Christina School District Superintendent Freeman Williams is about to get tarred and feathered by members of his school board

If this is accurate, Markell is nothing more than a thug. He runs government as if it were the mob. He is a bully, pure and simple. I’ve heard from many how he runs things like he is a dictator, and we are seeing more and more of this lately, especially when it comes to his baby, education. His veto of House Bill 50 will be his Achilles heel though. This made the entire state see him for what he really is. His legacy will go down in flames, along with the rest of the politicians and reformers who purport to be the “saviors” of education. They are all greedy bastards, and I can’t wait till they are prosecuted for their crimes.

Election 2016: Delaware State Reps & Senators Who Will Have To Run Again

Election Day 2016.  The day politics can change in a heartbeat or remain the status quo.  For the past seven years, we’ve had a Democrat trifecta in Delaware.  The Dems rule the Governor seat and the majority of the House and Senate seats.  For the past twenty-three years, the Dems have ruled the Governor and Senate seats.  Many talk about a “blue Delaware”, but the House was ruled by the Republicans for a long time prior to 2008.

All 41 of the House seats are up for re-election next year.  11 out of 21 Senate seats are up as well. The big issues in 2016 are going to be the economy, the budget and education.  The following Delaware Senators will have to start campaigning soon if they decide to run for another four years:

Harris McDowell, Democrat, 1st District

Catherine Cloutier, Republican, 5th District

Patricia Blevins, Democrat, 7th District

David Sokola, Democrat, 8th District

Karen Peterson, Democrat, 9th District

Nicole Poore, Democrat, 12th District

David McBride, Democrat, 13th District

Bruce Ennis, Democrat, 14th District

Dave Lawson, Republican, 15th District

Brian Pettyjohn, Republican, 19th District

Gerald Hocker, Republican, 20th District

Out of these Senators, all voted yes for House Bill 50, with the exception of McDowell and Sokola.  For the final vote in the House, all voted yes except for the following: Jaques, Dukes, Gray, Heffernan, and Q. Johnson.  Not voting were Bolden and the soon-to-be-stepping down Barbieri.  It remains to be seen who will take over in the 18th District Barbieri represents.

Remember these NO and not voting members of our General Assembly.  They may get one more chance to shine on this issue with the House Bill 50 Veto Override.  Rep. Schwartzkopf has already said no to this, so I will definitely be making a big issue of that in the next year and four months.  Sorry Pete, you stuck it to parents by siding with Markell.  No sympathy!

This will be a huge election, statewide and nationally.  We will have a new President and a new Governor.  You only get to vote once, so make your voice count!

Corporate Ed Reform “EducationNext” Releases Skewed Opt-Out Survey Results

Paul Peterson and Martin West with EducationNext released a blog post today based on a survey showing 67% of the public want federal testing requirements for students and oppose opt-out.  This is from a survey sent to 700 teachers and 3,300 members of the public.  You know what, I can send out a survey and it means nothing without knowing who your sample groups are.  I know if I put a survey up on my blog that it is going to skew towards my target audience: concerned parents and disgruntled teachers.  I would never base public policy off those numbers.

But EducationNext is led by folks like Michael Petrilli with the Thomas Fordham Institute, a long-time supporter of charter schools and high-stakes testing, so I shouldn’t be surprised.  He is also a fellow at the Hoover Institution, who is the publisher of the EducationNext blog.  So I challenge Peterson, West and Petrilli to show who this survey was sent to.

We found little public sympathy for the “opt-out” point of view.  Only 25% of the public like the idea, while 59% oppose it, the remainder taking a neutral position.  Among parents themselves, just 32% favored the opt-out approach, while 52% opposed it.  Fifty-seven percent of the teachers also reacted negatively to the idea, with only 32% lending it support.  Clearly, the public favors the Senate education bill’s approach to this issue over that of the bill that passed the House.

Clearly is a strong word, and I would want a much larger sample size to base your ideological arguments off of.  Because I really don’t believe 57% of teachers are opposed to opt-out, and aside from the ones coerced into these reformer agenda think tanks, most favor it.

Of these 700 teachers, how many were sent to local district teachers?  Since they represent the largest group of teachers, I would assume at least 75% of the surveys went to them.  But if it was sent to mostly charter school and Teach For America teachers, of course the data would lend support towards exactly what EducationNext, the Thomas Fordham Institute and the Hoover Foundation represent.  Which is the privatization of public schools and the destruction of teachers unions.  As for the 3,300 “adult members of the public”, how many are parents of traditional school district children? How many are charter school parents?  What is the statistical age representation of this survey?  Failure to release that kind of information does not lend credibility to your arguments.

This is the biggest problem in education these days, organizations like yours coming up with these reports and surveys and using the flawed data to mold legislators into your puppets to pass laws off your agendas.  The lines between public policy and lobbyists have become so convoluted that the bias towards corporate money in education has become the norm.  Enough already.  Why does anyone give Petrilli the time of day anymore?

Senator Lawson Gives The Knockout Punch To Markell and the “We Know Best” Bunch!

Not sure how I missed this one, but on the day of the Delaware Governor Markell veto of the parent opt-out bill, House Bill 50, the Delaware State News wrote an article with awesome quotes by Senator Dave Lawson where he said the following:

“This action by Gov. Markell proves, without a doubt, that he and the ‘We know best’ bunch have NO regard for what parents and the legislature approve.

“It is sad that the Governor decided to veto a piece of legislation supporting parents’ rights,” he added.
Gov. Markell had opposed the bill since the beginning, but the measure passed the House by a 31-vote and the Senate by 15-6 vote.

As one of the co-sponsors of the bill, alongside State Rep. John Kowalko, Lawson has stood of for parents rights and has been a strong parent advocate during this whole process of opting out.  During a press conference in early April, he referred to opt-out as a “God-given right for parents” and I couldn’t agree more.  In the past year, Lawson picked up the education baton and ran with it.  He served on the IEP Task Force which led to the passage of Senate Bill 33 to give parents more rights during the IEP process.  As well, he is the chair of the taskforce for the blind which came about from hard-hitting public comments during the IEP Task Force.

State Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf Will Not Vote For HB50 Veto Override, Cites SJR #2 As Reason

In an article today by Melissa Steele in the Cape Gazette, Delaware Speaker of the House Pete Schwartzkopf emphatically said no to any type of veto override for House Bill 50.

On the House side, Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach, said he will not support an override attempt. He voted yes for the bill in June, but he said he would call no special session to override the veto, and he will vote no for the override if it comes up after the legislative session resumes in January.

How does that song by Cyndie Lauper go, “I’ll see your true colors, shining through…”.  It sounds like he swallowed the poison pill that is Senate Joint Resolution #2 as well.  This is the statewide assessment inventory resolution that was always meant to counter House Bill 50.  Schwartkopf even said so in the article:

Schwartzkopf said based on the joint resolution, a task force is being established, and a lot of concerns of over testing may be resolved by its recommendation.

“Let’s give the task force a chance to look at this,” he said.

For those who may not recall, I was livid when SJR #2 was introduced, and even beforehand.  Once Markell announced his “overtesting” initiative, I knew this would be his huge attack against parent opt-out.  I even called allies out in their support of SJR #2, because I knew what it was meant to do.  And here we are, with a veto of an opt-out bill and a push for SJR #2.  If ANYONE thinks Smarter Balanced will be a major discussion point in the assessment inventory, in terms of eliminating that test, they are going to be fooled.  The talk will last for five minutes until someone says “We can’t get rid of it, it’s a federal requirement.”

Perhaps the day has come where Schwartzkopf shouldn’t be able to run the show anymore on the House side in Dover.  Maybe the House Bill 50 veto isn’t the only thing that needs to change down  there.

Meanwhile, Delaware State Senator Ernie Lopez is very much in favor of overriding the veto.

“Smarter Balanced has been the culmination and been on the receiving end of frustration on all levels,” he said. “All of us are disappointed in the governor’s response.”

Now that is a legislator quote I can agree with!  Once and for all we will see which legislators side with parents and which side with Markell in any veto override attempt in January.  And yes, as Senator Bryan Townsend said during the final senate vote on House Bill 50, legislators are being tested with this vote.  And with 11 out of 21 senate seats and all 41 of the House Representative seats open for re-election in November 2016, you better believe it!  Parents are watching what our legislators do like never before.