August is supposed to be the twilight of summer. Stuff isn’t supposed to happen. At least until school starts in the 3rd week of the month. Like last year though, this August has been anything but quiet.
It started on August 5th when I came out with a massive article alleging Newark Charter School was using student body activity funds to pay for capital expenses. Like most things in Delaware, nothing came of that one. The next day, I discovered the NY PTA wasn’t as scared of National PTA and their opt out threat as the Delaware PTA was last winter. A week ago today I found out Academy of Dover was having some money issues… again. But the biggest bombshell of the week (in my opinion, and there were many), was when I started looking into the pending contract for Delaware’s Social Studies state assessment and found out all sorts of things about high-stakes tests and Delaware’s Smarter Balanced Assessment. All of this went down on three of the hottest days of the summer.
As the new week started, I called out Christina School District’s CFO Bob Silber for not responding to my inquiry about why Christina spent over $50,000 for non-state employee travel with federal funds. Still waiting on an answer from Bob on that one after a month. The Exceptional Children Resources Group at the Delaware DOE dropped a ton of due process hearing and administrative complaint reports. A hearing for Trinity Carr, the murderer of Amy Joyner-Francis, had a bit of controversy and gave some more details about what happened that day. On Tuesday, the State Board of Education held an Every Student Succeeds Act Workshop at Grotto’s Pizza in Dover. Usual Kool-Aid fest! I posted a photo album of the event. On Wednesday, I played pin the tail on the Appoquinimink special education tuition tax warrant again after they went on WDEL and basically called me a liar.
Things quieted down for about an hour on Thursday when it was revealed Brian Touchette left the Delaware DOE. But then the hat trick went down. In hockey, a hat trick is when a player scores three goals in one game. The hat trick in this case was the Delaware DOE and Governor Markell pulling fast ones and really ticking myself and others off. The first was the press release about the Teacher Leader Pilot program and the bizarre email from last May which shed a lot of light on how despicable and manipulative the DOE really is. Then came Assistant Deputy Secretary of Education David Blowman’s email response about the Freire opt out scandal and the DOE basically saying congratulations to the charter school. As if those two events didn’t piss me off to no end, then I read Governor Markell’s back-stabbing Executive Order about a Pathways To Prosperity steering committee that the General Assembly had already squashed. By the time I went to bed Friday night, I was very angry at how much the DOE and Markell don’t care about how their actions impact others and they act with impunity.
I used three words from a song that came out in 1983 for a post yesterday about how nothing is invincible. Proving that I do have a life outside of this blog, I wrote about an excellent new television series called Stranger Things this morning. And finally, I wrote two articles about Governor Markell signing the charter school audit bill and how Kendall Massett is bad for education. As well, I pondered why the hell Michael Duffy from Great Oaks Charter School (and not even the one in Delaware) attended the bill signing. I also felt Kathleen Davies should have been there and I vowed to find out why she was really put on leave at the Delaware Auditor of Account’s office.
All this kept me busy, but there were a few things I didn’t write about. Delaware lost one of our State Representatives this week as Jack Peterman succumbed to prostate cancer. I heard more parents grumbling about how they really didn’t care how their kids did on the Smarter Balanced Assessment. It was hot as hell this week, but hopefully that will end tomorrow night. Outcast got really interesting if you watch that show. Matt Denn’s office did email me last week to inform me that the charter school thieves are under investigation but they can’t say anything more than that. But they stressed it is active.
How do you top all that? Who the hell knows. This is Delaware education. Last year, after the Donna Johnson outing and the Christina drama, I thought things would quiet down. But then I found out about the Accountability Framework Working Group and the very punitive opt out penalties against schools. That set the track for a very busy fall last year.
There are things I know I will be writing about this week: the State Board of Education meeting and the Congressional education debate up in Wilmington. Hans Reigle informed me he will not be able to make it, but it will be interesting to see Townsend, Blunt-Rochester, Barney, Miller, Gesty and the rest talk about education. Both of those will be on Thursday. I foresee getting a lot of dirty looks at that State Board meeting. That’s okay. I’ll be giving them right back if that’s the case. I am hoping to get some “Part 2s” of series I started a long time ago and haven’t gotten around to. Especially the Delaware Illuminati series given what went down this week. As the Delaware primary is thirty days away, I expect I will be putting out some endorsements of candidates. There is one thing coming out, maybe some this month but all of them in September, that has me very excited. All public schools in Delaware have to record their board meetings and put them up on their websites in seven days. I’m going to predict a lot of “technical difficulties” for charter schools. As well, it could be a FOIApalooza watching them go in and out of executive session. I may put some more graphs up about district and charter finances in FY2016. You can also expect my predictions for the 2016-2017 school year this week. The other girls involved in the Amy Howard murder have a court case tomorrow and the judge in the Trinity Carr case should decide by Friday if she will be tried as an adult.
There could be some follow-up or fallout from the articles I put up in the last ten days. I hope so. There is too much elusive and non-transparent crap going on in education. I don’t mind shaking things up at all and watching the dust settle. There is also a lot of stuff I can’t talk about… yet. There is always something cooking on the back burner. I do a lot of research and save it. Very often, something happens and I find a need to go back to that research when something clicks. There are some things I predict won’t happen this week: Bob Silber won’t respond to my email, Tom Wagner won’t respond to anything or anyone, John Carney won’t respond to me, and Jack Markell will do something stupid.
To be fair, this isn’t original. Kavips started this last week with a week in review. It inspired me!