I was told by many people there would be no Senate Education Committee meeting next week. That appears to have changed since an agenda is up, and House Bill 399 is on it! The meeting will be on Wednesday at 2:3opm in the Senate Majority Caucus Room (first floor, behind the Senate Chamber). If you are an educator in Delaware who has some free time, I would strongly suggest attending and lending your support. The bell will start ringing at 3:00pm for the full Senate to convene in session. So if you want to give public comment, I would suggest using your time wisely but also giving full support of the teacher evaluation bill.
Thank you Senator Sokola for making this happen. Sokola tends to add legislation at the last minute. It is my sincere hope that his and Kim William’s charter audit bill (House Bill 435) appears on the Senate Education Committee agenda. Both bills got unanimous votes in the House last week.
The worst time I ever had blogging was last January. Once I heard the Governor was rounding up his posse of legislators to vote no on the override of his veto on House Bill 50, I knew it wasn’t going to happen. There were events that day I didn’t count on, but they happened. But it is time for State Rep. Mike Ramone to live up to the promise he made to me that day.
To give a quick refresher, the Delaware House and Senate passed House Bill 50 last year, a parent opt out bill honoring their right and preventing schools from giving parents a hard time. Governor Markell vetoed the bill. On the third day the General Assembly was back in session this year, State Rep. John Kowalko brought HB50 back. But first, a suspension of rules had to happen to get it on the agenda for a full House vote. The majority of the legislators voted no on the suspension of rules. For whatever reason, many of them didn’t want to vote on overriding the veto. To make matters worse, many House Republicans introduced new opt out legislation. One was a House Resolution, which passed, directing Secretary Godowsky to come up with uniform policies for opt out. This report was due by May 1st. Another was a bill to remove opt out from any accountability ratings. The accountability bill was never heard from the House Education Committee.
Secretary Godowsky did honor the resolution. I’ve heard two different stories with this report. One was that it was submitted to State Rep. Joe Miro, the sponsor of the resolution. The other was that it was submitted to State Rep. Earl Jaques, who is also the Chair of the House Education Committee. That would mean Jaques has been sitting on this for well over a month and a half with no intention of doing anything with it. Either way, this was never made public. Miro told me well over a month ago the report was “vanilla”, meaning it didn’t do anything. I’m not sure what the real story is, but I don’t really care. Nothing happened with either of the bills the House Republicans introduced. And now it is time for State Rep. Mike Ramone to keep his word. On January 14th, when the House refused to suspend the rules, Ramone promised me they would bring back House Bill 50 if nothing happened with the new legislation they introduced that day. Guess what Ramone? Nothing happened. And I don’t want to hear one word about next January. You made a deal with me and I expect you to honor it. There were enough people that overheard you say this. Now only Kowalko can put forth a suspension of rules for it as the bill’s sponsor in the House. But I expect Ramone and the House Republicans to fully support the suspension of rules and the override of the veto. House Bill 50 is on the ready list. But this can happen. It has to. It is time. There is no more House Bill 50 after June 30th.
The Senate can’t vote on an override of a veto on the same day, but I hope if the House does the right thing, the Senate will have it up for a vote the next day. If not, I fully hope Senator Dave Lawson will request a suspension of rules as the Senate co-sponsor of the bill. I’ve waited patiently, along with countless other parents, for our General Assembly to do the right thing here. They unanimously passed a bill in the House that would make the Smarter Balanced an option in teacher evaluations. This is it General Assembly. You have three days to do this. Elections are coming up for a lot of you. Parents and teachers are a large portion of your voters. Are you really going to keep disrespecting parents like this? This is your chance to make up for past mistakes. It’s up to you. The only reason the Delaware PTA isn’t pushing this is because they were cut off at the knees by National PTA. But trust me, the people still want this. All you have to do is truly listen.