Change.org Petition To Have Delaware Senate Petition House Bill 50 Out of Committee & Bring To Full Senate Vote

After the way Senator David Sokola handled the Senate Education Committee meeting today, I have zero confidence he supports this bill or even believes in the rights of parents unless they fit his or Governor Markell’s agenda.  Therefore, I am petitioning the Delaware Senate to petition House Bill 50 OUT of the Senate Education Committee.  This would bring House Bill 50 to a full Senate vote.  This is allowable through the Delaware Senate Rules as created by Senate Resolution #2, from December 14th, 2014.

Please go to change.org and sign for this so we can get the ball moving fast before the 148th General Assembly is done until January!

https://www.change.org/p/delaware-state-senate-petition-house-bill-50-out-of-senate-education-committee

Rep. Jaques Wants To Limit Power At DOE With Educator Evaluation System In House Joint Resolution #6

House Joint Resolution #6, introduced today by Delaware State Rep. Earl Jaques would limit the Delaware Department of Education’s ability to implement changes in the DPAS-II Educator Evaluation System.  I need all teachers to tell me if this is good or bad!

Email To Delaware Senate Leaders Requesting House Bill 50 To Be Petitioned Out Of Committee

I just sent the following email to Delaware Senators Patricia Blevins, David McBride, and Margaret Rose-Henry, who form the majority Senate leadership.  I also forwarded the email to the Senate Minority leaders, Gary Simpson and Gregory Lavelle.

Senators Blevins, McBride and Henry,

My name is Kevin Ohlandt and I am a parent advocate for the parent opt-out movement in Delaware.  Today, House Bill 50 was finally scheduled to be heard in the Senate Education Committee.  Many parents traveled to Dover to hear the bill, and many more were eagerly awaiting the results.  Some arranged for babysitters, or took time off of work.  I fully understand that agendas are subject to change, but it was painfully obvious to all in attendance what was going on during the meeting.  House Bill 50 was the oldest bill on the agenda.  While I in no way mean to disparage the importance of the others bills, because they are all equally important, I found the meeting to be very disorganized.    Senator Sokola arrived ten minutes late for what he knew was a very full agenda.  The room was filled with people, and I understand it is customary in a situation like that to limit public comment.  As the meeting went on, many members of the public gave public comment which was not limited in any way whatsoever.  As well, Senator Sokola gave prominence to Senate Joint Resolution #2 over House Bill 50.  To give some background here, Senator Sokola and State Rep. Earl Jaques both sponsored this resolution, with the collaboration of Lindsey O’Mara from the Governor’s office and the Delaware Department of Education.  I published a document circulated by the DOE labeling SJR #2 as an alternative to House Bill 50, the same day SJR #2 was formally introduced.  As well, I have seen an email sent out by Shana Young with the DOE indicating that SJR #2 would not give the General Assembly any “formal authority” over the assessment inventory.  Today, at the meeting, time was spent on an amendment giving the General Assembly more authority.  It was also announced the Smarter Balanced Assessment, the very test parents are opting out of, could be included in this supposed “assessment inventory”.

To give an idea of the manipulation being perpetrated by the DOE, I submitted a FOIA request to the DOE for this exact email.  I was told today it does not exist.  So either the DOE employee is using personal email for state business, the email was deleted, or there is a cover-up.  I have already called out the DOE on their outright lie in response to their FOIA response, and I will submit yet another complaint with the Department of Justice in regards to these matters. It is my contention, and that of many concerned parents, this has all been done under the watchful eye of Senator Sokola.  The Delaware Department of Education, including Secretary Murphy, were very smug and condescending as the meeting abruptly ended without House Bill 50 even being heard and I was receiving texts it would not be heard before the meeting was only 1/4 done.  At no point during the meeting did Senator Sokola attempt to limit public comment, or even advise parents who came for House Bill 50 the bill would not be heard.  It is also many parents contention around Delaware that certain legislators are more tied to Governor Markell’s education agendas than serving their constituents and the citizens of Delaware.  Unfortunately, this includes both Chairs of the Education Committees in the General Assembly.  This is a bill that was passed by the House with a 36-3 vote, and it is disrespectful to let it fall prey to these types of political games.  It is disrespectful to the parents, students, teachers, and supporters of this bill who have fought for so long to have their voice finally be heard in education matters. Therefore, I would like to ask you, Senator Blevins, to suspend Senate rules and petition House Bill 50 out of committee prior to its 12th legislative day based on the following Senate rules:

RULE 16. PETITION OUT OF COMMITTEE.

Upon written request signed by the majority of the members elected to the Senate and directed to the Presiding Officer, any bill, joint resolution, or other business that has been in a committee for a period exceeding 12 legislative days, except those assigned to the Bond Bill or Finance Committees, shall be reported to the Senate.

Delaware parents need this bill to be heard.  The abuse, intimidation, and outright lies stemming from the Department of Education and the Governor’s office is very damaging to the integrity of Delaware.  Many parents have seen and felt the manipulation and abuse of power in education matters in our state, and it is becoming more transparent every single day.  The stall tactics on this legislation, first very smugly done by State Rep. Jaques in the House Education Committee, and now more overtly done by Senator Sokola, do not paint a nice picture for the legislative process in Delaware.  It shows a level of corruption and maneuvering that brings shame on the Delaware General Assembly.

Thank you for your consideration in this matter.

Respectfully,

Kevin Ohlandt

Senator Sokola Purposely Runs Down The Clock So House Bill 50 Not Heard

Today at the Delaware Senate Education Committee meeting, House Bill 50, the parent opt-out bill was NOT HEARD.  There were five bills on the agenda, and the chair, Senator David Sokola, came strolling in very late.  As well, there were numerous public speakers, and he made NO effort to limit their speaking time.  In fact, he let them talk as long as they wanted to.  But he did get to have his Senate Joint Resolution #2 heard, which has now been amended to give the General Assembly more authority in the process of the State conducting an assessment inventory.

Sokola did say House Bill 50 will be heard first at next week’s Senate Education Committee meeting, but this was purposely done, make NO mistake about that.  The Senate was requested at 4pm to come downstairs for their session.  The most disgusting part of the whole thing was Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy smiling and giggling on his way out, like some demented freak.  This is a disturbing man, and he should not be around any children whatsoever, much less leading education in our state.

Senator Sokola obviously is at the beck and call of the DOE and Governor Markell.  He is not fit to lead any matters in education.  He is in the back pocket of the Governor, who is in the back pocket of all the corporate interests.

Contradicting what the DOE said in April at the State Board meeting, the Smarter Balanced Assessment is now included in the statewide assessment inventory but DO NOT BE FOOLED for one second this is to be taken seriously, despite what Governor Markell’s education policy advisor, Lindsey O’Mara said at the meeting, because that is also up to “state and federal regulations” as she said.

This is an obvious stall on the Governor’s part.  I could feel it in the air.  There were too many smug faces in that room.  No consideration whatsoever was given to members of the public who showed up for the meeting to hear House Bill 50.  Far too much time was allotted for public comment, and that was done with one goal in mind: to keep pushing this off.  In the meantime, we will see more useless editorials coming out and more ridiculous links and commentaries on the DOE’s Facebook page.

This is the Delaware Way at it’s finest and most appalling.  Parents, this is WAR!  Our Governor and DOE does not give a rats ass about any of us.  We are just little bugs to them.  It’s time to swarm.

My Letter To The Senate Education Committee

Short and sweet:

House Bill 50

To
  • Sokola David (LegHall)
  • Hall-Long Bethany (LegHall)
  • Henry Margaret Rose (LegHall)
  • Lopez Ernesto B.
  • Marshall Robert (LegHall)
  • Pettyjohn Brian (LegHall)
  • Poore Nicole
  • Townsend Bryan (LegHall)
Please vote YES for House Bill 50 today.  It’s the morally correct thing to do!