Governor Markell gets his groupthink on: Private, exclusive meeting today with Arne Duncan #netDE

Today, in a boardroom in Wilmington, DE., Jack Markell has invited and exclusive group of people for a one hour sit down with “key” stakeholders in Delaware education. The ability to RSVP for media was placed into a very narrow window:

From: Kepner Alison [mailto:akepner@DOE.K12.DE.US]

Sent: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 1:43 PM
To: Kepner Alison
Subject: Education Secretary Duncan to visit Delaware to discuss Race to the Top Progress

Media Advisory

Contact: Alison Kepner (302) 735-4000


U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will travel to Delaware on Friday, March 23, to hold a roundtable conversation with state leaders and others involved with the state’s Race to the Top plan. They will have an open and candid discussion about progress in achieving the goals of the grant and anticipated challenges. This month marks the two-year anniversary since Delaware along with Tennessee were selected as the first two states to win grants in the first round of the Race to the Top competition in March2010.  Delaware received $119 million for a four-year grant to implement comprehensive school reforms to improve student outcomes.

In addition to state leaders, the roundtable will include superintendents, school board presidents, teacher union leadership, community and business leaders, and other key partners involved in carrying out the goals of the state’s Race to the Top reforms. Duncan will hold a media availability following the discussion.

Media interested in participating should RSVP by 9 a.m. Thursday, March 22 to Alison Kepner at to request credentials.


U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan

Governor Jack Markell

Delaware Secretary of Education Lillian M. Lowery

Key stakeholders


Roundtable to discuss Delaware’s Race to the Top progress



Carvel Building

3rd Floor Conference Room

820 N. French St.

Wilmington, Del.


Friday, March 23, 2012

12:15 p.m. – Roundtable discussion

1:15 p.m. –   Media Availability

So,who is a “key” stakeholder? Parents? Apparently not? Classroom Teachers? Well, it is being held at 12:15P on a school day so draw our own conclusions. But mostly who are “other key partners”? Vendors? Consultants?  I guess us in steerage will have to wait for the media to do its job. I hope there is a critical eye  who is there and who ISN’T. Also, I am curious about questions asked v. topics just discussed for the sake of discussion.

Also, our Governor has reduced himself to pandering to the Sec. Ed of the U.S.: from WDEL…..

Governor Markell signs two education bills into law that will help bring better teaches into the state’s classrooms.

Senate Bill 164, sponsored by Sen. Dave Sokola (D-Newark) and Rep. Terry Schooley (D-Newark), allows Delaware school districts to guarantee jobs earlier in the year to attract more quality teachers.

The second measure, House Bill 239 has the same co-sponsors, and extends the state’s authorization in the Teach for America program, that offers incentives to place some of the country’s smartest teachers in the toughest schools.

Friday U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan is in town for a roundtable with the Governor and state Education Secretary Lillian Lowery to examine progress in Race to the Top. WDEL will be there.

HB 239 tried to extend the bill for TFA to permanent status with no review…..check the engrossed version and see the strikethrough.…thank goodness Rep. Kowalko fought to get it RE sun-setted……

So the news story says that the meeting today is to “examine progress in Race to the Top”, lets hope WDEL uses that lens when recapping their coverage and is willing to say (if it is) just a casual conversation where a bunch of people in support of the program kiss each other’s asses. I hope it’s not.

At the end of the day, I most want to know why our Governor respects Arne Duncan: he did not fix Chicago’s schools, has no pedagogical pedigree, and allowed himself to be caught behind closed doors in another private meeting with Chicago politicians (see below)…even if he did nothing wrong, you can see and feel the tension and discomfort here all the way up to him being filmed driving away……

Delaware has misstepped on RTTT at many different junctures. It is simply a boondoggle that is saddling DE with unrealistic expectations and then places us on a path to achieve  them that will have in many cases I believe an opposite effect, particularly on placing the best teachers with the highest need students, a truly laudable goal. It’s not so much evil, as just politicians tinkering with schools with no real understanding of how to genuinely support the mission of the teachers; resources and intellectual freedom combined with dynamic building leadership. Professionals, like teachers, with soar to new heights with these in place. With what Duncan’s plan brings, we will just get skepticsm, fear, and ultimately loathing….

Mr. Matthews has some really good questions that I would love to see answered. Governor Markell needs to extricate himself from the bubble of the advisors that keep telling him his policies are great, and needs to reach out to a MUCH broader group.

RTTT has not been sunshine and rainbows in Delaware, today’s discussion should not be either.

For those in the room today, good luck, and enjoy the show.

Update: pic from meeting All the regulars (Rep. Schooley in front row and Mr. Herdman drinking it all in….) I do see a teacher though.

@GovernorMarkell and @arneduncan speaking to a group of Delaware educators on Race To The Top #netde

UPDATE#2 Governor Markell speaking about Arne Duncan visit in PAST tense BEFORE it happened…Houdini style.


2 thoughts on “Governor Markell gets his groupthink on: Private, exclusive meeting today with Arne Duncan #netDE

  1. Pingback: U.S. Sec of Ed Arne Duncan snubs parents and classroom teachers « Kilroy's delaware

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