News Journal Disgustingly Butchers My Letter To The Editor

I submitted an editorial letter to several Delaware media a week ago.  Entitled “Opt Out Ends The Madness Of High-Stakes Testing”, it appeared in the Delaware State News, Delaware Liberal, and The News Journal.  Delaware Liberal wrote everything I wrote, and Delaware State News wrote just about everything, except a part about the News Journal continuing to get House Bill 50 wrong.  I can understand that, don’t bash the competition.  No issue there.

When I sent the email to Delaware media, I asked if there was any way they could get it in prior to Thursday.  I sent it on a Sunday though, so I didn’t know if that would be possible.  I get that.  It was in Delaware State News and Delaware Liberal on Thursday.  I was a bit bummed the News Journal didn’t put it in at all, but I also knew Matt Albright would be at the Parent Strike press conference on Thursday.  To my surprise, it did show up Friday on Delawareonline.  I didn’t really read it, thinking it would show what I sent to them and what others had posted.  It showed up in their actual newspaper yesterday.

So how did I find out they messed up?  Of all places, the Rodel Foundation.  Or more specific, their blog.  I’ve actually found their “daily news” section of their blog to cover a lot of articles in one place.  I never see my stuff in there, nor would I expect to.  Lo and behold, I see my editorial covered in their “daily news” on Friday with the headline, and “opinion by Kevin Ohlandt, blogger” (come on Paul, you can’t put the words Exceptional Delaware, or parent, or even human being? Blogger?).  My radar went way up.  This is an editorial slamming the DOE and Smarter Balanced and really getting aggressive in wanting every parent in the state to opt their child out.  Why would Rodel of all places be providing a link to it?  Curiosity got the best of me, and I read what showed up in the News Journal.

I’m going to do a compare and contrast here…blue is the original parts in Delaware Liberal posted Thursday which had everything I mailed to Delaware media a week ago (with one exception and that was the part about also filing federal violations since I sent it to them Wednesday night, a few hours after I filed those), and red is the News Journal.

This “school report card” is nothing more than Federal mandate PLUS the many layers of complexity the DOE added to it. 

This “school report card” is nothing more than Federal mandate.

See how they took out the whole part about the DOE adding to it and making it look like the whole school report card is “Federal mandate”?  Very crafty…

This week, we will hear about the creation of 10 new so-called “Focus Schools” and 4 “Focus Plus Schools”.  The DOE will attempt to sell this as yet another way of “fixing” these high-need schools.  The truth is, these labels are punitive in nature and are just another step before they become “Priority Schools”.  We all know how that went a year ago.

The DOE will attempt to sell this as yet another way of “fixing” these high-need schools. The truth is, these labels are punitive in nature and are just another step before they become “Priority Schools.”

By taking out the part about the DOE adding stuff, it makes it look like the Federal mandate will be sold by the DOE wanting to “fix” the high-needs schools.  It’s an editorial, so of course it’s going to have opinion.  And we do all know how it went a year ago, not very well!

The transparency around Regulation 103 and the “school report card” is suspect at best. I filed a large complaint with the Delaware Department of Justice over several issues, and a complaint over FOIA violations with the DOE. As well, for the second time this year, I filed a complaint over FOIA violations with the DOE.  The first complaint showed the DOE overcharging me nearly $7,000. It seems the DOE wants accountability for everyone but themselves.  

The transparency around Regulation 103 and the “school report card” is suspect at best. I filed a large complaint with the Delaware Department of Justice over several issues, and a complaint over FOIA violations with the DOE. The first complaint showed the DOE overcharging me nearly $7,000.

Keep in mind that Albright was at the Parent Strike press conference AND the State Board of Education meeting.   He heard me list my complaints against the DOE and the State Board of Education twice.  How much was written about a State agency getting five state complaints and two federal complaints?  One of those being on OCR complaint?  Not one word.  In fact, Albright didn’t write at all about anything with Regulation 103, even though that was obviously the highlight of the whole board meeting.  But in the above, we get what looks to be confusion with my complaints, like I’m not too sure what I’m doing.  We obviously can’t be slamming the DOE too hard in News Journal letters.  Especially when it comes to controversial issues on accountability for schools but the DOE never owns up to what they do, never!

This was the one that REALLY did it for me though…watch what they do…

The DOE would have us blame the teachers in these schools.  How about we blame the DOE and Governor Markell?  Instead of focusing on the true needs of students, such as smaller classrooms and more special education training, our schools continue the failed experiment of Smarter Balanced.

The DOE would have us blame the teachers in these schools. How about we blame the DOE and Gov. Markell instead of focusing on the true needs of students.

Trying to make me look like a bad guy, like I would rather focus on DOE and Markell than focus on what students really need.  That’s pretty low.  And I’m sure Dr. Paul Herdman was probably like “Holy crap, did you see what Ohlandt wrote in the News Journal.  We have to get this out there!”  But it is worlds away from what I actually wrote.  Actually, it’s a universe away.  Yes, I am critical of their articles and editorials.  I won’t deny that.  But I don’t CHANGE what they write.  I don’t combine parts of sentences to make them look bad.  I’m pretty certain at this point I won’t be writing any more letters to the News Journal.  They have published some and given me some mentions over opt-out, and I appreciate that.  But I can’t condone this.  Either this was a really bad copy editor, or this was intentional.  Knowing the articles the News Journal writes, their allegiance to Rodel and the Delaware Business Roundtable, and their continual ass-kissing with the DOE and Governor Markell, I can’t help but assume it’s the latter.  I’m sure they were arrogant enough to think I would only send it to the almighty News Journal and no one else would know.  But guess what chumps, you screwed up.

To read what I actually wrote, please go to Delaware State News and Delaware Liberal at the below links.

http://delawarestatenews.net/opinion/letter-to-the-editor-opt-out-ends-the-madness-of-high-stakes-testing/

http://www.delawareliberal.net/2015/09/17/opt-out-ends-the-madness-of-high-stakes-testing/

If you want to get unbiased, good education news, please check out your local newspaper, or check out Avi’s great stuff on Newsworks.  I’m really sick of the dog and pony show the News Journal keeps putting on.  This is a newspaper that will sell their soul to Rodel and Markell and all their corporate education reform buddies, but when everyday people try to get their point across they edit it and change intent.  Maybe I should opt out of reading the News Journal altogether…