State lawmaker seeks removal of Edge Moor waste

The News Journal | by Jeff Montgomery A Newark lawmaker has opened a petition campaign to compel the removal of 500,000 tons of waste in a 15-acre landfill on Chemours property near the company’s soon-to-close Edge Moor pigment plant. Rep. John Kowalko, D-Newark South, said he was concerned by the possibility that Chemours would sell its plant, creating what he said was a risk that pollution would escape under new ownership or if the land was eventually abandoned. That could leave taxpayers with the cleanup costs, he said, if contaminants […]

Delaware Education Desk on standardized testing

Newsworks | by Brian Drouin Standardized testing has become the most fiercely debated topic in Delaware education. In particular, there’s been a firestorm over whether parents should be able to opt their children out of a new, statewide assessment. Education correspondent Avi Wolfman-Arent talks about this simmering issue with opt-out supporter, Rep. John Kowalko, and Dr. Teri Quinn Gray, an opt-out opponent and the president of the State Board of Education. Read original article and watch video interview.

Delaware’s testing opt-out bill ignites firestorm

The News Journal | by Matthew Albright The simmering debate over standardized testing in Delaware exploded Wednesday in a charged hearing that saw lawmakers and parent advocates shouting over each other. At issue was a bill to allow parents to pull their children out of the statewide Smarter Balanced Assessment, a tough new test students took for the first time this year. Some Delaware parents have already pulled their kids out of the test, but the bill, sponsored by firebrand Rep. John Kowalko, would make it an explicit right in the […]

Lawmakers buck Markell on education

The News Journal | by Matthew Albright & Jonathan Starkey After years of pushing education reforms in Delaware, Gov. Jack Markell is facing a revolt in the General Assembly. Lawmakers, including many from his own party, have little faith Markell’s Department of Education knows what everyday educators think is the best way to improve schools. They are skeptical the $119 million federal Race to the Top grant, one of Markell’s signature education achievements, has done any lasting good. Legislators are sending a clear message that they need to more actively […]

First Person: Government transparency

Newsworks | by Brian Drouin Transparency is a big part of government. An issue brewing in Governor Jack Markell’s office over the use of a private email account. That forms the conversation in our First Person segment this week. Joining us in the First studios are Rep. John Kowalko and John Flaherty of the Delaware Coalition for Open Government. Read original article and watch video interview.

‘Rebel’ John Kowalko refuses to keep quiet

The News Journal | by Jeff Montgomery Some describe him as a political maverick. Others say he’s the Rebel Without a Pause. Democratic state Rep. John Kowalko of Newark is easily riled, a trait of affection for some around Legislative Hall in the state capitol, a turnoff for others. “You either love him or hate him,” one insider said. Lately the fifth-term representative has been worked up more than ever. And after being stripped of committee leadership roles, he’s making sure he’s still heard from deep at the back of […]

Kowalko joined by supporters to protest removal from House committee

The News Journal | by Jonathan Starkey House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf denied he removed Rep. John Kowalko, D-Newark, from the House Education committee because of differences over education policy or Kowalko’s boisterous opposition to Gov. Jack Markell’s plan to turn around six Wilmington schools. In his first comments on the dust-up, Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach, told reporters Tuesday that Kowalko has lost the ability to cooperate with colleagues on education issues, citing his inability to compromise as the reason behind Kowalko’s removal. The speaker also called the controversy, stoked by Kowalko’s […]

Delaware ADA Condemns Move to Silence Legislative Hero

Organization supports Rep. John Kowalko’s work to bring more transparency to state government Wilmington, DE – Progressive organization Delaware Americans for Democratic Action offers its full support to State Rep. John Kowalko (D-25) for his unwavering effort to hold state government more accountable and roundly condemns action taken by House leadership last week in stripping Rep. Kowalko from his seat on the House Education Committee and taking away his chairmanship of the House Energy Committee. “What the House leadership has done to Rep. Kowalko this week is nothing short of […]

Kowalko blasts House Speaker

The News Journal | by Jonathan Starkey Rep. John Kowalko apparently has had enough. The Newark Democrat fired off a letter to Democratic House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf, accusing the speaker of creating an “atmosphere of intimidation and coercion that threatens to envelop our caucus and the entire House of Representatives.” Kowalko sent the letter after Schwartzkopf left him off the House Education committee, a panel on which he had served for eight years. The six-page missive offers a rare show of deep disunity within the House Democratic caucus and accuses […]

Kowalko calls his removal from education committee ‘abuse of power’

WDEL | by Amy Cherry State Rep. John Kowalko (D-Newark South) has been ousted from the influential House education committee after nearly a decade of service. Kowalko told WDEL he learned of the news in a phone call this weekend from House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf (D-Rehoboth Beach). “He said, ‘Well you’ve become an activist. You carry your message to the blogs, to the papers, and on the radio, and you can’t be a legislator and be an activist,’” Kowalko alleged. Kowalko, who has been extremely outspoken against the state’s priority […]