What I’m Truly Thankful For On This Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all the readers of Exceptional Delaware.  It’s been a crazy year, and we all know what the issues are.  But today, I want to give thanks for what we do have and some of the accomplishments brought forth by others this year.

Thank you to State Rep. John Kowalko and Senator Dave Lawson for listening to parents of Delaware and introducing House Bill 50!

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Thank you to John Young for his passion and words of wisdom!

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Thank you to the victories! Like when House Bill 50 cleared the House by a 36-3 margin!

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Thank you to State Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf for letting my son Jacob play with your gavel!

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Thank you to Delaware Governor Jack Markell for signing House Concurrent Resolution #36 recognizing “Tourette Syndrome Awareness Month” in Delaware!

Governor Markell, Kevin Ohlandt and Jacob Ohlandt, 5/14/15

Governor Markell, Kevin Ohlandt and Jacob Ohlandt, 5/14/15

Thank you to beautiful summer days and the beach!

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Thank you to the Progressive Democrats of Delaware for an honor!

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Thank you to the friends I’ve made along the way during my sojourn into Delaware education!

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Thank you to the world for reading my crazy blog!

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Thank you the legislators and stakeholders who fight for our kids and schools!

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Thank you to my dog Bella who helped take care of me after my hernia operation!

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Thank you to my son Jacob who is the inspiration for all I do!  He is becoming an amazing young man who, despite everything, has a heart of gold!  As well, thank you to my awesome wife who puts up with more than anyone I know!

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Thank you once again, to all my readers and those who are allies and enemies, and those in-between!  We will prevail, somehow, someway!

PDD Education Heroes Forum Tonight In New Castle, Delaware

There’s going to be a forum tonight if you are interested in attending.  This is from Nancy Willing’s excellent blog, The Delaware Way:

Join Progressive Democrats for Delaware

7PM Wednesday, October 7th
19 E. Commons Blvd. 2nd Fl., New Castle
Education Panel Discussion

Our four Education Heroes, Mike Matthews, Kevin Ohlandt, Elizabeth “Tizzy” Lockman, and  John M. Young, will be joined by Vicki Bloss Seifred and Brian Stephan for a panel review of the impact of state education policy: what’s being done with it and what should we do about it.

Two panelists, Tizzy and Vicki, are members of the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission (WEIC). Two panelists, John as Board member and Brian as Citizen Budget Oversight Committee member, represent Christina School District. Two panelists, Mike as education union president and Vicki as teacher, represent Red Clay School District. And four panelists, John with Transparent Christina, Kevin with Exceptional Delaware and Brian with Those In Favor and Delaware Liberal, are education bloggers with Mike formerly blogging at Down With Absolutes.
What a line up! Also, we’ll be presenting Kevin and Tizzy with their Hero certificates!

The PDD October Panel On Education Will Have Many Spill-over Issues From Our September State Budget Panel

And we are thrilled to announce that joining PDD on November 4th for a presentation on Citizens United led by Judith A. Butler will be Democratic candidates for Congress, Rep. Bryon Short and Sen. Bryan Townsend, both prime sponsors of SCR 6, calling for an Article V Convention and an Amendment to the US Constitution.

Nancy Willing
President, Progressive Democrats for Delaware

Wow! Exceptional Delaware Nominated For News Journal’s Reader’s Choice Awards! Thank You!

So I’m reading Nancy Willing’s excellent Delaware Way this evening, and I see a post where she is nominated for the News Journal Reader’s Choice award, under local blogger.  I wrongly assumed this was a Wilmington thing, but much to my surprise, I saw Exceptional Delaware nominated under the blogs.  So a big thank you to anyone who nominated this little blog for the awards.  It is an honor beyond belief, and there is some great competition in there!

If you want to vote, please go to News Journal Reader’s Choice and it’s not just blogs, it’s pretty much everything!

A Night Of Celebration, Reflection, Laughter, & Recognition

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Last night the Progressive Democrats of Delaware held their annual Firestone Restaurant celebration, and this year myself, as well as John Young, Mike Matthews and Tizzy Lockman were recognized as education heroes of Delaware.  This is an award I’m fairly certain I will never get from Governor Markell or the State Board of Education!

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It was great to see so many friends, advocates and legislators in a non-formal location.  John Young talked about how we all owe Kilroy a debt of gratitude as he is the godfather of Delaware education blogging.  I spoke about my outstanding FOIA request with the DOE and how much help I need to raise the funds to cover the rest of it.  Tizzy Lockman thanked everyone for their support with the Wilmington Education Advisory Committee and the upcoming Wilmington Education Improvement Commission and how much work they have before them.  Mike Matthews spoke about the dangerous influences outside forces, like Rodel and Delaware Charter Schools Network, can have on candidates and asked that the party not support candidates who are aligned with theses types of corporate education reform companies.

Delaware State Reps. John Kowalko, Kim Williams, Paul Baumbach & Sean Lynn

Delaware State Reps. John Kowalko, Kim Williams, Paul Baumbach & Sean Lynn

The six Progressive State Representatives who voted no on the state budget on July 1st were honored as well with the PDD Bob Stachnik award.  State Rep. Sean Lynn explained why they voted no as they couldn’t sit by and watch funding be cut for those who need it the most without having any revenue coming in.  He also talked about the extreme difficulty the state will face next year with predicted budget deficits between $160-$180 million.  Reps. Paul Baumbach, John Kowalko and Kim Williams also spoke about the budget.  Kowalko said it was his proudest moment in his many years of serving the people of Delaware.

It was a great evening with perfect weather on the riverfront in Wilmington.  The food was excellent, and the atmosphere was festive.  It was great to talk with others about our kids, hysterical moments in the past year (Schwartzkopf’s Gavel, Christina Board meetings, Burger Girl, a certain video released last week by one of the education heroes) while new memories were created (“Vera”, the armpit –don’t ask–, the coffee mug).

Mike O from the seventh type was there, and we spoke for quite a while about blogging, House Bill 165, and charter schools.  I had never officially met him, so it was great to get a different perspective on blogging and whatnot.  I was given an excellent source for my charter school series of articles which I plan on using immediately!

There is a lot of interesting stuff coming up in the next few months with education in Delaware, and you can read all about it on the Delaware blogs!  I would like to thank President of the PDD, Nancy Willing, and all the members of the party for their recognition of myself and the three others.  It was quite an honor!

If you would like to donate for the Smarter Balanced FOIA request, please go to this link and help us find out what is really going on with these high-stakes tests and their vendors! http://www.gofundme.com/x6mb3j8