After the News Journal reported yesterday that Design Thinking Academy was closing a week earlier than expected, new documents showcase the amount of cover-up that was going on at the Delaware charter school that won $10 million dollars from the XQ Institute. The cover-up concerned a federal grant for funding that allegedly involved fraud by at least four employees who were terminated for their actions.
Guest Post: “Kathleen Davies Vindicated But Delawareans Still Lose”Kathleen Davies
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:
Cocktails In Appalachia Alert: A Burd Lands On McGuiness’ WindowsillKathy McGuiness
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).
Democrats Seething As Tom Wagner Appoints James Spadola As His Deputy, And I Don’t Blame Them One Bit!Delaware Election 2018
James Spadola, you should have said no. Today, Delaware State Auditor Tom Wagner appointed James Spadola, who is the Republican candidate for State Auditor, to be his Deputy in the Auditor of Accounts Office. Spadola faces Democrat candidate Kathy McGuiness in the November 6th election.
Which Delaware Education Leader Agrees With Betsy DeVos On The Proper Route To “Success”?Betsy DeVos
When Betsy DeVos made Delaware resubmit their state plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act, the Delaware Department of Education groaned. It is no secret the Delaware DOE was not a big fan of Bad News Betsy. According to the U.S. DOE, Delaware’s plans were not “ambitious” enough. But one education “leader” agreed with them. Who was the sell-out?
Delaware Auditor of Accounts Office Violated FOIA According To Legal OpinionDelaware Auditor of Accounts
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.
Delaware Design Lab Submitted A Modification To Change Their Name To Design Thinking AcademyDesign Thinking Academy
Updated, 9/25/18: The title of this article has been changed to reflect that the school did submit a minor modification request to change their name. This was approved by Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting at the end of August.
As announced by Jessica Bies with the News Journal last week, Delaware Design Lab High School is now Design Thinking Academy. The charter school did submit a major modification request last year to decrease their enrollment but they never submitted a minor modification request to change the name of the school.
Big Mouth AOA Leaker John Fluharty Continues To Run His Big MouthJohn Fluharty
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.
John Fluharty Is An Arrogant And Petty Little ManJohn Fluharty
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’s Touchy “Feeley” Fails To Spin Their Own Spin And Loses Credibility With Their Double DownNews Journal
I know I’ve been picking on the News Journal a lot lately, but they deserve it. After their constant defamatory attacks on Kathleen Davies with fabricated reports, I have to ask a legitimate question: How much are they getting paid to go after Davies? It is beyond the point of absurdity. What did they do now?
Breaking News: Kathleen Davies Issues Press Release On Slanted News Journal ArticleKathleen Davies
Kathleen Davies, a Democrat candidate for Delaware State Auditor, issued an official press release today about the very controversial News Journal article that appeared online and in print over the past couple of weeks. This answers many questions I’ve had and confirms many suspicions I’ve harbored over this matter.
State Reps Kowalko and Williams Petition Attorney General Matt Denn To Investigate Leak From Auditor Of Accounts OfficeDE Attorney General Matt Denn
In a letter to Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn, State Representatives John Kowalko and Kim Williams are urging Denn to investigate the controversial leak from the Auditor of Accounts office. On August 8th, the News Journal “obtained” a report from AOA regarding a personnel matter with Kathleen Davies. While the validity of the report has yet to be determined, especially since it wasn’t even used in Davies unemployment hearing, the report was leaked from AOA.
The News Journal based an entire article, online and in print, on the report. I find it ironic that a cabal of folks at AOA, who falsely went after Davies over sending a draft copy of an audit to Kim Williams (which was found to be perfectly okay), seem to think it is okay to send out a confidential employee report that very same office may have had the ability to edit themselves. Talk about sheer hypocrisy! Political motivation during an election? You better believe it! Reports have come out of that office where employees would spend their time on political campaigns in the last election. I don’t mind any citizen helping out with elections and all that, but not while you are on the clock for the state!
To read the letter from Rep. Kowalko and Rep. Williams, please see below:
News Journal Lacks Integrity And Ethics With Coverage Of State Auditor RaceNews Journal
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.
The Hypocrisy Of Susan Bunting Firing A DOE Employee For “Misconduct In Office & Willful Neglect Of Duty” After Her Own Actions In Indian RiverDelaware Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting
In February of 2017, during the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center crisis, a Delaware Department of Education employee working as a Prison Education Teacher gave information to the News Journal about the situation. The next month, Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting fired him for “misconduct in office and willful neglect of duty” according to public court documents.
Auditor Of Accounts Office Releases Very Questionable Report To News Journal’s Jessica Bies In Attempt To Interfere With Election & MERB HearingsKathleen Davies For State Auditor
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.
Exclusive: The Truth About Teachers At Charter School of Wilmington Joining DSEA & President PaoliCharter School of Wilmington
If you read the News Journal article on the Charter School of Wilmington teachers voting to unionize, it was filled with reasons why President Sam Paoli did not want the teachers to unionize. The article failed to capitalize on why the vote happened in the first place- CSW President Sam Paoli.
At this point it is unclear why the educators wanted to unionize or by how large a margin the vote was successful.
I have those answers.
Exclusive: The Kathleen Davies Mystery Solved! What Role Did Tom Wagner, The Delaware DOE, & The News Journal Play?Kathleen Davies
For over two years, Delaware citizens wondered why Kathleen Davies was put on leave by Delaware State Auditor Tom Wagner. Now, finally, the truth can be told.
Education Funding Lawsuit Filed By Delaware ACLU, What Happened To That Other Complaint?DE ACLU Education Funding Lawsuit
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.
The Optics Of PoliticsThe Optics of Politics
I came back from Star Wars: The Last Jedi last Friday night and saw a post from Steve Newton on Facebook. I always read his posts because I know they are going to be interesting. Once I read the second sentence, I knew somehow I was going to be a part of this post. Since Steve specifically said at the end of it not to reply with reasons or justifications, I gave a brief reply acknowledging he was talking about me and fully owning my posts about one of the two people he was talking about in his post. Since then, Steve has taken it upon himself to wage some bizarre one-man crusade against the validity of this blog. See the comments section over on Blue Delaware. You can read Steve’s opening salvo he posted on Facebook in that article. I also posted an article mainly in reply to Steve’s post. It was already in my drafts folder but I added to it due to the nature of Steve’s post.
This is what I wrote in reply to Steve’s original post:
Governor Carney’s Slimy Obsession With Public-Private Partnerships & The Erosion Of Public Trust With His Springfield TripThe Christina-Springfield Scam
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.