Earlier this evening, Delaware State Rep. John Kowalko sent an email to over a hundred people about his thoughts on the latest round of NAEP scores, which are showing a downward trend. Several folks responded, including State Rep. Earl Jaques. What Jaques did is symptomatic of what is wrong in Delaware politics. Follow the email chain, and let me know if you agree or disagree with Jaques.
From: Kowalko, John (LegHall)
Sent: Wednesday, October 28, 2015 6:06 PM
To: Bennett, Andria (LegHall); firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; Bohm, Adriana L (K12); email@example.com; “firstname.lastname@example.org”; Alyssa Van Stan; email@example.com; Volturo, Andrew (LegHall); Bradley, Juanita V (K12); Short, Bryon (LegHall); Baumbach, Paul (LegHall); Townsend, Bryan (LegHall); Hall-Long, Bethany (LegHall); Mike Begatto; Bentz, David (LegHall); Torbert, Betty (K12); “Graves, Bianca”; Bolden, StephanieT (LegHall); Bush, William (LegHall); Potter, Jr, Charles (LegHall); firstname.lastname@example.org; Thompson, Cathy (K12); Carson, William (LegHall); Collins, Richard G (LegHall); Yvonne; email@example.com; Rufo, Donato (K12); “firstname.lastname@example.org”; Sokola, David (LegHall); Lawson, Dave (LegHall); Wilson, David L (LegHall); “email@example.com”; Hudson, Deborah (LegHall); Nelia Dolan; firstname.lastname@example.org; Mitchell, John L (LegHall); Viola, John (LegHall); email@example.com; Keeley, Helene (LegHall); firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; Osienski, Edward (LegHall); firstname.lastname@example.org; Minnehan, Harrie E (K12); Paige, Elizabeth (K12); Henry, Margaret Rose (LegHall); email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; Polaski, Fred (K12); Newton, Faith (K12); “email@example.com”; Frank Sims; Katie Gifford; Brady, Gerald (LegHall); firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; Godowsky, Steven (K12); firstname.lastname@example.org; McDowell, Harris (LegHall); Kenton, Harvey (LegHall); Jackie Hilderbrand Kook; Hudson, Deborah (LegHall); email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; Jaques, Jr, Earl (LegHall); Spiegelman, Jeff (LegHall); Bradley, Juanita V (K12); Williams, Kimberly (LegHall); Peterson, Karen (LegHall); firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; Lynn, Sean M (LegHall); firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; Lindell, Matt (K12); Lawson, Dave (LegHall); firstname.lastname@example.org; Lindell, Matt (K12); Longhurst, Valerie (LegHall); Matthews, Sean (LegHall); Matthews, Michael J (K12); email@example.com; Nancyvwilling@yahoo.com; Tyler Nixon; Braddock, Nicole (K12); Marshall, Jayne O (K12); Piccio, Mike (K12); Sedacca, Paul A (K12); Paradee, Trey (LegHall); Puffer, Richard (LegHall); Johnson, Quinton (LegHall); firstname.lastname@example.org; Marshall, Robert (LegHall); Ramone, Michael (LegHall); Zoe Read; Rivera, Brie E.; email@example.com; BriggsKing, Ruth (LegHall); Thompson, Seth (LegHall); Frank Sims; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; “firstname.lastname@example.org”; Williams, Freeman (K12); Walsh, Lynn (NBCUniversal); email@example.com; Yearick, Lyndon D (LegHall); Young, John (K12); Yvonne
Subject: Reflections on NAEP score declines and who’s/what’s responsible
Dear all please read and seriously consider the harmful effects foisted on our children by these “education reform” salesmen. The NAEP test is one of the most widely used, highly respected and proven (over decades) accurate assessments of education results. If this latest development doesn’t strike a warning chord in any of you that consider themselves as advocates for children and public education than I’m afraid it’s time for an introspective look we all should take.
Representative John Kowalko
Here is part of my response to a media interview regarding my feelings as to why NAEP scores went down and my conclusion why that occurred.
Very simply put Markell’s, Arnie’s, RODEL’s, Gates’, and all of the other (for personal profit) “education reformists” have foisted a failed system on our children with a horribly harmful result under the guise of a “common core” system that is ruining America’s and Delaware’s public education structure and willfully hurting children. Brief statement follows:
Scores down for NAEP
They’ve changed the curriculum. When they are now teaching algebra and geometry (under common core) in 3rd grade what are they not teaching or no longer teaching. If kids don’t truly understand and know multiplication, how are they going to perform the higher level skills required?
The NAEP is a generalized test given to kids all over the world. It is a consistent and reliable measure of comparison. You can’t “study” for it. So when we look at countries that do well (i.e. Finland/New Zealand) and see that their curriculums are nothing like what we have just adopted/imposed we should ask “what are we doing”?
Common Core is not a curriculum but it is so specific in its standards that it becomes a de-facto curriculum. Covering those prescribed “standards” forces teachers to teach only those skills. This presents two significant problems. There is no time for anything else and teachers are being handed a curriculum and much like the “Balanced Assessment Test”, it is being written (and profited from) by the same people who wrote common core who are (in most cases) not qualified teachers in these fields.
Editor’s note: to save space, I’m not going to keep copying the to: part of the email.
From: Jaques, Jr, Earl (LegHall) <Earl.Jaques@state.de.us>
Sent: Wednesday, October 28, 2015 6:39 PM
Your personal views shouldn’t be part of our email system. Your email isn’t based on any facts but filled with innuendoes and bias against people you dislike. Please take your postings to the blogs – not on the state email system!!
On Oct 28, 2015, at 6:58 PM, Rufo Donato wrote:
I like john and what he is doing…. He cares… Seems like your email is the snippy one….
When your in politics you have to learn how to deal with things….
Perhaps you should start to blog…. Maybe then people will know who’s side your on….
Donato C. Rufo
Social Studies Teacher
From: Matthews Michael <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I have no problem with Rep. Kowalko’s email because, in essence, it directly calls out the leaders of the failed, multi-billion dollar policies at the state and national level that have most assuredly contributed to the embarrassing drop in NAEP scores.
We’ve had 15 years of education reform policies under Bush/Obama/Markell. Those policies have includes — but are not limited to — more charter schools, more testing, most consultants, RttT, fewer reading and math specialists, more bloated bureaucracy at the Department of Education, more threatened school closures and turnaround, PLCs, “deep data dives,” “rigor,” “grit,” Teach for America, priority schools, focus schools, focus plus schools, Charter School Performance Fund monies for schools who a) don’t show a financial need for it or b) have shown no track record to deserve it, data coaches from FOX News’ Wireless Generation…need I go on?
The same policies and ideologies towards which millions of dollars have been ostensibly wasted all in the name of student achievement and heightened teacher accountability that could have been used to provide immediate supports to our neediest of schools. These are the policies of the last 15 years that have attempted to corporatized and privatize our schools.
And you know what? They’ve failed. Miserably. The gold standard of assessment — the NAEP — tells us we’ve failed. And you know who takes this stuff the hardest? The classroom teachers and specialists who’ve been saying for years that failed policies under two presidential administrations and this governor have given many cause to quit well before they’ve hit their peak.
It’s too late for the kids who’ve already gone through the system these last 15 years. Will we have the courage to stop the insanity NOW so we don’t risk the future of the next generation of kids?
From: YOUNG JOHN
Sent: Wednesday, October 28, 2015 7:45 PM
Your email epitomizes the problem. The state system is the peoples’ system. Why are you so concerned with stifling it? Why do you deign to denigrate John’s email as if it not informed by taxpaying constituents? Who are you to silence opinion and debate? Who elected you Governor? Our tax dollars pay for this, so you should probably consider it an EXPEDITED FOIA request.
I echo Mike Matthews sentiment completely.
Why don’t you show up to another CEA meeting and berate them over Opt Out again after it passed out of your committee and overwhelmingly by your colleagues after you declared the possibility of such as ZERO. This is the peoples’ bully pulpit and I am deeply offended that an elected official, fresh off of calling my son a quitter over his parents’ reasoned decision to opt him out of high stakes tests would dare stifle dissent in such a brazen, callous manner. Tests imposed by this Governor, with your overt, glowing approval that have clearly been ineffective by the way. That was John’s point, and it is not only true, it resonates.
Why don’t you go read the Race to the Top Grant Application: https://transparentchristina.wordpress.com/delawares-race-to-the-top-grant-application/and check the goals with the results. Get back to me when you realize the depth of failure you have chosen to embrace.
We need more John Kowalko’s and less Earl Jaques’. We need elected representative who actually understand representative republics and know that the House they do their work in is only on a visitor’s pass and at the exclusive behest of the people they represent.
Lastly, you are free to denigrate the blogs, but know this: we are the last line of truth in a free society, free from corporate influence. Feel free to attack bloggers all you want, but we are not going away. We live to hold ill informed, power hungry, tin-eared politicians like yourself accountable.
John, thank you for speaking truth to power. Everyone does not have to, nor should agree with you at times, but they should never ignore you or denigrate your motives.
Earl, thanks for confirming what we already knew about your iron-fisted, bullying and intimidating style. It went out of fashion in 1985, but thanks for keeping it alive. (sarcasm intended)
Editor’s note: I sent a reply but I couldn’t reply to all with Yahoo, so I asked Rep. Kowalko to forward it to the recipients.
From: Kevin Ohlandt <email@example.com>
Sent: Wednesday, October 28, 2015 6:57 PM
To: Jaques, Jr, Earl (LegHall)
Cc: Kowalko, John (LegHall); Schwartzkopf, Peter (LegHall)
Subject: Re: Reflections on NAEP score declines and who’s/what’s responsible
I applaud Rep. Kowalko for getting the word out on these matters. It shows courage and conviction that some legislators won’t dare to show for fear of opposing Governor Markell. The only reason I am not including everyone on this email is because my yahoo Email won’t allow me to respond to that many people. Just my two cents: I would listen to John. I’m sorry you don’t see the inherent danger with what Governor Markell and others have done to education, but this path is clearly not good for Delaware students. My best suggestion for you Rep. Jaques: You can either sink with the ship or grab ahold of a life-jacket as soon as possible.
Furthermore, by not personally sending John a reply with just him, you are using the very same email system you don’t want him using. That seems odd, but putting a fellow State Rep. down over something and accusing him of bias without any facts is completely false. I believe he is showing facts based on data from the NAEP scores that education reform isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
I saw you battle John during the House Education Committee meeting over House Bill 50, and it was almost like you had a personal grudge against him. There is no place in Delaware politics for that and I hope we don’t see that kind of behavior again come January.
Earl, Earl, Earl, when are you ever going to learn? You can’t silence people like that. You need to let the people speak, whether it’s through opt-out or public comment. Legislators are not exempt from public comment.