The Unofficial & Unauthorized Governor Markell Press Release On Mark Murphy’s Ouster

Former DE Secretary of Education Mark Murphy, Governor Markell

August 14th, 2015

Education Secretary Mark Murphy To Leave Administration Because He Embarrassed Me

Governor nominates anyone but Murphy to continue his agendas

Dover, DE-Mark Murphy announced today he is leaving his post as Delaware Secretary of Education.  But he isn’t leaving voluntarily, I told him to go.  It’s not cause of Smarter Balanced, and it’s not cause of Common Core.  Heck, it’s not even about opt-out.  It was a priority!  Get it, priority?  Can you imagine getting a letter from Red Clay saying “Where’s our priority school funding?”  The Coach didn’t tell me about this and I was not a happy camper!  This is MY district! I control what goes on there, not Mark!  Even when I informed him of my displeasure on this, I prayed it wouldn’t get out.  But then that damn blogger had to get the letter and post it for all of my state to see.  I really hate that guy…

Even though, well, the world was telling me to dump him, he was still my guy.  I told him “Do what I tell you and keep me in the loop, and you are my man until the end.”  But no, he had to go making decisions on his own, and use his own mind.  How dare he!  After I lifted him up from Paul’s Vision group!  I’m just going to swim in the same pool with the next guy, but that’s not my point! I am the Jack, and all who disobey me will perish in a political and professional swan dive.  Anyone who doesn’t know that, really doesn’t know Jack!

And the official press release…yawn…

Education Secretary Mark Murphy to Leave Administration after Successful Tenure Marked by Improved Student Achievement

Date Posted: Friday, August 14th, 2015

Governor nominates long-time Delaware superintendent and leader in state’s schools to build on tremendous progress

Dover, DE – Education Secretary Mark Murphy announced today that he will end his tenure in the coming months to pursue other opportunities, concluding a term marked by record-high graduation rates, more students enrolling in college, and better opportunities than ever for Delaware students to successfully prepare for the workplace.

Governor Markell will nominate Dr. Steven Godowsky, a long-time Delaware administrator and former superintendent of the New Castle County Vo-Tech School District, to succeed Murphy and continue the Department’s work to support progress made by students and educators throughout the state. Murphy remains in discussions about his next position, but he and the Governor agreed that it would be beneficial to announce the upcoming change, as well as the nomination of a new Secretary, prior to the start of the coming school year.

Markell will submit his nomination to the State Senate for consideration during a special session on October 28, but Godowsky will assume an interim role before that time, after Secretary Murphy officially steps down this fall, on a date still to be determined.

“The work to prepare all of our students for college, career, and life in today’s changing world is incredibly rewarding, but it’s also not easy,” said Markell. “Mark has addressed every challenge with a remarkable determination to support the hard work happening in our schools and find solutions that best serve our youth. We have made tremendous strides in the past few years, while laying the groundwork for more progress in our never-ending mission to ensure every Delaware child receives the best possible education. I am thankful for Mark’s service to our state.”

During Secretary Murphy’s tenure, the accomplishments of Delaware students and schools include:

  • The state’s graduation rate has reached a high of 84.4 percent, a 4.5 percent increase in just the past year and more than three percent above the national rate.
  • For the last two years every college-ready senior has applied and enrolled in college with support from the Department’s Getting to Zero program; previously, as many as one in five did not.
  • The number of students taking dual enrollment, college-level, classes for credit more than doubled between 2013 and 2014, while the number of students taking and passing Advanced Placement tests has also increased substantially.
  • More than 2,200 students at 16 schools will be taking half of their classes in Mandarin Chinese or Spanish this fall as a result of continued growth of the state’s world language immersion initiative, begun during the Markell Administration to give students the chance to gain a significant advantage in an increasingly global economy.
  • The launch of Pathways to Prosperity over the past year is creating partnerships with Delaware employers, universities, and school districts to prepare students for a bright future in high-demand fields and careers, such as computer science, culinary arts, IT, and advanced manufacturing, giving them a head start on getting a job and/or earning a degree.

Murphy also oversaw the implementation of higher standards in Delaware’s classrooms, working with teachers and administrators to put in place the Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards, both designed to ensure that students are on track to learn the skills most valued in colleges and the workplace in an era when good jobs demand a higher level of education and training than ever.

The state’s voluntary Common Ground program supported educators in the transition, with teachers working on new techniques and strategies to help students meet higher expectations and hundreds of them coming together to demonstrate lessons. In addition, Delaware’s leading science teachers revised their lessons and teaching styles to give their students more opportunities to work like scientists and create models accessible to teachers across the state.

“I’m grateful to Governor Markell for this opportunity to serve the children of our state,” said Murphy. “We should all applaud the efforts of our educators as they improve the lives of our young people each and every day.  In many schools, we see students making incredible strides forward. To achieve the promise of great educational opportunities for all children in the coming years, continued courage and leadership will be needed by all.”

Since joining the Department of Education in 2012, Murphy has led the state in improving educator preparation programs to better ensure new teachers have the skills and experience to succeed from their first day on the job, and he has overseen the strengthening of the state’s charter school law to improve school accountability and support.

His time in office has also coincided with critical steps in implementing the state’s Race to the Top plan, which won federal funding to improve Delaware schools. Key parts of that work will continue to be funded by the state as federal funding ends. Through those efforts, Delaware has:

  • Established a vastly improved data system to better track student progress and identify student needs;
  • Supported successful efforts by high-need schools to boost performance of struggling students; and
  • Created the initiatives that catalyzed the state’s successes in improving college access and supporting teachers in the transition to higher standards.

Markell Nominates Former NCCVT Superintendent

While maintaining and improving upon the state’s progress, the new Secretary will have the opportunity to shepherd initiatives that have gained momentum over the past year. The Administration continues to press for changes to the state’s teacher compensation system in line with recommendations supported by legislation passed in June. In addition, last week, Governor Markell signed laws that allows for the redrawing of district boundaries in Wilmington as part of an effort to transform educational opportunities in the city, particularly for our most at-risk children.

In choosing his nominee to help lead these efforts, the Governor praised Godowsky’s career-long commitment to strengthening educational opportunities for Delaware children.

“During his forty plus years of work in Delaware’s schools, Steve has established himself as a respected leader with the ability to work productively with teachers, administrators, and, most importantly, our students to get the most out of their schools,” said Markell. “We have more work to do and, with the Senate’s confirmation, I am confident that he will help everyone in our system build on our progress.”

Godowsky led the New Castle County Vo-Tech District for eight years beginning in 2003. That followed two decades working in the district as an assistant principal at Delcastle Tech, principal at Hodgson Vo-Tech, and assistant superintendent. During his time as superintendent, he served a term as President of the Delaware Chief School Officers Association for the 2007-08 school year. He also spent time earlier in his career as a special education teacher in the Alfred I. DuPont School District.

“I am honored to accept this opportunity to support the outstanding work of our educators and continue the Administration’s commitment to give our students the best opportunity to learn and achieve,” said Godowsky. “If I’m fortunate enough to be confirmed by the Senate, I look forward to successfully continuing the Governor’s priorities, while building on the critically important relationships among school districts and charters, teacher groups, parents, legislators, and community leaders for the benefit of our students.”

The Monstrous Ego Of Exceptional Delaware

Exceptional Delaware

As the opt-out movement is increasing in Delaware and charters are held to the fire, I’ve noticed the comments on here are getting more hostile and opponents of my views are not shying away from expressing their views.  Good, I want you to feel free to state your opinion.

Someone wrote the other day “I get that your blog exists only to stroke your own ego, and not to report responsibly about anything going on in the state…”  This commenter went on to talk about how I have the whole Academy of Dover and the Citizens Budget Oversight Committee mess wrong.  I don’t mind someone pointing out when they feel I am wrong, but please back it up with facts on how you think I’m wrong.  Otherwise I can only view it as opinion.

I’m quite sure I’m getting a lot of heat over my articles on disability organizations in the state.  That’s fine.  I’m not the only one expressing their views on their uneducated opposition of parent opt-out.  I have no qualms doing this either.  Many citizens in the state rely on their “expert” opinions and I have just as much right to challenge them than anyone else.  Some see this as a hostile stance, but I believe their initial actions are very hostile.

As far as my ego running amok, I don’t see it that way.  I see it as someone not operating out of fear or any restrictions to what I report.  Do I get everything right 100% of the time? No.  Sometimes I am fed false information, or complicated data can be misinterpreted based on the wording surrounding it.  It doesn’t mean I am completely wrong in my assertions, but it may not be as bad.  To the commenter who said I don’t report responsibly, how would you rate the media in Delaware in terms of responsible reporting?  Would you say they are 100% unbiased and follow every edict of professional journalism?  Is there such a thing as investigative journalism in Delaware education aside from bloggers?  Because the way I see it, most of the articles in mainstream media on education in Delaware come from the Delaware DOE, Governor Markell’s office, Legislative Hall, or local school stories.  Or the lobbyist organizations in the state who want to promote their views on education.

I remember when I first started digging into Family Foundations Academy last December, and I received many emails from angry parents telling me how wrong I was about Sean Moore and Tennell Brewington.  How dare I state they are stealing from the school.  Well they were, and when it came out in the News Journal a month later, it was the gospel truth.  I don’t mind taking the heat for articles like that because I know the truth will prevail eventually and if I can stir the pot, I will.

Because I dare to go against the highest powers in the state, I must operate out of a feeling of bravery.  I can’t cower to their intimidation or strong attempts to dissuade the public from pursuing issues that go against them.  That would not be responsible of me.  I don’t do this for me.  I do this for the 133,000 public school students who have no voice.  I do it for their parents.  I do it because my own son was a victim of so many egregious events in Delaware schools and this caused me to start digging for the truth.  I do it because our Governor and the DOE run around like every decision they make is right and they are infallible.  I do it because very few will and I have a moral responsibility to do so.

I will fully admit I drop easter eggs into articles all the time, hints of future articles.  For those who are well-informed of things, they see it.  There are some I have inserted into articles that nobody gets but make sense later on when I do post an article concerning that hint.  I get information all the time from several sources, some that nobody knows about.  Some of them turn out to be nothing, but some lead me in a certain direction only to have it turn out to be something completely different but even bigger than the lead.  And some, these poor desperate souls, try to give me blatantly false information in an attempt to diminish what I do.  And some think their lead is a big story, but it falls apart.

I don’t reveal these sources, and I’ve had to kill some stories because the very act of publishing the article would reveal that source in such a way they would be greatly impacted if I did so.  Usually I find a way around it and the story is slightly less than what it was meant to be, but there are some articles that will never see the light of day.  But if someone makes a public comment, anywhere, than I believe that is fair game.  If they contradict themselves publicly, and I find it, and it could change conversation, I’ll do it.  There are some stories I stumble on through sheer luck, and this happens more than anyone would think.  I do tons of research, sometimes keeping me up until the times when most sane people have long since gone to bed.

As an example of the leads I get, Kilroy wrote last night about how Moyer is having a lot of 1/2 days for professional development and he questioned the authenticity of this.  Someone emailed me how East Side Charter has 1/2 days every single Friday.  I immediately went to their website, verified my source was correct, but I checked to see what their hours of operation are: 8-4 Monday to Thursday and 8 to 12:30 on Fridays.  Most schools operate on a 7 hour day Monday to Friday, but East Side does it a little bit differently but the hours of instruction are actually a little bit more than most schools.  I am sure the person who sent me this information would not mind my writing about this to prove my point.

I find it ironic that those who accuse me the most of having this monstrous ego are usually anonymous but want to take potshots at me to think they are bashing me while under the guise of anonymity thinking they will persuade the entire readership of this blog that I am nothing.  I know I’m not going to change education in Delaware to my way of thinking.  But I do know many things I’ve written about have gotten conversations going.  And I’ve done this without joining one single group that would cause me to stifle my actions.  If that’s ego, I will gladly accept the accusation.  I do this for free, with no rewards or benefit.  And I happily accept this odd fate life has given me.  At the end of the day it’s about transparency and looking out for students in Delaware.  I don’t see them complaining, it’s the adults who are afraid to speak out because they are in positions where doing so would cause them problems.

I would challenge all Delaware parents of students to actively go to board meetings of your schools and state organizations.  Check out their websites.  Does what appears on there match what they are saying in meetings?  Are they being completely honest with the public?  Check out their finances and what is reported on the state websites about contracts and money going out.  Make Google your best friend.  After you have done all that, come back with information about why I am so wrong all the time.