Last week, News Journal reporter Jessica Bies came out with an article about a confidential report that the News Journal “obtained”. The article was rife with speculation and hearsay based on a report commissioned by State Auditor Tom Wagner concerning Kathleen Davies. That article appeared in print today. It looks like something you would see in a bargain-basement tabloid at a grocery store.
The Monstrous Ego Of Exceptional DelawareExceptional 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.