In one week, 144 hours to be exact, the Delaware House Education Committee will meet at 2:30pm to discuss House Bill 50, the controversial parent opt-out bill. This is a crucial moment for Delaware education. Sponsored by State Rep. John Kowalko and State Senator Dave Lawson, House Bill 50 would honor a parent’s right to opt out of the state assessment without penalty to the student or the school.
The Chair of the House Education Committee meeting, Earl Jaques, is very much against parent opt out. Last month, he publicly said opt-out is admitting your children are failures and can’t measure up. He apologized to special needs parents for his comments, but not every parent. As if special needs students are the only ones opting out. While I laid off on my attempt to have him removed as the Chair of the House Education Committee, I have not forgotten his public insult to every Delaware parent and student considering opting out.
Governor Markell is working overtime trying to come up with new schemes to thwart the parent opt-out movement. With the assistance of Jaques and other legislators, he introduced a measure to reduce the amount of “other” standardized testing students have to take while ignoring the plain simple fact that many parents hate and loathe the Smarter Balanced Assessment. It’s not just because its based on the Common Core State Standards, it is because the test is designed in such a way that many students will do poorly on it. This allows those in the corporate education reform movement to continue to invade our schools with the “fixes” our schools need. While they walk away with a tidy profit. Markell and the Delaware DOE are committed to these “reforms” for our schools.
If this bill does not pass the House Education Committee, it will show that the majority of our Delaware legislators do not believe in choice for parents. Only when it comes to charter schools. Because at the end of the day, that is what this boils down to: parents choosing the best possible educational outcome for their children. And the Smarter Balanced Assessment is NOT even close to being good for our children. Or our teachers, schools and our community.
I need every active opt out parent in Delaware to do their best to come to this meeting on Wednesday April 22nd at 2:30pm at Legislative Hall in Dover. While this is a very inconvenient time for most parents, take your child out of school early and bring them. Public comment will be available. If your child is up for it, let them speak about the Smarter Balanced Assessment. This is the moment in Delaware when we can take back control of education in Delaware. This is the time when we tell Governor Markell, Secretary of Education Mark Murphy and the Delaware DOE that they do not control our children’s lives and the state does not own them.
We need the House Education Committee to pass this legislation so our schools can consistently and openly respect parent choice. Capital and Christina have already passed similar resolutions, and Red Clay could be next. We will find out the answer to that tonight at their board meeting. State Rep. Kim Williams opted her son, a junior in high school, out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment. I am sure she has received a ton of heat for this decision from Markell and other legislators, but the amount of respect she has earned is beyond measure.
This is the House Education Committee, and I would get busy now emailing them asking them for their support of this important legislation. Cause I can guarantee, many parents will remember their vote when they are up for reelection!
Chair: Earl Jaques: Earl.Jacques@state.de.us
Vice-Chair: Kim Williams: firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Barbieri: email@example.com
Stephanie Bolden: StephanieT.Bolden@state.de.us
Timothy Dukes: Timothy.Dukes@state.de.us
Debra Heffernan: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin Hensley: Kevin.Hensley@state.de.us
Harvey Kenton: Harvey.Kenton@state.de.us
Sean Lynn: Sean.Lynn@state.de.us
Sean Matthews: email@example.com
Joseph Miro: firstname.lastname@example.org
Edward Osienski: Edward.Osienski@state.de.us
Charles Potter: Charles.Potter@state.de.us
Michael Ramone: Michael.Ramone@state.de.us
In the meantime, please show your support by sharing this article everywhere, on Twitter with hashtag #supportHB50 or on Facebook by posting this to all your friends and anywhere you can think of where it can make a difference. Talk to parents at your child’s school or at extracurricular activities. Contact your relatives and loved ones in Delaware to help support this. The children of Delaware need YOU!
7 thoughts on “If Delaware Legislators Don’t Pass Opt Out Bill They Must Not Care What Parents Think, #supportHB50”
I shared your article on Facebook and my step-daughter, who we opted out of Smarter Balanced testing responded with the following:
I’ve opted out of the Smarter balanced tests. And I would like to point out that my parent didn’t opt me out because they thought of me as a failure. I am an honors student taking in 3 AP classes next year and I have nothing but As and Bs in all my classes. This unreasonable test is a way for the state to evaluate teachers and schools and they are using us guinea pigs. So the rude remark that was made about the kids opting out being failures is beyond wrong. Find another way to evaluate.
I didn’t say that, it was said by State Rep. Earl Jaques in an article on Newsworks/WHYY last month.
She realized that you didn’t say it, and that it was Rep. Jaques comment. She just didn’t express it clearly in her Facebook post.
Giffin, I would have your daughter email Earl Jaques, chair of the House Education Committee at Earl.Jaques@de.state.us
I am planning to have her do that tomorrow.
Here is a copy of my Email to all listed above.
State Of Delaware Legislators,
I have 3 children in the Delaware Public School system. I am a former Delaware Public School student. Like many of your constituents, I spend a lot of time trying to make ends meet. My head down and nose to the grind stone. I and many like me have trusted you to see our children’s education is the best it can be. You have before you an opportunity to earn that trust. HB 50. Please pass it.
I have been paying attention lately. I have been to many meetings to listen to other parents, teachers, principals, and my representatives about Smarter Balanced Testing. I listened to a DDOE official tell me about the value of assessments and the data that this testing will provide. About the money we will get from the Federal Government. About how rigorous these national standards are and how they will help our children compete in the global economy. I’m sorry, I don’t agree, here is why:
Assessments, I expect a certified teacher to have the skill set to assess my child. I expect the school principal to have the skill set to assess their teachers. I expect the superintendent to have the skill set to assess their principals. If this is not the case, Someone is not doing their job!
Data Collection, At my Delaware school, I was told the difference between The USA and the USSR was freedom. “That in the USSR the young children had to take a test in school, and the results would plot their course to employment. Here In the USA you have the freedom to aspire to any type of employment if you worked hard”. I didn’t think it was a good idea then. I don’t think its a good idea now. Please forgive me if I don’t trust others with data to manipulate my children.
Money From the Federal Government, I pay taxes, I pay school taxes, I don’t care if Delaware has excepted a bribe from the DOE to set up yet another bureaucracy, It all comes from the same pocket, mine.
Rigorous National Standards, These standards were not created by educators, there was no task force that scoured the globe in search of the best educational methods and standards. In fact educational scholars refused to endorse these standards. They are not proven at all! This is experimental education and I don’t like my children used as guinea pigs.
Compete in the global economy, My generation’s education went to the moon, invented computers,internet,cell phones and much more. This is a definition of not competing I’m not familiar with. I have opted my 3rd grader out. I will opt out my older children soon. I need your support. HB50. Proud Father David Brenton
David, this is awesome! Thank you for sharing this!