What? Who in the world is Herbert Sheldon? Who is the Board? While you may not know this name right now unless you are very involved in Delaware education, you soon will. Why?
Month: November 2017
That Wasn’t An Earthquake In Dover, That Was Governor Carney’s Approval RatingGovernor Carney
Between Regulation 225 and the public beating him up over a plan to close three schools in Wilmington, Delaware, the ground shook in Delaware today. It shook from Massachusetts to Virginia. Reports of a 4.1 magnitude earthquake from the U.S.G.S. only measure the tremors, not the cause. It was Delaware Governor John Carney’s approval rating sinking to a new low. The irony of this happening within miles of the capital of Delaware was not lost on me.
Perhaps it was an earthquake, but the fact that this is the biggest earthquake in recorded Delaware history says something. As Delaware Republicans get ready to pounce on Democrats in the 2018 elections with no mercy, the aftershocks could be one for the record books. The people are speaking loudly and they want change. If the tremors were not caused by Carney’s approval rating it could have been the collective roar of Delawareans saying “Enough!”. We the people are getting tired of the status quo and change is in the wind. Too many legislators who I refer to as “lifers” sitting pretty in Legislative Hall without a care in the world. Leadership is horrible. It is time. It isn’t even about party affiliation as much anymore. It is about things getting worse in Delaware: in our communities, in our homes, in our schools, in our wallets. It is about taxpayer dollars not being spent wisely. It is about a growing (and fast) discontent with those who think the State of Delaware is their playground.
In the meantime, the Dover tree lighting went ahead without a hitch, unless you count a couple of legislators and the Kent County Levy Court singing “Frosty the Snowman”. If that earthquake happened two hours later I would have sworn it would have been because of that singing. A huge crowd came to Dover to see the annual celebration and watch kids sing.
A Quick Note About Comments On This BlogExceptional Delaware
I’m not one for moderating comments. But if a comment goes into moderation, it is usually because it is from a first-time commenter. I read all those comments. One came across today with some very harsh suggestions for an elected official. I do not condone that on this blog. I may have issues with some elected officials, but the actions suggested are NEVER justifiable under any circumstances. I understand things are very heated with Regulation 225, but let’s use a bit of decorum moving forward. This is not the News Journal’s Facebook page. I want to hear from my readers, but I can’t allow certain things to be said about anyone, whether I like them or not. Not to mention that the very suggestion of some of those actions is illegal under Delaware State Code. Rant over.
Top Ten Reasons Not To Trust Delaware Governor John CarneyGovernor Carney
Delaware Governor John Carney hasn’t even been in his job a year and already he has managed to irk me more than former Governor Jack Markell. Why? Many reasons.
Christina Superintendent Gregg Releases Statement About Potential School Closures In WilmingtonChristina School District
After the proposed memorandum of understanding leaked to the News Journal yesterday, those affiliated with Christina’s Wilmington schools have been scratching their heads. On the chopping block are three city schools. It appears Superintendent Richard Gregg is perfectly okay with these changes that have yet to receive proper stakeholder feedback. It looks like the “Community Conversation” meeting tonight at Stubbs Elementary School will give out a lot of the details. I really hope the communities on both the East and West sides of Wilmington come and say “How dare you” to both the Governor and the district for embarking on a plan that could be approved before funding is even approved, gives no certainties about what happens to students after 8th grade in those schools, and has been planned and schemed behind closed doors long before the public caught wind of it.
An Exceptional Message For King CarneyGovernor Carney
You are a sly one. Sorry, your “aw shucks” personality doesn’t work on me. You have sold out Delaware public education. But you put too many of your cards on the table. I know EXACTLY what you are up to now. And I will be on you like white on rice every step of the way. I may not have blogged as much lately. I was growing tired of the fight, of nothing changing. But you woke me up. You think you are invincible, that you can do whatever the hell you want. You and all your minions. No more. I don’t care if I have to help flip the House and the Senate to stop you, I will do that. You are a dangerous man who cares more about power. You would gladly thrust your very bad education policies on our schools. You would sell the well-being of students to very evil plans to turn public education into a mind-numbing caste system. This is war King Carney. Don’t get too excited about your future plans. I will rally the people of this state like you have never seen before. One man. I will do it. Mark my words.
WEIC Gets Stuck On A FOIA Technicality While Christina And Carney Scheme To Close SchoolsChristina School District
I’d heard the rumor. The five Wilmington schools serving Christina students would fold into two. It was only a rumor until today when the News Journal published details of a confidential memorandum of understanding between the district and Governor Carney. Meanwhile, the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission, which has outlived its usefulness as of late, decided to hold an impromptu meeting while breaking state FOIA open meeting laws.
As per Jessica Bies’ News Journal article:
The Wilmington Education Improvement Commission, a state advisory committee formed by then-Gov. Jack Markell to come up with ideas to improve education in the city, was also scheduled to review Carney’s proposal Tuesday night. It did not publicly advertise the meeting in compliance with state law or post the agenda for the meeting until late Monday, after a News Journal reporter called and asked when it would be shared.
As per a source, this WEIC meeting was planned six weeks ago and the Mayor of Wilmington came to speak. A technicality of not posting the agenda in the required seven day window occurred. When Tony Allen arrived at the meeting, he advised the committee of the technicality and that no action would be taken at the meeting, including approving the minutes for the last meeting. While I have seen time and time again in FOIA complaints that a party forgot to post an agenda, it is my belief, even if a meeting is planned and they decide to only hold it for informational purposes, they should delay the meeting for appearances sake. How confidential is this memo if so many people had access to it before the Christina Board of Education even has it? Sounds like Carney and Christina want it to get out. I’ve heard people rambling for years that Christina needs to consolidate some of their schools but the way this happened is shady at best.
If Carney’s office released the document, it doesn’t sound like Superintendent Richard Gregg was too happy about it:
Superintendent Richard Gregg recommended removing the names of schools from the document before it came to the school board for the vote, and there was a discussion about having the governor refrain from using the schools’ names in public.
Who were the three school board members who met with district staff, Carney’s team, and the union representative? Why doesn’t the News Journal name those board members? And where is all the scoop on the Empowerment crap Carney is trying to foist upon the schools? More questions than answers. And the Delaware DOE is going to be the one to implement all these changes? Has Christina lost their ever-loving mind? But this is the part that scares the living hell out of me:
The memorandum says Carney and the state Education Department would ask the General Assembly for additional funding to renovate the schools, as well as provide trauma-informed training to principals and teachers. It also promises funding for a dual-generation education center, as well as “philanthropic monies to support all Wilmington schools,” starting with those in Christina.
Philanthropic monies… and what will they want in return? This is the beginning of the end of public education. Once you get foundations actually funding schools (they already help fund charter schools), these schools are no longer public. They become part of Carney’s “public-private partnerships” where FOIA and open meeting laws go out the window. You heard it here first. Carney is just continuing Markell’s agenda who was following all the corporate education reform crap. At this point, I can no longer refer to Carney as Markell 2.0. He is Carney, through and through. Selling out schools to corporations. This is so deliberate and in your face. He played Christina and their board like a fiddle. This is when we start to see social impact bonds hit Delaware. And Rodel is loving every second of it with their competency-based education and personalized digital learning crap. I won’t go so far as to say Carney is the devil, but he is certainly his willing accomplice and Secretary Bunting is just playing the part of the yes-woman and kissing King Carney’s ring he wears for whichever level of Dante’s Hell he serves. I can see why Carney picked her now. She will do whatever he wants.
When I attended the very first WEIC meeting, I advised them transparency is the glue to whatever they do. While I recognize human error, there is also accountability for recognizing that and taking the appropriate action. Not go ahead and hold the meeting anyway. The only way we can stop people from violating FOIA law is to call them out on it. I have made it my mission to do so for over three years now. I will not hold back on that for any organization that is subject to FOIA law.
I hope Carney locked the General Assembly into funding this hot mess, otherwise it becomes yet another unfunded mandate in Delaware. I’m sure deals have been made behind the scenes. If not, the philanthropic foundations like Rodel and the other vultures waiting to pounce on public education will assuredly send their lobbyists to hound them for the next seven months.
Which Delaware Charter School WILL Go Under Formal Review Soon?Delaware Charter Schools
This is a definite. It IS going to happen. A Delaware charter school will be going under formal review, most likely in 2018. Why? A multitude of reasons. While I’m not ready to reveal which one at this point in time, you will know it when you see it. You may think you know which one, but you could be wrong.
There haven’t been any formal reviews since the 2015-2016 school year when both Delaware MET and Delaware STEM Academy went under the Delaware DOE knife. Neither came out alive when it was all said and done. Since then, the Charter School Office at the Delaware DOE has come under new leadership with Denise Stouffer. From what I understand, there are circumstances going on at this charter school that can no longer be ignored. Will this charter school come out alive? Smart money says nope unless something radical changes very soon.
Put your guessing caps on.
Ex Academy Of Dover Chief Noel Rodriguez Pleads Guilty In Theft Of $145,000Noel Rodriguez
What would you do with $145,000? Apparently, for Noel Rodriguez, it was whatever he wanted to do. But the money wasn’t his. Today, the former Principal of Academy of Dover pled guilty in the U.S. District Court in Wilmington according to Cris Barrish with WHYY.
Noel Rodriguez, 56, admitted in U.S. District Court in Wilmington that he stole in a number of ways, including charging personal expenses to four unauthorized school credit cards and a state credit card. He spent the money on electronics, travel, car expenses, gardening and camping equipment, home improvement items and a dog house.
According to the article, the newly christened U.S. Attorney, David Weiss, is in charge of Delaware when it comes to federal matters in court. Rodriguez got a $250,000 fine and will assuredly be facing jail time at his sentencing, up to ten years. What I would like to know is if part of that $250,000 fine goes back to Academy of Dover. I think it should. Taxpayers were robbed by Rodriguez, they deserve to have their tax money go back to what it was allocated for.
The article referenced the State Auditor of Accounts report, conducted by Kathleen Davies in 2014 and 2015.
“A major concern regarding the situation at the [school] is the length of time that passed without any intervention from oversight parties” the school board of directors and auditors, the Department of Education and the Charter School Accountability Committee, the report said.
It is my most fervent hope that all four of those entities know better now and this never happens again in Delaware.
Say, what about Providence Creek Academy? What is going on with their theft of school funds? Sean Moore and Tennell Brewington of Family Foundations Academy and now Rodriguez all pled guilty. What about PCA’s shenanigans? And the fact that one of the entities Davies slammed in her audit investigation just so happens to have PCA’s Head of School on it? The good old Charter School Accountability Committee. Word on the street is Chuck Taylor will be resigning soon and collecting that nice increased pension based on the past three years of service when he came back to rescue the school during the fall of 2014. Say, is that matter still under investigation?
For Rodriguez, this puts a capper on that shenanigan. As the article mentioned, Academy of Dover is still open and they actually increased their enrollment this year.
Condoms, Chlamydia, Christina, Closures, Carney and the CouncilChristina School District
The Christina Board of Education meeting last night was filled with some awesome discussion about what appears in the title of this article. I painstakingly transcribed the part of the meeting with the Superintendent’s report to the Board and the crazy discussion after. Board member John Young was on fire!!!! The topics dealt with Governor Carney’s plans for Christina’s Wilmington schools. There is A LOT of information in here. A ton. From venereal diseases to transparency to possible school closures and more! I have a feeling things are going to look VERY different in Christina’s Wilmington schools a year from now. And for the record, I agree with John Young on EVERYTHING he said!
Christina Board Says Screw You To Large Class Sizes In Epic Vote!Class-Size Waivers
School districts across Delaware are faced with a choice each November: do they take a class-size waiver for kids in Kindergarten to 3rd grade allowing more than 22 students or do they look out for the well-being of those kids and fail to pass the waiver? For the Christina School District, their board said no to the waiver, voting 4-3 against it.
Board members John Young, Elizabeth Paige, Angela Mitchell and Harrie Ellen Minnehan voted no while members Fred Pulaski, George Evans, and Meredith Griffin voted yes. Pursuant to Delaware State Code, Title 14, section 1705, school districts and charter schools must decide on these waivers, when applicable, by December 1st of each year. Any funding for extra staff, should a board decide not to take the waiver, comes from the local share of funding. It doesn’t always mean all classes will be 22 or under. It could mean an extra paraprofessional comes into the room which decreases the student to teacher ratio.
This evening, Red Clay’s boards will vote on this action as well. In an earlier version of this story, I noted Capital would be voting on class-size waivers. In looking at their Board Docs, none of their elementary schools exceed 22 students in Kindergarten to 3rd grade so no vote is necessary.
For Christina, the elementary schools affected by this will be Brookside, Downes, Elbert-Palmer, Keene, Leasure, Maclary, Marshall, and Stubbs.
I am always against overstuffed classrooms. It is not good for the students, the teachers, or the schools. Christina’s board has never said no to the class-size waiver until their vote last evening. Kudos to the no voters for being the voice of reason!
Enrollment Count Report for 2017-2018 & Demographic Information For Districts & Charters: The Rise, The Surge, & The Cherry-Picking!September 30th Counts
Which districts and charters saw big jumps with student enrollment? Which went down? What is the state of special education in Delaware? What key demographic is rising at a fast rate which contributes significantly to the budget woes in our state? Which charter school, based on their current enrollment, should no longer be considered financially viable and should be shut down? What is the fastest-growing sub-groups in Delaware? And which cherry-picking charters continue to not serve certain populations?
Did Governor Carney Actually Heed My Advice?Family Services Cabinet Council
For most of this year, I’ve been beating up Delaware Governor John Carney over the non-public Family Services Cabinet Council. My beef has been that the meetings for this group are behind closed doors. Nobody knows what goes on in these meetings. That changes on Monday, November 13th. Carney is allowing the Council to have a public presentation at Del-Tech’s Wilmington campus at 300 N. Orange St. in downtown Wilmington from 6:00 to 7:30pm.
Governor John Carney will host a discussion with the Family Services Cabinet Council at Delaware Technical Community College in Wilmington.
The agenda will include presentations on data-sharing efforts among state agencies in Wilmington, state service coordination for low-income families, and a planned dual generation center to improve the delivery of job-related services, and services for Wilmington children.
The event is an opportunity for stakeholders and members of the public to provide feedback and ideas for improving the delivery of state services in Wilmington.
This is the kind of open transparency I’ve been begging for. While it is not a solution to my issues with this Council, it opens the door to what they do. Thank you Governor Carney. I’m not sure if my complaining had anything to do with this, but I do thank you for this opportunity. Was this why the Family Services Cabinet Council met twice last week, on October 30th and November 1st?
Delaware Politics Explodes With Regulation 225Regulation 225
When Regulation 225 hit the Delaware Registrar of Regulations on November 1st, it sparked a firestorm that will get more controversial by the day. The regulation is causing a furor among Republican groups. Legislators are receiving phone calls and emails from constituents who are vehemently opposed to the regulation. What is the controversy?
What’s Goin’ On?Life
I feel blessed today. Maybe because it’s pay-day, but I have to think it’s more than that.