education should not have anything to do with that kind of intimidation, but that is exactly what it has become.
I know a lot of this is out of WEIC’s purveyance, but this SHOULD be part of the whole package and the fact that it isn’t will wind up with the proverbial can kicking!
John M. Young The problem is Ted is not the board. Just like Harrie Ellen is not the board Just like Kenny is not the Board, etc etc.. I warned both you and Dr. RIch about this. What has happened here is Colonial’s board members not in the know rebelled and created the mess here. It is a function of meeting with Ted and Dusty REGARDLESS of your positive intentions. It is simple human nature. My advice: DO NOTHING as a commission communication wise without communicating to EVERY LAST BOARD MEMBER IN EVERY DISTRICT EVERY SINGLE TIME YOU COMMUNICATE (email is fine). Anything short will be construed as duplicitous behavior, even when it’s not. Board members are equals and their titles delineate the “privilege” of running a meeting, nothing more.
Tony Allen Kevin, Four final things. One, the State Board has until March 31st to make their decision. It’s in the law. I don’t know how to be any more clear than that. We expect they will vote earlier, but March 31st is the deadline. After that, the authority to redraw the lines goes away. Two, we don’t have the gravitas or influence to pressure anyone. We asked Colonial to reaffirm their committment. We had no caveats attached to that. As I said, they made their own decision and while I disagree, I want them involved for the long-term NO STRINGS ATTACHED. Three, we do not believe in a charter moratorium. We believe in having a plan before any new charters are approved. That is not a nuance without a difference. I want a full review of the needs for schools and school types throughout the state. Four, I have always said that the needs of low-income children is more than a Wilmington problem. My specific view — and what is outlined in the report — is that the needs of low-income children — and for that matter English Language Learners and Special Education K-3, — is more than a Wilmington problem and should be supported throughout the State. As you know, 51% of all public school students fall under a low-income standard.
Kevin Ohlandt I know they have until 3/31. Which is my whole point. They could easily vote on this at their February 2016 meeting which would allow WEIC more time to flush this out. To have the plan come out right before the holidays when people are not as attuned to political/educational matters is not the best of decisions in the long run. I agree about the the needs of all of Delaware’s children being a top need, but the focus is on Wilmington (which is certainly needed with everything going on up there) with the redistricting. There are many more urgent needs these kids need now than redistricting. You can call it school governance, but no matter what school they go to that will not change the fundamental issues going on in these kids lives. Whether it is Christina, Red Clay, Kuumba, or Colonial, these kids need a better future altogether. The crime and poverty in Wilmington is having the biggest effect on these students overall, and it is spreading throughout the state. Dover’s homicide rate went above their 2014 rate two months before the year even ended. The full review of needs for schools as measured by DOE measurements is foolhardy at best and will not provide an accurate picture because of some of the very same edicts and mandates and practices they have allowed to flourish. I am fairly sure I can predict exactly what that report is going to say. And that SREO has NO stakeholder input whatsoever. So yeah, I think there needs to be a charter hold until an ACCURATE picture can be represented, not a DOE/State Board picture. And if that means no charters until then, so be it. I brought up a ton of education issues up with you, and I would love to hear your thoughts on those: high-stakes testing, opt-out, harsh penalties against schools and teachers based on those same tests, choice as it relates to test scores and perception of those scores…let’s keep this dialogue going!
Tony AllenI don’t believe that the State Board has any intention to vote before the New Year. You may have facts to the contrary, but that is not what I have heard. As for the plan, the draft plan comes out on the 17th of November and will have a month of our public comment before we submit to the State Board on December 17th. I expect the State Board will then take at least a month — likely more — for public hearing for taking any action. On the other matters, I think we agree much more than we disagree. Actually, I’d argue that publishing this exchange would be a more accurate portrayal of the current state of affairs.
John M. Young The state board will not have a public hearing I would think. They barely take public comment.
Mike Matthews The state board hates public comment. They specifically have a rule that you can’t give public comment on a topic that will be voted on at that meeting.
Kevin Ohlandt Okay Tony Allen, John M. Young, and Mike Matthews, I just pulled this off the State Board website which states when they plan to act:…/Attachment.aspx…
Kevin Ohlandt Which is January, 2016.
Tony Allen So from December 17th to January 21st there is an opportunity for public comment on the final plan. I know you don’t believe that will happen, but it does exist.
If the State Board votes no, the Commission has until February 11th to submit a revision. The State Board then has until March 31st to act.
Before any of that, there is an additional month of public comment, November 17th – December 17th, governed by the Commission on the draft plan.
Let’s see if what we get in the way of reaction. If recent history is any indication, I am thinking a lot. I could obviously be wrong.
Tony Allen Well let’s see … Seems like you all know more than me
John M. Young I do not know more than you.
Kevin Ohlandt I don’t think anyone is saying that. I can’t speak for John and Mike, but I know I definitely come from a different perspective on a lot of these matters. I can’t tell you what it is like to be a student in Wilmington, but I can talk about the effects of “rigor” and “grit” in Delaware education and how vast amounts of money is not going where it truly needs to. And how opt-out is a parent’s last defense in this toxic education environment being perpetuated by the Governor and the DOE, and those numbers will only grow the more parents see what is really going on with all of this. I don’t think John would mind me saying this, but we are both parents of children with disabilities. As a result of that, we are more attuned to changes in education because they hit kids with disabilities much harder than their peers in many cases. My fear has always been that this accountability craze is going to have an even greater impact on segregation and discrimination over the long run. Much more than anything else. I’m not sure how much you’ve looked into the next education “trend” by the corporate education reform movement. That is competency-based education, which is deeply rooted in personalized learning. This will eventually do without the traditional k-12 environment and students will “learn” at their own pace. This will cause students with the most needs to become even further behind as their peers move forward at an even quicker pace than they ever did. When I see WEIC, I see an honorable intention, but if it doesn’t address the things going on behind the scenes as well, it will just put a band-aid on the problem that will come up again.
Tony Allen Kevin, as I know you will and have, I am fine to have you hold us accountable for what we can control. If these efforts (and I don’t just mean redrawing the lines) turn out to be the band-aid you suggests, I still think it would have been better than doing nothing. I am, of course, much more hopeful than that.
Good discussion all!
And while this conversation was going on, Mike Matthews was posting about the WEIC: Redistricting Committee meeting tonight up in Wilmington:

Mike Matthews Great comment tonight from Jeff Taschner re: WEIC: “What’s better?  Doing nothing or chaning district boundaries and then doing nothing to support the changes needed?”  I’m very concerned about WEIC at this point. The resolution sent to the legislature must include a lock-solid kill switch that denies redistricting unless a full funding package is provided for the transition of Christina schools to Red Clay.

Kevin Ohlandt Tony and I have been debating many aspect of this on my home page from the Colonial article I posted earlier today. I agree with your point about the funding kill-switch. My biggest contention with all of this right now is the rush. Which I got into with Tony. Another 2-3 months of making sure the package is good and flushed out will not kill a whole generation of intertia. The State Board is ready to vote on this in December. Why? They have until the end of March. And the Gen. Assembly passes stuff on the fly all the time. I’m sure they will have full knowledge in plenty of time before they vote anyways.
Tony Allen To Kevin’s point, Mike, I’d encourage you to read our exchange. And also remember my declaration in writing –twice to Red Clay — and consistently throughout my public comments … No funding commitment, no moving forward. What I think many are missing is “the moment.” We will either act or continue the status quo. If we act, that is a five year process — not four months — and it is more than simply redrawing the lines, a point that we have stressed for more than a year. If we decide to kick the can, I am fairly certain change will not be possible for at least another generation and we will all feel it in the quality of life for ourselves and for our families.
John M. Young Tony, staus quo is loaded and WEIC is not designed nor is it tackling key status quo items like: test, label, punish via standardized tests, failed, evidence-less reforms that DO NOT use research based conclusions which then are directly used to literally destroy schools via CONSTANT CHANGE. I have put this article out a few times over that last few years, I honestly think it is MUST READ for ALL WEIC commission and committee members: I think WEIC is absolutely the right thing to do, and I remain fully supportive, but the things outside its scope that need to be fixed to help it succeed. The timelines are artificial, and “the moment” should not be a function of time but rather a declaration made when the product is right, regardless of the time. Of course, in my opinion.
Tony Allen John,
By virtue of position and electoral
mandate, you have substantively more power than l will ever have in this debate. If there is, in fact, “no moment,” the timelines are artificial and the “achievement gap” is a contrived narrative that has spun educational reform out of any real control, what do you think is the plan for equity of access in educational opportunities for all children?
I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but you are one of seven votes in a very diverse, large district with varying degrees of student performance, along any number of measures. What is that you propose in the way of solutions?
This is not a leading question or meant to be condescending in any way. I really want to know what prescriptions work and what you and your colleagues are doing to drive that agenda at the governance level.
We have five years and lots to do. Any solutions you have and know to be working are welcomed. I am also happy to talk in person if you are comfortable with that kind of meeting
– Tony
John M. Young Tony Allen, I think there is a moment just like the one you speak of, I think WEIC can and needs to have “the moment”, I just don’t think it is a function of time, as you seem to be suggesting when people bristle at the breakneck and frankly inappropriate speed WEIC is trying to gin up a comprehensive solution. WEIC needs to be genuine reform, which may take more time then has been allotted. Right now, defending the current timeline, imposed over two to four major holidays appears to only exacerbate the growing anxiety around the solution being crafted in relation to its perceived ability to be ameliorative. The moment is when WEIC gets it right. I can’t tell you when that will happen except to say that I think it won’t be on or before 12/31/15.
I am not convinced the achievement gap is contrived, nor do I think Hess advances that argument outright, but I wholly believe that the narrow hyper-focus on “solving” it has absolutely spawned some of the most destructive and inappropriate “solutions” for schools. We, as a nation and certainly as a state have all but removed communities from their schools. We have disconnected parents from classrooms and nearly completely ignored the needs of the students, particularly those devastated by poverty and its ancillary impacts on family, violence, hunger, and stability for our youth.
I don’t have the solution Tony. I think it’s also very important for many of us to accept the notion that none of us does…certainly not by ourselves anyway. I do have some ideas though:
• Genuine stakeholder involvement (read: not the Delaware Way kind)..I think WEIC is doing an above average job here with the unfortunate exception of less than complete communication with all affected school board members since they are all equal in impact and power (as you noted…1 of 7))
• Peer reviewed research to inform policy, not anecdote and/or “feel”. Delaware, especially under the governor, to use a term I have heard you use does an INARTFUL job of crafting policy. Many to choose from but HB165 and SB51 come to mind fast. HB50 is a gubernatorial trainwreck and WEIC should seriously consider supporting the veto override to demonstrate a genuine position for support for parental rights which I believe must be a primary underpin for WEIC plan.
In Christina, we have done several things to try and support these sensibilities.
• We were the first, strongest, and to date the firmest support for WEIC via policy and resolution in New Castle County.
• We made board policy to support parental rights for unproven standardized tests which is a quintessential step in trying to eliminate the tests that have been INTENTIONALLY misused to label, shame and punish students, schools and communities and have, in my opinion, literally berthed the WEIC commission (over much, much time)
• We stood firm against junk science, 100% ideologue policy of the DEDOE on teacher recruitment and retention to the tune of having $2.4 million dollars revoked from our Federal RTTT monies. This allowed us to actually build trust and loyalty into the teacher ranks far more effectively that the specious and fractious sensibilities the DOE was espousing.
• We defended our schools from the absolutely evidence-less PRIORITY SCHOOLS policy and preserved the stability our children need so desperately in our schools, especially elementary schools.
The truth is our board, and so many other in Delaware spend WAY TOO MUCH of our time fending off the ridiculous and unproven ideology of those in power in the Delaware DOE. We have to fight them on teachers, administrative assignments, bus routes, funding, charter rules, finance rules, priority schools, focus schools, SPECIAL EDUCATION, and so many other areas. We have no partners it seems, only ill informed enemies waiting to play Monday morning quarterback using tests as their ill informed friend.
The bottom line is we need help. WEIC is clearly trying to help. This is why I support WEIC.
Importantly though, and perhaps because WEIC is so diverse, it is becoming its own enemy. I watched a committee co-chair sit next to Dr. Rich and ineffectively defend the truth of what the very poorly executed charter school law has done to the public school ECOSYSTEM. Our schools are not islands by design, but they are in practice. WEIC needs to BUST THOSE WALLS to succeed, IMO.
Lastly, I propose that the things that need to change are the things that effect conditions. If you TRULY want to change the status quo, you have to remove the REAL status quos, not the status quo perpetuated by the ed-reformer frauds. Here’s a quick list of the REAL and FAKE status quo
FAKE status quos
• Test scores show we perform poorly
• America performs poorly compared to international students (other nations do not test poverty)
• Schools are failing
• Teachers are lazy
• Teachers are incompetent
• Lack of Grit is an obstacle to success
• Lack of Rigor causes failure
REAL status quos
• Policies of merit pay and bonuses are creating turnover not stabilizing it
• The constant shifts in staff based on test score accountability create understandable teacher inertia to meaningful policy change
• Our schools have been subject to veritable unending policy change since 1983 (Nation at Risk)
• Testing is misused to label and destroy the profession of teaching
• Testing is used to inappropriately measure schools of education (SB51)
• Testing is used to label schools and fuel a choice law that shifts funds and creates economic chaos in our schools
• Property tax funding base is unstable
• Special education is dramatically underfunded and frequently violatedSchool boards can help, but honestly are largely an exercise in petty ego wrapped up in pseudo-authority. Here’s proof:
I just offered my 7th vote in seven years in defense of children in K-3 having classes sized in accordance with the law. And for the 7th time was not only defeated, but scowled at and labeled a flame throwing radical bent on bankrupting my own district.
I have news for those folks: morally, we are already bankrupt. All I am doing is holding up the lantern. My pillow is soft and I sleep well.
Until school boards have courage, none of us will help WEIC. Red Clay will not help WEIC any better than Christina, Colonial, and Brandywine would have and the test scores. I do agree that streamlining governance will help to create the right conditions, but WEIC will need all 5 years to finish what this plan starts. Probably more.
We are all watching this moment develop Tony and are blessed to have your passion and mind behind it. Please don’t ignore the potholes. WEIC doesn’t need to hit any more…

And in the middle of this, Mike started another conversation about the Colonial decision…

A few weeks ago the Colonial School Board claimed their district does a better job with city kids than Red Clay and Christina. I called BS then and the data says the same. Colonial’s very small contingent of city kids perform about equal to Red Clay and Christina on math and ELA DCAS. I’m going to echo Councilman Jea P. Street‘s comments: If Colonial is so sure about their ability to service city kids, then why don’t they step up to the plate and take more? I’m sorry, but they’ve got a small strip of about 300 students in the city, a good portion of whom actually choice out of the district.

Has anyone ever gotten a definitive answer on whether or not Colonial receives the tax revenue from the Port of Wilmington and how much that actually is? Could they be wanting to hold on to those students because by giving them up they’d have to give up the Port tax revenue, too?

As I said on Tuesday, all county districts need to bear some equal responsibility for the Wilmington schools and students. But the city has been dissected for far too long and something needs to be done.

I still want a countywide school district. Let’s all take ownership of the City of Wilmington.

John M. Young I refuse to accept test scores as evidence that Colonial’s service is better OR worse than any other district that serves our children. When we buy that, we buy the lies. That’s where Jea’s comments (and anyone that rails against tests in one application but cites them in another) go fatally wrong. Always.
Jenny Twardowski I was going to say the same thing….”we” want to look at test scores for certain things but not other things?! Not buying it.
Mike Matthews Exactly. But that’s what Colonial said at their meeting last month. “Look at our scores. We are doing better than Christina and Red Clay!” When the data is disaggregated to just pull out the city kids, they’re not doing better.
John M. Young I agree, that argument was total bunk.
John M. Young Jea was disaggregating Bullshit data to make a bullshit point. The only thing Jea did there was clarify that the test is bad/wrong/unproven and essentially evil
Mike Matthews Which then goes back to the point: do we believe it’s good to have a gazillion districts and charters in the city of Wilmington?
Countywide district. Now.
John M. Young Not on board with that idea just yet, mostly because of amazing complexity exacerbated by DE funding. But the theory is reasonably sound on face.
Mike Matthews Oh I’m with you there. My last comment would have an asterisk after it because there’d need to be about 100 stipulations before ever undertaking that endeavor. Mostly related to the bullshit funding system.
Laura Nash Funding has been my concern since the beginning.
John M. Young Mike on, the address is 1 Hausel Rd The port appears to be substantially tax exempt. What little I found was Colonial.
John M. YoungWhen you REALLY think about it, DSTP/DCAS/SBAC are the impetus for WEIC.
Kevin OhlandtJohn M. Young Couldn’t agree more there, because the perceived failure of these schools is based on these test scores and don’t take anything else into account.
Elizabeth LockmanIf you guys really believe that, I am shocked…
Adriana Leela BohmAre you serious John M. Young?
Mike Matthews I think what John M. Young is saying is that if priority schools had never happened, we’d have no WEAC or WEIC. And what was priority schools based upon? Test scores.
Kevin OhlandtElizabeth Lockman When I say perceived failures, I am talking about based on the information DOE puts out and their “turnaround” models.
John M. YoungI am absolutely serious that the primary and sole impetus is the culmination of the systemic misuse of test score to label our schools as failure factories built up to create the need for WEIC.
Elizabeth Lockman I happen to disagree. If people had rolled over for the priority school process, WEAC and WEIC wouldn’t have happened. That said, I don’t really mind using others’ belief in test scores to get some action for the very real issues in Wilmington schools and elsewhere. Those aren’t an illusion.
John M. YoungNo way, WEAC created well before Priority was decided. WEIC would be here regardless of RCCSD and CSD rolling on PS. WEIC is definitely needed, just know that testing misuse is primary condition creator in this case.
Mike Matthews I agree with you. Because we didn’t roll over, we got WEAC and WEIC. But I think John’s comment from earlier this evening isn’t really an opinion. It’s a fact. Without crappy test scores, we wouldn’t have gotten priority schools. Without priority schools, we wouldn’t have gotten WEAC.
John M. YoungTo be extra clear, I am using the word impetus very carefully and intentionally here.
Mike Matthews Not sure I can agree with that, John. What proof is there that WEAC was created before priority? It’s my belief that the governor was shocked by the backlash and needed to do something to stem the criticism that was going his way and WEAC was a productive way to do that.
Elizabeth Lockman PS was first. And expected to be received without incident to a very specific end.
Kevin Ohlandt Elizabeth Lockman It’s hard to say on the timing. Don’t forget, I was there at the Senate Education Committee meeting when Sokola slipped and told HB50 commenters to basically hurry up cause he had to get to SB122 which was something “folks have been working on for a couple years”. That was in June of this year, which puts “folks working on it” at 2013.
John M. Young Mike Matthews read carefully, I said before Priority was DECIDED.
Mike Matthews Id say that was more a Sokola slip of the tongue than anything.
Elizabeth LockmanIt’s not hard to say on the timing.
John M. Youngand by decided I mean by RCCSD and CSD, not decided to be rolled out by the Gov.
Mike Matthews I guess I need more proof that WEAC was decided or created or whatever before PS.
John M. Youngnot decided to be declared, that RCCSD and CSD decided not to roll
Kevin OhlandtI don’t know if it was a slip of the tongue Mike. He is VERY careful about what he says, but he was also very flustered after Tara’s comments to him. Very flustered. People say things when they are caught off guard that they wouldn’t otherwise say.
John M. Youngperhaps I was inartful there, but that’s what I meant
Elizabeth LockmanFolks have been asking for the WEAC reiterated policies for many years in many venues. It’s well documented. We’ve said it plenty. Not new ideas.
Mike MatthewsI need alcohol to continue this conversation. A nicely aged bourbon, please.
Kevin OhlandtI’ll settle for some Boone’s Farm!
Kevin OhlandtNow based on ESEA waiver requirements and some Kowalko FOIAs he got from DOE, priority schools were in the planning stages back to 2013. So we could have a definitive year for both…but which came first?
John M. YoungPS came first, WEAC 2nd. but WEAC came before RCCSD and CSD had made up there mind to accept or reject PS…that’s what i’m sayin’!
Kevin OhlandtTony Allen, when did you first become involved in WEAC conversations?
Kevin OhlandtBut when was the decision made to transfer all the schools to Appo?
Kevin Ohlandt KIDDING…
Kevin OhlandtHey, look at this, all the Education Heroes having a friendly debate!
Elizabeth LockmanO_o You’re giving me a friendly ulcer, Kevin Ohlandt!
John M. YoungThat’s a nice change of pace, usually that’s me wink emoticon
Elizabeth LockmanI was just thinking that! Haha.
Kevin Ohlandt When do I give you ulcers Young?
Kevin OhlandtAnd where did bourbon boy go?
John M. YoungI am being very misunderstood here. I meant I usually am the one giving TIzzy ulcers….she got it…. YEAH!
Kevin OhlandtJohn M. Young I knew that. I was just being ironical.
Adriana Leela Bohm Public education has been failing our children for centuries — which would be well before PS and WEAC and WEIC. It was illegal for people of color to become educated and literate during slavery (and murder was often the punishment for learning to read and write); in the Jim Crow era our children were kept separate and in inferior settings when they could go to school; and when the Supreme Court over ruled Plessy v. Ferguson with the Brown decision (and let’s remember there were two Brown decisions) much of the U.S. refused to integrate. The fight for educational equity and our desire for representation and governance did not just develop over the last few years – it has been an ongoing battle across the country for a very long time. We all know this. Our history and pushback re: PS played a role in the development of WEAC and WEIC, but do any of us really believe there was only ONE factor which led to the development of either?
Kevin OhlandtThis is very true Adriana. And I won’t even get into the treatment of children with disabilities going back to Roman times!
John M. Youngone factor? no. one impetus, yes. the culmination of misused testing. Not saying the need for WEIC isn’t genuine at all. Just suggesting where the impetus originates.
Kevin OhlandtWhen in doubt, I always blame Paul Herdman wink emoticon
Adriana Leela Bohm I’m still not convinced on the impetus issue, John. I believe in people power and am confident that at least some of the impetus behind the creation of WEAC was that there was a lot of anger in the air and it had to be addressed (or contained…). Part of that anger was Christina’s refusal to accept the PS initiative – a move that I celebrated! The group that was formed (WEAC) was energetic and action oriented and wanted to keep moving forward — and thus WEIC was proposed. That said, I know we agree on much more than we disagree, and I still love you, John M. Young. At this point folks, however, I need to go to bed. Love you all! GN.
John M. Young The love is never in doubt. This may be shades of gray indeed.
Tony Allen Well, I tried to say goodnight to John, but I cannot let a false narrative continue and sleep well. WEAC was, in part, a response to an inartful announcement of priority schools. If there were no uproar, it would have never been created, a point I have made for over a year. Kevin, I first accepted the WEAC chairmanship in late September/early October 2014.
Tony Allen Kevin,
The heroes in education reform are outlined in the acknowledgements in the WEAC report. Until we get somewhere with all of this, none of us meet the mark. – T
Kevin Ohlandt Tony Allen The Heroes in Education remark was directed towards Mike, John, Tizzy and myself because the Progressive Dems of Delaware gave us an award as “Education Heroes”, and tonight was a bizarre reunion of sorts for us!
To be continued….

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Kevin Ohlandt

I am a proud parent of a son with Tourette's Syndrome and several other co-morbidities. I write on this blog to educate other parents so they know a bit more about not only special education, but all the really bad things that are happening with public schools in Delaware and the USA. We are all in this together, and if our children aren't able to advocate for themselves it's up to us parents! We need to stop letting companies run our schools, and demand our children get a proper education. Our Departments of Education in our states have become weak with fear from the bullying US DOE, and we need to take back our schools!

4 thoughts on “Bourbon, Boone’s Farm, Tony Allen & The Chicken or The Egg: The Great Facebook WEIC Debate!”

  1. Thanks for bringing this to us Kevin. Funny how all this important talk about transparency is going on behind a Facebook login. When I click on those links I get this:

    Sorry, this content isn’t available right now
    The link you followed may have expired, or the page may only be visible to an audience you’re not in.

    Not all of us want a Facebook account to access public dialogue.


  2. Kevin, you have violated your own transparency ethics, you are going to have to stop supporting yourself.

    Also, you completely left out my “praise hands” emoticon response to ALB’s comment. Lies & misrepresentations.

    😉 I kid, I kid.

    Conversations happen in a community. I don’t think we should agonize over that. Thanks for sharing. Personally, I’d never say anything on this matter in a social media context (or private meeting for that matter) that I wouldn’t (and haven’t) said in our more formal WEIC gatherings and/or want broadcast. I think many of us are the same on this matter…


    1. Ms. Lockman, the “praise hands” emoticon would not copy and paste, nor would my wink emoticons. I completely admit to leaving those out and if this constitutes a public meeting request, I humbly bow before the FOIA gods in disgrace.


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