Delaware United Video Interviews With Senate Candidate Meredith Chapman On Delaware Education

Delaware United interviewed Meredith Chapman, the Republican candidate for the 8th Senate District in Delaware. Chapman is running against David Sokola, the incumbent Democrat Senator with 26 years under his belt at Legislative Hall. As any reader of this blog is aware, I think Sokola has long outlived his purposed in Dover. So I am endorsing Chapman the 8th District in the Senate. I’m not endorsing her just because she isn’t David Sokola. I’m endorsing her because she is a young and fresh face. We need new ideas. I believe Chapman will provide many new ideas that aren’t part of the “establishment” in Dover.  I see the “newer” crowd in Dover as the future of the General Assembly.  I have a lot of respect and admiration for House Dems Kim Williams, Sean Matthews, and Sean Lynn.  As well, for House Republican Jeff Spiegelman and Senator Brian Pettyjohn.  They aren’t afraid to mix things up just enough to tweak something one way or another.  It doesn’t always succeed, and I don’t always agree with them, but I respect that trait in all of them.  I believe Chapman can bring that to Legislative Hall as well.

We also need more balance in Dover. For far too long one side has been in control in Delaware, and that is not good for the state. I don’t agree with every single thing Republicans and Democrats believe in.  But when one party is in absolute control for so long, it breeds corruption and an aura of invincibility which is not good for any state government.  I would personally love to see other parties or Independents get into the House and Senate.  That would really mix things up!

In watching these interviews with Meredith Chapman, I do want to hear more from her on Delaware education, especially on some key issues that are near and dear to me!

For many folks in New Castle County, Delaware United has been very busy this political season.  They are a new group of political activists.  The group originated as Bernie Sanders supporters who are united to carry many of the same messages Bernie had.  They tend to lean towards the progressive side of things based on their endorsements for the primary.  But many of the contests right now are Democrats.  We will see how they stand on candidates for the General Election very soon.  On their Facebook page, Delaware United describes themselves as:

We are a group of united voters and volunteers, from all walks of Delaware, that has the goal of pushing forward on a path to change our state and point it in the right direction. We are a group that is run on the basis of a well-founded democracy and listens to its members with full transparency from the top down. I would like to thank the people in this group, and ask anyone here to add members, at their discretion, to help grow our group and spread our message. There is no requirement to be a member, no party affiliation guidelines, and no exclusion based solely on the offered support to any one candidate in the past. (a current example: if you have supported Clinton, or Sanders, you are not to be judged solely on that decision, and should not be excluded from the groups proceedings) We all need to come together now more than ever to make sure that our government in Delaware represents the people of Delaware; there are far too many factions of similar groups all trying to do different things to achieve the same goal. We need to win elections to change Delaware to what we, in this group, collectively thinks it should be and to do that we need to work together. Not as Democrats, “Berniecrats”, Independents, or even Republicans, but as a united group of like-minded people who want to be involved with the candidates and local politics. We need to step up, step out, and get involved to change our local politics and make Delaware the state it can, and must become. Not through one-man activism with a megaphone (not discouraging this), but through organized political action and group founded strategies and being the feet on the ground to help make sure that the best people in our state make up our representation in Dover.

 

 

Well This Should Be Interesting… The Irony Is Astounding!

On September 15th, a presentation will be given at the State Board of Education meeting by Kendall Massett with the Delaware Charter Schools Network.  The subject: charter and district collaboration.  The irony!  Kendall will be joined by charter leaders AND district leaders.  I’d give pretty good odds Dusty Blakey will be there.  The Colonial Superintendent joined the board of Las Americas Aspiras last spring.  What other district leaders will be in attendance?  I’d give even better odds that Acting Christina Superintendent Bob Andrzejewski will NOT be there.

Who do you think will show up?

I’m going to guess Ed Emmett with Positive Outcomes, Matt Burrows with Appoquinimink, maybe Merv Daugherty with Red Clay, and could it happen?  Greg Meece with Newark Charter School?  They should be good as long as they don’t bring up FUNDING.

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Is Godowsky Trying To Protect Himself From The District-Charter Funding Fiasco aka Blowmangate 2016?

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In reading Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Steven Godowsky’s letter to the General Assembly about what I am now calling Blowmangate 2016, it appears Godowsky is shielding himself from potential accountability for this gigantic mess.  I believe he should.

In the letter, the word “I” doesn’t appear until the 5th paragraph.  Every mention in the timeline provided in the paragraphs before that uses the words “The Department”.  I firmly believe Godowsky did this to not only provide the entire state a definitive answer on this funding issue, but also to cover himself should any investigation or accountability rise from this.

At no point in the letter does Secretary Godowsky show he ever approved the changes to the charter and choice bills sent out from the Delaware Department of Education.  That is very important.  As many have surmised based on articles about this as well as an email from State Rep. Earl Jaques, Godowsky was in the dark on this until after the charter bills went out.  But he was the epicenter of the firestorm, as the News Journal called it, when I published the first article on this topic and legislators pounced on Godowsky like a mama bear would protecting their cubs.

At no time has the true mastermind at the DOE behind this ever provided any public comment about this: Associate Deputy Secretary of Education David Blowman.  In the Delaware DOE, it is very rare when someone is terminated.  On paper and in the public, it is usually a resignation.  Former Secretary of Education Mark Murphy “resigned” shortly after the priority schools funding issues with Red Clay were made public.  Former Accountability & Assessment Chief Penny Schwinn and her right-hand man Ryan Reyna “resigned” after the school report card saga called the Delaware School Success Framework showed many issues surrounding transparency and a lack of true collaboration with stakeholders.  Former Teacher/Leader Effectiveness Unit Chief Christopher Ruszkowski “resigned” after complaints about his comments at the DPAS-II Advisory Group Sub-Committee.  We see this phenomenon often in school districts and charters.  It happens in the business world as well.  It allows for a graceful exit without controversy and saves both parties bad press and potential legal action (unless some “Sneaky Snake Blogger” writes about it).  Will David Blowman “resign” over his self-created Blowmangate 2016?  I believe he should “resign”.

For Secretary Godowsky, this has to be embarrassing for him.  He promised the citizens of Delaware there would be better communication and partnership coming from the Delaware DOE.  At his Senate Confirmation Hearing last October, State Senator Nicole Poore said Dr. Godowsky is “a breath of fresh air” after three years of Mark Murphy.  After the opt out penalty in the Delaware School Success Framework last year, where Godowsky changed course on the matter in two weeks, he had to deal with the closure of a brand-new charter school.  Key personnel at the DOE “resigned” as the better communication coming from the Department never seemed to materialize.  While Godowsky serves at the pleasure of the Governor, he does have his own opinions.  I have to think the decisions he makes based on his commitment to the Governor has to conflict with issues he wrestles with in his own mind.  Now the Delaware DOE has a babysitter over the district-charter funding issues in the form of the House and Senate Education Committee.  I don’t recall that happening at any time on any DOE issue.  This is a clear sign the General Assembly is at their wits end with the Delaware DOE.  In addition to that, the State Board of Education is under Sunset Review by the Joint Sunset Committee next year.  This is not something that is done at random.  It has to be put forth by a member of the Sunset Committee.  Eight members of that committee voted yes with one abstention (Senator David Sokola) and one absent (Senator Bryan Townsend).

Many people in Delaware, including parents, citizens, legislators, and educators are calling for an elected State Board of Education and more recently, an elected Secretary of Education.  Some seem to want the position of Secretary of Education eliminated altogether.  Many want radical change in the Delaware DOE.  With the Every Student Succeeds Act about to become the biggest topic in Delaware education, in addition to the upcoming primary and General Election, the DOE has to be very careful about how they conduct themselves.  They are being closely watched, and not just by me.  To give this a matter of perspective, they are standing on a frozen lake in early March and the weather forecasts are calling for warm days ahead.  Will the DOE be able to get off the frozen lake before they plunge into the depths?  Time will tell.  They need to change course immediately and realize that defiance of the will of the people and the General Assembly will not be tolerated.

As for Secretary Godowsky, he will retire next year.  He has the endpoint on his resume of being the guy that transitioned between Mark Murphy and whoever our next Governor picks as the Secretary of Education.  Time will tell how he will be viewed through the lens of history.  He could convince Governor Markell that what the DOE is doing is wrong and they need to abandon his plans for Delaware education.  I strongly urge Dr. Godowsky to consider that option in his remaining months.  He knows exactly what is at stake.

*The above picture of the Townsend Building, home of Delaware DOE leadership, in Dover, DE is from firststatepics.com

DOE. Huge Bug Up Their Ass

Kavips literally wrote this the same time I was writing my article with the letter from Godowsky to the General Assembly. But this is a must-read!

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ass-bug“For some reason, the parties running the Delaware DOE this year, have decided to ignore 14-17 years of legislation and DOE precedent, and change the rules to force more money to flow to charters.”

“Desperate”, I believe is the word we’re looking for… “Desperate” as in the last days of the Third Reich, as in the last 2 minutes of a NFL playoff game, as in the final day before election day.

They know their time is up!  They are using these last four months of this lame duck session to make permanent changes they hope will benefit them later when they get kicked up into the private sector… If they don’t act now, it will be too late… someone else will be controlling the money…..

In case you don’t know what happened, here is a refresher…

The DOE surprised every public school by changing the formula on how charters were to be paid……

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