Sokola Puts Forth Legislation To Continue The “Dear Hillary” Agenda

I knew there would be some very big education legislation coming up in the final weeks of Delaware’s legislative session.  And here we go!  Senator David Sokola introduced Senate Bill 277 today which deals with the Pathways to Prosperity program.  This legislation would make it a permanent fixture in our schools, would create a permanent steering committee, and create a Pathways to Prosperity leadership team.  Once again, parents have been shut out of being on this committee.  I guess our voices no longer mean anything, right Dave?  God forbid a parent might just have something important to lend.  I’ll bet it isn’t even an afterthought when he writes these bills.

I don’t have anything against programs designed to help future graduates obtain jobs should they not pursue a higher education.  But to actively promote this option in high school will cause long-term damage to the economic advantages we have as a state and a country.  I believe that is what people like Governor Markell and Sokola want.  I refer to the “Dear Hillary” letter written by the architect of Common Core, Marc Tucker, to Hillary Clinton shortly after Bill Clinton became President.  It is the blueprint for all that has gone down in education since.  For those who wonder why I will not vote for Hillary, there is far too much proof she not only backs this agenda but is also a proud supporter.  I see the same circle of vultures circling Hillary’s wagon waiting for their big chance.  So much legislation, plans, and task forces assume Hillary will be the next President and the timetable on so much of this stuff is written with a President Hillary in mind.  Do not mistake this as coincidence.  It is far too important for the future well-being of our country and the generations to come.  This cradle to grave mindset with the people of America is not a good thing.  If the government doesn’t want people to think for themselves, why don’t they just come out and say “We are communist now”.  Instead they do the long con thing with crap like this.

When I see legislation like Senate Bill 277 come across my screen, I shudder.  It is all falling into place.  And when I see Senator Brian Pettyjohn on this as well, I have to wonder.  Bi-partisan support for a bill like this scares the crap out of me.  It isn’t even about political parties anymore folks, it’s about the agenda.  Bills like this make splashy headlines and make us think we are looking out for the kids.  The reality is the ultimate smokescreen, the tracking and decreased effort to make our kids the best they can be.  Just last week Markell tweeted about how kids don’t really have to go to a four-year college to be successful.  He may be right, but chances are much better their lives will be better in the long run if they are about to go a four-year college versus a two-year community college.  But schools like Del-Tech are huge supporters of initiatives like these.  They are banking on it!  Why else would we see legislation honoring their leader months after he got the position show up last week?  It is all glorified ass-kissing, done in such a way that nobody will know.  The “Delaware Promise” is great for those who profit off it.  But for every day people like you and I?  Forget about it.  So why do we keep electing these knuckleheads who introduce legislation just to make themselves look great?

Sokola is winning brownie points by giving the teachers what they want with the Component V bill, which is part of their evaluations.  But don’t forget who wrote the original bill which put the bad stuff into place in the first place.  Hello Senate Bill 51!  All eyes will be on that and the Wilmington redistricting bills while legislation like this gets passed very quietly and smoothly.  Unless someone writes about it first.  I oppose this bill for all the reasons I’ve written.  I’m not shocked Sokola is introducing this bill today.  But I do hope Meredith Chapman kicks his Markell-loving ass next November!  And Paul Baumbach is not impressing me at all lately.  I know he is a darling with the Newark crew, but this is all politics!  The Delaware Dems need to watch out if they want to retain their power in the General Assembly next year.  They are due for a monstrous shift in power.  I wouldn’t necessarily assume they will all get to keep their window seats next year!

Saying Goodbye to Public School

This is a must-read for all Delaware teachers, parents, legislators, and DOE employees. It is time to wake up to the reality our students face, especially in places like Wilmington and Dover. For those complaining about the cost, the price is very high for these students in the long run. Parents: if you aren’t bothering to care about your child’s education, don’t have kids. Sorry to be so harsh, but it’s your responsibility as a parent!

House Bill 399 Is The Official Legislation On Fixing The Wrongs Done To Delaware Teachers

Last week, I wrote about pending legislation that would make Component V of the Delaware teacher evaluation system an equal part of the evaluation system and that both the teacher and administrator would have to agree on the state assessment being a part of it.  Today, that bill was filed as House Bill 399, seen below.  There are sixteen days left in the month, and only a few education committee meetings left.  Will there be enough time to get this bill out there?  I have no doubt we will hear from at least one other blogger on this issue.

Updated, 4:01pm: This is on the agenda for the House Education Committee tomorrow at 4pm.  If you are a Delaware teacher or are interested in what this means for students, please attend!

 

 

The Audacity Of Harrie Ellen Minnehan

Over the past year, there have been several attempts to get Christina Board of Education member Shirley Saffer to resign from the school board.  Back in 2014, Saffer was arrested for harassment following a purported argument with a bus driver.  Last summer, Saffer pled guilty to the misdemeanor charge of harassment, paid a fine, and was ordered to stay away from the bus driver.  What hasn’t been reported was what led to the argument or any physical proof that Saffer used a racial slur in the argument.  Despite this lack of essential forensic evidence, members of the Christina Board of Education have made a few attempts to get Saffer to resign.  With a push from the Friends of Christina group as early as last November, the Board President Harrie Ellen Minnehan appears to be making it her mission in life to make Saffer resign.  The latest attempt, shown below, stems from a civil suit against Saffer and the district.

Earlier this year, the board put forth a resolution asking Saffer to resign.  A lengthy conversation happened at that board meeting in which Saffer’s alleged us of “the n word” was taken out of the resolution as there was no proof it was actually said.  No recordings of the argument showed whether it was said one way or the other.  Let me be very clear: I do not condone the use of that word, ever, and under any circumstances.  I don’t think anyone should use that word in any situation.  Even African-Americans.  It is symbolic of a time in our country’s history when the word was used to denigrate and humiliate African-Americans.  I think ANY use of the word continues to remind us of that history.  I actually saw a fake email, constructed to make it look like I used that word recently.  Anyone who knows me knows I hate that word.  But what was very interesting was who showed me that email and that person’s defense of myself in stating they absolutely knew I didn’t say it.  How would that person know, with 100% certainty, that I didn’t?  Something to ponder readers…but I digress…

If Saffer did or didn’t use the word is now immaterial.  She was accused, pled guilty, and paid her debt to society.  So why is Minnehan continuing the witch hunt?  There is nothing in Delaware law that can make a school board member resign.  If Saffer didn’t resign immediately after the incident, last summer when she went to trial, after the Friends of Christina made a concerted effort to get her to resign, and after the board’s prior resolution a few months ago, why would she do so now?  Her term expires in a little over a year.

Based on the civil suit filed, my guess is Minnehan doesn’t want the district or any board members dragged into it.  Should Saffer resign, I would guess the board and district wouldn’t have to pay any legal costs based on the suit.  Which is certainly Minnehan’s desire.  But by continuing this witch hunt against Saffer, she is stoking the flames.  She wants a confrontation, in my opinion.  But it hasn’t happened.  For a Board President who seems to bash others and their actions, she sure has a way of poking the bear any chance she gets.  What if the board issued resolutions asking for Minnehan to resign based on her time as the Pencader Business School Board President?  I’m guessing she wouldn’t like that one bit.  Saffer is not going to resign no matter how many petitions or board resolutions surface in the future.  Minnehan needs to get over it and pay more attention to her district and stop wasting the board and the district’s time on this.  Just because someone holds a gavel doesn’t make them lord of the universe.  With great power must also come great responsibility.  I’m trying to see some good in Minnehan’s multiple resolutions here, but I just can’t.

Did Saffer make a mistake?  No one knows what was really said that day.  At least with empirical evidence.  No one knows publicly what prompted the exchange of words in the first place.  Yes, she pled guilty, but the charge was harassment.  Without knowing, and this is just a picture I am painting here, Saffer may have seen the bus driver do something.  Nobody just goes up to a bus driver to start something for no reason unless they are clinically insane.  Shirley Saffer is not insane.  At heart, Saffer cares about kids.  She went to the bus, exchanged words with the bus driver, and something was said.  It was in the heat of the moment that Saffer may have said something which could be construed as harassment.  It is something many of us have done at one point in time, including Minnehan.  No one is an angel, no one is perfect.  Saffer, whatever happened that day, regrets what happened.  Of that I can be sure.  But to continue to be held under the microscope constantly by someone who should be viewing her as a part of a seven member team and not this horrible person Minnehan projects… I view what Minnehan is doing as harassment.  I view Minnehan’s attempts to have Saffer resign as petty and vindictive.  I don’t think it is about the money issue.  I think it is about power.  Minnehan wants to solidify support on any future votes for whatever agenda items she wants action on, in my opinion.  In looking at how the board votes on controversial items have gone down, there are three votes that tend to vote one way, and three that vote the other.  Saffer and Minnehan are not on the same team.

Based on comments made by Minnehan on social media during the recent board election race between incumbent Elizabeth Paige and Desiree Brady, Minnehan was very passive-aggressive in her comments about the board and certain members on the board.  While others do this as well, I find it very hypocritical for Minnehan to accuse others of causing controversy when she publicly does it herself.  Because I called her out on this, she unfriended me on Facebook.  I have spent the time since in intense therapy trying to get over it.  It was quite a blow!  But seriously, it was just very odd for her to go on one of her fellow board members campaign page and write disparaging things about the board she is supposed to run as the president.

I’ve known Minnehan for a couple of years now.  I first met her at the epic priority schools Christina board meeting in September, 2014.  I liked how she defended the district and railed against the DOE in the months after.  But by the time the priority showdown reached it’s zenith, I couldn’t tell which side Minnehan was on anymore.  She was in agreement with the majority of the board members in going forth with the MOU with the DOE, but ultimately it was her opposition to one of the key parts of it that led to the MOU not going forth until a revised one went out months later based on the WEAC recommendations.

Minnehan and myself have a history, and it is not a great one.  Last summer we clashed over a crazy innuendo against, ironically, herself and Saffer.  I apologized immediately once I realized how I had been fooled by the person granting the innuendo, in email and on my blog.  But Minnehan kept insisting I come to the next Christina Board meeting and apologize publicly.  I advised her many times it wasn’t going to happen, and even if I could, I had a hernia surgery coming up that would prevent me from attending anyways.  Despite that, she felt the need to apologize for me (for a third time) at that board meeting.  And I won’t even get into the Bizarro world of what happened last month because I still can’t wrap my head around it all.  Based on that, I said I would never write about Christina again.  Obviously, I changed my mind.  I won’t let veiled threats stifle me from expressing my opinion or writing about the district.  And the biggest problem I see is the board president.  I have no doubt she will be offended, but I truly don’t care.  When I see crap like this on their agenda, it makes me want to throw up.  As Bob A said a few months back, “Let it go!”

While this is a federal case, it is not at the federal level.  Saffer lives in Delaware and the bus driver lives in another state.  Based on legal guidelines for lawsuits, the feds take over when the parties live in different states.

Updated, 10:45pm: Apparently this resolution was pulled from Christina’s board meeting agenda tonight.  I wonder why…

 

Exceptional Delaware Year Three Begins NOW!

I really can’t believe it’s been two years since I started this little experiment.  I am more committed than ever to righting the wrongs in public education.  With that being said, I need your help.  What do you like about the blog?  What do you hate?  Is there something you want to see more of?  Less?  Am I too opinionated or not enough?  Am I too mean or not mean enough?  Do you like your stories to be journalistically based or with the flavor you come to expect on this blog?  I came to the realization there is absolutely no way I can cover everything or please everyone.  Education is a beast and growing by the day.  There will always be heroes, villains, and those in-between.  It’s getting very hard to understand motivations.  As I’ve said before, I believe most people have “tainted decency”, meaning they are not 100% good and not 100% bad.  I will have an article coming later this morning that will explore this notion.  There are a few sides to this story.

Until then, thank you for the followers from the beginning of this blog, those who jumped on for the ride, and those who are just starting now.  I appreciate all of you and your opinions, whether I agree with them or not.  There are no easy answers with education.