COMMENTARY: Carney: Don’t be a Markell in sheep’s clothing

This is a plea to Congressman John Carney.

You are running for governor in Delaware. You haven’t officially filed yet, but you announced your intention last year. In Delaware, it seems like a certainty you will win the election in November. With that being said, I have some grave concerns with some of your education votes in the U.S. House of Representatives.

You voted yes for the following:

The Every Student Succeeds Act which yields to the states the ability to determine opt out procedures when parents don’t want their child to take the state standardized test. Even though ESSA states 95 percent of students must take the state assessment. The U.S. DOE is ignoring the power given to states in this legislation.

You voted no for the following:

HR5: The Student Success Act. This legislation, the House precursor to the Every Student Succeeds Act, allowed for parent opt out for any reason and would not penalize schools for opt outs in their accountability report cards.

In Delaware, parents cried out to our legislators last year to act for their rights. While they were with us in the majority, when the time came for them to act again, many of them took the coward’s way out by not voting for a suspension of rules. Something many of them have no problem doing all the time. We don’t need another Jack Markell in Delaware. I think we are all done with him. His education legacy will be one for the history books, and not in a positive light in the long run.

Aside from attending Smyrna Day in the Smyrna School District and going to the Coding School in Wilmington, we really haven’t heard much from you on education. I’m sure you are relieved this hasn’t come up. But with ESSA regulations about to come out, it is essential that you let the voters of Delaware know your views on education matters. If you are to be the presumptive winner for governor of Delaware, let it be a presumption with all of the facts.

As a son of two teachers, I am sure you have a high regard for education and the teaching profession. I would hope you don’t completely agree with many of the federal mandates from the past 15 years. It is very important that you let us know your thoughts. Let us vote with a clear idea of where you are coming from. I am hoping you lead us out of the education quagmire Gov. Markell perpetrated on the First State. We want a governor who supports parental rights as much as any other rights that you celebrate on social media so much.

I think you got a raw deal in 2008. Many Delawareans feel this way. Things could have been very different had you won back then. Perhaps high-stakes assessments wouldn’t become the bread and butter of all things education in Delaware.

Perhaps our teachers would feel more respected by the state you hope to govern. Perhaps parents wouldn’t feel the need to opt out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment had someone fought Arne Duncan and the U.S. DOE during the tumultuous Race To The Top years.

The time has come for you to speak about education in Delaware and what you are looking to achieve. If it is the status quo, which is not what Jack Markell states it is, but rather the complete sell-out of public education to companies who want privatization while funds seep out of classrooms and into the eager hands of hedge fund managers, then be honest and let us know that. If you want something different, something bold and a bit radical, let us know. Either way, your silence is deafening.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Kevin Ohlandt, of Dover, writes the Exceptional Delaware education blog.

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