Who decided it was time to take Matthews out, and what specifically are they trying to deflect interest away from?

Filed in National by on October 11, 2018

That piece of stenography filed by Cris Barrish was dictated to him by someone with  some larger goal in mind.   It was a hatchet job, but Barrish was just the witless trigger man in the operation. The person who put the hit on Mike is the one I’m curious about.  Who decided it was time to take Matthews out, and what specifically are they trying to deflect interest away from?

Dave Burris:  He is a shadowy Republican operative type, and he is certainly familiar with Mike’s early work. But I doubt it.  Burris really isn’t this type of a-hole.  He hates unions and has wrongheaded political ideas, but my sense is that he is a decent person.  I could be wrong about that.  It has been a while since we’ve had any contact.  

David Andersen:  If the horrible assholes in the DEGOP were lined up from the most horrible asshole to least horrible asshole, David Andersen would be near the front of the line.  He is  fully capable of pulling something like this. But what is his motive?  Simple hatred?  I doubt it.   

Atnre Alleyne:  I don’t know the guy but according to EdBlogger Kevin Ohlandt, he “hates DSEA. Hates Mike. Helped develop the god-awful RTTT teacher evaluations based on standardized tests that Mike fought like hell against. Worked for the DOE. Now runs the Delaware chapter of 50CAN, a right organization that… you guessed it… rails against traditional school districts and loves charter schools.”

John Atkins:  He is a mean, grudge holding MFer.  Hates Mathews but is he smart enough to dig through old blog posts and cull out and decontextualize the incendiary lines from the millions of non-incendiary?   

Someone Else:  A sore loser that the DSEA didn’t endorse?  Someone inside the DSEA who didn’t like sharp elbows? I doubt it.  This has the feel of being launched by someone who stands to make money based on the DSEA not being the effective, activist labor organization it was becoming under Matthews leadership.   

Two people know for sure who did it and why.   The person that did it, and Cris Barrish.  








About the Author ()

Jason330 is a deep cover double agent working for the GOP. Don't tell anybody.

Comments (51)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Peter Briccotto says:

    Just curious – why couldn’t it be someone within the Democratic Party? I don’t know Mike personally, but he’s a guy of tenacious principle who wasn’t afraid to challenge anyone. God knows the Delaware Way is ripe with hypocrisy, nepotism, and conflict of interest.

    Could it be that in his fight for Delaware Public Schools that he challenged corruption & underhandeness of Democratic leadership? Maybe he was willing to take some people to the mat, so they beat him to it.

    Cloutier is like family to me, so sadly, I’ve had to get to know some of the GOP ops, and I honestly can’t imagine them doing this.

    • jason330 says:

      Good point. The GOP certainly doesn’t have a monopoly on mean a-holes. It could be someone in the Democratic Party all the way up to Pete. Also, I’m glad to have my sense of DB confirmed.

  2. It could very well be someone from the Markellian wing of the party. We’re talking Charter Schools Uber Alles. That’s far more likely, IMHO, than Anderson or Atkins.

  3. If you’re searching for the most likely Rethug narc, you need look no further than charter school mogul Charles ‘Eleuthere Lamotte Bouvier de Flanders’ Copeland. He stands to gain from any attack on public education, and he even has WHYY ties.

    He and, wait for it, Stephanie Hansen, used to do sorta a point/counterpoint segment on ‘First’. The producer told me that the problem with the segments was ‘…they agreed on everything.’

  4. jason330 says:

    Atnre Alleyne working for Copeland? He sure had some jacked up quotes at the ready.

  5. It almost doesn’t matter. What matters is that Mike was viewed as too strong an advocate for public education to stand in the way of the pro-charter cabal.

    Mike, if you’re reading, we’re all thinking of you.

  6. I believe Barrish has an obligation to tell us who pissed in his ear. This wasn’t confidential information, the posts were a matter of public record. Someone came to him with the express purpose of getting Matthews out. And Barrish knew it. He wrote the story anyway, without that context.

    Whoever did it had a reason to do it. In fact, that’s the real story.

    Alby, what do you think?

    • Alby says:

      Never happen. Burn one source for any reason and you’ll never have another.

      This is how reporters get stories — people point them at information. No reporter is going to start digging randomly; they get a map from oppo researchers, who can devote more time and effort to it than any reporter could. That’s how you knew, for example, that Castle’s people gave TNJ the stuff about O’Donnell’s home/campaign HQ dodge. This is how the sausage gets made.

      George Orwell said that journalism is printing what people don’t want printed; the rest is public relations.

  7. Hube says:

    It was petty and assholish, whoever did it. But sadly, this is the world in which we live now.

  8. Hube says:

    BTW, Alby knows I faced a similar situation back in 2005 — not b/c of foul language like Mike Matthews but b/c of the ACTUAL CONTENT of a post which a well-known educational consultant did not like. My employment was in actual jeopardy … and Alby did me a solid by furnishing me w/names of folks, institutions which could help me.

    I can elaborate now since I am retired …

  9. CharterDefeater says:

    It was 100% Atnre. He’s already been making moves this cycle to go against the teacher’s unions and influence candidates to go against public schools/unions and support his shitty charter/testing ideas

  10. RE Vanella says:

    I just did a quick browse of this Atnre’s bio.

    Lots of bad stuff.

    Self described tech geek. TEDx Delaware. Lots of trash libertarian themes. Cory “Charter Schools” Booker is one of his influences/heroes.

    I know a few people who know a few people. I’m going ask around. If necessary I’m going trash this little clown.

  11. Media watch says:

    Bill Manning

  12. You Dont Get It says:

    I know who it was. Pretty simple.

  13. jason330 says:

    I hope the new leadership of the DSEA gets it, and doesn’t cave into the type of people who would turn someone’s life upsidedown like this.

  14. RE Vanella says:

    I don’t follow any education issues at all really. No kids so no skin in the game.

    Can any of you enlighten me? Did Mike have any support in the rank and file? I would have hoped he was in a position to fight this in some fashion. It’s so petty.

    I suppose considering the speed in which he stepped down the answer is maybe no.

    • Steve Newton says:

      You may be looking at that aspect wrong. If you were Mike, caught in this mess, and your husband had just been elected to the Red Clay School Board, wouldn’t it play in your head not to engage in a bloody fight for survival if that fight also potentially harms the person you love the most?

      • RE Vanella says:

        Depends. It’s a fair enough point though. Because again I’m way out of the loop.

        • Steve Newton says:

          As for Mike’s support among the rank and file–the original election for DSEA President was actually a tie. The run-off went to Mike by something like 113 votes out of several thousands cast. DSEA is not the monolithic, Borg-like state employees’ union it is usually portrayed to be. The Professional Staff and the elected officers are often at odds. The individual district chapters (like Red Clay and Colonial) are often considerably more radical than the State organization.

          Essentially there are both radical and moderate wings in DSEA, which also accounts for its less that stellar record in effective political giving, or in holding the winners accountable for making good on their promises. As I once pointed out in a blog post, about six years ago DSEA handed out over $700K in one election cycle, and a few months later, when the Governor put up a Sec Ed nominee DSEA opposed, the “questioning” only last 40 minutes, and the nominee was confirmed in the Senate with but a single dissenting vote. Hardly the stuff of legendary political influence.

          Mike’s a radical in DSEA terms, and was always critical of what he considered the accommodationist approach of his predecessor in terms of cooperating with corporate education reform. His candidacy exacerbated but did not create the split in the DSEA ranks. He probably lost some ground among the membership because he personally championed Regulation 225, which was the protection regulation for transgender students. Some people on right-wing social media essentially tried to portray him as a child predator for that.

          The current VP who takes over defeated Mike’s VP running mate in the original election by about 4 votes if I recall correctly, and she is definitely not a radical.

          So, no, you wouldn’t expect a groundswell of support for him on this.

  15. Matterhorn says:

    David Anderson has been posting about it left and right, using it as a basis to assert that his opponent’s DSEA endorsement is fraudulent.

    David Anderson shouldntg be throwing stones given he himself was censured by the ACLU some years back for Anti-Semitic blog posts…..

  16. Paul says:

    Add Jeff Taschner to your suspect list. There has long been tension between elected officers and senior staff. The Executive Director should serve at the pleasure of the board, but EDs at DSEA have a way of turning the tables, transforming from servants to masters.

  17. RE Vanella says:

    All duly noted, Steve. Appreciate the background.

    I feel like there’s an option here to say something like, yeah, I wrote some crass stuff. Offensive. It was meant to be political satire. It was immature and I’ve grown up. I’m very sorry about it now and wouldn’t write in the manner today.

    I believe in X, Y and Z. You all knows my actual behaviour and what I stand for beyond hurtful childish insults.

    Then make them try to run me out.

    I totally get that this could have blow back on his partner. Didn’t know he was on the school board. But, as someone on the radical side myself, I think we need to stand up for ourselves.

    This offense, as nasty as the language is, is clear political satire.

  18. Alby says:

    For me, this story was sad confirmation that my gaydar is useless. I didn’t know Mike well but I met him several times and had no idea he was gay or married. Back then, when he was the enfant terrible of the Delaware blogosphere, he looked like the prototypical basement blogger who needed more sun and fewer Doritos (a description I still fit, BTW).

    I have studied the statements included in the article, and must reiterate that they are milder than many other statements he made. They pale in comparison to stuff I have written, but I don’t care because I don’t work for anybody else anymore and don’t plan on doing so again.

    The stuff I regret writing is usually written in anger and is intentionally hurtful, which I’ve done far too often because I’m a hotheaded asshole. The stuff I don’t regret is using terminology that others find offensive — because, if we’re going to use the “someone finds it offensive” standard, I’m back at The News Journal, where we were not allowed to print the word “booger.” I am not making that up.

  19. I have no doubt in my mind Alleyne was involved somehow. He managed to find a very obscure post by a school board candidate last year that torched that campaign. The ironic thing is I do the same thing on my own blog. I did it recently with the very odd year of 2008 in regards to Jack Markell and current Secretary of Education Susan Bunting. I did it to right wrongs and to show some transparency in this state. But those were things nobody knew about. It amazes me that THIS is such a big deal but our own Secretary of Education knowingly lied about her own knowledge of the Indian River CFO stealing money TEN YEARS AGO and no one else has picked up on that. Just business as usual.

    This wasn’t some shady secret intentionally covered up. Everyone knew Mike was a blogger back in the day. I see this as very intentional tied to this election. Honestly, I could add 20 names to this list. I see a ton of posts that railed against Mike over Regulation 225. In this day and age of hunting and pecking on the internet, it stands to reason someone would find this stuff on Wayback Machine. I’ve been on there and I didn’t know how to actually find stuff until last night. I’m sure some of my deleted blog posts are on there waiting to haunt me one day.

    But Alleyne is a common and recurring name in all this. He is plugging this like crazy on his own Facebook page. He is loving every single minute of this. And let me tell you, he has quite a few political bedfellows on both sides of the aisle. I told one campaign manager last night to make sure that candidate steers far away from him and DelawareCAN.

    This was a coordinated hit, not just against Mike, but also friends of Mike. Existing legislators who have echoed what Mike has said about public education and railed against the Delaware DOE. It could also be seen as a “boon” for incumbents like Greg Lavelle who is having the fight of his life with Laura Sturgeon. It was only earlier this week Mike came out with a very public endorsement of Sturgeon while eviscerating Lavelle.

    David Anderson is jumping on the train with all this for his own campaign. Not a smart move on his part.

    If Markell wanted to pull this lever, he would have done so when he was at the height of his power, not after. I don’t see this as an inside hit job from DSEA. If they wanted that, it would have happened during the election in early 2017.

    Many saw Matthews as DSEA. And while, publicly he was, their endorsements are decided by their own executive board, not the President. I am sure there have been some endorsements over the years Mike may not have agreed with.

    Barrish will never reveal his source. We can all try to guess but, sadly, the damage has been done. Delaware lost one of the most powerful education voices it has ever known. I hope Mike’s voice rises louder than ever after all the dust settles.

  20. nathan arizona says:

    Wonder if the News-Journal would have printed the name of high-profile NFL analyst Booger McFarland.

  21. Formerfemaleelected says:

    As a woman who was in elected office during the time of DWA’s “heyday,” I just would like to place some focus in this discussion on not just the words that Matthews used in his blog, but rather on his targets and the difficulty that his posts presented for THEM. To be clear, I was a target of DWA, but an infrequent one. And today as I read about this, I am firmly of the belief that neither DWA nor Mike Matthews did me any harm at all. But just please remember that when a woman in public office is sexualized just for the fun of it and/or to be provocative, that creates discomfort, brings unwanted inappropriate attention from others (by both men and women) and is a distraction from her already difficult efforts to minimize gender and just be taken seriously. DWA was certainly the work of a 22 year old, immature kid. But it was also most certainly a disservice to women in public service.

    • RE Vanella says:

      Fair play.

    • Bane says:

      Finally…. I almost forgot who the victims were after reading this post and these men’s comments.

      • Alby says:

        Victims. Heh. Should have figured you for a virtue signaler.

        Dear me, someone was taken less seriously. Get me a fainting couch.

      • RE Vanella says:

        Who’s Mike’s victim? Good taste?

        You know Aronofsky had a rape scene in Requiem for a Dream but didn’t actually rape anyone?

        Mike was a powerless 22 year old writing blog shit on politicians. Full stop.

        It it gross and hurtful. Yeah, I agree. But calling someone a victim of this insults victims.

        Sincere apologies are in order. Absolutely.

        • Formerfemaleelected says:

          I was clear that I did not consider myself harmed in anyway. I do not in anyway consider myself a victim.

  22. Alby says:

    “when a woman in public office is sexualized just for the fun of it and/or to be provocative, that creates discomfort, brings unwanted inappropriate attention from others (by both men and women) and is a distraction from her already difficult efforts to minimize gender and just be taken seriously”

    Politics ain’t beanbag. Foes will use any and every tool at their disposal to tear you apart — and if you don’t have the protection of an elected office, destroy you. For women, that means men will use all the methods of tearing down women they have employed since the matriarchy ended in the stone age.

    Mike said some ugly stuff — I had missed that gang rape remark, which must have read pretty badly even then — and he has paid the price for it. Nobody is arguing that he shouldn’t pay that price, not even Mike. (I won’t comment on the irony involved for anyone who thinks Mike deserves to go but demanded we ban the box.) The leering at female lawmakers was mostly (I think) tongue-in-cheek, and Mike was not the only one of the younger bloggers going there. I’ll name no names, but Mike’s situation gives others reason to worry.

    I believe the lesson, if there is one, would be not to make politics personal, especially in a place as small as Delaware. I know and/or knew scores of people in public positions, and almost all of them had admirable qualities. A very few were jerks. Some of the people I disagree with most politically are the ones I like best personally, and some of those I agree with are the biggest jerks.

    Mike wrote that stuff when he didn’t know any of these people personally — they were names and photos in the newspaper. Online, young people were mocking not just the politicians but the mainstream media who presented them to the public, and one way of doing it was writing in the vernacular of the college dorm room.

    This only came up because Mike accrued some real-world power. Anyone with real-world power knows, or should know, that someone always wants to take it away. If they can do it by belittling you sexually, they will. If they can do it by dredging up the worst thing you wrote, or said when you were drunk, they will.

    I realize that people are fighting to change that, and I think they’re right to do so. But to apply the standards of today to the behavior of the past is always a quick route to rendering flawed judgment. That’s how you get to “Jefferson was shit.” As a person, no doubt he was; lots of contemporaries thought so. But it doesn’t render his political thought invalid.

    • KP says:

      Your ban the box analogy doesn’t work. For starters, criminal records and dumb, offensive shit a guy in his early to late 20’s (he might have been 22 when he started, but he was 27 or older by the end) writes on the internet are apples and oranges, as banning the box on a job application comes after a person has been held accountable and their criminal charges have been resolved. Mike managed not to be held accountable for any of his disgusting and offensive posts – which I read at the time and viewed them as such back then as well – in the immediate aftermath of his blogging days. He never apologized for what he wrote until his words recently resurfaced in a major news story. people may have known he was a blogger before he was a teacher, but tons of people, on this blog and on social media have said they had no idea the content he created and published over the course of 5 years. Let’s get this straight, he isn’t locked behind bars, he elected to leave a job. Sure it sucks, but a bright, ambitious guy is certainly capable of forging a productive path forward. It’s not as if he was actually incarcerated and now must reassimilate to society. Also, He was voted into the DSEA position, and I find it very likely that had the voters in his elections been made aware of what he wrote back then, I’m thinking they might have reconsidered their vote. Mike was elected to represent them, and he did the right thing by resigning. Let’s hope he channels this reckoning in his life into something positive; if service to kids in need is his calling I’m certain he won’t let this hurdle permanently derail his efforts.

      • Alby says:

        It wasn’t an analogy. It was an attempt to show the hypocrisy of people like you, and apparently it worked, because you got awfully heated up over it.

        • KP says:

          What was hypocritical about my comment? Absolutely nothing. Sorry dude, I know it’s super hard right now for douche canoes like you. You’re looking around and seeing less white jerkoffs in positions of power and men being held to account for their conduct. Life is so unfair, right? I’ll give Matthews this, all you feckless whiny bitches on this site make his response to all of this seem authentic, genuine and mature. You all could take a page out of his book, but you won’t because you are losers who have been spending all your free time posting on obscure local political blogs since the early 2000’s. Put the Doritos down, maybe take a shower and then go read a book or take a walk. You might be just a little less angry at the world if you’d get offline and try to enjoy it.

          • Alby says:

            Perfect. You don’t know who I am, but you’ve made up lots about me. Why don’t you go find out something first and then criticize me? Fucking douchenozzle. In case you missed it, I basically said he paid the price. So your reading comprehension is shit, just like you.

            You’re a hypocrite because you didn’t say jack shit about it then either, but you sure are eager to virtue signal for us all now. You didn’t call him out then, but you’ve apparently been all hot and bothered about it for the past 10-15 years. You really don’t see the hypocrisy there?

            Your inability to see what a self-righteous asshole you are is not my responsibility. Your rapid lumping of everybody here together for your own convenience gives the lie to all your supposed virtue as well. You’re a real fucking prize. Why don’t you move to Brooklyn, where all the woke assholes go eventually?

            • KP says:

              How the hell do you know what I did or did not do back then? If memory serves, the comments underneath those posts were often worse than the posts themselves. Let me get this straight – it was my responsibility as a young woman the same age as Mike to call him and all his minions out when he suggested men should gang rape our governor or that child sexual abuse isn’t a big deal for a mom and her kids living in transitional housing? You’ve got to be fucking kidding me. Why can’t you idiots police yourselves? Why is the onus on a person who was sexually assaulted themselves to point out why this wasn’t ok then and it’s not ok now? Why can’t you people just be decent humans and do the right thing? Matthews did the right thing by resigning and offering a sincere apology, period end of story. It’s ok to feel bad for your friend but when you make this about anything but Mike being held accountable for previous transgressions, then you’re the one who doesn’t get it.

              • Alby says:

                I never said it was about anything but.

                Mike had minions?

                “Why can’t you idiots police yourselves?”

                Because it’s not our job or anyone else’s to make sure you’re not upset by something you read online.

                “Why is the onus on a person who was sexually assaulted themselves to point out why this wasn’t ok then and it’s not ok now? ”

                What does your circumstance have to do with anything? Who made you the arbiter of what’s OK? Your status as a victim gives you no special standing.

                You made a general comment about “us,” but it’s one individual addressing your complaints — me — and I don’t fit the allegations you’re putting out there. So get off your high horse.

                One more thing: The people who won’t hire ex-cons don’t give a good goddamn whether or not they’ve “paid their debt to society.” They’re afraid of being robbed. And in this case, nobody’s upset because Mike didn’t apologize earlier. They’re upset because they’re afraid that deep down he harbors sexist and racist attitudes.

                The similarity is that in both cases the people making those decisions are discounting the ability of people to change and improve. That’s it. It doesn’t have to be a perfect match to work for the purpose I intended. That similarity exists whether you want to acknowledge it or not.

      • RE Vanella says:

        I will never apologise for wishing upon someone death by slowing tearing rectal fissures.

        I will never reflect on it to try to make something of my life.

        I will use the words cuntrag and scrotesniff whenever the spirit moves me.

        I will hate dunk on all you boring anonymous white bread suburban paste-wads all day every day.

        I will never be shamed or silenced.

        Laissez les bon temps rouler.

  23. RE Vanella says:

    “This only came up because Mike accrued some real-world power.”


  24. Dave says:

    “But to apply the standards of today to the behavior of the past is always a quick route to rendering flawed judgment.”

    The problem we face is that it is easy to forgive the sins of youth or when societal values have evolved, if there are no victims. But, our society has incorporated the concept one that can be victimized by words, not just actions (social media bullying for example). Intemperate remarks towards groups, such as fat shaming, or racial stereotypes, or any number of things are now triggers for many groups. Certainly it is understandable that because the standards have changed our behavior has changed. But we can’t change the past.

    So the questions are, do we judge that past? And if so, do we judge that past with the standards of the past or do should it be ex post facto? And finally, if we do judge, who is the judge and jury and what penalties do we assign?

    I might add that those to which banning the box may apply are never judged ex post facto, which is expressly forbidden by the Constitution. Unfortunately, the court of public opinion has no defined standards or system of jurisprudence. Such a court is simply mob rule, which enjoys the spectacle of the lions and Christians in the political coliseum.

    Since what’s past is prologue for all of us, whatever we have said or done, has led us to this point in our lives, where we are on display for judgment by a court that assigns blame according to the season. We are the product of our life experiences and when that product demonstrates qualities we admire and hold dear, our judgment of the past must be tempered by what a person is today. Even our criminal justice system incorporates that concept.

    I don’t know Matthews, but he seems like a fine fellow. He should have been embarrassed, contrite, apologetic, and then moved on, but our society demands its pound of flesh. Just another example of humans demonstrating that we are not the highest order species we believe ourselves to be.

  25. Jason330 says:

    It took three paragraphs to get to it, but you wrote something interesting and thought provoking.

    • Dave says:

      LOL. Yes, but it took me three paragraphs of thinking to get there. I was just sharing journey along with the destination.

      • RE Vanella says:

        I didn’t mind the few extra ideas…

        Nice work.

        This Dave. Some of you really need to be like Dave.

  26. Dave says:



    Off topic, but I hate reading stuff like that while my mouth is full of coffee. I had to clean the screen again!

    And it’s an actual word to boot! The Oxford dictionary says “mid 19th century (originally denoting a shower nozzle): from douche + nozzle. The current sense dates from the 1990s.”

    I’m pretty well read and have been exposed to a lot words over the centuries, but your vocabulary far exceeds anything I’ll ever have, especially the insults. I guess that comes from your media background.