A Look Back At 2017 And Leaping Into 2018!!!!

2017 will go down in the record books.  As what remains to be determined.  It had it’s highs and, for me, it had some unbelievable lows.  For those who know me “outside of the blog”, you know exactly what I’m talking about.  I’ve danced around on it several times on here this year.  For my faithful readers, you can probably figure it out.  Those “events” cast a shadow on this blog resulting in periods where I didn’t write anything.  Sometimes for weeks at a time.  Compare that to 2015 when I wrote a blog post every single day and very close to it in 2016!

I like to take a look back at the “best” of the blog at the end of each year.  Instead of just doing a top ten list or whatever of the top articles, I want to try something different.

January: Thom Labarbera, Brandywine Social Studies Teacher Passes Away 

This was probably one of the fastest articles I ever wrote.  I saw something on Facebook about this teacher passing so I thought I would make a post about it.  The fact it was the most-read article of the month shows a great deal about how loved this teacher was.

February: Delaware Racism: It Is Reality And It Isn’t Going Away

I wrote this in the wake of allegations that Delaware Military Academy’s basketball team was shouting racial stuff at a Red Clay basketball team during a game.  It was never proven definitively if it did happen, but it got a lot of us thinking.  It made me write about how widespread I believe racism is in Delaware.

March: Don’t Let Your Special Needs Child Fall Victim To “New” Federal And State Voucher/Choice Policies

This was actually a guest post by Steve Newton.  He posts some amazing and insightful words on Facebook.  When I read this, I immediately reached out to him and asked if I could publish it.  I would love to continue sharing Steve’s well-written words on here, but that is certainly up to him.

April: Silence Is Complicity: Human Sex Trafficking In Delaware And How I-95, Craigslist, Backpage & Kik Make It Thrive

The day I wrote this I attended a seminar on human sex trafficking up in Red Clay.  It struck a chord with me.  It should with everyone living in this state.  I went way out of my comfort zone with this article but I was happy to do it.  The Delaware General Assembly passed a couple of new laws about this type of thing not long after this article.  They would have passed them whether or not I wrote about it, but this post opened some eyes in Delaware.  Every time I look at my stats, I see this article continue to get hits just about every day.

May: Newark Charter School Doesn’t Want Wilmington Black Kids Or Wilmington Special Needs Kids Going To Their Private School

This was the most-read article of 2017.  It was based on a House Bill that aimed to get rid of the 5-mile radius that a few charter schools have as an enrollment preference.  Once Senator David Sokola got wind of it, he demanded the bill had something added to it.  Something that would only benefit one school in the entire state… Newark Charter School.  Eventually, Governor Carney vetoed the bill because of the NCS exclusion.  Most likely it was planned that way the entire time in Sokola’s mind.

June: Pray For New Mexico! Surfer Boy Is In Charge Now!

Give a former Delaware DOE employee the keys to the New Mexico Secretary of Education car and watch heads start shaking both in Delaware and New Mexico.  Once New Mexico teachers caught wind of this, they immediately wanted to know what Christopher Ruszkowski did for good old Delaware.  He recently pulled a priority schools fiasco in Albuquerque pissing off pretty much everyone.

July: The Hidden Secrets Behind Providence Creek Academy’s Bomb Threat & Audit Investigation

The jury isn’t out on this one.  It never got to that point but it should have.  Nothing happened because of this article which really pisses me off.  I’m hoping that changes one day.  If it doesn’t, it just goes to show how corrupt this state really is.

August: Massive Teacher Exodus At Providence Creek Leaves Parents Shaking Their Heads

Shortly before school started, many teachers had left PCA.  Parents from the school accused me of beating up their school and I had no clue what I was talking about.

September: Breaking News: Governor Carney Signs Cursive Bill! Take That Kate Gladstone!

In the Spring, the Delaware General Assembly passed a bill mandating cursive writing be a part of English/Language Arts curriculum for students in lower grades.  It was controversial.  Some of my biggest allies loathed and hated this bill.  I still think it is very important.  Governor Carney signed the bill in September and I was able to get the exclusive on it.

October: Caesar Rodney District Staff & Admins Watched Disabled Kid Get Beat Up And Did Nothing

Shortly after the whole Caesar Rodney mascot thing exploded in the news, bigger news came out about a disabled student getting beat up in the cafeteria.  Another student filmed the whole thing.  When I found out that district staff and administrators were in the cafeteria that day and didn’t do a damn thing to stop the fight, it really ticked me off!

November: Delaware Politics Explodes With Regulation 225

Probably the biggest education news of the year.  A regulation about transgender students turned Delaware upside down.  11,000 public comments later, the Regulation is getting a second look which will cause it to come roaring back in 2018.  Parental rights are at the heart of the regulation.  It will be interesting to follow, that’s for sure!

December: The Exceptional Delaware Hero Of The Year 2017: Laurie Howard

Like the January article, this post was about a beloved teacher who passed away.  This one hit home for me though.  Laurie was a friend of mine.  I wrote this less than 24 hours after she passed away.  There will never be another like Laurie Howard.  I was glad nothing else I wrote this month came close to beating this article.  A fitting tribute to an awesome woman!  Even Diane Ravitch picked up on it!

While I didn’t come close to the number of hits I received in 2016, I wrote less articles.  So altogether, most of those articles on average did better than articles that came out in 2016.  The top search terms that brought readers here included the following: Exceptional Delaware, Backpage, Craigslist, Trinity Carr, Susan Bunting, Thomas Edison Charter School and John Marino.  Some of the oddest ones were: Chakeria sex video, omegle, abc reading eggs where children, and how do I join the illuminati if I live in New Castle Delaware.

I imagine I will continue to write less in 2018.  Just like I did this year.  But I do plan on writing next year’s articles with more facts.  I know, I’ve said this before.  I’ve said I will reach out and get more info before I just throw it up on here.  I think I break this New Year’s resolution every single year.  Will this be the year?  We shall see.  But I do know I will branch out more from education into other areas.  I will experiment where I can.  I will also be writing more personal stuff.  Not everyone’s cup of tea.  But I do that for me more than anyone else.  I find writing to be very cathartic.  I may have a few other tricks up my sleeve, but that will have to wait.  I’m sure I will piss off people like I do every year.  Can’t please everyone!

But I do want to wish all of you a very Happy New Year!  Be safe tonight.  Chances are pretty good if you don’t read this tonight you are having fun somewhere.  Just be safe in your travels and tell those you love how much they mean to you!  As for me, I can’t wait for 2018!  2017 sucked in a lot of ways for me.  But like anything in life, you have to take the bad with the good.  I learned a lot this year.  And sometimes those growing pains (even for a 47-year old man) are very important.  I can’t wait to see what tomorrow will bring and the other 364 days in the year.  Bring it on!  The good, the bad, and the ugly.  I’m ready for it!

 

 

Why The Ban on “Evidence-Based” Is More Orwellian Than you Think

Save Maine Schools

By now, you’ve likely heard the bizarre news that the Trump Administration has asked the CDC to avoid using certain words in their upcoming budget documents.

While the details are sketchy, one thing is certain: a list of seven emotionally-charged words are now flying across the web, provoking all sorts of responses on social media.

Before you go ahead and bumper-sticker your car with these terms in protest, however, you may want to take a closer look at one phrase in particular:

Evidence-based.

Of all the words included in the list, this one seems to be causing some of the most ire.

If “evidence-based” is one of the seven forbidden words, the thinking goes, surely it must be because Trump is anti-science.

Evidence is evidence, is it not?  Objective, rational… true?

How much more Orwellian can you get than a ban on truth?

Unfortunately, this is where it all…

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The Four Coins

I wrote this story many moons ago.  I don’t remember exactly when, but I know it was when I was a teenager.  Which puts this somewhere between 1983 to 1987.  I am sharing it with you now as a testament to my love for the true meaning of Christmas.  It is a poorly written story, with some obvious inspiration from “The Little Drummer Boy” and some other Christmas short stories.

Once upon a time there was a boy named Abraham who was a beggar.  His parents had died when he was only three years old.  He wandered the streets of Bethlehem asking for money or food.  He rarely got anything he asked for.

One time he asked a soldier for some money and the soldier whipped him, and he had the scar when he was much older. 

One evening he saw a man and a woman who looked like they might be traveling, and the woman was shivering on the donkey she was on.  The boy gave her the blanket he was using to keep him warm and the man gave the boy four coins for his good deed.  Abraham left thinking what he could do with the coins.

An hour or so later the boy was still walking and he looked up to the sky to see a beautiful star.  Shepherds passed by him heading to the shining star.  He saw the city lights as he followed the shepherds.  He came upon a stable and inside it was the man and woman  he had helped a while ago.  He also saw a baby wrapped in swaddling clothing, and saw the gifts around him.  The boy still had the gifts in his mind when he was about to leave, when he remembered that the coins were still in his hand.  The boy started crying and went to the stable and put the coins next to the baby.

 

Merry Christmas From Exceptional Delaware!

Just wanted to take a few minutes this sunny yet chilly Christmas morning to give holiday greetings to my readers.  To say this year was a bit crazy would be the understatement of the year.  While I am not in the same place I was at the beginning of the year, I must say I am in a better place.  Sometimes I used this blog to vent some of my feelings about those changes in ye olde personal life.

I would be remiss if I didn’t thank those who helped me along that journey.  There are so many.  And my gratitude knows no bounds for that.  I can honestly say I may not have made it through the past year without some of you.  You were my rocks keeping my two feet on the ground when I thought I was lost in a desert.

I can only hope for a better year in 2018.  But the important thing is having that hope.  I was talking to someone about that yesterday.  It is very easy to think things will never get better, to get swallowed up in that darkness.  For some, they live with that every single day.  There can never be hope unless you believe in that hope.  That isn’t just a Christmas thing, it is an every single day thing.  It is the tether to life.  There will never be anything close to perfect.  There are always going to be fires to put out and rivers to cross.  It is the way of things.  But it is how we handle it that determines who we ultimately are as a person.

While I don’t have much to physically give others this year, I do offer some kernels of wisdom.  Give all that you are.  Be what you want to be.  And never be afraid of the darkness because the light is so much stronger.  If you’re at the end of your rope, give a shout.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  You might be surprised who helps you out!  And when you get your strength back and get back up again, return the favor a hundred fold.  Be the light in the darkness for someone else!  Love each other with all that you are.  That is the true message of Christmas.

Merry Christmas fair readers!  May your days be merry and bright.  Love the ones your with.  Celebrate the bonds that connect us all.

The Woodburn Christmas Conspiracy

Once upon a time, in the not-so-magical land of Dover, a meeting took place.  It was one of those back-door meetings that the ruler of the state liked to convene.  These were not public meetings in the sense that anyone could attend.  They were usually those of the secret sort where only a select few were invited to attend.  But because the Governor was attending, he felt obligated to report it on his public schedule.  He did this sometimes in an effort to show an illusion of transparency.

In attendance were Governor Carney, Senator David Sokola, State Rep. Earl Jaques, Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting, Dr. Paul Herdman from Rodel, and Betsy DeVos, the United States Secretary of Education.

It was Christmas Eve and all through the Woodburn the stockings were hung near the space heater with care.  Carney put on his favorite Christmas album on his new record player.  He loved the songs from his youth and they were all included on “Rudolph and Friends”.  The eggnog was passed around to the attendees.  Little did they know two others were also in attendance… of a sort. Continue reading The Woodburn Christmas Conspiracy

17 Who Made An Impact On 2017: Donald Trump

If there was one name I heard every single day, it was Donald Trump.  To the point of exhaustion.  No President in my lifetime has met with so much scorn and scrutiny.  Between his Tweets and his painful decisions, the guy was constantly in the news.  And on social media, folks weighed the pros and cons of his every move.

I grew up in New York in the 1980s.  The guy was in the news a lot then as well.  It usually wasn’t good.  How this guy managed to finagle himself into the Oval Office still shocks and bewilders me.  The fact that so many Republicans think he is the return of the Messiah does not give me hope in America.  It scares the crap out of me.  I don’t think Hilary would have been any better.  She would have been more overt and wouldn’t have shot her mouth off the way Donald has.

I shudder to think what America will be like by the end of his term (if he lasts that long).  We are already the laughingstock of the world these days because of him.  It’s like a cartoon character come to life.  And the cartoon never ends.  I can’t even put his picture up in this article because I can’t bear to see his face one more time.

Just Around the Corner

Minding My Matters

While in Washington, D.C., for an annual meeting, I left the hotel a little early and went to my favorite coffee shop to pick up a chai latte (double dirty, baby) and some orange juice. Since I had the time to spare, and Peet’s was pretty much empty early Saturday in the D.C. business district, I sat in a comfy leather chair next to the door in the corner of the store and idly gazed out the window at the world. After a moment, I noticed movement in a tent I had observed over the past day or so on the sidewalk, and presently a tall, thin man stepped out of the tent. After shaking out his legs and striding up and down the walkway for a moment, he got onto a bicycle and pedaled quickly away. A short few moments later, an equally thin but not so tall woman…

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What Is The Purpose Of A Delaware Secretary Of Education?

In one of the most interesting pictures I’ve ever received, it made me question why we even have a Delaware Secretary of Education.  On Tuesday, Atnre Alleyne (the former Delaware Department of Education employee, the co-founder of TeenSharp, and the Director of DelawareCAN) posted a Facebook memory from a year ago.  The interesting part is the picture he put with it because that was NOT in the original post at all. Continue reading What Is The Purpose Of A Delaware Secretary Of Education?

17 Who Made An Impact In 2017: J & His Mom

Out of all the articles I’ve written on this blog in three and a half years, none were more intense than the story about a student named J in the Smyrna School District.  It took a considerable amount of time to write the ten part series about what happened to J in the district.  But I wouldn’t trade that time away for a minute.  While the story wound up having a happy ending, it caused a lot of folks in Delaware to take a very close look at student discipline, zero tolerance, and expulsions.

The Smyrna School district has been tough with discipline.  In my opinion, they have used the heavy hand more often than not.  Case in point: the State Board of Education has two more Smyrna appeals coming up.  In looking at their history of appeals the past few years, Smyrna comes up A LOT!  For J, he is doing well at Smyrna High School and is happy to be back in the district.

To read all about what happened with J in case you were living under a rock last summer, here it is:

Prelude

The Smyrna School District Zero Tolerance Pipeline

Smyrna Board Reinstates J

18 Who Will Make An Impact In 2018: Kim Williams & Her Awesome Bill In Circulation

I am predicting now Kim Williams will have a HUGE year in 2018.  Judging by a draft bill she sent into circulation for sponsors yesterday, she is already starting off 2018 on a high note for me! Continue reading 18 Who Will Make An Impact In 2018: Kim Williams & Her Awesome Bill In Circulation

Christmas Shuffle

It’s been a long time since I’ve done any type of shuffle on this blog.  Lots going on at a personal level.  But even with all that, music is still my healing mechanism.  Once Thanksgiving rolls around, I start getting into the holiday spirit.  One of the first places I go to is to music.  This year is no exception.  This Christmas will hold many firsts for me.  And I’m okay with that.  So tonight, I am putting aside all the angst and rhetoric that goes along with this blog and focusing on music.  Songs from my earliest memories to the present day.  I’ll do a “read more” thing for this one because it is long and I understand Christmas music isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Continue reading Christmas Shuffle

The Optics Of Politics

I came back from Star Wars: The Last Jedi last Friday night and saw a post from Steve Newton on Facebook.  I always read his posts because I know they are going to be interesting.  Once I read the second sentence, I knew somehow I was going to be a part of this post.  Since Steve specifically said at the end of it not to reply with reasons or justifications, I gave a brief reply acknowledging he was talking about me and fully owning my posts about one of the two people he was talking about in his post.  Since then, Steve has taken it upon himself to wage some bizarre one-man crusade against the validity of this blog.  See the comments section over on Blue Delaware.  You can read Steve’s opening salvo he posted on Facebook in that article.  I also posted an article mainly in reply to Steve’s post.  It was already in my drafts folder but I added to it due to the nature of Steve’s post.

This is what I wrote in reply to Steve’s original post: Continue reading The Optics Of Politics

18 Who Will Make An Impact In 2018: The Voter

Never before has a citizen’s right been more important.  This could be said of any election, but the only one that matters now is the next one.  Candidates are slowly filing for office.  This will ramp up big time in the next few months.  Candidates from the same party will face off against each other throughout the state and then they may face someone from the other party, or, hopefully, some more 3rd party candidates!

Every single vote is important.  In Virginia, a House seat ended with a tie until a recount.  One Democrat vote won the race.  Your voice, as well as your vote matters.  If you support a candidate, go as far as you possibly can with that support.  Help them out.  Put signs up.  Talk to people about your choice.  Nothing is pre-ordained.  Nothing.  It may seem that way, but that is why they coined the term “dark horse”.

Whether it is a school board or a city council or your state legislature or U.S. Government, it all matters.  Do not sit on the fence and think your vote doesn’t matter.  It does.

Exclusive: As Officials Close In On Cause Of Debilitating Condition Unique To Delaware, The Cure Remains Elusive

The symptoms are not visible to the human eye unless you are in the right place at the right time.  It is an illness afflicting many in Delaware.  At last, the CDC has found the cause.  It didn’t have a scientific name until now.  I was given the exclusive on this mysterious sickness that threatens The First State.  Now is the time to let it be known to the entire state. Continue reading Exclusive: As Officials Close In On Cause Of Debilitating Condition Unique To Delaware, The Cure Remains Elusive

An Exceptional Delaware Christmas Story

Over the past few years, I’ve made it a point to write an original Christmas story on here each holiday season.  Some have been completely satirical while last year’s was a bit more serious.  They usually star the Governor of Delaware at that time.  Sometimes they even have Santa Claus as a main character!  I thought I would put all of them together in one place.  Next year I’ll do the same thing with this year’s stuff.  This year’s story is coming!  Just trying to find the right time and ideas to come together!  Heck, in the spirit of Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate), let’s put all the festive stuff here!

A note to newer readers who haven’t been here since the beginning.  Back in 2014, in the first six months or so of this blog, I picked up an idea from Kilroy’s Delaware to add Twitter hashtags to each title.  I didn’t realize this was highly annoying to many readers until someone pointed it out to me.  I’ve cleaned up some of those old stories and removed those hashtags, but I saw doing this a lot of the Christmas themed articles still have them.  My apologies!  Last year I took a long overdue vacation from the blog so only a couple of articles saw the light.

A Christmas Poem For Governor Markell, Warning Signs All Over! 12/1/2014

The Christmas Legend Of Jack & Paul: The Birth Of Common Core & Race To The Top 12/17/2014

The Exceptional Delaware Top 25 Christmas Songs Of All-Time 12/20/2014

Christmas Gifts For The Enemies Of Public Education Part 1 & A For-Real Contest! 12/21/2014

More Christmas Gifts For The Enemies Of Public Education Part 2 12/21/2014

How To Get Through The Holidays When Those You Love Are Gone 12/22/2014

Part 3 Of Christmas Presents For The Enemies Of Public Education 12/23/2014

Christmas Presents For The Enemies Of Public Education: The Publius Edition 12/24/2014

The Murphy’s Law Of Christmas Presents For The Enemies Of Public Education 12/24/2014

Merry Christmas To The All The Heroes Of Delaware Public Education! You Know Who You Are! 12/24/2014

Breaking News: Santa Claus Supports Opt-Out! 12/4/2015

What If Santa Claus And Governor Markell Had A Fight? Who Would Win? 12/15/2015

The Other Christmas Gift 12/18/2015

The Arne Grinch Who Stole Christmas And Promised To Punish School-ville 12/23/2015

Merry Christmas To The Heroes Of Education & My Christmas Wish For The Delaware General Assembly 12/25/2015

The Sound Of Angels 5/7/2016 (Not really a Christmas related story but perfect for that holiday spirit!)

Santa And John 12/1/2016

Secret Santa Does A Wonderful Thing For Stubbs Elementary School In Wilmington, DE 12/9/2016

If you liked the Jack and Paul Common Core birth story, I did write a sequel a year and a half later but it is not holiday themed:

The Delaware Education Posse Rides Again 5/15/2016

 

 

 

 

The Greater Good

Activism is something that isn’t earned or a promotion.  It isn’t glorious and full of fame and fortune.  It can be ugly at times and downright depressing.  It requires your time and patience.  True activism is voluntary.  It isn’t selfish or part of an agenda.  It just is.  Because you believe in something so strongly you will do what it takes to make sure people listen.  It isn’t violent.

For years now I’ve been pointing out what is wrong in education from my viewpoint.  Sometimes I feel like many have heard.  Other times, like no one heard.  I’ve met people from all walks of life during this journey.  There are times when it can be the loneliest experience in the world.  Other times I am beyond grateful for the support from others.   I do all of this for the greater good.

The greater good is something you feel will benefit humanity as a whole.  If I write about an elected official or a state employee, it is based on what they bring forth in education.  If it is about a face behind a company, I am less merciful most of the time.  If I agree, I praise it to the high heavens.  If I disagree, watch out.  I tend to disagree a lot.  I sincerely hope the people I disagree with know this is a very gray area when it comes to what I write.  I feel I have to question motivations based on what I know.  Because if I don’t, who will?  That may sound arrogant and cocky, but coming forth with something education related is going to make me question where it is coming from.  And half of that search is in the timing.  Timing is everything as they say.  I fully own this and accept it.  I also understand it will make people think twice in communicating with me.  I’ve seen this frequently.  And I’m okay with that.

Some have basically said I’m a grenade launcher and blow up everything in my path.  What they don’t realize is the path is already cloudy and murky.  You can’t see the forest from the trees.  I throw grenades to clear the landscape.  So that after the smoke clears, we see what is really there.  It is frequently ugly.  But I would rather know what I’m facing than not.  I’ve learned that what most people hear isn’t the same thing as the truth.  I don’t see myself as an “education thought partner”.  I don’t do this so I can sit at a table, sing “Kumbaya”, and go along to get along.  If you see me as a partner, it is only because you think you can mold me.  You can’t.  I see myself as an “education truth seeker”.  I’m the one up on the roof shaking the place and letting the dust fall so people start taking off their masks.  I will be brutally frank here: there is some truly nasty shit coming up in education that will leave parents shaking their head as their students are turned into drones for the workforce.  It is happening now, right before your eyes.  And you don’t see it.  This isn’t even about saving what came before in America.  It is about preserving what is left.  I don’t mind change unless it is good change.  But to get there, you have to make calls at times.

I fully understand many people are unwitting pawns in all this.  A slight whisper, a few words, and boom: they got you!  So what do I do?  I call the unwitting pawn out.  I let them know exactly what I think is going on and why they are doing it.  The hope is they realize they are being used and snap out of it.  That doesn’t happen often.  So I keep doing it.

Sometimes you have to do things for the greater good.  Sometimes it isn’t pretty.  Sometimes it hurts people’s feelings.  Get over it.  It IS about the kids.

Baumbach At It Again Trying To Turn Local Issues Into Statewide Legislation

Enough already Paul Baumbach!  In his second attempt at lowering school board terms, State Representative Paul Baumbach filed House Bill #278 yesterday seeking to lower school district board member terms from five years to four years.

In 2015, Baumbach’s House Bill #333, which sought to lower those terms to three years went nowhere.  It was assigned to the House Education Committee but never came up.  Due to heavy resistance to the bill, Baumbach did state he would probably come back with this bill at a later date.  And he did!

Why is Baumbach so adamant about messing with school boards?  Why does he not include charter school boards in this legislation?  The answer is simple: he does not like certain school board members in the Christina School District.  Which is fine and he is certainly entitled to his opinion, but his judgment is impaired when it comes to translating this to a statewide issue.  I get that State Representatives are supposed to represent the district they were elected to, but they also pass laws for the entire state.  It is not beneficial to make local issues a statewide issue.  And once again, we have the very real question about WHO is asking for this legislation and how much of it is directed towards certain board members who frequently and publicly go against bad education policy in the state.

One thing I can say is State Reps in Delaware are elected every two years.  So this is not a case of legislators being hypocritical.  School board members do this because they want to.  It is unpaid and requires a great deal of time and effort to be on a school board.  I don’t think any school board member takes their responsibilities lightly.  I wish more school board members would question things which Baumbach seems to have a problem with.

Yesterday, the News Journal Editorial Team covered the highly inappropriate school board member removal bill that is currently in circulation for sponsorship.  They just so happened to throw in a part about school board member terms:

Also, lawmakers should consider shortening school board members’ five-year terms. Why should they have to face voters less frequently than governors, legislators and mayors?

Come on!  Who are we trying to kid here?  Is the News Journal Editorial Team now a part of Team Baumbach when it comes to this kind of crap?  They just happen to say this on the SAME day Baumbach filed House Bill #282?  I don’t mind term limits for any elected position, but school boards are NOT the same as governors, legislators, and mayors.  There is a learning curve, but there is also the heart of a volunteer.  There are charter school board members who have sat on their boards for over a decade!  But not one word about that from the would-be demolisher of local board control Baumbach or this Editorial Team.  I don’t always agree with some board members out there, but I do not think lowering the term for this function is a good idea at all.

Baumbach needs to re-examine his priorities and actually support the second largest school district in the state instead of trying to interfere with their governance process.  Attending more of their board meetings would be a start.  He wouldn’t dare interfere with Newark Charter School but it’s open target season on Christina.  Could you be less transparent here Baumbach?  Stop listening to the mouths of the few and start coming out with real and meaningful legislation that benefits the state.  This is not good for your political health.

To read Baumbach School Board Terms 2.0, please see below:

 

 

Field Trip Funding Bill Would Give Relief To Low-Income Schools

Delaware State Representative Sean Matthews submitted House Bill #282 for pre-filing yesterday which would give $25 to each student for field trips in designated low-income schools across the state.

In order to support enrichment activities such as field trips for students at high-poverty schools, this bill would require the State to provide $25 per student to high poverty schools for the purpose of educational and enrichment field trips.
The bill is co-sponsored by State Senator Harris McDowell with additional sponsorship provided by Senators Brian Bushweller and David Sokola and State Reps. Paul Baumbach, Stephanie Bolden, Helene Keeley, and Trey Paradee.
Matthews sent a note to his colleagues in the General Assembly in asking for sponsorship:

Much of what makes a student successful in school is the background knowledge and outside experiences that a student gets from going on trips. Students that go on trips to museums, historical sites and parks are able to acquire knowledge and life experiences that help them do better in school. Field trips are predominately paid for by parents, so students from families of more financial means are typically able to go on more and better field trips. 

This bill will allow schools with a 50% or greater low-income student population to receive financial support to plan and run educational field trips. The identified schools (see list below…schools are in all 3 counties) would get $25/student and could use that money to plan field trip/s. The money could be combined with private funding (parents, PTA, grants, etc.) in any manner the school sees fit to maximize its use.  Please note that most schools already have policies and procedures to ensure that field trips are educational in nature. 

We’ve spent years trying to “fix” struggling schools with programs and money solely within the four walls of a school. Let’s try something new and get students from schools with large low-income populations out of the building on high quality field trips. I believe we will see real and lasting results. Note: The approximate cost to fund this bill Statewide based on the most recent data on low-income students, is $500,000.

Since this bill comes with a fiscal note, I would expect some resistance to it, especially coming from the Republican side.  As I see no sponsorship from either the Senate or House Republicans, it is hard to tell what will happen with this.  With that being said, I strongly support this bill.  It is a definitive and urgent need for high-need students.  And yes, low-income and poverty is very much a high need.  We have a large amount of students this would benefit which could give tangible and immediate results in their education.  Frankly, I’m disappointed no Republicans signed on as some of them represent districts where some of the below schools reside in.  I can think of a lot of wasteful spending in this state and this would NOT be one of them!

This is not limited to traditional school districts but also charter schools that qualify.  Please support this legislation!

The list of schools:

Elementary Schools: East Dover, South Dover, Booker T. Washington, Fairview, Towne Point, Lake Forest, North Laurel, Dunbar, Banneker, Mispillion, Blades, Frederick Douglas, Harlan, Highlands, Lewis Dual Language, Shortlidge, Baltz, Richardson Park, Mote, Warner, Brookside, Oberle, Bancroft, Elbert-Palmer, Pulaski, Stubbs, Eisenberg, Academy of Dover, East Side Charter, Thomas Edison Charter, Charter School of New Castle, Kuumba Academy, and Academia Antonia Alonso.

Middle Schools: Central Middle, Skyline, Stanton, Bayard, and McCullough

High Schools: Pyle Academy & Great Oaks

ILC Schools: Kent Elementary ILC & Kent County Alternative

Special Schools: First State School, Douglass School, & Carver Center

To read the full bill, please see below:

 

Five Delaware Charters Renewed, One With Major Conditions & Another Didn’t Have A Complete Record

 

Last night at the Delaware State Board of Education meeting, five Delaware charter schools received unanimous approval from board members.  Academia Antonia Alonso, Early College High School, First State Montessori Academy, and Sussex Academy were approved with no conditions.  For Thomas Edison Charter School, that was a different story.  And for another, the State Board did not get a complete record. Continue reading Five Delaware Charters Renewed, One With Major Conditions & Another Didn’t Have A Complete Record

Money for what Mr. Kuhn? A Big Data, Future Ready Superintendent Promotes Funding Equity for NPE

If you read one article today, make this the one! I see this going on in some of our own school districts here in Delaware. Parents MUST be aware of what is going on. We talk about all this funding for schools but where IS that money going? I am not a fan of “gamification” and “coding” in our schools. When funding is being cut left and right, we are making sure funding is available for that. It isn’t right. I think our teacher union needs to take a very strong look at this kind of stuff. If they are saying nothing about it, they are a part of the problem. If they are unaware of this and being distracted with other things, there is a reason for that and they need to keep their eye on the big picture here. Folks like myself and this blogger have spent a lot of time looking into this. It is not for own benefit. We care about public education. We care about what is happening to the students of today and future generations. We care about teachers who may or may not realize part of these agendas are to end their careers as they know them. There is a great deal of smoke and mirrors involved with all this. I implore everyone to wake up and see things for how they really are.

Wrench in the Gears

This week the Network for Public Education launched another video in their series on the privatization of public education. The video featured John Kuhn, superintendent of the Mineral Wells Independent School District in Mineral Wells, Texas. Kuhn, an admittedly charismatic speaker, discussed the important issue of funding inequities and how lack of funding hurts students in low-income school districts. I was curious where Mr. Kuhn’s school district was located, because I have been following the work of a number of intrepid parent activists in Texas who have been busy exposing the next wave of privatization in the state including: education savings accounts, social impact bonds for mathematics instruction, and districts of innovation.

When I pulled up the Mineral Wells ISD website, I was surprised to see a link for “Future Ready” in the “Learn More About Us” footer of each page. I had shared my concerns regarding the “Future Ready”…

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