The Delaware News Journal is an interesting newspaper. Read by about 300,000 citizens of Delaware, they are always quick to write an editorial about anything education related very soon after it happens. This week it was the announcement of who was on the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission and what the committees are.
This “Our View” opinion piece raised some interesting points, but it failed to mention the critical part about redistricting any Christina schools to Red Clay- funding. This is the biggest challenge facing this whole issue, and it seems like nobody really wants to talk about it at this point. I know, the group doesn’t even start meeting until next week. But if the funding questions aren’t answered very fast, this will never happen.
There is already serious talk about changing the way homes are assessed in Delaware. Most agree it is too low. But if you thought folks were screaming at everyone over two failed referendums in Christina, wait until any type of legislation is introduced to tackle that one! Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for it. My home is assessed at 1/3rd or less of it’s market value. Property assessments are always lower than the market value, but not that much! But there are many in the state who don’t want to pay one penny more for education. Some just don’t want to pay more, or they feel the districts and charters have too much wasteful spending, or they think the State of Delaware should cut a lot of their education reforms and give more to the districts. While that would certainly help, would it be enough for 133,000 public school students in the state?
The editorial does talk about “a sluggish economy that limits choices” and “revenue shortfalls“, but nothing about the very large elephant in the room over where the hell funding comes in for this. As we are seeing with the Red Clay priority schools, funding has already come up as a huge issue. What makes anyone think the state can handle something more immense?
But the editorial did mention the parent opt-out issue, but not as something parents wanted, but this:
“And in June, some legislators led a rebellion against the governor on mandatory state testing. Now they are threatening to override the Governor’s veto.”
First off, it wasn’t “some” legislators. It was almost 3/4 of them. This is where the News Journal editorial crowd always loses me. It makes the legislators look like a bunch of rowdy cowboys who only passed the bill to tick off Jack. It was more like this: they heard the voices of their constituents and acted. Just because it goes against the almighty Jack Markell doesn’t make it a rebellion. If anything, it signaled the first sign of Spring in Delaware education legislation after a very long Winter.