It appears there was collusion going on between various Delaware agencies when it came to the Indian River School District audit investigation in 2016. As a result of that collusion, Patrick Miller walks free and Susan Bunting became the Delaware Secretary of Education. Continue reading
In one of the most interesting pictures I’ve ever received, it made me question why we even have a Delaware Secretary of Education. On Tuesday, Atnre Alleyne (the former Delaware Department of Education employee, the co-founder of TeenSharp, and the Director of DelawareCAN) posted a Facebook memory from a year ago. The interesting part is the picture he put with it because that was NOT in the original post at all. Continue reading
The former Superintendent of Woodbridge and Cape Henlopen, as well as the very recent former Executive Director of the Delaware Association of School Administrators could have a very big 2017. As well, he served as the interim Superintendent in the Woodbridge School District. Kevin Carson could be handed a role that will define his legacy in Delaware. This is a man who knows the ins and outs of Delaware education.
I’ve met Carson several times, usually at Legislative Hall. As the head of DASA, Carson represented every single Delaware school administrator during one of Delaware’s most tumultuous times in education. He challenged former Secretary of Education Mark Murphy with a vote of no confidence, along with leaders from the two biggest local teacher unions in the state and the Delaware State Education Association.
If Carson is picked as John Carney’s Secretary of Education, he will have to juggle many balls all at once. There is the mounting deficit in our state budget. Delaware will be submitting it’s Every Student Succeeds Act state plan. New charter school applications will begin pouring in. A growing chorus of Delaware citizens are demanding more financial transparency with education. The Rodel engine will want Carson on their side. Education technology is poised to dilute the teaching profession to something unrecognizable. Education funding will continue to be a thorn in the side of Delaware students.
Carson would be in charge of a Delaware Department of Education that is ripe for change. He has the logistic ability and intelligence to transform the Department into something that delivers on transparency and better communication. As well, he would serve as the Secretary for the State Board of Education and would have valuable input on who would be good picks for future board members. There is nothing in Delaware state code that would prevent Carney from picking an entirely new State Board of Education. There is now one vacancy on the board and Carson’s opinion on who that replacement should be could be pivotal.
Carson would also have to deal with events transpiring at a federal level. President Trump and his Cabinet of private sector billionaires will want to change education and privatize it. As a blue state, Delaware will fight this tooth and nail. But one compromise could threaten Delaware education in varying ways. We need a Secretary that has vast amounts of experience in dealing with events at the local level. Someone who sees the issues from a wide perspective. Someone who would be the voice for Delaware students and educators, who understands the complexities that divide us.
I completely understand that any Delaware Secretary of Education would have to conform to Governor Carney’s platform. With Jack Markell, he had a very clear agenda and God forbid if you disagreed with that agenda. He micro-managed Delaware education to the point of absurdity. But at the same time he let financial issues run amok in our schools. While I don’t see Carney as well-versed in education matters as Markell was, I believe that will become a strength of a positive Secretary. I would like to think Carney would give his Secretary more leeway in implementing education policy in Delaware. Godowsky was a mixed bag. Like I’ve said before, he would have been a great Secretary under a different Governor.
Nothing against the other potential choice for Carney’s Secretary of Education, but we need someone who has served as more than a leader of one district. We need someone who has a multi-leveled array of experience in Delaware education leadership. That man is Kevin Carson.
The Delaware Governor’s ESSA Advisory Committee will meet tonight at Legislative Hall in the House Majority Hearing Room. The fun starts at 6pm. Will Jack Markell show up? It would be very tight. At 5pm he will be in Wilmington for the Delaware Open Data Launch, and then he has to be at Dover Downs for the 2016 Volunteer Awards ceremony.
I can’t believe there has been no announcement concerning who is actually on this committee. I know State Rep. Kim Williams, Deb Stevens from DSEA, and Appo Superintendent Matt Burrows are on it. If I were a betting man, I’m sure Kendall Massett from the Delaware Charter Schools Network is on it. She rarely gives up a spot on any committee for a designee. Someone from Rodel. Perhaps Kevin Carson from the Delaware Association of School Administrators. John Marinucci from the Delaware School Boards Association. I have a feeling I will know most of this crowd. See you tonight!
“We believe this lack of confidence is due to a failure to engage the education community in a shared decision-making process and the failure of the leadership of the Department to implement reform without creating trust.” -Kevin Carson, Executive Director of the Delaware Association of School Administrators (DASA)
In a Delaware News Journal article published last night, nine out of ten Delaware school administrators that voted on a survey showed no confidence in the Delaware Department of Education. They join the Delaware State Educators Association and their local chapters in the Christina and Red Clay school districts, the Delaware PTA in regards to the Smarter Balanced Assessment, several legislators, and several parents in the state.
The DOE responded to the survey in a statement by their spokeswoman, Alison May:
“If we had to choose between making extraordinary progress together and avoiding controversy, we would choose progress for our students every time.”
It is the very nature of this progress that is the rudimentary question these days. Many folks in Delaware do not see standardized assessments as a true measure of progress for students. With the roll-out of Smarter Balanced this year, this feeling has only intensified as the test has not been validated nor does it offer an actual growth model.
As well, the DOE seems to thrive on controversy these days and are not engaging in true stakeholder input. Perhaps they are just putting on a tin shell to defend themselves from all the potshots that are lobbed their way with statements like these, but it certainly doesn’t help their cause.
Another strong indictment against the DOE by DASA is the fact that the DOE has “flawed systems for evaluating teachers and schools and has stumbled to find a better way to pay educators,” according to the article written by Matthew Albright.
Relations between the DOE and the most essential stakeholders in the state have deteriorated to an all-time low. When the most important groups in education have NO confidence in the rigorous work you are doing, at what point do the light bulbs finally turn on? Will the entire state have to endure Secretary Mark Murphy until Governor Markell leaves office?