John Carney: Don’t Be A Markell In Sheep’s Clothing

John Carney


This is a plea to Congressman John Carney.

You are running for Governor in Delaware.  You haven’t officially filed yet, but you announced your intention last year.  In Delaware, it seems like a certainty you will win the election in November.  With that being said, I have some grave concerns with some of your education votes in the U.S. House of Representatives.

You voted yes for the following:

The Every Student Succeeds Act which yields to the states the ability to determine opt out procedures when parents don’t want their child to take the state standardized test.  Even though ESSA states 95% of students must take the state assessment.  The US DOE is ignoring the power given to states in this legislation.

You voted no for the following:

HR5: The Student Success Act.  This legislation, the House precursor to the Every Student Succeeds Act, allowed for parent opt out for any reason and would not penalize schools for opt outs in their accountability report cards.

In Delaware, parents cried out to our legislators last year to act for their rights.  While they were with us in the majority, when the time came for them to act again, many of them took the coward’s way out by not voting for a suspension of rules.  Something many of them have no problem doing all the time.  We don’t need another Jack Markell in Delaware.  I think we are all done with him.  His education legacy will be one for the history books, and not in a positive light in the long run.

Aside from attending Smyrna Day in the Smyrna School District and going to the Coding School in Wilmington, we really haven’t heard much from you on education.  I’m sure you are relieved this hasn’t come up.  But with ESSA regulations about to come out, it is essential that you let the voters of Delaware know your views on education matters.  If you are to be the presumptive winner for Governor of Delaware, let it be a presumption with all of the facts.

As a son of two teachers, I am sure you have a high regard for education and the teaching profession.  I would hope you don’t completely agree with many of the federal mandates from the past 15 years.  It is very important that you let us know your thoughts.  Let us vote with a clear idea of where you are coming from.  I am hoping you lead us out of the education quagmire Governor Markell perpetrated on the First State.  We want a Governor that supports parental rights as much as any other rights that you celebrate on social media so much.

I think you got a raw deal in 2008.  Many Delawareans feel this way.  Things could have been very different had you won back then.  Perhaps high-stakes assessments wouldn’t become the bread and butter of all things education in Delaware.  Perhaps our teachers would feel more respected by the state you hope to govern.  Perhaps parents wouldn’t feel the need to opt out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment had someone fought Arne Duncan and the US DOE during the tumultuous Race To The Top years.

The time has come for you to speak about education in Delaware and what you are looking to achieve.  If it is the status quo, which is not what Jack Markell states it is, but rather the complete sell-out of public education to companies who want privatization while funds seep out of classrooms and into the eager hands of hedge fund managers, then be honest and let us know that.  If you want something different, something bold and a bit radical, let us know.  Either way, your silence is deafening.


US Representative John Carney from Delaware writes letter about Priority Schools

US Rep. John Carney (DE)

A little less than two months ago, members of the Delaware Parents and Teachers for Public Education started a petition concerning the Priority Schools in the Christina and Red Clay Consolidated School Districts.  The petition had well over 700 signatures of Delaware citizens against the priority schools initiative.  The petition was given to Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy and emailed to all of the Delaware State Representatives and Senators, Governor Markell, and members of the U.S. Congress from Delaware.  The original post can be found here:

This response was sent to me last week by U.S. Representative John Carney from Delaware.


                                                                           February 27th, 2015

Dear Mr. Ohlandt, 

Thank you for taking the time to contact me about Governor Markell’s priority schoolplan. I appreciate your input and concerns on this matter.

As the son of two educators, I  understand the importance of  good schools . During my time as Lieutenant Governor, I helped implement and fund a program called “Models of Excellence in Education,” which paired failing public schools with successful ones, in an effort to facilitate the sharing of best practices in teaching and learning. I championed this program because I believe the success of Delaware’s public schools is the key to fostering a strong economy in Delaware. “Models of Excellence in Education” worked because it put the focus on strong principals and made sure good teachers had the resources they needed to succeed. 

I understand your frustration with the lack of coordination among the education reform initiatives happening across the country over the past several years. In my view, we need to find an approach that works, and stick to it. As a m ember of  the U.S. House of Representatives, I do not have jurisdiction over Delaware’s  specific  education policies. However, the main beneficiaries of federal K-12 education funding are the disadvantaged schools you describe, and I will continue to fight to protect this important funding source. I completely agree that providing better opportunities and more resources to students in these low-income schools should be a high priority. I am  working at the federal level  to improve our education system, and I will continue to follow the situation in Delaware  closely. Additionally, if any legislation comes up on the federal level regarding this issue, I will make sure to keep your views in mind. 

Thank you again for contacting me and sharing you r concerns about education and the proposed priority schools plan . Please feel free to contact my office again if we can assist you in any way.


John Carney
Member of Congress