Dr. Chanda Jackson-Shorts Wins Capital Board Seat

Dr. Chanda Jackson-Short won the Capital School District Board of Education seat today.  With 190 votes, she had a close race with opponent Andres Ortiz who won 183 votes.  Kevin Ohlandt gained 119 votes.  Jackson-Short won East Dover Elementary School with 28 votes and tied with Ortiz at William Henry Middle School with 159 votes.  Ohlandt won Hartley with 19 votes.

Okay, enough of the official journalism stuff.  I lost!  But you know what, it was an interesting journey with lessons learned.  I’ve always known I’m a bit of a radical for many voters, and I’m okay with that.  What was supposed to happen happened.  I always believe God has a plan for everything, and this wasn’t in the cards.  Jackson-Short saved Capital from becoming an all-male board.  I will definitely be watching her to see what she does in the next five years.  Congrats Chanda!

For now, I’m pretty beat and I’ve been awake since 4:55am yesterday morning so I think I’m going to go to bed.  Tomorrow is a new day.

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It’s Not The Size Of The Sign, It’s The Size Of The Commitment…

By tomorrow night we will know the winners of the Delaware school board elections.  Some lucky candidates already know since they didn’t have an opponent.  But for myself, and several others, it is a wait and see.  I put most of my signs up last weekend.  As the week went by, I was astonished my two opponents hadn’t put any up.  They made up for it this weekend!  And of course they both had to get signs slightly bigger than my own.  But I urge you to look beyond the sign and look up their positions on the issues.  As well, if you are on the fence with me, look up mine.

We all appeared in a brief article about the candidates for Kent County in the Dover Post: Voters can choose education leaders in May election

We met in a debate/forum/meet the candidates event at Central Middle School in Dover last Wednesday.  There was a decent size crowd there, but no media!  I wish they had shown up to report for all what was discussed.

I have not found any Facebook pages for Andres Ortiz, one of my opponents.  Chanda Jackson put up a page on April 26th: Vote for Dr. Chanda Jackson

I put up a page on March 3rd, the same day I filed: Kevin Ohlandt for Capital School District Board of Education 2016.  I’ve put up lots of different articles and posts about why I’m running and what I would like to accomplish should I be elected.  But really, I’ve been writing about education every day for the past two years on this blog.  I also wrote a letter to the Delaware State News which they published on Saturday, but doesn’t show up on their website.

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I may have met some of you while putting up signs, canvassing, or through the many emails and Facebook messages I received from you.  Or yesterday at Dover Days.  Some of you I may have already known, and your support means the world to me.

The Capital Educator’s Association decided to endorse Mr. Ortiz.  I get that.  But I hope all the teachers in Capital School District will understand that an endorsement is not an “I have to vote for that person”.  For those teachers who may not have decided who to vote for yet, if I could please offer some advice:

Vote with knowledge.

Vote with history.

Vote with the hope that whoever you vote for will do what is best for students and will make sure all of you get the resources you need to be as successful as possible.

Vote for someone who will do their best to fend off the DOE as much as humanly possible.

Vote for someone who won’t be afraid to speak the truth at board meetings or question things.

Vote for someone who will probe and investigate any action item.

Vote for someone who isn’t quick to believe everything is awesome.

Vote for someone who recognizes an opportunity is only an opportunity if ALL have a part of it AND we can afford it AND it will help ALL students.

Vote for someone who thinks it is difficult to see the wonder of tomorrow when we have issues in the here and now that need to be dealt with.

Vote for someone who goes to State Board of Education meetings and various task forces, committees, and General Assembly Education Committee meetings not because they really enjoy them but because they believe knowledge is half the battle.

Vote for someone who will write potential policy to make your jobs better.

Vote for someone who hates the state assessment just as much as you do.  Vote for someone who really isn’t a big fan of Common Core either.

Vote for someone who believes your teacher evaluations should not be an indicator of how well a student does on the Smarter Balanced.

Vote for someone who doesn’t think Common Core is okay but the state assessment just isn’t aligned to it.

Vote for someone who doesn’t believe those same assessments should EVER be used for promotion or graduation requirements.

Vote for someone who is not okay with keeping the Smarter Balanced Assessment while getting rid of the assessments that do give good feedback and help you with instruction.

Vote for someone who will always be available for you if there is an issue beyond your control and you feel the proper channels aren’t working for you.

Vote for someone who will not be a rubber stamp.

Vote for someone who will do everything they can to find a way to improve school climate in all the schools of the district.

Vote for someone who would rather act than comply.

Vote for someone who understands school finances and didn’t have to get a crash course from the CFO after they started campaigning.

Vote for someone who understands the referendum process.

Vote for someone who values transparency as the truth for all to see.

Vote for someone who believes words like “focus” and “reward” are based on characteristics that should not be an indicator of any school in our district.

Vote for someone who knows the Every Student Succeeds Act and will be watching each regulation like a hawk when they are proposed.

Vote for someone who sees the extreme danger with personalized learning and your future job security.

Vote for someone who knows what happened in the past, what is happening now, and what is coming down the road.

Vote for someone who knows Title 14, IDEA, and all the education legislation going through our General Assembly.

Vote for someone who knows what the company behind IEP Plus is called.

Vote for someone who does not believe teachers should also be social workers.

Vote for someone who agrees with the recommendations the DPAS-II Advisory Group Sub-Committee AND knows what they are.

Vote for someone who knows regulations put forth by the State Board of Education before they vote on it.

Vote for who you believe will be the best for the Capital School District Board of Education.

And please, feel free to share this with ALL the teachers in Capital School District!

Shameless Plug: Vote For Kevin Ohlandt for Capital Board of Education on May 10th!!!!!

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Capital Board of Education Candidates To Debate Tonight At “Meet The Candidates Night”

The League of Women Voters and the Central Middle School PTO are holding a Meet The Candidates Night at Central Middle School at 7pm this evening.  The candidates (shameless plug: includes me) are Andres Ortiz, Chanda Jackson, and Kevin Ohlandt.

Each candidate will give a three minute introductory statement and then questions will be asked by the audience.  Each candidate will have one minute to respond and one minute for rebuttal.  I can’t speak for the other candidates, but I can certainly say this will be an evening citizens in the Capital School District will never forget.  For anyone that knows me, you know I go into education issues with a ton of research.  That’s all I’m saying!

The Dover Post had an article today on the candidates where one candidate stated:

First off I do not believe the Capital School District has issues, I believe we have opportunities to build a better tomorrow.

They are only opportunities if every single issue becomes an opportunity, but I will have more to say on that tonight…

 

Why I Want Your Vote For The Capital School Board

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For those who haven’t heard, I am jumping into the fire!  Anyone reading this blog knows my stances on education.  Is it enough though?  We need change and we need it now.

These are the reasons I am running.  I will tackle each reason below.

  1. Far too many Dover residents don’t want to send their child to Capital School District.
  2. Every student needs to be treated as an individual and not a test score.
  3. Our middle schools need a lot of help.
  4. We need more fiscal transparency and accountability.
  5. Low-Income Students.
  6. The Every Student Succeeds Act.
  7. Student Data.
  8. More participation from parents in the district.
  9. Special Education.
  10. More participation in state legislative matters.
  11. Charter schools within our district.
  12. Kindergarten.
  13. Support for our teachers.
  14. Ensuring opt out of standardized testing is honored as a parental right.
  15. More focus on the arts.
  16. Perception of the district.
  17. Perception of Dover as a result of the district.
  18. Oversight of the Delaware Department of Education and the United States Department of Education.
  19. Leadership

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“Far too many Dover residents don’t want to send their child to Capital School District” Continue reading “Why I Want Your Vote For The Capital School Board”

In Taylor vs. Paylor for Capital School Board, You Have To Vote For Taylor On May 12th!!!!

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The Capital School District Board of Education election is just three days from now, on May 12th.  For the three candidates running for the Capital School Board, I am officially endorsing Ralph Taylor.  The other two candidates, Sharese Paylor and Peter Servon, don’t hold a candle to Taylor.

There was a candidate forum a couple weeks ago in Dover, and for the Capital candidates, Taylor and Servon showed up.  Paylor didn’t attend this forum.  In an article by David Paulk with The Dover Post, Taylor said the following about Common Core:

No, I’m not in favor of Common Core. I believe that the standard itself, nobody’s really able to understand it, nobody’s able to articulate it to families. It was put in place so quickly. If you got something that so many people have so many questions about why don’t we review it a little bit more, why don’t we slow our roll a little bit. We have kids in classrooms that are week after week preparing for the standardized tests so we can show the world that we have standards. If we’re showing the world that we have standards, if we’re teaching the tests, are we educating? And I think that’s where the flaw is with this standard.

Servon, on the other hand, took a very casual stance with Common Core, as if everyone was okay with it and parents are just overreacting:

As I understand Common Core it’s a national level decision on what should be taught in the subject matter. In my belief it should be general topics, general ideas. The decision on how to teach those ideas and topics is made by the states and by the districts. It’s a minimal requirement that every kid should know in the country. I don’t see anything wrong with having those types of standards. As far as educating the parents I think it needs to be stated simply—it’s just a minimal standard parents need to understand what the school is requiring to implement those Common Core standards.

In another forum at Central Middle School last Tuesday, all three candidates showed up.  We were able to see a little more insight into Paylor.  At the January Capital board meeting, many citizens in the area demanded a reason for why Dover High School’s Principal Evelyn Edney did not have her contract renewed.  Many stated they were going to complain to Governor Markell and said the board had to reveal the reason.  The board has not given a reason since that meeting, nor should they in my opinion.  This is an employment decision, and the Board is not obligated to give reasons for not renewing a contract.  Some individuals, including Paylor, hinted at racial reasons for Edney’s departure.  I don’t buy this considering two other Capital principals I have met are African -American.  Shortly after this meeting, Paylor announced her intention to run for the board.

In an article in the The Delaware State News, reporter Eleanor LaPrade quoted Paylor from the Capital forum as saying “the board shouldn’t override Dr. Thomas, since he was the one who evaluated Dr. Edney’s performance.”  But there could be other factors nobody knows about except the board.  Employment decisions are done during a board’s executive session in Delaware, and are not subject to FOIA law.

I’ve met Taylor a couple times.  Once last summer at the 4th of July when he was running for State Representative.  He lost in a primary to Sean Lynn.  I saw him a couple months ago at a deli and congratulated him on running for the Capital board.  What I like about Taylor is his views on the Smarter Balanced Assessment, opt-out, Common Core and local control.  He told me last summer he is against the Federal intrusion in local education and supports opt-out.  He also doesn’t believe teacher evaluations should be done with standardized test scores.  Taylor believes in the community playing a larger part in Capital’s future.  Servon seems to be a Brandywine guy (where he teaches) based on his comments in both the articles, and Capital certainly doesn’t need that!  Paylor, in my opinion, has an agenda based on one board decision, and that should not be a determining factor is running for a school board.  Taylor would be a good fit with the board, and his many years in law enforcement could definitely give a unique perspective to the board.

With this election, the winner will replace outgoing President Kay Dietz-Sass.  The highlight of her tenure was the opening of the new Dover High School last year.  Another board member, Brian Lewis, resigned due to winning a councilman seat for the City of Dover in the May election where he ran unopposed.  There will be a special election, most likely in July, to fill Lewis’ seat.

Capital School District residents can vote at any of the three polling places from 10am to 8pm on Tuesday, May 12th: William Henry Middle School, East Dover Elementary and Hartly Elementary School.  Please remember, it’s Taylor, not Paylor, who should join Matthew Lindell, Sean Christiansen, and John Martin Jr. on the board!