Sunday, May 6, 2012

10 things I have learned from this year's school board races: nonpartisan, pre-election day edition

I figured that if I don't write this one before Election Day it wouldn't have any credibility.

So here goes.

#10--Evan Queitsch is still a thug, and his wild charge that Kenny Rivera is a communist is one of the most contemptible moments of the election season.  And given everything that has thus far happened, that's saying something.

#9--John Young may be a rock-throwing populist, but he is rock-throwing populist who signs his own name to everything he writes.  The charge made by a commenter on this blog (who posted this link) that John is responsible for the vile anti-Val Harris website would be ridiculous even if it weren't based (I kid you not) on counting the number of times he uses an elipsis while writing at Transparent Christina.

#8--Kenny Rivera is no puppet for DSEA and Joanne Johansen is no puppet for ed reform.  Ironically, despite all the hype, Red Clay will be well-served regardless of the outcome of this election.  I have my own preference for Joanne, have worked hard to support her, and will be saddened if she loses.  But Red Clay voters will not lose.

#7--Putting up big election signs is almost beyond my capability.  If all the ed reformers are out there giving their all for Joanne, where the hell were they yesterday when Joanne, her husband, and I were putting up signs?  My thumb will be better soon.

#6--Frederika Jenner is right about at least one thing.  She wrote the following with respect to Red Clay, but it is also true in Christina:

For years, single unopposed candidates were able to walk right in and sit right down.  Those times have certainly changed.
#5--Nichole Dobo can do more in a single sentence than I can do in multiple blog posts.  An example (sorry, they are in today's WNJ and I haven't been able to find the link; maybe somebody else can; I have trouble with their ridiculously user unfriendly site):

"This type of campaigning is unacceptable in our state," said Frederika Jenner, president of DSEA, which spent more that $250,000 in 2010 on contributionts, mailers and polling intended to influence that year's elections.
In this particular case her skewer ran in a direction I like, but she is even-handed in her strokes:

The group [Voices] has collected thousands in donations from Marvin N. "Skip" Schoenhals, a businessman who has been active in advocating for change in Delaware schools through Vision 2015, and Rodel Foundation founder William Budinger, also a board member of the Aspen Institute.
So in two sentences she does what all of us have been using tens of thousands of often not-well-chosen words to hash out.  Must be a reason why we're bloggers and she's a journalist.

#4--While I'm on the subject of writing, Mike Matthews is a much better writer than I am when he sets his mind to it.  Skipping all the school-board posts, here's a particularly good excerpt on his students:

I work with students who are classified as educable mentally disabled. These are students who have extreme learning disabilities who require such a high level of differentiation and individual attention that placing them in the general education classroom would likely do a disservice to both the below-level and on-level students.
I work with students who are classified with other health impairments. These are students who perhaps come to me with severe emotional issues or health issues that have impaired their learning ability to such an extent that the general education environment is inappropriate. These are students with seizures who’ve regressed so poorly that a pull-out setting is required. These are students with severe audio, visual, and spatial sensitivities for whom structure is required and anything out of those norms could prove disastrous.
I work with a group of students — exceptional students — who require an exceptional amount of services. Sadly, the learning disabilities most of these children face means they likely won’t pass a single DCAS test in their life — unless perhaps by chance. Some of my students really like to press those buttons!

#3--Kilroy has proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that one individual with no monied interests behind him, can shape and change the nature of political debate in Delaware.  The rest of us who blog on education may flatter ourselves that a few like-minded people read us, but if it's not being discussed on Kilroy's Delaware you're almost certainly talking only to your friends and to an echo-chamber of fellow travellers.  This is what the Charli Carpenter video I ran a couple days ago means by social media flattening the hierarchy.

#2--You can't go back.  We are now in the new reality of school board elections, and after 8 May it is time for everyone who sticks around to sit down and figure out how that new reality is going to be made to best serve the interests of public education and our kids.  There is an important Russian proverb that I need to mangle (twice) in order to explain what I have learned in this election:

The enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend, particularly if I don't know who he is.
The enemy of my friend is not necessarily my enemy if the causes of emnity are less important than the bonds of friendship.

#1--My friends in the blogosphere (with respect to this particular issue) are kilroy, mike, pandora, and john.  Sometimes we are on different sides.  Sometimes we shout at each other.  Sometimes we say things to each other that we really shouldn't.  But we're bloggers, not philosopher kings or even wizards, and bloggers are (as pandora likes to say) pirates.  We're the new media leeching off the old, trying to suck the lifeblood right out of it.

And all of us will still be here after this election.  Will you?


pandora said...

I will be here since, for some reason, I like banging my head against the wall.

Oh....... and..... I like you guys.... most of the time! ;-)

What I don't like is proving I'm not a robot every flippin' time I comment!

Steve Newton said...

Nah, you're just an elitist. Ask any NCS parent.

:) uh oh I'm going to duck now.

pandora said...

LOL! I see much ducking in your future!

kavips said...

I learned Pandora is a firebrand.

downwithabsolutes said...

Excellent post, Steve. There will be much to discuss once this election is over. Hopefully we can all get together and break bread. And lots and lots of my favorite -- iced tea!

KilroysDelaware said...

Damn Steve you are so kind! I knew that horse head I mailed to your office would earn your respect! LOL :) Don't be surprised if your ice tea taste of Chlorpromazine on Tuesday.LOL:) Red Clay will be fine either way and if I have to be more frequent attending board meetings to keep them straight so be it.

Yes indeed Mr. Matthews has amazing writing skills. But he needs a few more years in Jimmy Hoffa's school of union boss.

Jenner! Yo dude! No body puts baby in the corner! :)

John Young forgot more about public education than Skipper and Markell will ever know.

As for Evan, when next the revolutionary war begins I'll be right behind him charging up the hill! Because I'll never be in front of him if he is packing. But Evan has valid points within some of his extreme views. I have deep concerns that government the public servant has turned the people into the servants of the government. America needs all of us to ensure it keep the promise. Or am I too late? :)

KilroysDelaware said...

Break bread ?? Come on Mike, we know the deal you two have! The losing manager washes the other's feet :)Count me in for that bread and perhaps a bottle of Opus One. I hear you union people are loaded! How is the Bugatti handling the streets of Wilmington LOL

Pencadermom said...

I learned that Delaware is about as small as the little town where I grew up in NJ where everybody knows everybody, or at most, one degree of seperation. :) I learned that my dad is a libertarian, I found out while talking to him about all of these blogs, I think he's reading yours now :)
and finally.....
I learned the proper name for.......

DEConservative said...

Sadly, the same tired video is circulating that shows MATT MORAN standing in front of a camera...Not me...I'll buy you a clue sometime Steve...

john said...

So this isn't you: