Capital School District Salaries Over $100,000

The Capital School District is in the middle of Kent County where the capital of The First State lies.  Even their middle school, Central, boasts itself as being in “The Heart of Dover”.  Their enrollment has pretty much been flat over the past four years.  The district has two middle schools, one for 5-6 and one for 7-8.  Potential plans may change that in the future, but this also causes a bit more administrative positions than most school districts.  Superintendent Dan Shelton is going on his 3rd year in the district.  He replaced Dr. Michael Thomas who retired at the end of the 2014-2015 school year.  Capital is one of the districts in the state with the largest percentage of low-income students.  As notated in the article on Caesar Rodney, the competition between the two districts is well-known in Kent County! Continue reading “Capital School District Salaries Over $100,000”


Email To Delaware Superintendents and Heads of School re: Parent Opt Out, DE DOE, Governor Markell and Corporate Education Reform

Three years later, and parents in Delaware still opt their children out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment. The words I wrote to all the superintendents and charter school leaders still ring true with every fiber of my being. I still believe the Smarter Balanced Assessment is a flawed test and should not be used in any capacity in our schools. I still believe, given careful thought and deliberation, parents should exercise their fundamental right if they want to opt their child out of this state assessment. Some of the names might be different now, but I would tell any of our school leaders the same thing today.

Exceptional Delaware 2018

Dear Superintendents and Heads of School of Delaware,

As you have no doubt heard, there is a movement afoot in Delaware whereby parents of students are opting their children out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment. Some of you have already taken a stand for or against parent opt out, or your respective school boards have done so for you. I write to you today on the eve of the bulk of the standardized assessment season.

Some of you I’ve had contact with in the past. Some of you don’t like me. I get that completely. But I think we all have one thing in common, and that is wanting the best for the children of Delaware. Our methods and ways of going about that vary in great degrees, but at the end of the day, we want students to be successful.

I will be very frank with all of you:…

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All Schools Smyrna And Up Are Closed Today! Legislative Hall Cancels Committee Meetings As A Result!

Families from Smyrna to Brandywine got the early morning robo-call today- Snow Day!  Last night’s nor’easter hit New Castle County with anywhere from 1-3 inches of snow.  Because of this, the legislators canceled any committee meetings scheduled for today.  Meanwhile, all districts Capital and south have school!  So… New Castle teachers and students… what are you doing today?  Have fun!

Student-Teacher Relationships Are Central to Authentic Education

This is the MUST-READ of the day! Please don’t just read the intro. Follow the link and read it. Let it sink in and marinate on it. This IS Ed Reform 2.0 and 1.0 was intentionally designed to get us to this point.

Wrench in the Gears

Today I share a guest post from an elementary school teacher in Maine, a state in the vanguard of Ed Reform 2.0 implementation. Unless changes are made, this year’s freshmen are expected to graduate under the state’s new proficiency-based diploma requirements. In recent months, push-back against this new educational paradigm has grown substantially. Parents, teachers and students are finding standards-based education, a model that emphasizes technology-based education delivery, highly problematic. Here is one teacher’s perspective:

“I love technology. I love it so much that I got my Masters in educational technology through Boise State University in Idaho. Through this program I learned to teach online, gamify my curriculum, personalize learning, use countless technology tools, and promote digital literacy in the classroom.

When I switched to a school district that had one to one technology for my students, I was over the moon! That was until I actually saw it implemented…

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The Exceptional Delaware Education Power Broker Top 25 List

Delaware Education.  Two words that will always create some type of debate in The First State.  But who is in charge?  Is anyone?  Who has the most influence?  Who are the ones you would never think are able to dictate education policy?  Some are obvious but others are not.  This list is not a list of the “good guys” per se, but more about power.  These are the folks who can pack a punch whether you realize it or not.  They are the voices that carry the most weight.  As well, I have a list after showing who could hold power in the future and those who lost a bit of their might in Delaware education. Continue reading “The Exceptional Delaware Education Power Broker Top 25 List”

Head Lady in Charge

Last Night We Lay Down In The Street To Protest Closed Door Meetings About Public Education in Philadelphia

I see this happening in Delaware as well. The Delaware Business Roundtable and Delaware Chamber of Commerce want to direct education to their liking, with absolutely no public input or transparency. Philadelphia is a harbinger of things to come in Delaware. We all need to wake up!

Wrench in the Gears

Public education activists are living through an interesting moment now in Philadelphia. The School Reform Commission is being disbanded. In the coming months Mayor Jim Kenney will be appointing a school board from nominations put forth by a select panel. The process is murky, and a pattern of closed-door education policy decision-making has been established here, here, and here. Last night, the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce held a ticketed event to discuss the future of business in our schools at Girard College, an important site of struggle in the Civil Rights Movement. You had to be a Chamber of Commerce affiliate to purchase a $35 ticket for the event, which included the following language on the event website.

Attendee Chamber Event

It appears the future of public education in our city is being mapped out by industry, venture capital, and well-connected non-profit and higher education partners.  The people, meanwhile, are…

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January 19th

Outside Ittoqqortoormiit

January 19th – the day of sunrise in Ittoqqortoormiit, this year was cloudy and bleak. Still, after days of blizzards, sitting inside the house, it felt wonderful to step outside and ski down onto the ice.

While I was standing on the sea-ice, school children gathered on a small hill (you can see them on this picture, not far from the green house) to welcome the sun – in case it would make its appearance!

The sea ice broke of last weekend. The storm left us with only a small patch of ice, just outside of Ittoqqortoormiit.

View from the ice edge towards Kap Tobin.

I skied around the open water to the other side of Fox Havn, enjoying the beautiful scenery.

Today, we are still waiting for the sun. Maybe we`ll catch a glimpse of it tomorrow!?

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Breaking News: Governor Carney Nominates Cerron Cade As Secretary Of Labor

This information JUST came out:


Delaware Governor John Carney

Governor Carney Nominates Cerron Cade as Secretary of Labor

Cade currently serves as Delaware’s Director of Small Business, Development, and Tourism


WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Tuesday announced his nomination of Cerron Cade – Director of the Delaware Division of Small Business, Development, and Tourism – to serve as the next Secretary of the Delaware Department of Labor.

Cade’s nomination must be approved by the Delaware Senate. 

As Labor Secretary, Cade would lead a 420-employee department that oversees workforce development and training programs for the State of Delaware, unemployment insurance programs, labor law enforcement, and economic forecasting for the state.

“Cerron has a proven ability to lead, and the knowledge and experience necessary to take on this important role,” said Governor Carney. “The Department of Labor’s work connecting Delawareans with relevant job training and workforce development programs has never been more important. Cerron understands the needs of Delaware businesses from his time at the Small Business Division and, before that, at the Delaware Economic Development Office. I’m confident that Cerron’s experience will serve Delaware and Delaware workers well. I look forward to the Delaware Senate considering his nomination.”

Last year, as Acting Director of the Delaware Economic Development Office (DEDO), Cade managed the dissolution of DEDO and the creation of the new Division of Small Business, Development, and Tourism within the Delaware Department of State. Currently, he serves as the Division’s Director, leading a team responsible for providing key services to Delaware businesses, administration of the Delaware Strategic Fund, and marketing Delaware as a premier tourist destination.

During his time at DEDO and the newly-created division, Cade has led the state’s efforts to attract businesses and good-paying jobs to Delaware, keep them here, and ensure that Delaware remains a leading state for businesses to grow and thrive. If confirmed by members of the Delaware Senate, he will bring that experience to the Department of Labor, where he will lead state efforts to connect Delaware businesses with talented workers, and develop relevant workforce development and training programs. 

“I am honored to be nominated by Governor Carney to lead the Department of Labor,” said Cade. “Connecting Delaware businesses with skilled employees has been a large part of my focus as DEDO has transitioned into the new Division. If confirmed by the Senate, I look forward to using that experience to help the state’s workforce thrive in this changing economy.”

Cade would replace Secretary Patrice Gilliam-Johnson, who will join Delaware State University as Dean of Graduate, Adult, and Continuing Studies next month. Gilliam-Johnson will leave office as Labor Secretary on February 2.

“Secretary Gilliam-Johnson has led the Department of Labor with distinction during a time where we have faced many challenges across state government and have been focused on the importance of building strong, inclusive environments where people feel valued and supported,” said Governor Carney. “I could not be more grateful for her service.”

Cade grew up in Washington D.C. and moved to Delaware to study Political Science and Law Studies at Delaware State University. Driven by a desire to make a positive impact and following his passion for public service, Cade has worked as a Legislative Aide for the Delaware State House of Representatives, New Castle County Deputy County Director for U.S. Senator Tom Carper and State Projects Director for then-Congressman John Carney.

Cade joined Governor Jack Markell’s staff as Legislative Liaison in 2015. Last summer, Governor Carney appointed Cade to serve as DEDO’s Acting Director to lead the office’s transition, where he previously served as Deputy Director.

Cade lives in Wilmington with his wife, Kasmira, and two daughters, Jonnie and Toni.

“Smart and Surveilled:” Building Sanctuary Part 3

Wrench in the Gears

This installment highlights  smart city surveillance and the Internet of Things. Cam and Li’s lives, including their educational experiences, are shaped by ubiquitous algorithms that align their behaviors to the economic and social expectations put in place by the Solutionists. This is the third installment in the series. If you want to read from the beginning use this link to access the introduction and Part 1: Plugging In.

Cam and Li have grown up in a world controlled by sensors and data. All day, every day sensors watch, track and transmit information. The devices that make up the vast web of Internet of Things are tiny, but their combined power is incalculable. The most common IoT sensor in the pre-lockdown years was the smart phone. Practically anyone over the age of ten had one. Acting as a sensor, people’s phones were a primary means of data collection, logging information…

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Earl Jaques Bows To The Delaware Chamber Of Commerce Over Special Education Diplomas

It looks like you need special permission to introduce legislation to help students with disabilities.  At the Joint House and Senate Education Committee today in Delaware, State Rep. Earl Jaques asked one of the presenters of the special education strategic plan if she checked with the Delaware Chamber Of Commerce first before pushing legislation for special education diplomas.  Currently, many students with disabilities with complex and intensive needs get a certificate in lieu of a diploma.  Many businesses will not hire these young adults after graduation because they do not have a diploma.

The legislation, which was filed last week by State Rep. Kim Williams, would award these students a diploma based on modified standards.  It is not exactly the same as a regular diploma because of those modified standards, but it is still a diploma.  That way, these students would be able to check the box on job applications indicating they have a diploma.

During a question and answer session after Michele Marinucci and Bill Doolittle gave the special education strategic plan presentation, State Rep. Earl Jaques (also the Chair of the House Education Committee) asked Marinucci if she consulted with the Delaware Chamber of Commerce and the business community over the proposed legislation.  Marinucci indicated she had not.  I took severe offense to this question from Jaques.  As if legislators need some type of special permission from big business to allow things to get better for people with disabilities.  We don’t need permission from the Chamber of Commerce.  The Chamber should be begging for this type of bill to allow equal access to employment for ALL Delaware citizens.  As State Senator Anthony Delcollo pointed out, there exist certain laws already such as the Americans with Disabilities Act that prevents discrimination against disabled citizens.

The entire Delaware certificate system needs to disappear.  There are plenty of jobs where former students are more than qualified but this discriminatory certificate prevents them from getting those types of jobs.  Our legislators and Governor need to stop bowing down to big business in Delaware and do what is right for ALL the citizens, especially the most vulnerable.  While big business lobbyists run rampant throughout Legislative Hall telling legislators how they should vote and which bills they support and which ones they don’t, our legislators are missing the point of making laws.  It should be what is best for all the citizens, not just those with the fattest wallets.  There are those legislators who understand this, State Rep. Kim Williams being one of them.  But far too many listen to those who have the most money.

While Jaques indicated he doesn’t want to see potential problems arise from persons with disabilities just checking a box and not being qualified for those jobs, there is also a thing called an interview process.  As well, many job applications do ask an applicant about their qualifications to meet the need for the job.  Having a certificate instead of a diploma is an instant barrier that serves to weed out these job applicants from the get-go.  I find this practice disgusting and barbaric.  For this comment to come from Jaques, who has publicly acknowledged having a grandchild with Autism, I found it  particularly disturbing.  I’m sure he is trying to get all his ducks in a row and making sure there has been enough stakeholder engagement.  And while I do agree the business community should certainly be a part of the discussion in how to best help students with disabilities and improve upon the process, I do not think any group involved in getting common sense legislation through needs permission first.  I wonder if Jaques read my article on the current Chair of the Delaware Chamber of Commerce from yesterday.  Maybe then he would understand why I am vehemently opposed to any pre-consultation with the damn Chamber over education legislation.

The actual presentation was top-notch.  The plan is designed to help students with disabilities and schools to improve special education.  While the plan is not set in stone and is a “living document”, I think it is a major step in the right direction.  This group did their homework and while I always think there should be more parents not affiliated with any other organization on these things, there is an excellent amount of diversity from all aspects of special education.  To see the actual strategic plan and what was discussed today, please go here.

I did see one moment of political maneuvering and it was very blatant in my opinion, but since I am unable to verify that as fact, I will stop right there.  I will say it did not involve anyone involved with the Special Education Strategic Plan.  But I expect more from that legislator than to ask questions on behalf of the Governor.  If the Governor’s circle of advisers want to ask a question, they should just do it themselves.  They are more than welcome to do so.  By using a legislator to get a point across is just slimy in my opinion.  Especially when it really doesn’t have much to do with the actual presentation being discussed and more about a priority of Governor Carney.  I will say to this legislator as well as Carney’s guy, the article I posted yesterday with the actual plan embedded into it was posted on the Solutions for Wilmington Schools Facebook page and was read by many.

In another brilliant moment of the Joint committee session, State Senator David Sokola (the Chair of the Senate Education Committee) suggested to Marinucci that they should really take a look at Finland’s special education and what a bang-up job they do recognizing special education needs at an early age.  State Rep. Sean Matthews replied to Sokola’s statement that the educational barriers that exist in Delaware, such as charter and choice school enrollment preferences, do not exist in Finland.  He indicated Finland is at the top of education in the world because they do not have those barriers and grant equal education to all in Finland.  As well, Matthews said you don’t see actions like “counseling out” going on in Finland.  That is a practice with certain charter schools where parents are told “we aren’t sure if your child is the right fit here”.  While I don’t know how much this goes on now, it has been an allegation thrown at certain charters in Delaware.  Many students in the past would wind up back in their traditional school district in the middle of a school year.  Many of these were also special education students.  Sokola is a firm believer in enrollment preferences, usually those that protect the largest school within his own voting district, Newark Charter School.

In terms of the entire House Education Committee it would have been nice if the Republican House members actually stayed for the entire presentation.  About twenty or so minutes in they all walked out.  But along those lines, State Rep. Melanie Smith was a no-show as she usually is.  No offense to the GOP guys, but if you are on a committee you should stick around for, you know, the actual meetings.  It is special education.  Not sure what was more important than that.  But I digress.  On the Senate side, the only missing Education Committee member was Senator Bryan Townsend.

Despite Jaques’ assurance to me yesterday that this meeting would be on the live audio feed on the General Assembly website, it was not.  But there were also issues in getting a smart-screen going for the strategic plan presentation so I would chalk that up to technical issues going on.  Legislative Hall is a very old building.


A World Without (Much) Work: Building Sanctuary Part 2

Wrench in the Gears

This is the second of a seven-part series that outlines a potential future where online education is surveilled by authoritarian interests, and strivers, like Talia and her daughters, attempt to secure a precarious living within the constraints of oppressive “Smart” City policies. The introduction to the series and Part One: Plugging In can be read here.

Part 2: A World Without (Much) Work

As the Fourth Industrial Revolution got underway, automation wiped out more and more jobs. The disappearance of industrial work was grudgingly accepted. Then self-driving vehicles replaced truckers, bus drivers, delivery people, and car services. Even so, many were taken aback when digitization came for the service sector. As Artificial Intelligence hit its stride, teachers, nurses, therapists, paralegals, actuaries, financial advisors, film editors all found themselves cast aside, scrambling for new careers. It seemed everyone who could work switched to coding and cyber security. The threat posed…

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Paul Baumbach On Status Of Potential School Board Member Removal Bill

I reached out to Delaware State Representative Paul Baumbach on the proposed legislation that would remove a school district board member under certain conditions.  I haven’t seen a bill pre-filed so I thought I would ask the sponsor.  This is what he had to say: Continue reading “Paul Baumbach On Status Of Potential School Board Member Removal Bill”

Building Sanctuary: A Dystopian Future We Must Fight To Avoid

Wrench in the Gears

The next wave of education reform is one part of a much larger societal shift that hinges on the use of Big Data, predictive analytics, and digital profiling to control populations in a world of growing economic uncertainty and unrest. What follows is a speculative dystopian scenario, a world that could very well emerge from systems being put in place right now. It centers on two sisters, Cam and Li, who live in a near future New York where authorities have come to view human life primarily as a source from which to extract financial profit. Many elements of the story read like science fiction, but they are not. I’ve included links to sources at the end of each post so you can explore this reality for yourself.

The future is uncertain and unlikely to play out exactly as described. Nevertheless, we must begin to comprehend how technological developments combined…

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The Myth of “Personalized Instruction” in North Carolina – Invest in PEOPLE

caffeinated rage

“At DPI, we want to transform our education system to one that uses 21st century best practices so students and educators have access to unique learning experiences personalized for their individual needs and aspirations.” – Mark Johnson from “North Carolina Public Schools Accelerating into 2018” in (

The term “personalized learning” has become a bit of a buzzword in North Carolina – a fashionable way to veil an educational reform under the guise of something altruistic.

In its literal and denotative form, “personalized learning” is a rather noble concept. It would allow students to receive tailored-made lessons that match their learning styles, needs, and interests.

It also requires a great amount of time, resources, and PERSONAL attention from instructors.

Time, resources, classroom space, and opportunities to give each student personalized instruction are not items being afforded to North Carolina’s public school teachers. In fact, as state superintendent…

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Why The Ban on “Evidence-Based” Is More Orwellian Than you Think

Save Maine Schools

By now, you’ve likely heard the bizarre news that the Trump Administration has asked the CDC to avoid using certain words in their upcoming budget documents.

While the details are sketchy, one thing is certain: a list of seven emotionally-charged words are now flying across the web, provoking all sorts of responses on social media.

Before you go ahead and bumper-sticker your car with these terms in protest, however, you may want to take a closer look at one phrase in particular:


Of all the words included in the list, this one seems to be causing some of the most ire.

If “evidence-based” is one of the seven forbidden words, the thinking goes, surely it must be because Trump is anti-science.

Evidence is evidence, is it not?  Objective, rational… true?

How much more Orwellian can you get than a ban on truth?

Unfortunately, this is where it all…

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Just Around the Corner

Minding My Matters

While in Washington, D.C., for an annual meeting, I left the hotel a little early and went to my favorite coffee shop to pick up a chai latte (double dirty, baby) and some orange juice. Since I had the time to spare, and Peet’s was pretty much empty early Saturday in the D.C. business district, I sat in a comfy leather chair next to the door in the corner of the store and idly gazed out the window at the world. After a moment, I noticed movement in a tent I had observed over the past day or so on the sidewalk, and presently a tall, thin man stepped out of the tent. After shaking out his legs and striding up and down the walkway for a moment, he got onto a bicycle and pedaled quickly away. A short few moments later, an equally thin but not so tall woman…

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The Greater Good

Activism is something that isn’t earned or a promotion.  It isn’t glorious and full of fame and fortune.  It can be ugly at times and downright depressing.  It requires your time and patience.  True activism is voluntary.  It isn’t selfish or part of an agenda.  It just is.  Because you believe in something so strongly you will do what it takes to make sure people listen.  It isn’t violent.

For years now I’ve been pointing out what is wrong in education from my viewpoint.  Sometimes I feel like many have heard.  Other times, like no one heard.  I’ve met people from all walks of life during this journey.  There are times when it can be the loneliest experience in the world.  Other times I am beyond grateful for the support from others.   I do all of this for the greater good.

The greater good is something you feel will benefit humanity as a whole.  If I write about an elected official or a state employee, it is based on what they bring forth in education.  If it is about a face behind a company, I am less merciful most of the time.  If I agree, I praise it to the high heavens.  If I disagree, watch out.  I tend to disagree a lot.  I sincerely hope the people I disagree with know this is a very gray area when it comes to what I write.  I feel I have to question motivations based on what I know.  Because if I don’t, who will?  That may sound arrogant and cocky, but coming forth with something education related is going to make me question where it is coming from.  And half of that search is in the timing.  Timing is everything as they say.  I fully own this and accept it.  I also understand it will make people think twice in communicating with me.  I’ve seen this frequently.  And I’m okay with that.

Some have basically said I’m a grenade launcher and blow up everything in my path.  What they don’t realize is the path is already cloudy and murky.  You can’t see the forest from the trees.  I throw grenades to clear the landscape.  So that after the smoke clears, we see what is really there.  It is frequently ugly.  But I would rather know what I’m facing than not.  I’ve learned that what most people hear isn’t the same thing as the truth.  I don’t see myself as an “education thought partner”.  I don’t do this so I can sit at a table, sing “Kumbaya”, and go along to get along.  If you see me as a partner, it is only because you think you can mold me.  You can’t.  I see myself as an “education truth seeker”.  I’m the one up on the roof shaking the place and letting the dust fall so people start taking off their masks.  I will be brutally frank here: there is some truly nasty shit coming up in education that will leave parents shaking their head as their students are turned into drones for the workforce.  It is happening now, right before your eyes.  And you don’t see it.  This isn’t even about saving what came before in America.  It is about preserving what is left.  I don’t mind change unless it is good change.  But to get there, you have to make calls at times.

I fully understand many people are unwitting pawns in all this.  A slight whisper, a few words, and boom: they got you!  So what do I do?  I call the unwitting pawn out.  I let them know exactly what I think is going on and why they are doing it.  The hope is they realize they are being used and snap out of it.  That doesn’t happen often.  So I keep doing it.

Sometimes you have to do things for the greater good.  Sometimes it isn’t pretty.  Sometimes it hurts people’s feelings.  Get over it.  It IS about the kids.

Money for what Mr. Kuhn? A Big Data, Future Ready Superintendent Promotes Funding Equity for NPE

If you read one article today, make this the one! I see this going on in some of our own school districts here in Delaware. Parents MUST be aware of what is going on. We talk about all this funding for schools but where IS that money going? I am not a fan of “gamification” and “coding” in our schools. When funding is being cut left and right, we are making sure funding is available for that. It isn’t right. I think our teacher union needs to take a very strong look at this kind of stuff. If they are saying nothing about it, they are a part of the problem. If they are unaware of this and being distracted with other things, there is a reason for that and they need to keep their eye on the big picture here. Folks like myself and this blogger have spent a lot of time looking into this. It is not for own benefit. We care about public education. We care about what is happening to the students of today and future generations. We care about teachers who may or may not realize part of these agendas are to end their careers as they know them. There is a great deal of smoke and mirrors involved with all this. I implore everyone to wake up and see things for how they really are.

A Kind Moment With The President Of The State Board Of Education

I put this on my Facebook account, but I’ll add more here.

Special shout-out to State Board of Education President Dr. Dennis Loftus. On my way back from their board meeting, my car stalled out at a light at a major Dover intersection. I got out to direct traffic until the Dover Police got there. Dr. Loftus came by and asked me if I needed help. Even though I didn’t, I appreciated the gesture, especially to a guy that is very critical of the Board he is on.

In the end, my transmission fluid dipstick somehow came loose which resulted in a loss of transmission fluid. Since this dipstick is buried behind my engine I’m not sure when or how this happened. My car would not move in the drive position when the light turned green. I didn’t know this when Dr. Loftus drove by. Actually the tow truck driver figured that one out. Luckily, $80 for the tow and $36 in transmission fluid solved the problem. Not something I could really afford now, but it is what it is. It could have been a lot worse. Thank you Dr. Loftus for the offer to help on a very cold night after you had just spent the past three and a half hours at a meeting and probably just wanted to get home to your family.  I suspect that if I had taken you up on the help, it would have meant more time unselfishly given.

As I’ve always said, I won’t write about personal lives on this blog and some of the people I write negative things about on my blog are due to their public stances on education.  But make no mistake, these are some of the nicest people in the world.  With that being said, I have never written anything negative about Dr. Loftus.  But I’m sure he knows what I have written about the State Board of Ed and that I often express a desire to see them as elected officials, not Governor appointed.  It is a bizarre world we live in, but tonight, I greatly appreciated an offer.