I’ve written many articles over the past two years pointing out inconsistencies and downright violations of Delaware and Federal law. I have called out elected and state officials countless times. I care about education. I care about transparency. I care about due process. I care about the law. There are many who I believe, and others constantly agree with me, that talk the talk but their actions speak otherwise. They are the Governor, the Delaware DOE, the Delaware State Board of Education, Delaware Congressmen, and several of our State Senators and Representatives. They are district and charter leaders as well. They are lobbyists and special interests. They are non-profit corporations.
But there are also those that desperately care, that stick their neck out to do the right thing. People like Kim Williams and John Kowalko. Those that defy the will of their party in favor of the will of the people. Who listen to their constituents and act. People like Mike Matthews and Jackie Kook, who do everything in their power to make things right for teachers in our state. People like Dave Lawson, who I don’t always agree with, but is willing to call out our DOE and attempt to make changes to our education system even though it is an exercise in futility. People like Jennifer Nagourney, who I also don’t always agree with, but made sure transparency was a top priority for our Delaware charter schools. People like John Young and Liz Paige, who aren’t afraid to question and call out the actions of the Christina School District. There are countless others. Those I don’t always agree with, but I know they are trying to do the right thing.
When it comes to kids and education, there is no right and left. There is no liberal and conservative. There is no Democrat and Republican, blue or red. There are children and teenagers. With disabilities, different skin colors, talented, gifted, poor, who come from environments of trauma and violence. All across the state. Who don’t speak our language. Who don’t understand the machinations of adults who do not have their best interests at heart. They are my political allegiance. Over 130,000 children who don’t have an allegiance. Who aren’t getting what they rightfully deserve. Who are the pawns in a game of corporate interest and profits. They are who matters.
So when I call out a collective body, such as the Delaware General Assembly, it is not to insult those whose hard work I admire. It is the group as a whole. I am angry. I show it and I know it. And I truly don’t care. I am constantly told to calm down, or to temper my thoughts, or to compromise. Sometimes I do, but more often than not, I blast. I lash out. I act. Why? Because if I don’t, who will? I’m not trying to martyr myself here. But every thought, every word I write, is about kids. It is about our future who we, as a collective country, are throwing to the wolves. It’s about my own son, who was violated and discriminated against. Who is just one of many in our state who experienced the same thing. They dominate my thoughts and my words. If it isn’t good for them or their future, I write. I don’t care who I tick off along the way. I don’t care if my articles offend those who have a vested interest that will not ultimately benefit the students of Delaware. I don’t care if politicians treat me like dirt or laugh at me or ignore me. I don’t care if I am called a conspiracy theorist or that I wear a tin hat. They are not why I do this. I am not here to appease or compromise. I am here to teach, and educate, and inform. I am here to point out the issues and the situations that will lead to a bad outcome for students. To catch the cracks in the dam before they explode. View this is arrogant all you want. I don’t care. If I get something wrong, I’ll fix it. I will edit or update. But what I will not do is compromise my integrity or morals over the best interests of children. What began as a fight for special needs children evolved a long time ago into all students. I will always befriend both sides of the aisle and those who don’t pledge to those two sides. I will engage with my enemies as well. I will take the awkward or angry stares and conversations. I will put myself into the den of the lion and roar. But that does not mean I will tolerate violations of the law. I will not tolerate interpretations of the law that have no justification. I will not hide behind a black curtain covering up the truth.
There is a dark and festering rot in this state. It isn’t going away any time soon. As long as it is there, taking away from children and benefitting adults, I will continue to piss off many. I will speak for those who aren’t able to or don’t know how. For the parents of these children who are struggling in their own way who may not have the means or ability to speak. For teachers who truly care about students and just want to do their job, who are threatened and demeaned by many. I almost caved and joined the system by running for the Capital School Board. In hindsight, I am very glad I lost. It would have forced me to be in a position of compromise and to not always act in the best interest of children. It would have tainted me. It would have forced me to look out for a corporation, a school district, instead of the students that are the heart of the district. This is who I am. Take it or leave it. Like it or hate it. Accept me or not. I’m here to stay.