The optics are bad for Delaware Governor John Carney. After telling us you were going to “trim” the Delaware Department of Education, you went and created a whole new division of the Department and placed them in Wilmington. Yes, the new Office of Improvement and Innovation is just different letters for the same accountability machine. Located in Wilmington, this new DOE division, led by former Brandywine Assistant Superintendent Dorrell Green, will “support Delaware’s most in need with a focus on Wilmington’s struggling schools,” according to a press release issued today.
According to Atnre Alleyne, a former Delaware DOE employee who broke this news yesterday, “It downgrades the work of the Teacher & Leader Effectiveness Branch and rebrands it as Educator Support and Collaboration (to be more palatable to those less interested in conversations about effectiveness).” In fact, Alleyne’s post was mostly ripping on the Department he used to work for.
This is my real issue with this announcement. With the FY2018 budget cuts, teachers are going to lose their jobs. Carney’s response? Create a new division of the Department that needs the biggest cuts of all. Yeah, you can shrink down the TLEU and move people around, but setting up what will basically be a priority schools branch smack dab in the middle of Wilmington doesn’t show this DOE transformation. It shows the DOE will be closer to schools they want to “monitor”. While Carney says he wants the DOE to be more of a resource center for Delaware schools, who determines what resources are needed? The schools, the Delaware DOE, or the US DOE? I don’t picture this as a situation where schools say “we need this” and the DOE comes riding in on their white horse to save the day. This is the same color, just a different kind of paint to make it look more pretty.
I don’t know the first thing about Dorrell Green, but it sounds like he has a great deal of experience in Wilmington schools which is always a good thing. And I congratulate him on his new position, but now is not the time to be creating new divisions of the Department that most in Delaware want to see massive cuts. You don’t do this the second the ink is dry on your budget signature and not expect the people of the state to raise a big old stink about it. But, this is Delaware. Where the people’s voice just doesn’t seem to matter anymore.