John Young Takes On John Carney Over Christina MOU Vote

Last night, the Christina School District Board of Education voted again to table a vote on the Memorandum of Understanding between the district, the Delaware Dept. of Education, and Governor Carney’s office.  From the sounds of it, Carney is getting very impatient with Christina.  Board member John Young included a quote from Carney and his response to it on a Facebook post today.

“I’m disappointed that the board did not act tonight to address the serious challenges facing students in these Wilmington schools. We have made it a priority to work in collaboration with Christina to do right by these students. We have offered significant new resources to support educators and students in Wilmington. We can’t afford to wait and delay on this issue any longer.” – John Carney

Well, we do share an emotion: It’s so disappointing to have a partner at the table use this situation for political gain. Not surprising, just disappointing. The MOU currently on the table is the Governor’s version. It makes barely a fraction of the commitment necessary to help our students, is the furthest thing from “significant resources”, and seems to be hyper-focused on only getting one thing done: a dual-generation center. This leaves all our K-8 students in the rain holding a wet bag of nothing, Governor John Carney. Your charged declaration proves what I have sadly suspected: this plan isn’t about helping our students at all. The board, while tabling this terribly lopsided version, ardently pledged to stay at the table and work. I know that’s what I’m committed to doing. I’d really rather not spend much effort like this responding to divisive nonsense like your declaration; however, I will not sit idly by as you disparage the process and hard work of all partners, including your own staff. Let’s get to work instead of name calling and finger pointing, Governor.

As always, I’m right here.

Young gave his cell phone number after the last sentence but I do not feel comfortable providing that on a blog.  When Young addressed him as Governor John Carney, that was linked to his Facebook profile.

I think things are about to get very interesting in Christina.  As I’ve written before, Carney does NOT like anyone challenging him.  He takes that very seriously.  Will Carney try to pull some type of “priority schools” stunt on Christina if they do not act on the MOU?  I would be willing to bet he will.  Something will happen.  I have no idea what that is.

As well, the Christina board voted NO on their final Fiscal Year 2018 budget.  While this does not mean the state will stop disbursing funds to the district, it could affect their local payments.  It certainly did not make Christina Chief Financial Officer Robert Silber or Superintendent Richard Gregg have a good night.  Things are getting interesting up there.

Wali Rushdan Gets Senate Approval For State Board of Education AND Explains His Time At Family Foundations

After a crucial Senate Executive Committee hearing, Wali Rushdan was given a unanimous Senate vote for the Delaware State Board of Education about an hour ago.

The Senate Executive Committee met with Rushdan right before the full Senate vote.  I must give props to State Senator Nicole Poore for tackling the elephant in the room.  She just came right out and asked Rushdan about his affiliation with the Family Foundations Academy Board of Directors. Continue reading Wali Rushdan Gets Senate Approval For State Board of Education AND Explains His Time At Family Foundations

Ex-Priority Schools Princess Getting Run Out Of Texas

Penny Schwinn, the former Chief of Accountability at the Delaware Department of Education, is looking for a job in Massachusetts after a very controversial no-bid contract in Texas dealing with special education put her in the hot seat.

 

Schwinn serves as the Texas Education Association’s Deputy Commissioner of Academics.  The Texas tribune reported in December that the TEA’s no-bid contract with SPEDx that cost the Lonestar State $2.2 million dollars.  The purpose of the work done by SPEDx was to collect a huge amount of data on students with disabilities in the state.  Advocates screamed foul and the contract ended.  It also caused Texas to take a close look at no-bid contracts dealing with education.  In Delaware, any contract over $50,000 must go out for bid.  In Texas, it is $15,000.  But Schwinn was instrumental in getting the contract.  Now she is looking to leave Texas less than two years since she got the job, something an overwhelming amount of readers on this blog predicted.

In a pump and dump statement by the Education Commissioner’s office, they said the following:

In a statement Tuesday, TEA spokesperson DeEtta Culbertson said that Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath was aware Schwinn was being considered for the Massachusetts job and that Schwinn’s “professional background and leadership reflects a distinguished career committed to schoolchildren.”

“Penny Schwinn continues to do an outstanding job at the Texas Education Agency and would be a tremendous leader for the state of Massachusetts,” Culbertson said.

The survivors of Hurricane Schwinn in Delaware feel for Texans.  Schwinn came to Delaware in the Spring of 2014.  Right from the get-go, she caused controversy.  At a State Board of Education meeting, during a discussion about crime and violence affecting students in Wilmington, Schwinn said that wasn’t “necessarily a hurdle to overcome”.  After that, she embarked on a crazy Priority Schools agenda involving schools in the Christina and Red Clay Consolidated school districts.  The plans called for new leaders and firing half the staff in their buildings.  After teachers, parents, and advocates screamed bloody murder, the plans changed drastically.  The promised state funding for the plan was not what was originally promised.  Many feel that fiasco led to former Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy “resigning” from his post.  In 2015, she led the horrible school report card creation which penalized schools for opt out numbers higher than 5%.  Eventually, the Every Student Succeeds Act took care of that travesty.  But by then, Schwinn flew off to Texas.

The ex-Broad fellows and Teach For America alumni continue to spread their not-so-magical woes from state to state.  They leave their mark, do some damage, and leave when the going gets rough.  And the cycle never ends.  I hope Massachusetts doesn’t make the same mistakes Delaware and Texas did.  Does Penny still own that charter school out in California?

For folks in Texas or Massachusetts who want to read more about Schwinn’s time in Delaware, please go here.

 

 

Wali’s Wax-On Wax-Off State Board Of Education Nomination

Despite what I reported last evening, the Senate Executive Committee is BACK ON TODAY at 3:30pm.  The meeting was canceled but now it is taking place again.  I don’t understand what all the confusion was.  The Senate Executive Committee will discuss Wali Rushdan’s nomination for the State Board of Education.  If it clears the committee, it will most likely go before the full Delaware Senate for a vote shortly after.