I hereby endorse Mike Matthews as President for the Delaware State Education Association.
I hereby endorse Jackie Kook as Vice-President for the Delaware State Education Association.
I’m not a teacher. Just a parent. But I have been very aware of DSEA the past few years and their role in education. To say that relationship has been frosty at times would be an understatement. I do not always agree with DSEA on issues. But when I heard Mike and Jackie were running a joint ticket for DSEA leadership, I immediately rooted for them. And then Danny Rufo announced his candidacy as President. So I was torn for a long time. I’ve known all three of these educators since shortly after I started blogging in 2014. Danny is awesome. But Mike and Jackie bring many battle scars to these roles. Battles fought at the Delaware DOE and Legislative Hall. Fought in front of cameras as they loudly advocated for teacher, student, and parent rights. To me, they are more of a voice for teachers than the current leadership at DSEA. They know the players and they know who to watch out for.
I get that these leadership roles change people. You can’t just say whatever you want. I don’t know Frederika Jenner very well at all. But I do know Mike and Jackie. I know Danny. Crouse and Ingraham, endorsed by Jenner, just seem to be missing something. I can’t pinpoint it. Maybe it’s the fact that I have never seen them before. Maybe it’s because when I asked three of the candidates their thoughts about student data privacy, the Matthews/Kook team and Rufo genuinely and thoughtfully answered. Crouse and Ingraham gave some robotic Facebook response. When I asked for more, they endorsed not getting into Facebook “battles” and having off-line conversations. Sorry, Delaware has suffered immensely from those kind of talks. The fourth candidate, Dom, I couldn’t pick out of a line-up. No offense Dom!
What the package of Mike and Jackie could bring to Delaware education is a dream team beyond compare. They know the issues. They have great ideas on how to address those issues. I’ve heard some say they are worried about Mike’s ability to “go along to get along”. I firmly believe Mike will bring his A-game to the role and not put aside the issues he has fought for much longer than I have. If there were a way to have co-Presidents AND a vice-president, I would say throw Rufo on that triumvirate! But with the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act and some crazy stuff coming up in education, Delaware’s largest teacher association needs people who will look at every angle. Who aren’t afraid to go outside of the box for help. Who will fight not just for teachers, but also what our students need. The symbiotic relationship between teacher and student is a relationship like no other. Teachers have had it rough. But I think because of that fight, many in DSEA leadership have capitulated towards those in favor of corporate education reform to the detriment of that symbiotic relationship.
Between vouchers, personalized learning in a digital environment (which is the gravest threat to teachers in my opinion), and more charter school enrollment going up, the teacher unions have never been more vulnerable than they are right now. They need a very strong shield, and Mike and Jackie are it! So I urge every single member of DSEA to vote for Mike and Jackie on January 9th. Don’t wait, vote that day. Some will say a non-DSEA person should mind their own business and not get involved. Too bad. Freedom of the press baby! Don’t like it? Too bad. At least I’m not making fake Facebook accounts trying to start trouble. I will leave that right there.
Some will say I am only endorsing Mike and Jackie because I’m friends with them. I’m friends with Danny too. And do you want to know what drew me to all three of them in the first place? Education. If I never started blogging I wouldn’t know the first thing about any of this. But this is the world I live in.