In other news, Jack Markell smears a Supreme Court Justice and shreds the Constitution in the process.

I will offer comments in Red to today’s editorial contribution from our Governor.

‘We the People’ is Delaware’s glory, challenge as well

(Editor’s note: Sept. 17 is the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution. To observe Constitution Day, we asked Gov. Jack Markell to reflect on the meaning of the Constitution’s Preamble.)

While the preamble to our national constitution sets out the mission for our federal government, its vision cannot be realized without the leadership of states. DID YOU KNOW THAT THE 10TH AMENDMENT RESERVES TO THE STATES THOSE THINGS NOT EXPRESSLY GIVEN TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT? I HAVE AN IDEA, DO A WORD SEARCH OF THE CONSTITUTION: TYPE IN “EDUCATION” AND HIT RETURN.  THEN STARE AT YOUR RESULT: “phrase not found”

Our brave first responders help to insure domestic tranquility, while the National Guard is called upon to provide for the common defense. State courts are necessary to establish justice. And we promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty by providing access to housing, health care and schools.

In the process, states’ roles in advancing our society transcend their borders. We act, in the words of Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, Who also said this other thing our Governor says he embraces while empowering secret charter bill task forces with no minutes that the AG said broke FOIA laws: as “laboratories of democracy.” As Brandeis explains, a “state may, if its citizens choose Pay attention to this phrase folks … try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.”

The Affordable Care Act, based on Massachusetts’ health care reform, AND NOT CHOSEN BY DELAWAREANS TO BE A LAW is perhaps the most prominent recent example of a state innovation guiding national efforts to address our country’s challenges. Earlier this year, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy visited Delaware to highlight our efforts to clean up power plants and reduce dirty air emissions, including through a partnership with neighboring states. That work helped shape the President’s new Clean Power Plan.

Delaware has a special obligation to serve as a laboratory of democracy – to innovate and figure out what works BUT ONLY IF WE LET PEOPLE CHOOSE, RIGHT? LIKE FISKER, RIGHT?. We are small and nimble, with the ability to quickly bring together public and private sector leaders to solve problems IN SECRET ROOMS WITH LOCKED DOORS. But we’re also diverse, with varied economies and lifestyles represented in our different geographical regions, as well as among our urban and rural areas. What works in Delaware can work anywhere. WHAT? IN ALASKA? HAWAII? ALABAMA? I DON’T THINK SO…

At a time when the country faces increasing competition from abroad and the quality of one’s education and training is more important than ever PROOF?, our state can help secure the blessings of liberty for America’s posterity OR SUCCESS, TAKE YOUR PICK, HUH?. The hard work of our educators – from preschool through high school and beyond – has given us that chance, if we are willing to make the long-term commitment to the innovations we have begun.PLEASE DON’T UNDO MY REFORMS WHEN I LEAVE, PLEASE!

First, we can transform the opportunities for low-income children to have access to the early learning they need to start school, ready for success. By raising the reimbursement rates that early childhood programs receive for serving these kids, and by paying higher rates to high-quality programs AS I DETERMINE BY MY SPECIAL RUBRIC, we’ve already seen the number of low-income children in the best programs more than double in three years WITH NO FOLLOWUP TO CONTNUED SUCCESS AND WHILE BLACKLISTING HIGH QUALITY PROGRAMS UNWILLING TO SUBMIT TO THE OPPRESSIVE YOKE OF FEDERAL DOLLARS YOU CONSUME SO VERY REGULARLY. We must continue to ensure programs have the resources they need to improve, recognizing that high-quality early learning has shown to be the best investment our country can make in economic development.

Second, Delaware is effectively transitioning to the Common Core education standards thanks to the leadership of our administrators and the educators in our classrooms CHOSEN BY DELAWAREANS? OR WONKS LIKE YOU AND THE DOE AND THE SBE? NO REAL NEED TO ANSWER, WE ALL KNOW THE ANSWER.. They have benefited from a voluntary statewide initiative called Common Ground, BENEFITTED HOW? BECAUSE YOU SAY SO? BECAUSE PHOTO OPS? BECAUSE FEEL GOOD? HOW? which meets individual school needs for resources and support for teachers. That program has also brought together educators throughout the state to share best practices and develop lesson plans. Raising expectations for our students to be ready for college or career is critical across the country and Delaware can set an example by tackling this issue successfully. ANY EVIDENCE THAT CCSS IS A NECESSARY PREDICATE FOR YOUR STATEMENT REGARDING COLLEGE AND CAREER READY? DIDN’T THINK SO.

Finally, while college isn’t for everyone, it’s clearly important for the next generation to have access to higher education. Delaware leads the country in identifying assistance that students need through our advanced data system that tracks student progress DELAWAREANS CHOSE THIS? OR YOU DID?. In addition, our program to offer free, school-day SAT testing to all high-schoolers helps us know who is on track for college. We provide all of our college-ready students with the information and resources, including application fee waivers to those who qualify. And students receive assistance with their applications and financial aid forms in schools. Last year, every college-ready student in Delaware AS DETERMINED BY YOU AND YOUR ARBITRARY 1550 CUT SCORE ON THE SAT YOU GAVE FOR FREE (READ TAXPAYER MONIES) THUS ELIMINATING THOUSANDS OF COLLEGE READY APPLICANTS SCORING BELOW 1550 applied, and 98 percent enrolled, compared with only 82 percent to 86 percent in prior years.

Delaware has a long, honorable tradition of leading progress in our country. A desegregation lawsuit brought by our state’s first African-American attorney, Louis Redding, helped pave the way for the Brown v. Board of Education case that outlawed racial discrimination in schools nationwide. Delawareans invented and operationalized the nation’s first flour mill, resulting in a surge of economic growth. And the successful Jobs for America’s Graduates program, founded by Gov. DuPont, has effectively helped many of the most at-risk students across the country to graduate and pursue careers.

Now, Delaware has an opportunity to help America become a more perfect union by securing our nation’s future. I’m confident we are up to the task.BUT YOU SAID BECAUSE WE CAN CHOOSE THESE THINGS, BUT THEN YOU LISTED THINGS YOU DID UNDER THE COVER OF DARKNESS, THE OPPOSITE OF SUNLIGHT.  SURE COULD USE SOME LYSOL RIGHT ABOUT NOW…YEAH,

Rep. John Kowalko’s statement to @RedClaySchools BOE re: @DEDeptofED and @GovernorMarkell ‘s city school takeover plan. #netDE

            First let me thank the Board, Supt. Daugherty, the administrators, the teachers and parents of Red Clay for all they do for public education and the children of Delaware and for allowing me to speak before you this evening.

            I’ve never spoken before this Board since my 25th District is composed entirely of the Christina School District, but tonight I must relay an important message with a great urgency so that you and all the stakeholders in Red Clay might be forewarned regarding an ongoing threat to the autonomy, responsibility, and authority that this district and all school districts in Delaware are currently granted by Delaware law.

            I don’t intend to dwell on the difficulties that districts and their managing teams are burdened with, exacerbated in part by the failure of this Administration and Legislature to adequately restore funding cuts that have resulted in the disappearance of many legitimate and helpful programs that give all public school children access to learning opportunities.

            I do, however, hope to sound the alert regarding an insidious and misrepresented attempt to wrest the authority and ability of the Board, administrators and teachers to properly educate our children under the guise of unproven education reform contrivances such as the recently announced “priority school within the partnership zone” plan from DOE. Due to a lack of time and the complexity of this proposal and the process used to force it I will not get into a detailed account of how offensive it is for this plan to dishonestly present itself as some type of enhanced funding mechanism available to failing schools (that designation is also debatable) and minority and socio-economically disadvantaged student bodies when almost all of the money will not reach the classroom. It should not be lost on you that this roll out and offering of money is intended, in my opinion, to encourage public pressure be placed on the districts if they dare to reject or even question the validity and effectiveness of this plan.

            Perhaps most upsetting to me and hopefully to you as elected representatives of your taxpayers and the children and families in your district is the fact that this unholy deal that DOE and the Administration is offering with this ultimatum, couched as an MOU, will put pennies on the table that will not reach the classrooms or children and will cost the districts and taxpayers dollars to access.

            More offensively, there has been an incessant drumbeat of negativity in public and through media manipulation, falsely claiming that the districts are incompetent, educators are failing, and administrators are bereft of ability and traditional public schools are abject failures. This dishonest message is resonating with an unknowing and unaware public and is used as a propaganda tool to demonize public schools and encourage a move to privatization or state takeover. Wait until you try to counter that false propaganda in order to pass your next necessary and legitimate referendum.

            Finally, please allow me to summarize. This DOE process of unilaterally crafting a plan with absolutely no stakeholder input or dialogue and then presenting it piecemeal to separate stakeholders, in what can best be described as an isolation booth type atmosphere, is exactly the failure to communicate and be transparent that DOE has foisted upon local districts in the past in their ambition to coerce and intimidate local elected governance into submissiveness, assuring that the myriad of flaws will go unquestioned and unchallenged.

            I will be available for any dialogue and discussion outside the confines and time constraints of this public meeting.

You should be aware that in the context of a legal and moral definition of a “Memorandum of Understanding” this contrivance, unilaterally crafted and composed by DOE is not an MOU. It is nothing more than an ultimatum comprised of unproven and false presumptions demanding an unconditional surrender of the authority and responsibilities you are legally vested with. A legitimate MOU is a contractual agreement put in writing which has been discussed and composed by all stakeholders before it is submitted to a demand for signatures. It is a product of compromise, dialogue and clarification of facts and intentions between and including all affected stakeholders.

Until and unless DOE, Secretary Murphy and the Governor are willing to engage in an honest and frank dialogue and negotiation with all the stakeholders, before crafting such a potentially damaging agreement and insisting you sign onto it, I am strongly advising that the Board, the Superintendent, and DSEA reject this proposal out of hand and demand that DOE return next year to engage in a meaningful dialogue with all parties which could result in an effective and legitimate MOU agreement that will benefit and not harm Delaware’s public school system and children.

Please note the one unadulterated reality here. Refusing to sign the MOU may not stop an ill-advised State takeover of these schools but signing the MOU will guarantee that the districts and boards will have no legal recourse or appeal when there is a takeover.

Respectfully submitted,

State Representative John A. Kowalko Jr.

25th District Delaware

This Post Brought to You by Bill & Melinda Gates

Originally posted on Minding My Matters:

Tonight I had the pleasure of attending a well-run presentation by the Delaware State Education Association (DSEA) related to the Delaware Performance Appraisal System, currently in a revised state of its second iteration (DPAS II (r) ), and it got me thinking.

It is no secret that I am a card-carrying, wristband-wearing, federal Department of Education-occupying, National Education Association (independent) caucus member of the BadAss Teachers Association, and have been a member since a few short weeks after its inception. My daughter and I own matching opt-out t-shirts, and I fully plan to send a notification to her school this year stating that she will not be taking the Smarter assessment, formerly known as the Smarter Balanced assessment.

However, I am a firm believer that one may not complain if one does not participate in the process, and furthermore that one may not complain with opinions and anecdotal evidence. “Show…

View original 679 more words

MOU Plagiarized?

I see Dallas ISD schools (Broad), DC Public Schools (Rhee), (Duncan), wallacefoundation (broad, gates, wallace) and the Harvard think tank favored by our Governor. I see these thing s after loading the MOU to an anti-plagiarism portal.

Honestly, not surprised a bit.

Results Query Domains (original links)
Microsoft Word – Bancroft Elementary MOU
2,630,000 results School Leadership https
Top plagiarizing domains: (1 matches); (1 matches); (1 matches); (1 matches); (1 matches); (1 matches); (1 matches); (1 matches); (1 matches); https (1 matches);

Priority Schools were born in 2012, in the widely read (#sarcasm) ESEA Flexibility Waiver granted to us by the USDOE as a result of the previous 11 years of failure.

If you can read the last paragraph without laughing, your a better person than I. At one of the “stakeholder” meetings for this waiver, Mike Matthews was shouted at across a huge room by Paul Harrell for deigning to ask a question in a pure intimidation move. Mike brushed him off like a piece of lint.

***4/24/2011 Priority Flashback*** News Journal Editorial and Cartoon by Rob Tornoe #RTTT

Deeply flawed
reform plan will
hurt students

Written by


12:21 AM, Apr. 23, 2011|

In January 2010, the Christina School
Board of Education voted 5-2 to
support the state of Delaware in the pursuit
of $100 million in federal dollars to
accomplish several tasks: improve
teacher/leader effectiveness, recruitment
and retention; deploy world-class data
systems; link teacher performance to
student testing data; and deploy one of
four discrete strategies for turning around
the lowest-performing schools.

Delaware unfortunately has experience with
low-performing schools, and the Christina
School District has carried the equally
unfortunate burden of running some of
these schools. Delaware has received the
well-intentioned (albeit heretofore
ineffective) assistance of the state’s single-
minded business community and the
misspent money of venture
who have invaded Delaware’s educational
landscape, from Eli Broad to William
Budinger and his Rodel foundation and
Vision 2015 effort that has landed two
schools into the newly defined Partnership
Zone, also known as the PZ.

The PZ is the creation of a special
designation in the Delaware code of
regulations that gives unilateral authority to
the state Secretary of Education, an
unelected position, to name schools that
are persistently underachieving, according
to the unique metric of standardized test
scores of our students.

The four models allowed to “fix” schools
come from this experimental wasteland
and include closure, a self-explanatory
strategy; restart, a model that calls for the
closing of a school, farming out the
operation to a charter or educational
management organization and reopening
it; turnaround, which requires the summary
dismissal of every adult in the building and
strictly prohibits the rehiring of leadership
or any more than 50 percent of the
educators; and transformation, which
entails replacing the principal and taking
steps to increase teacher and school leader
effectiveness, comprehensive instructional
reform strategies, increase learning time
and create community-oriented schools,
and provide operational flexibility.

On Oct. 5, the Christina School District
Board of Education voted unanimously to
support the transformation model. I
believed it to be the least distasteful
strategy of these four choices not
supported by research. Most important, it
did not call for the summary dismissal of
staff, which meant it was likely to be the
least disruptive.

Many of you may be thinking: but Glasgow
and Stubbs are failing — they need some
sort of massive disruption to break free of
the inertia that has allowed them to
perform so poorly. Educational reformers r
efer to this as the “status quo”: when bad
schools are allowed to make only
incremental changes that beget no real
results, the cycle of poor performance
repeats and persists.

This is a false label. The status quo is
actually a series of poorly conceived
strategies, often arising from the
, that fail to recognize the value
of educators, parents and communities.
Most important, they fail to focus on the
real constituents, our students. This status
quo has been with us as a nation in earnest
since the watershed report in 1983: “A
Nation at Risk.” Since then, an overly
healthy and robust sector of educational
consultants has dominated the “quick fix”
reform strategies than have “assisted” in
the nearly 30-year accelerated decline of
education in our country. Our current
version of the Elementary and Secondary
Education Act, No Child Left Behind,
continues a legacy of labeling schools,
communities and children as failures with
accountabilities that actually exacerbate
rather than ameliorate the problems. Now,
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan
has decided that America, with its firmly
embedded competitive culture, should
indeed compete for money, creating by
default a series of winners and losers. I
don’t believe any child should lose, and this
idea strongly drives my feelings about Race
to the Top and what we are doing to
Glasgow High School and Stubbs right now.

Our union, administration and board
entered into a Memorandum of
Understanding in support of the PZ plan,
approved by the DOE, to guide us through
transformation. In this plan and MOU, a
process of interviewing was designed and
agreed to by all parties for the selection of
educators to remain at our two PZ schools.
In retrospect, as a critic of the
transformation plan, I wish I had more
forcefully addressed the issue of
interviewing, but I didn’t, and the board
supported the cooperation of our
administration and union on the issue and
the MOU.

Then the process evolved, and it is
apparent to me that the rules for teacher
selection in both the plan and the MOU
were simply not followed. Most notably,
there is a requirement that the campus
principal be present for the interviews as a
participant, which was violated at the
Glasgow process.

From what has been described by affected
teachers and administration, it appears we
have centered on the sole metric of a high-
stakes interview process that was not
executed with fidelity to either governing
instrument, the MOU or the PZ plan. It
raises the question: what else in the plan is
arbitrary? Instructional models? Extended
day? Extended time? Annual yearly
progress goals?

Schools are not businesses; they are
bedrock institutions of a democratic
republic. They are a source, when run well,
of equity, excellence and opportunity for all
children who enter their portals.

We need better thinking from Dover right
now. I am more uninterested in federal

than ever because of the chaos those
dollars are bringing to my administrators in
the way of painful planning sessions; my
teachers, as they add no resources into the
actual classrooms; and most importantly
my students, as those dollars ride
sidesaddle with the destabilizing policies I
have spent the last 10 minutes bashing.

In closing, I would like to ask that Gov. Jack
Markell and Dr. Lillian Lowery strongly
consider the testimony offered by real
stakeholders and to please do so
understanding, as chiefexecutive and
state secretary, that you work for us, all of
us, not the other way around. We are not
your employees — we are your
constituents, and we are asking for your
public service on behalf of the one, often
voiceless stakeholder block that matters:
our students. The issue at hand is local. We
are the governing body of the Christina
School District, and so we will decide what
happens in our district. If you wish to assert
your regulatory authority to effect a full-
state takeover of CSD, that is your
prerogative, and you are free to pursue it,
but I would suggest with a fair degree of
confidence that our stakeholders, whom we
will listen to, will advise us to fight for our
schools and for local control.

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