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Delaware has lost its prince...

England has the Royal Family.
The United States has the Kennedys.

And Delaware, we have the Bidens. 

Beau Biden is our Prince William and our JFK Jr.

Biden Brothers, 1975

Rest Peacefully dear Prince.

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School district data breach?

What constitutes data?

Who owns it? 

Since when is it appropriate for school districts to release the names and addresses of choice students to lobby groups?
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Reach Academy for Girls Soldier On

With closing looming, Reach Academy for Girls, Delaware's only all girls charter school, continues to soldier on through it legal appeal to the Delaware judicial.  March 2015 meeting minutes show that their case is now before Judge Stark as he considers the State's motion to dismiss. Should he allow the case to proceed, it will move to the deposition and discovery phase.

Whether you believe charter education is legitimate or not, if you are a transparency addict, you should be tuned into what it happening at Reach.  How our DeDOE performs during deposition would be fascinating. All the FOIA in the world pails in comparison to the scrutiny of the legal process.  Of course, any party can lie, (hell, our governor uses a "secret" email address to hide public business) but who among those who work in DOE would be willing to risk perjury?  

The reality is that our Gov. and his judicial will shut down Reach's legal case.  But, if you still believe in democracy you have to hope that this case proceeds into the sunlight, where it belongs.
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Free HB50 and Join in the Parent Press Conference on April 1st

HB 50 - more affectionately known as the Parent Opt-Out Bil - has become a political hostage.  House Ed. Committee Chair Earl Jaques has not placed the bill on the committee's agenda.  

Unless it is heard in committee and sent to the Ready-List HB 50 will die a slow, quiet death during this legislative season. 

One man, propped up by our Gov, is blocking the democratic process and judgement day on the rights of parents in Delaware.  

There are millions of reasons for this. Political favor being high on the list. 

But, Delaware is a small state.  Every resident is within 75 minutes of our state capitol and their legislators.  

Exceptional Delaware has announced a press parent press conference for April 1, 2015.  It's time for parents to push back against the gatekeepers who have shutdown our government and shut us out of our own democracy.

It's time to go to Dover!

Save The Date: Parent Press Conference Is Now April 1st

No April Fools!  The date for the Parent Press Conference will be changed to April 1st, at 5pm outside Legislative Hall in Dover.  This way more people who want to come can attend!  Sorry for the last minute decision on this Wednesday.  This is not a rally.  This is a press conference so parents can talk about their frustration with what has been happening in Delaware education.  The main points will be House Bill 50, opt out and standardized testing, but also the frustration parents are feeling with education and being left out of key decisions.  Any organization or group is more than welcome to attend and participate, but the main focus is everyday parents.
Please save the date and do your best to attend.  The more people that are there, the bigger the difference it could make.  Please contact me at if you would like to speak at the press conference.  I will be sending a press release to the media outlets in the tri-state area in a few days.

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Un-Chair Rep. Earl Jaques...

A shameless plug in support of Exceptional Delaware's IPetition to Un-Chair Rep. Earl Jaques from the Delaware House Education Committee.

That's Jaques, pronounced Jakes, not Jauques or Jack-Ess.

Sign here:
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Jaques Calls My Children Failures!

Unfit to head education committee? Yep!

He's a liar and coward! A Markell Shill.  And on that note, he can go to hell!

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Fast food frenzy for state employees?

News journal reports that DOE has 250 employees...

There's your top-heavy administrative dollars at work. That's an easy 20 million tied up in salaries alone.  Want to close Christina's operational deficit? Cut some human capital out of DOE and send those dollars to the districts.

What a sad statement - buried in an article about p cards and fast food.
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Referendum Day - The Precarious Balance Between Public Education Funding and Those Who Fund It.

Referendums can build schools and divide communities. These archaic funding mechanisms are the life blood of Delaware's traditional public schools in a state that has whittled away it's own personal support for those it is asked to educate.  And the benefits flow flow from the districts to our charters. To be fair, there have always been legislative and local voices  that have challenged the dwindling of education dollars by our state leadership. But, these folks are the minority.  They are beacons of sanity in a sea of craziness.

But, referendums, though a lifeblood, also represent a sacred trust between elected school board members an their constituents. Though seldom discussed,  school board members are called to a greater Challenge than just funding the education of our children and making policy.  They are called to balance the needs of our children with the tax payers ability to fund it.  This isn't a new concept. But, it is the hard work of the elected.

And in Christina it's infinitely more difficult than it should be.  As much as we want to blame the recession as a greatest likelihood for potential failure, CSD's biggest obstacle is itself. Our district just can't get over its history.  Sshhhhh.  Don't tell, we don't like to talk about it.  Yet, it's as glaring as the shuttered solar power factory that's a hop, skip, and a jump from my own home.

So let's dispel some myths and rehash some history -

The solar panel factory on executive drive is for sale and has been for at least four years.  Find a buyer and I suspect the district would succinctly close the deal.  They want it for its future potential.  They can't afford to fit it out to be the school of tomorrow.  It stands as a sad reminder that CSD could never afford it, that we, the public,  were all duped by a dirty Broad superintendent named Joey Wise, who fled to Florida and continue to wreak havoc on school children there.  Yeah, that guy, he's his own consultancy now - Atlantic Partners.

Fact:  Districts have received fewer state dollars consistently over the last 8 to 10 years.  The remaining funds that have been earmarked for education and operations have become more prescriptive and restrictive. From now to eternity, we will all lament the loss of the Minner Units and decry the required data coaches that took their place.

Yet Unknown:  There is no plan for CSD's city schools.  The public is woefully mistaken when it assumes that CSD "giving" its city schools to Red Clay.  The board resolution to align with the preliminary WEAC recommendations has no legal girth.  Even the state is at a loss for how to proceed.  And the rumors, spawned by floating bills, that have yet to have been dispelled are flabbergasting:

1. CSD's city schools will go to Red Clay? or just the priority schools?
2. Red Clay is asking for 8 years of funding from CSD for the schools in question.
3. The whispered-of weighted funding formula for the city schools will bankrupt the suburbs.
4. DOE is going to stop authorizing charter schools in the city.
5. The latest - A capital referendum in two years to address the aging operational systems of our buildings.

It's this list that weighs on me and churns through my head at night.  With so many questions, it's hard to lend a vote to support the referendum in my district. I understand fully what will happen if today's referendum fails. Cuts.  We all hate cuts. They bleed...everywhere. And they just don't make band-aids big enough for these cuts...

But, I, like many others, have to find a balance between what is right for the 15,000 kids my taxes support and for the two our already stretched paychecks provide.

In the end, I know my vote.
I'm pretty sure you do, too.
And we'll all live with the hand that fate's dealt us.
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Another Cold Day in Christina? Not.

Forecast Tomorrow:  A crystal clear, warm and toasty 23 degrees, mid-day, after the kids have stood at bus stops in the 0's.  They'll call it, you say.  I wonder.  The Big Two, NCCo's largest districts have quite a conundrum.  Call it another COLD day like last Friday. Announce it early? and risk lowering the turnout for their referendums?  Or put kids at bus stops at 0 degrees? Tell parents that it's their choice. 

Which will it be?
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The Smell of Burnt Chocolate...

Is it coming from Dover or just the United Cocoa Processing Plant...

Thank You to all our elected leadership who, yesterday, weighed in on Race to the Top.

My favorite quote comes from Harris McDowell:
"Most races have a tape that the racers get cross, a finish line. When is the finish line for Race to the Top?" asked Harris McDowell, D-Wilmington North, who co-chairs the JFC. "When do we finish this, or are we just building a permanent bureaucracy?"

Where were you Mr. McDowell back in 2008?  2009? 2010? and onward?  There is no finish line. Just as there was no finish line with NCLB.  RTTP was not the answer nor the panacea.  It turned education into a competition.  A sacred fundamental right, the greatest entitlement program of our time, sullied by a Race to Nowhere. RTTT hurt kids and it hurt teachers.  It destabilized and devastated schools.  It has been a time bomb.  So please, don't let that bomb detonate on Delaware's tax payers.  You and your colleagues have the ability to eliminate the overhead in DOE, at least $1.5 mil of it.  De-fund the RTTT-created positions and send the carpetbaggers home. Tell the nation that the layovers in Dover have been grounded.    
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