What Happened With The Last Delaware State Board of Education Sunset Review!

Today, the Delaware Joint Sunset Committee, a group of 10 legislators comprised of five State Reps and five Senators, put the State Board of Education under review.  As per their section on the Delaware General Assembly website, most state boards and agencies are supposed to get a review every seven years.  I did some checking to find out what happened at the last State Board Sunset review.  What I found was very shocking and makes the need for their current review even more urgent!  Combing through the state history for State Board of Education Sunset reviews, I was surprised this board has been around since 1898.  That was 118 years ago!

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Before I give the date of their last review, I found this information on the Delaware Public Archives website: Continue reading What Happened With The Last Delaware State Board of Education Sunset Review!

Breaking News: Here Comes The Sun! Delaware State Board Of Education Under Review Next Year

The Delaware State Board of Education will be under review by the Delaware Sunset Committee in Fiscal Year 2017.  At the meeting today in Legislative Hall, Delaware Senator Brian Pettyjohn brought up the nomination for the State Board of Education.  Citing concerns with fiscal transparency, Pettyjohn felt the State Board (who has never come up for a review by the Sunset Committee) should get a review.

For those who may not remember, on January 1st I wrote an article about why I wasn’t going to file complaints in regards to this mess and the other train wrecks happening in the State Board of Education.  I’ve known this nomination was going to come up for a long time now.  I’ve been biding my time waiting for today, and it is finally here.  I could have filed complaints, but sorry, I don’t trust the system in Delaware with complaints.  Instead, I will submit any information to the Sunset Committee for their review.

In determining their review, the State Board of Education’s budget for this fiscal year is $223,100.  Executive Director Donna Johnson’s salary is a little over $90,000 and the administrative assistant’s salary is nearly $54,000.  Each board member gets paid $100 per State Board meeting but they can’t attend more than 24 meetings in a year.  It is very hard to track their expenses from a citizen’s perspective because they do not have their own section or tab under the Department of Education on Delaware Online Checkbook.

The State Board of Education has been a lightning rod of controversy in the past year.  Between the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission redistricting plan vote, the inability to give public comment on action items, the situations I wrote about in the above links, and the fact that Donna Johnson serves as a State Board rep on most education activities without actual board member representation.  These are just some of the things that annoy the citizens of Delaware who are involved in education.  Most feel the State Board of Education should be publicly elected and not appointed by the Governor of Delaware.  For all of their arrogance and hubris, it looks like they are the next stop on the karma bus!  More details to come on this monumental nomination!

While the membership of the Sunset Committee could certainly change next year due to the upcoming elections, the following legislators serve on the committee: State Rep. Gerald Brady (Chair), Senator Nicole Poore (Vice-Chair), State Representatives Andrea Bennett, Stephanie Bolden, Tim Dukes, Jeff Spiegelman, and Senators Brian Pettyjohn, Bryant Richardson, David Sokola, and Bryan Townsend.

This is the process for review by the Joint Sunset Committee, from their website:

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All Delaware Juniors Take The Common Core SAT Today… Can They Opt Out?

Back in December, Governor Markell and Secretary of Education Dr. Steven Godowsky announced the Smarter Balanced Assessment was going away for high school juniors.  Because the College Board aligned the SAT with Common Core, why take both tests?  Today is the annual SAT day for the juniors.  The state pays for all of them to take the test.  I am very curious how the scores will be this year with the realignment.  I haven’t heard a peep about any parent wanting to opt their kid out of the SAT.  Or as I like to call it, Smarter Balanced Junior.

I actually heard one district gave all the 9th and 10th graders off tomorrow.  Did others do this as well and why?  Does the testing environment have to be in the right alignment as well for the juniors?  And why not give the seniors off as well?  Only in Delaware!  We are a state that is obsessed from the top down with testing.  We can’t escape from it because our Governor, legislators, and the DOE believe it is essential.  But our hubris comes at a price.  We don’t look at the quality, only the results.