Why Delaware MUST Submit A Waiver For The Smarter Balanced Assessment This Year

In a month and a half, Delaware students will be in the awful position of taking the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBAC). That is, unless, Delaware submits a waiver request to the U.S. Department of Education to forgo the god awful test for a second year in a row. The biggest problem right now appears to be Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting and Delaware Governor John Carney and their willingness to stop the test this year.

Yesterday, the state of New York requested a waiver from their state assessment. Any waiver hinges upon the confirmation of President Joe Biden’s Secretary of Education nomination, Miguel Cardona. No date has been scheduled in Congress for his nomination hearing. Former Secretary Betsy DeVos resigned in the wake of the Capitol riot but she had not she would have been gone the second Biden became President on January 20th.

Time is rapidly running out as the Smarter Balanced Assessment begins its annual reign of terror in Delaware schools in early March. In the fall, multiple sources informed me Secretary Bunting was very hesitant to request the waiver. Both she and the Governor wanted students to be tested. The problem with any standardized test is the data and how it is used. For this school year it would be disastrous and would only lead to more shameful and unwarranted labeling of schools. We all know students have lost knowledge and are behind the eight ball this year. That is not the students fault nor is it the schools. We can firmly place blame on the Covid pandemic that has wreaked havoc on America and the rest of the world. While recent indications suggest Bunting may be changing her view on this nothing has come to light officially.

Last week, the Delaware Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 42 which would essentially give teachers a break on their annual Educator Evaluation system. It is expected to pass in the Delaware House this week as 22 out of 42 State Representatives are already sponsoring the bill. But many parents voiced opinions that if teachers should get a break so should students. Some even suggested that all students should be automatically given a pass for this year with all the bouncing around from hybrid to remote schooling.

Education in Delaware has been a huge mess in Delaware for almost a year now since Covid forced schools to close last March. Governor Carney’s suggested (but actually forced since it appears he called all the Superintendents and told them to open) reopening plan has been met with little success. Many students who have chosen the hybrid option are not even attending school. Attendance is chaotic on its best day. Many teachers are absent because of potential exposure, Covid positives, and quarantining. An already existing substitute shortage has been amplified greatly due to the pandemic. Some schools are ramming tons of students into classes well above the legal capacity which can only lead to further spread of Covid.

This is not the time to test students for their academic ability. While I have always been resistant to standardized testing since the day I created this blog, it is more essential than ever that we get rid of it once and for all. But that is a request for another day. We must not test students this year. It takes too long with SBAC as it is and students have already lost far too much this year.

Please write to Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting at susan.bunting@doe.k12.us and request that Delaware request a waiver from the state assessment.

The Network for Public Education is already requesting that Cardona cancels the state assessments for this year at this link. Please sign the letter.

If Delaware does NOT request a waiver and the new U.S. Secretary of Education does NOT cancel all state assessments, please know parents have another option. And that is to opt your child out of the state assessment. You just write a letter to the school principal telling (not asking) them that your child will not take or participate in the state assessment and that you expect their child to receive alternate education while other students are testing. It is perfectly legal and there is nothing legally preventing you from doing so. Schools are legally obligated to administer state assessments but students are not legally obligated to take them.

What The Heck Sussex Tech???

There was some very interesting legislation introduced last week in the Delaware General Assembly concerning Sussex Tech. As usual, the words “shall” and “may” can totally change a bill. The bill is mainly about taxation and enrollment but it seems to be a Christmas bonanza for the school.

It appears, on the surface, the taxes will be lowered for the next several years but that sneaky word “may” rears its ugly head which gives the school carte blanche to do what they want with those taxes. And by the time the three years are up the taxes will be higher than they are now, which are 29 cents on each $100 of real property value in Sussex County.

The amount to be raised by taxation may not exceed 26.50 on each $100 value of real property in Sussex County for the tax year year 2022, 28.50 cents for tax year 2023, 29.50 cents for tax year 2024 and all years thereafter.

Who wrote this legislation? Haven’t we learned by now that using the word “may” gives something the ability to change into something else that eliminates the intent of the bill itself? The sponsorship on the bill is mostly Republican with State Senators Hocker and Pettyjohn accompanied by State Reps. Dukes and Short. The sole Democrat on the bill is good old Speaker of the House, Pete Schwartzkopf. All of them are legislators in Sussex County.

Even more striking in the bill is the enrollment increases. The General Assembly capped Sussex Tech’s enrollment five years ago but this bill gives them the ability to increase it gradually over the next four school years, from 1,300 students to 1,450 students by 2024. And as usual, there is that sneaky word “may” adding more legal ambiguity to the bill.

Enrollment for the Sussex County Vocational-Technical High School District may not exceed 1,300 in grades 9-12 for school year 2021-2022, 1350 students for school year 2022-2023, 400 students for school year 2023-2024 and 1450 students for school year 2024-2025 and all years thereafter.

Which means, since they “may” not like those numbers they can increase them anytime they like. Not that long ago Sussex Tech had some major financial issues, as reported by The News Journal: Auditor finds financial mismanagement at Sussex Technical School District (delawareonline.com)

This is ripe for potential abuse. So what is at the heart of all this? Making a new Sussex Tech building. A couple years ago the state denied their request for a new building, as reported by The Cape Gazette: State denies funding for new Sussex Tech | Cape Gazette

They got denied because the new building would have been meant for 1,600 students. Which at the time they could only have 1,250. This new legislation would allow them to reach that designated capacity so they can make a new building. But that sneaky word “may” gives that tiny loophole so boom, next year there could be 1,600 students if they so wanted. I wonder what construction company is pushing this bill?

And because the school was under-enrolling struggling students they had to accept students who had grades below 70 from their prior school or failed a class in 8th grade. This gave more students a shot at Sussex Tech. The new bill eliminates that language and changes it to standards set for the Delaware Department of Education.

The problem with this is that on Sussex Tech’s choice application they seem to be going by 7th grade and not 8th grade. It appears they are already circumventing the law that is already in place! And they are adding in the day program for eligibility. Guess they only want the really smart kids which makes them no better than some charter schools in this state.

There is also a nice little addition concerning board members kids getting in. For those who may not be aware, the Delaware Governor appoints board members to our technical school districts. Hmmm….

This seems like a beg and plead bill given to legislators in the area of Sussex Tech to do the school’s bidding. Have they earned the good will to request all this after their gigantic financial mistakes just four years ago? Time will tell. I expect this bill will pass but someone needs to change the wording in this from “may” to “shall” otherwise we can expect some funky stop going on with Sussex Tech for the next few years!

The bill can be found here: Legislation Document (delaware.gov) It is under consideration in the Senate Executive Committee after it was introduced on 1/22/2021.

Dan Shelton Compares Protesting Teachers Meeting To Terrorist Attack At The Capitol. Time To Step Down Dan!

In a moment of unbelievable stupidity, Christina Superintendent Dan Shelton actually suggested that the teachers airing their beefs with the idiotic decisions he has made on behalf of their district is comparable to social media groups that led to the attacks on the United States Capitol last week.

While he did not directly say the word teachers, the implication was definitely there. He said that given the events of last week that we should see that large groups can choose facts that legitimize their own agenda and no matter how big they are they aren’t right.

I have no doubt Shelton is very upset that teachers would dare to speak against his own Trumpian power in the Christina School District. This kind of thing never happened when he ran the Capital School District for five years so this would have to be a tremendous blow to his already overinflated ego.

To even compare the teachers in his own district to actual domestic terrorists shows a level of arrogance that is unheard of during this entire pandemic. Dan, there is a thing called free speech. And if he even dares to fire one teacher for using their voice against his insane decisions he will be haunted by that decision as the district crumbles around him.

Dan has chosen to make it more important that he is buddies with Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting than bringing his own district together for the safety of students and staff.

I have no doubt transcripts will be coming out the second the audio of this board meeting is posted on the Christina website.

Christina Board President Keeley Powell Wusses Out On Having Board Meet In Public, Afraid Of “Disruption” By Teachers

The Christina School District Board of Education President Keeley Powell opted to have their board meet remote tonight because she was afraid the teacher press conference outside during their meeting would “disrupt” the board meeting. Teachers are sick of being told that everything is okay when it isn’t. Tonight, teachers in Christina have had enough and are speaking out. But the Christina board wants to run and hide behind their screen instead of facing the music they wrote themselves.

Keeley, you want to know what is “disruptive”? A friggin’ pandemic. So is not being able to hug a five-year old who is crying. So is having to move an entire class because someone catches Covid and is asymptomatic. I find it very ironic that this board will give carte blanche to the Superintendent to make decisions about the district who sends teachers and students fully into harms way. But when it comes time to walk the same walk they cower behind Keeley Powell and meet remotely for a public meeting. What are you afraid of? That the teachers are right? That attending school with hybrid instruction is nothing short of dangerous and could cost lives?

We are at a crossroads in Delaware and Christina isn’t the only district facing these issues. We are all putting the lives of Delawareans into the line of fire with idiotic decisions by Governor Carney, the Delaware Department of Education, and Superintendents such as Dan Shelton. We KNOW Covid can spread through students. We know if teachers get Covid the already existing teacher shortage will become it’s own pandemic. Who teaches if all the teachers are sick? Who comforts a student who inadvertently spreads Covid to a loved one and they die?

We need to stop listening to adults who use haste over science and listen to those on the front lines: our teachers. They know more than you do. This has always been the problem in Delaware education. LISTEN TO THE TEACHERS. STOP LISTENING TO THOSE WHO AREN’T AT RISK AND HIDE BEHIND AN ADMINISTRATIVE DESK.

Delaware Governor John Carney Loses Touch With Reality As Covid Spreads Like A Wildfire In Delaware

Delaware Governor John Carney issued his gazillionth modification to the Delaware State of Emergency. To allow for further spread of the Covid-19, he is allowing bars and restaurants to stay open past 10pm beginning today. This is after he highly recommended school districts and charters reopen for hybrid learning on Monday, January 11th. Meanwhile Covid numbers are up higher than ever. Today, a child younger than 5 died of Covid in Delaware. Covid is spreading in schools among staff and students when they are open. But Carney seems hellbent on creating further spread. More people will die Governor Carney. That blood is on YOUR hands.

Teachers, I know you can’t strike. It is against the law in Delaware. The law stipulates that if you do you won’t get paid for the time you strike. It says NOTHING about an arrest. I say do it. Do it NOW. And during your off hours you make a hell of a lot of noise. Organize, unify and blast your feelings ALL OVER DELAWARE. Our legislators need to make some noise. They have been FAR too quiet.

The time is NOW folks. Do your thing.

ACTION ALERT: Delaware Superintendents & Boards MUST NOT Send Students & Staff Into Hybrid Learning Next Monday

Delaware Governor John Carney and the Delaware Department of Education issued a letter yesterday urging students return to Delaware schools to commence hybrid learning on January 11th. THIS IS A VERY FOOLISH MISTAKE WHICH WILL COST MORE LIVES. I can’t stress this enough. While some school districts, such as Red Clay Consolidated and Christina, have already made this decision it is NOT too late. We need a massive rally against this. The only way to do this is for every single Delawarean who is opposed to this hasty decision to email their local school boards and urge them to reconvene and vote an affirmative and absolute NO to students returning next Monday for hybrid learning.

We have Covid cases increasing in Delaware. All the metrics put this in the red. The Governor and the Delaware DOE think changing the metrics will put students and staff in less danger. This is absolutely ridiculous. We have two things going on here folks: 1) We don’t know how much spread occurred due to the holidays, and 2) There is the potential of the new strain reaching Delaware and causing further spread. NOW IS NOT THE TIME GOVERNOR CARNEY AND YOU KNOW IT. We can all agree that students are going to lose time and instruction this year. It has already happened. Growth this year is already a joke because of all this. You can’t put the genie back in the bottle. It is January, halfway through the school year. IT IS NOT SAFE YET. We need more vaccinations and for the number of cases and deaths in Delaware to go down. We aren’t Mississippi Governor Carney and you know this.

For those reading this, please spread and share to every single person you know in this state. School district Boards of Education and charter school boards MUST be notified immediately to stop this insanity. THIS NEEDS TO HAPPEN TODAY.

My son’s school district, Capital, is meeting tonight. I submitted the following public comment to them:

Good morning,

I am writing to inform you that I am vehemently opposed to any decision that would put Capital School District students into hybrid learning beginning January 11th.  It is my fervent hope the Capital School District Board of Education votes against it as well.  Delaware Governor John Carney and the Department of Education have changed the metrics so much that it would seem possible for students to return in a hybrid environment.  The bare truth is that the original metrics, designed to help save lives, are firmly in the red categories.  While we could debate the reasoning behind the changes in the metrics the end result is the same- more people in Delaware could potentially die.  Covid numbers are on a massive increase in Delaware.  And we don’t know the true numbers based on the holidays yet.  With the potential of the new strain, which has put England under lock-down yet again, reaching Delaware, it is a time to be cautious rather than hasty.  We must not bow to the whims of Governor Carney and the Delaware DOE.  We need to look at the benefit of our students, teachers, staff, and citizens of Dover and save lives.  Please vote no on students returning January 11th for hybrid learning and keep remote learning in place until it is safer for students to return.

This article from December 28th in Forbes says it all:

Early in the pandemic, people observed that children didn’t get sick as readily as adults. Children were tested much less often than adults. Asymptomatic spread was unknown or uncertain. Studies focused on sickness in schools rather than transmission, and they suggested that keeping schools open had few costs.

But this is wrong. A recent article in the German magazine Spiegel International details an Austrian study that shows schoolchildren are infected at the same rates as adults and quite efficiently spread Covid-19 to others. There are now many other studies that draw similar conclusions. A review of studies from a group of scientists and doctors in Sweden (disclosure: my brother is among them) links to 25 studies from around the world and provides summaries of each. The science is clear: Children become infected and spread covid-19 to their parents, grandparents, siblings, and next-door neighbors. Those infected get sick. Some have long-term complications. Some die. Opening schools costs lives. If you believe in science, you have to accept even uncomfortable truths.

2020 Review: The Year That Changed Everything

Christmas is in a few days which means the end of the year is fast approaching. 2020 was one for the record books. Between Covid-19, the election, and all that came before, between, and after, it was a year no one will ever forget.

Personally I went through so many changes, at such a rapid pace, that I’m still absorbing it all. The entire year was filled with endings and beginnings, sometimes doing so with the tenacity of a spider on it’s web. 2020 began as a year of fear and ended on the promise of hope.

We all suffered in some way this year. We couldn’t escape it. As news got out about a virus in China that was killing people, the gnawing itch of curiosity quickly morphed into the realization that you could be next. We put on masks and stockpiled toilet paper and paper towels. We bought tons of food we would normally never eat just because there were only 2-3 items left on the shelf and, well, you better get it before it’s gone. For far too many of us in America we watched as over 300,000 of our citizens lost their lives to Covid. Parents, grandparents, friends, enemies. The true heroes of the day were the doctors and nurses on the frontlines, doing their best to help patients. They were the front line, facing a virus that was ravaging the USA. They are still doing it as I type this.

Our teachers had to learn a new way to teach students. Those same students got to stay home but the school came to them. New challenges crept up every single day. District administrators all too often didn’t understand the true plights of teachers and students. Special education entered the dark ages for many students. We won’t know the true cost of remote learning for some time to come but some paid a heavy price. Depression, anxiety, and suicides went up this year. We all know this. Students who would have been in the classroom disappeared. District enrollments are down. God bless ’em, but some of our leaders relied on a matrix that seemed to change as often as the wind blows.

For this blogger it was a year of immense writers block. How could I write about all this? I struggled. I wasn’t a teacher. Wasn’t a student. I wasn’t either of those when I wrote before but I was often in on the ground floor of whatever was going on. How could I do that from the townhouse? I was powerless. People messaged me, begging me to do more. To write about this or that. I lost my balance and didn’t know what to say. Should students be in school? Absolutely. But not if it could lead to the loss of more lives. Should businesses open up again? Movie theaters? State government? We found out the answer to these questions in the past month as the virus went from a burning ember to an inferno.

It was the year of Zoom. As we watched our work turn into a cheap parody of the Brady Bunch opening we adapated. We survived. But many didn’t. Many lost their jobs. In my line of work the heart is a functioning business. I would talk to businesses who lost everything. Gone, in a span of months. But we also reconnected. Some of us with ancient faces from our pasts.

2020 was a year of denial for many. Far too many which made the virus worse. We saw many flat-out deny Covid. It was a conspiracy, launched by the Chinese. It was Big Brother using a virus to track us and watch us. It was control. It was part of a master plan. At least that’s what Q-Anon told us with as much clarity as a convenience store urinal. Crackpot doctors popped up as overnight sensations on Youtube until they were shut down. Not because they were right but because they were contributing to the eventual loss of more lives. Now we are all going to be injected with microchips which is the TRUE number of the beast. Who profits? The prophets who turned churches into a place of fear.

We watched as a man was brutally murdered in an arrest and the country turned upside down. Long brewing hatred came to roost as a people said “No more!” After months of being cooped up in our homes many ventured out of their homes to protest. For African-Americans their anxiety became our anxiety. Issues of race and equality came to the forefront, as they should, and we questioned who we are as a country. For racists it was the end of the world. For the rest of us it was a parting of the clouds and letting the sun shine an ugly truth on all of us. That truth was simple- we can, must, and have to be different.

The United States became the epicenter of the coronavirus. There are many reasons for this but the number one reason was the lack of leadership by President Trump. For those same self-same deniers, Trump’s “joke” about injecting yourself with Lysol was him “just kidding”. The man could do no wrong. He was the Messiah of our times projecting lies and bile from his bully pulpit. He lied to us, to the Americans he was supposed to lead, from the very beginning. By the time the election came along in November enough Americans said “No more!” to the liar-in-chief. The true cost of the election is evident as friendships were forever torn asunder over politics.

We will have a new President in a few weeks. A President who will inherit the mess Trump left us. A President from Delaware. Will he be a great President? We simply don’t know yet. Many Presidents in America don’t become legendary until they walk through the fire and prevent its spread from further destruction. I hope Joe Biden will be that man. Time will tell.

I sit here typing in a different place than I was the beginning of this year. Chances are very good I will be in a different place a year from now. I learned a lot this year but the biggest lesson was this- make sure you are in a good place with yourself because you have to expect the unexpected. Heal your heart and mind and plant yourself firmly in the ground because a mighty wind is blowing. Tell those you love how much you love them. Reconnect even if you can’t see them. Don’t live your life through the lens of politics. Find common ground with those who think differently from you. Don’t base your religion on the politics of the day. Truth is a matter of perception and there are those who can and will easily manipulate you if you let them. If you are going to love do it completely. Don’t put conditions on it. Don’t live your life in fear and insecurities and doubt. Figure it out, deal with it, and move on. If you can’t, get help. It IS that simple. Find out who your people are. Lean on them and be there for them in the bad times. Tell them how much they mean to you every chance you get.

Today is the longest night of the year. 2020 felt a lot like that. But the light comes back, every single day. It is okay to hope. To feel. To love. It’s ok to take new chances. It’s ok to sacrifice for the greater good. These are the things I learned this year. It’s going to be ok.

Things That Make Me Go Hmmmm

C + C Music Factory Presents Freedom Williams & Zelma Davis - Things That Make  You Go Hmmmm... (The Remixes) (1991, Vinyl) | Discogs

There is so much going on with Delaware education right now as we continue to live in unprecedented times. But some of those things are making me scratch my head along with some other matters…

  1. Why has Odyssey Charter School STILL not paid back the $93,000 that the Delaware DOE, the Secretary of Education, and the State Board of Education demanded they do as part of not just one, but two, formal reviews?
  2. Christina School District recently announced they would be going remote until December 7th. The reason for this was listed as concerns with “operational management”. Does this mean the district has a problem with how their operation is being managed? Which would start at the top with Superintendent Dan Shelton. Or does this mean they are too cowardly to actually use the words “it’s because of Covid”?
  3. Where is Kilroy’s Delaware aside from Facebook?
  4. With all the new restrictions going on in Delaware, which began yesterday, why the hell were schools not included in those? You can’t have more than 10 people for Thanksgiving. You can’t have more than six people in a restaurant with a maximum of four adults. Churches have to be at 30% capacity. But we are going to allow children, where it is highly likely they could be walking around with asymptomatic symptoms of Covid, to be in a classroom? We are going to allow people to swarm the box stores like Wal-mart on Black Friday? It doesn’t make sense. Go big or go home!
  5. Why are certain districts using what have been found to be pesticides for their disinfectants? Material Safety Data Sheets indicate this. I’ve heard multiple reports of these dangerous chemicals causing symptoms in teachers and staff members due to exposure. As if Covid wasn’t bad enough now we have to give people other crappy stuff?
  6. What Delaware charter school is being scrutinized very heavily for misappropriation of funds? (Gonna keep this one close to the vest… for now…)
  7. How many teachers will take advantage of New Castle County’s request for Covid-related projects on Donor’s Choice by TODAY? If your project is chosen you can receive up to $1,000 in funding. Note: these funds are from Covid funds that the county has to use by the end of the year. For more info go to https://www.nccde.org/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=1920
  8. Anyone involved in education legislation knows one of the greatest hurdles to bills has been David Sokola, who chaired the Senate Education Committee for several years. While Sokola did not lead that committee in the last General Assembly he is now the President Pro Tem. Which means he has immense power with bills. He can be very progressive on issues with the exception of education. But he did his utmost to destroy bills such as parent opt-out of standardized testing, teacher evaluations, and anything that could impact Newark Charter School. Will he use his power wisely or will we see potential abuse?
  9. How incredibly awesome would it be if State Rep. Kim Williams was selected as the Chair of the House Education Committee? And give someone like State Rep. Sean Matthews the Vice-Chair position?
  10. Why did Odyssey’s Board of Directors ignore the recommendations of their search committee for a new Head of School and choose someone else that fit more into AHEPA ideals? Has this school learned nothing? (See item #1) ANSWER: According to a source in the know who was on the search committee the vote for their new Head of School was unanimous to hire Pappas. (updated 12/2/2020)
  11. What Delaware Superintendent is quickly learning that their new job is not going as smoothly as they thought it was and you can’t run a district the same way as you did the old one?
  12. Will we ever get some coherent clarity on what is going on with special education and Covid? Numerous parents have contacted me and written publicly about the lack of special education their children are receiving at this time. The federal law protecting these students, IDEA, has very specific rules. Covid has thrown a monkey wrench on those laws and some schools are taking advantage of it. These kids and their parents need resolution, not posturing.
  13. Will Delaware Senator David Lawson accept Delaware Senator Sarah McBride as the first transgender State Senator in the nation? Or will he walk away when she is in session?
  14. Why hasn’t the Charter School Office made public the initial meetings of the charter school renewals which were supposed to come out on 11/4/2020? Have they learned nothing about the importance of transparency and keeping the public informed? For those who may not be aware, the following charter schools are up for renewal this year: Camput Community, MOT, and Provicence Creek Academy. https://www.doe.k12.de.us/Page/4311
  15. How will Delaware handle vaccinations for Covid when they finally come out? Will they force students to receive vaccinations before they can come to school?
  16. Who will President Elect Joe Biden pick as his nomination for U.S. Secretary of Education? Will it be someone who is actually a teacher like he said he would do? While Besty DeVos can leave ASAP the last thing education in America needs is another Arne Duncan or some education think-tank “leader” that is more concerned about money and profit than actual education.
  17. How much did Rodel’s Paul Herdman make on Rodel’s last tax return, filed in 2019? Hint: it was between $424,596 and $424,598.
  18. Will Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting stick around for all of Delaware Governor John Carney’s 2nd term?
  19. Will Stand Up Delaware not just sit down but kindly shut the hell up?
  20. What is Patrick Miller up to these days? He is still the President of the Indian River Fire Department. Will anyone ever hold him accountable for his actions?
  21. What Delaware Superintendent got a certain amount of flack for referring to Betsy DeVos as a “hack” on his Twitter account? (for the record, I agree with him)
  22. When will Capital School District pick a new Superintendent?
  23. Where the hell is the next round of stimulus money? Get off your asses Congress and figure it out!
  24. Will the Delaware DOE cancel the Smarter Balanced Assessment again this year?
  25. What is 2021 going to bring? Will it be a better year than 2020?

In Defense of Ralph Ackerman

Continue reading

Running out of Outlets

kristenfmartins

Wake up. Eat breakfast. Put my mask on and walk to work in the brisk, early morning sunlight of New Jersey. My shift starts at 07:00. As I walk into the hospital, like every day, I am stopped for a forehead temperature scan and asked if I have any flu-like symptoms before proceeding to the ICU. I gather my one N95 mask for the day, a single hair net, shoe covers if available, a plastic gown and a pair of hospital issued scrubs. I reuse my face shield everyday.

I head down two floors to the makeshift ICU. The entrance is blocked off with heavy-duty construction plastic as an attempt to make the OR and PACU ‘negative-pressure’. [COVID can stay airborne for several hours with aerosolization and the negative pressure means particles will flow into the COVID area, not into other surrounding hallways]. This area is filled people, each crammed…

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Do You Support The Rally To Re-Open Delaware? Should The General Assembly Reconvene? How Is Governor Carney Doing? Take The Polls!

A rally is planned in downtown Dover on May 1st on The Green.  Do you support this?

A Facebook group launched last week called “Delawareans Against Excessive Quarantine”.  Their goal is to get Delaware Governor John Carney to reopen Delaware now.  Yesterday a counter group launched on Facebook called “Delawareans Against Delawareans Against Excessive Quarantine”.  On Friday, Governor Carney said he is aware of the rally but referred to any protests as “futile”.

In addition, the Delaware General Assembly decided in March to stop holding session.  Some are saying they should be meeting now.  This was bolstered by State Rep. Ruth Briggs-King writing an open letter to have the General Assembly Reconvene now.  Do you support this or you against this?

Do you approve or disapprove how Governor Carney has handled Coronavirus in Delaware?

 

Breaking News: Governor Carney Tells CNN He Believes Schools Will Be Closed The Rest Of The Year; State Budget Expected To Take A Major Hit This Year

“Looking at the guidelines it looks like that is where we end up.”

These were the words Delaware Governor Carney just told CNN in an interview when asked if Delaware schools will be closed the rest of the academic year.

Looks like Delaware is going to have to do a lot for Seniors over the summer in my opinion.

In addition, Carney told non-profits today he expects the state budget to now have a deficit of anywhere from $500 million to $1 billion in the state budget.  For a proposed state budget of $4.6 billion for Fiscal Year 2021 this is going to put a major crimp in that.  He also earmarked $893 million for the Bond bill for capital infrastructure projects.

Will education get further cuts in the budget?  After the devastating FY2018 budget crisis, these cuts will be even more painful for school districts and charter schools in Delaware.

With unemployment claims hitting record numbers in Delaware and the Small Business Loan administration running out of money for their stimulus loans, look for some very rough times for the next year or two in Delaware.

A growing chorus of folks in Delaware are already planning a rally to get the Governor to open the economy faster despite the danger of Covid-19 spreading further in Delaware.

We live in a time of unknowns and the answers will hurt.

***Updated*** Coronavirus Closings And Cancellations In Delaware Education, General Assembly Update, State of Emergency Declared

Saturday the 14th Update: They are all closed as per Governor Carney’s order yesterday, from March 16th to March 27th, with a tentative reopening date of March 30th.  I’m going to give a 25% chance of schools reopening on the 30th.  A lot of it will depend on how Covid-19 spreads in the coming weeks.

Friday the 13th Update:

Nothing has been made official yet but I’m hearing from many parents in New Castle County that students are being asked to take home any belongings.  School nurses are calling parents to let them know kids are bringing medicine home that would normally be stored with the school nurse.  There is confusion about a potential positive case of Coronavirus which prompted Providence Creek Academy to close today and it may or may not be affiliated with a visit to Polytech which dismissed at 11:30am today.


As the Coronavirus has now afflicted four people in Delaware, we can only assume those numbers will increase.  Now is not the time to panic but it should be a time to prepare.  Be prepared for your child’s school closing.  Be prepared and ready to make sure your under-age child or children have adequate supervision, especially for working parents.

The following list is for schools that have announced closure or cancellation of activities due to the ongoing Coronavirus.  With Delaware surrounded by so many states, it was only a matter of time.  And there will be more.  To get up to date information from the State of Delaware with how many cases there are and how many pending, please go here.

Most school districts sent home letters with students with a basic preparedness plan earlier this week.  There seems to be a tiered level where things can change and events or school is canceled.  Last Monday there was an emergency meeting at the Delaware Department of Education which was attended by superintendents, DSEA, Governor Carney, Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting, and other public education affiliates.

As major cancellations across the country are going down, like the cancellation of the NBA, NCAA, NHL, and possibly MLB, folks in Delaware wondering why schools aren’t shutting down.  It’s coming.  One of the major concerns at the big education meeting earlier this week was how it would work.  Doing it after the 3rd marking period ends would make more sense with closing schools down the rest of the school year.  And yes, that is a possibility.

What came out of this meeting was the guidance parents are getting this week.  This is being issued at a state level.  The following screenshot from Lake Forest School District can be currently found on most school district websites:

Screenshot_2020-03-12 LFSD-Pandemic-Preparedness-Action-Plan-Public pdf

Many districts are sending surveys to parents to find out about wi-fi and computer capabilities from home.  I received one yesterday from my son’s school district in Capital.

If you hear of any closings please email me at kevino3670@yahoo.com and I will update this post if given viable information.  Thank you! Continue reading

I’ve seen a lot of bad ideas turn into bad decisions while I was on the Christina School Board…this one, proffered by Dr. Griffin and Dr. Powell is as mind boggling as it is dangerous. #netDE #eduDE

So, the Christina Board of Education wants the district citizens to pass their referendum but they surrender the district to the Delaware DOE for their period of “transition”. They have lost their minds!

Transparent Christina 2.0

Wow, complete submission to the DEDOE. Complete abdication of local control and elected responsibility. All those in support are engaging in malfeasance and dereliction of duty. This is a dangerous gambit which confesses the truth of their recent, allegedly smart, thoughtful decision to not renew senior staff.

They had no plan.

They have no plan.

Here’s the vote:

They have become what many have know for quite some time: a power hungry cabal who actions are destroying an entire system.

Mrs. Paige and Mr. Evans, thank you for not relinquishing that which we elected you to do: govern locally.

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A Profile in Courage: Elizabeth Paige shines a deftly placed light on the board and district’s inability and refusal to serve its students. #netDE #eduDE

I’ve known Liz since the very beginning of this blog. She is one of the true heroes for kids in Delaware education. Her service was always about the kids and not about the dysfunctional politicking that goes on with the Christina Board of Education and the district.

Transparent Christina 2.0

A mic drop if I ever read one, Elizabeth Paige shares her thoughts around why she could no longer serve in a dysfunctional matrix. One that I may remind everyone thinks you should vote to give them money while they don’t have a plan to serve your children on June 9th, 2020.

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Bumblin’ Stumblin’ Christina BOE is knowingly running up against open meetings laws… Again. Tonight.

Transparent Christina 2.0

Is Christina about to hold yet ANOTHER illegal meeting?

Item L3 is formed and instead incorrectly. here are 3 concerns:

It violates board policy 1.07 which requires 10 days notice for an action item

It declares an emergency (“cannot be deferred”) with no actual determination (board vote) of emergency. I see no way this could be classified up in code revolves around imminent harm to people or property, not what happens if a person isn’t censured.

It places an item that declares a pending vote in a discussion section which is not legal under Delaware open meetings law.

The board does not have censure authority under it’s own policy.

Dr. Griffin and Dr. Keeley sure know how to dance with illegal meetings lately….

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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!