State Rep. Jeff Spiegelman’s DOE-State Board House Bill 34 Up For Senate Vote On Tuesday

Has it really been over a year since State Rep. Jeff Spiegelman introduced House Bill 34?  Yes it has!  But the wait could be over because it is up for a full Senate vote on Tuesday, March 15th.  House Bill 34 would make it so any new regulations, rules, or administrative procedures by the State Board of Education or the Delaware Department of Education won’t go into effect at the local school districts or charter schools until the school year has completed.  They do this all the time and change things up in the middle of the school year and it gives the districts and charters very little time to plan.  I’ve liked this bi-partisan bill since it was introduced!

It did get a Senate amendment attached to it along with an already passed House Amendment that clarifies if an emergency comes up or if a change is based on existing law, the wait would not take place.  I would assume that since the Senate put an amendment on it and they pass it on Tuesday, it would kick back to the House of Representatives.  The House passed this bill on June 30th, 2015.

Please email your Delaware Senator to pass this bi-partisan common sense legislation!

Ask Your Senator to Vote “No” on John King

Click the link on Diane Ravitch’s post and send it to Senators Carper and Coons for Delaware!

Diane Ravitch's blog

Tomorrow the US Senate will vote on the appointment of John King as Secretary of Education. He failed as the Commissioner of Education in Néw York. His rapid adoption of Common Core and teacher evaluation based on test scores led to a massive parent opt out. He battled parents to impose his agenda. He is no different from Arne Duncan.

The Network for Public Education urges you to contact your senators and be heard.

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I Like Version 2.0 Better Than The Original

Version2.0

I was talking to a friend the other day about the band Garbage.  They first came out at the end of 1995.  I didn’t get into the first album as much as I would have liked to cause I was moving to Sweden and the music is a lot different over there.  I got to hear Macarena for a whole year non-stop over there before I moved back to the states.  And guess what was just hitting the airwaves over here?  Macarena.  Dark times indeed!

Anyway, back to Garbage.  Their original album, self-titled, was good.  “Only Happy When It Rains”, “Stupid Girl”, and “Queer” were the big singles from that album.  Like I said, I enjoyed it but it wasn’t one of those albums you play non-stop.  That changed in 1998 with their new album, “Version 2.0”.  With the kick-off single, “Push It”, I was a lifelong Garbage fan after that.  When the album was released that May, I must have played the CD about 500 times over the next year.  The whole album was gold.  “I Think I’m Paranoid”, “Special”, and “When I Grow Up” generated more airplay for the band.  It was one of those albums that had a special place in my heart, especially with songs like “Medication” and “The Trick Is To Keep Breathing”.  I was reaching the end of my 20’s and I could feel my body saying “slow down”, “stop partying so much”.

Back to the conversation with my friend.  My friend asked me what was a better album from 1998, “Version 2.0” or the Beastie Boys “Hello Nasty”.  I liked the Beastie Boys ever since high school, but they were never a play all the time kind of band for me.  So I said “Version 2.0.  It would get my vote.”  Then another friend jumped into the conversation.  She said the original was better than “Version 2.0”.  I told her she was entitled to her opinion.  Then she started explaining why the original was better but kept referring to “Hello Nasty”.  But this person didn’t really know much about “Hello Nasty” at all, so how could they compare?  And were they comparing “Hello Nasty” to “Version 2.0” or the original?  It pained me to hear this conversation.  I get that the original was that person’s favorite, and I’m sure some others as well.  But if you don’t have the context to compare, the argument is fruitless.

It’s like going to a party and you are knee-deep in a conversation with someone and another person jumps in and without realizing it, makes it more about them then the people who were currently involved in the conversation.   Awkward!  The trick is to keep breathing.  I think I’m paranoid, but I like to push it.  Maybe I’m special, and when I grow up, I’ll need some medication.  Yeah, Version 2.0 will always be better than the original cause I’m much more familiar with it than I was with the original.  And Version 2.0 is simply awesome and will always have my vote!  And I did grow to really like “Hello Nasty”, but if it came down to a vote, “Version 2.0” rules the day!

The Appo Vs. Opt Out Parents War Is Building…

Appoquinimink does not want parent opt out at all.  They don’t want parents talking about it with outsiders.  Especially me.  Parents are getting VERY upset and they have justification.  I wrote about the latest intimidation tactics the district is taking earlier last week.  It turns out that isn’t all they are doing!

Last Thursday, I spoke with the Public Information Officer for Appo, Lilian Miles.  I advised her the Appo letter about opt out is very confusing to parents and it is hard for them to understand what it even means.  Between the “absent” for the purposes of testing portion and the illegal portion with federal and state code with their glaring omissions surrounding parents, I told her they need to change the wording  in the letter.

Lilian explained she understands but they are following the Delaware Department of Education’s suggested template.  She was going to check with some district folks and get back to me.  She asked which parents were coming to me about this.  I advised her I didn’t feel comfortable giving out that information.  Apparently, she didn’t like that.

From: Miles Lilian <Lilian.Miles@appo.k12.de.us>
To: “kevino3670@yahoo.com” <kevino3670@yahoo.com>
Sent: Friday, March 11, 2016 1:12 PM
Subject: wording on letter

Mr. Ohlandt:
 
Thank you for your time on the phone yesterday. If you find yourself in conversation with an Appoquinimink parent who feels unclear about the language in the letter they received (which employs a template supplied by DDOE), we encourage you to have them reach out to the educational leader in their child’s building. Parents are partners in our district and as such, we respect their decision-making process. We would appreciate the opportunity to address any concerns they may have personally.
 
Thank you in advance for your support and understanding!
 
Lilian Miles
Public Information Officer
Appo is trying to make parents sign an illegal letter so Appo is “off the hook” with opt out.  Even they are naïve enough to think that is acceptable for the testing overlords at the DOE!  Another parent approached me after I received this email.  The district was really pushing this parent to sign their illegal letter.  I responded to Lilian Miles and decided a few more people may want to be aware of what is going on in Appoquimink…
From: Kevin Ohlandt <kevino3670@yahoo.com>
To:
Miles Lilian <Lilian.Miles@appo.k12.de.us>
Cc:
Denn Matthew (DOJ) <matthew.denn@state.de.us>; Kowalko John (LegHall) <john.kowalko@state.de.us>; Burrows Matthew L. <matthew.burrows@appo.k12.de.us>; Godowsky Steven (K12) <steven.godowsky@doe.k12.de.us>; Lawson Dave (LegHall) <dave.lawson@state.de.us>
Sent:
Friday, March 11, 2016 4:33 PM
Subject:
Re: wording on letter

Lilian,
With all due respect, Appoquinimink is making this much harder than it has to be.  The DOE and the Appo letter are both wrong with their wording in the letter.  The US DOE code, which I informed Appo of last year, is for schools to administer the test.  It doesn’t mean a student has to take it or that a parent can not opt their child out.  As well, the Delaware code is completely wrong because they only provide the part that states “individuals” without including the part of the code that defines who “individuals” are, like school teachers, principals, administrators, etc.  Not once is “parents” any part of that definition.  Just because Attorney General Matt Denn did not have the Dept. of Justice do a legal opinion on this letter does not mean it couldn’t be challenged in court.  This letter was one of many reasons parents and legislators in Delaware fought so strongly for House Bill 50.
I would strongly encourage Appoquinimink to stop using this outdated and complete fabrication of a letter.  It is not enforceable and nor should the Appoquinimink district make it so.  If parents were indeed partners in your district, you would not be sending them a letter like this.  As far as my telling parents to reach out to the district, I will not do that.  I informed the district about the fallacies in this letter a year ago and here we are a year later having the same conversation.  Delaware DOE is well aware of this as well with the wording in this letter.
Thank you,
Kevin Ohlandt
Opt out is a little bit different this year.  For the second timers, they know what they are doing.  But for the first timers, they don’t have as much support from the state or organizations.  The Delaware PTA was hushed into compliance with National PTA who is against opt out.  The legislators of the General Assembly could not muster enough votes to override the Governor’s veto of House Bill 50, the parent opt out legislation that would have prevented the bullying and intimidation Appoquinimink is practicing.  So what is a parent going to do?  If they do a Google search on opt out in Delaware, my name or this blog is going to come up pretty fast.
If a parent reaches out to me, I am not mentioning their name if I deal with a district.  If a parent is taking the time to come to me about this, I trust they have already done their own due diligence and already dealt with an administrator in their child’s school.  Appo just needs to gut this letter, period!  Upon discussion of this with another parent, they shot off a response to the district referencing the response I sent to Lilian Miles.
I will do this for any parent in Delaware if they want me to.  If I have to be the only opt out advocate you have, I will gladly take on that mission.  I have no qualms about doing so.  I don’t care if it ticks people or districts off.  Parents have no one else to turn to.  So until our state can put a law into place honoring this fundamental and Constitutional right for parents, schools and districts need to know that if they bully or intimidate, I will act on a parent’s behalf.  If they don’t like it that is just too bad!
I have not received a response from anyone since my latest email.  That may change tomorrow.