Daily Archives: November 10, 2008

John Carney to decentralize Delaware DOE

11/10/2008 this is worth sharing again! Weeding through all the candidates’ proposals for education I find that this part of Carney’s plan is unique to his vision. I hope Governor Markell takes notice

John Carney’s Vision to Reforming Public Education.

One the main reason parents choice the children out of particular school is the negative behaviors of other students that impede on teachers’ focus to teach those student desiring and education.

John Carney says:

“Expand the Positive Behavioral Support Project statewide to give teachers strategies for teaching social skills and preventing problematic behavior on both an individual and school-wide level.”

“Implement the Criminal Justice Council recommendation to create a School Based Teen Court that will help juvenile offenders get back on track.”

“Address the causes of violence and other distractions that impede student progress by expanding access to counseling, anger management, and conflict resolution in our schools.”

Looks like Governor Carney is ready to dig in and address behavior issues.

I’ve been saying DOE needs a major shake up and looks like Carney plans to make it happen

“Decentralize the Department of Education and create regional learning centers that provide professional development opportunities, a Principal Academy, and school improvement teams.”

“Direct the Department of Education to play a more active role in preparing children and families for changing expectations, especially in the transition from middle school to high school.”

Finally somebody see the gap in middle schools! If you were to look closely at the Delaware High School Dropout statistics you’ll see 9th grade represents the high number of students dropping out of high school.

Goodbye DSTP !

“Implement a testing system of summative and formative assessments as a replacement for the DSTP, and allow our students and teachers access to the best diagnostic tools available.”

When I first started to protest DSTP in 1997 starting with tell John Tanner the former DOE Director of Assessment face to face telling him the students that are in need the most will be victims of DSTP. He told me, “Every war has its victim.” Had to believe this man is a graduate of BYU. John Tanner went on to Harcourt Brace Assessment as Regional Vice-President. Harcourt Brace Assessment it the company that provides and scores the current DSTP. In 1997 when I first went pubic with my concerns I was a member of the Delaware State Parent Advisory Counsel and Chair Person of the Red Clay Title 1 Parent Advisory Board.

John Carney jumped on the bandwagon during the 2004 election to support eliminating those 3 Tiered Diplomas prior to Minner approving the elimination of them. With all due respects, I must add Bill Lee and the wonderful ladies of ACE really help push Minner in the corner. I guess she went to safety of her corner Carney was there offering her no shoulder to lean on.

John Carney supports public school teachers:

“Eliminate the 90-day qualification period new teachers must complete in order to receive health benefits”.

“Develop a new career ladder for our teachers, working with DSEA, that includes advanced positions, such as mentor and master teacher. Advancement should be based on standards, best practices, and professional development, rather than years of service and degrees earned.”

Looks like Carey has been paying attention to the call to bring after school programs to the local community center.

“Work with community centers, the Y, PALs and Boys and Girls Clubs to expand participation I after-school activities to more students.”

It’s quite clear to me John Carney has a defined plan for improving our public schools by working with parents, teachers and the community. I haven’t seen any plans presented by my former party that is as comprehensive.


New Delaware Secretary of Education = change agent ?

Update 11/10/2008 3:00 pm Markell Transition team:
The transition co-chairs include: Raye Jones Avery, director of the Christiana Cultural Arts Center; D. Wayne Holden, a Dover financial consultant; Lolita A. Lopez, president of the Westside Family
Healthcare; David Roselle, former UD president; and Nancy Targett, dean of the UD College of Marine and Earth Studies in Lewes.

Odds just went up to 75% for Robert J. Andrzejewski, Ed.D. Red Clay School District as next Secretary of Education. Bob A U of D alumni and previous Alumi of the year

“In 2004, Dr. A was named the Superintendent of the Year for the State of Delaware, and he was presented with the University of Delaware’s Outstanding Alumni Award.”

Roelle surely will be pulling for Bob A!


He challenged the state’s next governor — who was sitting in the front row of the Clayton Hall auditorium — to support the coalition’s plan fully, remove the archaic rules and regulations that hobble real progress, set higher targets for graduation rates, accept accountability and name a “change agent” as secretary of education. That secretary, Schoenhals said, should be committed to making Delaware’s schools the best in the world by 2015, “no exceptions, no excuses.”

I agree with Mr. Marvin Schoenhals that the Delaware Secretary of Education needs to be a “change agent”. However, there needs to be change at the legislative level and repealing Title 14, Chapter 2, subchapter I , section 207 that required a written educational impact study prior to any vote by state legislators was an irresponsible action taken by the legislators. Technically and legally there should have impact study done prior to repealing this section of the law.

Governor Markell must follow the law in his selection of a new Delaware Secretary of Education and the law is as follows:

Free Public SchoolsCHAPTER 1. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATIONSubchapter I. Composition, Organization and Administration

§ 102. Secretary; Deputy, Associate and Assistant Secretaries; Acting Secretary; appointment.(a) The administrator and head of the Department shall be the Secretary of Education, who shall be a graduate of an accredited college and shall have not less than 5 years’ experience in teaching and administration, with experience in each such category.

So where among the eligible superintendents of Delaware public schools is this change agent? As you can see the law doesn’t specify this person must come from the public education system. However, going outside the public schools system would bring in someone inexperience in public education and the laws and policies governing them. I would be like putting a Boy Scout leaders in charge of the U.S. Army. The law does not define “administration” so it possible a school principal could be appointed. But, unlikely because the organizational structure with in a school building is nowhere near the complexity of a school district and DOE with multiple departments.

Rumors are floating around that Robert J. Andrzejewski, Ed.D. Red Clay School District may be on the list of candidates. Is he a “change agent?” Some are saying yes due to the fact Red Clay is the only school district in the State of Delaware that has charter and magnet schools. Red Clay is one of the most if not most diversified public school district in the state with a highly respected Special Ed program. However, the financial meltdown of 2007 doesn’t look to well for Bob A. But then again within one year of the meltdown Bob A has passed a successful referendum and bought Red Clay out of DOE imposed Financial Recovery with a 4.4 million dollar June 30, 2008 carryover. The board did not hold Bob A responsible for the financial meltdown as they felt it was a result of the former district’s CFO accounting errors.

The reality for Governor Markell the pickings are slim and bring someone from outside the state is near null!

Our currently Secretary of Education, Valerie Woodruff in my opinion was intensely over-micromanaged by Governor Minner who was clueless. Also, Woodruff was handed a flawed DSTP and NCLB in which she had to make due. Woodruff has been responsive to my concerns and communications from day one since she stepped into office. I am not saying she always agreed but at least I was given a straight response.

No matter who steps into the job, it’s easier said then done. The Secretary of Education’s authority our local school district is very limited because much of the authority belongs to the local elected officials called school board members. Same goes for the Delaware State Board of Educations! They have pretty much zero control over local school boards. Also, many don’t realize there is a Delaware State Parent Advisory Council controlled by DOE. This group of parents is made up of parents from every school district and charter schools if they wish to participate. However, the DSPAC has not political voice what so ever are members are cautious in specking out. There are a few old timers among them that will speak out. My recommendation to Governor Markell is visit this group who hold regular meeting in Dover. DOE has assigned a DOE liaison to this group but I doubt very much the governor reviews the minutes of these meetings. The intent of the DSPAC was to offer meaningful advice and connect back to their home school district filtering down to the local PTA / PTO’s.

The real “change agent” is the governor and the legislators. Makell needs to step in and make an executive order require full financial transparency of DOE and our school district to take effect January 2010 which allows time for transition.