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!
Before I give the date of their last review, I found this information on the Delaware Public Archives website:
In 1898, a major reorganization of educational administration incorporated characteristics of all previous versions of the board of education. A county school commission, consisting of a gubernatorially-appointed clerk and two commissioners, was established for each county. One senior member of each county commission, in addition to the governor, the secretary of state, the president of Delaware College and the auditor (serving as secretary), comprised the State Board of Education. The board, like its predecessors, was generally responsible for selecting and furnishing the textbooks for the schools, establishing standardized reportage forms, and preparing examinations for all teachers of white and colored students. Among other subjects the examinations were to contain questions on reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, history, grammar, physiology, and hygiene.
Wow! The times sure have changed! These days the Governor picks the State Board members. Textbooks are going the way of the dinosaur, but we still have “standardized reportage forms”, and the State Board still has their hands in the “examinations” for all teachers and students.
Since I wrote the article about their review earlier today, many have asked what this review means. From the same General Assembly link I put above:
Sunset is the periodic legislative review of agencies, commissions or boards. The purpose of the review is to determine whether or not there is a genuine public need for the agency and, if so, determine if the agency is effectively performing to meet that need. Typically, an agency, board or commission is reviewed once every seven years.
I did find their last review date though. The Delaware State Board of Education has NEVER been under review. EVER! If most state agencies and boards get a review every seven years, that means the State Board of Education should have gone under review 16 times. How ironic their time has finally come during this “education renaissance” under our “education Governor”. That is one heck of a legacy Governor Markell!