Why does John Carney support federal intrusion in Delaware’s local schools?

By Scott Gesty

Federal dollars normally pay for only about 6.6% of public education spending in Delaware, but dictatorial Federal programs like No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top have seriously damaged our schools instead of helping them. Regulatory compliance with US Department of Education programs sometimes costs more than the total amount awarded to the schools. Almost no Federal money reaches our classrooms without strings attached that remove authority from parents, teachers, and locally elected school boards.

Before 1979, Federal involvement in public education was controlled by a sub-section of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. The US Department of Education has not materially improved student performance or school quality in thirty years, despite billions of dollars being poured into top-down initiatives every time a presidential administration changes. This has to stop.

The US Department of Education should be abolished, and the necessary funding and compliance services that constitute the Federal role in public education should be brought back under the Department of Health and Human Services. Except when prevented by statute law (e.g. special education funding), Federal funds for public education should be block-granted to the states, with a prohibition against the state departments of education taking more than 10% of the total as an administrative pass-through cost.

The best strategy for the Federal government to pursue in public education is to hand back as much authority and resources as possible to the school districts themselves.

Kilroy isn’t switching political parties but I think this Libertarian fellow Scott Gasty has the right ideas in abolishing the United States Department of Education and give control back to local communities. Not issue of charter schools vs traditional or teacher evaluation but giving those decisions back to the states and local school districts is the right thing to do. Political third parties seem to struggle in America and perhaps they might be a good means to break the two party out of control political tug of war and for sure addressing the Wall Street take over of public schools. I know one thing for sure, Delaware republicans are in bed with democrats on this Wall Street education ponzi scheme.

40 responses to “Why does John Carney support federal intrusion in Delaware’s local schools?

  1. Visit Scott’s campaign website (still under construction) here:

    http://gesty4congress.org/content/issues

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  2. I fully support Scott in his views on public education as mentioned above. As the son of 2 Delaware public school educators, I am certain that the effectiveness of our public schools sits with well respected and compensated teachers working in cooperation with their local communities. We can restore dignity and effectiveness to our schools by understanding where their true strength manifests. That strength does not emanate from Washington but from the talents of our teachers and the dreams and aspirations of our children and parents.
    Well said Scott!

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    • kilroysdelaware

      I hope see more of Scott’s position on education. As far as here in Delaware there is a clear common agenda between republicans and democrats to support Race to The Top education ponzi scheme take feeds $$$$ Wall Street such as Rupert Murdoch’s Wireless Generation .Our local republicans aren’t stepping up to the plate in regards to keep Washington out of local school board and community decisions

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  3. Pencadermom

    I like Scotts bio. He grew up in south Joisey so he must be ok. I like his philosophy in general, sounds like we grew up with the same dad, only my dad’s words when I was a teenager were “if I had a million dollars, I still wouldn’t buy you a car”

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  4. @kilroy–the Libertarian Party of Delaware will be putting out a statement on public education for our local candidates next week.

    We intend to challenge the Rs and Ds to actually engage in a debate over this issue; but it will be critical to keep the pressure up on them not to ignore it.

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  5. Kilroy, Before you go all ga-ga over the Libertarian ideas on education, you should understand that they believe that educating children should not be compulsory, that education should be entirely privately funded with no government interference, and therefore only those whose parents can afford to or want to pay for schooling their children would be able to.

    It would really suck to be a child born into a Libertarian-governed world.

    Source:http://www.issues2000.org/celeb/Libertarian_Party_Education.htm

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  6. I should also point out that Gesty doesn’t have his facts right and offers no evidence to support his premise that handing back “as much authority and resources as possible to the school districts themselves” would improve public education.

    Just for starters, “Race to the Top” is not a mandated or “dictatorial” program. It is a voluntary federal grant program that Delaware volunteered for.

    And it has also been shown that, nationwide, private schools do no better than public schools in educating children when variables like race, gender and parents’ education and income are considered. So, considering that private schools have total “local” control, then there is little to support Gesty’s assertion that increasing local control of public schools would somehow magically improve them.

    For those of us who want to see real improvement in public education (and not the Libertarian dream of dismantling them), the cliché solutions (abolish the Department of Education!) offered by Libertarian Gesty offer nothing.

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    • lastDEconservative

      “It is a voluntary federal … program that Delaware volunteered for.”

      Yeah, volunteered for. By putting everything else in the state on the back burner for how long to get to the front of the line. Like Markell volunteered to be governor, or Obama volunteered to be President. Yeah.

      “For those of us who want to see real improvement in public education (and not the Libertarian dream of dismantling them), the cliché solutions (abolish the Department of Education!) offered by Libertarian Gesty offer nothing.”

      Sir or madam, those of us who want to see real improvement in education (no modifier) would START with the elimination of the federal DoE, and move on the elimination of the state ditto. “Public” meaning “government” is the flaw in the premise. “Public” meaning the people as opposed to the forest creatures, that’s a different story.

      Kilroy wonders below about school days before Carter/DoE … let me just say for now, with hopes of coming back to enlighten him further, it was like, say, Fedex and the post office. And George Washington was in the history books. And kids minded or paid a price … at school and again when they got home. And so forth.

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  7. Mike Matthews

    Anonone: Re: Race to the Top not being a “mandated” or “dictatorial” program. Tell it to the thousands of Delaware’s teachers who’ve been forced to tolerate this load of horse crap. This is a program that is injecting huge sums of money into the pockets of consultants (one of whom is an offshoot of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.) and programs whose efficacy hasn’t been tested, while at the same time piling onto teachers a whole bunch more paperwork and testing and red tape.

    I can understand your bigger point in your post, but don’t use that point to defend the tripe that is Race to the Top.

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  8. Hi Mike,

    I was not defending “Race to the Top.” I was simply pointing out that it the State of Delaware volunteered to participate in it. It is not a federally mandated program like NCLB.

    Of course, to a Libertarian, all government spending of taxpayer dollars on education is wrong.

    a1

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    • The state’s politicians volunteered disenfranchised educators to participate you mean, right?

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    • kilroysdelaware

      Markell is only governor not the “state of Delaware” and his decision to drop to his knees for some RTTT funding didn’t represent the will of the people. His actions infringed on Title 1 Section 1118 and the right of the people to be active in shared decision making at the district and school levels. Markell action was nothing more than rolling in the federal Trojan Horse to allow the takeover of local control.

      As far as the Libertarians views there is merit to less intrusive federal government in all aspects of local control. Sure vote Markell out if we’re not happy. Well at this point with the Delaware Republicans being in bed with Markell and his ed agenda the only option is a third party which of course is not going to happen.

      Tell me, what was public education like before President Jimmy Carter created the United States Department of Education?

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    • A1, as has been pointed out here by others, you are late to the party and don’t know what you are talking about with regard to Race to the Top. RTTT in action turned out to be quite different from what, say, DSEA and Delaware teachers thought they were getting.

      “Dictatorial”? When, with Federal backing the State violated its MOU with Christina School District to move out teachers without district input, and then the school board attempted to call them on it, guess what? Sec Ed Lowry and others publicly implied John Young (then President of the Board) was a racist and threatened to take away $16-18 million in Federal funding unless the school district backed down and allowed the negotiated agreement to be violated.

      “Dictatorial”? In Cape Henlopen SD the teachers’ union put in a sunset provision to extra planning time when the grant was accepted, and both the State and Feds agreed to it. When the teachers exercised that provision (which had been their prerogative all along), they were threatened with the loss of all elementary math specialists and $1-2 million in funds.

      “Dictatorial”? Now, as John Young has just documented at Transparent Christina, the Feds have given states official waivers on NCLB, but they are now actually requiring MORE reports and MORE paperwork time lost after the waiver than before.

      Don’t start into this arena unless you actually do some homework.

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    • However you want say it got to Delaware, the Feds didn’t force it on any state, which is why RTTT is a state-mandated program, not a “dictatorial Federal program” like NCLB.

      a1

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    • Quit bandying words. Seeking the grant was voluntary. The management of the grant has been, quite frankly, dictatorial. People who have been following the story and working in the schools know that. The fact that you don’t, and that you are still here arguing about the adjective merely points out that you haven’t been paying attention.

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  9. Kilroy, did you know that you are now listed as someone who has given an endorsement of Gesty for Congress on his website?

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    • kilroysdelaware

      “Kilroy isn’t switching political parties but I think this Libertarian fellow Scott Gesty has the right ideas in abolishing the United States Department of Education and give control back to local communities.”

      I can endorse that component of his position. But I think it would be better to be noted on a webpage within his called Scott Gesty in the news / blogs as to not confuse supports for ideas with general endorsement.

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    • kilroy
      I told you the website was under construction. We will fix that part over the next couple of days. The page is going to be called “What they are saying about Scott Gesty . . . .” And not “Endorsements.” But you will recall that I did tell you the site would not be in final form until late this weekend.

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    • kilroysdelaware

      No big deal! And I endorse that segment of his position in regards to abolishing the USDOE. anonone was just baiting me.

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  10. I stumbled across this quote while listening to archived
    Prairie Home Companion tapes, and thought this would be the appropriate forum for it to air.

    “When you wage war on the public schools, you’re attacking the mortar that holds the community together. You’re not a conservative, you’re a vandal.” —Garrison Keeler

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    • kavips

      Which is precisely why many parents, teachers, and school board members in Delaware are up in arms about corporate-driven education “Reform.”

      It is our contention that the Federal government and corporate reformers are the ones waging war on public schools.

      Ask yourself why else would multiple districts turn down the RTTT teacher incentive program worth over $8 million (and up to $10 per affected teacher) if they did not believe it was harmful to the schools.

      Ask yourself why Rodel et al poured tens of thousands of dollars into school board elections, only to see their endorsed candidates from Appo north lose across the board?

      Parents are no longer buying the idea that Federal intrusion into public ed is a good thing. From high-stakes testing to common core standards, NCLB to RTTT, top-down Federal programs have (a) lacked any research-based evidence of efficacy; (b) placed incredibly onerous compliance constraints on school districts; (c) failed to help the very poorest schools and districts that need it the most; and (d) failed to improve test scores or student performance in any meaningful way.

      The Feds have had since 1979 to try this approach.

      Isn’t three decades of the absence of success enough reason to try something different?

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  11. It’s not magic when local control “improves” schools. Giving parents what they want is rarely “bad”. I suspect you object to giving folks anything other than what you want.

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  12. kilroysdelaware

    no local control doesn’t always work because some districts tactfully pour the Kool-Aid, Parents and local political leaders need to get their heads out of their asses demand a real seat at the decision-making table, Charter schools are in demand but that voice needs to come from within the community served not by a Wall Street , Arne Duncan and, business roundtable agenda. Me, give parents choice options even vouchers if needed but make sure those choices are fair and equitable and that all school considered public have open admissions.

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  13. Joanne Christian

    Mike Matthews–that load of horse crap was bought and shoveled on you teachers by your very own DSEA leader at the time Diane Donohue. I tried and tried to reason w/ our local group–going over numbers, scenarios etc., to get them to PASS on this magic bullet. I even offered publicly to hold a bake sale weekly, stating it would bring in more money, and they would not be so handcuffed in practice. Their eyes remain fixed and glazed, and said they wanted to sign the MOU. So no, the rules didn’t change–but thankfully, your leadership did, but you guys got stuck w/ handcuffs and hard time.

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  14. Jaonne, Dead on. I got into a floor fight at our January 2010 MOU vote board meeting taking on the local CEA president Claudia Bock. She was taking the public go along to get along stance in support of the MOU despite my REPEATED and probably unprofessional warnings this was NOT a good plan for teachers.

    I voted no that night, but lost 5-2 and the handcuffs and hard time began in CSD, almost immediately.

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    • oops. Joanne.

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    • kilroysdelaware

      I was at Red Clay’s RTTT MOU board meeting and DOE Dan told Red Clay is either you vote for it and get the money or if you don’t you’ll fund new state regulations aligned with RTTT with local money. $$$ he gave Red Clay no choice but to vote yes. However, Becnel voted No after scolding DOE Dan. And lets not forget Judas who sold out DSEA member.

      I’ll bet you DSEA will endorse Jack Markell which will be a vote of confidence on his education agenda. Not saying endorse GOP but at least take a no recommendation position.

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  15. Joanne Christian

    I hear you John–at least CSD got some real coin out of the deal. I could understand their hesitancy not to participate. But Appo? Like I said that night–just load the busses now, let’s take these kids to see “Waiting for Superman”–because the cost of a ticket price per child is all we’re gonna get. It’s been a long movie–and you know John, that popcorn and drink is of course even more expensive than the movie!!!!!

    So here we are. And thank heavens Frederika is at the helm now.

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  16. Joanne Christian

    And you know what Kilroy–if those board members had done their homework, and been at workshops, and read the regs., etc., etc., they would have been able to go toe to toe w/ Mr. Cruce and call him out on what he said and what it REALLY entailed. Shame on them for not knowing the stuff better–even the LEAS left me jaw dropped on what they didn’t know. If they didn’t know–they should have been all over leadership. She sold and delivered them. Do you know how awkward, yet ultra protective it felt to TRY and SAVE and PROTECT these teachers from their own leadership? Is that crazy? I loved and admired those in our area who serve in this capacity–but I could not save them from themselves. But, I tell you what–when the new accountability model came out–I stood right up at a state meeting and said “I can’t believe teachers would vote for this”–at which time I was corrected and told “oh no–they derived this and want this”…I again countered w/ incredulous belief…but the evening continued….

    Fast forward–dinner w/ our LEA. I had to say it–“I can’t believe you guys would want anything like that…..” Eyes lit up–shout from the other end of the table..”we didn’t, we were told this is what you guys, the state and admin. want, propose, demand, insist etc….” Well, darling–the dirty was out–and the message cleared up–retool the message to the intended group. FOUL was cried–and it looks like evals. are going to look a whole lot different…..

    I’m just saying–something as HUGE as RTTT–you better be at meetings w/ DIFFERENT stakeholders–because the play is on. AND you better know the official script–so you can cry FOUL or redirect to the fine print of what they are signing.

    A sad time in Delaware education.

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  17. Joanne
    perhaps you could have couched it as protecting the children instead of the teachers?

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    • Why are the two different unless you have an inherent distrust of teachers. Aren’t teachers the ones we trust out children to? Protect them, protect the kids. Same thing.

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  18. Joanne Christian

    Because John, the teachers will ALWAYS take care of the children in my history w/ them, regardless of what they are put under. I didn’t want them to be anymore extended, and burdened w/ onerous tasks/paperwork/bureaucracy than what has been in the past….And too–the reality was, it was a night meeting–these were adults–and adults, about the business of their changing job expectations.

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  19. John
    Trust them with my life and those of my children. Love and trust one enough to marry her. I was thinking of a way to get through to the teachers by appealing to what they care for. You just don’t get that I care for all the kids as much as you.

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  20. Of course I do, but your rhetoric is confusing.especially when you use the word “instead”. It most certainly comes off now that you are conveniently explaining your dismissive intent in the original statement. It is common knowledge that charters seek to keep unions out.of their school on the pretense of the “burdensome” protection they provide to the professionals that teach our kids. I tend to debunk that false equivalence every time I see or read t.

    But, if I am wrong, then please accept my apology.

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  21. Joanne Christian

    Wait a minute–now I am confused–I thought it was John questioning my concern for the students–I see it was NCS. Sorry John, I see you already got me covered at 5:28. Thanks…you knew what I meant.

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  22. I perceived NCS Dad to be against the teachers. However, he claims not at all. So, I may need to offer him an apology. His word usage seemed to suggest protecting kids “instead” of teachers since that was the actual word used.

    I agree with your 7/12 9:49PM post unequivocally.

    I think the moment helping teachers is no longer helping kids, we will be completely lost. I fear it may have happened in society already.

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  23. Joanne Christian

    Thanks John. I have said from the getgo–it was my awe and love for teachers as a child, that propelled me in the board work I did today. Just always wanted to replicate that concern, guidance, creativity, enthusiasm, passion, and just downright kindness my teachers always had–and insure its continuance to this generation of learners. But geez, society/government has certainly has made a tough go for them.

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  24. @John
    I am not “anti” teacher at all. I am absolutely pro-student. I was talking about how Joanne might couch her appeal only. I recognize that the teachers care about the students – god love em. By making her appeal using the interests of the students, I thought she might have had a better chance of succeeding in her argument.

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