Delaware’s House Bill 50 Landslide Vote Hits The Washington Post & The Associated Press

Randall Chase with the Associated Press wrote an article that appeared in The Washington Post about Delaware’s Parent Opt-Out legislation, House Bill 50.  Chase reached out to Governor Markell who said:

“I don’t think it’s a good bill,” Markell said, who touted recent improvements in state schools, including higher graduation rates, lower dropout rates and more students taking and passing advanced placement tests.”

“Markell also noted that members of the civil rights community in Delaware and other states have supported annual assessments as an effective way to identify and address the needs of minority students.”

I commented on the article, which can be found here.

“Sadly, Governor Markell is mistaken with his opposition of this bill. His own Secretary of Education, Mark Murphy, publicly told the House of Representatives there was no current growth model established for the Smarter Balanced Assessment. He also publicly stated parents aren’t allowed to opt students out of the state assessment. As Mercedes Schneider recently pointed out, 28 national civil rights groups stated their opposition to opt-out. Today, only 12 of those groups are speaking in opposition.

Of course Governor Markell would think this is bad bill. I believe he mistakenly attributes the progress made in Delaware schools to standardized testing, when the reality is Delaware has many effective and great public school teachers who are doing more with far less due to cuts Markell instituted years ago and never reinstated. This bill passed the House with a 36-3 vote with 2 absent. This sends a clear message to Delaware parents that state legislators understand parents fundamental rights and they do not believe in this assessment.

The very discussion of this bill has people all over Delaware talking about education like they never have before, from the most effective way to educate our inner-city students to what the best way to determine student outcomes is. Many in the state are fast realizing the Race To The Top and high-stakes testing have been nothing but a severe disruption and a money pit for our schools and students. Governor Markell could veto the bill, but the Delaware House and Senate could override that veto with a 60% vote in both.”

Markell has been utilizing the positions of civil rights groups in Delaware for months to bolster his opposition of the opt-out movement.  Mercedes Schneider, a Louisiana educator with the very popular Deutsch29 education blog, wrote on Wednesday about 28 national civil rights groups that petitioned the U.S. Congress during discussion about the ESEA reauthorization back in January.  When asked to declare a formal position on opt-out, only 12 of those groups participated in this statement, according to Schneider.

While Delaware State Rep. Stephanie Bolden was not present for the vote, she did have some very strong concerns in regards to inner-city students and opt-out.  I have decided to get this conversation started here:

Published by

Kevin Ohlandt

I am a proud parent of a son with Tourette's Syndrome and several other co-morbidities. I write on this blog to educate other parents so they know a bit more about not only special education, but all the really bad things that are happening with public schools in Delaware and the USA. We are all in this together, and if our children aren't able to advocate for themselves it's up to us parents! We need to stop letting companies run our schools, and demand our children get a proper education. Our Departments of Education in our states have become weak with fear from the bullying US DOE, and we need to take back our schools!

2 thoughts on “Delaware’s House Bill 50 Landslide Vote Hits The Washington Post & The Associated Press”

  1. Notice how they use the very general “annual assessments” when the “real” issue is “this” assessment. I was about to rip the civil rights groups apart, until I saw that Markell used the broad term,”annual assessments” subbing it in for the Smarter Balanced Assessment…. If one is talking about the DCAS, well there may be some evidence towards using it to see yearly improvement, as long as it is not used for other things, like firing teachers. But if one is talking about the Smarter Balanced Assessment, anyone supporting it, is selling children down the river; and that includes for the most part, black ones…

    I know of no civil rights leader who supports the Smarter Balanced Assessment… Yes they support general testing but so do I, but that is entirely different from saying they support the Smarter Balanced Assessment… Markell is not quite lying, but by answering a direct question with a vague generality, he is hoping the reader will make the association and think that civil rights leaders are behind the Smarter Balanced Assessment… They aren’t… It is impossible to serve two different masters working for opposite sides.

    Question to all…. Is there any civil rights leader here in Delaware still stupid enough to be supportive of the Smarter Balanced Assessment? I don’t know of any, and couldn’t find any…. Did see quotes about “generalized” standardized testing, but even most of them were dated 2013 or before….


  2. The quote “I don’t think it’s a good bill,” Markell said, who touted recent improvements in state schools, including higher graduation rates, lower dropout rates and more students taking and passing advanced placement tests.”

    Higher graduation rates include the years 2009 through 2014. The Smarter Balance or Common Core Curriculum was not in place at that time… Instead we were using his predecessor’s program, DCAS, to which all credit should be aimed, and not towards Markell’s administration which simply let it go while they worked on the Smarter Balanced.

    The Advance Placement tests are three steps up over and above Common Core. All the benefits touted here, are actually the result of Minner’s programs which he has disrupted, scrapped, and unfunded….

    So translated, his statement should read like this…. I don’t think parents should opt out because all the programs I tore down, are still making me look good…. Am I right here?

    Yes. That is what he says.


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