People I Can Text, Email, Or FB Message After 10 PM, And They Will Generally Get Back To Me Immediately List

In response to my article earlier today about those who don’t always respond to me, this was requested by one of the members of this honorary list with this very specific title and another one asked that I do something like this anyways:

Delaware State Rep. Trey Paradee

John Young

Executive Director of the Charter School Office at the Delaware Department of Education Jennifer Nagourney

Updated: And State Rep. Kim Williams!!!!

Updated Four Days Later: And Liz Paige as well!

Who will be next to come out of the woodwork wanting credit on here?

House Bill 50 Going To Governor Markell Hits Lots Of Delaware Media Today

Aside from here, many other news outlets jumped on the Delaware Senate passing House Bill 50:

http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/local/item/83489-delaware-opt-out-bill-heads-to-governor

http://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/education/2015/06/25/lawmakers-ok-letting-students-skip-standardized-testing/29287065/

http://www.wboc.com/story/29410170/final-approval-for-bill-allowing-students-to-skip-tests

http://delawarepublic.org/post/opt-out-bill-passes-senate-heads-gov-markell

All eyes are on Governor Markell…

What Will Delaware Governor Jack Markell Do With The House & Senate Passed Opt-Out Bill, House Bill 50?

The Delaware Senate just passed House Bill 50 by a vote of 15-6.  The very controversial parent opt-out bill now travels to Delaware Governor Jack Markell’s desk.  Will he sign it?  Veto it?  I just asked his Education Policy Advisor Lindsey O’Mara and she does not know what he is going to do.

If he vetoes the bill, he faces the wrath of many Delaware parents.  If he signs the bill he is sure to tick off US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and a legion of corporate education reformers in Delaware.  Whatever the result, the passage of this bill in the 148th General Assembly honors a parents right to opt their child out of standardized assessments in Delaware.  It will also prevent schools or the state Department of Education from bullying or intimidating parents when they choose to opt their child out.  It shows respect and tolerance of parent wishes which is the heart of the legislation.

Thank you to State Rep. John Kowalko and Senator Dave Lawson for sponsoring the bill, along with the Delaware PTA who came through time and time again.  As well, the Delaware State Educators Association, and the hundreds of parents who fought very hard for this bill.  This is a major victory and you should all be proud!

House Bill 50 Senate Vote: 15 Yes, 6 No, House Bill 50 Passes!!!!!

It looks like they are following the agenda today, and House Bill 50 is #5 on the list.  While we are waiting, I’ll update you on the latest.  Senator Bryan Townsend appeared in a WDEL article and discussed parent opt-out.  He indicated he supports the bill, it is coming back to the Senate, and “after the House stripped the amendment off that I put on, and I’m OK with that,” and reporter Frank Gerace said “Townsend supports the bill, even without his amendment.”   So that sounds like one definitive yes vote today!  Seven Delaware senators voted no last week out of the 21 present.  Exactly one-third of the Senate.

The current bill, Senate Bill 51, is taking a while, but listening to the testimony it is a very important bill about child witnesses.  Roll call on an amendment for SB51 happening now.  It passed.  The actual bill passed as well.

They are going off the agenda now.  Senator Henry is bringing in the Nelson Mandela Washington Fellows studying this summer at the University of Delaware.  All of them are from different countries in Africa.  Very cool!

We are back on the agenda.  Sokola deferred item #3.  Onto item #4…deferred.  House Bill 50 is up!  Being read into consideration right now with the amendments.  Lindsey O’Mara just walked in the room.  Sokola is explaining how Senate Amendment #2 was stricken.  Townsend is explaining he is okay with his amendment being stripped.  He is defending his amendment.  “They are able to drive and hunt,” and he is echoing what Senator Bonini said last week.  Townsend just said the fiercest parents are basing legislator votes as a high-stakes test for them.  Lavelle said he wants to opt-out of the vote.  Sokola opposes.

HOUSE BILL 50 PASSED!!!!!!

Maine: Farewell to SBAC! We Hardly Knew Ye

And another state leaves the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. Will Delaware be the last, or are there other states more desperate than us?

Diane Ravitch's blog

Emily Talmage of Save Maine Schools says goodby (and don’t come back) to the federally-funded Common Core assessments called SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium).

It is not a fond farewell.

She writes:

“SBAC, you will not be missed – but rest assured that we will not forget you.

“We will not forget how many hours you took from children so that they could take part in your failed testing experiment.

“We will not forget the way you set our children up to fail – confusing them with strange, multi-part directions that even adults could not decipher; giving them reading passages written for students well beyond their grade level; requiring them to manipulate complicated computer interfaces to answer your questions…

“We will not forget how hard some parents had to fight to protect their children from your nonsense.

“We will not forget the way you hid your profit-seeking makers behind non-profit…

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Forget Firefly! Forget Big Barrell! The Biggest Tour This Summer Is HB50! Go To Legislative Hall & Hear The Vote At 2pm!!!

The HB50 tour continues!  Next stop, a return engagement to the Delaware Senate Chamber today at 2pm.  This may be their last stop in this building, and we are all hoping for a final show at what I like to call “desk of Markell”.  The HB50 tour has been going non-stop since February, and they are tired and need a rest.  They never give up though and will keep going until they are heard.  So please check out the HB50 today at Legislative Hall in Dover at 2pm.  There are other bands playing, and HB50 is 5th on the list, but that is subject to change.  Get there early for a side-seat or a back-row seat.  Nobody wants to be up in the balcony for this one!

My Email To Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf & Senator Patricia Blevins About House Bills 186 & 61

After seeing the stunts pulled by the Earl Jaques with House Bill 186, the Academy of Dover State Auditor report, and the very deliberate attempts by the Delaware Charter Schools Network to kill the bill, I decided to start digging into charter school board minutes yesterday which is how I found out the information on Odyssey Charter and Thomas Edison Charter School.  By the time I published that information, I was pretty livid and disgusted, so I emailed the Speaker of the House and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate to get both House Bill 186 AND House Bill 61.  This is what I wrote:

Good Evening Rep. Schwartzkopf and Senator Blevins,

I wrote two articles on Exceptional Delaware tonight about two Delaware charter schools, Odyssey and Thomas Edison.  All my information was obtained from their own board minutes.  These charters, along with Academy of Dover, Family Foundations Academy and Providence Creek Academy and two other unnamed charters are all having huge financial issues as well as investigations by Tom Wagner’s office.

Rep. Kim Williams has been monitoring these situations since last December when Family Foundations Academy was revealed to have fraud and waste going on with spending by their two heads of schools.  She very wisely introduced House Bill 53, then House Bill 154, both of which were folded into House Bill 186.  After a week of being in limbo, the bill was finally released from committee today.  I am asking you both a huge favor here, and I know I have no position to make this request.

I am asking Rep. Schwartzkopf to place this, as well as House Bill 61 (allows for recording of all school board meetings) on the agenda for a House vote tomorrow, and if it passes, that Senator Blevins suspends Delaware Senate rules and petition these bills out of the education committee and have them on the agenda for a Senate vote before midnight on June 30th. 

While we are cutting funds from services that desperately need funds, our charter schools are running amok.  And these are only the ones we KNOW are doing stuff to warrant an investigation by Wagner’s office.  For some reason, they are protected by organizations like the Delaware Charter Schools Network who may or may not know about many of these financial improprieties. 

If we truly want to make Delaware education a top priority, it starts with oversight of our schools.  This is beyond the point of absurdity.  Thank you very much for your consideration on this matter and I pray you will make the right decisions here for the good of Delaware students.

Kevin Ohlandt

If you would also like to see this action taken, please call Schwartkopf at (302) 744-4531 or email him at Peter.Schwartzokpf@state.de.us and call Blevins at (302) 744-4133 or email her at Patricia.Blevins@state.de.us and let them know you want votes on both of these very important bills.  And I strongly recommend doing this prior to 2pm today!

The Exceptional Delaware No Response List

Over the past year, I’ve reached out to several people and organizations either for information on articles or to advocate on issues.  I usually get a response, but some flat-out ignore me.  Especially after I publish something in opposition to their stance or actions.  That’s fair.  But at least respond!  And no, anonymous comments made on here with different names do not count as a response!

The biggest one would have to be Dr. Paul Herdman with Rodel, which I made very public on here.  After he blasted me on my Rodel article in an email last November, I emailed him back and asked him to meet at any of the six priority schools.  I never got a response back from him.  I did introduce myself to him at the Senate Education Committee meeting a couple weeks ago…

I reached out to the Delaware Charter Schools Network last summer quite a bit in regards to special education and why they never really talked about it.  They did respond: by blocking me from their Twitter account.  I am not holding out hope they will respond to my latest email to them…

The DOE can be infamous for not responding, but I have to give credit where credit is due.  Penny Schwinn reached out immediately when I had questions about the whole Smarter Balanced/SAT debacle a couple months ago.  But I did call them out on a FOIA response a few weeks ago.  I requested one specific email that I know they sent regarding Senate Joint Resolution #2.  I was told they couldn’t find it but I could pay DTI $300.00 to search for it.  I emailed back and said they were lying.  No response.  I’ve reached out to the Exceptional Children Resources Group a few times and they are hit and miss…

I will say Donna Johnson with the State Board of Education is very quick to email me if I get something absolutely wrong.  I respect that and I will correct things in those situations if I see proof or it just makes logical sense.  With that being said, she has not responded to requests for meetings either…

Lindsey O’Mara, Governor Markell’s Education Policy Advisor, hasn’t responded two weeks later to an email.  After Jack gave a big speech at New America, I asked who pays for this and if the Governor gets any compensation for these speeches.  Zippo from Lindsey on this…

Even last weekend, I emailed the head of the charter school office at the DOE about their part-time charter school monitoring job.  I advised them my blog does about 3/4 of that work anyways, and if they added special education monitoring onto it and made it a full-time job with benefits, salary could be negotiable.  Updated: Just got a response!  And I will add that Jennifer Nagourney is very good about returning emails, even late at night or on weekends!  The charter school monitoring job email I sent was more of a feeler and not an official application.

I’ve sent a couple emails to Delaware Speaker of the House Pete Schwartzkopf to get House Bill 61 on the agenda, no response.  But I have to say, most of the legislators do respond if it is very specific…

The blogger Kavips NEVER responds to any email anyone sends.  This is a blogger that is so anonymous I don’t think he/she knows who he/she is anymore…

The biggest no responder is none other than Governor Jack Markell himself.  I’ve emailed him numerous times about issues and requested meetings.  Nada.  Nothing.  Not even a “my people will get back to you”…

Will this trend continue?  Absolutely.  I’m not the News Journal, so they are under no obligation to get back to a spitfire blogger who doesn’t get paid to publish information.  However, it is always in their best interest to do so, because it makes it look worse for them when I do publish information and their lack of response becomes part of the issue.  In fact, I’m going to email someone at the DOE right now and see what happens…