How the hell did I miss this? I broke the news on the House Committee memberships and I totally missed this awesomeness! State Rep. John Kowalko is back on the House Education Committee! To understand how big this is, you have to look at the history of why he was removed in the first place. Continue reading
When you think of those who don’t support charter schools in Delaware, one of the first names that pops up is State Representative John Kowalko, from the 25th Rep. District. Known for his arguments against charter schools, specifically Delaware’s biggest- Newark Charter School, it can be easy to make the assumption Kowalko hates charter schools. However, that is not the case.
Earlier this weekend, Kowalko sent out an email to his constituents with his thoughts and beefs on Delaware charter schools. Continue reading
No one stood up for parents more than Delaware State Rep. John Kowalko in the 148th General Assembly. As the prime House sponsor on House Bill 50, the opt out bill, Rep. Kowalko fought for months to ensure that a parent’s fundamental rights to opt their child out of the state assessment was honored. Furthermore, it would have stopped schools or the state from punishing a child for having a parent opt them out. Ultimately, the bill overwhelmingly passed the House and Senate but Governor Markell vetoed the bill. An attempt to override the veto failed when the legislators came back in 2016.
John Kowalko is the rake at the gates of hell when it comes to standing up to Jack Markell on education. He is not afraid to go against the establishment when he knows in his heart those choices are not good for kids. He has always been about looking out for the little guy. He will not vote yes on the state budget if it means those with the highest needs will do without. I respect that immensely. Because of his stances and how he makes noise, he runs into opposition constantly in the General Assembly. We need more legislators who can be vocal and won’t bow down to leadership.
Kowalko’s opponent has failed to give me any reason to support him. If anything, he sounds a lot like John Kowalko but much less experienced. I have never subscribed to this Delaware Way theory of “getting along to go along.” I compare it to being a part of the race without realizing you are being dragged by the horse on the way to the finish line. We don’t need more of that in Dover. We need more like Kowalko! Some will call me crazy and believe that John Kowalko is unable to get along with his peers. I think it is the other way around. Too many are unwilling to get along with Kowalko because they know he is right and that if they allied themselves with him it wouldn’t be the best for their own personal agendas. The will of the people in Delaware should be the biggest priority of our General Assembly. But private interests and political power rule the day. Until we get more John Kowalkos in the General Assembly, we will continue to play this status quo game. And that is NOT good for Delaware.
At the end of the day, Kowalko is about doing what is right. Yes, he utilizes the press every chance he can to get his message out to the people. It is not self-serving. It is so enough people can hear what he is saying to help the people. I endorse John Kowalko for the 25th Rep. District in Newark. I urge citizens in this district to re-elect John Kowalko so we have another voice of reason in the Delaware 149th General Assembly.
Delaware State Rep. John Kowalko appeared on “The Delaware Way” with host Larry Mendte last week to discuss parent opt out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment and the veto override of House Bill 50 and the bill’s chances. Citing the bill sits on the House Ready List, Kowalko blamed State Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, the Delaware Speaker of the House, for letting the bill just sit there. Even Mendte said polling in the state suggests the people overwhelmingly want this bill. Kowalko felt it wasn’t right for the Governor to usurp the will of the people and the General Assembly with his veto.
In my article on our Non-Transparent Delaware, State Rep. John Kowalko left a comment that deserved its own post.
As regards the “Commitment (of taxpayer money) To Innovation Act” please read the following:
I certainly have not and will not support any of these corporate tax welfare bills. DuPont/Dow moved the majority of research and other jobs in the agricultural spinoff to Iowa and Delaware taxpayers are left with some extremely costly crumbs (headquarters only) in Wilmington. Let me point out to all that there was and will continue to be opposition to this ravaging of the taxpayers’ wallet and I certainly will do my best to expose my colleagues to the illegitimacy of such policies that offer no return on investment for Delaware taxpayers.
My point is that making a product (Oreos for instance), moving 600 jobs from Chicago to Mexico across the border for dirt cheap wages and rueful working conditions benefits only those multi-billion dollar corporations and their CEOs (see DuPont/Dow $80 million bonuses) while idling thousands of American workers who no longer have spendable income to support the consumer spending that is needed for local businesses to survive. Ross Perot was right about that sucking sound. For example: DuPont $200 million factory built in China (recently opened) employing thousands of Chinese workers manufacturing solar panels for sale back here, or Johnson Controls recently constructed and opened battery manufacturing facility ($150 million) in China for distribution from the Delaware distribution center in Middletown that taxpayers invested millions in infrastructural and road improvements. For example DuPont spinoff headquarters staying in Wilmington while a significant majority of the actual jobs of the agricultural research branch goes to Iowa leaving Delaware with 1700 layoffs of well-paid positions and only a potential for job growth with a price tag of $16 million for Delaware taxpayers. The list goes on and on.
The “Corporate Welfare” policies of this Administration have cost the Delaware taxpayers $250 million during Governor Markell’s term. This irresponsible wasting of the taxpayer dollars has resulted in no discernible return on investment and has stopped absolutely no job losses from these wealthy corporations. Further compounding this administration’s erroneous economic missteps is the recent policy that was passed, despite my and Representative Williams objections, labelled the Delaware Competes Act. This corporate giveaway will cost over $48 million in lost revenue to Delaware with absolutely no appreciable effect to retain or grow jobs. Now the Administration has filed more legislation branded as “The Commitment to Innovation Act” that will further erode necessary revenue that provides basic, necessary services to Delawareans. Neither of these misguided economic policies will reinforce local business growth or stability and will leave a gaping hole in Delaware’s budget that this Administration will attempt to fill on the backs of state employees, seniors and the poorer families in Delaware.
Adding to the insult of these types of corporate giveaways is the actual statistical proof that these types of bribes and irresponsible economic policies have been marked by failure after failure at an unaffordable expense. Read the linked article and please note that $22 million went to JPMorgan which profited to the tune of $24.5 billion last year with “promises” of job growth that would inevitably have occurred without this taxpayer outlay. Note also the proposed $14.16 million to DuPont which totally dismisses the fact that there has been 1700 well-paid jobs recently and irretrievably cut by DuPont in Delaware. And the bulk of its future jobs with the newly created agricultural spinoff (Pioneer) will be lost to Iowa. Consider the $11 million gift to Incyte Corp. with the promise of creating 130 jobs in the future on the heels of the announcement by Incyte that they were laying off 137 Delawareans. The Fisker and Bloom debacles speak for themselves as monuments to irrational and irresponsible wastes of taxpayer dollars. One tenth of that $250 million diverted to supporting locally based businesses for job growth, infrastructural investments and production improvements via tax credits and subsidies would ensure a healthy and robust growth in our local communities and not end up in the pockets of corporate profiteers. Call your legislators and demand that they resist this callous and flawed attempt to redistribute and divert revenues from Delaware families into the coffers of wealthy corporations.
Delaware State Rep. John Kowalko issued a letter today to his colleagues in the General Assembly. He will be asking for a suspension of rules to bring the House Bill 50 veto override to the floor of the Delaware House of Representatives on January 14th. For a suspension of rules to happen, a majority vote will determine this. Unlike the veto override, which requires 3/5ths of both the House and Senate for that to happen. From what I am hearing, many legislators have stated they will vote yes for the veto override, but would vote no for the suspension of rules. The suspension of rules would prevent the bill from getting bottlenecked in the education committee. Do not even think you can duck out of even voting for the veto override by voting no on a suspension of rules. That is political suicide this year.
This is the minefield of Delaware politics. Even though the majority of legislators vote yes for suspension of rules all the time on June 30th when they push bills through without the public ever knowing about them, they are going to make a stand now? Seriously? General Assembly, I have this to say to you: a vote of no on suspension of rules is the same as a vote of no for the veto override. At least in my eyes. Parents don’t care about your parlor games and rules. They care about their kids. So get your heads in the game and do the right thing for parents. Enough. You are turning all of this into a war, with Markell on one side and the voice of the people on the other. Just do the right thing here. If you don’t know what that is, err on the side of your constituents and not a lame-duck Governor who will probably give Delaware students free surf and turf lunches for the rest of the year at the rate he’s going. He is already seriously on the edge of violating multiple Delaware laws with his latest SAT/SBAC stunt, and you know this. How much longer are you going to give this Governor the authority to do whatever he pleases?
In the meantime, thank you to Rep. Kowalko for his respect and sincerity with the below letter sent to his colleagues today.
Larry Mendte’s weekly program, The Delaware Way, aired its most recent segment yesterday. One of the interview subjects was none other than State Rep. John Kowalko. Mendte and Kowalko primarily talked about The Public Integrity Commission’s recent grade for Delaware in transparency. You know, that glaring “F”. Kowalko said he was surprised Delaware wasn’t 5oth out of 50, as opposed to 48th. I recommend watching this, and not just cause of the name drop near the end! I guess Larry didn’t want to hear about that! But thanks anyways John!
Rick Jensen of WDEL fame replied to the stunning attempt by Rep. Earl Jaques to silence Rep. John Kowalko from an email chain yesterday and put Jaques in his rightful place on the issue:
The viewpoints of any State Representative or State Senator on public policy are absolutely permitted (and encouraged) for public dissemination via official email.
What should outrage every journalist and supporter of the First Amendment is Earl Jacques trying to suppress the comments of a Rep who disagrees with him.
Kowalko does, indeed base his opinions on facts, Mr. Jacques.
As many people on this list you made public know, Mr. Jacques, I may not agree with many of them on many issues, but I have never tried to suppress their professional opinions as you are attempting with Mr. Kowalko. In fact, I invite the contrast and debate for our many thousands of listeners to decide for themselves which policies to support and which to work against.
Are you going to try to suppress everyone on this email list when they disagree with you about some policy, Mr. Jacques?
Talk Show Host / Syndicated Columnist
WDEL AM&FM / Cagle Syndicate
2727 Shipley Rd.
Wilmington, DE 19810
(302) 478-2700 x170
Updated, 12:16pm: And it gets even more heated! Because Earl responded to Rick Jensen!
From: Jaques, Jr, Earl (LegHall) [mailto:Earl.Jaques@state.de.us]
Sent: Thursday, October 29, 2015 11:32 AM
To: Jensen, Rick <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Reflections on NAEP score declines and who’s/what’s responsible
First Rick, my name is spelled JAQUES – no “c”. No I’m not in anyway trying to suppress his opinion. He has every right to his opinion as do you and I. But I just don’t think that the state email system is the best place for this type of comments. Maybe a better place would be a “Letter to the Editor” or a posting on a blog. Finally, you are making the assumption that I disagree with Rep Kowalko. But no where in my email do I state that as the reason for him not posting on the state email system. I just don’t believe that the state email system is the place for his bias opinion and rants!
And Jensen quickly shot a retort to Jaques!
From: “Jensen, Rick” <email@example.com>
Sent: Thursday, October 29, 2015 12:06 PM
Subject: RE: Reflections on NAEP score declines and who’s/what’s responsible
Earl “Jaques not Jacques,”
If you’re so concerned about lawmakers sharing their “bias opinion and rants” with fellow stakeholders on state.de.us email, then why are you ranting your “bias opinion” to me on state email?
Every opinion has bias. Bias per ideology, bias per research, bias per studies, etc. The problem is your declaring a State Rep has no business communicating his or her opinion on policy to fellow stakeholders via state email.
Would you please forward to this email address of all of your state.de.us emails to see if, perhaps, you have followed your own prescription?
Feel free to omit those emails that pertain to personal and sensitive information from and about constituents.
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:
Hey earlI 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 TeacherNCCVTEA President
From: Matthews Michael <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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
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.