Former Red Clay Education Association and current Red Clay teacher Mike Matthews replied to Delaware Governor Jack Markell’s controversial email to Delaware teachers with the words only a teacher can say. If any other teachers or Delaware citizens want me to publish their reply to our “education” Governor, let me know!
Thank you for the email, but I feel I can’t accept your praise. First, the growth you’re praising is about as much as a margin of error in any political poll, so I’ll take said growth with a grain of salt. Second, you continue prop up this Smarter Balanced Assessment and the standards they are evaluating while failing to admit that this test provides virtually no diagnostic or beneficial material to educators in any timely fashion.
I’m going to keep this email short and say that while I respect you as a person and I respect many of the progressive stances you’ve taken during your nearly eight years in office, I continue to be disturbed by your tone and agenda when it comes to education matters. I would have thought you’d lighten up in your final year after the debacle that was Priority Schools. After mounting evidence has revealed that judging schools, teachers, and students on test scores is statistically unreliable and morally bankrupt. After charter after charter around Delaware continues to fail and close. After overwhelming majorities in the House and Senate vote to uphold a parents’ right to opt their children out of toxic standardized tests that do little to help their progress in school or out. After educators across the State vote unanimously no confidence in your corporate education reform Secretary of Education, Mark Murphy.
What other messages need to be sent to you, Governor, that your business-minded approach to education is not the way to go when we are working with students of varying needs and abilities. Using your business-model approach to education, Governor, who will get left behind when we close all those “poor-performing” schools because of a silly test score? Will it be the student with severe emotional needs that breaks down at the sight of a computerized test? Will it be the student who came to school on test day in soiled clothes after having eaten nothing the weekend before? Will it be the student who witnessed his brother get shot on the streets of Wilmington the night before?
While the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission has done a great job approaching many of the education issues your administration ignored during the first seven years of your administration (remember: the people you put in charge at DoE explicitly believe that poverty is NEVER a barrier to success. One Penny Schwinn actually stated that violence in Wilmington is never a challenge to a student’s success in school), it’s too little too late for your education legacy.
I wish this could have been different. I wish my outsized support for you in 2008 had been a little more probing when it came to education issues. As it stands, I regret the unequivocal support I offered you then both personally and by way of my blog, which no doubt contributed much to your narrow primary victory.
That being said, I genuinely wish you the best once you leave office and I hope someday you’ll realize the damage your education policies caused in this state and that you’ll have a change of heart in the coming years.
One suggestion: At the conclusion of your term, I’d ask you to please spend a week with Warner teacher Monique Taylor-Gibbs to see what’s it’s like working at one of those “failing” schools. Your opinions will change and I guarantee you’ll realize the damage your administration did to our schools with the neverending “test and punish” schemes hoisted upon them.
All the best,
Sent from my iPhone
10 thoughts on “Delaware Teacher Mike Matthews Reply To Delaware “Education” Governor Jack Markell”
Very well stated, Mike. I was insulted by the pretense of thanks from a person who has no respect for me, nor my profession. Compounding the insult is the power this man had to really make a positive difference in Delaware public schools but chose to squander it on fattening the DoE, and the pockets of consulting firms, and test developers. Not a single additional classroom or support resource for our neediest children. Additionally, he introduced and pushed hard for a teacher compensation plan that would have been disastrous to the profession in our state.
He does not know what I do, how challenging the job can be, how much of themselves every teacher gives every day, and how disrespected we feel by his regime.
And I do mean “regime”.
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Jack does know what you do, he does know how challenging your job can be but “HE DOES NOT CARE” about you, the children or anyone outside of his self-aggrandizing circle of corporate franchise seekers like RODEL, Gates, TFA and many more. If there’s a profit to be made or a headline to be grabbed count the Governor in, my friend. If you or the kids represent some grubby little statistic that can be manipulated by his communications experts and media serfs than he’ll think about you for oh so brief a moment until he discovers the ” make me look good” path. And Mike Matthews, know this well. In 2008 you could have never uncovered, with any amount of probing, his true intentions because he obviously lied then and he is being disingenuous now. Forgiveness is not something to be ever offered to the unrepentant.
I believe you are a prophet.
Until we educate their parents, we can’t make the necessary progress with their children.
I have a question about this whole matter that has long puzzled me. Is not the very essence of progressive-ism, collectivism, etc. to cede to the state (the collective), the important decisions since that is the only way they can be handled effectively, the individual and local organizations being inferior and not up to the task? Then why the surprise when the state takes over and does things the way it knows best based on what the really smart people say? Can both salt and fresh water come from the same spring? I think not, so what is the root cause of this problem? Thank you for considering the question thoughtfully.
And also leads to dictators.
Not necessarily “really smart” people more likely really greedy people looking to siphon some of those taxpayer dollars away from educators and children’s needs. The state has not taken over but this governor and his appointed Department of Education and State Board of Education have decided to lay seige to local boards and districts by cutting off the money flow or threatening to do so without total acquiescence to the misguided and selfish corporate takeover and privatization attempts. It’s not “salt” water added to the fresh it’s toxic poison dropped in the well so that the RODELS, Gates, Innovative Schools, TFA’s and hundreds of other profiteers disguised as “reformists” can sell their “untainted” water at a premium profit for themselves.
Representative John Kowalko
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This is a lasting image, John, and I will enjoy re-using it.
“It’s not “salt” water added to the fresh it’s toxic poison dropped in the well so that the RODELS, Gates, Innovative Schools, TFA’s and hundreds of other profiteers disguised as “reformists” can sell their “untainted” water at a premium profit for themselves.”
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John always does have a unique way of saying things! 😉
Yet, I bet that instead of seeing the Democratic and Republican parties as the corrupt cesspools they are, he will continue to put people like these in power. Both parties need to go into the dustbin of history if freedom is to survive.