The Pizza

Sometimes one memory is all it takes to bring you to tears.

In the second half of the 2011-2012 school year, I was a paraprofessional for an 8th-9th grade Math class at Campus Community School.  It was the high school’s last full year as they were closing it and moving the elementary school to that location.  Mrs. Eldridge’s math class was different.  This was before Common Core really took off.  My job was to help students who were struggling with different concepts or problems.

In this capacity, I got to know many of these young teenage students.  One of them I will call A.  She was bubbly, energetic, and talkative.  I also helped to monitor the cafeteria while students were having lunch.  I would often joke around with A and her friends at their table.  They were always laughing and having fun.  In the Math class, A was having difficulty getting her grade up.  She was very intelligent, and capable of doing the work.  But focus seemed to be tough for her.  By the end of the year, A had to get some assignments completed or she wasn’t going to pass.  Mrs. Eldridge offered after-school help but by the end of the year many students were behind.  A asked if I could help her after school to complete her assignments.  Since I was a paraprofessional, my hours were limited and I wouldn’t get paid to help her after the school day ended.  But I offered to do it for free.  A told me she was going to order pizza.  I thought she was joking about that part!

As Mrs. Eldridge worked with other students, A and I churned through her assignments.  The pizza came and I was starving.  I believe it was a meat lovers pizza.  I had to redirect A a few times but she got it all done and passed the class.  I was very proud of her.  Sometimes a student just needs that extra little push to just get it done.  If it takes some volunteer time after school, bribed by a student with free pizza, why not!

Yesterday, A was tragically killed.  Shot in a Dover motel room by her fiancé.  Since her name hasn’t been officially released, I won’t say it here.  But everyone on Facebook knows at this point.  She was a good kid.  Like all teenagers, they have their moments.  But taking her life shouldn’t have been the way to work things out.  That kind of solution isn’t acceptable.

As messages and Facebook comments poured in, I began to get a clearer picture of what happened to A.  Her fiancé put a post up on Facebook not long ago about doing what he eventually did.  It looks like friends tried to warn her about him.  As he sits in a cell, A is gone from this world forever.  A young and beautiful soul, unable to complete what life was going to send her way.  I know God has a plan for everything.  I believe that.  But I will never understand this kind of cruelty.

A was one student of many I helped out in the math class.  I remember them all.  I saw several of them posting comments yesterday on her Facebook page.  Most of them either graduated last year or will this year.  A was graduating this year.  I only knew her for a very short period in her life.  But I cried for her nonetheless.  I pray for her family and friends during this time and hope they can eventually make sense of this one day.  Many of us are in shock today.  We will miss you A!

I have to believe something isn’t quite right when someone makes the decision her fiancé did.  The fact it happened the way it did shows some type of planning on his part.  After all, he did “predict” this with his Facebook post.  The heart is very forgiving when it wants to be but don’t ever let your mind ignore a threat.  Sometimes people say stupid things, but sometimes they don’t.  It is difficult to discern a thought from a planned action.  There are no easy answers…

Verdict In On Amy Joyner-Francis Murder: Carr and Snow Guilty, Wright Not Guilty

Almost a year since Amy Joyner-Francis was viciously beaten in the Howard High School of Technology bathroom and died as a result of those injuries, the verdict was delivered this morning against her assaulters.  Trinity Carr was found guilty of both third-degree criminally negligent homicide and criminal conspiracy.  Zion Snow also got the third-degree criminal conspiracy verdict.  Chakeira Wright was found not guilty because of a lack of substantial evidence suggesting she was involved in the conspiracy to attack Joyner-Francis.  It was also revealed she attempted to pull Carr off Amy during the assault.

Delaware Family Court Judge Robert Coonin read the verdict this morning.  I can’t say I like this verdict.  I never liked the official “cause of death” and found it to serve the girls who killed Amy more than the cause of justice.  None of this will bring Amy back.

The final decision can be read below:

16 Who Defined 2016: Amy Joyner-Francis

amy-joyner-francis

April 21st was a very dark day for Delaware.  Amy Joyner-Francis was beaten in a bathroom at Howard Technical High School in Wilmington leading to her death shortly after.  Delaware didn’t have a death like this in one of our schools since 1973.  For weeks, Delaware citizens felt the impact of Amy’s death.

What happened to Amy that day led to much-needed discussion about school safety and climate in The First State.  The perpetrators of the incident, Trinity Carr, Zion Snow, and Chakeira Wright faced criminal charges.  Snow and Wright were charged as conspirators while primary charges were filed against Carr but a judge ruled she would be tried as a juvenile.  The trial will take place in April 2017.  Many Delaware citizens felt the charges against Carr should have been bigger.  At a maximum, if found guilty of criminally negligent homicide, Carr, 16, would face community service and therapy until the age of 19.

The cause of death ruled by the medical examiner kicked off controversy.  The examiner ruled that Amy had a pre-existing heart condition which led to her death, not the severe beating she received from Carr.  Many in the field disputed these findings.

The most disturbing part about Amy’s death was the fact that many students watched this go down in a high school bathroom and did nothing.  By the time a teacher got there, it was too late for Amy.  Not touched on by major media was the fact that school monitors did not respond to the situation fast enough (if at all) and that most teachers were involved in a training class at the time of the incident.  Governor Markell issued a brief response to the murder as he went on his “Common Core Tour” at a Delaware school far away from the crime.  The New Castle County Vo-Tech School District held a press conference hours after the death proclaiming that their schools were safe.

In the first week of the incident, conflicting reports about what happened flooded online media, including this blog.  Debates over what happened, and some tried to profit off Amy’s death.  As her family and friends struggled to deal with her death, the media onslaught continued.  News quickly came out that the beating was filmed by students along with pictures taken on cell phones.  An entire state grieved for Amy.  For Amy, her life was tragically cut short in an environment where this should have never happened.  Over seven months later, her death still makes no sense…

I ask that all continue to pray for Amy’s family and friends as they face the holidays, especially her parents.  No parent should outlive their child and it is a weight that will never leave them.

Delaware School Safety Report Shows Severe Limitations In Our Schools For Controlling Violence

If we are to have a chance to reduce and reverse this type of behavior, it is necessary to begin early and to start in the home. Efforts must be made to reach out students and to provide them with positive new directions in elementary school. Several committee members pointed out that “middle school is too late.”

“If joining a gang is the only way to survive, the kids will join gangs,” one committee member said, adding, “A lot of teachers don’t know who gang members are. You, as a teacher, should know how to interact with kids and parents because kids and parents may not have the ability to interact with us.”

The committee discussed the possibility of cell phone bans in schools, but public schools in Delaware have not done so because parents want to be able to reach their children by phone.

These were just a few of the topics discussed in the Special Committee on Public Safety.

School safety.  Two words that mean so many things to so many people.  To some, it means making sure every single student and staff member is protected from violence.  To some it means reporting requirements.  Many think of Sandy Hook or Columbine.  Others think of a mounting problem that can never be corrected.

Earlier this year, in the wake of two very violent deaths in Wilmington, a group was formed by Senator Robert Marshall.  Marshall is the Chair of the Senate Public Safety Committee.  He formed a group that met twice to discuss school safety issues with various topics introduced.  Out of these meetings, Senate Concurrent Resolution #83 formed a Special Committee on School Safety.  The final report was given to the President Pro Tempore of the Delaware Senate and Governor Markell yesterday.

The below report has a great deal of information.  It is very long but it is worth the read.  Take the time to read it.  Every single word.  Whether you are for or against School Resource Officers or Constables in Delaware schools, it is important to know what is happening out there.  It affects every single citizen of this state.  Issues in schools can explode outside of schools often, but issues outside of schools are brought into schools all the time.

The one thing I took out of this report is there are no easy answers.  Issues around funding and legality are some of the biggest obstacles to making schools safer.  Trauma plays a huge role in our high-needs schools.  Family issues outside of school are one of the biggest obstacles to safe schools.

There was one recommendation coming out of the final report that I didn’t see discussed anywhere in the meeting minutes.

Provide funding for the Delaware Department of Education to conduct a voluntary, statewide survey among students, parents, and teachers to get their thoughts on improving the learning environment and ways to make our schools safer.

It can’t be a report on education in Delaware without the Delaware Dept. of Education inserting something they want, which usually involves them getting more money.  One important thing to take note of in this report is that Delaware Senator David Sokola and State Rep. Earl Jaques were both listed as members of this committee but neither went to any of the meetings on it or bothered to assign a designee to attend in their absence.

The parts about Senate Bill 207, which I also issued severe problems with, were echoed by many in regards to future under-reporting of incidents in schools.  I thank God the House added an amendment to the bill that still requires mandatory reporting to the Delaware DOE.  But there is one line about Senate Bill 207 in the final report which will give any Delaware citizen severe anxiety.

Hearing Gives Details About The Amy Joyner-Francis Murder With Victim’s Last Words

They jumped me.  They snuck me. -the last words from Amy Joyner-Francis

Yesterday, a Family Court hearing in Delaware convened to decide whether or not Trinity Carr should be tried as an adult in the murder of Amy-Joyner Francis.  Disturbing evidence came out during the hearing solidifying the theory that Carr,  Zion Snow, and Chakeira Wright planned the attack for 20 hours before the fight.

The News Journal gave a very gruesome detailing of the outcome of the paragraph in their lead which appeared in print today:

A fatal attack in which Howard High School of Technology sophomore Amy Inita Joyner-Francis was punched in the head two dozen times and had her fingernails ripped out started because of a group text message, a Wilmington police detective said in court Monday.

The State News did not mention the fingernails being ripped out in their lead, but did give more weight to the blows against Amy…

A cellphone video of a high school restroom fight that left a 16-year-old Delaware girl dead shows the victim on the ground, struggling to fight back and escape as she is repeatedly hit and kicked in the head while her assailant holds on to her hair.

If I had to guess, the part about the fingernails played a huge role in the decision of prosecutors to try Carr as an adult.   This was a very vicious and brutal attack.  For someone to drag a teenager by the hair, punch and kick her in the head over twenty times, and tear out her fingernails… that takes a viciousness and callousness with an intent to seriously harm or kill someone.  But what astonished me even more was the fact that a math teacher, who found Amy in the bathroom and heard her last words, had to run to get a nurse.  Where were all the students who witnessed a classmate getting seriously hurt to the eventual point of death?  Why did none of them, upon witnessing this scene, run to grab a nurse?

Details emerged, according to The News Journal article, that Carr showed no remorse upon learning of Amy’s death…

Deputy Attorney General Theresa Sedevic, however, said that even after Carr learned of her death at the Wilmington police station hours later, Carr blamed Joyner-Francis for the attack and was upset only that the incident would mess up her chances of getting a nursing degree.

The murder occurred inside a Delaware school, Howard High School of Technology.  A source within the district, who wished to remain anonymous, told me the district pretends like the murder never happened.  No one talks about it.  This source felt like the New Castle County Vo-Tech district moved on and forgot about what happened.

I have never bought this bad theory that an unknown heart condition was the cause of her death.  Amy died because someone killed her.  Plain and simple.  Even though the articles talked about how Carr has received counseling and is making progress, it doesn’t erase what she did.  She planned to hurt Amy.  She killed Amy.  She needs to be tried as an adult and given an appropriate sentencing for an adult if found guilty.  Why is Carr allowed to travel out of state when she has been accused of murder?  Why is she allowed to teach Sunday School to kids at a church in Philadelphia?  But more importantly, why is she under homebound instruction which is paid for by the school district?  Does this mean Carr was not expelled from the school district after murdering a classmate in a bathroom?  What kind of message does that send to Amy’s parents when not even the school district could bring even an iota of justice to their daughter’s murder?  Students have been expelled from Delaware schools for much less.  None of this makes sense.

None of this will bring Amy back to her family who misses their daughter every single day.  There is no such thing as justice when you lose a loved one like this.  Nothing will bring their daughter back.

The Judge in the case is expected to render a decision on how Carr will be tried by the end of next week according to The State News article.

What Matters If We Have Hate In Our Hearts?

When I was running for the Capital School Board, one of the questions my two other candidates and I received at a debate was “Do black lives matter.”  It threw me off.  I prepared myself for a lot of questions beforehand.  That one threw me for a loop.  My two opponents, who happened to be African-American, almost seemed offended at the question.  One of them said “Of course black lives matter.  All lives matter.”

This is how I answered.  It isn’t verbatim, but this is the essence of what I said.  I agreed with my opponents that all lives matter.  But we need to understand where those words are coming from.  I explained how there has been an inequity and disproportionality in respect to how African-Americans have been treated in this country for centuries.  I said we’ve come a long way, but we still have a long way to go.  We have a school to prison pipeline in many places in America.  Too many African-Americans don’t have the same opportunities white people do.  I concluded with the statement that the Capital Board would be remiss not to understand where those words are coming from.  I meant every single word of it.

Afterwards, a gentleman in the audience clapped.  He happened to be African-American.  I thought it was a bizarre question for a school board debate, but it was important to him.  I later found out he asked that question in an attempt to trip me up.  Why?  Would the wrong answer have given him the impression I would have been a bad school board candidate?  Did the answers my opponents gave matter?  Given what happened yesterday, I can no longer support the idea of black lives matter if it brings more death.

We are at a crossroads today.  The situation got very serious in Dallas when snipers decided to shoot eleven police officers, four of which have died at this time.  The police officers were assigned to a protest where people were speaking out against the police shootings of two black men on Wednesday, one in Louisiana and one in Minnesota.  I can’t process death well.  Especially deaths that don’t have to happen.  I don’t know enough about law enforcement procedures to say if what they did was within their authority.  I can’t even figure out my own state, Delaware, and events that have happened here.  Some believe that our cops have the authority to do whatever they want based on court rulings and attorney general opinions.  Some say the cops were justified with their actions.

This is what I do know.  I am seeing a lot of crazy talk on Facebook.  I’m seeing people talking about how they have their guns ready when “they” come for them.  I’m seeing a lot of sadness too.  From all sides of diversity.  The hopeful side of me wants to believe this is a wake-up moment for all of us.  The fearful side says this is just the beginning.  I want to believe we can find peace out of all this.  I really do.  But that is going to take a monumental shift in thinking.  It takes both sides to listen.

I was in McDonalds a couple months ago.  I had just gotten off work and I was starving.  I just wanted a quick bite to eat and go home.  I work long days at my job and it is very physically demanding.  As I sat there, peacefully eating a cheeseburger, I see two African-American teenagers laughing at me.  I asked if everything was alright.  They said I had food around my mouth.  I thanked them for letting me know.  They kept standing there, laughing at me, talking about the food around my mouth.  Meanwhile, an adult, who I presumed was their mother or caregiver watched them do this.  She didn’t say a single word.  I asked them to stop.  They kept laughing.  Finally, and with a bit more assertiveness in my voice, I asked them to show some respect.  Only at this point did the adult intervene by saying “Come on boys,” and she gave me a nasty look.  The boys walked out with their mother.  This wasn’t the first time this kind of situation has happened to me, and something similar happened another time since.  I can say I have never treated a human being like that before.  It made me angry.  Not because they were black.  But the fact that they felt they could treat another human being like that and think it was okay.  That an adult, someone who should be teaching these young men the difference between kindness and cruelty, stood there and did nothing.  I could let situations like these harden my soul.  I could let it change my thoughts and apply the actions of a few to an entire group of people.  I could make false labels about black people based on this.  But I choose not to.  I understand, at the end of the day, that for some reason they don’t trust me.  They don’t know who I am and by taking the offensive they are actually being defensive to whatever happened to them to make them think that was okay.  Discrimination and racism goes both ways.  We may not be allowed to talk about that, but I am talking about it.  It’s real, and it happens.  We all know it.

This is my plea to African-Americans like the two teenagers and their mother in McDonalds that day: stop blaming white people.  Stop thinking it is okay to taunt us, to intimidate us, to bully us.  Stop thinking we aren’t worthy of the same respect you want for yourselves.  Stop telling us there is no way we could possibly understand unless we’ve lived it.  Stop saying that’s just how we are when one on one you talk to me just fine but when you are around your friends it is something completely different.  You are whatever you choose to be.  It isn’t the situation that makes you who you are.  It’s how you deal with the situation.  And to the adults who are too wrapped in years of hatred over their own circumstances, you need to turn those bad memories into something positive.  Don’t let what hardened your soul mold the life of your children.  Teach your children right from wrong.  Let them know that whatever happened to you was horrible, but they have the power to embrace the future and practice forgiveness.

This is my plea to white people with obvious race issues: Stop thinking it is okay to refer to black people as animals when something bad happens.  Stop looking down on them as if they are from another planet.  Stop with the twitchy fingers if you are a cop and don’t fully understand a situation.  Stop  using black people for your own political ambition or warped sense of greed.  Stop thinking every time a killing happens it will be the advent of martial law in our country and President Obama will finally take away all our rights.  I’m pretty sure if this was Obama’s plan, he wouldn’t wait until his eighth and final year to get that going or he is paving the way for Hillary to do it.  Stop putting up pray for Dallas pictures on Facebook unless you are prepared to put up a “Pray for…” every single time someone dies in this world.  I will pray for Dallas along with every other city and town in America until this stops.

This my plea to all Americans: stop the hating.  Stop the killing.  Stop the labeling and false accusations and the paranoia.  Take responsibility for your own life, for your own actions.  Don’t put the weight of history on your shoulders and think you have to live it.  Be someone new.  Every day is a new day.  Every day is an opportunity to be better than the one before.  I’m not saying it’s easy.  I’m not saying it isn’t hard work.  What I am saying is this: if you don’t have love, for your neighbors, your co-workers, your classmates, your enemies, or anyone you encounter in life, but most of all yourself, you won’t ever be able to see the light in each and every heart.  Some shine bright while others are turned off.  But you can make a difference.  You can help others to turn their light on.  It may just be a smile, or a hello, or a helping hand, or saying “I care.  I understand.”  Teach your children.  Let them know that our differences are what makes us unique.  None of us are the same.  We all have one thing in common though.  We are all children of God.  In times like this, and in times of happiness, I pray.  I pray to God that we can do what He wants for us.  We can go through the Bible and pick apart this verse and that verse and apply it to every situation possible.  Many do.  But I believe the message is very simple.  Love each other.

It comes down to respect when you really think about it.  Respect for others.  For their circumstances, their situations.  Words have power.  But only as much power as we choose to give them.  But words really don’t mean anything if the tone behind it is hostile.  Which is ironic given the very nature of this blog and what I write about.  Something I have been guilty of on more occasions than I can think of.  I can sit here and say it is all out of love.  But I let my anger get the best of me.  We all do.  But I can change that, and so can you.  Before a hand-held device was smaller than our hands (they were bigger than a toddler’s head).  There were race issues, and most of them probably weren’t talked about the way they are today.  We glossed over them in the face of the Russian threat and the fear of nuclear war.  We honored Martin Luther King Jr. and made a national holiday.

Back in 1986, something called Hands Across America happened.  The goal was to create a line across America of people holding hands.  I don’t remember what is was for or if they accomplished the goal.  I would like to think it would have been impossible with the presence of rivers and high mountains and whatnot.  But the spirit was there.  We had issues back then, but not like today.  This was in the days before a gangster lifestyle was glorified in our culture.  Before the internet and social media took over our lives and gave us all transparency beyond what we could have dreamed of.  We need to somehow incorporate what we now know, what is talked about everyday with very real statistics, and stop talking about it and start acting.  We need to come together, lay down our walls of mistrust, hatred, fear, and suspicion, and work it out.  Our future, our children’s future, depends on it.

I’ve heard a lot about the Black Lives Matter movement over the past two years.  They are right.  Black Lives Matter.  White Lives Matter.  Hispanic Lives Matter.  Oriental Lives Matter.  Criminal Lives Matter.  Baby’s Lives Matter.  Children’s Lives Matter.  Muslim Lives Matter.  Christian Lives Matter.  Gay Lives Matter.  Lesbian Lives Matter.  Disabled Lives Matter.  Jewish Lives Matter.  Native American Lives Matter.  All Lives Matter.  Your life matters.  But do you want to know what doesn’t matter?  Hate doesn’t matter.  In the end, only love matters.

Amy Joyner-Francis Case Handed To Delaware Department Of Justice

The Wilmington Police Department, according to the News Journal, gave all the information and evidence on the death of Amy Joyner-Francis to the Delaware Department of Justice yesterday.

The DOJ could not provide a timeline for how soon charges will be filed but Kanefsky said Thursday that it will be prompt.

While Wilmington P.D. Chief Bobby Cummings indicated three girls will be charged in the brutal murder of Amy Joyner-Francis at Howard High School of Technology on April 21st, the exact nature of the charges will be determined by the Delaware DOJ:

…state prosecutors are reviewing evidence submitted by Wilmington Police Department to decide what charges can be lodged.

Last Sunday, a viewing was held for Amy with a packed church.  Delaware citizens, especially those in Wilmington, have been adamant that the guilty parties need to be charged so there can be justice for Amy and her family.  No charges or prison time for the guilty will take away the pain and sadness that Amy’s family and friends are feeling.  There is no replacement for a life.  Please continue to pray for those who loved Amy and miss her dearly.

UPDATED WITH VERY IMPORTANT INFORMATION!!! Parents Concerned About Murder At Howard High School Should Go To District Board Meeting Monday Night

Updated, 8:32am: I have just heard from a few sources that the district has changed their meeting to their district office at 4pm.  And the meeting will be held in a conference room that holds a maximum of 15 people.  Apparently there is a Town Hall at Stubbs Elementary School tomorrow night which is being led by Wilmington Councilman Darius Brown, which precipitated the time change for the board meeting.  The district did reach out to advise me this is the reason for the board meeting change.  Several folks were upset about this, and I did suggest to the district they might want to change the board meeting to another night when parents and members of the community are more easily able to attend.  There is another Town Hall this week for parents to talk about the situation.  I will update that information when I know when and where.  One thing I would remind everyone to do is think of Amy and her family and friends.  And please continue praying for all of them.

Howard High School of Technology belongs to the New Castle County Vocational-Technical School District.  The district has a board meeting Monday night, 4/25, at St. George’s Technical High School in their Media Center at 7pm.  Howard was the high school where Amy died last Thursday.  I believe the district has a lot to answer for.  While I don’t believe the district is directly responsible for what happened to Amy, there were circumstances that allowed the situation to happen in the first place.

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Why are students allowed to enter the school at 7:15am in the morning to gather and do what they please.  I’m hearing hall monitors are sparse, when they do come, and when they arrive on time.  I’ve heard many who want to blame the teachers for what happened.  Nope.  They are in district mandated professional development during some of these mornings.  To accommodate this, the district changed the start time for the first classes a couple days a week.  Let’s make one thing clear right off the get-go: teachers hate professional development.  I don’t care how many surveys the Delaware Dept. of Education dredges out.  The abuse of Delaware teachers doesn’t begin and end with their evaluations.

Our school districts have become so enamored with the Delaware Way, that horrible situation where all tables must come to the table and compromise while the more powerful of the parties ends up getting their way (in most cases the state DOE/Rodel Foundation for education).

Could Amy’s death have been prevented?  I would like to think it could have.  One thing is crystal clear.  The discipline and fighting figures we see are not honest.  There may be a few out there, but I think a lot is going unreported.  There are things our schools are trying to hide which is making problems worse, not better.  In many of our schools, students hit teachers all the time.  They curse and roam the halls in some schools.  Some students are expelled or sent to alternative schools in the hopes they will become better students.  But the class sizes in these schools now make it impossible for a teacher there to get anything done.  There is also this absurd culture where students have no authoritative role models anymore.  Some of them don’t get it at home or school.  A school should not be the Band-Aid to cure what ails so many of our students.  But this seems to be what our state and the corporate education reform companies want.

Don’t get me wrong: students should not encourage fighting, nor should they build a blockade so teachers or other adults can’t stop what is going on.  The students involved should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.  In my opinion, those who stood and watched while filming the tragedy should be held accountable as well.  They are just as guilty.  But the schools, districts and administrators who stand back and let these things happen time and time again need to realize how serious these things can get.  A student died in one of our schools in Delaware.  She was murdered.  We can’t forget that and it would dishonor Amy’s life to think otherwise.

The parents of students at Howard High School of Technology have every right to voice their concerns.  I strongly encourage all of them to attend the board meeting Monday night in Middletown.  If they are unable to get there, other parents should offer a ride or perhaps the district should arrange busing for them so they can make their voices heard.  This meeting could get very real and the district may be forced to hear things they would rather not hear.  But I’m sure Amy’s parents heard something they never wanted to hear the day she died.

Red Clay Board Votes To Keep The WEIC Train Moving, But With A Caveat

The Red Clay Consolidated Board of Education had a special meeting tonight to discuss the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission and the redistricting of all Christina School District students into Red Clay.  The biggest issue at this point is funding.  The Board passed a resolution with a 4-1 vote to keep it going, but it was explicitly understood that if the funding is not available, it is dead.   Superintendent Merv Daugherty said if the funding isn’t there by July 1st, 2016, Red Clay will not move forward.

I know many are cheering for this, but I say pull the plug now.  With the budget and elections being the biggest issues in Delaware come January, the General Assembly will have a very hard time justifying the costs for this while making crucial cuts elsewhere.  And there will be cuts without more revenue.  And just wait until it becomes mainstream that the WEIC plan will most likely hinge on an increase in property assessments for the entire state.  I don’t mind paying my fair share for schools, but when the anti-referendum crowd finds out, they will be incensed.  If you thought the right and the left were at odds on some issues now, just wait until that topic becomes a part of social media.  It will get ugly real fast!

I like Tony Allen and many folks on WEIC.  I think their plans are based out of a concerted effort to do what they feel is the right thing for the students of Wilmington.  But this is not the time, not with the monetary issues facing this state.  For all the money all these education foundations and think tanks donate, have we heard any of them offering to pony up some cash?  Hell no.  Because it is a traditional school district thing.  Bank of America is incorporated in Delaware.  You would think they would have pride for not just charter schools but also our traditional schools.  Where is their huge donation to all of this?  They have a crucial player spearheading all this.  Meanwhile, I am hearing more and more people accepting the Common Core but they still hate the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  What many don’t realize is the two go hand in hand.  The reason the test is so jacked up is because it is based on Common Core.  But people are actually calling them “the standards” now.  You can wrap a ribbon around crap, but it is still crap.  Do not be lulled into acceptance folks.

Colonial backed out, and it looks like Brandywine may as well.  Christina’s teachers have no assurances they will be able to keep their jobs if the redistricting goes through.  Christina is going to be facing their own hefty financial issues by the end of this school year.  Murders continue in Wilmington, and Dover is having its fair share of homicides as well.  Drugs are rampant in this state.  We have adults acting out against students, albeit rare, but it is happening.  There is the elephant in the room called racism, and it exists in this state.  It is real, and it is happening right now.  By the time Delaware becomes a powder keg, Governor Jack Markell will exit stage left, leaving a legacy that future generations will come to hate him for.  What will Rodel, the Delaware Department of Education, and the State Board of Education do without their leader once he is gone?  The General Assembly is going to have their hands full, and I can guarantee you if they push the property assessment thing, the landscape of Legislative Hall will look very different come January 2017.

“Cops in Wilmington with high crime rates don’t have to reapply for their jobs”

These words, said by a teacher on Tuesday night at the Christina Board of Education meeting, made me think.  For a city recently labeled as “Murdertown”, why wouldn’t these police have to reapply for their jobs?  If you are going to make teachers do it at priority schools, why wouldn’t you hold law enforcement accountable?  Maybe because it’s not the right thing to do in either case Governor Markell.  Both are prime examples where the funding just isn’t there, and you can’t put a band-aid on a severed artery.

Another murder happened last night.  A teenager.  Not even a man yet.  I’ve heard stories lately Governor Markell.  From teachers in these schools.  How students can’t even get a good night sleep because they are hiding under a bed due to gunfire happening right outside their home.  How they have lost loved ones due to murder.  How they can’t go home and hug their dad cause he is buried in the ground.  And yet you endorse the work of the Delaware Department of Education.  You praise their ability to make students “work harder” so they can perform in the “new economy”.  If it’s such a “new economy”, than why are you using the old company you used to work for in what will surely be another profit for them?  You are so disconnected from the reality of the state you govern Jack.  According to the Priority diva in the DOE, violence in Wilmington “isn’t necessarily a hurdle to overcome.”  Tell that to the students that will find out today one of their classmates won’t be coming to school on Monday.  Tell that to the teachers who have to teach the almighty Common Core on Monday knowing the words opt out takes on a whole other meaning for one of these students.  Balance that in your blueprint Jack!

Someone had a very good idea.  Bring these children to Governor Markell and Secretary of Education Murphy.  Bring them in droves to the Townsend Building in Dover on February 19th during the State Board of Education meeting.  Let them tell their stories to those who need to hear them the most.  Bring their parents that are willing and able to support them.  Hell, bring all teachers and educators in those schools that day.  Bring them by the busloads.  I am very serious here.  Someone from the media will be there.  Make it a field trip for all to Legislative Hall so they can speak with the legislators that pass the bills which have allowed this to happen with these schools.  I will be there supporting every single one of you.  Let’s make it happen.

Who Shot The Exceptional Delaware Blogger Part 2: The Suspects, You Decide!!!

*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.

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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!