How Could Governor Markell Veto House Bill 50 On The 15th When It Was Presented To Him On The 16th? HB50VetoGate!!!!

Governor Markell, HB50VetoGate

You know it’s official when it’s on the General Assembly website.  Not that it wasn’t before.  But this was the page I went to the most during this legislative session.  Especially the past few weeks, looking for any action on it, and always left wondering- when would he do something on this.  What is he waiting for.  We found out the answer to that on Thursday July 16th, 2015.  The day Delaware Governor Jack Markell sealed his legacy for thousands of parents in Delaware…. Wait one minute… The legislature website says he vetoed the bill on July 15th. How could that even be if it wasn’t presented to him until 11:57am on Thursday July 16th? What kind of game did Governor Markell play on this bill?

This was the email sent from Richard Puffer:

From: Puffer, Richard (LegHall)
Sent: Thursday, July 16, 2015 12:01 PM
To: Kowalko, John (LegHall)
Subject: HB 50 – Just sent to Governor’s office



Just sent over HB 50 at 11:57 a.m.

Best regards,

Rich Puffer

Below is the information on the website:

148th General Assembly
House Bill 50 w/HA 1 + SA 1, SA 2 + HA 2
Primary Sponsor(s): Kowalko Additional Sponsor(s):    Sen. Lawson

Co-Sponsors: Reps. Baumbach, Keeley, Matthews, Spiegelman, K. Williams, Yearick; Sen. Henry

Introduced On: 03/12/2015


Synopsis of Bill: This bill creates the right for the parent or guardian of a child to opt out of the annual assessment, currently the Smarter Balanced Assessment System.

Current Status: Vetoed   On  07/15/2015

Date Governor Acted: 07/15/2015 Effective Date:

Volume Chapter: :

Full Text of Legislation:
(HTML format)
Legis.html     Email this Bill to a friend

And here is the information on Governor Markell’s own website: and I’ve enlarged and bolded the date for emphasis:

July 16, 2015

Governor Vetoes Opt-Out Bill, Signs Legislation to Reduce Testing for All Students

Governor Markell announced that he has vetoed House Bill 50, which would allow for any student to be opted-out of any state or district assessment, while he signed Senate Joint Resolution 2, which aims to eliminate unnecessary, ineffective, or redundant tests required by the state, districts, and individual schools.

Unless he got a flux capacitator and went back in time, this is literally impossible.  I’m calling this HB50VetoGate.  Did Markell circumvent Delaware law and veto legislation passed by the the Delaware House of Representatives and Senate before it was formally presented to him?  Physically?  I posted the original letter sent to the House of Representatives, where Richard Puffer, the Chief Clerk of the Delaware House of Representatives said it was delivered back to him at 12:55pm.

Once again, we have a Governor who does whatever the hell he wants, and if you don’t like it, too bad.  How in the world did the legislators put up with him for the past six and a half years?  And all his staff and other departments?  And the other Governors of the USA?  And Obama?

Or…this could just be an error on someone’s end.  I’ll definitely have to check on this.  Can we see the original document signed by Markell?  No, because he never signed it, the whole point of a veto.  So will we ever know the truth on this?

Freire Charter School in Wilmington Goes To Court!

Freire Charter School

Thanks to the News Journal for getting this story out!  I first wrote about the issues the Midtown Brandywine Neighborhood Association were having with Freire Charter School in Wilmington last December.  The school changed locations, which caused the neighbors to become alarmed.  Their biggest gripe was the number of parking spots in their neighborhood, which are already in low demand.  The matter escalated in March when then Head of School scuffled with some protesters during an Open House the school was having.  Porter was eventually charged for the assault, but no trial date has been set at this point in time to my knowledge.

Their neighbors filed an injunction to stop the school from opening in August, and even though the heart of the issue won’t happen for another two years when the school expands and the parking spots leased from the building owner would overflow in capacity based on the new employees, the judge doesn’t want to kick the can down the road over an already established school.  The hearing date will be on July 31st.

Weasel Of The Week: Governor Jack Alan “Veto” Markell…But Who Are The Offspring?

Governor Markell, Weasel of the Week

Every week, Rick Jensen on WDEL has a Weasel of the Week.  This week, in honor of his veto of House Bill 50, Governor Markell was the chosen one.  But who are the offspring weasels?  Find out here, for a limited time in this awesome podcast!

Delaware PTA Statement On House Bill 50 Parent Opt-Out Veto & Link To Petition For Legislators To Override Veto

Delaware PTA, House Bill 50

Thanks to Dr. Terri Hodges, President of the Delaware PTA for letting me post this in it’s entirety from the Delaware PTA website.

A message from the State PTA President, Dr. Terri Hodges

On Thursday June 16, 2015, Governor Markell vetoed HB 50 on the parent opt out. You can read Governor Markell Statement to House of Representatives Vetoing House Bill 50

We are deeply disappointed in the Governor’s decision to veto HB 50. Even more so, we are disappointed with the reasoning outlined in his letter to the General Assembly. His statements clearly demonstrate a lack of understanding of not only HB 50, but also of the motivations behind parent support of this Bill. We are deeply saddened that the Governor has chosen to defend his right to exercise his veto power on the backs of our minority and at risk student populations. Many national civil rights organizations have clearly shown that these types of high stakes tests only serve to widen the achievement gap. As such, Delaware PTA denounces the Governor’s arguments. Furthermore, the argument that this assessment is the “only objective” tool we have to measure student growth and school performance is categorically false.

As we have stated before, this Bill is very straight forward, in that it codifies a parent’s right to opt their child out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment. However, opponents of the bill and subsequent amendments took the argument down a very convoluted and confusing path. Even those that are well versed on the subject and familiar with the bill were confused at times. To help alleviate any confusion or misconceptions with regard to parent motivation and interest in HB 50, Delaware PTA attempted to meet with the Governor on numerous occasions, but he did not acknowledge our requests or attempt to meet with us. In fairness, his Education Policy Advisor did agree to speak with me for about 10 minutes via phone towards the end of the legislative session. Out of fairness to the thousands of members we represent and given the enormity of what was at stake, we felt a more genuine conversation was warranted.

HB 50 passed both the chambers with more than a 3/5 majority. Your legislators worked very hard and fought for your rights as parents. They listened to you. For that they should be commended.

Although the Governor has vetoed this bill, it is not dead. Our legislators still have the right to override his veto when the general assembly resumes in January 2016.  This is an election year and we know the legislators will continue to work hard to represent their constituents.

During the last 24 hours, we have heard from many of you asking “what’s next?”, and many more have taken to social media to express their discontent with the Governor’s decision.
We came together before to get the bill this far, and we are asking for your support once again.


  1. We need each and every one of you to contact the legislators and thank them for their support on HB 50. Ask them to stand firm in their convictions, support their constituents and honor their first vote by overriding the Governor’s veto of HB 50. 


  1. Sign this petition to override the Governor’s veto of HB 50

 Here you will find the  HB 50 Roll Call listing all the legislators and how they voted. In addition, here is the contact information for the Delaware Legislators 2015 

Dr. Terri L Hodges,

State PTA President

I have to admit, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the Delaware PTA before this whole opt-out movement.  But even before that, when they wrote a letter against the priority schools initiative, they started to turn me to their side.  And then the opt-out movement hit, and the Delaware PTA went right up to bat and hit a grand slam home run with their Town Hall meetings on opt-out.  They haven’t looked back since.  They have been at the forefront of every single meeting, decision, and supporting it front and center.  My most sincere thanks to the Delaware PTA on this!  While I may not agree completely with their stance on the Common Core state standards, I know they will listen.  But for now, go PTA!

Please sign the petition Dr. Hodges provided a link for, and lets get these legislators to override Governor Markell!!!!!!!

And once again, if this is your first time seeing the message, opt-out is dead, we are now REFUSE THE TEST DELAWARE!

Both House and Senate ESEA Bills Allow for Opt-out Without Penalty


I knew Mercedes could find this! Excellent work!

deutsch29: Mercedes Schneider's Blog

Both the House and Senate have passed proposed authorizations of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965, and both House and Senate versions have opt-out provisions that allow for states to avoid being penalized for students whose parents opt them out of federally-mandated testing.

That’s right: Both House and Senate versions of the ESEA reauthorization provide a means for students who opt out to not be counted against the “95 percent” that the state is supposed to test as a condition for receiving Title I funding.

They just go about it differently.

I realize all of this can be difficult to follow. In this post, I hope to make the issue clear.

Opt-out and ECAA

Here’s how the parental opt-out provision works in the Senate’s Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA) of 2015:

Paragraph (2) of Title I, entitled, “Academic Assessments,” (page 36 of the ECAA draft linked…

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