When it comes to the debate over Governor Markell’s and Mark Murphy’s educational reform…… Salon echoes what the Christina, the Capitol, and Red Clay School Districts have been saying all along ( as have myriads far too numerous to mention here)….

“For instance, you can make the claim, “this tastes great” because that can’t be proven one way or the other. But when you claim, “your kids will love how this tastes,” and parents say, “my kids think it tastes like crap,” you’re pretty much toast. And you make matters all the worse if you respond, “Well, if you were a good parent you’d tell your kid to eat it anyway.”


That is Common Core.  That is Charter Schools,  That is everything but putting 11:1 teacher/student ratios in schools k-5 with reduced levels over 50%……

We know what works… that is building personal and mentoring relationships between students and teachers so the students want to succeed….

Anything taking us in any other direction, is not helping education… It is digging a deeper hole we will one day have to refill….

It only takes Common Sense to put away Common Core… Obviously that is something on which the editorial board of the News Journal, the Delaware Chamber of Commerce, the Rodel Foundation, the US Department of Education, the Delaware Department of Education, Dave Sokola, Darryl Scott and the governor of this state could use a Common Core course:   How To Apply Common Sense…..


Ever wondered how much you pay for certain services?  I know Al Mascitti does.  He says so on his show.

Now he and you can find out how much you pay for defense atomic energy policies, or unemployment insurance, or NASA.  In keeping with Obama’s promise that you should know where your money goes, a relatively simple program which simply applies the percentage that each line item costs the Federal budget, to you tax form.

Just take your W4 and plug away.  Or use our tax form to get tax after deductions.  Either way, it only takes one minute, you can now personally know, how much you personally are paying for each and every category……


Yesterday InBloom announced it will die.

“I have made the decision to wind down the organization over the coming months,” inBloom CEO Iwan Streichenberger wrote in an email to the organization’s supporters. “The unavailability of this technology is a real missed opportunity for teachers and school districts seeking to improve student learning.” 

The announcement comes on the heels of the New York state legislature’s recent enactment of legislation that effectively pulled the plug on inBloom’s last remaining large partner….

It was a dumb idea… Selling our children’s profiles.

Ron Russo’s argument boggles the mind…

There is no other way to put it:  “Come into my house and I’ll give you candy..”

In this case the candy is something called ” innovation”   As would any pedophile (no implication being made to Russo here) in making HIS argument, Ron Russo only mentions one side. He does not talk about the …”other”…   Which we know is the rape of the public school system that allowing charters will provoke.

How do we know this?





Washington DC.

It’s been done… It’s always failed.

Those places went into the Charter House for innovation…. They came out broken and raped…. Sorry, there is just no other way to describe what really happens when you allow Charters to siphon resources away from the public school system…

Imagine if you had riots in Wilmington… And you pulled resources… “All right, all national guard, all policemen, all fireman, all public employed are commanded by the mayor to leave the city… Let them innovate themselves out fo their predicament”….  Would that work?

That is exactly what you do to public schools when you have charters… You take resources direly needed to hold their own against a plethora of problems,  and you take them away and give to someone else… someone who really doesn’t need them…

Why does Russo not mention this ugly part of charters?  Most likely because he has lived a lily white existence.  As head of St. Marks,  where one picks and chooses ones students… As head of Wilmington Charter… where one picks and choses ones students…. A charter school, where less than 5.7% are considered low income….   Yet they steal resources away from low income schools that desperately need more money, not less, but get less because of people like Russo who think innovation is good…

However, I must thank Russo for one thing… For bringing to the forefront the mission statement that was hailed to bring charter schools into the mix in the first place….

The purpose of Delaware’s charter schools, as stated in the “Charter School Law of 1995,” is to “… improve public education overall …” 

Research in Philadelphia has proven that since Charters were allowed into Philadelphia… the average score of the entire district, including both charters and public schools, as fallen considerably…. That means we were sending kids through the Philadelphia school system with a better shot at a good future before 2004 before charters were allowed, than we currently do today….

That is in direct opposite to Delaware desire….”to improve public education overall…..”

Seriously,  if you help 20% and hurt 80%…. how does the entire state perform better when for every 2 going forward, you have 8 going back?

Why does Russo not address this?  Because it completely destroys his argument. That is why.

There is one way to do both… And that is to cut the financial cord between charters and their districts… If you want the luxury of allowing charters to flourish, and try new things,… you need to put them as a line item in the state budget and tax the 1% who will have access to these charters sufficiently, to pay for them…

Then you can have your innovation and eat it too…..



Tennessee, the “other” RTTT finalist besides Delaware, has just passed through conference Committee the bill to jump out of Common Core…
Here is the text…
The Committee further recommends that the following amendment be adopted:
by deleting the preamble to the bill and by substituting instead:
WHEREAS, the federal government has no constitutional authority to set educational
standards for Tennessee or to determine how children in Tennessee will be educated. Any
partnership with the federal government is solely at the discretion of the state; and
WHEREAS, selection of educational standards for Tennessee public schools is the
exclusive right of state and local education authorities; and
WHEREAS, intrusive data tracking is an invasion of the rights of students and their
families and any data collected should be used for the sole purpose of tracking the academic
progress and needs of students by Tennessee education officials; now, therefore,
AND FURTHER AMEND by deleting all language after the enacting clause and by substituting
instead the following:
SECTION 1. Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 49, Chapter 1, Part 3, is
amended by adding the following language as a new, appropriately designated section:
(a) No educational standards shall be imposed on the state by the federal
government. Any adoption of educational standards for the public schools of the
state shall be done freely by the state board of education which, except as
provided in subsection (b), may change, adjust or recede from a standard at any
(b) A proposed change or addition to an educational standard, including,
but not limited to, the Next Generation Science Standards, the National
Curriculum Standards for Social Studies, the National Health Education
Standards, or the National Sexuality Education Standards shall be posted for
public review on the state board’s web site and submitted to the education
committees of the house of representatives and the senate at least sixty (60)
days before the state board meeting during which the final adoption of the
proposed standard is to be considered. The state board may vote on adoption of
standards or proposed changes or additions only at a public meeting at which a
quorum is in attendance.
(c) The state board shall not join a testing consortium inclusive of multiple
states that requires the adoption of common standards in social studies or
science subjects, unless the board provides at least sixty (60) days notice to the
education committees of the house of representatives and the senate and posts
such notice on its web site at least sixty (60) days before officially joining any
such consortium.
(d) Data collected from the use of or testing under educational standards
adopted by the state board shall be used for the sole purpose of tracking the
academic prowess and needs of students.
SECTION 2. Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 49, Chapter 1, is amended by
adding Sections 3 through 9 as a new, appropriately designated part.
SECTION 3. This part shall be known and may be cited as the “Data
Accessibility, Transparency and Accountability Act”.
SECTION 4. As used in this part:
(1) “Aggregate data” means data collected or reported at the group,
cohort or institutional level;

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(2) “Biometric record” means a record of one (1) or more measurable
biological or behavioral characteristics that can be used for automated
recognition of an individual;
(3) “Data system” means the body of student data collected by the
department of education;
(4) “De-identified data” means a student dataset in which parent and
student identifying information, including the personal identification number, has
been removed;
(5) “Department” means the department of education;
(6) “FERPA” means the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy
Act codified at 20 U.S.C. § 1232g;
(7) “Personal identification number” means the unique student identifier
assigned to a student under § 49-6-5101;
(8) “State board” means the state board of education;
(A) “Student data” means data collected or reported at the
individual student level that is included in a student’s educational record;
(B) “Student data” includes:
(i) State and national assessment results, including
information on untested public school students;
(ii) Course taking and completion, credits earned and other
transcript information;
(iii) Course grades and grade point average;
(iv) Date of birth, grade level and expected graduation date
or graduation cohort;

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(v) Degree, diploma, credential attainment and other
school exit information such as receipt of the GED® and drop-out
(vi) Attendance and mobility;
(vii) Data required to calculate the federal four-year
adjusted cohort graduation rate, including sufficient exit and drop-
out information;
(viii) Discipline reports limited to objective information
sufficient to produce the federal Title IV annual incident report;
(ix) Remediation;
(x) Special education data; and
(xi) Demographic data and program participation
information; and
(C) Unless included in a student’s educational record, “student
data” does not include:
(i) Juvenile delinquency records;
(ii) Criminal records;
(iii) Medical and health records;
(iv) Student social security number; and
(v) Student biometric information; and
(10) “Teacher data” means personal summative and evaluation scores,
the access to which is limited to the department, LEA administrators, local
boards of education or those with direct supervisory authority who require such
access to perform their assigned duties. Nothing in this part shall restrict the
availability of information pursuant to § 49-1-606.
SECTION 5. The state board of education shall:

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(1) Create, publish and make publicly available a data inventory and
dictionary or index of data elements with definitions of individual student data
fields currently in the student data system along with the purpose or reason for
inclusion in the data system;
(2) Develop, publish and make publicly available policies and procedures
to comply with FERPA, § 10-7-504 and other relevant privacy laws and policies.
These policies and procedures shall, at a minimum, require that:
(A) Access to student and de-identified data in the student data
system is restricted to:
(i) The authorized staff of the department and the
department’s contractors who require access to perform their
assigned duties;
(ii) LEA administrators, teachers, school personnel and the
LEA’s contractors who require access to perform their assigned
(iii) Students and their parents; provided, however, that a
student or the student’s parents may only access the student’s
individual data;
(iv) The authorized staff of other state agencies as
permitted by law; provided, however, that within sixty (60) days of
providing such access, the department shall provide notice of
such release to the state board and the education committees of
the house of representatives and the senate and post such notice
on the department’s web site;
(v) Parties conducting research for or on behalf of the
department or an LEA, provided such access is granted in

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compliance with FERPA and other relevant state and federal
privacy laws and policies, and provided the department shall
provide notice of such release to the state board and the
education committees of the house of representatives and the
senate and post such notice on the department’s web site;
(vi) Appropriate entities in compliance with a lawfully
issued subpoena or court order; or
(vii) Appropriate officials in connection with an interagency
audit or evaluation of a federal or state supported education
(B) The department uses only aggregate data in public reports or
in response to public record requests in accordance with subdivision (3);
(C) The commissioner develops criteria for the approval of
research and data requests from state and local agencies, the general
assembly, researchers and the public; provided, however, that:
(i) Unless otherwise approved by the state board or
permitted in this part, student data maintained by the department
shall remain confidential; and
(ii) Unless otherwise permitted in this part or approved by
the state board to release student or de-identified data in specific
instances, the department may only use aggregate data in the
release of data in response to research and data requests; and
(D) Students and parents are notified of their rights under federal
and state law;
(3) Unless otherwise approved in this part or by the state board, the
department shall not transfer student or de-identified data deemed confidential

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under subdivision (2)(C)(i) to any federal agency or other organization or entity
outside the state, except when:
(A) A student transfers out of state or an LEA seeks help with
locating an out-of-state transfer;
(B) A student leaves the state to attend an out-of-state institution
of higher education or training program;
(C) A student registers for or takes a national or multistate
(D) A student voluntarily participates in a program for which such
data transfer is a condition or requirement of participation;
(E) The department enters into a contract that governs databases,
assessments, special education or instructional supports with an out-of-
state vendor; or
(F) A student is classified as “migrant” for federal reporting
(4) Develop a detailed data security plan that includes:
(A) Guidelines for authorizing access to the teacher data system
and to individual teacher data including guidelines for authentication of
authorized access;
(B) Guidelines for authorizing access to the student data system
and to individual student data including guidelines for authentication of
authorized access;
(C) Privacy compliance standards;
(D) Privacy and security audits;
(E) Breach planning, notification and procedures; and
(F) Data retention and disposition policies;

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(5) Ensure routine and ongoing compliance by the department with
FERPA, § 10-7-504, other relevant privacy laws and policies, and the privacy
and security policies and procedures developed under the authority of this part,
including the performance of compliance audits;
(6) Ensure that any contracts that govern databases, assessments or
instructional supports that include student or de-identified data and are
outsourced to private vendors include express provisions that safeguard privacy
and security and include penalties for noncompliance; and
(7) Notify the governor and the general assembly within sixty (60) days of
the following:
(A) Any new student data fields included in the state student data
(B) Changes to existing data collections required for any reason,
including changes to federal reporting requirements made by the United
States department of education;
(C) Any exceptions granted by the state board in the past year
regarding the release or out-of-state transfer of student or de-identified
data accompanied by an explanation of each exception; and
(D) The results of any and all privacy compliance and security
audits completed in the past year. Notifications regarding privacy
compliance and security audits shall not include any information that
would itself pose a security threat to the state or local student information
systems or to the secure transmission of data between state and local
systems by exposing vulnerabilities.

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(a) Parents and guardians have the right to inspect and review their
children’s education records maintained by the school.
(b) Parents and guardians have the right to request student data specific
to their children’s educational records.
(c) LEAs shall provide parents or guardians with a copy of their children’s
educational records upon request.
(1) The department shall develop a model student records policy
for LEAs that requires an LEA to:
(A) Annually notify parents and guardians of their right to
request student information;
(B) Ensure security when providing student data to parents
or guardians;
(C) Ensure student data is provided only to authorized
(D) Set the timeframe within which record requests must
be provided; and
(E) Consider implementation of a plan to allow parents and
guardians to view online, download, and transmit data specific to
their children’s educational records
(2) The department shall develop the model student records policy
by December 31, 2014. An LEA shall adopt the model policy or develop
its own policy prior to the beginning of school for the 2015-2016 school
year. Before implementing a policy other than the model policy, an LEA
shall submit the policy to the department for approval.
SECTION 7. LEAs and schools shall not collect individual student data on:

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(1) Political affiliation;
(2) Religion;
(3) Voting history; and
(4) Firearms ownership.
(a) Unless explicitly mandated by state or federal law, a state agency or
education institution shall obtain written consent from parents or students, in the
case of students eighteen (18) years of age or older, before collecting any
individual student biometric data, student data relative to analysis of facial
expressions, EEG brain wave patterns, skin conductance, galvanic skin
response, heart-rate variability, pulse, blood volume, posture, and eye-tracking.
(b) No state agency or education institution shall pursue or accept any
grant whether from the federal government or any private entity that requires
collecting or reporting information in violation of subsection (a).
(c) No state or national student assessment shall be adopted or
administered in this state that requires collecting or reporting information in
violation of subsection (a).
SECTION 9. Any collection of student data by the department existing on July 1,
2014, shall not be considered a new student data collection in accordance with
subdivision (7)(A) of Section 5 of this act.
SECTION 10. Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 49, Chapter 1, Part 2, is
amended by adding the following language as a new section:
(a) The Tennessee comprehensive assessment program (TCAP)
tests, inclusive of achievement, end of course and the comprehensive
writing assessments, shall be administered in the subjects of English

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language arts and math in grades three through eleven (3-11) during the
2014-2015 school year.
(b) Prior to the 2015-2016 school year, the department of
education shall issue a request for proposals and, through competitive
bidding, contract with one (1) or more entities to provide assessments in
English language arts and math, which shall be aligned to state
standards and fully implemented during the 2015-2016 school year. Prior
to the 2015-2016 school year, such tests shall be field tested and shall
replace the existing assessments in the applicable subject area. The
request for proposals issued by the department shall be prepared in
consultation with the comptroller and in compliance with state
procurement requirements, including those relative to conflicts of interest.
The fiscal review committee shall, by December 31, 2014, review all
contracts awarded pursuant to such requests for proposals and shall
annually report to the full education committees of the senate and house
of representatives as to the terms and performance thereof.
(c) The state of Tennessee shall not adopt common core state
standards in any subject matter beyond math and English language arts.
SECTION 11. The state board is authorized to promulgate rules and regulations
to effectuate the purposes of this act. All such rules and regulations shall be
promulgated in accordance with Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 4, Chapter 5.
SECTION 12. Section 10 of this act shall take effect upon becoming a law, the
public welfare requiring it. All remaining sections of this act shall take effect July 1,
2014, the public welfare requiring it
It is sad to see no change in Delaware; only the consistent plodding forward towards ruin, with blinders dutifully on both eyes, and tightly held reins slapping at the back…..
if the other state that won RTTT along with Delaware is jumping ship, are we now way off course?

Thursday it was released that 200 pounds of Sulfur Dioxide was accidentally released from the Delaware City’s PBF refinery..

It was allegedly caused by a mechanical malfunction at the facility …..  Sulfur Dioxide when mixed with H2O creates Sulfuric Acid. Air is full of water.  So are our lungs.

Bloomsberg reported on October 9, 2013 that Delaware City was postponing its Sulfur Dioxide fix till late 2014.  The refinery, which was initially expected to do the work as part of maintenance that month (October 2013), was halting its replacement of an exchanger on the sulfur unit, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t to be made public. … Work was pushed up one year to October 2014.

Had that work been done in a timely fashion, the Thursday’s reported release would never have occurred……..

According to Bloomsberg’s sources,  a coker, crude unit and hydrocracker, a hydrogen plant and desulfurizer,  were all originally scheduled for maintenance upgrades last fall.  Upon receiving costs estimates it was decided to split the job up to cover two fiscal cycles, and the desulfurizer maintenance was pushed to the next fiscal year.  It was known by upper management that this would necessitate a release of SO2 because of  accumulations caused by the outdated equipment. Another release is tentatively planned for September, just before work started.  

Due to wind conditions, the only Delawareans affected would be those downwind.  Only 1713 people live downwind from Delaware City’s gas crackers.   853 men, 860 women.

The average amount of SO2 from an oil burning plant, is 12 pounds per MWh….   Natural Gas is a hundred times less. About one percent of oil and that amounts to .12 pounds or 1 ounce per MWh…  Therefore 200 pounds of SO2 released is equivalent to 19 hours running at a one megawatt hour oil fired plant running full kilter… At a 248 MWh natural gas plant (TDC) running full kilter 24/7, it would be the equivalent of… (248 MWh X .12 lbs SO2/ MWh ) = 29.76 pounds of SO2 per hour….

So on one hand this may not seem like much… The 200 pound release is only the equivalent of  6.7 hours of a natural gas fired power plant running at full steam night and day….  precisely 6 hours and 43 minutes…. less than most of us sleep per night….

On the other hand that is quite a bit.  The Newark power plant will spew out a level of what  this report implies, is considered a toxic release requiring DNREC oversight,  FOUR TIMES EVERY SINGLE 24 HOUR DAY!

President Harker wants to build a power plant in town that will spew out four times this toxic release at Delaware City, every single day.

Governor Markell wants to build a power plant in town that will spew out frou times the toxic release at Delaware City, every single day.

The Delaware Chamber of Commerce wants to build a power plant in town that will spew out four times the toxic release of Delaware City every single day.

The Hammer and Nails Club wants to build a power plant in town that will spew out four times the toxic release of Delaware City, every single day.

Sam Latham of the AFL-CIO, wants to build a power plant in town that will spew out four times the toxic release of Delaware City, every single day.

Everyone wearing green and holding green signs, is looking the other way when it comes to having this toxic release, occurring ongoing in the heart of Newark, every, single day…..

Whereas only 1713 people due to geography could be even remotely affected from the Delaware city spill,  41 times that amount or 70,500 will inhale 4 times that amount every single day, because of someone’s brilliant idea of building a 248 MWh plant right inside the center of town… 

Pure brilliance.  President Harker.  Pure brilliance.










I see John got here first… but this link explains Race To The Top better than any explanation so far….    My takeaway was that looking at how the winners taking a lion’s share of the money, how does that help the losers?  It is as if the 1% philosophy of just spending money on the very top… seems to have poisoned the system.

Sitting with an accumulation a large number of people gathered for the holidays, and the feature is an  old Star Trek move… “The Wrath of “something or other….

Someone surprisingly about 25 years old piques up… “Oh look!  It’s that guy from .;… Priceline.!….”

Oh my….

One of my nightly escapades found me in a local Delaware Bar…   I was brought here because the clientèle is political savvy even though most are not into politics… There this happened.

Bartender:  “Attention everyone we are doing a spontaneous survey and afterwards when I tell you you can all down your drink.”..

Grumbling turns to mumbling which turns to silence…

Bartender:   “Are you ready?  First question…. How many of you out there believe everything you hear on Fox News.”….

(no one raised their hands, though talk afterwards said one did obviously for a joke and quickly put it down)

Bartender:   “Ok, 2nd question… There will be 6…. 2nd question:   How many of you believe everything you see on ABC news.”..

(no one raised their hands…)

Bartender  “Ok, 3rd question:  How many of you believe everything you see on CBS?”

(no one raised their hands)

Bartender:  “Ok, Number 4.  How many of you believe everything you see on CNN…..?’

(no one raised their hands)

Bartender:  “Ok everyone only 2 more and we can get back to drinking… How many of you  believe everything you see on…. ESPN!

(Laughter, exclamations,  hands up, probably close to half… almost all male)

Bartender:  “Better,  Ok… one more… How many of you believe everything you see on John Stewart’s Daily Show on Domedy Central?”

(Lots of laughter, cheers, and a unanimous hand raising… Some ESPN males raising both hands…. )

I came away from the experience thinking that America is indeed in good hands… The “Bullsh\t” is completely missing  the target….. The real stuff is getting through.


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