John Carney is Jack Markell 2.0!!! Who Will Save Our Children And Schools?

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With the Delaware gubernatorial election coming in less than eight months, the candidates have been very slow to speak about the issues.  Especially about education.  Congressman John Carney, long considered the favorite for Governor, finally talked about education in Delaware.  His response to my question on a Facebook q&a today showed he is nothing more than a Governor Markell wannabe.  As well, he didn’t answer a very important question on the minds of many Delawareans in regards to the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission.

Since things like this have a tendency to disappear on social media, I took screenshots of my questions and Carney’s reply.

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Notice how Carney did not answer anything about opt-out, Smarter Balanced, Common Core, personalized learning, data mining, or special education.  In short, he didn’t answer anything!  He merely pulled the corporate education reform bible out and read their introduction.  In Delaware, that “flexibility” is killing education and morale in schools.  No one likes the Smarter Balanced and this mad rush to standardize every single child into a collective drone is causing major issues in our schools.  Teachers are held to higher “standards” so they can get pushed out, slowly but surely.  Personalized learning will turn the once proud teaching profession into a moderator for the machine.  Carney really doesn’t have a clue about any of this and it showed today.  Send him an email, any email about education, and you will get a similar response.

I was really hoping, as the supposed frontrunner for Governor, that we would hear something different from Carney.  But it is obvious he is more concerned with the campaign donation crowd than everyday parents and students.  I really wish someone would step up and mount a serious campaign against them.  Apparently, all you have to do is just a bit of research and you are already ahead of him with this game.

Carney didn’t answer a key question about the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission’s redistricting plan.

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To keep things in perspective, Laura and I were some of the first to ask questions.  While I appreciate Carney’s willingness to give me non-answers, he ignored Ms. Nash’s questions entirely.  Several other folks posted questions well after the q&a started and Carney took the time to answer them.  Why wouldn’t he answer a question about WEIC when he sent a rep from his office to their meeting last night?  It’s obviously on his radar if he sent someone to the meeting.  Very curious!  But really, what’s the point of asking again if he is just going to evade the question which he did on many of them.

Those running for office: this is exactly the kind of campaign strategy you don’t want to utilize.  Ignoring questions or ducking around answering real questions is not someone I want to vote for!

For that matter, where is State Senator Colin Bonini?  Why isn’t he doing events like this?  To at least show an illusion of transparency?  As the Republican frontrunner for Governor, I can count on one hand how many times Bonini has been front and center on the issues a Delaware Governor will have to face.  I hear more from Lacey Lafferty on issues, even though I don’t agree with many of them.

Even Sean Goward has more to say than Carney or Bonini.  Who is Sean Goward?  He is the Libertarian candidate for Delaware Governor:

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Can’t say I agree with everything he has to say, but I would vote for him over Carney or Bonini based solely on this introduction.  We need more headstrong pissed-off citizen dads running the show!  And headstrong pissed-off citizen moms as well!

Obviously, education will be a major stumbling block for Carney in a Governor election yet again.  Markell trounced him on this back in 2008 and it helped Carney to lose in the primary.  Now he is just doing a copy and paste of Markell’s Rodel tainted agendas.  Don’t believe me?  The Godfather of Delaware education blogging said so:

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16 To Watch In 2016: State Senator Colin Bonini

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For the past six months, I have heard the entire state of Delaware talk about how John Carney is the heir apparent to the Governor’s mansion.  Because he is a Democrat.  Because he should have become the Governor in 2008.  On the Republican side, the leading contender is State Senator Colin Bonini.  For the past 21 years, Bonini has been a Delaware State Senator, winning every election.  He did run for State Treasurer in 2010, but lost to Democrat Chip Flowers.

Bonini will definitely be one to watch in the coming year.  Many Delawareans are not happy with the “one-party rule” that has existed in the First State for many years.  With education a complete mess, a looming budget deficit, and a general feeling of unhappiness with our state government, it may just be a time that is ripe for change.  There have been no Republican governors in Delaware since 1993.  Many feel that John Carney will just be “Jack Markell light”.

Bonini has been preparing for the election drumming up support from many different areas of the state.  As recently as December 1st, Bonini sent a letter to the leadership of the Delaware House of Representatives and Senate to request the creation of a standing Civil Rights committee in the Delaware General Assembly.  I think this is an excellent idea!

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In terms of voting history on crucial education matters, Bonini voted yes on the very controversial charter school bill, House Bill 165 and yes on the equally controversial Senate Bill 51, concerning teacher educator licensure.  On the flip side though, Bonini voted no on the Smarter Balanced Assessment bill, House Bill 334, and voted yes for House Bill 50, the parent opt-out legislation Governor Markell vetoed last summer.  His primary opponent, John Carney, voted yes for the Every Student Succeeds Act.  Last summer, Carney voted no for an opt-out bill introduced earlier in the year.  I think it would be foolhardy for everyone to assume Carney has this in the bag.  While Carney has been strolling around the corridors of Washington D.C., Bonini has been in the first state tackling a lot of the issues.  His loss to Flowers in 2010 was very narrow, with Flowers carrying 51% of the vote for State Treasurer.

Both candidates need to speak openly and candidly about education in Delaware.  This conversation needs to start now.

 

16 To Watch In 2016: John Carney

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When US Congressman John Carney announced he was running for the Governor of Delaware, nobody was really shocked.  Everyone assumed he was the rightful heir to Governor.  Many felt he should have already been Governor, back in 2008.  He was ahead in the polls, and in a shocking defeat he lost to Delaware Treasurer Jack Markell in the Democrat primary.  The very close vote caused Carney to lose the race by 1,737 votes.  Markell won, 51% to 49%.  Carney went on to become the Delaware Representative in Congress.

To many Delawareans, Markell should have never been Governor and felt Carney was robbed.  Imagine, if you will, what could have happened if Carney won that primary.  Would Delaware still be the Common Core cheerleader for the nation?  Would Carney have vetoed House Bill 50?  Would our DOE have become the bloated cow it has morphed into under Markell’s reign of terror?

So what happened that day, September 9th, 2008?  Carney had the backing of almost the entire Democratic caucus, and Senator Tom Carper told Markell he should “wait his turn” and not run.  Of course Markell did anyways.  Carney’s loss that day did not come from New Castle County.  He only lost by 51 votes there.  It was Kent and Sussex County that opted for Markell over Carney.  Even though 2/3rds of the votes came from New Castle, it wasn’t enough to defeat Markell.  Did Markell get help from an unexpected source to turn the tide?

2016 will be a different story.  With no challenger in the Democratic race, it is a surefire certainty Carney will lead the Democratic Gubernatorial ticket.  By all indications, Delaware Senator Colin Bonini will be the Republican frontrunner.  As I’ve said before, I would love a challenge with this race.  Both of these candidates need to get out there and make their presence known.

As for education, Carney voted for the Every Student Succeeds Act along with his brethren in the US Senate, Carper and Coons.  He needs to start talking about education real fast if he wants to be taken serious.  This is one of the number one topics in the First State, and he needs to let his stance on all the damage his usurper wrought upon Delaware be known.

I’m Just Going To Come Right Out And Say This: MATT DENN FOR GOVERNOR!!!!!

While everyone else talks about John Carney and Tom Gordon, and Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn is put below this pecking order, I have recently come to the conclusion Matt Denn is the only logical choice for Governor in 2016.  What brought this on?  Two things.

First is this Facebook post Matt put up in regards to the budget passed in the wee hours of the morning by our state legislators and passed by Governor Markell soon after.

There is no sugar-coating it. The state budget was passed last night, and after five months of making the case, I wasn’t able to persuade the General Assembly’s Joint Finance Committee to invest financial market settlement funds in any of the initiatives I proposed to address violent crime — no funds to extend Wilmington’s very effective police foot patrols (whose state funding will expire in two weeks), no funds for staffing of video cameras, no funds for new after-school or summer programs for juveniles, no funds for new re-entry programs, no additional funds for high-poverty elementary schools, no additional funds for low income housing. Instead, the Joint Finance Committee spent millions of dollars in settlement funds to balance this year’s budget. I recognize that it was a very tough budget year, but it would’ve been affordable and appropriate to fund at least some of what we proposed. To the Delawareans who are living every day with the consequences of violent crime, and others in our state who think it is an important issue, I am sorry I wasn’t able to persuade the legislature to invest in these programs, and I want you to know that I am going to keep on trying.

This is truly what we need in our state, someone willing to tackle the issues from the streets and in our schools, not sitting in an office somewhere hoping the problem goes away or continuing the very faulty “kicking of the can” down the road.

Second, I went to Legislative Hall in Dover last night.  I wanted to see how the Senate voted on State Rep. Kim William’s House Bill 186, the charter school post-audit bill.  By the time I got there, Senator Sokola had already placed the bill back in committee, which went against the grain of the vast majority of bills passed last night, which had more rules suspended than charter school leaders are actually caught for their financial malfeasances.

As I heard the budget bill discussed before the House of Representatives, I heard State Reps. John Kowalko and Paul Baumbach speak about why they were not voting yes for the budget bill.  I also heard the very tongue-in-cheek response from those in disagreement with them, which amounted to “if you don’t vote for this, than it is a vote against Delaware” which I immediately translated to “Don’t you dare question how this state spends money”.  That is not a democracy.  There were far too many items on the budget allocated for those who already have enough but want more.  There were very few for those who need it the most.

Afterwards, the House went into a very long recess, and I wandered around, talking to folks here and there.  I went down to the cafeteria to listen to the bond bill discussions on the video feed, and I saw Matt Denn with a very serious look on his face.  I met Matt last fall at the IEP Task Force, when he chaired the group as one of his last acts as Lieutenant Governor.  I attended every single meeting, as did Matt.  I wasn’t on the task force, but I felt it was important someone outside the group caught it all.  I gave public comment at nearly every meeting, and at times I was quite combative with what I needed to say.  Never once did Denn give me the look I’ve received so many times from the likes of Earl Jaques, David Sokola, various DOE staff, or those sitting at the “big table” as the State Board of Education.  Whether or not he agreed with me was beyond the point, he was always very cordial with me and listened.

My son went with me to one of the meetings, and he wanted to talk but he didn’t know what to say, so I wrote something off for him on the fly.  It was very obvious to all in attendance who wrote the words, but Matt thanked him from the heart for what he said.

I’ve seen Matt a handful of times since the IEP Task Force ended, all at Legislative Hall.  I’ve been down there quite a bit supporting certain education bills, most prominently House Bill 50, the parent opt-out bill.  I have no clue what Matt thinks of this bill, but he never disparaged me on the issue, which so many in this state have.

So back to last night, in the midst of the chaos which has become June 30th into July 1st at Legislate Hall, I was sitting in the cafeteria.  I saw Matt start to walk by, when out of the corner of his eye he glanced over at me and asked one simple question: “How is your son doing?”  We had a conversation about my son’s latest trials and tribulations, which Denn knew some aspects of based on an email conversation I had with him earlier in the Winter.  Matt remembered exactly the details of that email, and at a time when he had the entire world hammering around him, he took the time to ask about my son.

This is what we need from our leaders, a true understanding of the realities of our worlds.  Someone on the ground floor who just gets it.  Someone who understands a person’s problems are all of Delaware’s problems.  Someone who works very hard for what he believes in not only for himself, but the entire state.  Someone who isn’t afraid to make the tough choices for the most vulnerable members of our society.  Not to further his own ambition, but for the simple reason that he cares.

This is why I find myself endorsing a candidate for Governor who hasn’t even thrown his hat in the ring, and why I believe all fellow Delawareans should give a shout out to Matt to really dive into this.  We need a leader who governs the people, not the corporate interests dictating every aspect of our lives.  We need a real person.  We need you Matt!