John Kowalko Dishes On Charters, DOE, & Governor Markell With Larry Mendte

Larry Mendte’s weekly program, The Delaware Way, aired its most recent segment yesterday.  One of the interview subjects was none other than State Rep. John Kowalko.  Mendte and Kowalko primarily talked about The Public Integrity Commission’s recent grade for Delaware in transparency.  You know, that glaring “F”.  Kowalko said he was surprised Delaware wasn’t 5oth out of 50, as opposed to 48th.  I recommend watching this, and not just cause of the name drop near the end!  I guess Larry didn’t want to hear about that!  But thanks anyways John!

15 Who Made An Impact In 2015: Dr. Mark Holodick

Holodick

Mark Holodick had a very busy year in 2015.  I wrote about him quite a bit last March.  When the opt-out movement in Delaware took off, many schools and districts started offering resistance.  Dr. Holodick, the Superintendent of the Brandywine School District, published a very public letter regarding opt-out on the school website.  He indicated only he could decide who opts out and who doesn’t.  Parents, myself included, rebelled against his very authoritative comments.  I’ve met Dr. Holodick a couple times, and he is a nice guy.  I think his heart is in the right place, but he makes the same mistakes those in charge do.  They think because of their title they know what is best for all kids and they should be the ones making the crucial decisions.  Unfortunately for him and the other school leaders in Delaware, this is not the case.

Dr. Holodick was very involved in the Vision Coalition’s Student Success 2025 this year.  As one of the founding members of the BRINC Consortium and their blended/personalized learning initiative, Holodick stood front and center for this latest “10 year vision”.  As well, he was on the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission even though his district was not a part of the redistricting plan in Wilmington.  He remains the highest paid Superintendent in the state.  Many were predicting that if former Secretary of Education Mark Murphy ever quit or resigned, Holodick would take his place.  This was also true when Lillian Lowery held the title and resigned.

I am really hoping Holodick treats opt-out differently this year and he understands it is a parent’s decision, not his.  This is my wish for all school leaders and political figures who disrespect parents by not honoring their fundamental rights.  It doesn’t matter whether you agree with their decision or not, it matters if you honor it.

May The Force Be With You

It’s going to be hard to write a review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens without talking about it.  But I can say it is an excellent movie.  I really liked the new characters.  Except for one.  You will know why when you see it.  What I was very grateful for was no Jar-Jar Binks or Ewoks.  This was infinitely better than Episodes 1-3.  The movie started a little bit slow, but it had to so you could met three new characters.  There are some mysteries surrounding one of them.  I won’t say if they were solved.  When the old characters started to come into the movie, it felt like it was 1977 for me all over again.

I was six years old when the first one came out.  Don’t think the mass merchandizing is a new thing nowadays.  Back then it was there, but it wasn’t as transparent.  You had to send away for the first toys.  Collecting those figures was a must for any boy back in the late ’70s.  But it didn’t stop there.  There were the trading card sets, the magazines, and the comics.  As Return of the Jedi came out and everyone believed Star Wars was done forever, the novelty wore off.  It didn’t come back until 1997 when they re-released the first three and announced Episodes 1-3.  And then a few years ago they announced the new ones.

I have seen them all in the movie theater.  There truly is no other way to experience it.  I saw the new one the other night, and all day yesterday the John Williams music was going through my head.  I know there was one moment in the movie that will stay with me for a long time.  When it becomes mainstream, and everyone knows it, I will talk about it then.  But I actually respect that people aren’t spoiling the movie.

Seeing the older characters was nostalgic, but Han Solo definitely carried the movie.  In a lot of movies Harrison Ford has been in since Star Wars, I always see him as Han Solo first.  But with this movie, he IS Han Solo!  The rest of the gang is there, with the exception of Lando Calrissian.  I wonder if he will show up in any of the other movies.  Finn and Rey were excellent!  I wasn’t sold on them based on the promos.  But for new characters, they really gave it their A game.  Daisy Ridley, who plays Rey, is going to become a major actress.  Anyone who has seen the trailer knows where Finn comes from.  But the true mystery is Rey.  I will say no more!

As of opening day, The Force Awakens has already shatter box office records grossing $120 million in a single day.  This movie will have long legs.  I plan on seeing it again.  Until then, May The Force Be With You.