On Facebook tonight, former Delaware State Education Association President Mike Matthews talked about his resignation from DSEA in light of the “uncovering” of blog posts he made a decade ago. Matthews talks about who was behind it. Continue reading
Over eleven years ago, a report came out from the Delaware Department of Education. The topic was Delaware students and what they were looking for in education. This is a voice that is often marginalized when it comes to education policy. The adults are the ones that make the big decisions but it impacts students the most. Students didn’t choose Common Core and standardized tests. But they are the ones that have to deal with it. After students, teachers should have a stronger voice as well.
Back in the Secretary of Education Valerie Woodruff years, long before Race To The Top and Common Core but during the No Child Left Behind years, Delaware students were invited to speak out. I appreciate some of the raw answers these students gave. We need to do this again in Delaware.
There are always gems to be found when you comb through district and charter board minutes, agendas, and websites. I did that last night and found a ton of stuff! Instead of coming out with a dozen or more articles about it, I thought I would just combine all of it one fell swoop! There is A LOT of material in here so dig in! Continue reading
It’s that time of year when legislators get requests from organizations and media to do surveys. One organization sent out a survey to all the Delaware State Representatives recently. What was interesting was how this organization managed to offend many of them before the introductory paragraph! As well, the actual survey is EXACTLY what I would expect from this organization. Continue reading
I was going through my drafts folder on this blog and I found several articles I either started but never finished or ones where information changed drastically. For some of them, I either got bored writing it, it was repetitive from other stuff I wrote, or it just didn’t make any sense. Some of these wound up becoming part of other articles.
I’m deleting a ton of them, but I thought I would give the titles for some of them. Some I am going to keep because there is information in them that is good to keep on the back burner. And there are some I won’t even reveal the title of because they would give away something coming up. Yes, I have many drafts with untold tales… Continue reading
I was looking at various polls I’ve put on here over the past couple of years and I was astonished at some of the results of them! In some cases we were completely wrong! These were basically straw polls I conducted over the past year or two. Continue reading
Today, Delaware Governor John Carney delivered his State of the State Address to the General Assembly in the House chambers. On the education front, he didn’t really say anything I haven’t heard before. He made it a point to specifically address Christina School District and the five schools in Wilmington. There was NO mention of Kindergarten to 3rd Grade Basic Special Education funding. He talked about math coaches but absolutely nothing about reading specialists. He wants to pour more money into the Pre-K Stars program. Pretty much everything sounds like a Jack Markell third term. Enough already Carney! How about coming up with some new and creative ideas? Because Governor Markell was a tyrant education Governor. You are putting all your eggs in the Wilmington basket. I’m not saying those kids don’t need help, but there are others across the state who need help as well. I got your message though. We can all expect to pay higher taxes very soon!
I’ve been looking for a common thread in everything I’ve written about what is taking place in Delaware education. One person, so deeply embedded in the forces that are privatizing public education before our very eyes. I believe I found it. A common link to the initiatives taking place. The Public/Private partnerships. Workforce Development. The Delaware Business Roundtable and the Delaware Chamber of Commerce. The Rodel/Vision Coalition. Personalized Learning. The philanthropic ventures into public education. Pathways to Prosperity. I believe I just found the most powerful person in Delaware who is calling ALL the shots. And most of you have probably never even heard the name. Continue reading
Happy New Year! 2018 began with freezing temperatures. Anyone who ventured up to NYC to watch the ball drop is crazy in my book! But you only live once. This is going to be a big year. So what’s coming? A LOT! Continue reading
The 4th Senate District race is on! A few days ago, Democrat Dan Cruce dropped out of the race clearing the way for Laura Sturgeon to take on Republican Greg Lavelle. Taking on the guy who has been in office since 2001 won’t be an easy task, but if anyone can do it, it’s Sturgeon! A teacher, wife, and also a member of the Delaware State Education Association Executive Board, Sturgeon comes with a packed resume.
For Lavelle, who served as a member of the House of Representatives from 2001-2013 and the Senate since then, can he muster the support to continue his Senate seat? Delaware Liberal reported yesterday that there are now more registered Republicans than Democrats in the district. Lavelle is a huge supporter of Right To Work laws whereas Sturgeon is not. In education, Lavelle is known more for flip-flopping on the Smarter Balanced vote than anything else. This is a guy, when presented with the opt out bill for a second time, actually said “I wish I could opt out of voting on this bill”.
The Delaware General Election is still far away but several new contenders are putting their names forward. I expect this particular race to get heated very soon! If I were a betting man, Lavelle will attempt to gain votes by discussing the recent DSEA endorsement of Regulation 225. Sturgeon, a teacher in Brandywine, will gain votes from those opposed to Right To Work laws. This will be a very interesting race to watch!
The first time I heard anyone going off about what eventually became Regulation 225 was State Rep. Rich Collins. A couple of months ago, the Republican State Rep. from the 41st district lashed out against the Delaware Department of Education over the draft for the regulation. He did not like that parental rights were seemingly violated in this gender identity discrimination regulation. Which started off more controversy in Delaware than I’ve seen in a long time. It probably got more response than opt out did. Which I find to be a crying shame cause I think, in the long run, that is a much more important issue. But I’m biased like that. Not ashamed to admit it. But I digress…
Collins fired the shot heard around Delaware. From there, the regulation continued to find many who opposed it. The final day for public comment on it was today, at 4pm. It is now in the hands of Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting. Will she approve it? Disapprove it? We will find out soon. Perhaps as early as December 14th, the next State Board of Education meeting. I would guess she will hold onto it for a little while. Or maybe Carney just wants it over as soon as possible, one way or another.
The part about Collins’ role in all this was he isn’t a state rep I’ve found to get involved in many education-related things. I guess this one hit home for him in his neck of the woods.
Delaware Governor John Carney hasn’t even been in his job a year and already he has managed to irk me more than former Governor Jack Markell. Why? Many reasons. Continue reading
It’s been a while. At least for me.
I haven’t been blogging as much. Like I’ve said before, sometimes you have to take a break and recharge your batteries. But it doesn’t mean things aren’t happening offline or in sidebar conversations. These are just some of the things I’ve seen and heard the past few weeks: Continue reading
On Facebook today, Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn announced he will not be seeking reelection for Attorney General in 2018. I was shocked to say the least. This is a man who has dedicated the last 14 years to public service and won every election that came his way. But I get his reasons: he wants to spend more time with his family. Because that’s who Matt is above everything else: a father and a husband. His kids always come first.
I first met Matt at the first IEP Task Force meeting three years ago. It feels like an eternity ago. Since then, I’ve contacted him about various education issues in the First State. Not only did Matt chair the IEP Task Force, but he also recorded the meetings and put the audio recordings on a website so ALL parents could listen to what was discussed. That is very unusual for a task force, but Matt knew parents wanted to know what was going on. Throughout the task force, Matt fought for parent rights when it comes to their child’s Individualized Education Program.
A couple of years ago, I publicly asked Matt to run for Governor in 2016. He obviously declined my request. I don’t always agree with the legal opinions that come out of Matt’s office, but I respect that I have a right to request one. At heart, Matt is a good guy. He cares about people. Even yesterday, he released a video about school bullying urging kids to not bully others.
Now the hunt for a new Attorney General begins! I am sure the Delaware Democrats and Republicans are already making calls. I have one person who I would LOVE to see as the AG, but I will refrain from saying who my pick would be just yet. But in all seriousness Matt, and I know you still have a lot of time left in office, I for one will miss you after January 2019!
Mike Matthews became the next President of the Delaware State Education Association today. Taking over from outgoing President, Frederika Jenner, Matthews will undoubtedly generate news over the next few years. After an actual tie in the election last January, Matthews won in a run-off election two months later.
With the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act in our schools, more personalized learning/competency-based education crap, the usual teacher evaluation based on Smarter Balanced, and all the budgetary/legislative stuff going on, look for Matthews to have his hands full the next few years. Today, he sent out a letter to Delaware DSEA educators:
A Message from DSEA President Mike Matthews
Dear Fellow Educator:
Today I begin a new journey as DSEA President. Throughout my career as an educator, DSEA has been the strongest voice to ensure our members and students have what they need to succeed. I look forward to continuing this strong tradition of advocacy, but will need your help to be successful. Stay informed by reading our e-newsletters Professionally Speaking, which covers all manner of education policy news, as well as Legislative Matters, which provides comprehensive coverage of the legislative developments impacting public education and educators. Also, DSEA maintains active social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter, and publishes an all-member newspaper, ACTION, on a quarterly basis. These are just a few of the many ways in which you can stay informed and continue to advocate for your students.
Over the next few years, working with our network of strong local leaders, I hope you will share your stories with me about what’s going on in your school. Share with me the good… Share with me the not-so-good. I intend for open and honest communication to be an important piece of my time as DSEA President. To that end, please feel free to contact me to share those stories. My email is Mike.Matthews@dsea.org.
Together, our unified, collective voice can speak up on behalf of our colleagues and the students we advocate for every day. I hope you are enjoying your summer and I look forward to working with you in the near future. Thank you for all that you do.
Every year, on June 13th, Exceptional Delaware celebrates its anniversary. This year is, pardon the pun, no exception. You won’t see what the mission is until you read about it. But it is definitely time to reboot the mission and go back to basics. It’s about the kids. It’s about families. It’s about what is covered up and hidden. In ALL facets of education, people want quiet. They didn’t want the dirty skeletons coming out of the closet. But they are there. Like an ostrich with a head buried in the sand, so it is with Delaware education. Continue reading
Kilroy wrote his last post today. I wasn’t expecting it, but I’m not surprised. I’m sad, for many reasons. I will still talk to the man behind Kilroy. Perhaps one day we can go fishing at his paradise in really slower lower. But dammit, Kilroy filled me in on so much with Delaware education before I took a crack at blogging. He lent me his blog for about a month and a half three years ago so I could tell a story about my son. We talked a lot over the past few years. Over time, he became a friend. Not a friend I talk to every day or even see. But a friend nonetheless.
Some of the commenters over at Kilroy’s Delaware pissed me off to no end. That is no secret, especially that one guy. But I loved the discussion even if I didn’t agree with the point of view. Things got nasty between myself and a few of the commenters from time to time. But Kilroy loved it. He loved his virtual kitchen table. He was the godfather of Delaware education blogs and paved the way for the rest of us fighting the good fight.
Transparent Christina, Kavips, and now Kilroy’s Delaware. We still have other education blogs, but they are either mixed in with political blogs (Delaware Liberal and Blue Delaware) or the other blogs really don’t post that often. They were the big three. I get it. Life moves on. Blogs are not a forever thing. I’m very surprised mine has lasted as long as it has. I feel this insurmountable task of carrying the torch for the giants that came before me. Someday, another irate or concerned parent will take up the mantle. Perhaps a teacher. Blogging is not dead.
I often consider hanging it up though. Is Delaware education blogging needed anymore? Things have calmed down since Governor Markell left his throne. But there are still considerable dangers and concerns going on with education. Perhaps bigger than all that came before. The biggest concerns I have are vouchers, personalized learning, competency-based education, funding, digital technology, and student data privacy. And hovering above all those issues is how students with disabilities will fit in with this new world. I’ve seen the end goals, and any legislator, teacher, or educator can tell me that will never happen. But they aren’t in the corporate world. Not knee-deep in it. That’s where Rodel comes in. They are the middle man between the corporations and the education stakeholders, whether it is the Governor, the Delaware Dept. of Education, schools, teachers, and even parents at times. As long as they are peddling their wares, I will try my best to stick around.
There will never be another Kilroy. He had such a unique identity and style to his writing. Even the best imitator couldn’t come close. I’ll miss his cryptic hints and his crazy codes he would drop. He had a mission, and he accomplished it. I remember taping the Senate session when they passed his digital recording bill (finally) and sent him a copy. I was proud of him because I knew great things don’t always come easy. But with sweat and perseverance, change can come.
Best of luck Kilroy. I will forever be grateful for you taking a chance on an odd parent from Kent County and getting me going in this very surreal blogging world. Because of you, my life was forever changed. Sometimes it wasn’t always good change, but it hasn’t been bad. You were the gateway to my meeting a ton of people (including yourself) who have left a mark on my life, often at times I needed it more than ever. At the end of the day, it is about friendship and trying to help people. Even when you don’t get anything for yourself out of it. You taught me that Kilroy, along with Kavips and Transparent Christina.
Should they ever make a movie about Kilroy’s Delaware, I want Robert DeNiro to play him!
State Rep. Andria Bennett’s House Bill 70 would make cursive writing a requirement for Delaware public education students. This is the second time in the past couple of years a bill like this came before the Delaware General Assembly. Last time, State Rep. Deb Hudson was the main sponsor of this bill but it didn’t move forward. For this legislative session, it looks like the proposed bill has a lot more Democrat support.
I support this bill. You need to know cursive to sign checks and important documents. It also promotes better penmanship for students. Many historical documents were in cursive. Thanks Rep. Bennett!
Let it be known, throughout the State of Delaware, that I proudly endorse John Marino for the 10th Senate District special election on February 25th.
Wait a minute, some of you might be thinking, aren’t you a dye in the wool Democrat? Hardly. I am an issues guy. And I also value consistency and someone knowing what they are talking about. I’ve known John Marino’s stances on public education for years now, since the 2014 election. He supports opt out, wants more resources in the class-room, is not a big fan of top-down education mandates, and supports local control and teachers. He is against Common Core and wants our students to succeed.
There will be DSEA members who will be screaming for my head right about now because of the fear of the Delaware Senate going under Republican control if Marino wins. Right to Work could come to Delaware, but that kind of bill would need to pass the House and get Governor Carney’s signature. The Senate could play games with the budget as well trying to get Right to Work in Delaware. I can picture Delaware Dems sitting in Legislative Hall well into July to prevent that. So I am not as scared of that notion as some left-leaning teachers are. As well, I am not a teacher. I’m a parent, and I am disgusted by many of the stunts I’ve seen when it comes to Delaware education and government.
But let’s take a look at what Democrat control has done for teachers: DPAS-II and Component V. Smarter Balanced Assessment. Not to mention far too many of them cowering to Jack Markell. It is all about a balance of power. Delaware is ripe for change, and it starts with our government. One party control has given us far too many special interest items tucked into the state budget over the years. Money that could and should be going to far more pressing needs in this state. We need a balance of power, and if the Delaware Senate goes red, so be it.
As far as Hansen, she seems to change her education beliefs by the day. She even did that on her website between January 28th and January 29th.
If I want to see flipping, I’ll go on Netflix and watch some old episodes of Flipper! In terms of a DSEA endorsement, keep in mind what that really is. The DSEA Executive Board decides endorsements and it is not an accurate representation of all Delaware teachers. It is a handful of people. What I don’t appreciate is someone not knowing the issues, like Hansen, then getting schooled on them and acting like she knows what the hell she is talking about. Marino has always felt the same way. I won’t even get into the bizarre issues with Hansen and New Castle County government. I will just say it some very surreal stuff.
So how does Marino feel (and consistently) about education in Delaware?
State government has broken our school system. Due to over-testing, heavy-handed bureaucracy and a lack of support for our teachers, our local schools have to work twice as hard to provide a quality education for our young people. I support legislation to reign in and minimize burdensome state tests, as well as an unequivocal policy that parents are the only authority to decide what tests their children take. A parent has the natural right to remove their child from any test or school activity — anytime, anywhere. No government should be given even the smallest opportunity to infringe on parental rights.
I also support letting teachers teach. I support building-level control and more money in the classroom. Our education bureaucracy has only grown and grown. It’s hurting our children, costing more taxpayer money and the people in power in the Senate have encouraged that growth at every turn. We can’t get the schools we deserve unless we change the people making the decisions and restore balance to state government.
I’ve been around Legislative Hall enough to see how the one-party system is not good for our state. We need to end the legislator locks on the budget that allow funds to go towards programs that benefit members of the Joint Finance Committee. We need to stop the political games and get back to governing Delaware and making laws that make sense for ALL Delawareans. We need John Marino to win this election.
In less than 20 hours, Delaware’s new Governor will be sworn in. Jack Markell’s eight-year term as the Governor of Delaware will end. I’ve seen reviews of his term all over Delaware and social media in the past week or so. I believe it is no secret that I view his education initiatives as an unmitigated disaster. But were they? Continue reading