When I first met Sean Matthews in the summer of 2009, we soon realized we had a lot more in common than our last names. He’s my Matthews brother from a different mother. Y’see, Sean sat on the interview committee at the school at which I’m presently employed. After starting in the fall, Sean and I quickly realized we had a love of politics. He confided in me that a future run for a political office wasn’t out of the question. I told him it’s a great idea. Young guy. Intelligent. Attractive. Convincing communicator. I like the word “gregarious.” That’s a package that can be sold to voters. Truth be told, Sean’s a natural at this stuff.
When I first arrived at Richardson Park Elementary, Sean was our school’s pull-out/push-in special education teacher. In this capacity, I was always in awe of Sean and his ability to relate to the students with whom he was working. They responded to him. Sean and I have rather similar approaches and educational philosophies. Similar in that they’re very different from the claptrap hooey we are fed today by those in administration and the Department of Education who’ve bought into this whole “data-driven” model of education. Y’see, we understand the value of data in any educational picture, but Sean and I always considered ourselves more “student driven.”
When Sean and I taught on the fifth-grade team together, he routinely shared with me some of the non-traditional teaching methods he’d use to help engage his students. Lots of group discussions. Using fables and other classic literature to teach lessons with an ethical and moral core. These things aren’t necessarily “standards-based” nor are they “curriculum-based,” but Sean believes that if such strategies worked for generations before, then why can’t they work now?
Besides his professional career, Sean has been just as active civically since dropping foot in Delaware several years ago. Whether as president of his civic association or as a youth group volunteer at his church, Sean is a guy who listens first, then asks questions, and finally shares his thoughts and ideas. And, again, he will be a real representative for those voices that often go unheard in the legislative process: children.
I don’t think it’s much of a stretch for me to say I dream one day of seeing Sean in Legislative Hall wielding the gavel as chair of the House Education Committee. I dream of him taking control of the meeting and bringing forth education officials and other relevant folks and asking them about what’s working and not working in a system that is terribly overtaxed with regulations, policies, and procedures that have little positive impact on the learning and success of our students.
In that capacity, there are some who may characterize Sean as a troublemaker. But the only trouble I see is the tragic continuation of those policies that continue to jeopardize the futures of children all in the name of an intransigent “education reform” movement that is more about boosting the portfolio of a few key stakeholders as opposed to what’s best for our kids. We need Sean in Dover. Now.
I am highly suggesting Sean Matthews for 10th District State Representative.