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

Governor Markell, House Bill 50, Parental Opt-Out of Standardized Testing

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!

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

  1. Hopefully he will just sign it because it had an overwhelming amount of support in the House and Senate. But given the fact that he really doesn’t seem to care about parents rights or for public education, he will probably veto or just sit on it. I guess we will find out.


  2. My prediction is that he’ll rest on the other bill (the resolution) and say that a study of all testing in the state will suffice and so this bill is redundant and not needed. “What we really need is to have the right testing done and we won’t know what the right testing is until we study what we have” For that reason he’ll veto the bill and support the Veto with his more comprehensive approach to this situation rather than a “knee jerk” reaction.
    Sorry to be the bad news person here but this is what I expect. If he does that – Parents Unite!!!


  3. The Governor’s announcement from William Penn High School on March 12, 2015 to do inventory on all tests
    (re: SJR2) came after and as a result of HB 50. This is an important timeline in HB 50’s journey. It’s in the Governor’s best to not veto a bill that he has went on record in a Delaware PTA video saying in his own words about the importance of parent engagement and involvement in their child’s education. He has a huge opportunity here to be the leader in this and pass this bill that will send a clear message to DC that we need to be willing to do better for our children and public school education and his support of this bill will show who he stands “with” at the end of the day. Who will he support? The Delaware people that have voted to support him into the chair he sits in today with the blessing of serving two terms or will he support those that are not the reason for where he sits today?


  4. in my previous comment, I missed mentioning the most important part of the HB 50 timeline. On March 12, 2015, it was introduced and assigned to the Education Committee in the House.

    On a personal note, March 12th is also especially interesting to me because it is the same day my dad passed away from battling pancreatic cancer in 2009.


    1. Here is the most ironic part of them all: A year ago, Delaware legislators sent a Smarter Balanced Assessment bill to Governor Markell’s desk. This year they sent an opt-out bill!


      1. Although I thought Senator Townsend’s speech about the high school juniors regarding the overage of tests and due to that conversation “without” the parents to allow them a right to opt out was careless on his part; however, I have to say, I respect him not just for his yes vote, but for admitting the failure in the implementation of SBAC to our schools from the DOE to Senate and to the Governor in not taking the needed time to ensure SBAC is a true and solid measure of academic achievement. He mentioned the Bill and Linda Gates foundation shared that the SBAC would need a year of research and data to confirm validity. This foundation is misguiding our government and our legislators need to be careful and get the right people involved parents and teachers before making critical decisions on public school education in the future especially when it comes with a large chunk of money. Money does not buy a child’s academic success. It’s more admirable to admit failure than to hide it.


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