Glasgow High School & Christina School District In Big Trouble With Delaware DOE Who Fell Asleep At The Wheel And Let It All Happen

In the wake of the IEP scandal at Glasgow High School, ALL of Christina School District is at the mercy of the Delaware Department of Education when it comes to special education.  Following the events concerning fake IEP meetings at Glasgow High School that I published in October, the Delaware Department of Education was forced to act.  But questions linger about how and why the Delaware DOE was unable to find out before they did. Continue reading

Explosive Public Comment For Odyssey’s Renewal, McGuiness Fails To Deliver

Public comment sent to the Charter School Office at the Delaware Department of Education indicates the AHEPA members of the Board of Directors over at Odyssey Charter School STILL haven’t learned the lesson that put them on formal review in the first place!

This prompted Delaware State Rep. Kim Williams to file Freedom of Information Act violations against the Board of Directors not once, but twice!

Sounds like AHEPA has some explaining to do!

Meanwhile, Delaware State Auditor Kathy McGuiness has failed to deliver the audit investigation into Odyssey Charter School.  They informed the school it was “anticipated” by December 15th.  It is now December 18th and the State Board of Education is making an important decision about this school in two days at their monthly meeting.  Once again, missing information.  But hey, let’s give McG a big break because I’m sure she is really busy socializing around Delaware for every opportunity she can get to let folks know she is Kathy McGuiness and some useless facts about the Auditor of Accounts office!

My prediction: further probation for Odyssey Charter School until all the facts come out on this stuff!

Christina Board President leads central office purge and stifles public opinion while hapless board just watches the district burn…

And it all falls apart…

Transparent Christina 2.0

Christina Board Meeting footage

Last night, the Christina School District Board held its monthly meeting.

It was a doozy. They accepted a long overdue resignation from their superintendent and then summarily fired four district employees via a contract non-renewal technique all while suffering through Board President Dr. Meredith Griffin’s repeated attempts to muzzle and the actual muzzling of taxpayers (aka his constituents) at a public mic at a public meeting WITHOUT board approval. (more on this in a future post)

He was primarily aided and abetted in the purge by board members Dr. Keeley Powell and Dr. Claire O’Neal mostly by their stark silence, who also happen to work together at the University of Delaware in the same department (UD College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment: here and here) and are the two shortest tenured board members. Dr. Griffin shared a vague sensability regarding cultural change being at the…

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Lazarus Mike Matthews Comes Out Of His Facebook Sabbatical With Big News!!!

Well over a year after former Delaware State Education Association President Mike Matthews resigned from his position, he announced last night he is seeking a seat on the Executive Board of DSEA.

Hello, friends. Hope you’re doing OK. Not going to take a lot of your time.

Just reaching out to all of my friends and Delaware educators on here to let you know I’ve just submitted my petition to DSEA to run for a seat on their Executive Board. New Castle County gets 16 seats and 8 of those seats are up this year.

As a former state and local leader, I want to continue to be an advocate for educators and students in Dover. Times remain turbulent in education today and we need assertive voices in the mix to make sure our concerns are front and center with both our state union leadership and elected officials in Dover.

The election will be in January. You should receive your ballot by email. If you’re a DSEA member, I would love having your vote and I would love it if you would consider sharing this message to let your friends know I’m running.

This is not a statewide election. Only members who work in New Castle County will be able to vote in my election. I would be humbled to earn your vote.

Thank you all for your continued love and support over the last year. It has gotten me through a really tough time, but I like to think I’m back and my engine is fired up again.

In Solidarity,

Mike

I wish I could say I was shocked but I’m not.  Matthews is not one to stay quiet for too long.  I couldn’t believe he managed to stay off Facebook for seven months.  But the Red Clay teacher isn’t quite done with his union work.  Will Matthews get back into DSEA?  Could this be a sign of Matthews seeking the Presidential seat again at some point?  Time will tell!

2019 September 30th Numbers Show Special Education Is Up But Another Key Demographic Is Decreasing

The Delaware Department of Education released the 2019 September 30th Unit Count report earlier this month.  Special education numbers are rising each year.  This is now the 6th year I’ve written about this report.  This covers everything: special education, demographics of each district and charter school, and enrollment trends in Delaware’s public education.  One of the demographics in Delaware public schools is actually decreasing which came off as shocking to myself. Continue reading

Board Meeting 11.5.19: Public Comment

Nothing better than a former board member ripping his own board with a public comment for the ages!

Transparent Christina 2.0

Below is my public comment submitted to the Christina Board of Education

Tonight, as you prepare to re-vote
for the open board seat due to your flagrant, ill-informed, and seemingly ill-intended
desire to hide your voting behind a secret ballot that resulted in district
counsel being forced to confirm that you indeed flouted Delaware’s open meeting
laws, which you each took an oath to uphold, I thought it would be a good time
to remind the board that the public that elected you has deep, abiding concerns
with some of your recent behaviors.

Here’s a short list:

  • Permitting a school grow a 5-foot weed garden in its front yard, facing
    the community, with taxpayer monies
  • Permitting your special ed director to leave without a replacement, causing
    serious special education concerns in the district to grow.
  • Conducting top secret meetings with NCS leadership absent board assent, necessary
    granted authorities, or fellow…

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Public Comment on Autism Respite 10/8/2019. #netDE #eduDE

Transparent Christina 2.0

President
Griffin, Executive Secretary Gregg, members of the board of education,

I stand
before you today as a resident, taxpayer, referendum voter, and father to Evan,
an 18 year old in the Delaware Autism Program who has utilized respite
services.

As you can
probably guess, I’m displeased right now. This board, through its persistent
inaction and inattentiveness, combined with its recalcitrance to hold its
leaders meaningfully accountable has unwittingly participated in a crime against
the Autism community. CSD administration’s decision to suspend respite absent
your explicit assent yielded what amounts to an act of emotional terrorism upon
Autism families. The primary caregivers to our students in need have been
subjected to 10 days of trauma,,,scrambling to make adjustments by a decision
thrust upon them with no notice.

As CSD has
embarked upon its reckless, directionless transformation of city schools it has
been focusing on trauma informed practices as a primary…

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DelawareCAN policy intern takes on DE School Board elections, and it’s a cliched take at best. #netDE #eduDE

Transparent Christina 2.0

The article: https://www.delawareonline.com/story/opinion/contributors/2019/07/05/why-did-firefly-draw-more-people-than-delaware-school-board-elections/1638930001/

Alphina Kamara takes on DE school board elections by sharing her take on voter apathy by revealing exactly how spectacularly unsuccessful DelawareCAN’s unfortunately named “Who Runs Delaware’s Schools” campaign (School boards do not run schools, they govern. Also, individual board members are functionally powerless by design) has been. In her article she trots out Rep. Baumbach’s terrible bill, that even when modified got exactly zero votes on the floor (it was such a bad bill it didn’t even get run by the Speaker). She neglected to address the bill’s design to pay board members, throwing their independence into play, and only focused on the term reduction aspect claiming, without proof, that it gives voters more choice. She then accuses Paul’s fellow legislators are apathetic (“his efforts have gotten a weak response”) public servants who are embracing the status quo.

Ah, the old status quo argument…that the same…

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Rep. Paul Baumbach’s HB 134: Neutered AND Spayed.

Glad to see this blog back!

Transparent Christina 2.0

So, Paul is trying to modify school board members’ terms from 5 to 3 years and pay them $100 per meeting.

Yeah, that didn’t go so well, check out these two amendments:

https://legis.delaware.gov/BillDetail?legislationId=47785 https://legis.delaware.gov/BillDetail?legislationId=47783

Here’s the letter I sent when it was introduced:

YOUNG JOHN Fri 5/3/2019 10:11 AMTo:

  • Baumbach, Paul

Cc:

  • Viola, John;
  • Sokola, David;
  • Townsend, Bryan;
  • Jaques, Jr, Earl;
  • Williams, Kimberly;
  • CSD Board Members;
  • Bolden, Stephaniet;
  • Lynn, Sean M;
  • Matthews, Sean;
  • Heffernan, Debra;
  • Kowalko, John;
  • Melisa.Minor-Brown@state.de.us;
  • Osienski, Edward;
  • Johnson, Kendra;
  • Briggsking, Ruth;
  • Chukwuocha, Nnamdi;
  • Hensley, Kevin S;
  • Collins, Rich G;
  • Postles, Charles;
  • Ramone, Michael;
  • Shupe, Bryan;
  • Smith, Michael;
  • Bunting Susan;
  • John Marinucci <delawaresba@gmail.com>

Honorable Paul S. Baumbach,
I have read with great interest your bill (HB134) filed 2 May 2019. I have some comments, concerns, and suggestions.
First, on the issue of three year terms I fully agree that 5 is too long; however, I…

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Kowalko Blasts JFC For Charter School Transportation Slush Fund In Light Of Odyssey Debacle

Another year, another Charter school transportation slush fund discussion. Given Odyssey Charter School’s misappropriation of funds, followed by a plethora of other charter schools over the past ten years, why is this state continuing to give taxpayer money away with no oversight?

In a blatant disregard for fiscal responsibility and Delaware law, for almost a decade, the Joint Finance Committee has inserted language into the annual budget bill to remove oversight and protections from the use of taxpayer money to fund charter schools. One charter school that is under investigation for financial mismanagement has received millions in unaccountable funding, including over $750,000 in the past year. I have consistently opposed this use of taxpayer money with no accountability or understanding for how it is spent. This year, I filed an amendment to remove this language from our budget, but it was shot down by the House at the request of the Democratic leadership and the Republican caucus. Delaware deserves better than this.

The charter school transportation slush fund has been inserted into the budget “epilogue language” for the past nine years by the head of the Joint Finance Committee, originally by former Representative Melanie George Smith. This year, the language was added at the last minute without any public discussion by current JFC chair Quinn Johnson. This addition into the back pages of the budget explicitly ignores current Delaware law that requires schools to return any additional money allocated to them for transportation costs. Instead, charter schools (and only charter schools) are allowed to keep any “extra” money given to them by the state. They get to keep that money and use it with no oversight and no accountability to the taxpayers or anyone else.

Our state should not be operated with a disregard to fiscal responsibility. The amount of unregulated money not subject to any accountability or legislative oversight has reached staggering proportions in recent years. In 2016, $898,026 was kept by charter schools in excess of their transportation costs. In 2017, that unregulated surplus grew to $1,262,930, and in 2018, it swelled to $1,418,707 in taxpayer money. Odyssey Charter, which is now under intense scrutiny for its spending and management performance, kept an excess of $299,001 in 2016, $598,405 in 2017, and a staggering $764,053 in 2018. Each year, the JFC has exempted this funding from the ordinary fiscal controls that would prevent this type of unaccounted taxpayer money.

My amendment to restore oversight and legislative fiscal responsibility on behalf of Delaware families and taxpayers failed this year in a shocking display of disregard for taxpayer money. The only members of the House who joined me were Representatives Kim Williams, David Bentz, and Andria Bennett. Please drop them a note of appreciation applauding their integrity and responsible judgment, and notify the dissenting House members of your disappointment in their failure to care about how your money is spent.

Representative John Kowalko

The most shocking thing about all this is how many members of the House voted no on Kowalko’s amendment.  Only four members, including Kowalko, voted yes for it.  Over half the amount of the total funds used in the charter school transportation slush fund in 2018 went to Odyssey Charter School.  How was that money spent?

 

Jaques Is Playing Tricks With 2% School Board Tax Bill While McGuiness and Schwartzkopf Conspire Against Charter School Audit Bill

l2schwartzkopf (2)

Earl Jaques is abusing his position as Chair of the House Education Committee while Speaker of the House Pete Schwartzkopf sits back and lets it all go down.  But Schwartzkopf will protect his buddy Kathy McGuiness at any cost. Continue reading

Odyssey Charter School Responds To Their Formal Review With Letters To Parents, Students and Teachers

After the State Board of Education put Odyssey Charter School under formal review last night, school leaders wrote a letter to the Odyssey community with a response.  In addition, I got my hands on the school’s response to Leroy Travers, the leader of the Charter School Office over at the Department of Education!

Odyssey Goes Under Formal Review For Financial & Governance Reasons

Yesterday, the Delaware State Board of Education voted in the majority to put Odyssey Charter School under formal review for six violations of Delaware state code. Continue reading

Did Hegedus Campaign Violate Election Law In Illegal Emails To State Teachers?

A school board campaign in Delaware could be breaking the law and they are turning what should be a fair election into a disgrace.  And how could a member of this campaign benefit should her ghost candidate win?  And which legislator is foolishly endorsing a candidate that won’t serve if elected? Continue reading

Picture Of The Day!!!!

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Was the Common Core Successful?

The simple answer is a big and fat resounding NO!!!!

Diane Ravitch's blog

It is probably far too soon to know whether the Common Core succeeded or failed, but the studies are beginning to appear.

The adoption of the Common Core standards was a central requirement of the Obama-Duncan Race to the Top program. States had to agree to adopt the Common Core if they wanted to be eligible to compete for $5 billion in federal funds. The Gates Foundation paid for the Common Core, from its writing to its implementation, at a cost estimated between hundreds of millions to $2 billion. (If anyone can determine how much money Bill Gates plowed into the CCSS, I will salute them on this blog). Arne Duncan could not pay for them because federal law bars any federal official from influencing curriculum or instruction. But Duncan did pay $360 million to pay for two testing consortia to develop new tests for the CCSS. PARCC and Smarter…

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Guest Post: “Who’s In Charge Of DAP?”

Elizabeth Scheinberg wrote a guest post on the recent revelation that the Delaware Department of Education would be taking over the administration of the Delaware Autism Program.  Like many of us, she has many questions that beg answers! Continue reading

Red Clay Superintendent Race Down To Two

Who will be the new Red Clay Consolidated School District Superintendent?  It is down to two men.  One will lead them after the Red Clay board makes a vote in the coming months.  One comes from the district while the other comes from a powerful position in the state.

Hugh Broomall is the Deputy Superintendent for Red Clay.  Holding the role since 2010, his experience with the district stretches back to 2004.  Broomall began his education career as a special education teacher at the Au Clair school in 1993.  Two years later he went to the Terry Children’s Center as a special education teacher from 1995 to 2002.  Broomall took on a leadership role as the Assistant Principal at the Charlton School in the Caesar Rodney School District from 2002 to 2004.  He came to Red Clay in 2004 as the Principal of the Meadowood Program.  Broomall plunged into district work, first as the Manager of Human Resources from 2008-2009 and then as Assistant Superintendent from 2009-2010.

Broomall describes his current role as follows:

Manage a $148 million portfolio of educational programs and
services reaching 18,000 students from pre-k to post-high school.
Oversee 1,900 employees and 30 schools including traditional
elementary and secondary schools, special education, magnets,
charters and adult education.
Administer over 2/3 of the district’s operating budget with
responsibility for state and federal funding streams (Title I, Title II,
Title III), IDEA, Perkins, Race to the Top, Tuition-Based Programs,
Match Tax, school budgets and department budgets.
Served on core planning team for a successful $119 million capital
referendum. Authored the district’s strategic plan. Established a
school improvement office that has turned around 2 persistently
low-achieving schools in just 2 years. Acted as interim director of
the Curriculum & Instruction department for 8 months.

Broomall’s summary on LinkedIn says:

As an educational leader with over 21 years of experience in Delaware as a teacher, a building principal and today, a district leader, I understand the challenges to moving student achievement forward while also navigating the state’s complex education system, adjusting to changes in resources, and engaging the community in an effort to be an innovative school system that delivers academic excellence to all students.

Dorrell Green is the current Director of Innovation and Improvement for the Delaware Department of Education, a role he has held since August 2017.  He began his career as a 6th grade teacher at Bancroft Elementary in the Christina School District in 2000.  From there he spent a year as a 4th grade teacher at Stubbs.  Green began his leadership leader as the Dean of Students at Stubbs for two years until 2004.  The next four years were spent at Bayard Elementary School as Assistant Principal from 2004-2006 and Principal from 2006-2008.  From there he moved to Brandywine as Principal of Harlan Elementary School for three and a half years until he took on the role of Director of Elementary Education and Federal Title I Programs at a district level in 2011.  That role catapulted Green to the Assistant Superintendent position which he served as until his appointment with the Delaware DOE.

Green describes his current role as:

Support School Improvement Efforts via priority schools initiative and Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Coordinate implementation of best practices that are proven to support school improvement efforts; research based best practices that are being implemented locally, statewide, regionally and when necessary national models that demonstrate outcome oriented success for urban education.

Convene districts, school leaders and community partners to support schools and families.

Supporting Compassionate Connections and Trauma-Informed Learning/Teaching

Which one will lead Red Clay?  Time will tell.  The board will vote on February 13th!

The 2018 Exceptional Delaware Hero of the Year & Other Awards

I was really torn on who would get the coveted Exceptional Delaware Hero of the Year Award for 2018.  There were so many great choices.  I covered some of them in the Movers and Shakers posts I put up.  But in the end, the choice was obvious! Continue reading

18 TV Shows That Rocked In 2018!

Television is very different than it was when I was a kid.  There are so many platforms to watch TV shows these days!  2018 was one of the best years ever for those who regularly watch TV!  I spent an ungodly amount of time hooked on certain shows. Continue reading