What is it about Delaware bills with the number 50 in it? Senate Bill #50 is going to be pulled today according to sources in the know. The bill would have created the Delaware Tech “Community College Infrastructure Fund”. But after opponents of the bill cried foul the legislation is going to die. Continue reading
The Delaware Joint Finance Committee listened to the Delaware Department of Education present their FY2020 budget presentation today. The Delaware State Education Association made their public comment open to the public today. Given by DSEA’s Director of Legislation, Kristin Dwyer, the public comment hit home on some areas. In particular, the very heavy lift we are asking of our educators. It is more apparent than ever that teachers can’t do it alone. Continue reading
The Rodel Foundation of Delaware has a new name. They are now called Rodel. This landmark rebranding effort comes to you from Rodel. It is the 20th Anniversary since the Budingers sold their business to Germany and decided to launch an education reform non-profit company destined to jack up Delaware education for all time. In honor of this infamous anniversary, it is time to talk about what Rodel is up to and what their goals and agendas are really about.
I’ve been writing about Rodel for four and a half years. But the complete and utter crap I saw from them in the past couple of weeks is the height of arrogance. They have been pimping their snake-oil for 20 years but they are now reaching the height of their power. As an example, Rodel seems to think they are the sole force in the creation of Delaware charter schools. If you ever doubted the complete farce Rodel really is, this screenshot from their rebranded website should cast those doubts aside: Continue reading
I was wondering why Delaware Governor John Carney’s office resent the same media advisory today that they sent on Friday. I figured there had to be some change to the big shindig tomorrow at Legislative Hall. And there it was, staring at me like a full moon on a summer night, one addition to the number of attendees: Continue reading
The Odyssey Charter School Education Association declared a vote of no confidence in the school’s Board of Directors. As well, they asked four members of the board to resign. Continue reading
The Red Clay Board of Education meeting the other night was one for the record books! The highlight of the meeting was the Charter School of Wilmington renewal discussion. Dr. Sam Paoli, the President of CSW, got drilled and grilled with a ton of questions about CSW’s demographics and recruitment efforts.
The absolute best part of the conversation was when Jose Matthews, the husband of Mike Matthews, the former President of the Delaware State Education Association, told Paoli the following: Continue reading
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
I’ve been pretty hard on Delaware Governors in the past four plus years. But sometimes they do things that make me think about things they do that are not directly related to bad education policy. Things that will make Delaware a better place in the long run. Two weeks ago, Delaware Governor John Carney signed Executive Order #24 which makes Delaware a trauma-informed state. This is something we need in Delaware. Delaware is not the best state for mental health services. Families are crying out for help. Sometimes they get it but a lack of training or proper services can turn that help into an issue. Continue reading
It is the return of The Bygone Blogger! This blogger of old has some more stuff to say about the controversy surrounding Mike Matthews and his DSEA resignation based on old blog posts Mike wrote. In which we learn, once again, things are NOT always what they seem on the surface and some of the pitchfork throwers aren’t exactly innocent! Take it away (again) Bygone Blogger! Continue reading
I warned them. Many times. Sit at the table and you will be on the table. The Delaware State Education Association was swallowed whole. By who? Continue reading
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
I am more convinced than ever that there are people in Delaware who are hell-bent on demolishing the Delaware State Education Association. The resignation of Mike Matthews over old blog posts was just the opening salvo. This is an all-out war on the teachers union in Delaware.
Yesterday, I received a letter in the mail. The envelope was hand-written and the actual letter was typed. The bottom part of the page was cut off. There was no return address, just a Wilmington postmark. I do not know who sent it but it feels and smells like a campaign to go after DSEA. This is what the letter said: Continue reading
Odyssey Charter School teachers and staff voted and an overwhelming majority decided to join the Delaware State Education Association. This is the second charter school in Delaware to do so in 2018. Last Spring, the Charter School of Wilmington also voted to join DSEA. In 1997, Positive Outcomes joined DSEA but opted out in 2000. Delaware College Prep joined in 2012 but closed a few years later due to low enrollment.
With 131 for and 16 against, over 89% of the educators in the school decided a teachers union was the best option for them. Prior to 2018, it was virtually unheard of for Delaware charters to unionize. What turned the tide?
For Odyssey, the decision was clear- they did not like decisions the board was making and felt their voices were not being heard. When former leader Nick Manolakos did not have his contract renewed, the school hired two to take his place. But the tipping point was when their former Board President, who had just resigned, became a leading contender for a third highly paid administrator.
Over the summer this led to those teachers and parents questioning the board about decisions that would affect the school. Parents saw fundraiser after fundraiser to get more money for the school but didn’t feel the money was going towards what the school promised. But they had money for all these administrators.
Congratulations to Odyssey Charter School for joining DSEA. With two joining this year, will more Delaware charters follow? Even with forces joining together to muffle DSEA it has become more apparent than ever that teachers want respect and to have their voice heard. They are the second most important part of a school after the students. They have rights and deserve to organize and fight for what is theirs. They deserve due process and the right to air grievances.
Alleynegate continues! Hours after it was discovered DelawareCAN’s Atnre Alleyne decided to spam Delaware teachers with his “I hate Mike Matthews” blog post, many are wondering how the not so illustrious corporate education reformer got ahold of so many teacher’s personal emails. In a response to one teacher, Alleyne responded by saying this: Continue reading
Atnre Alleyne, the Executive Director of DelawareCAN, sent out an email blast to Delaware educators today. The email was unsolicited and left Delaware teachers wondering how Alleyne even got their email address in the first place. This pattern of abuse on Alleyne’s part ends a week filled with his mischief. Continue reading
I’ve seen Delaware divided over issues in my day but the social media comments about Mike Matthews old blog posts and his resignation from DSEA last night have lit Delaware up. Today, Matthews turned off his radio silence and gave, what I felt, was a very mature statement about his resignation and his old blog, Down With Absolutes.
Throughout my time as an educator, local union leader, and state union leader, I’ve prided myself on my attempts to be honest, transparent, and open when confronted with any issue. I like to think that no matter how difficult the topic, at times we need to set aside issues, sit down, and have the conversations that can help move any debate forward.
Now is one of those times where I need to be completely open, honest, and transparent with you, my Facebook friends.
Two days ago, I was contacted by a reporter who shared with me he had come into possession of some old posts from my blogging days. He shared with me that some individuals have concerns with the content, tone, and language used in the posts and he wanted for me to provide a comment on whether my words from 10-12 years ago match my representation of the organization I now lead, DSEA.
First, I will say that my conversation with the reporter was cordial. I’ve had a relationship with him over the last few years and he handled the interview with care and with the utmost respect. It is not a phone call that I expected to receive, considering I’ve been very open with my past in multiple venues since I became a teacher in 2009 after shutting the blog down several months before I started my job.
Second, as I shared with the reporter, I take full ownership of the comments I made on my blog from the period of about 2004-2009. I will not deflect. I will not blame. I will not obfuscate. I own the outlandish, insensitive, at times offensive, and inappropriate posts that I wrote mostly on topics of Delaware politics. I cannot recall every one of the thousands of posts that I authored in those five years…and it wouldn’t matter if I could. Because I wrote them. And I must own them. For any hurt, pain, or grief I caused individuals because of my words, I can only offer a full-throated, genuine apology without exception or qualification and hope that the work I’ve done since entering education and my role as a union leader can, in some minor way, redeem the words that are in no way a reflection of where I am today.
We are in very challenging times right now…a time where individuals are being scrutinized for actions they’ve taken in the past and how those actions should be weighed on their present and future. While I own and take responsibility for the words I published nearly a decade ago, I do not condone them nor are they words that would ever slip from my brain to my hands to the keyboard ever again. It is no defense to say that I was a rambunctious, wily twentysomething attempting to find his way in the world who had suddenly found an audience willing to receive the often thoughtless words I posted on the Internet.
Nearly a decade ago, I entered a fifth-grade classroom in Red Clay. Nothing excited me more than showing up to work every day to help guide the young minds of the students who entered room 210. Soon after I started teaching, I found that I still had a lot to say. I found that my role as classroom teacher had to extend beyond my classroom walls if the stories of my students and fellow educators were ever to be heard. I began to find ways to use my voice in a more measured way and soon began to engage elected officials in a more productive manner. I found a vehicle in both my local and state union as a way to communicate thoughts and feelings of myself and my fellow educators. Even in those years where I used my voice in a more productive manner, I acknowledged the blog and its contents and at no time have I attempted to hide my past or stray from the scrutiny that it has brought.
So where am I right now? As someone who has always believed that he should take responsibility for his actions, I stand ready to accept any responsibility or consequence that comes as a result of my words. Within hours of the article appearing online, I submitted my resignation to the Executive Board of DSEA; I will not allow my past transgressions to define the finest organization in Delaware advocating for Delaware’s educators and students. As I learned when I took office July 16, 2017, DSEA is a bigger organization than one man. And, regardless of my actions, I will honor this organization by doing what I feel and what I know is in its best interests.
In rendering a final judgment on who I am, I would hope that you, my Facebook friends, as well as the members of our organization, DSEA, would be willing to measure my work over the past five or six years and whether or not that should have some bearing considering the words I published long ago. Neither am I absolving myself of my actions nor am I seeking absolution from you, my friends. I am asking only that consideration be given to my record as a whole when you eventually read about the past that has come back. As I shared with the Executive Board on a conference call Tuesday night, I consider what I did with my blog as running up a large credit card tab. And now the bill has come due. And I am willing to accept any consequences that come with that.
To anyone in the past who has been harmed or offended by my words, please know it was never my intention to do so. Intentions don’t matter, though, when the actions and hurt are so explicitly clear. To those individuals, I can offer nothing more than a sincere apology and the promise that my personal and professional growth over the last few years is reflective of who I truly am today.
Thank you, everyone, for your support over the years. Thank you to DSEA and NEA for your counsel during this time and for the continued strength your organizations show on supporting students and educators. Good luck to my friend Stephanie Ingram, who is going to make an AMAZING DSEA president. I hope our members will show her the love that you’ve showered on me over the last year. Thank you to the dozens of DSEA members who’ve reached out in the last 24 hours with messages of support. Thank you to those who’ve reached out with thoughtfully constructive messages urging me to take ownership and make this a teachable moment. Thank you, most importantly, to my family, friends, and my husband Jose for helping me realize that this is now a period for growth and reflection. I intend to do just that.
Thank you, all.
Following an article by WHYY earlier today, Delaware State Education Association President Mike Matthews tendered his resignation tonight. Vice-President Stephanie Ingram will take over as President until the end of the three-year term in 2020.
DSEA sent the following email to its members this evening:
Dear DSEA members,
The educators who lead the Delaware State Education Association (DSEA) take seriously our responsibility to our members, their students and our community. The Delaware State Education Association’s Executive Board convened an meeting this evening to discuss the blog posts written by Mike Matthews from 2006-2009 . Regardless of the fact that these posts were created prior to Mr. Matthews becoming an educator and member of DSEA, they were completely inappropriate and contrary to the views or values of the educators who make up the DSEA.
Therefore, Mr. Matthews has resigned as President of DSEA. We thank him for his service to DSEA and its membership.
Per DSEA’s bylaws, as Vice President, I will now assume the position of President of DSEA for the remainder of the term, ending in July, 2020.
DSEA represents more than 12,000 classroom teachers, specialists, and education support professionals working in Delaware’s public schools. As educators we are dedicated to providing the best educational opportunities possible to all Delaware public school students.
Our members provide a wide range of services to the students and the communities they live in. They teach students in classrooms from early learning centers through high school. They counsel adolescents and help them build career aspirations. They deliver instructional assistance in every type of subject, prepare and serve nutritionally-balanced meals, provide needed transportation and ensure our schools and facilities are clean and safe. They supply the professional services which help our schools run efficiently.
Since 1919, the members of DSEA have dedicated their lives to supporting children and public education and we will never falter in that mission. I am committed to helping DSEA to continue moving forward, building on the important partnerships with parents, community leaders, and elected officials, and maintaining our focus on the goal of providing all Delaware children with a quality education.
If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to email me at Stephanie.Ingram@dsea.org or call me at 302-734-5834.
Parents of students at Odyssey Charter School received the following email tonight from the Head of School, Denise Parks. If Odyssey teachers and staff do vote to unionize they would become the second Delaware charter school to do this. In May, Charter School of Wilmington voted in the majority for joining the Delaware State Education Association.
Good evening, OCS Families–
Our new leadership team continues to work to improve communications and also to promote transparency in school developments. To reinforce these efforts, I want to make you aware that OCS has received notice from the State of Delaware, Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) that the Odyssey Charter School Education Association (“OCSEA”) has filed a petition to represent certain academic and facilities employees here at OCS. This process ultimately will lead to an election to determine whether OCSEA, as the union, will represent this group of employees in collective bargaining negotiations. I want you to know that the leadership team strongly believes that remaining union-free is the right thing for both OCS and for the staff involved. I will endeavor to keep you informed of key developments as they occur in this process. Please contact me if you have any questions. Whatever the outcome of this vote, I look forward to a productive year for our school.
Yours in education, Denise Parks Head of School
I think it is safe to say Renee Taschner will win the 22nd State Representative Democrat primary. Her opponent , Guillermina Gonzales, sent out a mailer bashing Delaware schools and the teachers union.
You shouldn’t need to send your children to private schools or move to Pennsylvania for them to get a good education.
I’m not going to sit here and say Delaware schools don’t have issues. But this tacit verbiage in a campaign mailer by a Democrat is not going to please voters! So she is basically saying ALL Delaware schools, except for private schools, suck. Even charter schools! Her anti-union stance is certainly not going to win DSEA votes! I can’t imagine the many charter school supporters in her neck of the woods will appreciate it either! So if all Delaware schools suck, is she a Betsy DeVos supporter? Would she join the Delaware Republicans who want school vouchers? Hell, even Joe Miro supported public schools. Ugh.
I’m not beholden to the teachers union or any other special interest groups.
Doesn’t sound like you are beholden to very much Ms. Gonzales. But then I read this part:
As a professor I know how important high quality teachers are and I’ve heard over and over from voters in this district how much room there is to improve in Delaware.
Would any of those voters happen to belong to DelawareCAN? Because I see your endorsement from the DelawareCAN Action Fund. They also endorsed a Republican in the 22nd primary as well, Michael Smith. He of the failed Pike Creek Charter School from 2014. DelawareCAN happens to be anti-union and promotes the “high quality teachers” game while putting down so many of our actual high quality teachers in Delaware. Running on a corporate education reform policy is bad mojo in Delaware. Maybe that will work in the Pike Creek area but I tend to doubt it.
Ralph Taylor, a Democrat candidate for the 31st District Representative Primary, just unleashed a tirade against the Delaware State Education Association over what he alleges are unfair practices for endorsements.