The Exceptional Delaware Memo

So I took a break over the last week and a half.  I did cheat last Monday and popped two articles up.  But whatever.  It’s my blog.  I’ll do what I please.  It was a hectic week.  Between work and the damn car.  But I did have fun on Facebook on many of those days.  Dug into an awesome collection of short stories by Neil Gaiman.  I discovered MY song of the summer, “One Of Us”, by New Politics.  I sold the last remaining vestiges of a forty-year old hobby, my comic collection.  They are all digital today.  I went for some walks with my music blaring.  It was hot as hell most of the week.  I tried to steer clear of education conversation.  On the first day of my “break”, God bless them, no less than six people contacted me in some way about education stuff within an hour after my announced break.

I did think about education stuff, mainly what is coming up.  Jotted some notes down…

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Season Four On Exceptional Delaware Just Got Very Interesting, Time To Reboot The Mission

Every year, on June 13th, Exceptional Delaware celebrates its anniversary.  This year is, pardon the pun, no exception.  You won’t see what the mission is until you read about it.  But it is definitely time to reboot the mission and go back to basics.  It’s about the kids.  It’s about families.  It’s about what is covered up and hidden.  In ALL facets of education, people want quiet.  They didn’t want the dirty skeletons coming out of the closet.  But they are there.  Like an ostrich with a head buried in the sand, so it is with Delaware education.  Continue reading “Season Four On Exceptional Delaware Just Got Very Interesting, Time To Reboot The Mission”

2017 Stats To Date And What Is Coming

2017 has been an odd year for Exceptional Delaware.  There has been a ton of transition, between a new Governor, a new Delaware Secretary of Education, and very peculiar budget issues plaguing Delaware schools.  But the biggest post by far has been a recent one about a particular charter school in Newark and their 5 mile radius.

Top 17 Posts of 2017 So Far:

  1. Newark Charter School Doesn’t Want Wilmington Black Kids Or Wilmington Special Needs Kids Going To Their Private School
  2. Thom Labarbera, Brandywine Social Studies Teacher, Passes Away
  3. Delaware Racism: It Is Real And It Is Not Going Away
  4. Racial Slurs Appear To Go Unpunished For DE Military Academy While A.I. DuPont Basketball Team Suspended For Rest Of Season
  5. What To Make Of Bad News Betsy’s Letter About ESSA To Chief State School Officers
  6. Silence Is Complicity: Human Sex Trafficking In Delaware and How I-95, Craiglist, Backpage, & Kik Make It Thrive
  7. Delaware Joint Finance Committee Cuts State Board of Education From State Budget, DONE!!!
  8. Wahl v. Brandywine Case Settles! Justice For Joseph & An End To Zero Tolerance In Brandywine!
  9. Jack Markell Under Investigation By Ed Authorities ***DEBUNKED***APRIL FOOL’S DAY***
  10. 77 Teachers On The Chopping Block For Christina School District, Increased Classroom Sizes As Well!
  11. Not A Good Day For Christina
  12. **UPDATED**Christina Public Comment By Board Member Alleges Involvement Of Other Board Members In Hate Emails
  13. Final Delaware 2017 School Board Filings
  14. Exceptional Delaware Endorsements For 2017 School Board Elections
  15. Don’t let your special needs child fall victim to “new” Federal and State voucher/choice policies
  16. Cut The Admins In Districts & Schools? How Many Are There? TONS!
  17. Exceptional Delaware Endorses John Marino For The 10th Senate District

Like I said, this has been an odd year.  Because of so many changes, I’ve found that some folks I allied with on just about everything have shifted somewhat in their line of thinking.  We still agree on a lot of the old stuff (Common Core, Opt Out) but the lines have gotten very blurry in some areas.  I endorsed John Marino in the 10 Senate District Special Election and caught holy hell for it.  Issues involving racism filled up three of the top four articles.  My first foray into Human Sex Trafficking yielded a lot of reads.  The month of May has been the biggest month so far this year.  Between the school board elections, budget cuts, and the infamous HS1 for House Bill 85, over 50,000 people visited the blog this month.  7 out of 17 articles are from May.  An April Fool’s Day joke apparently fooled many people judging by Jack Markell’s place on this list.

Expect the unexpected in the month of June.  I can tell you now a lot of articles will be about the state budget, the effects it will have on Delaware schools, and the shenanigans down at Legislative Hall.  It will culminate on June 30th/July 1st as the legislators try to get it all done so they can have their long 4th of July weekend.

I’ve had more than my usual requests lately for writing about certain things.  I’m actually going to hold off on some of those until July.  The main reason for that is due to the state budget sucking up all the oxygen in the room.  I have a couple articles where people want to talk about new ideas for education but all any school district or charter really cares about now is the budget and what impact it is going to have on them.  If the State Board of Education is truly done, there are going to be a ton of legislation dealing with that.  The most controversial two words between now and the end of June: Epilogue Language.

If you want to help this blog, please go here and if you have the means and are able to help out, I would be forever grateful!  And a huge thank you to those who have chipped in.  I was talking to someone last night about how I am the last of the education bloggers in Delaware (without an agenda).  We were discussing if someone else is going to enter the rat race.  Who will be the next Delaware education blogger that churns stuff out?  Can’t wait to meet you!

 

1,000,000

million

I reached a million hits on my blog today.  For this one, I am going to brag.  I am also within days reach of passing the number of hits I had in 2014 and 2015 combined and the year isn’t even done yet.

I’m not bragging cause I think I’m something special.  I’m doing it because of something someone said to me a long time ago, a couple of months after I started this blog.  It was a comment meant to disparage me.  To belittle me.  The person tried to make it as though the News Journal was the only media people cared about in Delaware.  And how they get 300,000 readers daily.  How my little blog didn’t matter.  And that no one really cares.

The News Journal has a much bigger staff than I do.  I have a staff of one.  My staff is unpaid and does this during their own time.  I don’t tend to get the “official” word ahead of time on news because I don’t have the access mainstream media reporters do.  This blog is a grassroots effort at the soul of it.  And lots of reading.  Tons of reading.  It is listening and going with my gut.  Going by instinct in the dark at times.  Comparing and contrasting.  Listening, searching, looking, and very recently, actually smelling.  Some of it is pure luck and just being at the right place at the right time.  A lot is opinion which is based on various facets of information.  I can say that I have always attempted to deliver the truth or my perception of the truth.  Sure, I occasionally come out with my outlandish “fan-fiction” stuff but I would be stunned if anyone gets through the first paragraph and thinks it is the real deal.  I don’t have sponsors or advertisements.  Social media is a huge boost, sure, but there has to be interest.  We are inundated with material on social media.

I’ve watched my readership steadily grow since June 13th, 2014.  Eleven days after I started this blog, the U.S. Dept. of Education came out with their state determinations for special education.  Delaware was rated “needs improvement”.  Before that, my eye was on the DOE but not a full stare.  That woke me up to look deeper into them.  I wrote a huge article about Delaware’s special ed rating that day and I got 424 hits.  I remember the 4th of July ten days later I got 28 hits that day.  I was averaging 100 hits a day prior to that and I thought my readership had suddenly left me.  I really cared about my stats back then.  My first article that went viral concerned my son’s 5th grade Common Core division homework.  It was confusing as hell and both of us were really struggling with it for hours.  I put the homework up on here.  It must have clicked because apparently moms and dads around the country were struggling with the same assignment that night.  That article had over 14,000 hits.  Every year since, I watch that article breathe life again around the same time of year as new parents of 5th graders wonder what the heck that assignment is all about.

This blog would be nothing without the readers.  I would like to think anyone bothering to read a blog about education in the 2nd smallest state in the country already has an interest in education.  Or perhaps a headline brought them here.  Or a Google search.  The numbers don’t matter to me though, it is what people do with it.  My goal has always been to open people up to different lines of thought.  To lift the veil of non-transparency that happens in education.  To expose the prophets who profit.  To let people see what is going on behind the campy jargon coming out of a certain Governor’s mouth.  Letting people see that numbers don’t always tell the tale and they can be abused greatly.  But if there is anything I would want people to take from this blog it is my unwavering belief that it should always be about the kids.  This gets me in trouble sometimes and some feel I am overreaching on something or going to extremes.  Or that I’m wearing a tin hat.  They are certainly free to feel that way.  I will always argue my side.  No one has ever changed hearts and minds by keeping quiet.

People tell me all the time they don’t know how I do this blog and where I find the time.  I make the time.  I think it is that important.  Some articles just happen very fast and I can do it in five minutes.  Some stay in the drafts folder until I get more information or it is very research-intensive.  If there is one thing I’ve learned about education it is that no one is going to agree on everything.  Sometimes I offend people and I think to myself, “where did that come from?”  It isn’t intentional in those situations.  I don’t know it all.  Let me be very clear on that.  I get stuff wrong.  I like to think I get more right though.  In a culture of vague ambiguities coming out of state agencies and whatnot, the smoking gun is not that easy to find.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found something, put it up, and thought this was going to change everything.  It just doesn’t happen.  That was a hard reality for me to accept.  I always hope, but realism has to creep in after a while.

I’ve made the promise in the past that I wouldn’t throw grenades at public figures.  I own that I can be seen as attack first and ask questions later.  It’s who I am, or at the least, who I’ve become.  Hate it or love it, but until the shroud of secrecy concerning education and the satellites that revolve around it disappear, I’m going to be the rake at the gates of Hell when it comes to this stuff.  As an example, I’m working on an article now.  I have been for over two weeks now.  And it is so big, I reached out to many people on this: parents, teachers, districts, and even the Delaware DOE.  No one from a school district will return my call.  Not one.  So do I go with what I have and draw conclusions on what others are telling me, or do I wait around for some magic moment when some district bigwig or school administrator decides to pick up a phone?  If they even have the answers I’m looking for?  Other times I definitely go for the “shock and awe” approach.  The best way to expose something is to lay it out for all to see.  Let people reach their own conclusions.

I’ll fully admit, blogging can get lonely sometimes.  I’ll hear from people who want to provide information.  People want to hear more about something or they want my help.  And then they disappear.  Oftentimes, someone reaches out to me with “I can’t be seen talking with you, so I’m reaching out to you like this”.  I see people very sheepishly dancing around me at meetings, trying to watch what they say or how they say it.  Or those meetings when I know I’ve pissed people off about something and they won’t even look at me.  Then there are those very dark times when I feel like nothing I do on here matters, that no matter what happens, nothing will change.  Those are usually the times I look at my son and remember how all this began.  And that gets me back in the fight.  There are those who will say education shouldn’t be a fight.  That the problems is adults talking and talking and never getting anywhere.  That is actually a valid point.  But all too often, the actions taken are what causes the fight.  Policy is set in place but those very same policy-makers want us to shut up and just take it.  I’m that voice that says “Hell no, I don’t think so.”  If John Carney wants to deal with me, he can choose how that is done.  It is entirely up to him.  He can take the Jack Markell approach and deal with daily or weekly onslaughts against his decisions, or he can sit down and have a conversation with me.  Not some thirty-second question at a fund-raiser.  But a real, honest-to-God frank discussion.  I have no doubt he has the “other side” whispering in his ear all day long.

I can’t save education.  No one person can.  I wouldn’t even want to be burdened with that.  We will probably never get it exactly right.  There have been many before who have tried and there will be many long after me.  There will be cycles and ebbs and flows.  It started with special education on here, but I soon realized all Delaware students were getting screwed over with bad laws, policies, and a crap-load of people making money off education.  I will never be a Diane Ravitch who has close to 30 million hits on her blog.  There are blogs out there that get 100,000 hits a day based on subject matter I wouldn’t even think to look at.  But for a little blog about education in the First State, I’m kind of proud of hitting the million mark.  Today, I celebrate.  Tomorrow, it’s back to the grind…

Over a million hits ago, it began with this…

Hello everyone, and welcome to the latest blog to hit the First State: Exceptional Delaware!

I am a father of a special need’s son, and you can read all about my family’s journey with a Delaware charter school here:

https://kilroysdelaware.wordpress.com/?s=a+father%27s+cry+for+his+son

Everything that happened with my son inspired me to want to do more, not just for him, but all the children in Delaware who have some sort of disorder or disability that gives them special education.  I know a lot about Tourette’s Syndrome, ADHD, OCD, ODD, and Sensory Processing Disorder, but I need to learn about things like Autism, Asperger’s  and other disabilities.

This blog will be a mix of news, interviews, spotlights, investigations, and more!  I believe every single parent in America should know their children’s rights when it comes to special education.  I will be doing features on IDEA, IEPs, 504 Plans, Manifestation Determination, FAPE, Child Find and more.  If anyone has anything they would like to see on here, please feel free to comment or shoot me an email, and I will do my best to make it happen.

I have several ideas for potential legislation that will force all public schools in Delaware to become more transparent about the special education they have in their schools.  I will go into great detail on my ideas in future posts.

To get the best and most truthful education news here in Delaware, I highly recommend you check out Kilroy’s Delaware, Kavips, Transparent Christina, theseventhtype, Children & Educators First, and Parents Of Christina.  If you’re looking for the joys of Common Core, Standardized Testing and Race To The Top, you’ve come to the wrong blog.  I can’t stand any of them, and I will go to great lengths to explain why.

Thank you for visiting, and I hope to see you again soon!

 

 

 

Important Updates To Exceptional Delaware

I have been very remiss about updating certain parts of this blog.  In an effort to improve the ability for readers to find information, I put pages below the title.  I am in the process of updating those pages.  I added a new one called “Delaware School Districts” which will have links to articles I’ve written about the different school districts in the state.  This will take quite a bit of time.  As well, I updated all of the charter school articles in the “Delaware Charters” section.  Education Meetings and Education Legislation are next on my to-do list.  Followed by the FOIA file, Governor Markell, and Rodel & Friends.

Are there are any pages you would like to see up there to make it easier to find certain things on here?  Let me know!

What Is Exceptional Delaware? A Primer For New Readers And Some Changes For Old Readers

Albert_Bierstadt_-_Among_the_Sierra_Nevada,_California_-_Google_Art_Project

Hello, and welcome to Exceptional Delaware.  My name is Kevin Ohlandt and I would like to introduce you to a blog about Delaware education.  For the confused among you right now, I often take for granted that folks reading this blog haven’t been around from the beginning.  In fact, most of you haven’t.  So I wanted to give a refresher for those just jumping on.

I started this blog a year and a half ago.  My original intention was to make this a blog solely about special education in Delaware.  I have a son with Tourette Syndrome and co-morbidities that accompany that primary disability.  Without going into a lot of details, he had some issues at a Delaware charter school.  He eventually changed schools, but during that journey I wasn’t satisfied with just resolving it like that.  I began to research special education in Delaware, and quickly found that the problems with special education in our state are symptomatic of a much larger disease.

I soon found myself writing his story on another great Delaware blog, Kilroy’s Delaware.  When I finished that, Kilroy suggested I start my own blog (probably so I could stop wasting space on his).  And thus, Exceptional Delaware was born.  It started out with most of the posts focusing on special education, but it quickly morphed into an almost bizarre cat and mouse game with the Delaware Department of Education.  As the months went by, I found out who all the big education players are in the state.  In a nutshell, it comes down to Governor Markell and the Rodel Foundation of Delaware.  Even bigger than that is the similar stories playing out across America.  Each state has a Markell and a Rodel.  Who do they all serve?  Wall Street.  Its called corporate education reform, and it is the single most destructive and devastating force to ever hit public education in our country.

I soon found myself walking out of the bounds of this website and involving myself in Delaware politics.  I would write about education legislation and became very involved in an opt-out bill in Delaware called House Bill 50.  The bill passed our House and Senate but Governor Markell vetoed the bill last summer.  Our General Assembly may attempt to override the Governor’s veto when they return in January which will bring about a host of articles from this blog.

Delaware spends a third of its budget on education.  It is over a billion dollars.  For a small state, with less than a million people, that is fairly significant.  Most of these funds go to our school districts and charter schools, but a large sum of it does go to our Department of Education and their host of education vendors and their attempts to “fix” a broken education system.  I put fix in quotes because I do not believe it is as broken as these entities claim it is.  The way they do this is very simple.  It’s called a standardized test.  In Delaware, along with many other states, our test is called the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  If the test wasn’t long, complicated, intrusive, destructive, disruptive, money-wasting, and made to make students, teachers, and schools feel like failures I probably wouldn’t give it the time of the day.  But it is more than these, and more.  It is the central fulcrum behind the education pirates who swarm into states and give the illusion that our schools need help.  It is a never-ending cycle that demands constant watch.  When you mix politics with big business, it is a nightmare of epic proportions.

I often feel like students with disabilities suffer the most from this drive for “rigor” and for all students to be “college and career ready”.  I don’t mind students flexing their academic muscles when they are in high school.  I am all for every student doing the best they can.  But when false paintings of success are put on a canvas, before the work is even done, I find something very wrong with that.  We can’t teach children, at school or at home, if someone else is micro-managing based on false ideology.

All too often the schools that suffer the most from this insanity are the ones with high populations of low-income, poverty, minority, and special education students.  The public is waking up more and more everyday to this reality, but occasionally carrots are thrown their way to lull them into a false sense of calm and security.  These antics could be called “assessment inventory”, or the “Every Student Succeeds Act”, or an “education funding task force”.  What the corporate privateers don’t want you to know is they want schools to fail.  They want them to always feel like they need to be fixed.  They would not make money otherwise.  This charade is supported financially by huge foundations across America, with the biggest being the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  These foundations and non-profits love their charter schools.

Charter schools are public schools, but they don’t operate the same way.  As long as they receive federal and state funding, they must behave like traditional public schools.  But all too often (not in every charter), some pick and choose who they want.  Since charters also receive local funding from the school districts students choice from, this can have a very debilitating financial effect on the local school district.  Nowhere is this more apparent than in Delaware’s Christina School District, up in Wilmington.

Traditional school districts have their own issues.  Large classroom sizes, less funding from the state, and what are known as referendums.  Referendums are an election in the school district.  They are needed when the costs to run the district go past the allocated budget.  The district needs more funds from its residents to continue.  If it passes, the school uses the extra funding from property assessments and makes the necessary adjustments.  If it fails, it is very bad for the school district.  Many feel that school districts in Delaware spend far too much on administrators within their districts.  For a small state, Delaware has 19 school districts, over 25 charter schools, and a fairly large amount of private schools.  The private schools have shed students since charter schools gained in popularity beginning twenty years ago in Delaware.

For large cities like Wilmington, the factors of numerous charter schools, failed referendums, charter schools siphoning the local school districts funding, some charters taking the “best and brightest”, and standardized testing that falsely labels schools with huge populations of at-risk students as failures, results in a perfect storm of chaos and disaster.  Add in unionized teachers, teacher prep programs like Teach For America and Relay Graduate School, school boards, along with the constantly interfering Department of Education, Governor, legislators, foundations, non-profits, and the corporate education vendors, and a picture forms.  This picture shows far too many hands in education and the ones that suffer the most are the children.

This is where I come in.  I write about it all in our state.  The DOE, the Governor, Rodel, the unelected State Board of Education, charter schools, school districts, legislators, education legislation, special education, bullying, charter school financial meltdowns, standardized testing, vendor contracts, transparency, and more.  For the most part it is the chase.  The constant and never-ending quest to get information out so the public can see it, while our DOE blithely implements agenda after agenda with no one the wiser.  It is exhausting and time-consuming.  Along the way, I will write satirical articles to keep my sanity.  Sometimes, as I did recently, I will write a human interest story about one particular person.  I will branch out to national stories.  Sometimes I just break away from it all and write about myself or something as far away from education as possible.

This isn’t my blog.  This is Delaware’s blog.  One of many.  Stories are told all over The First State.  Some blogs take place on long Facebook threads.  Others are in our major media, such as the News Journal.  Media has transitioned over time into a blog-like state.  As newspapers and major media outlets are essentially run by advertisers and corporations, the unbiased feel of journalism has radically shifted from what it once was.  True journalism does exist, but all too often the sides can become blurry and tainted.  I don’t blame the newspapers and major media outlets for this.  It is evolution and survival.  This is not to say that journalism as we once knew it is dead, but it has changed.  There are still great old-fashioned journalists out there who refuse to let themselves sway from the core journalistic principles.  But in our 21st Century society, with news available the second you click something, the need for urgency has taken away from the need for unbiased clarity.

After writing at least one article a day for the past consecutive 488 days, 2,112 posts (some of which are what are called “reblogs” from other great WordPress blogs) over the past year and a half, which have received over 525,000 views, over 426,000 which were in 2015 alone, a ton of board meetings, task force meetings, legislative sessions, committee meetings, rallies, phone calls, emails, Facebook posts, tweets, research, and yes, some fun thrown in here and there, I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot on this little blog.  I never dreamed I would reach over half a million hits in this short a timeframe.  I don’t get paid for this, so it is truly a volunteer function.  I think any blogger likes to know they are being read, it is human nature.  But even more satisfying is when someone tells me “Hey, that article you did, it helped me,”  or “I was able to help my child because of what you wrote”.  That means more to me than any number.  A lot of this is never seen on here, and takes place offline.  I like that people feel they can come to me for advice about what to do.  I will flat-out tell them if I can’t help them, but I will also let them know where they can go.  Sometimes it is right back to the DOE believe it or not.

I don’t hate the DOE, or the State Board, or Rodel, or even the Governor.  I don’t hate any legislators.  I believe all humans operate on something called “tainted decency”.  We may have the best intentions or motivations, but something along the way leads to something vastly different.  For many involved in education, it is their job or business.  Their livelihood depends on the success and failure of their allotted tasks.  Intention and motivation take on a very different meaning when you have to answer to a superior.  And for some, that bait called wealth is a very dangerous and alluring call to action.  But it isn’t always the right action.  It’s called life, and I’ve gotten things wrong on here.  I’ve piped off without thinking, gotten angry, and even hurt my own reputation.  I’ve gotten mad at friends.  I know it, and at the end of the day, lying in bed with nothing but myself and my thoughts in that transition period between awake and asleep, I feel it.  There are things I regret doing during this journey.  Things I’ve said I just can’t take back.  It is very easy to tell yourself you are in the right, but if it comes at the expense of hurting another without knowing all the facts or justification (as in helping to protect the kids or parents), it can hurt.  I’ve been told I am cocky, arrogant, and ignorant.  On the flip side, which is even more dangerous in my opinion, I’ve been told I am a “savior for education”.  That frightens me more than anything.  I am no savior and I am no saint!  I’m just a dad writing.

With that being said, and I’ve said this before but not fully implemented this goal, I am going to make a concerted effort to be more careful about what I say and be less opinionated.  I’m also going to try to reach out to other parties instead of just doing the blitzkrieg article and ask questions later.  I may not agree with another person, and lets face it, many folks will outright lie when you catch them in wrongdoing, but I at least need to give the benefit of the doubt whenever possible.  The caveat to this is if children or anyone is in imminent danger.  I have received information like this, acted on it, and never written about it.  I have no idea what the end results were, but I did my part.

I have one story I’ve been working on for a very long time, and I received information on it the other day that could draw it towards a conclusion, but I don’t even know if it is a story I can or even want to finish.  You see, last spring and summer someone reached out to me.  I still don’t know what their motivations were half the time, but it was meant to be in confidence.  Longtime readers know exactly who this person is.  When an issue became very blurry, I performed a very public outing of this person on here and betrayed the single most important journalistic and blogger credo: never out a source.  I let personal feelings, stemming from the fact that I felt like I was fooled and played with, cloud my judgment.  I justified it even when some were saying I was totally wrong.  I don’t agree with about 90% of what this person has to say.  I don’t like how they operate or how they go about their job.  I feel they interfere and manipulate others.  I have information that could, probably, bury this person.  And many would cheer if I did so.  But I couldn’t live with myself if I did it.  Not that way.  Not like that.  So to this person, and I hope you are reading this, I am sorry for what I did.  I still think you have some issues, and I would keep yourself in check, but your fall will not come from that.  And you can consider that chapter closed.

Does this mean I am now a Common Core Smarter Balanced Charter School Takeover of Public Education Rodel & Markell loving DOE sympathizer kind of guy?  Hell no.  None of my feelings have changed on any of it.  I will continue to write and do massive amounts of research and not get paid a penny for it.  Folks will see me, and wonder what I’m going to write.  But the feuding and animosity and vitriol coming out of me, I just can’t keep doing it like that.  It’s not good for me and it certainly isn’t good for anyone I profess to help if that is the end result.  No more email lightning strike articles.  No more outing (it was only the one person).  No more screaming at Mark Murphy and the DOE or State Senators during public comment (see many articles from April to July).  I want folks to feel they can come to me if they want to clarify something and possibly respond to me if I touch base with them or seek information on something.  Threatening and posturing, while it may have short-term benefits, does not solve problems.

If anything, I want to write more about the good out there.  Like my recent article on Braeden Mannering, a truly awesome kid with a big heart.  I have literally heard teachers tell me they had to stop reading me for a while because of all the doom and gloom I was sending their way.  I would like to believe that for every harbinger of doom article, there can be an equally positive and uplifting story.  I just have to find them and I am reaching out right here and now for others to let me know about these stories.

When it comes to education, there is no way any one person can cover everything.  It is massive in scope and reaches into all facets of society.  I find out new things every single day I didn’t know before.  It will never end, and it will never be perfect.  I’m just one writer in a long history of past, present and future writers doing their part to chronicle the events and confusion and shed some light.  If I can help others along the way, it is all worth it.

TheHeartOfTheAndes

A Year And A Half Of Blogging

It has been a year and a half since I started this blog.  18 months today.  Over 2,000 posts.  Only three days where I didn’t write something: 6/16/14, 7/14/14, and 8/31/14.  There has been an article on here every day since 9/1/14.  Without fail.  Some days I’ve put tons of stuff up.  This should tell you something: how jacked up Delaware is with education.  The very fact that I could find over 1,000 things to write about proves this.  Some of the articles have common themes: Special Education, Opt-Out, Delaware DOE, Charter Schools and Governor Markell are the most obvious ones.  Today, I’m just going to free write, say what is on my mind.  No theme, no clear topic.  Just writing.

I never thought I would get involved in pending legislation, but I’ve learned it is very important to know what is coming.  Not just for yourself, but for your kids.  If I’ve learned nothing in the past 18 months, it is that every single voice does matter.  Don’t be afraid to use it.  You never know when it will make a difference.

I still remember that first night when I picked the name.  That nervous anticipation.  Picking my “header image”, which graced the front of this blog most days and nights until very recently when someone wrote to Warner Brothers about my use of their image.  Its not like I profited over it.  Just someone being bitter and resentful I’m sure.  Whoever you are, let me just say this: you suck!

The one question I am asked constantly is how I have the time to do this.  The easy answer: I don’t.  I’ve spent far too many late nights and early mornings on this blog.  It is exhausting.  And for a while there, I was going to every meeting under the sun.  I’m spent.  Tired.  Exhausted.  I’ve said this before, announcing I was going to slow down, only to come back roaring and writing more than ever.  But like any long distance runner, you eventually hit that wall.  Where your body just gives.  I’m pretty sure I’m at that point.  But I am resilient and bounce back fast, so any pause will be short-lived I’m sure.  Or the DOE or Markell will do something to tick us off and that gets the blood boiling again.

There are days where I feel like nothing I do makes a damn bit of difference.  Special education in Delaware is still a mess.  Jack is still messing things up.  The DOE will do as they please as long as Jack is protecting them.  Charters still have big issues.  I never dreamed there could be so many issues with education that would warrant daily articles.  It really is crazy.  I’m just tired of being mad all the time.  I’m tired of seeing the same people do the same things over and over again and nothing seems to stop them.  And I see others blindly following them, ignorant of what is right in front of them.  I’m sick of charter parents arguing the whole choice argument over and over like it is their kids God-given right to attend “great” schools and screw the other kids.  Is it right to be mad at them?  I don’t know.  I can explain it until the sun sets in the east, but until you have a child that has experienced the painful art of not being included somewhere or not given services they are legally entitled to, it is probably hard to imagine.  But then I see something like House Bill 50 passing the General Assembly, or schools like Family Foundations Academy or Delaware Met and their stories being made public when most of the mainstream media aren’t touching on a quarter of the issues going on in these schools.  Someone has to tell the tales.

I don’t write much about my son on here any more.  Its not because I don’t want to, but I feel his stories are his to tell.  I could write stuff every single day about him.  But he knows I blog, and he knows what I blog about.  I’m cool with that.  Some days he wants to hear about stuff, but most days he just wants to be a kid.  Nothing wrong with that at all.

I got a hair cut the other day.  For men getting older, do you ever just watch as your hair falls and you notice as the years go by how much is grey or white?  I saw that today.  Usually it is brown with bits of grey here and there.  On Friday, it was a lot more.  It makes you think.  Not about how long you’ve live, but how fast it goes.  You blink, and time is gone.  If this is my “time capsule”, so be it.  There are much worse things I could be doing!

The Fellowship Ends…

Anyone reading this will surely know that I have changed the header image on this blog.  When I began this journey a year and a half ago, I saw the image as a good representative of the journey special needs children in Delaware have to take.  They are all different, but they are all travelling toward a common destination: adulthood.  Navigating them through education in Delaware is a nightmare of epic proportions.  That image is now gone, and I have put in a filler one for the meantime.  I would like to say this was well thought-out and planned, but it wasn’t.  For reasons beyond my control, I have been asked to take down the image of Frodo and Friends.  I am happy to comply, but I will miss seeing the journey every day.  But perhaps it is time to ramp things up on here, so be on the lookout for something more Delaware specific…

The Exceptional Delaware Top 50

What are the most read articles on Exceptional Delaware?  Some may not surprise you but others definitely will.  I like to do this every six months or so to show my readers what they are reading about the most.  The biggest riser in the last month may or may not shock you, but it is sitting very comfortably in the #4 slot behind the explosive #3 position.  The most recent article to make this list, about Arne Duncan’s resignation, is near the bottom of this list, but keep in mind these are the top 50 out of 1,725 articles I’ve published since June 13th, 2014.  While I was writing this yesterday, Arne’s exit jumped from the #50 to the #46 position in five minutes, so I will wait until this morning to adjust the position.  Okay, time jump here.  It is now the morning, and Arne Duncan’s exit is now in the #17 slot!  I can say I have never received so many Facebook notifications in my life as I have for Arne’s exit.

1.      US DOE & Arne Duncan Drop The Mother Of All Bombs On States Special Education Rights
2.      My Special Needs Son’s First Day Of Common Core Division & This Is His Homework
3.      Charter School of Wilmington & Discrimination: Student Denied Due Process and Subject To Potential Profiling By Head Of School
4.      Teach For America Rejected & Slammed At Professional Standards Board Meeting Last Night **UPDATED**
5.      Breaking News: Court Rules Smarter Balanced Assessment Violates The U.S. Constitution
6.      Breaking News: Family Foundations Academy Under Financial Investigation With State Auditor @KilroysDelaware @ed_in_de @Apl_Jax @RCEAPrez @GovernorMarkell @DeStateBoardEd @DeDeptofEd @TNJ_malbright @Delawareonline @nannyfat @Avi_WA @wboc @WDEL @nicholedobo @USDoe @ArneDuncan #netde #eduDE #Delaware #edchat
7.      Breaking News: Priority Schools in Christina Will Convert To Red Clay in 2016
8.      Delaware Race To The Top, Hedge Funds & Millions Wasted: The Story of Rodel, Markell, Charters & The Vision Network
9.      Email To Delaware Superintendents and Heads of School re: Parent Opt Out, DE DOE, Governor Markell and Corporate Education Reform
10.  Opt Out Week In Delaware Begins…NOW!
11.  Brandywine Superintendent Holodick Says Parents Can’t Opt Out, Not Your Choice Buddy
12.  Exclusive: Explosive Events At Delaware PTA Parent Opt Out Town Hall Last Night **UPDATED**
13.  Poverty Matters! Smarter Balanced Impact: The Sussex Academy Effect
14.  US DOE Letter To Mark Murphy About Parent Opt-Out, This Is An Empty Threat And Here’s Why…
15.  The Delaware DOE Is Terrified Of The Parent Opt Out Movement
16.  ***UPDATED 10/31/14*** DOE & Arne Duncan Accused of Breaking The Law With IDEA & Special Education by GOP Senate #netde #eduDE @BadassTeachersA @DianeRavitch
17. Breaking News: Arne Duncan Resigning As US Secretary of Education
18.  Senator Lamar Alexander: States Can’t Give Parents The Right To Opt Their Children Out, We Already Own That Right!
19.  DOOM comes to schools in Delaware! Parents, Go To School Board Meetings This Month, and do this… @KilroysDelaware @ed_in_de @dwablog @nannyfat @ecpaige #netde #eduDE
20.  Delaware House Bill 50 Would Allow Parent Opt-Out Of Smarter Balanced & Protect Teachers
21.  New York Superintendent Writes Best Letter Ever: “I Do Not Care…”
22.  Breaking News: DOE Advising Legislators Of Smarter Balanced Results Before Districts and Parents!!!!
23.  Why It Is Necessary To Reveal A High-Profile Source….
24.  The DOE, State Board & Superintendents Want To Get Opt-Out Punishment Into State Code Before January
25.  Christina Referendum Does Not Pass…Cowards Who Voted No Want Children To Suffer
26.  Charter School of Wilmington Leader Dr. Paoli Under Fire In Change.org Petition To Restore Dr. Fleetwood’s Contract
27.  Governor Markell Abusing Power With House Bill 50, Parent Press Conference 3/25
28.  Red Clay & Christina Educators Association Announce Resolution of No Confidence in Mark Murphy, DOE & State Board, Demand Public Election of State Board
29.  February is DOOM, aka Delaware Opt Out Month! How To Opt Your Child Out of Smarter Balanced
30.  Now Providence Creek Academy (Charter School) is in Hot Water With Parents! No Love From DE Charter School Network for Kent County Charters?@KilroysDelaware @ed_in_de #netde #eduDE #edchat
31.  Exclusive: Governor Markell Letter To General Assembly, DOE Freaking Out Over Opt Out
32.  Exclusive: Red Clay & Delaware DOE Letters You Have To See To Believe! Must Read!!!!!
33.  Delaware State Rep. Kowalko and Senator Lawson Sponsor Parent Opt Out Legislation To General Assembly
34.  Charter School Teachers Getting Preferential Treatment at Market Street Village, Discrimination Against Public School Teachers
35.  Smarter Balanced Opt Out Letter For Delaware Parents To Use
36.  US Department of Education Gives A Case For Parent Opt Out of Standardized Testing
37.  Family Foundations Acad. Head of School Sean Moore No Longer Treasurer of Delaware Charter School Network
38.  United States H. R. #2382 Would Allow Parents To Opt Out Of Standardized Assessments Under Federal Law
39.  Breaking News: Delaware Colleges & Universities To Use Smarter Balanced Scores For Acceptance Credentials
40.  The Last Exceptional Delaware Post
41.  Rodel’s CEO Dr. Herdman Sent An Email Re: Rodel Article, My Response & Challenge
42.  Delaware: Email Your State Reps and Senators NOW About Parent Opt Out House Bill in Circulation
43.  Special Education In America: Where is it going? Spread this link all over! Reblog! #netde #eduDE #delaware @usedgov
44.  Breaking News: Delaware DOE To Punish Schools Over Opt-Out Rate w/School Report Card, Did NOT Submit This For ESEA Waiver
45.  Breaking News! Governor Markell Publicly Announces He Will Veto Parent Opt-Out Bill
46.  The Governor Markell FOIA Release: Rodel, Herdman, RTTT, Common Core, and guess who’s coming to town…
47.  **UPDATED 7:35AM, 11/5/14** Providence Creek Academy’s Hot Mess! This Is Why Transparency Is Needed From DE Charters! @KilroysDelaware @ed_in_de @dwablog @ecpaige @nannyfat #netde #eduDE #Delaware
48.  Academy of Dover In Serious Trouble Over Noel Rodriguez’ P-Card Splurges & The Schools $2 Million Dollar+ Judgment
49.  Budget Projections Place Christina In Jeopardy In A Year If Current Trends Continue
50.  The Delaware Battle For Public Education Is America’s War

Who Reads Exceptional Delaware? Not Mongolia!

I like doing this every once in a while.  Internationally, Exceptional Delaware has been read by most of the world.  The biggest continents I need to fill are Africa and Asia.  The United States is obviously my most-read country, but what other countries are my biggest readers?

view=geoviews&summarize&numdays=-1

If a section is white, that means I have not obtained any viewers from that country.  I’ve been aggressive with certain countries like Greenland.  I actively found a blog in Greenland and reblogged it earlier this year!  My goal is to fill in this map, but does every country in the world have internet access?  I would assume they do, but in a case like North Korea would they even allow any data out of the country?  The biggest country in terms of size that hasn’t viewed Exceptional Delaware is Mongolia.  C’mon Mongolia! Get with the program!  As well, a lot of the Stan countries haven’t yet.  Our last two wars haven’t either, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The English speaking countries are my largest “non-American viewership” followed by India, Germany, Russia and Mexico.

Top 25 Countries Reading Exceptional Delaware:
Country
1. United States of America
2. United Kingdom
3. Canada
4. India
5. Australia
6. Germany
7. Russia
8. Mexico
9. France
10. Kuwait
11. Netherlands
12. Italy
13. Puerto Rico
14. Philippines
15. Spain
16. South Africa
17. Norway
18. Ireland
19. Japan
20. Singapore
21. South Korea
22. Jamaica
23. Romania
24. New Zealand
25. Austria

Exceptional Delaware Gets A New Look

I decided Exceptional Delaware needs a facelift.  You can only stare at the same Lord of the Rings picture so long!  But seriously, it’s a time of change for all of us, and what better way to celebrate (or mourn) those changes than a new look.  I may tinker with it a bit, but let me know what you think.  Hate it? Love it? Want the old way back? Don’t care but just keep doing what you’re doing? Let me know!

Happy Birthday Exceptional Delaware!!!!

My little blog is now one!  This year flew by fast.  I still remember that Friday night, creating this monster.  The name Exceptional Delaware just popped up in my head.  And the main picture on this has raised questions from a few folks.  What is it?  Why do you have it?  It’s from Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.  I chose it to show how so many different folks can come together for a common goal.  And that’s what we all should be doing.  Parents, teachers, and schools should all be joining forces to eviscerate and destroy the corporate education reform scams going on in our schools.

In the past year, I’ve made many new friends and I feel very blessed for that.  I couldn’t have done most of this if it weren’t for them.  As my readership continues to grow, I often forget I have new readers, so I want to start doing recaps about what’s happened, where we are at now, and where we could be doing and where we should be going.

The enemies of public education think they are winning and they can just get stuff past us.  Sure, we might pitch a fit, but we can’t stop them.  Right? WRONG!  As more of us join forces and fight this money-making debacle that is killing schools and morale, we are finding out more and more everyday.

For all of Governor Markell and Arne Duncan’s false threats, we are still here.  We are still fighting the fight.  Some of us have won battles only to get our gut punched shortly after.  And so it goes.  But we have something the bad guys don’t: transparency, honesty, and a great deal of resolve.

In my eyes, special education will be what gives the final kick in the ass to the corporate raiders.  I’ve always sensed this.  It has certainly given me the motivation to do what I do.  Because nothing pisses a parent off more than watching their kid not get something they are entitled to.  Parents of special needs parents have their bad days, but do something to our kid, and we are on it like white on rice.  We are all wising up to the games being played in that arena, and we will do what we have to do.

A year ago, Legislative Hall had the Smarter Balanced bill as the huge education bill on the homestretch.  Sadly, it passed.  This year there are two kinds of education bills that will have immense implications: the opt-out bill, House Bill 50, and Senate Bill 122, which would give the UNELECTED State Board of Education the power to change district lines.  SB 122, as written now, may give the General Assembly authority over this.  The key word is may.  A lot of games are playing out with both these bills.  One has drawn out for over four months while the other has already passed the Senate in a matter of days.

All will eventually be revealed with all of this, and I will do my best to find the missing pieces of the puzzle.  But I can say this… a picture is forming and the missing pieces are becoming easier to find.  In any event, Happy Birthday Exceptional Delaware.  Here’s to another crazy year!

The Monstrous Ego Of Exceptional Delaware

As the opt-out movement is increasing in Delaware and charters are held to the fire, I’ve noticed the comments on here are getting more hostile and opponents of my views are not shying away from expressing their views.  Good, I want you to feel free to state your opinion.

Someone wrote the other day “I get that your blog exists only to stroke your own ego, and not to report responsibly about anything going on in the state…”  This commenter went on to talk about how I have the whole Academy of Dover and the Citizens Budget Oversight Committee mess wrong.  I don’t mind someone pointing out when they feel I am wrong, but please back it up with facts on how you think I’m wrong.  Otherwise I can only view it as opinion.

I’m quite sure I’m getting a lot of heat over my articles on disability organizations in the state.  That’s fine.  I’m not the only one expressing their views on their uneducated opposition of parent opt-out.  I have no qualms doing this either.  Many citizens in the state rely on their “expert” opinions and I have just as much right to challenge them than anyone else.  Some see this as a hostile stance, but I believe their initial actions are very hostile.

As far as my ego running amok, I don’t see it that way.  I see it as someone not operating out of fear or any restrictions to what I report.  Do I get everything right 100% of the time? No.  Sometimes I am fed false information, or complicated data can be misinterpreted based on the wording surrounding it.  It doesn’t mean I am completely wrong in my assertions, but it may not be as bad.  To the commenter who said I don’t report responsibly, how would you rate the media in Delaware in terms of responsible reporting?  Would you say they are 100% unbiased and follow every edict of professional journalism?  Is there such a thing as investigative journalism in Delaware education aside from bloggers?  Because the way I see it, most of the articles in mainstream media on education in Delaware come from the Delaware DOE, Governor Markell’s office, Legislative Hall, or local school stories.  Or the lobbyist organizations in the state who want to promote their views on education.

I remember when I first started digging into Family Foundations Academy last December, and I received many emails from angry parents telling me how wrong I was about Sean Moore and Tennell Brewington.  How dare I state they are stealing from the school.  Well they were, and when it came out in the News Journal a month later, it was the gospel truth.  I don’t mind taking the heat for articles like that because I know the truth will prevail eventually and if I can stir the pot, I will.

Because I dare to go against the highest powers in the state, I must operate out of a feeling of bravery.  I can’t cower to their intimidation or strong attempts to dissuade the public from pursuing issues that go against them.  That would not be responsible of me.  I don’t do this for me.  I do this for the 133,000 public school students who have no voice.  I do it for their parents.  I do it because my own son was a victim of so many egregious events in Delaware schools and this caused me to start digging for the truth.  I do it because our Governor and the DOE run around like every decision they make is right and they are infallible.  I do it because very few will and I have a moral responsibility to do so.

I will fully admit I drop easter eggs into articles all the time, hints of future articles.  For those who are well-informed of things, they see it.  There are some I have inserted into articles that nobody gets but make sense later on when I do post an article concerning that hint.  I get information all the time from several sources, some that nobody knows about.  Some of them turn out to be nothing, but some lead me in a certain direction only to have it turn out to be something completely different but even bigger than the lead.  And some, these poor desperate souls, try to give me blatantly false information in an attempt to diminish what I do.  And some think their lead is a big story, but it falls apart.

I don’t reveal these sources, and I’ve had to kill some stories because the very act of publishing the article would reveal that source in such a way they would be greatly impacted if I did so.  Usually I find a way around it and the story is slightly less than what it was meant to be, but there are some articles that will never see the light of day.  But if someone makes a public comment, anywhere, than I believe that is fair game.  If they contradict themselves publicly, and I find it, and it could change conversation, I’ll do it.  There are some stories I stumble on through sheer luck, and this happens more than anyone would think.  I do tons of research, sometimes keeping me up until the times when most sane people have long since gone to bed.

As an example of the leads I get, Kilroy wrote last night about how Moyer is having a lot of 1/2 days for professional development and he questioned the authenticity of this.  Someone emailed me how East Side Charter has 1/2 days every single Friday.  I immediately went to their website, verified my source was correct, but I checked to see what their hours of operation are: 8-4 Monday to Thursday and 8 to 12:30 on Fridays.  Most schools operate on a 7 hour day Monday to Friday, but East Side does it a little bit differently but the hours of instruction are actually a little bit more than most schools.  I am sure the person who sent me this information would not mind my writing about this to prove my point.

I find it ironic that those who accuse me the most of having this monstrous ego are usually anonymous but want to take potshots at me to think they are bashing me while under the guise of anonymity thinking they will persuade the entire readership of this blog that I am nothing.  I know I’m not going to change education in Delaware to my way of thinking.  But I do know many things I’ve written about have gotten conversations going.  And I’ve done this without joining one single group that would cause me to stifle my actions.  If that’s ego, I will gladly accept the accusation.  I do this for free, with no rewards or benefit.  And I happily accept this odd fate life has given me.  At the end of the day it’s about transparency and looking out for students in Delaware.  I don’t see them complaining, it’s the adults who are afraid to speak out because they are in positions where doing so would cause them problems.

I would challenge all Delaware parents of students to actively go to board meetings of your schools and state organizations.  Check out their websites.  Does what appears on there match what they are saying in meetings?  Are they being completely honest with the public?  Check out their finances and what is reported on the state websites about contracts and money going out.  Make Google your best friend.  After you have done all that, come back with information about why I am so wrong all the time.

An Important Message About Comments & Articles On Exceptional Delaware

As a parent, the topic of opt-out is VERY personal to me.  It reaches right into our home.  But we have to realize there are those who have differing views.  It’s what makes us America.  As proponents of opt-out, we may disagree with those views, but we have to allow others to express their opinion, otherwise we are taking away their ability to make their own choices.  But what should not be tolerated are attacks that cross the line, that delve into matters that should not be a matter of public record and have no bearing on the issues at hand.

Delaware is a weird little state.  So many citizens either work for the state, are married to someone who works for the state, or have relationships or are friends with someone in that capacity.  I know they say opposites attract, but the reality in most situations is we tend to associate with like-minded persons.  With that being said, comments in this blog reflecting these situations beyond the topic at hand will either be moderated or deleted.  If someone speaks out publicly and they themselves introduce it into the matter of public opinion, that’s one thing.  Or if an extreme conflict of interest washes over into something that affects the public interest, than I believe that should be addressed.  But comments that either have no bearing or have the ability to deeply offend someone really shouldn’t happen.

We are all adults, but if you are writing a comment and that little voice goes off inside your head saying “Should I be doing this?”, please listen to that voice.  I get attacked all the time over on Kilroy’s.  But I also comment freely over there and I know I will get attacked.  I see Kilroy’s as the wild west of the blogs in Delaware.  Some examples of things I have written about on here are Family Foundations Academy.  I wrote about personal relationships within the school.  They were already a part of the official public comment period on the school, and it clearly created a severe conflict of interest for the school.  So that, in my opinion is fair game.  I have also written about a married couple who hold high positions in a state Department and one of their contractors.  Do I believe that is a conflict of interest?  Yes.

I posted an article yesterday about two educators in our state and their connections with outside companies.  They both publicly commented against opt out in a public forum.  Do I think they hate children? No.  I don’t think anyone goes into teaching because they don’t like kids.  Do I disagree with their ideology?  Yes, in regards to opt out and standardized testing.  They may be the greatest teachers in the world, but I firmly believe they are doing a disservice to children in opposing opt-out.

It has been a rare occasion where I have had to delete a comment.  It’s not something I enjoy doing, but I will if I have to.  None of this changes my viewpoints on any of the issues I speak about.  But we have to remember we are all people, with real feelings and emotions.  Respect goes both ways.  Thank you, and let’s fight the good fight, no matter which side we are on.

The Exceptional Delaware Correct The Blogger Challenge

Okay, so I’ve been known to be wrong on a few things here and there.  But what if I never knew I was wrong?  Or what if someone told me I was but never told me how I was wrong?  Here is your chance, going back to the beginning of this blog.  If I’ve ever gotten something wrong, please email me at kevino3670@yahoo.com to let me know, and I will publish it along with a reblog of the story.  But there are some rules:

You have to tell me how I was wrong.  If it was a theory, tell me what I need to know.  If it is based on some type of investigation I did where I have actual evidence, give me something to contradict that evidence.  If you just email me and say I was wrong, then nothing happens.  Understand, this will be published.  But here’s your chance to get your side straight if I got it wrong.  If it’s an opinion you feel I was wrong about, I’ll still publish it but I still may not agree with you.  If I wrote a personal story about my son, this doesn’t count.

I got this idea from a Delaware DOE employee of all people.  She commented on a Facebook post I was on about a recent FOIA email I posted and how I was wrong.  But she didn’t tell me how I was wrong.  Here’s her chance.  And this is not a trap for an attack.  I can’t stop commenters, but I will not do that.

Here is your chance Rodel, DOE, Charters, and all the rest!

Exceptional Delaware Celebrates 6 Months!

It’s hard to believe Exceptional Delaware is already half a year old.  This little project officially began one Friday night back in June.  I spent a long time trying to figure out the name of the blog, and when it came to me it I knew I had to start it right away.

Back then, my focus was solely on special education in Delaware.  But once you open up a door, there can be many rooms.  I never in my wildest dreams thought I would write so much about the Delaware DOE, but there is a treasure trove of material to cover with them.  Almost every day recently.  I intend to focus on how our DOE is compared to the big picture in the country.  Delaware is it’s own bizarre little world at times, and it’s a lot like Cheers, where everybody knows your name.  But there are many outside forces that influence how things run in Delaware, more than I ever thought possible.  But they all filter through Governor Markell.

Special education is still the heart and soul of Exceptional Delaware.  Who would have thought special education would become an even bigger issue right after I started this?  They say timing is everything, and what with the Fed announcement about Delaware in late June, the IEP Task Force, changes to state law regarding special needs children and state assessments, and the virtual ignorance of special education by certain factions in Delaware, I picked a good time to start this adventure.

The next couple weeks will be VERY interesting.  The DOE is going to have a bad week next week.  And there will be fallout.  2015 is a year of Vision, because Vision told us that.  Everyone laughs at them, because they change their years so much.  But make no mistake about it, they did reach their goals for 2015.  The only problem is they aren’t the goals the public knows about.  Like any fine wine, certain things need to age a bit, but mark my words Rodel: I’m not done with you yet, not by a long shot!  But I am glad I caught your attention.

Thank you to all the readers: parents, teachers, legislators, citizens, DOE employees, and fellow bloggers.  This would be nothing without you!