Jack Markell As The Next U.S. Secretary of Education? OVER MY DEAD BODY!!!!

A fate worse than death would be Jack Markell as the United States Secretary of Education under President Hillary Clinton.  What Markell has done to Delaware education in less than eight years (twelve if you count his contributions towards Rodel’s plans) has been nothing short of a disaster.  As one of the chief proponents of Common Core, Markell was the ringmaster for state accountability systems designed to perpetuate an endless cycle of high-stakes testing, school labeling, teacher shaming, and student rigor.

We now know Jack Markell really wants to be the U.S. Secretary of Education.  John King is just filler until the next President.  Town Square Delaware reported this morning that because John King stated Markell “has had his eye on this job for years” based on a Politico report about Hillary’s potential Cabinet posts.  Granted, there are other contenders such as former Deputy Secretary of Education Jim Shelton, outgoing Chancellor of D.C. Schools Kaya Henderson, and even John King himself.  None of those would be a good pick.  If Clinton wins and picks any of these people, we will firmly know where she stands on education: she is a sell-out to corporations.

If Clinton wins and she nominates Markell as the next U.S. Secretary of Education, I will personally travel to D.C. to attend the Senate nomination hearing for Markell and testify against his capabilities to lead our country’s children.  This would be a major step backwards, not forward.  He is a corporate guy, not an education guy.  He can’t stand parents butting into education, dislikes teachers, and goes back on his word constantly.  This will not happen if I have anything to say about it.  And I will not be the only one.

Do we really want a guy who allows state law to be circumvented by his administration.  In the Chip Flowers FOIA scandal, Markell’s office is blocking sending out emails requested through a FOIA request because it has other legislators in the email.  It’s called redacting those names!  But Markell is shady, no doubt about it.  But he is also good at covering up his tracks.  Look at all the corporate tax loopholes he has created during his time as Governor.  This is NOT the guy for education.  The mail room for education?  Sure.  Not as the leader!

Just because The News Journal quoted John King as saying Markell has performed “nation-leading work” in early education does not qualify for him for this post.  He has never been a teacher or even worked in public education.  Think about that.  Someone who only steps into a classroom to announce his latest agendas for corporate education reform…

Governor Markell Praises Pathways To Prosperity But True Issue Is Impact On Labor Market

In his weekly address, Delaware Governor Jack Markell talked about the Pathways to Prosperity initiative which seems to be his main focus these days.  Remember the “Dear Hillary” letter?  It is no coincidence the Pathways to Prosperity push in Delaware is happening the same time Hillary Clinton is about to secure the Democratic nomination for the next President of the USA.  In the latest “Will he or won’t he?”, Politico talked about the prospect of Jack Markell being Hillary’s nomination for the US Secretary of Education.

But neither Clinton, nor anyone close to her, has approached him about the job, he said. Markell said he’s focused on the final months of his tenure. He’s not sure what he wants to do next, but if it’s education-related, Markell said he’d like an opportunity to work closer to students so he could have more of a direct impact. The position of education secretary seems a little far-removed, he said. “I’m not sure it’s the best leverage point,” Markell said.

I’m not sure how much I believe there has been no discussion about this.  I’ve heard the rumor enough to know there has to be at least a kernel of truth behind it.  Others feel Markell will lead one of the hundreds, if not thousands, of corporate education reform companies that continues to push out the very bad fallacies about public education while they increase their profit at the expense of children.

But what concerns me about the Pathways to Prosperity initiative in Delaware is the effect it can have on our labor market.  While our unemployment is down, wages still aren’t back to what they were before the 2008 recession.  Markell announced 1,000 Delaware students will have internships at Delaware companies this summer, double the amount it was in 2015.  That is free labor for companies.  Which means they don’t have to pay wages.  Which keeps unemployment going.  There are still far too many Delawareans suffering from low salaries, especially with the DuPont merger.  On top of all the tax breaks our General Assembly gave companies in Delaware already this year, the companies are making out like bandits.  As well, handing students certificates in high school to “make sure” they have a better chance of getting a job after high school is a bit misleading.  I believe it is a push to get teenagers to not enroll in four year colleges and instead attend a community college or go straight to the workforce.  Thus pushing the “cradle to grave” theories about education and the workforce.

Markell announced in the video 5,000 students will be enrolled in Pathways programs in Delaware schools in the upcoming school year.  He talked about the “Delaware Promise” that 65% of Delaware graduates will have a college degree or professional certification in the next ten years.  If I know Jack and how this will end up, most of those 65% (if they even reach that) will not have four-year college degrees.  They will have government paid community college degrees or professional certifications.  With this being said, this could give struggling students a chance they may not otherwise have.  But this is also in the continuous era of high-stakes testing and personalized learning that Markell, the DOE, and Rodel push with amazing proficiency.  This is just the endpoint of this atrocious era of public education.  Common Core has, does, and will continue to numb kids from thinking for themselves which allows corporations to truly control kids.  And the data privacy issues are an afterthought to the long-term evil inflicted on our children.

To see the latest kool-aid coming from Jack Markell, watch the video below:

 

John King Blames Remedial Classes On His Failure As NY Commissioner Of Education

I don’t think anyone intended for science or social studies or art or music to get less attention when No Child Left Behind was adopted. -John King

When asked by New York Rep. Elise Stefanic at last week’s Every Student Succeeds Act hearing what lessons he learned and what mistakes were made during his time as Commissioner of Education of New York State, John King blamed remedial classes and circumvented giving a direct answer to Rep. Stefanic.  He refused to take any personal blame for what many in New York see as a very flawed Commissioner.  For someone who wants “Educational Excellence”, or in other words, more accountability for “failing schools” based on very flawed high-stakes testing scores, King is unable to be accountable to himself or his own actions.  If the Common Core standards were as great as King believes, it would not take this long to implement them.  King didn’t even address Rep. Stefanik’s comments about some schools in her district having 80% opt-out rates.

Frightening Thought of the Day: President Clinton, VP Hickenlooper, & Secretary of Education Markell

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If Hilary wins the election, we are ALL in trouble.  Especially those in Delaware who have lived with Governor Jack Markell’s education vision for the past 12 years.  Rumor has it Jack would be in the education top spot.  Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper could very well nab the Vice-President spot.  These two are thick as thieves.  Why?  That is coming shortly.  And it’s not how or why you may think.

Markell may have planted a seed at the United States Department of Education.  That seed has been blooming for longer than we think.  The very idea of Jack Markell as the US Secretary of Education gives me chills.  This cannot happen.  Those in Delaware who know what happened in the past few years know exactly what I’m talking about.  Jack is very involved with not only creating education policy in this country but also in forging legislation that doesn’t play out for years.  If you are against Common Core, high-stakes testing, teacher evaluations based on test scores, and corporations raiding public education funds, then you need to pay very careful attention to everything said in the next few months when it comes to Jack Markell.  This has been planned for a long time, and Jack thinks everything is set in stone.  All the pieces are in place.  Or are they?

“Acting” Secretary Of Education John King Nominated By President Obama To Become The Real Deal

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According to the Times Union in Albany, NY, President Obama is expected to nominate John King to be the official successor to Arne Duncan as the US Secretary of Education.  Had Obama done this back in October when Duncan resigned, many felt King would not have been confirmed by the Republican majority US Senate.

What changed?  The Every Student Succeeds Act.  Deals were made, things were thrown in at the last minute, and votes changed.  Such is the way of politics in Washington D.C.  It happens in every state.  What does this mean to those who were horrified at the mention of John King and Secretary of Education?  It really depends on how much power King is allowed to have.  The ESSA strictly forbids the Secretary of Education from forcing Common Core down state throats as well as issuing waivers to states that are essentially “comply or die” memos.  On the flip side, a lot of what was written in the legislation merely brings controversial aspects of the waivers into law.  The law is a matter of interpretation in some cases, and in the next six months we will see mass attempts at trying to figure it all out.  ESSA, on the surface, gives states more control.  But which states will exert their own individual power, and which will play along to get along?

Most Presidents, when newly elected, tend to pick their own Cabinet members.  The key to King’s reign will be if Hillary Clinton manages to become President.  I could easily picture a scenario where King is allowed to stay on as Secretary under a President Clinton.  If Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump win, no way!  As for Delaware, it looks like King and Governor Markell have already bonded so we can look forward to more capitulation from Delaware and the US Department of Education…

16 To Watch In 2016: Jack Markell

Seems rather obvious, doesn’t it?  He is always one to watch!  But 2016 will be very telling for Jack.  His legacy will be defined, one way or another.  We should find out what his post-Governor plans are.  I’m hoping he just goes away, but something tells me Jack has VERY specific plans.  I will watch very closely for how much he tries to hang out with Hilary Clinton.  If you thought Arne Duncan was a nightmare, you haven’t seen anything yet.  Trust me, you do not want Delaware Governor Jack Markell as the Secretary of Education for the United States Department of Education.

Jack will also have to deal with a mounting budget deficit in his state, projected to be well over $200 million.  While that is chump change for many states, Delaware has a population of less than a million.  That is a big deal.  His precious Delaware Department of Education will most likely not get their requested $87 million in Fiscal Year 2017.  Everyone will want a slice of the pie, and it will be very interesting to see who votes in the Delaware 148th General Assembly on what legislation.  I imagine the side deals with Markell will be at an all-time high, and he will play the veto card a lot in the next year.  Education has always been Markell’s baby, but many legislators said enough is enough when they voted for House Bill 50, the parent opt-out legislation.

Whatever Jack does next, I’m sure he will do it with his usual smile and charm.  Walking around like he didn’t wreck Delaware education and continue Delaware’s god-awful cycle of segregation.  Jack talks a lot about how much he does for people with disabilities.  However, he really hasn’t done a heck of a lot for special education.  Think about it.  He committed himself to make sure people with disabilities get jobs when they transition to adulthood, but he truly doesn’t help out students with disabilities.  In fact, when he set the Delaware DOE’s recent annual measurable objectives, he wants kids on IEPs to go from 19% proficiency on the Smarter Balanced Assessment to 59% in six years.  And Congress must be okay with that, because they just passed a bill allowing state’s more authority in education!  Something our potential future Governor John Carney just voted for as well…

Under the reign of Governor Jack Markell, we have seen more cronyism in Delaware than should be allowed anywhere.  He pimps our children out to the Rodels and other corporate education reformers that flock to Delaware.  They must love us and go crazy when they see our DOE put up a contract bid.  We pay top dollar for…what?  What are the results of Jack’s gigantic education agenda?  Are students doing better?  Not really.  51% proficiency on anything is still failing.  And failing bad.  Markell would tell you all about the growth Delaware has experienced.  Do you really want a national Secretary of Education who is proud of 51% proficiency?  Not that I think anything should be measured in terms of success on a standardized assessment, but since everyone in DC laps it up like it is important, is that really someone we want leading education in America?

Jack brought Mark Murphy to Delaware.  We all know what a resounding success that was.  And now history is repeating itself with Secretary Godowsky who really should know better, but he is just another one of Jack’s puppets, dancing on the string.

Jack is one of those guys you can never quite pin anything on.  You may come close, but he covers his tracks very well.  In terms of skating on the thin ice and getting to the other side, Jack is 100% proficient.  Try to find something on Jack, and the results will be inconclusive…

ESSA Part 1: US Secretary’s Power Questioned In The “Every Student Succeeds Act”

This is a massive read.  At 1,069 pages, I have to wonder how every member of the United States House and Senate will actually have time to read the whole thing.  There is a great deal of legalese written into this.  It can be repetitive at times, but that is also when you need to look at it the most.  I haven’t even finished it yet.  Like most laws, it refers you to prior paragraphs or sections.

For the states, the US Secretary of Education now has limited power.  The Secretary can no longer use things like Common Core or Race To The Top to coerce states into programs and agendas.  But each state must submit their “state standards” to the Secretary who has the power to approve or deny the request.  But when the states submit their plans, it can’t just be the Governor and the state DOE.

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This means the state legislators must also be a part of the process for picking the state standards, something most states should have already had in the first place.  In the case of Delaware, this did not happen with any meaningful affect.

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The US Secretary of Education has too much power even with this bill.

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For the initial review of a state’s submitted plan, the Secretary has to utilize other folks within the US DOE to review the plan.  But if a state makes changes, the Secretary seems to have this executive power to approve or deny those changes.  So much for Democracy…

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Math, English Language Arts, and Science.  Those are the three mandatory subjects that must be in a state’s plan.  No Social Studies.

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This is where it gets very confusing.  If the Secretary has the power to approve or deny “the challenging State academic standards” (get used to those words, you will be hearing them a lot), what power has been removed?  With that power, I see a great deal of control and direction already.  What backroom deals were made for a bill that was designed to limit federal control?  The actual product doesn’t really show this driving need for what was supposed to be the main purpose of the bill.

The One Good Thing About Joe Biden Not Running For President

As it was announced everywhere a couple hours ago, Vice-President Joe Biden will not run for President in 2016.  Had Joe run, and won, it would not shock me to see Delaware Governor Jack Markell given a big seat in the Cabinet.  More specifically, the Secretary of Education role.  With Jeb Bush faltering in the polls, that is one more Jack Markell elimination as well.  Does anyone know if Hillary Clinton and Jack Markell are close?  In August, Markell endorsed Biden for President if he ran.  Hopefully this caused a feeling of resentment on Hillary’s part.  Should Bernie Sanders win, there is no way in hell he would pick Markell.  And Trump?  Let’s pray we don’t have to worry about that.  Maybe Jack will just retire and spend his millions he got during the net-com boom in the late 1990’s…

The Delaware Battle For Public Education Is America’s War

In the grand scheme of things, six schools in the 2nd smallest state in the country really doesn’t amount to anything.  But the six priority schools in Wilmington, Delaware could change the face of education.  It’s not about making the schools better for the students.  It’s about two forces colliding in a battle that’s been in the making for over a decade.

On one hand is Governor Markell and the Delaware Department of Education.  Their public claim is the students aren’t reading up to their grade level, their standardized test scores are atrocious, and the beefed up funding will bring the schools back up again.  On the other hand are the Christina and Red Clay Consolidated school districts.  While Red Clay has already signed their Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and submitted it to the Delaware Department of Education, Christina is holding out and will vote on their draft MOU at their next board meeting on January 7th.

Both school districts have vehemently and publicly opposed the priority school initiative.  The biggest demands, new principals at $160,000 a year and teachers must reapply for their jobs, has insulted and demeaned many individuals throughout Delaware.  Recent Freedom of Information Act requests have shown a collusion with the major media outlet in Delaware, The News Journal.  Meetings with the Delaware DOE have been cut short, and language from the Secretary of Education Mark Murphy to certain members of the public have been extremely rude.  Murphy refused to answer questions from the public at a Wilmington City Council meeting in October.  FOIA emails have also shown that event was largely planned by the Delaware DOE and the Governor’s office.

The methodology for the priority schools has been controversial since day one.  The DE DOE has focused on these six schools, all within a square mile of the Community Education Building designed to hold charter schools.  Bank of America donated this building to the state, and only two charter schools reside in the large building with another one slated to open in the Fall of 2015.  Prior turnaround schools, such as Booker T Elementary School in Dover and Eastside Charter School in Wilmington have been held up as the biggest gainers in test scores, but mitigating factors have contributed to those increases, whether it has been rezoning of a district or massive expulsions changing the student dynamic and decreasing the size of a class by more than half.

So why should America care about these six schools in a city that was just labeled Murdertown, USA?  Three words: Governor Jack Markell.  He has taken a very active interest in education in this first state to sign the constitution but the last to follow.  In fact, he was on the original committees for Common Core and he holds a very powerful position among US Governors when it comes to education.  Many view him as a lame duck, which he is in Delaware.  But nationally the man can continue the corporate education reform until 2020.

In 2012, there was talk about US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan possibly leaving his post, whether voluntary or by force.  There were two names lobbied as potential replacements: Michelle Rhee, the former chancellor of schools for Washington D.C., and Delaware Governor Jack Markell.  While Rhee has fallen from public favor, Markell is still seen by many in political circles as the new voice for education in America.  The election of 2016 will work in Markell’s favor no matter which way it goes.  If the President-elect is a Democrat, Markell could very well be picked as the new US Secretary of Education.  If the country decides for a radical change and puts a 3rd Bush in office, Markell will still be picked for this slot.  Jeb Bush is very high in the food chain for corporate education reform, and you can bet your bottom dollar Markell has been cozying up to the former Florida Governor.

It all comes down to the Christina School District Board of Education.  As one of four school districts in Wilmington, Christina has always been the thorn in the DOE’s side.  They are fighters, and they don’t take kindly to bullying by the state.  Their refusal to follow the demands of the state with the priority schools has already put a chink in Markell’s armor.  On October 29th, at the Rodel sponsored Vision Network conference, Markell gave a speech and publicly stated he would not hesitate to takeover these schools if it came down to it.  Many in the audience were shocked at Markell’s overexertion of executive power, including many out-of-state guests.

This is what you will see if Markell takes over these six schools and turns them into charter schools:

-A precedent will be set in Delaware, and the DOE will be able to use flawed methodology via standardized test scores to “prioritize” any school in the state and turn it into a charter school.

-The DOE is already working on plans to penalize defiant school districts and potentially lead to the creation of Priority School Districts, which could then result in all schools within that district being turned into charter schools.  If you don’t think this can happen, look at New Orleans and York, Pennsylvania as cities that have turned into charter school towns.

-More Teach For America, The New Teacher Project, and Relay Graduate School teachers invading Delaware schools like a Nazi Blitzkrieg out of World War II.  These are teachers who excel at teaching to the test and are groomed to become future leaders of schools, with minimal training and hands-on experience in classrooms.

-The eventual busting of the unions.  The education unions are among the most powerful in the country, and corporate education reformers have found a way to finally break them up.  While some see these unions as a major detriment to education, they are the last man standing in the complete slaughter of public school district education.

-Even more Common Core, for not only English and Math, but also Science and Social Studies.  This will result in even more standardized testing through PARCC and the Smarter Balanced Consortium.  The US DOE used “waivers” to manipulate and blackmail and bribe states into accepting their reforms.  If the school districts didn’t comply, they would be labeled as failing due to No Child Left Behind guidelines.  Every single one of these waivers benefit the exact blueprint Markell and Rodel CEO Paul Herdman helped to create ten years ago, which has resulted in the current landscape of Delaware education.

-As more lower paid teachers come into schools, it sets up Rodel and Markell to initiate their “personalized learning” agenda through a company called 2Revolutions, which will result in the elimination of hands-on instruction in the classroom and will turn students into complete virtual zombies.  This will give the students of the future more screen-time than ever.  When they aren’t looking at screens all day at school, they will go home and do homework on the screen.  When they aren’t focused on school, they will be on their iPads and Xbox.  This “personalized learning” plan has already stated schools would need to do away with extracurricular activities like sports and band, or plays and art clubs.

-Special needs children will suffer the most from this plan, and they will be put at the bottom of the barrel.  Arne Duncan has already put things in place that will eliminate the very heart of IDEA law.  Do not believe for one second that states want to narrow the proficiency gap between special education students and regular students.  They are using this data to make huge decisions with our schools.  They will sacrifice a few of their own beloved charter schools to make this point.  For every charter school that is closed, there are many more waiting in the wings.

-Minorities and low-income students will continue to be targeted and clumped together in charter schools with their own.  Segregation will become the de facto method for all of education.

-Who benefits from all public school students going to charter schools, doing all their work in front of a screen, eliminating the diverse choices students have in schools, and being tested like guinea pigs in high-stakes testing?  The companies that have backed all of this and the politicians who have set up the pieces on the board to allow it to happen.

Do parents and the current school districts have a choice anymore with what happens in education?  Of course they do.  It is not too late.  Stopping Markell in Delaware would send a clear message to these companies that would benefit off the backs of our children.  The time has come to stop rallying on Facebook on our state “Stop Common Core” pages and actually do something.  Every single state in America that is driving these agendas needs to be stopped.  Citizens need to start sending Freedom Of Information Act requests to their governors and state DOE.  They need to expose these charlatans for what they are.  This isn’t something that can be held off.  You can’t wait and see.  You have to take a stand if you are against this, and it needs to be done NOW.

If the little state of Delaware Governor Jack Markell is not held in check, he will most likely be the next US Secretary of Education and that means more of the same in education, with even more steps being taken to destroy what we have.  This nonsense would continue until January 2021 at the earliest, if not longer.  By then, all that public school district education has will be gone.  It will become a whisper, and hundreds of thousands of educators will disappear.  Markell is viewed by many in Delaware as a dictator, and if he is allowed to be set loose as the leader of education in America, all bets are off.

This is the future of education in America.  Don’t let anyone fool you.  Don’t let them say you are crazy.  The people telling you this are already in key positions that are allowing this to happen.  Once you enter this matrix world of corporate education reform, the connections these people have and the paths they take become very obvious.  They are all pieces of the puzzle that lead to the complete annihilation of education as we know it.

Right now, Delaware needs your help America.  We have formed a group called  Delaware Parents and Teachers for Public Education.  We have started a petition against the priority schools.  We need your voice.  We don’t just want 1,000 signatures.  We want a million.  We want to send a powerful message to those that want to dictate rather than collaborate.  So please, sign our petition.  It is not about Delaware.  It’s about freedom, and voice, and our children.  It’s about America.

Please go here to sign our petition: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/lets-make-priority-schools-a-real-priority-2