The former Superintendent of Woodbridge and Cape Henlopen, as well as the very recent former Executive Director of the Delaware Association of School Administrators could have a very big 2017. As well, he served as the interim Superintendent in the Woodbridge School District. Kevin Carson could be handed a role that will define his legacy in Delaware. This is a man who knows the ins and outs of Delaware education.
I’ve met Carson several times, usually at Legislative Hall. As the head of DASA, Carson represented every single Delaware school administrator during one of Delaware’s most tumultuous times in education. He challenged former Secretary of Education Mark Murphy with a vote of no confidence, along with leaders from the two biggest local teacher unions in the state and the Delaware State Education Association.
If Carson is picked as John Carney’s Secretary of Education, he will have to juggle many balls all at once. There is the mounting deficit in our state budget. Delaware will be submitting it’s Every Student Succeeds Act state plan. New charter school applications will begin pouring in. A growing chorus of Delaware citizens are demanding more financial transparency with education. The Rodel engine will want Carson on their side. Education technology is poised to dilute the teaching profession to something unrecognizable. Education funding will continue to be a thorn in the side of Delaware students.
Carson would be in charge of a Delaware Department of Education that is ripe for change. He has the logistic ability and intelligence to transform the Department into something that delivers on transparency and better communication. As well, he would serve as the Secretary for the State Board of Education and would have valuable input on who would be good picks for future board members. There is nothing in Delaware state code that would prevent Carney from picking an entirely new State Board of Education. There is now one vacancy on the board and Carson’s opinion on who that replacement should be could be pivotal.
Carson would also have to deal with events transpiring at a federal level. President Trump and his Cabinet of private sector billionaires will want to change education and privatize it. As a blue state, Delaware will fight this tooth and nail. But one compromise could threaten Delaware education in varying ways. We need a Secretary that has vast amounts of experience in dealing with events at the local level. Someone who sees the issues from a wide perspective. Someone who would be the voice for Delaware students and educators, who understands the complexities that divide us.
I completely understand that any Delaware Secretary of Education would have to conform to Governor Carney’s platform. With Jack Markell, he had a very clear agenda and God forbid if you disagreed with that agenda. He micro-managed Delaware education to the point of absurdity. But at the same time he let financial issues run amok in our schools. While I don’t see Carney as well-versed in education matters as Markell was, I believe that will become a strength of a positive Secretary. I would like to think Carney would give his Secretary more leeway in implementing education policy in Delaware. Godowsky was a mixed bag. Like I’ve said before, he would have been a great Secretary under a different Governor.
Nothing against the other potential choice for Carney’s Secretary of Education, but we need someone who has served as more than a leader of one district. We need someone who has a multi-leveled array of experience in Delaware education leadership. That man is Kevin Carson.