Eve Buckley wrote a brilliant post on Facebook today. With her permission, I wanted to get this out to a wider audience since she hit the nail on the head with what is going on in Delaware public education in the face of disastrous cuts school districts are facing. Eve, like myself, is a parent in Delaware. Her children go to Christina schools. She was also in attendance at Paul Baumbach’s Education Forum at Newark High School last night.
Delaware friends, the take-away from last night’s education forum, for me, was that the state has–as we know–an enormous budgetary crisis and currently no political capacity to raise revenue, since GOP legislators have pledged not to raise taxes. Unless this changes, we will cut everywhere, deeply–and as far as I know, there is no reason to believe this will improve next year. Governor Carney does not have a viable plan to address this huge structural problem. Democratic legislators, many of whom are quite willing to approve property tax reassessment [for the first time in DECADES], need a 3/5 majority vote to pass that and cannot move forward without support from at least two Republican legislators. All of us can write to Gov. Carney about the need to responsibly address the state’s serious budgetary challenges. Everyone should contact their state legislators, but esp. if yours (in House or Senate) is Republican. Tell them how these cuts will impact your children’s educational opportunities; if your child attends Christina district, it is facing a $6 million shortfall for next year due to the reduction in state funds, which translates to a dozen or more staff/teacher cuts at each middle and high school, and presumably some staff cuts from every school. These individuals have already been notified, which is demoralizing for everyone in those communities–as Newark HS students made clear last night.
Note that state-authorized charters (the vast majority of DE’s charters, outside of Red Clay district) are not as severely affected by these cuts, the logic being that Carney proposes giving district boards one-time authorization to make up about two-thirds of his proposed cuts via a “match tax,” which would generate revenue only for district schools. This puts the elected district boards in a quandary: schools need those funds, but by replacing the state shortfall with a board-authorized increase in local taxes, the districts will probably lose any capacity to pass a referendum in the future, as many residents will be infuriated by this extraordinary maneuver. For the moment, this proposed mechanism for recouping district revenue via a one-time match tax (and subjecting ONLY district schools to the corresponding state cuts) means that charter school staff are not being notified of job losses, at least not on the scale that district schools are experiencing. Aside from the seeming unfairness of this, it also means that charter families, generally quite mobilizable to advance their children’s interests, are probably less aware of how severe the state’s education funding crisis is–and only 13 legislative days remain before the state’s budget will be finalized. For me, this is another example of the damage we do to the democratic process by “packaging” public services differently for different members of our communities; we are not all in this together. That is a serious loss, reducing the likelihood that schools and families will get what they need from the state. Democracy is a numbers game, and our numbers are significantly diminished by our fractured public ed. landscape.
As always, Exceptional Delaware wants and solicits for guest posts on education matters. Thank you!
The Berenstein Bears. Shazaam. Nelson Mandela died in the 1980s. The Tiananmen Square protester getting run over by the tank. “Luke, I am your father.” “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.” “Magic mirror on the wall.” Curious George’s tail. Billy Graham’s funeral. “We are the champions of the world.” The tv show Sex In The City. Oscar Mayer.
I remember all of these things. Do you?
The Berenstain Bears. No movie with Sinbad called Shazaam. Nelson Mandela died in 2013. The tank man was pushed away. “No, I am your father.” “It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood.” “Mirror, Mirror on the wall.” Curious George does NOT have a tail. Billy Graham is still alive. “We are the champions.” Sex And The City. Oscar Meyer.
That is how things are now. So why do some remember the “old” way and some don’t? This is called the Mandela Effect. It is where many people believe something was a certain way only to find out it is now different. So what changed our collective consciousness? Many have theorized that not only did man change our reality, we also destroyed it.
The Large Hadron Collider fired up for the first time in Geneva, Switzerland on September 10th, 2008. Perhaps you remember. Many feared it would destroy reality. What if they were right? Since energy can’t be destroyed, our reality could have phased into a new reality. Which could account for the very subtle differences in the collective consciousness listed above. Some would say the economy died that day with the failure of Lehman Brothers but that is a story for another time.
What do you think? Could everything have changed that day? Maybe Common Core and all these high-stakes standardized tests didn’t exist in “our” reality. Maybe all the dramatic rise in disabilities didn’t happen there either. All of our lives could be dramatically different if a bunch of scientists didn’t think crashing protons into each other was a good idea.
Hell, even a 13 year old knows something isn’t right!
Exceptional Delaware will return tomorrow with it’s regular programming. Thank you!
May 9th is in five days! Big school board elections are taking place that day!
In the Brandywine School District, John Skrobot Jr. will face Alma Ginnis. For Capital School District, Andy Ortiz and Joan Lowenstein-Engel are vying for the at-large seat. Caesar Rodney has a three-way race with Alan Claycomb, Tawanna Prophet-Brinkley, and David Failing running against each other. Smyrna will see Vetra Evans-Gunter facing Karin Sweeney. Finally, Woodbridge will have a face-off between Paul Breeding and Darrynn Harris for their at-large seat.
I sent surveys to all the candidates who had viable contact information through either the Department of Elections contact information on their website or through Facebook. Don’t forget to vote on May 9th!
These are the responses I received from the candidates in these five districts: Continue reading “Delaware School Board Election 2017: Brandywine, Caesar Rodney, Capital, Smyrna, & Woodbridge School Districts”
The Delaware General Assembly honored an unsung hero last week. Richard Mootz, a Milford veteran, received a tribute from the Delaware House of Representatives for his role in an astonishing find from World War II. The House Republicans sent this in their weekly email last week.
The House of Representatives this week honored a man whose discovery of a vast cache of hidden German treasure may have helped end World War II and limited the spread of Nazi ideology in the conflict’s aftermath.
In February 1945, more than 3,900 Flying Fortress bombers attached to the U.S. Eighth Air Force dropped hundreds of tons of munitions on the German capital of Berlin.
To safeguard the monetary assets of the waning Third Reich, currency and gold from the Reichsbank — the central bank of Germany — were sent to a deep salt mine at Merkers, located about two hundred miles southwest.
Two months later, General George Patton’s 3rd Army swept into the region, moving so rapidly the Germans were unable to relocate the concealed hoard.
Enter Private First Class Richard C. Mootz, a Delawarean serving as an infantryman with the 3rd Army’s 90th Division. On April 6th, Pvt. Mootz was escorting two women who had just been questioned by the 12th Corps Provost Marshal’s Office back to Merkers. As they neared the Kaiseroda Salt Mine, he asked the women about the facility. They told him that weeks earlier German officials had used local and displaced civilians as labor for storing treasure in the mine.
Pvt. Mootz passed the information to his superior. Later that day, American forces entered the mine. What they found was startling.
According to the National Archives and Records Administration, the mine contained over eleven thousand containers, including: 3,682 bags and cartons of Germany currency; 80 bags of foreign currency; 4,173 bags containing 8,307 gold bars; 55 boxes of gold bullion; 3,326 bags of gold coins; 63 bags of silver; and one bag of platinum bars.
The money and precious metals were in the company of an immense collection of valuable artwork. Sheltered in the mine were one-fourth of the major holdings of 14 state museums.
The find was so extraordinary that General Dwight D. Eisenhower, General Omar N. Bradley, and Lt. Gen. George S. Patton, toured the site together.
The mine’s shafts, some 1,600-feet below the surface, also housed an estimated 400-tons of intellectual riches in the form of patent volumes from Germany, France, and Austria.
“Germany was one of the most technologically advanced nations in the world at this time,” said David Deputy, a former Delaware National Guard brigadier general and Mr. Mootz’s nephew. “Information on rocketry and other German advances were being sought by both the Americans and Russians. It was the sensitive nature of this data that resulted in some details of the discovery being kept secret,” he said.
Mr. Deputy said it was not until military records were declassified decades later that Mr. Mootz’s role in the discovery became evident.
To give Mr. Mootz his overdue recognition, State Reps. Harvey Kenton (R-Milford) and Tim Dukes (R-Laurel) sponsored a House of Representatives’ Tribute presented in the House Chamber Thursday afternoon. Mr. Mootz was a long-time resident of Laurel and currently lives in Milford.
“We recognize this exceptional individual for his outstanding service to his country while serving in the United States Army,” said Rep. Kenton. “Private Mootz assisted the ‘Monuments Men’ in the discovery of a massive collection of gold, silver, artwork, and German currency. This was the remaining paper currency and gold reserves of the Nazi regime, hence, this discovery bankrupted the German Army, bringing an earlier end to the war.”
The find may have had repercussions beyond the war.
In internal correspondence a week following the discovery at Merkers, Col. Bernard D. Bernstein (deputy chief, Financial Branch, G-5 Division) wrote the finding of the trove “confirms previous intelligence reports and censorship intercepts indicating that the Germans were planning to use these foreign exchange assets, including works of art, as a means of perpetuating the Nazism and Nazi influence both in Germany and abroad.”