Nominee Autobiography of Dr. Richard Thripp, Candidate for Board of Directors of the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida

Update: Although I did not make the cut, congrats to everyone who won! We filled the Board of Directors with left-wing Bernie Sanders Democrats.

My name is Richard Thripp and I am a 29-year-old Democratic activist in southwest Volusia County. I was elected to be the Chair of the Volusia County Democratic Party in December 2020, but stepped down in June 2021 due to an election challenge by my opponent, who discovered a notarial issue with the candidate oaths of myself and others that we were unaware of at the time. Nevertheless, I gained valuable experience in directing a large organization of volunteers and working with various stakeholders. In 2020, I ran for Congress (Florida’s 6th district) with no prior political experience, securing numerous endorsements including Florida for Bernie and Our Revolution Florida, receiving 284 small donations totaling $9,327, and recruiting over 100 volunteers. We achieved 48.5% of the vote in the Democratic primary. I am a strong supporter of a Green New Deal, Medicare for All, student loan forgiveness, and other progressive causes which were core planks of my congressional campaign. My wife Kristy and I have a 2-year-old son, Jonah. We are concerned about his future and other children as the climate crisis worsens.

Immediately prior to launching my congressional campaign, I completed my PhD in Education at University of Central Florida with specializations in instructional design and advanced statistics. My dissertation was on preservice teacher financial literacy and was republished by The International Society for Technology, Education and Science. I taught 11th grade U.S. History and 12th grade U.S. Government at a public high school from October 2020 to June 2021, and am a Florida certified teacher in 10 subject areas. Prior to being a classroom teacher, I taught hundreds of preservice teachers about educational technology as an instructor at University of Central Florida of a 3-credit hour course, EME 2040: Introduction to Technology for Educators, in mixed-mode and fully online modalities in 16-week and accelerated 6-week formats.

At this time, I am continuing to volunteer, to advocate for worthy causes, and to mentor political candidates such as John Navarra, a veteran 10th grade World History teacher who is running for Florida House District 26. I am running to be a member of the Board of Directors of the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida in the July 17, 2021 elections to work with progressive Democratic activists and candidates throughout Florida and magnify our positive impact.

Formation of Thripp Enterprises, LLC

I have formed a business named Thripp Enterprises, LLC. There are a myriad of services I can offer including tutoring, dissertation editing, financial advice, notary / notary signing agent, political consulting, and instructional design, as well as training others to do the same. I enjoy some of these tasks more than others and will also have to consider what is most marketable.

Thripp Enterprises, LLC business listing

Agreement reached ending my tenure as Chair of the Volusia County Democratic Party

I have stepped down as Chair of the Volusia County Democratic Party. Jewel and I had a great conversation yesterday. She will serve as Chair until December 2024 and I will remain an active party leader.

This is a joint statement from Richard Thripp and Jewel Dickson. Please welcome Jewel Dickson as our new Chair!

Yesterday, Jewel Dickson and I, on advice from our respective counsels, approved an amicable agreement that reinstates Jewel as Chair of the Volusia County Democratic Executive Committee. Susanne Raines will serve as State Committeewoman, and Evans Smith will continue as State Committeeman. New elections will be held on July 19, 2021, for the other three offices. At-large committee members appointed during my tenure, and approved by the DEC at large will also continue in office.

Because the applicants’ oaths to the Democratic Party were not appropriately notarized, the election of precinct captains in 2020 proved invalid. The individuals affected are, however, encouraged to apply to the appropriate committee for membership in the DEC. Their applications will be dealt with expeditiously, and, after approval by the DEC membership at large, they will be eligible to vote in the July 19 election. Specific instructions for application will be provided within the week.

I have asked that the following be included in a joint statement of party unity: “In stepping down in favor of Jewel Dickson as the Volusia County DEC Chair and asking the local and state party to recognize and support Susanne Raines as the state committeewoman, it is my hope we can move past the issues with the December 8, 2020, Volusia County Democratic Executive Committee election. I am pleased we were able to reach an equitable solution that allows us to focus our talents and energies on the elections in 2022.”

It was an honor to serve as Chair from December 8, 2020, to June 13, 2021. I will support Chair Dickson through the transition and I will continue to have an active role in electing Democrats who enact progressive legislation and policy. I strongly encourage others to join us.

Dr. Richard Thripp
Former Chair

Meet Aramis Ayala on May 24 & Charlie Crist on June 8 on Zoom! + Danny Fuqua & Friends’ Charity Work

Here’s a mass email I wrote today in my role as Chair of the Volusia County Democratic Party. We have some exciting events coming up and wonderful charitable work going on.

May 22, 2021

Dear fellow Democrats,

I am writing to share with you news of two exciting upcoming digital meetings!

On Monday, May 24, 2021 at 7:00 PM, hear from former State Attorney Aramis Ayala, who is considering running for the United States House of Representatives in 2022! She is our guest speaker at the Volusia County Democratic Party meeting. Click here to RSVP and receive the Zoom link.

On Tuesday, June 8, 2021 at 7:00 PM, hear from Congressman Charlie Crist, a Democratic candidate for Governor of Florida in 2022 who knows the job well, having served as Governor from 2007 to 2011. He is the guest speaker at the Volusia Young Democrats meeting. Click here to RSVP and receive the Zoom link.

We would love to see you at these virtual events, and there will be an opportunity for questions. You can also reply to this email with a written question for either candidate, and we will consider it.

Secondly, I would like to take this opportunity to spotlight the wonderful charitable work the Volusia County Democratic Veterans Caucus has been doing, including Mr. Danny Fuqua, who will be running for Volusia County Council District 2 in 2022. Last week, they delivered hundreds of care packages to students and veterans in the Florida panhandle who have been displaced by hurricanes. Please click here to read all about it in The Hometown News.

Finally, I have a request: Your donation helps Democrats succeed! Please click here to donate on ActBlue, or write your check to the Volusia County Democratic Party and mail it to:

Volusia County Democratic Party
P. O. Box 11613
Daytona Beach, FL 32120

When we work together, anything is possible.

Dr. Richard Thripp, Chair
Volusia County Democratic Party
VCDP Text Message line: 386-232-8172

Against Testing

Against Testing
By Dr. Richard Thripp
May 8, 2021

An over-emphasis on testing is often justified on the basis that we need to be able to measure student learning and achievement. Proponents of testing herald it as valuable data that teachers and administrators use to inform their practices. In truth, teachers rarely use data from many of the standardized or district-level assessments being used, and administrators often use it to draw precisely the wrong conclusions. Assessments themselves are often lacking in the way of design and relevance, with a focus on multiple-choice questions with 4 choices per question and questions that are misaligned with curricular standards, what is actually being taught, and what is of actual importance to be assessed. Furthermore, as a teacher, I have on several occasions observed district assessments where the “right” answer was in fact subjective and debatable, due to another choice being just as good. In some cases, such as a question that claimed the U.S. House Un-American Activities Committee was established in the 1950s (it was established in 1938), they are just plain wrong.

Although I am astute enough to avoid subscribing to the logical fallacy of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, nonetheless it is not debatable that assessments gobble up valuable instructional time. Why do we keep finding ways to restrict, curtail, and interrupt instructional time? Tests on top of tests, along with unnecessarily disruptive events, announcements, safety drills, and school procedures that are almost deviously designed to entice truancy. For example, in my teaching practice at a high school, it was discovered mid-year by administration that they had no way to produce reports on students who skipped only some periods, but not the whole day. This burden was promptly shifted to teachers by way of a mass email asking teachers to report such students, which once again serves to take away instructional time. Many teachers have 10%, 20%, or even more of their periods taken up with tasks such as distributing testing notifications or other papers to students, writing passes, unlocking or asking a colleague to unlock credit retrieval assessments, and sending mountains of emails.

While the aforementioned problems are not new, in the wake of COVID-19 they have been exacerbated by increased absenteeism, and, in Florida, a 2020–2021 school year that started out with fake promises of fewer assessments, when in fact politicians and school leaders should have said we are not only going to do the regular amount of assessing, but add assessments for the noble goal of enhanced “monitoring” of student progress, plus administer all the assessments that were canceled last year due to the virus. Clear-minded educators know that assessments are of no value unless they are assessing the fruits of actual teaching and learning. Teachers and students alike are dejected, with a sizable proportion of students just guessing or picking at random on most items. Others want to succeed, but have not actually had the requisite instruction needed to succeed on the assessments. Instead of making time and space for education, we test them anyway, and then we congratulate ourselves for doing such a good job testing them, bandying about terms like “accountability” and “growth.” Sometimes, as in April 2021, we announce that statewide exams are not going to count, but we are still going to do them and they may count depending on how it goes. Where is the logic? When are we going to end this charade? Most educators are loath to speak out because in education, we live by the Japanese proverb, “the nail that sticks out gets hammered down.” This needs to change.