I just finished a 6 week fellowship at DDOE. It was a very interesting experience at first, but ended very satisfying. Now that it is over, I will miss it.
I have to say, expect for a very very very very very very small portion of DDOE, everyone was very nice, helpful, and wonderful to work with. There is always one or two people at every place of work that just rub you the wrong way or make you want to run for the hills. That is what I experienced this summer.
DDOE if filled with hard working non-educators and educators who really do want to help kids. They talk about kids and teachers and the community daily. They really try to provide resources, training, and information to help everyone understand and implement new and revised regulations put forth by our legislators.
I really enjoyed the ability to dig into an issue, research the pros and cons, and really understand why things are the way there are in Delaware. I learned that there are no easy answers. Every issue is a version of gray and has so many moving parts that it is hard to pin point the #1 root cause of most problems we face.
Yes there is a lot of data, but not data (from my view, position, and project this summer) that can identify individual students in particular schools. Data is used on a larger scale and a broader sense to improve the system. Frankly, the classroom teacher has the most assess to any individual student’s person information including address, demographics, behavior, test scores, etc. Me, being an art teacher, probably have more than average assess because I teach so many students at multiple buildings.
Unfortunately, I think that a lot of information that comes from the state gets filtered by the district and in turn distorts the message or intent. Not on purpose; it’s like the game of phone. One person whispers to another and when the message gets to the end, it’s a mess!
Many people at DDOE are looking forward to the needed changes that ESSA will hopefully provide. More local control, more focus on the whole child, and more stakeholder engagement. This is very different from RTTT and the Mark Murphy led DDOE.
Mark Murphy turned education upside down and shook really hard making a lot of things fall out of our pockets. Some good, some bad, and a lot realy ugly. Then, we had to sort and catergize, and assess, and justify beyond a reasonable doubt what fell out of our pockets when we didn’t even know what we had. I am not sure if we needed this change, but that is what we got. Now, hopefully there will be time to reflect, talk, and really plan a course for Delaware’s future.
It depends on our new Governor… Who will be chosen as new Secretary of Education for Delaware? Only time will tell…