That certainly didn’t take long. Tony Allen, the Chair of the Wilmington Education Advisory Committee, hand delivered a letter to both the Delaware House of Representatives and Senate to create a Wilmington Education Improvement Commission. The very next day, yesterday, State Rep. Helene Keeley sponsored House Bill 148, which would create this entity.
This is a very interesting bill. It would allow a group not associated with the State government to implement changes through legislation. I am very reluctant to any legislation that gives any type of authority to the unelected State Board of Education, especially for a redistricting plan. I completely agree that many Wilmington schools desperately need help, along with many other Delaware schools. But having a Wilmington-based group like this advising strategy for the rest of the state is a slippery slope. I am intensely curious how this will all come out in the wash, over the long-term. I agree with Tony Allen, the time to act is now, but it should not be designed to give short-term fixes to long-term problems.
I’m going to go on record here and say that 50% of the problems in Wilmington can be traced back to special education. If this group does not tackle this issue, it will be destined for failure. I don’t know who would be on this group, but it would have to be many people with a true understanding of children with disabilities.
This bill’s next destination will be the House Education Committee, which will not meet again until June 3rd after the General Assembly has a two week recess. No agenda for that meeting has come out yet.