Delaware Governor John Carney and Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting will talk to educators, parents, and citizens tonight about education funding and the state budget tonight at 7:45pm. To be included on the call, you had to sign up yesterday by 2pm. I signed up on Tuesday. I will be reporting live from the Town Hall. What concerns me the most is not what Carney is saying. It is what he isn’t talking about… Continue reading
After some starts and stops, the Delaware Special Education Strategic Plan is almost finished. The plan has been underway since 2014 when Governor Jack Markell inserted the creation of the strategic plan in the FY2015 epilogue language of the state budget. Matthew Korobkin, the Special Education Officer through the Secretary of Education’s office at the Delaware Dept. of Education, will give a status update on the plan to the State Board of Education at their meeting on January 19th. This is not to be confused with the State of Delaware Strategic Plan for Specialized Education Opportunities.
Last fall, the Special Education Strategic Plan was retooled after disability advocates viewed an initial draft. As a result of that, along with a very big push from State Rep. Kim Williams, a Facilitated Workgroup came into formation to fine tune the plan and make sure all voices were heard. In mid-December, the newly created group had a public two-day retreat to decide what should be in the plan. From there, sub-groups worked on different parts of the plan. It is expected to be released for public comment at some point in February, shortly after the State Board of Education meeting next week. From there, at some point in March, a presentation will be given to the State of Delaware Oversight Group for the Special Education Strategic Plan which includes members of the Delaware Interagency Resource Committee, a representative from Governor Carney’s office, and the Chairs of the Senate and House Joint Finance Committee.
The stakeholder workgroup has seven goals for development of the strategic plan which include the following: Students, Parents & Families, Community, Staff/Partners, Resources, Policies & Regulations, and Delivery/Structure/Systems. Like most Strategic Plans, this one will be not be set in stone and will be considered a fluid document whereby changes and tweaks can be added as needed. But every plan needs a foundation and what we will soon see are the building blocks for this plan. Things can happen which could substantially change the plan including the Delaware state budget and the upcoming ruling on the United States Supreme Court special education case of Endrew v. Douglas County School District.
Various groups and committees revolving around special education have occurred in Delaware over the past decade, but this is the first time I have seen such a huge mix of school districts, parents, and advocacy groups. The last group to form policy around special education was the IEP Task Force from 2014 which led to a large number of changes to state law and regulations. No education plan will ever please everyone and there will be parts people love and some others disapprove of. If there is one thing I have learned in education, it is constantly evolving and nothing will ever be perfect. But I would encourage any and all persons who care about special education to give this plan a very careful read when it comes out and let your thoughts be known with a goal of improving education for special needs kids.
The members of the Facilitated Workgroup consist of the following:
Michele Marinucci, Woodbridge School District
Daphne Cartright, Autism Delaware
Edward Emmett, Positive Outcomes Charter School
Katheryn Herel, PIC of Delaware
Jon Cooper, Colonial School District
Kendall Massett, Delaware Charter Schools Network
State Representative Kim Williams, Legislator
Kristin Dwyer, DSEA
Kristin Pidgeon, Down Syndrome Association
Lisa Lawson, Brandywine School District
Mary Ann Mieczkowski, Delaware Dept. of Education
Elisha Jenkins, Division for the Visually Impaired
Bill Doolittle, Parent Advocate
Sarah Celestin, Red Clay Consolidated School District
Vincent Winterling, Delaware Autism Program
Wendy Strauss, Governor’s Advisory Council for Exceptional Citizens
Annalisa Ekbladh, University of Delaware Center for Disability Studies
John Marinucci, Delaware School Boards Association
Sonya Lawrence, Parent Advocate
Teresa Avery, Autism Delaware
Laurie Kettle-Rivera, Delaware School for the Deaf
Mark Campano, Delaware Statewide Programs
Josette McCullough, Appoquinimink School District
Mondaria Batchelor, Woodbridge School District
*above photo courtesy of State Rep. Kim Williams, photographed by yours truly at the 12/9 retreat
It looks like someone is going through political withdrawal before they even left office. Thanks to Delaware Liberal for getting this up. Who is Jack Markell trying to impress with this? He really doesn’t want to be forgotten. Even though he is actually already starting to fade away in my memory.
If Hilary wins the election, we are ALL in trouble. Especially those in Delaware who have lived with Governor Jack Markell’s education vision for the past 12 years. Rumor has it Jack would be in the education top spot. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper could very well nab the Vice-President spot. These two are thick as thieves. Why? That is coming shortly. And it’s not how or why you may think.
Markell may have planted a seed at the United States Department of Education. That seed has been blooming for longer than we think. The very idea of Jack Markell as the US Secretary of Education gives me chills. This cannot happen. Those in Delaware who know what happened in the past few years know exactly what I’m talking about. Jack is very involved with not only creating education policy in this country but also in forging legislation that doesn’t play out for years. If you are against Common Core, high-stakes testing, teacher evaluations based on test scores, and corporations raiding public education funds, then you need to pay very careful attention to everything said in the next few months when it comes to Jack Markell. This has been planned for a long time, and Jack thinks everything is set in stone. All the pieces are in place. Or are they?
If there is one thing I can’t stand, it’s a bully. Delaware Governor Jack Markell is that, and so much more. He truly believes this is HIS Delaware. That all decisions he makes are the right ones, and if they aren’t, who cares, it’s his state. We have fifteen more months of this pretend dictator. And trust me, he is going to make it miserable for a lot of people. I predict one of two things happening, either of which accounts for his belligerent and arrogant attitude towards education. He thinks he will become the next Secretary of Education with the new President. He is laying all his ducks in a row. If Hilary wins, he is in. If Biden decides to run, he is definitely in. If Jeb Bush runs, he is in. Keep in mind this is all in his head. Or, another scenario, he will become the CEO of a major corporate education reform company.
This is a man who doesn’t like relinquishing power. He has been in power for a long time, and he will not take a step back. From his days in Chicago, and his rise to power through Nextel, and McKinsey brothers, all the way to the Delaware State Treasurer’s office. He used that time to solidify his power base and get in with the really important people in the education world, joining the Aspen Institute and aligning with Rodel’s Dr. Paul Herdman on his education takeover schemes. By the time he ran for Governor, he knew exactly what he was planning for Delaware education. And the rest is history.
At this point in time, he knows his next journey to power will be by appointment, not by a general election. Which is why he doesn’t care what you or I think. All the power in the world can’t replace character, and I don’t see that in Jack Markell. I see a man so power hungry that anything else is less than perfect for him. He is a corporate guy, pure and simple. He knows how to make money, and he has. This isn’t what he wants. If it was, he wouldn’t be Governor. He would be a CEO. It’s all about power. But he is getting sloppy due to his hubris and arrogance.
In looking at Jack Markell, you have to think like a corporate CEO. A good CEO would get rid of the dead weight. The ones dragging the company down. The Delaware Department of Education has a lot of bad employees. They are costing the state millions of dollars, both in salaries and in their endless quest to perfect education under Jack’s expert direction. Jack has become so blinded by power in the education world that he is forgetting the obvious direction this is going on. The people don’t want it. They tire of his endless preaching about how we need to strive for proficiency and growth. Because we all know it’s based on a very crappy test. But of course Jack thinks it’s the “best test Delaware ever made”, because anything less would show he was wrong about everything and that just wouldn’t fit in Jack’s vision of himself. Which is why he came off looking like a petulant child with the opt-out movement in Delaware. Saying anything to get his way. I’m sure he thought “How dare my people turn on me like this. They won’t get away with it.”
If you want to take a look at Jack Markell and what he really represents, see the looks on the faces of children when they take his beloved test. See the looks on parents face when they realize the horror inflicted on children in the name of greed and power. See special needs children forced to be like their peers and being afraid they don’t measure up. See teachers struggle through their days wondering about their next evaluation based on the same crappy test. See the legislators who no longer buy what Jack is selling and their frustration when they can’t seem to have the necessary checks and balances that government should be, even members of his own party. See the looks of the homeless in Wilmington who Jack Markell never talks about. See the unemployed, or those who have been forced to take jobs they are highly overqualified for because business in Delaware is not what it was before his reign. See the teenagers in Wilmington who drop out of school because their educational needs are not being met because of a Governor who thinks poverty is a financial gain for himself and others.
This is life under Emperor Markell. And his disease has spread into the General Assembly and other places. We see it in some of the legislators now. Those who bow to Jack and do whatever he wants, like Jester Jaques. And other legislators who take great offense if they are questioned about things. We see it in disillusioned teachers and citizens who become a part of Jack’s happy education world. We see it in the State Board of Education. Some members get that far-off, distant look in their eyes right before a vote as if they are thinking “should I really be doing this?” We see it in those who should know better but join up anyways. We see it in those who think power and not following the rules go hand in hand. We see it in those who think transparency is only for those deemed worthy to see the unseen. We see it in regulations handed in without anyone noticing before it is too late. We see it in grand spectacles with flashy lights and lots of balloons at Del Tech in another “far-off” future.
Jack Markell has turned Delaware into Education Inc. But if I were Standards & Poor, I would give Jack Markell’s Education Inc. a “D” credit rating. Jack Markell has defaulted and breached his imputed promise of better education. Jack Markell and his cronies at the DOE and spread out into splinter groups all over the state have filed for moral bankruptcy. He has defaulted on his obligations as Governor of Delaware. He has defaulted on his obligations to the students of Delaware by what he has done to THEIR education. He has defaulted on his obligations to Delaware citizens by promising an open transparent government that is anything but. He has defaulted on his own judgment by not trusting those who he appoints to do the right thing.
This is the world we can continue to live in. Or we can live in a different world. Fifteen months is actually a long time. Do we need fifteen more months of Emperor Jack Markell and His Education Mafia? We can make a very bold choice now. One that has never been done in this state. To do this, we would need to band together. Those who go with the flow need to step into a new direction. Because the stench in the wind coming from Governor Markell is suffocating our students, our children. Now is the time. Now is the time to put unbearable pressure on our legislators to do one thing, and one thing only: Impeach Delaware Governor Jack Markell. The only way to stop power gone mad is to silence it. Yes, you must be thinking “This would be horrible for Delaware”. It would, but the alternative is far worse. The alternative is here and The Delaware Way is not good enough. It is not right, and we are better people than this. We have an opportunity here. We have a chance to seize a moment, and take back our own destiny and elect those who are for the people, not their own power.
This is a revolution. We can sit back and take it. Or we can make a change. A big change. It is very radical. But 239 years ago, our country was founded by those who did not want to live under the rule of tyranny one day longer. They wanted freedom. We need freedom from Jack Markell. Our children need it more.
The Christina School District Board of Education released the agenda for their board meeting a week from today, December 9th. Included in the agenda is this rather mysterious item, under legal matters:
Authorization for the Superintendent to Act on Legal Matter on PS090414.
It wouldn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that item number also has the date of Governor Markell’s Priority Schools announcement at Warner Elementary School. But the key words in this agenda announcement are “Act” and “Legal Matter”. Most board meetings keep legal matters in executive session. Will the board go against the grain and make this part of the public session? I would doubt it, but this is also a board that allowed three hours of public comment at their first board meeting after the Priority announcement, so anything can happen.
I have some guesses what this could be about, but I won’t say what they are because it would ruin the surprise. I would have to doubt a board as wise as Christina would just let Markell take schools away from them without a fight. That’s all I’m saying!