RIP Dr. Floyd McDowell, A True Advocate For The Best Interests Of Students

On September 10th, Dr. Floyd McDowell passed away at the age of 90.  State Rep. John Kowalko said it best in an email today:

Please note the passing of Dr. Floyd E. McDowell on Sunday September 10th. I considered Dr. McDowell a friend and a worthy champion of economic justice for all. Floyd was truly the original pioneer of the idea and concept of a single-payer health care system. My most appreciative memory of Floyd was his relentless effort to enlighten the politicians and the masses of the need for “health insurance” reform and his remarkable adaptation of his “single-payer” legislation. My most disappointing memory of Dr. McDowell was my own failure to move this needed reform to the forefront of my colleagues and the public’s minds. Rest in Peace Dr. McDowell. You made a difference.
Representative John Kowalko
Dr. McDowell and I emailed each other regularly a couple of years ago.  He sent me a book on education reform and what he accomplished in Kentucky.  He was a man with a huge vision for education, especially special education. The first time I wrote about him, back in the summer of 2014, he had a plan to sue the State of Delaware.  It never came to fruition.  I didn’t agree with him on every aspect of his education reform ideas, but it was much better than what we have now.  I knew Floyd was elderly as he reminded me in emails on how he didn’t have much time left.  I had not heard from him lately so I guessed that he wasn’t feeling well.
McDowell advocated for later start times for schools and wrote articles about sleep deprivation in teenagers.  He also felt our districts in Delaware should be consolidated down to three, one for each country.  He lambasted the current model of public education and the abuse of standardized testing:
This disproven system is based on a “one size fits all” factory model and not on individual student needs and potential.
Perhaps it is time to revisit McDowell’s ideas given the sad state of public education these days where teachers are leaving the profession in droves and children are still guinea pigs for powerful corporate entities who care more about profit.

 

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Coup D’etat Attempt At Red Clay Board Meeting Tonight?

One way or another, the Red Clay Consolidated School District Board of Education will have a new board President tonight.  Mike Piccio is gone.  Usually, the President-Elect would naturally assume the role.  Which would be Martin Wilson.  But apparently some folks involved with the district are throwing around a very old allegation that Wilson doesn’t live in the nominating district he was elected from.  I reached out to a few other folks who said this old chestnut is completely false and there are other factors at play.

My question would be “why is this coming up now?”  I was directed to an old Kilroy’s Delaware article that is well over a decade old.  I couldn’t find it.  I believe Kilroy used BlogSpot before WordPress so they were purged a long time ago.  But I did find an article from 2010 where Kilroy endorsed Wilson for his second run on the board.  Wilson is African-American and with all the movement by this board about equity, it would be good to have an African-American President of the board.

It appears there are others on the Red Clay board who desire the President and President-Elect roles.  And they haven’t exactly been quiet about this fact.  I would say to these board members that if they want me to go after someone, they had best be able to provide proof of their allegation and contact me directly instead of sending someone else to do it.  I don’t appreciate being used to stir up trouble where there is none.  Cause that makes me wonder about the motivation by the person sent my way.

I don’t like political games like this.  While a district school board isn’t exactly a big deal in the long run, in a state as small as Delaware and the fact this is coming from the largest district in the state which does wield a significant amount of influence on education, it makes me wonder why I would endorse these two members to have a leadership role on the board when they resort to petty parlor tricks like this.  In the end, a district board president or vice-president simply leads the meeting and in some cases sets the agenda.  It is a title role that looks pretty on paper and you might get a gavel depending on your district.

Oh, and if you want me to do a hatchet job on someone, do some homework first.  This was already brought up in court and the judge ruled that Wilson could serve from this nominating district.  Not that it is anyone’s business but Martin Wilson himself, but did any of these busybodies attempt to ask Wilson himself why he went before the court to get a ruling on this to begin with?  Not my business to get that information out there because it is not their business.  There is a fine line I will not go over with blogging and this is one of those situations.  Wilson did his due diligence and that is ALL that matters.

If you are going to serve on a school board, I would stick to what school boards do: oversee a district in the best interests of children.  Not this… never this.  I might be a lot of things, but I do have integrity and I will not bury someone so someone else gets a little bit of power on a school board.  If this destroys a friendship or an association, so be it.  If you valued me in any way to begin with you wouldn’t have attempted this stunt so no loss on my part.  And an FYI: I smelled the piranha in the kiddie pool immediately.  Just be grateful I’m not saying YOUR names.

Odyssey Charter School Is Trying To Poach Students From Districts Before September 30th Count

The Greek-themed Delaware charter school, Odyssey, sent out a letter to parents in their area advising them they are still accepting students.  As most involved in Delaware education know, schools get their funding based on the September 30th student count.  Odyssey is trying to beef up those numbers to get more money.

This is a bad idea in very bad taste.  The window for school choice in Delaware closes in mid-January.  As in eight months ago.  While charters are certainly free to accept students after those dates if they have room, actively

soliciting students after the school year has already started is lousy judgment.  It is poaching, pure and simple.  It is money driven, not student driven.  But what many forget is that some charters tend to kick out high-risk students after September 30th.  And guess what?  Some keep the funding they received.

On DSEA President Mike Matthews Facebook page, he brought this up yesterday.  While he didn’t name the school, State Rep. Kim Williams said she is aware of it and did notify the Delaware Dept. of Education.  Will the charter-friendly DOE actually address the situation or just play along to go along?

As I’ve said before, I don’t have a problem with actual charter schools and the reason for their existence.  But I do take issue with situations like this, when profit and money result in grown-ups making poor decisions.  There are good charters out there but unfortunately when certain charters keep coming up in events like this it is hard to not view the charter problem as a whole.  Whether it is discrimination, poor special education, cherry-picking students, or using lobbying power to get more money at the expense of districts, the Delaware tends to side with the charters.  Even worse, they tend to turn a blind eye to recurring issues such as the ongoing financial cesspool that is Providence Creek Academy, the enrollment preferences at Charter School of Wilmington, or the discrimination factory we call Newark Charter School.  Odyssey should not be attempting to get students from districts this far into the school year.

Will Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting put the hammer down on Odyssey or will she allow this poaching journey to continue?  And what is your take on this bad education practice?