All hell broke loose at Smyrna High School’s auditorium tonight. The Chair of the School District Consolidation Task Force talked about a recommendation for state takeover of struggling school districts. Continue reading
The Progressive Democrats of Delaware will have a panel tonight on the subject of education funding. I was asked to be one of the panelists for this to which I happily accepted. But I’m up against some heavy hitters! One of the most knowledgeable experts on school district funding, Brian Stephan, will join myself, Tony Allen, and State Rep. Paul Baumbach on this important discussion. As well, the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission will receive the 2016 Bob Stachnik Progressive Courage Award for their advocacy efforts on improving education in Wilmington. Tony Allen is the Chair of WEIC. Brian Stephan serves on the Christina Citizens Budget Oversight Committee and is a contributor for Delaware Liberal. State Rep. Paul Baumbach is running unopposed for the 23rd State Rep. Seat which will give him his third consecutive term for the district.
I highly recommend coming out for this. The event begins at 7pm and runs until 8:30am. This will take place at the New Castle Democrat HQ at 19 East Commons Blvd., 2nd floor, in New Castle. I will gladly answer any question presented to the best of my ability but I do not consider myself an expert on this stuff. I know many facets but it is a very broad topic with many moving parts. But I do plan on talking about a few things I’m pretty sure none of the other panelists would mention as I have just discovered them myself. I have to imagine the very controversial charter school lawsuit against Christina and the Delaware Dept. of Education will come up. As well, funding for WEIC will surely be a topic as well. Many of the panelists want to revamp funding to include a weighted funding formula so children with higher needs are given a greater weight of money.
For the full story behind this picture, please click here. Thank you to State Rep Earl Jaques for getting this picture up!
At Grotto’s Pizza in Dover, DE, the State Board of Education held a workshop on the Every Student Succeeds Act. The Capitol Room at Grotto’s was jam-packed with administrators, teachers, advocates, Delaware DOE employees, State Board members, a Congressman, education company employees, and even a blogger or two. Sadly, there were not that many parents there. Yes, many of these people play that role as well as their other jobs, but for a meeting the Delaware DOE will say is a true “stakeholder” meeting, this key group was missing. I recognized a lot of the faces, but there were some I didn’t. Some I was able to put together based on conversations I overheard. This was the State Board of Education Workshop on ESSA. Notice some of the tables where certain people are sitting together. Especially the one Secretary Godowsky was sitting at…
I did not take these 60 pictures. They were taken by an employee of Secretary of Education Dr. Godowsky’s office and put on the Delaware DOE Facebook page this morning. Which means they are part of a state agency which puts them in the public domain! Thank you DOE Photographer!
State Board of Education Executive Director Donna Johnson at the microphone, Deputy Secretary of Education Karen Field-Rogers in the pink jacket with striped shirt in the back, Susan Haberstroh with the DOE with the mid-length brown hair and glasses, Governor Markell’s Education Policy Advisor Meghan Wallace with the ponytail and glasses, Secretary of Education Dr. Steven Godowsky to the right near the screen. Continue reading
Last night, Christina Board of Education member Elizabeth Paige was elected by her peers to be the next President of the board. With a 4-3 vote, she took the post over from Harrie Ellen Minnehan. What happened next was very surreal. Acting Superintendent Bob Andrzejewski was going through different contract amounts which the board had to take action on. When one of them came up, I was absolutely shocked and horrified. It wasn’t even on the agenda. Their Chief Financial Officer, Bob Silber, disappeared shortly before this. I think he knew what was coming. Everyone was there: Acting Superintendent Robert “Bob A” Andrzejewski, Board members John Young, Fred Polaski, George Evans, Harrie Ellen Minnehan, Shirley Saffer, Elizabeth Paige, and newly elected board member Meg Mason. There were some people I knew in the audience as well. I don’t know if I’m supposed to be writing about this, so I will show you…
Dr. Chanda Jackson-Short won the Capital School District Board of Education seat today. With 190 votes, she had a close race with opponent Andres Ortiz who won 183 votes. Kevin Ohlandt gained 119 votes. Jackson-Short won East Dover Elementary School with 28 votes and tied with Ortiz at William Henry Middle School with 159 votes. Ohlandt won Hartley with 19 votes.
Okay, enough of the official journalism stuff. I lost! But you know what, it was an interesting journey with lessons learned. I’ve always known I’m a bit of a radical for many voters, and I’m okay with that. What was supposed to happen happened. I always believe God has a plan for everything, and this wasn’t in the cards. Jackson-Short saved Capital from becoming an all-male board. I will definitely be watching her to see what she does in the next five years. Congrats Chanda!
For now, I’m pretty beat and I’ve been awake since 4:55am yesterday morning so I think I’m going to go to bed. Tomorrow is a new day.
By tomorrow night we will know the winners of the Delaware school board elections. Some lucky candidates already know since they didn’t have an opponent. But for myself, and several others, it is a wait and see. I put most of my signs up last weekend. As the week went by, I was astonished my two opponents hadn’t put any up. They made up for it this weekend! And of course they both had to get signs slightly bigger than my own. But I urge you to look beyond the sign and look up their positions on the issues. As well, if you are on the fence with me, look up mine.
We all appeared in a brief article about the candidates for Kent County in the Dover Post: Voters can choose education leaders in May election
We met in a debate/forum/meet the candidates event at Central Middle School in Dover last Wednesday. There was a decent size crowd there, but no media! I wish they had shown up to report for all what was discussed.
I have not found any Facebook pages for Andres Ortiz, one of my opponents. Chanda Jackson put up a page on April 26th: Vote for Dr. Chanda Jackson
I put up a page on March 3rd, the same day I filed: Kevin Ohlandt for Capital School District Board of Education 2016. I’ve put up lots of different articles and posts about why I’m running and what I would like to accomplish should I be elected. But really, I’ve been writing about education every day for the past two years on this blog. I also wrote a letter to the Delaware State News which they published on Saturday, but doesn’t show up on their website.
I may have met some of you while putting up signs, canvassing, or through the many emails and Facebook messages I received from you. Or yesterday at Dover Days. Some of you I may have already known, and your support means the world to me.
The Capital Educator’s Association decided to endorse Mr. Ortiz. I get that. But I hope all the teachers in Capital School District will understand that an endorsement is not an “I have to vote for that person”. For those teachers who may not have decided who to vote for yet, if I could please offer some advice:
Vote with knowledge.
Vote with history.
Vote with the hope that whoever you vote for will do what is best for students and will make sure all of you get the resources you need to be as successful as possible.
Vote for someone who will do their best to fend off the DOE as much as humanly possible.
Vote for someone who won’t be afraid to speak the truth at board meetings or question things.
Vote for someone who will probe and investigate any action item.
Vote for someone who isn’t quick to believe everything is awesome.
Vote for someone who recognizes an opportunity is only an opportunity if ALL have a part of it AND we can afford it AND it will help ALL students.
Vote for someone who thinks it is difficult to see the wonder of tomorrow when we have issues in the here and now that need to be dealt with.
Vote for someone who goes to State Board of Education meetings and various task forces, committees, and General Assembly Education Committee meetings not because they really enjoy them but because they believe knowledge is half the battle.
Vote for someone who will write potential policy to make your jobs better.
Vote for someone who hates the state assessment just as much as you do. Vote for someone who really isn’t a big fan of Common Core either.
Vote for someone who believes your teacher evaluations should not be an indicator of how well a student does on the Smarter Balanced.
Vote for someone who doesn’t think Common Core is okay but the state assessment just isn’t aligned to it.
Vote for someone who doesn’t believe those same assessments should EVER be used for promotion or graduation requirements.
Vote for someone who is not okay with keeping the Smarter Balanced Assessment while getting rid of the assessments that do give good feedback and help you with instruction.
Vote for someone who will always be available for you if there is an issue beyond your control and you feel the proper channels aren’t working for you.
Vote for someone who will not be a rubber stamp.
Vote for someone who will do everything they can to find a way to improve school climate in all the schools of the district.
Vote for someone who would rather act than comply.
Vote for someone who understands school finances and didn’t have to get a crash course from the CFO after they started campaigning.
Vote for someone who understands the referendum process.
Vote for someone who values transparency as the truth for all to see.
Vote for someone who believes words like “focus” and “reward” are based on characteristics that should not be an indicator of any school in our district.
Vote for someone who knows the Every Student Succeeds Act and will be watching each regulation like a hawk when they are proposed.
Vote for someone who sees the extreme danger with personalized learning and your future job security.
Vote for someone who knows what happened in the past, what is happening now, and what is coming down the road.
Vote for someone who knows Title 14, IDEA, and all the education legislation going through our General Assembly.
Vote for someone who knows what the company behind IEP Plus is called.
Vote for someone who does not believe teachers should also be social workers.
Vote for someone who agrees with the recommendations the DPAS-II Advisory Group Sub-Committee AND knows what they are.
Vote for someone who knows regulations put forth by the State Board of Education before they vote on it.
Vote for who you believe will be the best for the Capital School District Board of Education.
And please, feel free to share this with ALL the teachers in Capital School District!
The League of Women Voters and the Central Middle School PTO are holding a Meet The Candidates Night at Central Middle School at 7pm this evening. The candidates (shameless plug: includes me) are Andres Ortiz, Chanda Jackson, and Kevin Ohlandt.
Each candidate will give a three minute introductory statement and then questions will be asked by the audience. Each candidate will have one minute to respond and one minute for rebuttal. I can’t speak for the other candidates, but I can certainly say this will be an evening citizens in the Capital School District will never forget. For anyone that knows me, you know I go into education issues with a ton of research. That’s all I’m saying!
The Dover Post had an article today on the candidates where one candidate stated:
First off I do not believe the Capital School District has issues, I believe we have opportunities to build a better tomorrow.
They are only opportunities if every single issue becomes an opportunity, but I will have more to say on that tonight…
Earlier this evening, Delaware State Rep. John Kowalko sent an email to over a hundred people about his thoughts on the latest round of NAEP scores, which are showing a downward trend. Several folks responded, including State Rep. Earl Jaques. What Jaques did is symptomatic of what is wrong in Delaware politics. Follow the email chain, and let me know if you agree or disagree with Jaques.
From: Kowalko, John (LegHall)
Sent: Wednesday, October 28, 2015 6:06 PM
To: Bennett, Andria (LegHall); email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; Bohm, Adriana L (K12); firstname.lastname@example.org; “email@example.com”; Alyssa Van Stan; firstname.lastname@example.org; Volturo, Andrew (LegHall); Bradley, Juanita V (K12); Short, Bryon (LegHall); Baumbach, Paul (LegHall); Townsend, Bryan (LegHall); Hall-Long, Bethany (LegHall); Mike Begatto; Bentz, David (LegHall); Torbert, Betty (K12); “Graves, Bianca”; Bolden, StephanieT (LegHall); Bush, William (LegHall); Potter, Jr, Charles (LegHall); email@example.com; Thompson, Cathy (K12); Carson, William (LegHall); Collins, Richard G (LegHall); Yvonne; firstname.lastname@example.org; Rufo, Donato (K12); “email@example.com”; Sokola, David (LegHall); Lawson, Dave (LegHall); Wilson, David L (LegHall); “firstname.lastname@example.org”; Hudson, Deborah (LegHall); Nelia Dolan; email@example.com; Mitchell, John L (LegHall); Viola, John (LegHall); firstname.lastname@example.org; Keeley, Helene (LegHall); email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; Osienski, Edward (LegHall); email@example.com; Minnehan, Harrie E (K12); Paige, Elizabeth (K12); Henry, Margaret Rose (LegHall); firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; Polaski, Fred (K12); Newton, Faith (K12); “firstname.lastname@example.org”; Frank Sims; Katie Gifford; Brady, Gerald (LegHall); email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; Godowsky, Steven (K12); email@example.com; McDowell, Harris (LegHall); Kenton, Harvey (LegHall); Jackie Hilderbrand Kook; Hudson, Deborah (LegHall); firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; Jaques, Jr, Earl (LegHall); Spiegelman, Jeff (LegHall); Bradley, Juanita V (K12); Williams, Kimberly (LegHall); Peterson, Karen (LegHall); email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; Lynn, Sean M (LegHall); email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; Lindell, Matt (K12); Lawson, Dave (LegHall); email@example.com; Lindell, Matt (K12); Longhurst, Valerie (LegHall); Matthews, Sean (LegHall); Matthews, Michael J (K12); firstname.lastname@example.org; Nancyvwilling@yahoo.com; Tyler Nixon; Braddock, Nicole (K12); Marshall, Jayne O (K12); Piccio, Mike (K12); Sedacca, Paul A (K12); Paradee, Trey (LegHall); Puffer, Richard (LegHall); Johnson, Quinton (LegHall); email@example.com; Marshall, Robert (LegHall); Ramone, Michael (LegHall); Zoe Read; Rivera, Brie E.; firstname.lastname@example.org; BriggsKing, Ruth (LegHall); Thompson, Seth (LegHall); Frank Sims; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; “email@example.com”; Williams, Freeman (K12); Walsh, Lynn (NBCUniversal); firstname.lastname@example.org; Yearick, Lyndon D (LegHall); Young, John (K12); Yvonne
Subject: Reflections on NAEP score declines and who’s/what’s responsible
Dear all please read and seriously consider the harmful effects foisted on our children by these “education reform” salesmen. The NAEP test is one of the most widely used, highly respected and proven (over decades) accurate assessments of education results. If this latest development doesn’t strike a warning chord in any of you that consider themselves as advocates for children and public education than I’m afraid it’s time for an introspective look we all should take.
Representative John Kowalko
Here is part of my response to a media interview regarding my feelings as to why NAEP scores went down and my conclusion why that occurred.
Very simply put Markell’s, Arnie’s, RODEL’s, Gates’, and all of the other (for personal profit) “education reformists” have foisted a failed system on our children with a horribly harmful result under the guise of a “common core” system that is ruining America’s and Delaware’s public education structure and willfully hurting children. Brief statement follows:
Scores down for NAEP
They’ve changed the curriculum. When they are now teaching algebra and geometry (under common core) in 3rd grade what are they not teaching or no longer teaching. If kids don’t truly understand and know multiplication, how are they going to perform the higher level skills required?
The NAEP is a generalized test given to kids all over the world. It is a consistent and reliable measure of comparison. You can’t “study” for it. So when we look at countries that do well (i.e. Finland/New Zealand) and see that their curriculums are nothing like what we have just adopted/imposed we should ask “what are we doing”?
Common Core is not a curriculum but it is so specific in its standards that it becomes a de-facto curriculum. Covering those prescribed “standards” forces teachers to teach only those skills. This presents two significant problems. There is no time for anything else and teachers are being handed a curriculum and much like the “Balanced Assessment Test”, it is being written (and profited from) by the same people who wrote common core who are (in most cases) not qualified teachers in these fields.
Editor’s note: to save space, I’m not going to keep copying the to: part of the email.
From: Jaques, Jr, Earl (LegHall) <Earl.Jaques@state.de.us>
Sent: Wednesday, October 28, 2015 6:39 PM
Your personal views shouldn’t be part of our email system. Your email isn’t based on any facts but filled with innuendoes and bias against people you dislike. Please take your postings to the blogs – not on the state email system!!
On Oct 28, 2015, at 6:58 PM, Rufo Donato wrote:
Hey earlI like john and what he is doing…. He cares… Seems like your email is the snippy one….When your in politics you have to learn how to deal with things….
Perhaps you should start to blog…. Maybe then people will know who’s side your on….
Donato C. Rufo
Social Studies TeacherNCCVTEA President
From: Matthews Michael <email@example.com>
From: YOUNG JOHN
Sent: Wednesday, October 28, 2015 7:45 PM
Your email epitomizes the problem. The state system is the peoples’ system. Why are you so concerned with stifling it? Why do you deign to denigrate John’s email as if it not informed by taxpaying constituents? Who are you to silence opinion and debate? Who elected you Governor? Our tax dollars pay for this, so you should probably consider it an EXPEDITED FOIA request.
I echo Mike Matthews sentiment completely.
Why don’t you show up to another CEA meeting and berate them over Opt Out again after it passed out of your committee and overwhelmingly by your colleagues after you declared the possibility of such as ZERO. This is the peoples’ bully pulpit and I am deeply offended that an elected official, fresh off of calling my son a quitter over his parents’ reasoned decision to opt him out of high stakes tests would dare stifle dissent in such a brazen, callous manner. Tests imposed by this Governor, with your overt, glowing approval that have clearly been ineffective by the way. That was John’s point, and it is not only true, it resonates.
Why don’t you go read the Race to the Top Grant Application: https://transparentchristina.wordpress.com/delawares-race-to-the-top-grant-application/and check the goals with the results. Get back to me when you realize the depth of failure you have chosen to embrace.
We need more John Kowalko’s and less Earl Jaques’. We need elected representative who actually understand representative republics and know that the House they do their work in is only on a visitor’s pass and at the exclusive behest of the people they represent.
Lastly, you are free to denigrate the blogs, but know this: we are the last line of truth in a free society, free from corporate influence. Feel free to attack bloggers all you want, but we are not going away. We live to hold ill informed, power hungry, tin-eared politicians like yourself accountable.
John, thank you for speaking truth to power. Everyone does not have to, nor should agree with you at times, but they should never ignore you or denigrate your motives.
Earl, thanks for confirming what we already knew about your iron-fisted, bullying and intimidating style. It went out of fashion in 1985, but thanks for keeping it alive. (sarcasm intended)
Editor’s note: I sent a reply but I couldn’t reply to all with Yahoo, so I asked Rep. Kowalko to forward it to the recipients.
From: Kevin Ohlandt <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Wednesday, October 28, 2015 6:57 PM
To: Jaques, Jr, Earl (LegHall)
Cc: Kowalko, John (LegHall); Schwartzkopf, Peter (LegHall)
Subject: Re: Reflections on NAEP score declines and who’s/what’s responsible
Earl, Earl, Earl, when are you ever going to learn? You can’t silence people like that. You need to let the people speak, whether it’s through opt-out or public comment. Legislators are not exempt from public comment.
*editors note: This is fan fiction, and is in no way meant to depict any of the “suspects” as dangerous violent criminals that go lurking around WaWa on New Years Eve looking to plug a blogger. If any of these people have that in their past I have no knowledge whatsoever of that and I DON’T EVEN WANT TO KNOW! When I tell people about my blog, the one consistent thing I hear is “You’re gonna get shot!” So I thought I would make a joke of that.
To read the first part about the murder of Jon’s Loving Father/Kevin Ohlandt/The Exceptional Delaware Blogger go here: https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2014/12/29/who-shot-jons-loving-father-a-2014-year-in-review/
The reporter went back to the police station a few days later and he overheard the Investigating Officer talking to the Chief about the murder of the blogger at a WaWa in Dover on December 31st, 2014.
Chief: So what did you find out? Do we have suspects?
Investigating Officer: Oh boy do we! At first I had over 50 suspects, but I was able to narrow it down to 32. These people were all in Dover that night. Even the anonymous commenters from Kilroy’s Delaware. I also found something very interesting from the deceased himself.
Chief: What the hell are you talking about Officer Scooby?
Investigating Officer: The blogger knew this was going to happen cause he was receiving death threats. He was the one who provided the list of 32. These are all people who had motive and a desire to see the deceased not writing anymore. I was able to get into his blog when I looked at his last will and testament. He gave the password to someone who was instructed to give it to the police in the event of his murder. As well, he gave another person the identities of the anonymous.
Chief: This is getting more bizarre than that IDEA Awards show the Delaware Charter Schools Network puts on every year. Which, by the way, is an insult to the actual IDEA law cause of the whole charter school enrollment preference thing.
Investigating Officer: Tell me about it! Anyways, Ohlandt knew it would be one of the thirty-two, but he didn’t know which one. He made a bracket, like the kind we have in that March Madness pool we have every year.
Chief: Don’t talk about that Officer Big Mouth. That’s supposed to be a closely guarded secret, kind of like the methodology the DOE used for determining the priority schools up in Wilmington. Do you have this bracket?
Investigating Officer: Yeah, and this is the weirdest part. Ohlandt said his readers would be able to figure out the murder. He gave brief descriptions of the suspects. The readers would need to vote in rounds to figure it out. Starting off with 16 rounds, then 8, then 4, and then the final 2. After that, we have our guy or woman. Ohlandt doesn’t want the person getting the death penalty. He wants life in prison with no chance of parole. Also, the murderer will have to take the Smarter Balanced Assessment AND that PARCC test every day until they get a perfect score.
Chief: Is there such thing as a perfect score on those tests? The last I heard the idiots who made them don’t even know how to score the damn things. But hey, if this guy could piss off all those people, he must have been doing something right. We owe it to him to play this out his way. Let’s do it!