Exceptional Delaware Endorsements For Election Day In Delaware

Finally! All the talk can stop about who is better.  After tomorrow we will know.  I felt obligated to give my endorsements for all the races.  Some will care, some won’t.  Some may shock you while some will be all “duh, didn’t see that one coming!”  Just do one thing tomorrow- VOTE!  It’s one of the strongest ways you can make your voice heard in your state and country!

Here are my “official” endorsements: Continue reading

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Odyssey Charter School Becomes 2nd Delaware Charter This Year To Join DSEA

Odyssey Charter School teachers and staff voted and an overwhelming majority decided to join the Delaware State Education Association.  This is the second charter school in Delaware to do so in 2018.  Last Spring, the Charter School of Wilmington also voted to join DSEA.  In 1997, Positive Outcomes joined DSEA but opted out in 2000.  Delaware College Prep joined in 2012 but closed a few years later due to low enrollment.

With 131 for and 16 against, over 89% of the educators in the school decided a teachers union was the best option for them.  Prior to 2018, it was virtually unheard of for Delaware charters to unionize.  What turned the tide?

For Odyssey, the decision was clear- they did not like decisions the board was making and felt their voices were not being heard.  When former leader Nick Manolakos did not have his contract renewed, the school hired two to take his place.  But the tipping point was when their former Board President, who had just resigned, became a leading contender for a third highly paid administrator.

Over the summer this led to those teachers and parents questioning the board about decisions that would affect the school.  Parents saw fundraiser after fundraiser to get more money for the school but didn’t feel the money was going towards what the school promised.  But they had money for all these administrators.

Congratulations to Odyssey Charter School for joining DSEA.  With two joining this year, will more Delaware charters follow?  Even with forces joining together to muffle DSEA it has become more apparent than ever that teachers want respect and to have their voice heard.  They are the second most important part of a school after the students.  They have rights and deserve to organize and fight for what is theirs.  They deserve due process and the right to air grievances.

Will Odyssey Become The 2nd Delaware Charter School To Unionize This Year?

Parents of students at Odyssey Charter School received the following email tonight from the Head of School, Denise Parks.  If Odyssey teachers and staff do vote to unionize they would become the second Delaware charter school to do this.  In May, Charter School of Wilmington voted in the majority for joining the Delaware State Education Association.

Good evening, OCS Families–

Our new leadership team continues to work to improve communications and also to promote transparency in school developments. To reinforce these efforts, I want to make you aware that OCS has received notice from the State of Delaware, Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) that the Odyssey Charter School Education Association (“OCSEA”) has filed a petition to represent certain academic and facilities employees here at OCS. This process ultimately will lead to an election to determine whether OCSEA, as the union, will represent this group of employees in collective bargaining negotiations. I want you to know that the leadership team strongly believes that remaining union-free is the right thing for both OCS and for the staff involved. I will endeavor to keep you informed of key developments as they occur in this process. Please contact me if you have any questions. Whatever the outcome of this vote, I look forward to a productive year for our school.

Yours in education, Denise Parks Head of School

Exclusive: The Truth About Teachers At Charter School of Wilmington Joining DSEA & President Paoli

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. Continue reading

Polling Stations For School Board Elections! Don’t Forget To Vote Today!!!!

Thank you to Delaware United for getting this out there on Facebook. Polling stations open at 10am and will close at 8pm.  Get out and vote early if you can.  I would love to see a massive increase in voter turnout for our local school board elections.  It is far too important, especially this year!  School board members are overlooked by many but their importance is huge to our communities!

Red Clay: A.I. DuPont H.S., Baltz E.S., Brandywine Springs, Cab Calloway, Conrad, Dickinson H.S., Forest Oak E.S., H.B. DuPont M.S., Highlands E.S., Hilltop Lutheran Community Center, Lewis E.S., Linden Hill E.S., Marbrook E.S., McKean H.S., North Star E.S., Stanton M.S., Warner E.S.

Christina: Bancroft E.S., Bayard M.S., Brookside E.S., Christiana H.S., Downes E.S., Elbert-Palmer E.S., Gallaher E.S., Glasgow E.S., Jones E.S., Keene E.S., Maclary E.S., Marshall E.S., McVey E.S., Newark H.S., Oberle E.S., Quaker Hill Place Apartments, Shue-Medill M.S., Wilson E.S.

Brandywine: Brandywine H.S., Carrcroft E.S., Claymont E.S., Concord H.S., Crestview Apartments, Forwood E.S., Hanby E.S., Lombardy E.S., Maple Lane E.S., Mt. Pleasant H.S., P.S. DuPont M.S., Talley M.S.

Appoquinimink: Alfred G. Waters M.S., Bunker Hill E.S., Everett Meredith M.S., Marion Profitt Training Center, Middletown H.S., Old State E.S., Olive B. Loss E.S., Townsend Early Childhood Center

Smyrna: Kenton Ruritan Club, Smyrna E.S., Smyrna M.S.

Capital: East Dover E.S., Hartly E.S., William Henry M.S.

Caesar Rodney: Allen Frear E.S., W. Reilly Brown E.S., W.B. Simpson E.S.

Lake Forest: Lake Forest East E.S., Lake Forest North E.S., Lake Forest South E.S., Lake Forest H.S.

Milford: Benjamin Banneker E.S., Evelyn Morris Early Childhood Center, Lulu Ross E.S., Milford H.S.

Seaford: Seaford H.S.

Woodbridge: Woodbridge M.S., Woodbridge Early Childhood Education Center

*Note: Colonial and Cape Henlopen have no election due to only one candidate filing.  Laurel and Indian River have no seat up for election this year.

Primary Polls: Who Will Win & Who Do You Think Deserves To Win! Vote Before You Vote!

please-vote

In about 51 hours, the Delaware Primary Season will be over.  There are a ton of races throughout the state, from Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Insurance Commissioner, U.S. Congress, State Senator, State Representative, Mayor of Wilmington and New Castle County Executive.  With these polls, pick who you think will win and who you think deserves to win (your chosen candidate).  For some races this will be it after the primary.  Whoever wins the primary wins the election.  But some races aren’t done after the Primary.  Don’t forget to vote on Tuesday!

 

 

 

 

In Today’s Game: Can You Spot The FOIA Violation?

Gateway Lab School, a Delaware charter school that serves a very high population of students with disabilities, held a special board meeting on April 4th, 2016.  The purpose of the meeting was to discuss a due process mediation.  Can you spot the Delaware FOIA violation?  It’s easy if you try!

Oops! That’s a big one! I’ve already filed the FOIA complaint to the Attorney General’s office. As a gentle reminder to all school boards in Delaware: you can discuss student related matters in executive session if it pertains to an issue, but you can’t vote on it in executive session. You need to come out of executive session and vote on it then. Now you can’t, and shouldn’t, say this is for x student’s due process mediation situation. But I would suggest giving a number for all action items at a board meeting. Many boards do this already. You can just say, as an example, “In the matter of 16-322, may I have a motion to vote on this action item?”, or something along those lines. It wasn’t that long ago that Brandywine School District’s board had the same issue which is causing issues for the district now as part of a lawsuit.

As well, I have also requested an opinion from the same office about public comment at public meetings. I have noticed some Delaware charter schools ask public comment to be submitted up to two weeks in advance before a board meeting. I don’t think that is in the spirit of the law. Any member of the public should have unfettered access to a public meeting and have the ability to give public comment without having to give advance notice.

Sorry Gateway! Don’t mean to call you out but if all of your board members have not received the full training on these matters I would definitely get on that!

Did you vote in the Brandywine Referendum yet?

The Brandywine School District is having their second attempt at a referendum today.  To say both sides have come out swinging for the fences would be an understatement.  Politicians like Delaware Governor Jack Markell, Senator Tom Carper, and State Reps Bryon Short and Sean Matthews have all come out in support for the referendum.  Brandywine father Patrick Wahl appeared on the Rick Jensen show yesterday along with referendum leader James Hanby.  Wahl is claiming the district gave out absentee ballots to an assisted living home along with a host of other issues about the referendum.  The Delaware Dept. of Education came out with a letter yesterday indicating it erred with the number of administrators that show on the DOE website.  Teachers in and out of the district are urging citizens to get out and vote.  Brian Stephan wrote a post on Delaware Liberal yesterday addressing many of Wahl’s allegations.

GodowskyHolodick

We will know tonight if this attempt passed or failed.  It is getting very hard to keep track of what is truth and what is not, from both sides of the issue.  As of 12:55pm today, the New Castle County Dept. of Elections verified 2,085 people have voted already in 18 out of the 22 polling stations.  I’m not taking sides on this one folks.  There is too much mass confusion surrounding this one.  Most likely, the truth is somewhere in the middle in certain areas.  The important thing is to get out there and vote if you live in Brandywine.

A School Board Member, A Superintendent, And The Public Integrity Commission

I have actually heard this rumor the past few months.  I haven’t written about it because I did not know if it was 100% true or not.  I had a feeling it was.  It turns out the Public Integrity Commission is very interested in this as well.  So much so that it is on their agenda for their meeting on Tuesday, April 19th.  Who is the board member and who is the Superintendent? Continue reading

US House Of Representatives Passes “Every Student Succeeds Act” With 359-64 Vote, Next Stop: US Senate

The “Every Student Succeeds Act” passed the United States House of Representatives today with a vote of 359-64.  The second half of the bill’s journey will take place in the US Senate.  It is anticipated the Senate will vote on the bill next week.  I haven’t even read the entire bill, but I have many issues with various aspects of the bill.  Many of these issues are due to the way Delaware has already utilized many aspects of the bill in a non-transparent fashion.  The Delaware Department of Education is taking drastic steps now in terms of the state accountability system for Delaware schools, and this bill makes it perfectly legal for them to do so.  My thoughts are beginning to shift towards an uneasy acceptance of the legislation versus what we had before with No Child Left Behind, but I will be keeping a very close and cautious eye on how the DOE and Governor Markell could attempt to abuse the state’s powers in this bill.  In a nutshell, I don’t trust them nor do I trust their motivations when it comes to Delaware students.  The lone US House of Representatives member from Delaware, John Carney, voted yes on the bill.

From the House Education and the Workforce Committee:

Kline, Scott Applaud House Passage of
Every Student Succeeds Act
Bipartisan bill replaces No Child Left Behind, improves K-12 education

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Ranking Member Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA) issued the following statements today after the House passed a bipartisan, bicameral bill to replace No Child Left Behind and improve K-12 education. Known as the Every Student Succeeds Act (S. 1177), the bill passed the House by a vote of 359 to 64.

“Today, we helped turn the page on a flawed law and a failed approach to K-12 education,” said Chairman Kline. “But more importantly, we adopted a new approach that will help every child in every school receive a quality education. Parents, teachers, and state and local school leaders support this bill because they know it will restore local control and help get Washington out of our classrooms. I want to thank my Republican and Democratic colleagues, in both the House and Senate, for their work on this important effort. I look forward to the Senate’s consideration of this bipartisan proposal and finally sending a bill to the president’s desk that will provide parents and school leaders the certainty and flexibility they need to deliver children a great education.”

“Today’s bipartisan vote to reauthorize the ESEA affirms the principles of Brown v. Board of Education, which held that ‘it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education,’ and ‘that such an opportunity is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms,’” said Ranking Member Scott. “Fifty years ago, Congress originally passed ESEA to help make that right a reality, and the Every Student Succeeds Act honors the civil rights legacy of that law. Today’s vote is an embodiment of what we can achieve here in Washington – a workable compromise that does not force either side to desert its core beliefs. I commend my colleagues and our staffs for their diligence, and I have no doubt that this bipartisan legislation will make a positive difference in the lives of our nation’s students and live up to all of our ideals.”

To learn more about the Every Student Succeeds Act, visit edworkforce.house.gov/k12education.

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The Full “Every Student Succeeds Act” Legislation To Be Voted On 12/2 By Congress

Please take the time to read this.  It is a mammoth read.  With PDFs, if you right-click you can search for specific words or phrases.  I strongly recommend every single parent, teacher, staff members, legislator, and US citizen read this.  It will change everything forever.  If there is anything in here you don’t like, call your state Congress representatives and tell them to vote NO!!!! I know what I will be doing when I get home from work tonight…

It’s Election Day! Go Out And Vote, It’s Your Constitutional Right #netde #eduDe #Delaware #edchat

Whatever plans you have today, make sure it includes driving to your local polling place and casting your votes.  This is the time where YOU can make a difference.  Vote with your heart, not a political party.