This is the fourth part of a series taking a deeper dive into various important topics in the 2020 Delaware gubernatorial election. On the 100-point scale I am using to grade candidates, education is worth 10 points.
This section of the dossier has been revised and updated to reflect the general election field.
These will be presented in the order of Republican, Libertarian, Independent Party of Delaware (IPoD), and Democrat, who in all cases are incumbents.
If there is a topic of importance to all the candidates running for the state’s highest office, it’s education. Some spend more time on it than others, but they generally have something to say.
Julianne Murray (R)
Aside from remarking, “We need to be teaching our children HOW to think – not WHAT to think,” I have yet to find a more broad-based educational platform on Julianne yet. It’s a good philosophy, but with no meat on that bone she gets just 3 points out of 10.
John Machurek (L)
Eight years ago, when he was running for a seat in the Delaware General Assembly, John put together a very solid analysis of the education issue. A couple key points: “The public education system is failing and it is NOT in many cases due to the educators, but rather the government,” and, “The Federal government provides less than 7% of Delaware’s public education funding, and yet that small percentage comes with mandates, compliance requirements, and strings that take control of our classrooms away from parents, teachers, and elected school boards. The Delaware Department of Education runs roughshod over our local school boards, using questionable data to declare failed schools, while committing millions to under-researched ‘reform’ initiatives that have yet to demonstrate any ability to improve education.”
Among his suggestions for improvement were making the State Board of Education an elected board, removing the Cabinet-level position of Secretary of Education and replacing it with a state superintendent of schools selected by the Board, shifting more authority to local boards, and creating school vouchers. Overall, it was a pretty good platform, so he gets 8 points out of 10.
Kathy DeMatteis (IPoD)
Her platform statement is that she would “Regenerate Delaware’s public school system for all students by setting higher standards and embracing science, math, the arts, and vocational education.” Unfortunately, the nuts-and-bolts of getting from point A to point B are missing, as are students whose parents would prefer them go to a parochial school or homeschool. So I can only give 1.5 points out of 10.
John Carney (incumbent D)
The initial 2016 education plan Carney presented is here. In part, he promised:
We need to create an education system where every student has the opportunity to succeed. Despite improvements over the past decade, too many students, especially poor and minority students, are not meeting the standards that have been set…
The challenges we face in improving our public education system are very difficult to overcome. We have to give every child access to a quality early education that sets them up for future success. We have to care for our students’ needs physically, emotionally, and academically to keep them on track. We have to give educators the resources and support they need to reach students who come to school every day with different abilities, challenges, and ways of learning. And we need to ensure that as students graduate they are well prepared to enter the workforce or continue their education in college.John Carney education plan, 2016.
I’ll grant he’s only had four years, but I thought Lenin could do it that quickly.
But it sounds like he’s taking a village to raise a child and leaving families out of it. This is the same attitude which complains that closing schools for the summer denies kids a good breakfast and/or lunch – since when was that our responsibility?
I just wish he would try to improve the entire education system, not just public schools. 1.5 points out of 10.
Because it is a small state, Delaware could be a model for the rest of the country if we do things correctly. It’s easier to turn around a canoe than a battleship, and I think the best way of turning it around is through school choice as money follows the child. Public schools could still exist and they could continue to give a less and less thorough education on traditional subjects as they emphasize what is allowable under “cancel culture,” but they will do so to emptier and emptier classrooms. Finally they will get the point.
Parents used to scrimp and save to be able to afford a house in a desirable school district. Thirty years ago, we did just that and made it by about five blocks into a nice neighborhood elementary school that fed into one of the two most desired high schools in the Toledo Public Schools district. But we can go way beyond that and allow people trapped by economics in poorer zip codes to more easily find a way to give their kids the education they need. The right governor can make that a reality if he or she is willing to try.
Updated standings, and another lead change: Machurek 12.5, Murray 9, DeMatteis 5, Carney 1.5. Sadly, the maximum score at this point would be 40 so no one is setting this competition on fire (mainly due to a lack of response to earlier questions, but even in ones where they do.)
Regardless, next up will be a special segment of the dossier as I discuss the Second Amendment.