Wow! The Brandywine School District won their second referendum attempt this year with a ton of votes and a wide margin between pass and against. With over 15,000 citizens of the district voting today, this is huge. Compare that to the recent school board elections in Delaware. I doubt there were 15,000 total votes for the whole state!
I received an anonymous email last week from someone who did not give themselves a name. They claimed to have many details about the theft of Christina School Board member Elizabeth Paige’s campaign signs on May 7th. While the allegations are purely that, they do give very alarming information about another member of the Christina board. I have forwarded this information to the Wilmington Police Department as well for them to investigate the veracity of the claims in this email. If anyone has any information on this matter, please contact the Wilmington Police Department. (Updated, 5/19/16, 5:52pm: Actually it is the New Castle County Police Department which is where Paige filed a police report when her signs were stolen on 5/7/16.)
While the below email asked for confidentiality, it comes from someone anonymous. I am all in on protecting someone’s identity, but if it is anonymous and you live 3,000 miles away, I think the best thing to do is to give this information to law enforcement so they can help solve the crime based on the information. The only reason I’m posting this is because the information is vague and maybe someone can fill in the gaps.
From: Rated Many <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Wednesday, May 11, 2016 11:58 PM
Subject: stolen campaign signs
Due to the sensitive nature of the following message and for fear of retaliation I hereby request that this email remains confidential and all personal information shall not be shared or used as a source. Please I ask that you respect my wishes.
Updated, 5/19/16, 5:53pm: There is much more going on with this story behind the scenes. I’m waiting on someone to do the right thing. In the meantime, I have lifted a comment out of moderation that may shed some light on this.
Two new bills introduced today tackle the very problematic issue with lobbyists in Delaware. State Senator Bryan Townsend and State Rep. Paul Baumbach are the main sponsors of each bill showcasing the need for transparency from lobbyists. As well, their peers in the General Assembly will have a lot more to answer for in terms of their relationships with lobbyists. Conflicts of interest will be under the spotlight, as they should be.
Senate Bill 225, sponsored by Townsend, is a much-needed bill that removes exemptions for General Assembly members not being investigated in conflict of interest and code of conduct investigations. The legislation also requires lobbyists to disclose any payments they receive, including the source of the payment and the amount.
House Bill 385, sponsored by Baumbach, would make it so lobbyists have to pay a registration fee to offset the costs imposed on the Public Integrity Commission. Many lobbyists pose a conflict of interest and this bill would actually generate funds in a situation that deals with this ongoing issue.
Both of these bills are very welcome in my opinion. We can’t cut the rot out of Delaware politics until we get to the root of it. And unfortunately for the good lobbyists, there are many bad ones. In most investigations, it becomes a standard game of follow the money. If both of these bills pass, that will be much easier.
This will get real interesting with the Delaware State Education Association (DSEA) and the Delaware Charter Schools Network. In Delaware education, they are both at Legislative Hall for anything education related. I would love to know how much the lobbyists for the Delaware Business Roundtable make as well.
Updated, 5:20pm: I’m now seeing a third bill introduced today, once again by Townsend. Senate Bill 224 deals with Campaign Finance Reform and disclosure of a contributor’s occupation and employment information. This is already done in federal elections. It looks like the transparency train is finally making a stop in Dover…
Well that didn’t take long. United States Secretary of Education John King has been the official Secretary of Education for not even three months and he is already under the Education and the Workforce Committee’s microscope. The United States Senate should have never confirmed him in the first place. Why are we dealing with this so soon? Because John King thinks he is invulnerable based on the arrogant and cocky mindset of those in corporate education reform who think they are perfect and everyone else is scum. Remember after 9/11, when President Bush said you can’t negotiate with terrorists? It is the same with corporate education reformers. You can’t try to get lemonade out of a turnip. You will only get a headache.
The Every Student Succeeds Act regulation process has begun, but like most of us, we have no clue what is really going on with it. I have the same problem in Delaware when our “stakeholders” convene on some task force, working group, or committee. There is no true representation. It is who they want on these groups. They want an outcome so they will stack the deck to make sure they get it. Nothing but smoke and mirrors here folks! So why are Kline, Alexander, and Rokita having a hissy fit because King did what is in his very nature to do? Even if you give a snake legs, it’s still a snake. You can’t change the character of a person by giving them a title. If anything, that character becomes a part of the title.
Read the letter below. King has until June 7th to respond. Will he? Even if he does will it change anything? This is exactly what I predicted would happen. For some inexplicable reason, the Every Student Succeeds Act was rushed through the US House and Senate with a quick signature by Barack Obama. It was, as explained in the letter, heavily lobbied… probably too much. This bill wasn’t about students, it was about corporations. There is very little in this act that actually helps students. It may look that way, but far too many states invested the past seven years on Common Core and the state assessments. They aren’t going to change course now. Not during an election year. Kline should have known better, but no, he acted with haste to get King nominated. What about this clown’s history ever said that was a good idea?
And from the official press release on this:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 17, 2016 CONTACT: Press Office
Congressional Leaders Raise Concerns with Integrity of ESSA Negotiated Rulemaking
WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN)—along with Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Chairman Todd Rokita (R-IN) and Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN)—today wrote to the Department of Education to express “serious concerns about the integrity” of the department’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) negotiated rulemaking process. Among other concerns, the letter raises questions related to the makeup of the rulemaking panel, a lack of rural and student representation in the process, and the accuracy of statements made by the department’s negotiators.
First established in 1990, the negotiated rulemaking process was created to bring federal agencies and interested stakeholders together to develop certain new regulations through a framework designed to promote consensus among diverse groups. The Every Student Succeeds Act requires the department to use this process, at a minimum, for regulations on standards, assessments, and the requirement that federal funds supplement, rather than supplant, state and local funds.
To “evaluate the Department’s compliance with negotiated rulemaking requirements and the integrity of the ESSA negotiated rulemaking process,” the chairmen’s letter requests information related to a number of questions, including:
•How the department met a requirement that individuals on the negotiated panel shall include “representation from all geographic regions of the United States, in such numbers as will provide equitable balance between representatives of parents and students and representatives of educators and education officials.”
•Whether the department’s actions in naming panel participants biased the panel’s deliberations.
•Protocols and/or criteria used to determine when a secretary or other high ranking department official will speak to a panel or otherwise participate in a panel’s work, as Secretary King did during the rulemaking process.
•Steps taken to ensure statements made by the department’s negotiators accurately reflect the statute and their role in the negotiated rulemaking process.
•The participation of three outside experts and the process for choosing those experts.
•How the department determined which provisions related to assessments would be included in the process.
Additionally, the letter requests “all documents and communications related to the department’s determination of its legal authority for all regulatory language proposed to the negotiated rulemaking panel.” The chairmen are requesting a response by June 7, 2016.
The Brandywine School District is having their second attempt at a referendum today. To say both sides have come out swinging for the fences would be an understatement. Politicians like Delaware Governor Jack Markell, Senator Tom Carper, and State Reps Bryon Short and Sean Matthews have all come out in support for the referendum. Brandywine father Patrick Wahl appeared on the Rick Jensen show yesterday along with referendum leader James Hanby. Wahl is claiming the district gave out absentee ballots to an assisted living home along with a host of other issues about the referendum. The Delaware Dept. of Education came out with a letter yesterday indicating it erred with the number of administrators that show on the DOE website. Teachers in and out of the district are urging citizens to get out and vote. Brian Stephan wrote a post on Delaware Liberal yesterday addressing many of Wahl’s allegations.
We will know tonight if this attempt passed or failed. It is getting very hard to keep track of what is truth and what is not, from both sides of the issue. As of 12:55pm today, the New Castle County Dept. of Elections verified 2,085 people have voted already in 18 out of the 22 polling stations. I’m not taking sides on this one folks. There is too much mass confusion surrounding this one. Most likely, the truth is somewhere in the middle in certain areas. The important thing is to get out there and vote if you live in Brandywine.