Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants

I have been chosen.  Along with Mike Matthews, President of the Red Clay Educators Association, John Young, Christina School District Board Member, and Tizzy Lockman, Wilmington Education Advisory Committee member and fierce advocate for civil rights in Wilmington schools.  I just see myself as a blogger on education matters in Delaware.  Those other three, they have a lot of skin in the game and have been around a lot longer than myself.  But I am honored to be listed among these giants in the below announcement.  I didn’t think Exceptional Delaware would reach as many as it has, but if I am the proudest of anything it’s that more parents are finding this blog and finding out what is really going on out there.  At the end of the day, I’m still just a Dad to an awesome kid who happens to have disabilities and my fight has always been so he can have a better future.

July 14, 2015

Kevin Ohlandt

Exceptional Delaware Blog

Dear Kevin,

I am proud to announce today, as President of the Progressive Democrats for Delaware, that you are a 2015 PDD Education Hero Award winner!

PDD voted to recognize four Education Heroes for your work in bringing education reform issues to the public’s attention this year: Mike Matthews, Kevin Ohlandt, John Young and Elizabeth Lockman.

We’re also recognizing the House Democratic Caucus Six (Paul Baumbach, Kim Williams, Sean Lynn, Andria Bennett, Sean Matthews and John Kowalko) with this group award for standing up to their caucus with the courage of their convictions and voting against the budget this year [Why we voted against the state budget].

The formal announcement of our PDD honorees will take place at our July 22nd Progressive Democrats for Delaware Summer Social!, 7-9 at the FireStone Roasting House on the Riverfront.

This event serves as a fundraiser for our PAC for progressive candidates but you’ll be our guest for the evening – no charge – and we would love it if you can join us in celebration. We’ll be soliciting additional nominations  for Progressive Community Heroes at the event so come prepared to offer an outstanding individual of your choice for recognition at the PDD Awards Ceremony in September.

The award ceremony itself will be at our September 2nd General Meeting (7PM DEM HQ in New Castle) where we’ve invited the DEM Caucus Six to speak as panelists. Save the date!

PDD will be coordinating with the Delaware Americans for Democratic Action to rally the public over the next year with informational events through the fall and implementation events through the next session of the Assembly. PDD hopes to excite Delaware’s progressive voters and get them to the polls in 2016!

I hope to see you Wednesday night!

Nancy Willing, President

Progressive Democrats for Delaware

PDD Summer Social

7-9 Wednesday July 22nd

FireStone Roasting House 

110 S West St 

Wilmington, DE 19801

For the six Democrat State Reps that voted against the budget, I was there during their moment of courage.  If I were in their shoes, I would have done the exact same thing.  Now before everyone starts saying I am a Progressive Democrat, I can be.  I can also be a moderate Republican depending on the issue.  I don’t talk about my own personal politics too often.  I don’t think it matters as long as I fight the good fight out there.  But having worked with several of these legislators on education issues, I’ve found they are the most informed about the realities and not the smoke and mirrors we hear about from so many others at Legislative Hall.  There are some great legislators there, but they aren’t all education legislators, so our paths don’t tend to cross.

As for the other three Education Heroes, I’ve known John Young the longest.  As the Transparent Christina blogger and a board member at Christina, he has always inspired me to get the truth out there.  Along with Kilroy and Kavips, John Young showed me the news the mainstream media doesn’t cover.  As a board member, my admiration for John grew immensely during the Priority Schools showdown at their board meeting in September.  He stood up to the DOE, and two State Board members angrily walked out.

I met Mike Matthews at a State Board of Education meeting a year ago.  We had commented on stuff over on Facebook, but when I met him he was cutting out material for his classroom.  Someone that bold is someone to watch.  I’ve seen Mike speak out several times in support of many of the same beliefs I have.  His most memorable speaking moment came at the Imagine Delaware forum last March.  This one has no fear and we need more of that!

Tizzy Lockman.  I never really heard of her until the whole ACLU lawsuit announcement last December.  But she is everywhere, on WEAC, the Enrollment Preference Task Force, and she is always advocating for students with the greatest needs.  I don’t know her as well as John and Mike, but I can say the Delaware education landscape is better with her being in it!

Any award for me is dedicated to all the parents of special needs kids and the parent supporters of opt-out.  Hopefully we changed the conversation, and I know we can’t stop now!