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The Game of Clue - Politics in Delaware Version

I'll take Jennings in Woodburn's cellar operating suite with a syringe of glove cleaner... 

The Game - Clue, The Delaware Way Version
In 1944, Englishman Anthony Pratt filed a patent on a murder/mystery game he had invented to pass the time during air raid drills in underground bunkers  Though it was quickly acquired by Waddington's, the game was not launched until 1949 when it was simultaneously released in the U.S. by Parker Brothers.  Notably, the version that reached publication included 324 possible combinations of room/weapon/offender. 

The Setting - Woodburn, the Governor's Mansion where a select few have been brought together to hash out Delaware's political future over a dinner of stewed poultry and rare local cheeses courtesy Roos Foods.  Desserts to be supplied by Serpe's Bakery. 

It should be noted that Woodburn's residents share their home with several benevolent spirits and one particularly evil manifestation - the ghost of a southern slave raider who died while hiding in a poplar tree that still graces Woodburn today.

The Rooms -

The Weapons -  A Candelstick, Knife, Revolver, Syringe, Wrench, and Lead Pipe. 

The Players -

Current AG. Beau Biden, a man with a mysterious medical
Mysterious Illness? Maybe...
condition whose silence has sparked the ire of the local newspaper and a handful of Republicans.  As the son of the current Vice President of the United States, he has recently announced that he will not seek another another term as State Attorney General.   He's eying Governorship and has made the critical decision not to use an elected position as a springboard for his gubernatorial aspirations. Despite the unexplained lesions in his brain, he continues to be revered as Delaware's Golden Boy.

Lt. Gov. Matt Denn, rode the coattails of "change agent" Jack Markell into an office view of The Green. The two-term shadow
Out of the Shadows, Education Advocate
of the Del Dem Markell, he had already mounted a quiet campaign for Governor in 2016, the heir apparent to the term-limit-bound Markell..  The surprising announcement that our Golden Boy is not seeking another four years as A.G. has derailed Denn's presumed candidacy.  Potentially fearing another debilitating primary, the Democratic Party breathed a little easier Monday morning when Denn announced he would not seek the Governorship after all.  He has filed for the Attorney General's race instead.

Gov. Turned Kids into Rats
When Governor Jack Markell campaigned for "change" seven years ago, his successful primary split the Democratic Party wide open and has nursed a rift that continues through this day.  He has strayed from his public platform and sold much of the state to the rascals that control the Star Chamber of Commerce and out-of-state investors.  Under Markell's reign, the Great Recession has taken hold in Delaware and the middle class has been decimated.   Though no one group has offered a vote of no confidence in this politician, it is widely hoped that the outgoing governor will receive his due political appointment in Washington D.C. essentially sending him packing.

Respectable Attorney
Kathleen Jennings, a prosecutorial star and a Biden insider, knew that Beau was withdrawing from the AG's race before the public did.  Known both for her masterful prosecution of a former Delaware serial killer, and her swinging door at the AG's office (she's an on-again/off-again state employee when not in private practice) rumors are on  the upswing that she'll rival Denn in a primary for the AG seat.

Flowers in Alaska

Chip Flowers, a political dote who has crafted a hate-love/love-hate relationship with his electorate, is eying what?  Well, it's hard to say with Chip.  He crafted his political status as a commentator on PBS, back when PBS had a mild interest in Delaware and gained enough name recognition to find himself elected as State Treasurer - a position once held by Gov. Markell.   However, Chip's time in office has been bizarre. We've seen the powers of the office restricted since Flowers planted his roots.  Which is hard to do - root-planting - when one spends as much time traveling out-of-state as he does.

I'm You!
Christine-I-AM-NOT-A-Witch O'Donnell, more affectionately known to Delawareans as COD, deserves to join the Clue Murder/Mystery Party for no other reason than her notoriety as the tea-party celebrate who single-handedly took down Delaware's Republican Party, ensuring that the state's only previously held Republican seat among our D.C. delegation, represented for nine terms by  Mike Castle, went to Democrat Chris Coons.  She's no golden girl, but the Dems owe COD a wealth of gratitude. And with unpredictability her modus operandi, it's a given that COD will somehow wiggle her way into the political fray come campaign season. 

With Countless Possibilities, Who killed Mr. Boddy? Will Boddy be the only victim?  Who will survive dinner with Jack?  Who will make it out alive? And who will leave without a raging case of listeria?  

Yep, I call Jennings in the cellar with a syringe.  

Now, it's your turn to play.

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Young Filed for Re-election in Christina, Begs Rodel to Back Opponent!

Comment Rescue from Kilroys:

minnehanh, on March 7, 2014 at 7:48 pm said:
Two candidate race in Christina also for John Young’s seat. John is running for re-election and some guy named Martin Nicholson is challenging him.
  • Martin Nicholson? Well, there goes my idea of searching students for guns!!
  • Unless I vote for John. hhmm , what to do.. what to do.. :D
  • my #1 all time hope: Rodel jumps in for my opponent.
    Please Paul, make that happen. Please.
  • my 2nd all time hope: Rodel does it with a 501(c)(4).
    Pretty please with sugar on top!
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Former CHRISTINA RTTTer Kate Villari Gets a New Job in DeDOE:

Katherine Villari, Acting Chief Officer, Delivery Unit, effective January 1, 2014
 Hey Darryl Scott -
You really want her working in DOE?  Isn't she as tainted as Mr. Young?
Get off the sand bags Larry, Darryl and Darryl, and get into the flood with your former colleagues - the ones who actually care about public education!

Rather Appropo!
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Girl Scout Cookie Time!

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It's Time for Mid-Winter Nap

You've probably noticed - the huge decrease in new posts...

The Good News:  I've gone back to work!  And in the field I love most - education.
(Please no comments, I'm not pandering for attention.)

The Sad News:  My new job has me so busy that I can't keep up.

It's been a good run, five or so years strong.  We've generated more than 165,000 hits . And while that number can't compete with Transparent Christina or Kilroy's Delaware, it's still a respectable showing. And of course, blogging has never been about competition - it's about telling the story - the whole story - usually with the help of fellow bloggers.  We've certainly attained that goal. 

No, Children & Educators 1st is not going away.  But, we are going dormant. It's time for a long mid-winter's nap.  With any luck, we'll see you in the spring.

Sweet Dreams!

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Markell to find $500 million for roads but fails to make the grade on teacher compensation


"Delaware motorists could see higher taxes and fees to help pay for a $500 million five year proposal from Gov. Jack Markell to improve roads and bridges statewide..."

And this from:

"The governor said he was working with teachers, including the Delaware State Education Association, on a plan that he hopes to introduce this spring. Cathy Rossi, Markell’s spokeswoman, said there would be no pay increase in the budget for next year; any proposal would apply to future years..."

So here's the question of the day:  

Should we spending money on roads and bridges while leave teachers who work in high needs schools high and dry?  

If education is to be the great equalizer that reformers claim it to be, shouldn't we be investing in our educators and classrooms? Remember:  Not so long ago, DOE rejected CSD's plan to compensate teachers in high needs schools by making RTTT funds available to them for extra professional development or teaching enhancements like technology. 

So, which is it, Roads or Education?  Markell apparently prefers bridges to kids.
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You say Potato, I say the Wilmington City Council President Doesn't Want Suburban Kids in his City..."

After decades of forced busing, that mechanism by which both city schools and suburban schools were integrated by race and economics, and ten years after the turmoil caused by said busing has been dismantled, Wilmington's City Council President, Theo Gregory, the former head of Old-Moyer forcibly removed by the state, makes it quite clear that those students who are raised in the suburbs are not welcome in his city's charter schools. 

Speaking about the new Community Education Building - soon to be the home of four charter schools - Gregory has this to say: 
“I want to see this commitment that many or most of these kids are going to be urban kids because you’re using our conduit bonds to do this,” Gregory said.
The News Journal goes on to explain:
...Gregory and other city leaders want more assurances that the schools housed in the building will serve mostly city kids. If the tower becomes the ideal learning environment organizers have described, they fear it would be possible for suburban kids to be attracted to it.
 (Bold, Underline, and Red added by Blogger.)

That's one hell of a Welcome to Wilmington!

Yes, the City extended its conduit bond financing to the renovations of the CEB building, allowing the construction to occur at a reduced interest rate while the city assumes none of the debt nor ownership.  That was certainly a kindness.  

However, and it's a big "however," the education of all children served in the City of Wilmington is primarily supported by suburban tax payers. 

Theo forgets that that his city lacks the wealth to support its own traditional school district and that the majority of local funds that follow students from the traditional school districts into charters, regardless of the location of the charter, are generated out in the suburbs. 

Theo wants my tax dollars.  But, he doesn't want my kids.  I'm not all right with that, but I certainly won't tread where I am not welcome.  So, while urban students will continue to receive my tax dollars (and I am more than okay with that because I believe that education is the most deserving Government Entitlement Program ever created) Theo's City won't see another dime out of me, no parking revenue, no shopping revenue, no entertainment revenue.

I hope Theo's conduit bond financing keeps him and his residents warm at night, 'cause next time I get that urban itch - City of Philadelphia/Baltimore/Newark/New York/D.C., here I come! 

(Some politicians really have a knack for sticking both feet in their mouths.)

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Sec. Murphy Threatens that Reach Lawsuit Could Bring Down US DOE!

Under Lillian Lowery, DOE failed to close Reach.  Now, under the direction of Markell's water boy, Sec. of Education Murphy, DOE has again failed to shutter the only public school in our state that serves girls and only girls.

The department just can't learn - which is mildly ironic as DOE claims Reach's students aren't being taught.  Regardless, buried in the briefings filed just days before federal Judge Leonard P. Stark gave Reach another year to operate, the department stayed true to form when it slipped in the following Bully Card:

The court’s final ruling could be significant beyond Delaware. The Delaware Department of Education noted in a Dec. 30 court filing that a ruling in Reach’s favor “rendering this federal regulation facially unconstitutional would greatly affect the interests of the United States Department of Education. In addition to there being no support for such a ruling, it is questionable that the Court should do so without participation of the U.S. DOE in this suit.”
Reread the graf above!

Oh! yes, they did. DOE's legal eagles asserted that if Judge Stark found for Reach that:

  1.  The federal regulation that gives the DOE the ability to close schools would be declared unconstitutional, 
  2.  The ruling would "greatly affect the interests of the" US DOE,
  3.  The court really shouldn't rule without the participation of the US DOE. 
Yep, our little DOE actually thought that its status quo attack method of bullying would work on the US federal court. 

They just can't learn.

Hat's off to Reach for virtually rendering DOE's precious high stakes tests meaningless.  And thank you to Judge Stark who did not crumble despite the threats that he was undoing all of democracy. 

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Reach Wins 1 Year Reprieve!

Kilroy's baking a cake (he broke the egg in Reach Story) - Get all the gooey goodness here:

In this latest twist, Reach wins a one year reprieve as DOE is ordered by the US District Court of Delaware to permit the school to continue operating with "reasonable conditions."  However, parts of the suit were thrown out although the adjudicator opined a route for Individuals to pick-up the suit where it has been determined that Reach itself, as an entity of the state, cannot sue the state.

Okay, girls, you've scored a goal and left your opponent, Gov. Markell,  along with his hand-picked minion of public education destruction, the DE Sec. of Education, a pair of black eyes.  They are re-grouping and you can bet the aforementioned restrictions are going include some doozies.  While it's important to mark this date with celebration, you can't let your win knock you off your game.  You and I both know that student testing data - specifically whatever high-stakes test they throw at you - are your challenge.  And even though those of us with even a little bit of common sense know that those tests are meaningless as an assessment of student learning (they only measure what you've learned if you can express that knowledge in the manner the test demands - and these tests are in no way indicators of the quality of the actual teaching you are receiving), you're are going have to find a way to game that test if you are to have any hope of a 2015-16 school year.

Good Luck!
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Gun Violence is a Markell Problem, not Just a "City" problem

Sixteen-year-old D’Andre Green was outside the Brookside Community Center late Saturday with his best friend, waiting for a ride to pick them up, when shots rang out and everyone scattered. The bullet did not hit the gunman’s intended target, but instead cut down the unsuspecting teenager, according to the victim’s father.

In the hours after the news of D'Andre Green's murder, the comment section on the News Journal filled with posts about crime and gun violence and its creep from the City of Wilmington to local suburbs.

There's is no denying it - the City of Wilmington has a per capita gun violence and murder rate that has thrust it into the top 1% of most violent places to live or visit.  In fact, Wilmington has been at critical mass for several years.  Meanwhile calls for intervention have been largely ignored.  It's clear that the City itself lacks the resources to maintain peace, even its Mayor has failed to produce a detailed plan for intervention, despite running a platform that promised to reduce violence.  And its city council recently sent a Hail Mary shot to the Center for Disease Control begging for assistance in addressing their crime pandemic.

But, Wilmington isn't the only Delaware city facing higher than average crime statistics.  D'andre Green was murdered in Newark while waiting for a ride home.  He was an innocent bystander and not an intended victim.  He was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  He was in Brookside, 3.9 square miles and one of Newark's roughest neighborhoods. 

The locals will tell you that Brookside is far from surburban paradise.  Although originally built to house workers for the now dismantled Chrysler plant, the current neighborhood carries a bit of a reputation for crime, drugs, violence, and poverty. However, it would be unfair to fail to mention that there are small enclaves within the 4 miles that comprise the census designation tract of respectful, friendly, caring residents. 

Brookside's challenge is its central location in Newark, DE, a city a with crime rate similar to the Dover, Milford, and Seaford, and a violence rate that according to the FBI exceeds the national norm.  While Newark still pales when compared to Wilmington, the reality is that what appears to be an increase of crime within the suburbs likely has little to do with sprawling urban violence.  Newark's violence isn't something new.  It's just something that is seldom publicized - which likely makes Newark even less safe than Wilmington.  Folks going into Wilmington know what they are putting on the line.  Folks coming to Newark often think they are heading somewhere "safe" and they let their guard down.  They stand at the end of long lane waiting for a ride.  They end up in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Wilmington's problem isn't just Wilmington's problem.  Violence is a statewide problem - one our Governor has failed to address, year after year, over two terms. It's time for Markell to put his money where his mouth is and declare war on violence and crime.  Delawarean's deserve better. Certainly, D'andre did. 

1950s Construction of Either Brookside Shopping Center or Brookside Elementary School

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