Christina referendum NO voters are NOT cowards. #netDE #eduDE

Wednesday, the Christina residents who chose to vote in the operating referendum, elected to reject our request for $0.37 per $100 assessed value. At first this made me sad, then mad, now I am in “fix what’s wrong” mode.

In my six years on the board we have allowed the state to demonize us and tell the world who they think we are. We have been the cowards. We have refused to stand up for ourselves with the conviction necessary to sell Christina’s successes and have refused to confront our own ineffective areas with viable solutions.

Contrary to some advice offered to me recently, defending yourself from a vicious, sustained policy attack is not doing nothing or not offering ideas. It’s actually the epitome of leadership, particularly when the policies are so poorly conceived, designed , and implemented that the HARM children.

Policies that disrupt schools, policies that deploy failed methods of improving teaching like merit pay, policies that shame and label schools crippled by poverty into a place where they are so undesirable that no school could possibly deliver a stable environment for young children, are just a few of the unrelenting attacks of idiocy offered by our DOE that have earned our deserved opposition.

We have tried to fight. But in the end, we seem to just undo ourselves. It’s hard to fight the DOE. It’s enervating. While I may personally have the stamina to keep telling the DOE to take a long stroll on a short pier, none of that matters right now.

Our classrooms are going to be difficult next year. All because we have been the cowards. We failed to message ourselves, over time. As a result, we will CONTINUE to manage the finances responsibly and our classroom sizes will rise as a result.

Those who voted no did not want this. They were told it would happen, yet they voted no anyway. Why? Why would they do this to kids…I’ve been muttering to myself? Well, I’ve decided that the NO voters have simply reached their limit.

Well, there’s my common ground.

Our referendum committee Co-chair, Christy Mannering, whom I shared a  WDEL  radio segment with recently (, has been saying this phrase lately: let’s build bridges.

We need our NO voters. As much as I could not have disagreed more with their vote, we need them. More now than ever.

Let’s win them back. It’s not going to be easy, but I’m all in.

Let’s do this. Whatever it takes.


10 thoughts on “Christina referendum NO voters are NOT cowards. #netDE #eduDE

  1. I think many of us rushed to judgment based on the referendum results. I know for myself, I saw the immediate impact without thinking to ask why. I apologize for calling the no voters cowards in my own article that night.

  2. Agree. No sense in name calling, second guessing, or demonizing the ‘no’ voters. What does make sense is asking questions. Listening.

    I know folks who voted against the referendum. Friends. Teachers. Disappointing? Yes. But still, as I defended the need for its passage, I understood. I listened. And I could not fix it. I was powerless.

    If folks on the front lines, folks devoted to the children, voted ‘no’, or even decided not to vote at all, we must listen. I heard not one protest related to the DOE’s actions from these folks. Hardly a mention of the money, either.

    The issue is this: the CSD has not demonstrated a true, transparent partnership with its community. There is no indication of its responsiveness to its concerns. The relationship is broken, and needs to be repaired.

    Those in power who care to address this will get out into the community, into the schools and listen. No talking points. Just listen.

    The next step is response. This will be the greatest challenge to those in power. Always has been. But if we are to move forward, it has to happen.


  3. Break

    John is a good man. He wants what is best for kids. I do t know that he fully understands the total inept system he is ultimately in charge of… He has the most I competent group of admins under him. He gets sold a bill of goods. What has happened in CSD is a crime. It is a city district in the suburbs. A city group has made discipline impossible, kids are in charge and suburban parents are pissed.

  4. There are only 6000 to win over… Don’t know if you saw the awesome piece outlining the history of Christina’s referendums but consistently 6000, since the turn of the century, have voted against any tax increase (one exception when the opposition was in disarray and 3000 inexplicably did not show up).. You may not win them over, Their consistency belies their adamancy. But seeing as how the historical lopsided trend was brought to parity in a few short weeks, the ability to recruit more is now in your hands… Their consistency belies that they have reached maximum output… Pro education voters have 16,000 sets of parents meaning there are 10,000 in reserve…

    I would seriously look to schedule a referendum next fall after parents of returning students begin to hear the wails from their children… Then say, “look, we tried to tell you, this is what happens when you don’t overwhelmingly vote against a small minority of naysayers for new referendums…. Then aim small and schedule a larger one in the spring….

    Your real enemy is slum lords, btw, in case anyone still does not know…. And they have access to financial backing from huge no-tax-increase foundations in DC. So why should slum lords be allowed to dictate the quality of education for every child who through no fault of their own, just happens to live in the Christina School’s District…..

    Slum lords are the enemy. yet at best, they can only muster 6000 votes which you almost, almost met….

    1. Apparently you are more informed as to demographics, but I am requesting further clarification of your “slum lords” claim.

      I see many white collar folks with no children in any schools opposed to all referenda. Our building is overrun with senior citizens on referendum voting days. The scent of moth balls wafts down the halls, and we all know what that means.

      There already exist serious concerns in our schools and how are parents responding? Many try to be heard. Some don’t bother. But expect a sizable exodus FROM our middle schools this September. Kids are freely sharing where they are “going” next year. Teachers have completed many recommendation forms. These are the parents who DO show up for conferences, who DO have listed and working phone numbers.

      How many will vote with their feet before something changes? Or does it not even matter that they do?

  5. “The scent of moth balls wafts down the halls, and we all know what that means.”
    What an awesome description.

    I too (as recently said) always assumed seniors to be the culprit. There is a bigger picture which is: who is driving them out to vote? That is “who” I am addressing.. The “who” behind the crescendo of reminder-emails stating the referendum will triple their tax load. The “who” behind the letters-to-the-editor decrying that schools are failing with what we have, not to dare vote one penny more. The “who” behind the mail arriving in mailboxes urging the “no” vote will provide grave dire consequences to all who pay taxes…

    The who behind the scenes, pushing the buttons which order (or cajole) the Moth-ballin’ seniors out into the field…all 6000 of them…

    We know who the “who” is, and it’s not Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, John Entwistle, or Keith Moon……

    When we fought WWII we fought German soldiers… We didn’t battle Hitler in person.. But when Hitler died, the war stopped.

    Does that help provide a modicum of clarity?

    1. I’m hearing you, but I think its more complex than just one evil force working against CSD.
      There IS real dissatisfaction with the administration within the community.

  6. Give me a break

    Christina school board is going to be conducting a superintendent search in the coming months. They have gone Broad 2 or 3 times, then local all were mitigated disasters! Finding someone who wants to jump on a sinking (or is it already sunk) ship. Do they go outside again with a Broad? there is no one on the inside remotely qualified, I doubt any qualified asst. super in DE would jump to this post.
    This is an important task so important they have to get it right.

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