Guest Post: “Kathleen Davies Vindicated But Delawareans Still Lose”

Last week, the News Journal reported Kathleen Davies won her Merit Employee Review Board appeal hearing.  She will be reinstated at the Auditor of Accounts office after a two and a half-year ordeal.  She ran for State Auditor but lost to opponent Kathy McGuiness in the September 6th Primary.  McGuiness won the General Election so the two women will soon be working in the same building.

Eric Morrison wrote a guest piece on this saga and what it means for Delaware: Continue reading

Advertisements

Cocktails In Appalachia Alert: A Burd Lands On McGuiness’ Windowsill

Did Kathy McGuiness and another powerful Delaware figure work behind the scenes to get someone from the Auditor of Accounts office a new job following the News Journal smear campaign against Kathleen Davies?

In eight days, Delaware will elect a new State Auditor.  It is between Kathy McGuiness (Democrat) and James Spadola (Republican).  While McGuiness’ has vowed the office would be completely independent, as has Spadola, the lingering plotline of the destruction of Kathleen Davies still has questions.  One of those questions surrounds the destination of one of the architects of Davies’ ouster at the Auditor of Accounts office (AOA). Continue reading

Delaware Auditor of Accounts Office Violated FOIA According To Legal Opinion

On September 7th, I filed a Freedom of Information Act complaint against the Delaware Auditor of Accounts office.  Even though I did receive the documentation for my original FOIA request regarding a contract that office entered into with Grant Thornton, it came very late.  In fact, it came the day after a highly contested primary for the State Auditor position.  But my FOIA complaint dealt with what I felt were illegal and unethical issues coming out of AOA. Continue reading

Big Mouth AOA Leaker John Fluharty Continues To Run His Big Mouth

John Fluharty.  He who suffers from that unique Delaware ailment called sitting in a job and getting paid on the taxpayer dime and doing nothing.  For someone who pretends to be a Republican, he sure does like to get involved in Democrat power games. Continue reading

John Fluharty Is An Arrogant And Petty Little Man

In a close race, Kathy McGuiness won the Democrat Primary for State Auditor this evening.  John Fluharty, State Auditor Tom Wagner’s Deputy, was behind the leaks about Kathleen Davies to the News Journal and other media outlets in Delaware.  The News Journal reporter, Jessica Bies, relished in writing about this sordid mess.  So much so she forgot what Journalism 101 even looks like and did the bidding of her masters to smear Davies no matter what it takes.  Because that is the true and ugly side of the Delaware Way.

Tonight, Fluharty gave the following statement about the McGuiness win to the News Journal:

John Fluharty, who works for Wagner and is the former executive director for the Delaware Republican Party, said: “Democratic voters sent a clear message to Kathleen Davies tonight.” 

“Don’t go away mad, just go away.” 

John Fluharty is the cockiest and most arrogant son of a bitch I’ve run across in Delaware.  Enjoy your moment in the sun Fluharty.  I can promise you it won’t last long.

What Fluharty seems to forget is Davies could return to that office as Tom Wagner’s second-in-command after the next Merit Employee Review Board hearing.

I am far from done with Mr. Fluharty.  Along with his co-conspirators, Andrena Burd and Tammy Smith, they attempted to destroy Kathleen Davies.  They didn’t succeed.  The results of the Primary have no bearing on the heart and soul of Kathleen Davies.  She is still an awesome woman and you didn’t break her.  Despite the best efforts of the Fluharty Gang along with the News Journal, Davies was not trounced.  It was a close win for McGuiness in a three-way race.

It is obvious, given Tammy Smith’s statement on Facebook five days ago, along with the same language conveyed from McGuiness supporter Mitch Crane to myself back in June, the office was talking with the McGuiness camp.  What Smith said was near verbatim to what Crane said he “heard” about that office.  I even have an email where Crane and Fluharty discussed getting together for lunch.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see you would tell anyone fantastical stories to keep your job.

As far as McGuiness v. Spadola… to be continued…

Fluharty is a state employee.  He said this about someone knowing full well there are still hearings going on about her unwarranted dismissal.  Together with Smith’s Facebook rant the other day, he is openly and publicly saying screw you to any state rules in talking about an office personnel matter.  He thinks he can get away with whatever he wants.  But let me ask you this Fluharty.  If McGuiness wins the General Election, do you really think you have any shot in Hell of remaining in that office?  Do you think the “life-long Democrat” will keep a slimy Republican like yourself?  If Spadola wins, by the time I have my fun with you between now and the General Election, would he want someone as toxic as you in that office?  Either way, you will be gone.  Toast.

You might be thinking you won some war and I have no doubt you and your cronies in the office will be celebrating tomorrow.  It will be a short-lived victory.  I can promise you that.  You are just as expendable as you made Davies.  Along with Burd and Smith.

News Journal Lacks Integrity And Ethics With Coverage Of State Auditor Race

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. Continue reading

Auditor Of Accounts Office Releases Very Questionable Report To News Journal’s Jessica Bies In Attempt To Interfere With Election & MERB Hearings

Jessica Bies with the News Journal wrote an article about State Auditor candidate Kathleen Davies and willfully withheld information provided to her that would have drastically changed her article.  There is absolutely no credible reason for Bies to withhold crucial information like that. Continue reading

News Journal Shows Bias And Fails To Publish Key Document In Kathleen Davies Fight Against Tom Wagner

The Delaware News Journal came out with an article today about the ongoing battle between Kathleen Davies and the Office of the Auditor of Accounts.  Even though the hearing with the Department of Labor ruled State Auditor Tom Wagner terminated Davies without cause, that only determined unemployment funding for Davies.  Now the battle is heating up with the Delaware Merit Employee Review Board (MERB).  But the News Journal article is missing or failed to report some vital facts. Continue reading

Kathy McGuiness Victim Shaming Kathleen Davies Is A New Low

Kathy McGuiness issued a victim shaming press release today against her State Auditor candidate, Kathleen Davies.  Seeing this is showing McGuiness has to be worried about losing a primary (again) in September!  In her latest stunt, she sent an email to her “supporters” today about the News Journal article on Davies that appeared online yesterday.

The urban dictionary describes victim shaming as this- “When the victim of an event is blamed, or partially blamed, for their own attack.”

While I first wrote about why Davies was unfairly dismissed from the Auditor’s office on June 5th, it took the News Journal twenty days to (finally) catch up with that news.  But they didn’t assign a political reporter to the story, but rather an education reporter.  Both of our articles were very similar in citing the unemployment hearing report.  I did my thing but the News Journal did have some new information.

Bies wrote about an upcoming Merit Employee Review Hearing. This hearing will determine if Davies gets her job back.  Bies did a good job at expressing Davies’ thoughts on the matter:

“Merit employees are subject to a process that is controlled and driven by the state,” she explained in an email. “Hence, I had to follow the state’s guidelines and processes, which meant I had to stay on paid leave as long as the state kept me there in order to exercise my merit and legal remedies. I and other merit employees have suffered through this process with no option other than to engage legal counsel and wait.”

“The state chose to keep me on paid leave for the 19 months before I could move forward with the merit and legal process,” Davies said. “My legal representation, as is the case with other merit employees, is at my own expense. Had I resigned from my position during the 19 months, I would have lost my rights to these remedies.”

But here comes Kathy McGuiness, sending out a VERY misleading email today, calling on Davies to make her merit hearing public AND to release a report that the Auditor’s office paid over $100,000.00 for.  Yes, the Grant Thornton report.  The same report that was incomplete at the unemployment hearing.  Which begs some serious questions- why didn’t Wagner release the full report to the unemployment hearing officer?  Were there allegations against Wagner himself in that report?  Did Wagner’s office have the ability to edit that report or redact information since the full copy wasn’t released to the hearing officer?

The McGuiness campaign wrote the following “press release” today which is begging for a red-lining!

Kathy McGuiness, Democratic candidate for Auditor, responded to today’s News Journal report detailing the latest developments in Kathleen Davies’ dismissal from her post as Tom Wagner’s second-in-command and issued the following:

McGuiness acts like this has been in the press every single day for two years.  It hasn’t.  She wants to put a focus on something that was already solved.  In short, Wagner screwed up!

“In two months, Democratic primary voters will be choosing their nominee for this critical state office and deserve to know what was found in the independent investigation leading to Kathleen Davies’ initial dismissal from the Auditor’s Office. 

Wagner dismissed Davies before that investigation was even complete.  Now if you are talking about the unwarranted and unethical “independent investigation” conducted by an audit manager in the office without any authority to do so, we can talk about that.  Which led to Davies’ wrongful termination and was ruled by the unemployment hearing officer to be unethical.

Based on the News Journal account, the Wagner-Davies Auditor’s Office operated without leadership for years. 

Actually, they did operate with leadership which most likely scared half the people in the office.  All of a sudden, not long after Davies came aboard, that office was doing real audits that wound up resulting in real jail sentences for crooked charter school leaders.  But apparently some didn’t like Davies in a leadership role so they trumped up bogus charges against her.  It backfired.  Davies proved she does have what it takes to get the job done!

The decision allowing her to receive unemployment insurance is only the first step of the investigation into Ms. Davies’ professional conduct while working for Tom Wagner. 

Even though, based on testimony of others in that office, including Wagner himself, it was proven Davies professional conduct was above and beyond and she did her job.  Okay.  It seems like McGuiness is screaming about smoke but there is no fire.

The Auditor’s office has to operate transparently and maintain the public’s trust.

For someone who talks so much about transparency, why doesn’t McGuiness open up the books on her many years on Rehoboth City Council?  Where is the Rehoboth City Council online checkbook?  For a council she served on for so long, how come she never begged for that kind of transparency down there? 

To have critical investigative information about a candidate for State Auditor withheld from the public and to have a hearing closed to the public, where serious accusations about her professional conduct while on the job is a disservice to voters and undermines the public’s confidence. 

To see my own take on McGuiness, just look at this article.  Yes, this is the same McGuiness who wanted LLCs to have voting rights.  Who had to hire an attorney to figure out if she lived in Delaware or Utah in order for her to qualify as a candidate for Lieutenant Governor.  Who changed her political party several times.  For the record, Davies has not said one way or the other whether or not the hearing will be public.  I would imagine she has a lawyer involved and she would make a decision based on her own legal counsel.  And this hearing is NOT about the serious accusations about her professional conduct.  It is about Davies serious accusations against the Auditor’s office which had a light as bright as the sun shining on Wagner’s office after the unemployment hearing.  For McGuiness to sit there and victim shame Davies is very low, even for Delaware politics.  But I guess you have to do what you can to win, right?

Because she is a candidate for public office, I call on Ms. Davies to authorize the Auditor’s office to release to the public, the content of the Grant Thornton investigation as well as any other pertinent information relating into her conduct as Tom Wagner’s top assistant, and permit her July hearing before the Merit Employees Relations Board to be open to the public, so voters have all the facts.” 

You are assuming she has the ability to “authorize” the Auditor’s office to make a report they paid for public.  Regarding a personnel issue.  And once again, the same report that could very well have been doctored to such a degree to make Wagner try to look good.  Which it failed to do at the unemployment hearing by the way.  Even though the unemployment hearing report cleared Davies of the wrongdoing this “audit manager” trumped up against her, that isn’t enough for McGuiness.  She wants this report released which would, in most likelihood, make Wagner look even worse than he already does.

What McGuiness failed to mention in her email is the heart of the News Journal article which was this- Tom Wagner unfairly terminated Davies.  And it went on to state how it was unfair.  Instead she is trying to make a “thing” out of something that was already solved when I put up my article three weeks ago.  These are the actions of a desperate woman who thought she had a sure thing in running for State Auditor.  Someone who likes to talk about transparency but doesn’t even release her own reimbursements with the City of Rehoboth.

But McGuiness doesn’t even bother to write how the Merit Employee Review Board deals with grievances Delaware state employees file against the agency they worked for.  Davies isn’t the one on trial here.  The purpose is to hear what Davies has to say in regards to the grievances she filed against Tom Wagner.  I have no doubt she viewed Davies as a distant runner in the race and didn’t count on her being vindicated in the press.  So she wants to attempt to stir up trouble instead of reaching out to a political candidate.  The right thing for McGuiness to do would be to sympathize with Davies, woman to woman, and recognize that, yes, our state employee merit system is very jacked up.  Nope, she wants to try to throw Davies under a victim shaming bus and that is just wrong.

Kathy McGuiness wants to talk on her campaign stops about diversity as she sits on the all-white and well-off Rehoboth City Council.  She is just wrong for State Auditor and if that hasn’t become clear to anyone in Delaware yet, I strongly encourage you to look beyond the “image” of McGuiness.  She will happily show up at any event in the First State and tell you why she should be State Auditor.  But that doesn’t make her the real thing.

This is an ongoing issue between Davies and Wagner.  Davies was cleared in the first round.  That has been made public already.  If McGuiness wants to victim blame another candidate to make herself look like a viable candidate, that is certainly her right but it is a new low.  Which would make me very concerned about her ability to hold statewide office and how she would deal with those who cross her path in a way she doesn’t like.  This is the Kathy McGuiness that, when she feels threatened, would victim shame a good and decent woman.  While some in the Delaware Democrat party pledge allegiance to McGuiness, they are doing it for all the wrong reasons.  And they know what those reasons are.  They want McGuiness because she is malleable and will serve at their behest.  But I can promise it will be a decision those Democrat power brokers would live to regret down the road.  The optics of politics is a messy thing.  Delaware deserves a State Auditor that is not malleable and will not serve power brokers.  Delaware deserves Kathleen Davies.

Education Funding Lawsuit Filed By Delaware ACLU, What Happened To That Other Complaint?

I heard about this one last week.  Tony Allen, the Chair of the Wilmington Education Committee, warned about this a year ago.  Now the Delaware American Civil Liberties Union, on behalf of the Delaware NAACP and Delawareans For Educational Opportunity, filed a lawsuit against the State of Delaware over education funding.  Unbeknownst to most Delawareans, however, another Delaware ACLU complaint disappeared.

According to The News Journal, the Delaware Dept. of Education released the following statement about the suit:

The Delaware Department of Education has not seen any complaint from these groups and will respond to any litigation against it in court. It is the goal of the Department to assist Delaware’s schools in preparing every student to succeed in college or career and life.

Yeah, pretty much the same thing the DOE said back in 2014 when a complaint against them and Red Clay was filed with the Office of Civil Rights over discrimination in Delaware charter schools.

Who is named in the lawsuit? Governor Carney, Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting, State Treasurer Ken Simpler, and the heads of each county finance office.

To read the complaint, please see below with some exclusive news appearing shortly after.

Jessica Bies at the News Journal wrote in the above article:

According to the lawsuit, the state is failing students from low-income families, students with disabilities and students who are learning English. Test scores for these disadvantaged students are far below state standards set by the Delaware Department of Education in its new plan, the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA.

What the lawsuit wants seems to contradict with what Delaware Governor John Carney wants:

But Gov. John Carney, listed as a defendant in the lawsuit, has said he is not in favor of needs-based funding, in part because it gives extra money to school districts serving at-risk kids without holding them accountable for how they use it. He has also said there is neither the financial nor political support for such a measure.

Yeah, okay Carney.  Whatever.  We both know how you exert pressure on the General Assembly to do YOUR bidding.

But whatever happened to that old complaint filed in December, 2014?  The one the Delaware ACLU filed with the Office of Civil Rights alleging discrimination in certain Delaware charter schools?  The Office of Civil Rights rejected that complaint.  This never made the press and the Delaware ACLU never released anything on it.  Nothing can be found on the Delaware ACLU or OCR websites.  But it happened.  I reached out to the Delaware ACLU early last week to get information on this.  They directed me to Richard Morse, who is now with Delaware Community Legal Aid.  Mr. Morse did not return my call.  I guess someone wanted that complaint to die a quick and painful death.

This lawsuit cannot be ignored though.  It was filed with the Delaware Chancery Court today.  This could be a game-changer folks!

On Facebook last week, I wrote about knowing some things coming up but I couldn’t write about them yet.  This was two of them.

 

Governor Carney’s Slimy Obsession With Public-Private Partnerships & The Erosion Of Public Trust With His Springfield Trip

Delaware Governor John Carney is throwing Delaware’s public school system under the bus and he will begin this transition with the Christina School District.  Yesterday, he sent an unannounced delegation to Springfield, Massachusetts that included far more than those on his public schedule.  This group included Assistant Superintendent Noreen LaSorsa, Wilmington Education Improvement Commission Chair Tony Allen (who received his invite on September 23rd), Christina Education Association President Darren Tyson, and an unnamed member of the Delaware State Education Association (which was their legislative liason, Kristin Dwyer).  I’m sure Carney’s Education Policy Advisor Jon Sheehan attended as well.

The News Journal covered the trip in an article by Jessica Bies:

Despite school board members asking to be equal partners in the effort, there were no members of that group on the trip.

Carney apparently seems to think Tony Allen is a better choice to bring on trips about Christina than the actual board members:

Tony Allen, chair of the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission, on the other hand, has known about the trip since at least Sept. 23, he confirmed Friday. He said he was invited sometime before that.

In the article, it said Board President George Evans received an invite “very recently” but was unable to attend.  Board Vice President Fred Polaski said he didn’t even know about it until a reporter called him.

Christina Board member John Young had plenty to say about this trip on his Facebook account this evening:

Delaware officials touring a Massachusetts effort run by an unelected governing board under a 501(c)-3, just like DE charters for possible use in Christina. On its face it certainly appears that Governor John Carney does not intend to partner with Christina, but deploy untested, unproven ideas on us. I honestly took him at his word Tuesday, now it seems like I may have been wrong to do so. Google Springfield Empowerment Zone if you want the 411 on this ed reform trainwreck that’s seemingly on the way. I am disappointed that mere days after agreeing to engage us within the rules that govern public meetings and board actions, a delegation was sent out of state to “research” a model to insert into CSD and usurp local control, possibly placing millions and millions of dollars into the hands of an appointed board without any elected representation from Christina.

Carney is playing the exact same kind of education games Jack Markell played.  I’m not sure which is worse at this point, but at the rate Carney is going I have to go with our latest corporate education reform Governor.  What makes Carney so dangerous is his throw it in your face backdoor dealings.  He doesn’t care who he pisses off.  As long as he has his select cabal to go along with his plans.  Transparency is a thing of the past with this Governor.  He is initiating very scumbag moves.

There can never be public trust with John Carney.  Never.  He has proven that multiple times.  He is getting our legislators to think his hocus-pocus public-private partnership scams are perfectly okay.  There is no collaboration with Carney.  If you don’t go along with his vision, he will go ahead and do it anyway.  The very fact that Carney wants to emulate a flash-in-the-pan scam like this where the “partnership” creates a board to oversee these schools separate from the local education agency board of education where the state picks the four board members and the district the other three shows an immediate state control of Christina’s Wilmington schools.  But his contempt for local authority was not missed by Young in the News Journal article:

It has become clear the trip was planned in advance of that meeting, school board member John Young said, which concerns him because if the Springfield model ends up being the basis for the Christina partnership, it would suggest the outcome was predetermined and the school board didn’t actually have any say in the matter.

That’s right Mr. Young.  Carney doesn’t want the Christina board to have any say because he knows they would say no.  This is priority schools all over again except this time Carney is very upfront about selling these schools off to a corporate entity.  Call it a non-profit all you want.  I’m sure the overlords of this non-profit would exact their pound of flesh from the district in the form of certain salaries and operating expenses.

Where is DSEA President Mike Matthew on this?  He has been very quiet about all this since it came out in the past week.  I would think, given his resistance to the priority schools fiasco, he would oppose this.  But he has been silent and I would like to know why.  Especially given what Bies said in the article:

Legislators in Massachusetts say the program is “compelling” and has made it possible for the state to effect educational change without seizing local control from school districts. Yet, teachers unions have complained that it removes control of schools from local officials and puts it more in the hands of the state.

What is to stop this from spreading out from Christina?  I have no doubt Carney will push this on other districts as well.  Especially when their Smarter Balanced Assessment scores don’t meet his fake standards.  Once again, the Christina Board of Education will have to stand up against the evil empire (the state) to prevent further erosion in local control even though Carney’s crappy vision ridiculously suggests it would give more local control.

I  have no doubt Carney will sell more of his public-private partnership encyclopedia salesman malarkey throughout his term as Governor (a one-term Governor I hope and pray).  But what he is really doing is selling his state away.  He is evaporating transparency with his Family Services Cabinet Council and the non-public board meetings of his public-private partnership board at a state level.  The Delaware Department of Education seems to be okay with this and I have never been more annoyed with Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting for going along with this dog and pony show.  But I suppose that’s why Carney picked her for this post.  She has become Carney’s yes woman.  But what should I expect from the Rodel-Vision circle of followers?  This is not the change promised by Carney in terms of the Delaware DOE.  They aren’t a support network for schools.  He has found a way for them to micro-manage our schools more than ever with this nonsense.  But he wraps it in his public-private partnership bow.

As for Tony Allen, he is being used in a big way for the second time by a Delaware Governor.  Markell used him and threw him out with the whole WEIC plan.  Now Carney is sucking him in with his big vision for Christina.  I would think Allen would be too busy with his new Del State job, but I guess not.  Not listed in the article is another attendee, Nnamdi Chukwuocha.  This Wilmington City Councilman actually thought it was a good idea for corporations to take over public schools in the infamous Christina priority schools board meeting when he gave his public comment back in September, 2014.  More of Carney surrounding himself with those who will suck up to him, allow themselves to be used, or whatever empty promise or vapor he whispered in their ears.

The Delaware DOE, State Board of Education, and our past two Governors have had a consistent hard-on for the Christina School District.  Once they get their hooks into them it is only a matter of time until the infection spreads.  Delaware is a small state so it would not come as a shock to me that we are a model state to completely destroy the word public in public education.

This whole thing stinks like hell and I hope Delawareans who do care about public education wise up and stand up fast to this fake Governor and his shallow followers.  If Mike Matthews is the man I believe him to be, he will fight this tooth and nail.  If he even entertains this notion, I will publicly shame him and my support for DSEA will be done.  If he does not publicly go against this, it will prove he ran for President of DSEA for the power.

The Springfield model is a fake.  It is just another way for Carney and other corporate education reform politicians to erode local control away and give power to states who in turn give out taxpayer money to idiotic companies who have taken more money away from the classroom than anything else since public education was first invented.

I am beginning to doubt any sincerity from John Carney.  This whole district consolidation task force seems to be the big distraction.  “Look here and pay attention to that while I spin my web of lies somewhere else in places you would never think to look.”  The problem with Carney is his ego.  He really is as transparent as Saran Wrap.  I don’t look at him and think, “what a great politician I can trust”.  I think, “That guy can’t be trusted at all.  He’s up to something.”  We all know the type.  But that seems to be okay for over half of Delaware who put the guy in power with an empty campaign that essentially had no platform we hadn’t heard before.  This is what happens when you reward a false sense of entitlement Delaware voters.

 

 

 

 

Governor Carney Shows His True Colors In A Dog And Pony Show For The Ages!

Delaware Governor John Carney released a statement about his meeting with the Christina School District Board of Education last evening.  I felt obligated to give it the TC Redline Edition.  In which I give a no-holds barred critique of Carney’s boneheaded idea.

Governor Carney to Christina Board: Let’s Partner to Improve Wilmington Schools

Date Posted: Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Tuesday met with the Christina Board of Education during a study session at Bancroft Elementary School to discuss a proposed partnership between the state and Christina School District to more effectively serve educators and students in Christina schools in the City of Wilmington.

I have to give kudos to Carney for actually attending and meeting with the Board.  However, that does not excuse the backdoor closed meetings he had with two of their board members over the summer.

###

Governor John Carney
Full remarks to Christina School District Board of Education – October 3, 2017
*As prepared for delivery

Thank Rick Gregg, members of the Board, Principals, teachers, parents and others present.

Proper thing to do when you are in their house so to speak.

I’m here with Secretary of Education Susan Bunting and Dorrell Green. I appreciate the opportunity to address the Board in this workshop format.

They would be the ones to also be there.  Was anyone else there?  Perhaps your Education Policy Advisor, Jon Sheehan?

I’ve lived in this city for 30 years. And it’s always been clear to me that as goes the City of Wilmington, so goes our state.

I respect that Wilmington is the biggest city in the state and it is essentially the gateway to the rest of it, but the rest of the state has a lot to offer.  Perhaps Wilmington wouldn’t be in the shape it is in if the state didn’t keep trying to put all its eggs in one basket when there are hundreds of others as well.  We get you’ve lived in this city for 30 years.  It’s all we heard from you when you were campaigning for Governor.  But you had many years at a Federal level to do more for Wilmington.  What did you do for Wilmington when you were in Congress?

Wilmington is our economic and cultural center. Its success in many ways will drive Delaware’s long-term success. And so we need a city that is safe, with strong neighborhoods and good schools. We’re working with Mayor Purzycki, legislators, members of city council, businesses and the community service agencies to achieve these goals.

And yet we continue to see murders and violent crimes constantly.  All we hear from political leaders is “we’re working with…”.  That doesn’t solve the problem.  Action does and I have yet to see true action being taken to reduce those crimes and rampant drug use.

Our efforts have to start with improving our schools, and doing a better job educating city children.

No, your efforts have to start with improving the climate of Wilmington. 

One of the first things I did when I took office was ask Secretary Bunting to visit Wilmington schools.

Which she did.

I joined her on some of these visits. And while we certainly saw dedicated teachers and principals, what we saw by and large was very discouraging.

Let me guess: you saw children with hygiene issues and worn clothing.  You saw a look in their eyes you couldn’t really understand.  It tugged at your heartstrings and thought, “I will be the one to fix this.”

And when the proficiency scores for these schools were released this summer, we saw that they fell well short of what’s acceptable.

Here we go… the test scores.  For a flawed test.  In most schools, anything below a 65% is failing.  For Smarter Balanced, the whole state is failing.  Is that the fault of teachers and students or the test itself.  Don’t answer, we already know.

All of us, together, are responsible for doing better.

We can always do better, but don’t put the blame on all of us Governor Carney.  The buck stops with you.  While you inherited many of these issues from your predecessors, you are falling into the same traps.

It was pretty clear to us that Christina’s portion of the City schools – Bayard, Stubbs, Bancroft, Palmer, and Pulaski – are in the most need of help.

Was it only a year ago that the state refused to step in when Pulaski had all the mold issues?  It is great that you visit these schools but what have you done to make life outside of these schools better?  These are the schools with the highest concentrations of low-income and poverty students.

Already we have taken steps that, I believe, will help our efforts in all city schools.

And how many of those were created by you with no public input.  How many of those efforts involved back-door secret meetings?  Once again, don’t answer.  We know the score.

We opened the Office of Innovation and Improvement at the Department of Education, to focus state energy on these and other high-needs schools.

Ah, yes.  Your attempt at “reducing” the Delaware DOE.  By making a satellite office in Wilmington. 

We created an Opportunity Grants program that, while not funded at the level that I want, will help identify proven practices for serving disadvantaged students.

Don’t even get me started on that failure of a FY2018 budget Carney.  You put aside a million bucks while cutting exponentially more.  That does not serve disadvantaged students.  It is a Band-Aid on an infected wound.

We put basic needs closets in Wilmington schools, so students can have access to hygiene products, school supplies, and winter clothing, in a dignified way.

Now this I do support and continue to do so.

We’ve reestablished the Family Services Cabinet Council to better coordinate services to families and children, and to address issues of poverty that are impeding the success of our city children.

Closed-door, non-public, back-door meetings.  We have no idea what this council discusses.  For something you like to scream from the rooftops about, we have no clue what they talk about.  Put your money where your mouth is and make these meetings public.  Otherwise, this is smoke and mirrors.

But we need to do much, much more, and that’s why I’m here today.

Every time the state tries to fix these issues, the problems get worse.  I have to wonder if that is intentional.

We didn’t get here over night. And we could spend all day debating the reasons for how we got here. I know a lot of that history through my father who worked in the old Wilmington Public School District and through my many years in state government.

Yes, why debate how we got there.  Because until you take a deep dive at those reasons, you will never understand.  You can’t ignore things that come into schools.  But I digress…

Some blame a lack of resources. Dysfunctional families. Inexperienced teachers. Weak leadership. Busing. Trauma in the home. Segregated neighborhoods. Too much testing. Not enough testing. Bad parenting. Education bureaucracy. Violence in the city.

I agree with some of these: a lack of resources, dysfunctional families, weak leadership (some from CSD in the past and definitely from the state), busing, trauma in the home, segregated neighborhoods, too much testing, bad parenting, education bureaucracy, violence in the city.  I don’t see the inexperienced teachers (except for the TFAers who get their rush-job credentials in a matter of months) and not enough testing.

Over the last few years the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission (WEIC) did a comprehensive study of the challenges, and came up with a plan to make changes. We’ve incorporated many of their recommendations into what I’m about to discuss.

In other words, you are copying the work done from others for your own political benefit. 

It’s clear to me that the most important thing we should do now is focus on making changes that will raise achievement levels for city children. That’s part of my responsibility as Governor, Dr. Bunting’s job as Secretary of Education and your jobs as school leaders and Christina Board members. We’re in this together.

Together?  Are you kidding me?  For months you’ve been circling the wagons and cherry-picking people to talk to about the “Christina problem”.  Divide and conquer.  That’s what I see.  Not getting that warm and fuzzy feeling I felt at your inauguration Carney…

I’m here today, at the invitation of your Superintendent, because I want to partner with you to say “enough.” I believe it’s time to begin intensive efforts to get our teachers, principals and students what they need in the classroom.

Knowing Rick Gregg like I do, I believe he invited you because he was getting tired of your secret meetings and wanted to make it a public event so people can see what the hell you are up to.  I think it’s high time Christina said “enough” with the endless interventions from the state that have been compete and utter failures.

To that end, I’m proposing that the State, Christina School District, and Christina Education Association form a partnership that focuses exclusively on Christina’s city schools.

You and your damn partnerships.  Let’s be partners.  Public-private partnerships.  In other words, let’s do as much as we can behind closed doors and throw transparency out the window.

My vision is to spend the next few months talking as a group about what this partnership would look like, so that by the end of this calendar year we can sign a memorandum of understanding to work together to improve these city schools and the proficiency of the students. I want to be ready to put our new plans into effect by the start of the 2018 school year. This aligns with your Superintendent’s timetable for implementing change as well.

When I hear Memorandum of Understanding, I hear priority schools all over again.  Who is your Penny Schwinn that is facilitating this?  How much state money will be spent trying to craft this MOU for months?  Cause I published all the emails where Schwinn painstakingly tried to make the MOU from the Fall of 2014.  And that was based on Delaware’s clueless interpretation of their own ESEA Flexibility Waivers.  Schwinn did everything she could to make sure it was six Wilmington schools within Christina and Red Clay.  Definitely Markell’s biggest failure.

I think our partnership should address five main issues that I’ve heard over and over again as I’ve toured schools in Wilmington.

Who is telling you these things you’ve heard “over and over”?  Let me guess: Senator Sokola, Rep. Jaques, Rodel, Atrne Alleyne, Michael Watson, Donna Johnson, Jon Sheehan, Kendall Massett, Greg Meece, etc.

First, principals need more control over key decisions in their schools. I would like to work with you to give principals the leadership tools they need and the flexibility and autonomy over structural areas such as staffing/hiring, school schedules, and programs. To give them the resources to implement extended learning time, and to create other school conditions necessary to best meet student needs. As part of this partnership, the Office of Innovation and Improvement would work with principals and our institutions of higher education to provide principals with high quality professional learning, coaching, and support. The Department of Education, using state resources, would assist Christina School District in training principals to better use observations to provide effective feedback that will elevate instruction.

Gee, that sounds an awful lot like the “empowerment zones” in Springfield, MA.

Second, educators in high-needs schools need more say in how resources are used. I plan to engage Christina’s city educators to ensure we are working in partnership with them, as they are on the ground every day working to improve student outcomes. I would like to work with you to empower teacher-leader teams at each school to partner with school administration on key decisions like working conditions, resource use, and school culture. The Office of Innovation and Improvement would work with our institutions of higher education and use the full expertise of the Department of Education to provide educators with professional learning that is relevant, consistent, and meaningful.

In other words, more useless programs through TFA, The Leader In Me, and other cash-cow Crackerjack box outfits that will happily take state money to “fix” the problems.  And that “full expertise of the Department of Education”… are you serious?  How many of these “experts” at the DOE have actually taught in these classrooms?  How many came up the ranks from TFA or the charter world?

Third, we need to address the fact that student achievement rates at Christina’s Wilmington schools are among the lowest in the state. In partnership with DSEA and CEA, I want to create more flexibility for these schools to provide students with additional learning time, including vacation and weekend academies. Teachers would receive stipends for additional hours worked, supported by state funds and the redeployment of district resources. I would argue serious conversations, in partnership with the Christina Wilmington community, need to take place around building use. We are doing our students, educators, and taxpayers a disservice when we have half-empty school buildings — needlessly spreading resources thin.

Maybe if the state stopped intervening in Christina, stopped pumping up charter schools like they are the greatest thing since sliced bread, and stopped calling Christina a failure, those buildings wouldn’t be half full.  The state created most of this mess by authorizing so many damn charters up there.  This is where you are assuming DSEA and CEA are on board with your half-cocked plan.  You are seriously messing with collective bargaining agreements here.  Vacation and weekend academies?  When do these kids get a break?  Are you going to churn and burn them until they score proficient on the useless Smarter Balanced Assessment?

Fourth, we need a plan to address the significant trauma students in Wilmington experience outside the classroom. I’m proud of the work already underway between the Office of Innovation and Improvement, DSEA, the Office of the Child Advocate, and community leaders to train staff to create trauma-informed classrooms. We need to double down on those efforts. I have already directed the Family Services Cabinet Council to work with City leaders to implement the CDC report, including finding a way to share data across state agencies about students in need. That work is under way.

How about thanking the Christina teachers who spend every single day dealing with trauma first-hand?  The ones who wash kids clothes, make sure they have food for the weekend, and help students deal with the latest murder that happened in their neighborhood?  You are all about the kudos before anything happens while failing to properly thank those on the ground floor.  And what will the closed-door Family Services Cabinet Council do with all this data that tells us what we have always known?  Let’s get real Carney: until you fix the crime, violence, and rampant drug use in Wilmington, these problems will always exist.  Until you find a way to desegregate the charter schools that cherry-pick students and put every single Delaware school back in balance with their local neighborhoods, these efforts will fail.

Finally, we need to build systems to create meaningful, sustained change in Christina’s Wilmington schools. As part of a partnership with you, the Family Services Cabinet Council would launch a two-generation network to support infants, toddlers and adults, with the goal of breaking the cycle of generational poverty. Additionally, we ought to convene higher education institutions and create a pipeline to develop teachers and leaders ready to enter into our Wilmington schools. These efforts cannot be a flash in the pan. We need to methodically build systems that will endure.

Are you saying the teachers in these schools aren’t ready?  That they can’t handle the trauma they deal with every single day?  There is nothing any higher education institution can do to adequately deal with these issues until the state takes an active hand in dealing with the issues coming into the classroom.  And Wilmington City Council needs to get their heads out of their ass and deal with the corruption going on there before they enter into any “partnership”.  Once again, make your beloved Family Services Cabinet Council public.  This whole thing reeks of non-transparency and I’m getting sick of that. 

Give principals a bigger say. Trust and support our teachers. Tackle low proficiency rates. Address trauma. Build systems. That’s what I propose we work on together.

You will never trust and support our teachers while they are under local control.  Never.  You want to mold them and cherry-pick them to serve the latest corporate education reform scheme.  The best way to tackle low proficiency rates is to get rid of Smarter Balanced and stop judging schools, teachers, and districts based on meaningless and useless test scores.  These misused and abused scores are just one of the reasons why I advocate parents opting their kids out of the state assessments.  Addressing trauma is one thing but finding a way to actively eliminate it is the true hurdle and I don’t think you have the money, resources, or guts to do that.  Working together doesn’t require a contract like an MOU.  That is a gun to the head and we all know it.  You are seriously overreaching here with your executive power here Carney and you need to slow your roll.

The partnership I’m proposing isn’t flashy. It’s not an education fad or sound bite. It’s about the nuts and bolts of educating children. It is a simple but intense effort to put the focus where I think it belongs — in the classroom.

This isn’t about kids at all.  It’s about different ed reform companies lobbying through Jon Sheehan to get their latest programs or technology into the classroom.  And you fell for it hook, line and sinker.

Frederick Douglass said that “it’s easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” And that’s the choice we’re facing. We all have dreams for our children. But right now, we’re consigning far too many of our students to a life that no parent wants for their child. Every student we graduate who can’t do basic math or who can’t read or write, we’re sending into the world knowing he or she doesn’t have the tools to succeed. Doors are closing for these children before they even leave the third grade.

For the most part, the state created the conditions which led to these broken men.  Through very racist laws and credos.  The state allowed this to happen and now they want to rush in and save the day by fixing the schools.  What about all these broken men?  What are you doing to make restitution for the state’s absolute failure with them?

I believe, and I know you do too, that it would be immoral to let this situation continue this way.

Don’t speak for the Christina Board of Education Carney!  It would be immoral for this board to give up local control so you can make education companies happy.  How about you let Christina School District, under the leadership of Superintendent Rick Gregg and their elected Board of Education, do their thing.  I like Gregg.  I think he is the leader Christina needs.  But your swooping in and undermining the hard work he has done is an insult at best.

So I’m asking you to form this partnership with us. Let’s take the next few months and work out the details. I’d like to hear your thoughts on what I’ve laid out, and on how you think we can work together.​


I have to listen to the audio when it comes out today, but based upon reading the News Journal article on this last night by Jessica Bies, board member Liz Paige said it best:

Elizabeth Paige said the plan lacked specificity, but that she was willing to talk more as long as the state could guarantee they weren’t going to pull the infamous Charlie Brown football gag on Christina.

“We’re Charlie Brown and the football,” she said. “He has to prove he’s not Lucy.”

Don’t be fooled Mrs. Paige.  He is most definitely Lucy!

Board member John Young gave Carney’s remarks at B+.  I think he was being nice.

Harrie-Ellen Minnehan spoke the hard truth:

Harrie Ellen Minnehan said that students are often used as “political pawns” and that the plan sounded too much like just another in a long string of political solutions imposed on the education system but that have resulted in no gain whatsoever for students caught in a downward academic spiral.

The Christina Board of Education is at their best when they are fighting the latest state method of eroding local control.  I saw this firsthand at the first Christina board meeting I went to in September of 2014.  When they stood together and gave Markell’s priority schools idea a collective no thank you.  I am hoping they do the same with this latest Markellian effort by Carney.

As for Dorrell Green, his quote in the News Journal is very concerning because it gives a good deal of insight into Carney’s plan:

“Do you feel you have the bandwidth or the internal capacity to see that plan through without our support?”

This was in response to Superintendent Gregg’s own plan to build up Christina.  It as if Green was saying “You can’t do anything without the state helping out.”  Which is exactly what the problem is here.  The state interferes so much that it paralyzes the district.  The state needs to do more on the side of fixing the crime and poverty in Wilmington.  Let Christina deal with Christina.  If the state wants to “partner” under forced coercion, that is bullying.  Christina needs to enact a zero tolerance policy on state bullying.  And just by using the word “bandwidth”, Green may have overplayed his hand.  By using that particular word, he is suggesting Christina will get better by more corporate education reform double-speak education technology.

I have to give it to Carney.  He has successfully learned how to play the field like Jack Markell did.  He certainly has been busy trying to hand-select his pawns with this attempt.  And yet he gave the farm away when he announced his trip to Springfield, MA on his public schedule.  I didn’t see any of that in your speech.  It’s like a super villain in a comic announcing their intentions before they even implement them.  Look what I’m about to do.  We see through you Carney.  Stop listening to those around you who truly don’t have a clue about what is really going on.  Otherwise you are just another Jack Markell.  Be your own man, not a carbon-copy.

Don’t think for one minute that I don’t understand you Carney.  I know about some of your antics with things lately.  I know you hate my blog and will cast out those who support it.  We both know exactly what I’m talking about.  We know you have heard objections to this Christina scheme and totally ignored them.  In fact, you punish those who don’t agree with you.  You aren’t the person you put in front of the media.  Who is the real John Carney?  Time to take off the mask and reveal the true John Carney.  We both know when this plan fails (and it will if implemented), the state will continue to blame Christina for their own failure and will embark on another scheme to “fix” the problem they create in the first place.