Who Will Be The New Delaware Secretary Of Education?

This won’t happen for another six months, but I thought I would get the speculation game going.  I’ve heard a few names bandied about.  Some who would qualify and others who would not.  Even though Senator Bryan Townsend introduced what I like to call the “Murphy Bill”, to prevent former gym teachers from becoming the State Secretary of Education here in little old Delaware, there are certain qualifications the nomination has to have.  The current state law states any candidate must have at least five years in teaching and administration, with experience in both.  This rules out Mike Matthews for example.  He would make a very fine Secretary of Education, but unfortunately, he isn’t qualified.  So could someone like Capital Superintendent Dr. Dan Shelton qualify if he has only been an administrator for about a year?  Yes, he was a teacher way back when and he was also a Principal at Kirk Middle School and others.  It does not have to be a current or even a former Superintendent.

So who do you think will be the next Delaware Secretary of Education picked by the next Governor?  For the purposes of this poll, I left out names I’ve heard who would not be able to be confirmed by the Delaware Senate because of existing state law.

Breaking News: Liz Paige Elected President Of The Christina Board Of Education

With a 4-3 vote, Elizabeth Paige is the new President of the Christina School District Board of Education.  The prior President, Harrie-Ellen Minnehan, received three votes.  Minnehan only held the post for a year.  This is definitely Paving The Way to a New Christina!  Congrats Liz!

With all respect to Ms. Minnehan, I believe Paige will bring a transparency to this board that has never been seen before.  She is a strong voice for this board, and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

The Sham Behind The USAFunds Grant Racket & Governor Markell’s Announcement Today

Delaware Governor Jack Markell announced another initiative tied to grants to prevent students from taking remedial classes in college.  This whopping $250,000 grant is coming from USAFunds, a non-profit think tank that promises to “fix” education along with the other million or so companies that promise to do the same.  Funny how none of them have, despite all their big talk and reports.  What causes me to shudder is some things I found on USAFunds website.

This company is big on community colleges and associate degrees.  Which must make them very attractive to a guy like Jack Markell.  But they go a step beyond and promote “Students Futures as Investments”.  This is the ultimate goal.  Not only will companies decide what you want to be when you grow up, they will also earn part of your future earnings!  These income-share agreements would have investors fund student’s college education and in return they would get a share of your earnings.  We pretty much already have this with student loans.  USAFunds linked to a company called American Enterprise Institute (AEI) on their website.  AEI has a pdf of the “promises and challenges of Income-Share Agreements“.  While this organization likes to use pretty words and all-out statements to support their “cause”, it also talks about human beings as investments.  First we were Human Capital, now we are Human Investments.  When do we get to be just human?  Add in social impact bonds to gamble on special education outcomes in pre-schools, and this is just another step to the privatization of American education.

The funds from this nearly $250,000 grant will go to select schools that participate in the Allied Health and Technology pathway as part of Governor Markell’s big “Pathways to Prosperity” push.  Care to guess which college in Delaware specifically has an Allied Health and Technology program?  Delaware Tech.   And I’m sure any school in Delaware that offers this field as one of their career pathways is already salivating to jump onboard for this free money.  Until the grant runs out, and then they make it a part of district costs, thus elevating the huge amount we already pay for education in Delaware.

But for Governor Markell, the lame-duck quacking has ended.  All we hear now is the beck and call of corporations and Governor Markell selling our children out.  It doesn’t matter if they are conservative, liberal, or just greedy.  Markell will sell out Delaware students for any reason.  But try to get an audience with the guy about his future plans or actual plans that would improve student outcomes, and we just get more of this:

“We have too many students that have worked hard to meet the requirements of college entry and yet when their coursework begins, they find themselves in need of remediation and additional supports,” said Markell. “I’m thrilled that as a result of our partnership with USA Funds, we can now take another step toward ensuring that our students enter our colleges prepared to earn credits and make progress toward a degree on day one.”

Hey Jack, if our students are still having this problem after eight years of your education reforms, perhaps the problem isn’t the students.  Perhaps it is YOU.  If you weren’t always trying to make money for companies, maybe our students would have a chance.  Add in Common Core, and how it really doesn’t work, and we have another self-made recipe for corporate greed.  I was wrong about you running for Congress today Jack, but this just tells me you are banking on a Hillary win so you can get your greedy paws into ALL of American education.  You really have no shame…

Final Delaware Candidate List For Statewide Offices, State Reps, & State Senate

Today was the filing deadline for Delaware elections.  These are all the filed candidates for statewide office, State Senator, or State Representative.  Some candidates who were not facing contestants for the General Election will now have opponents.  As of this time, candidates running unopposed are 2 Democrats and 2 Republicans in the Delaware Senate, and 16 Democrats and 6 Republicans in the Delaware House of Representatives.  That means we will have 14 of the same Delaware Senators and 22 of the same Delaware State Representatives in January of 2017, well over half the seats in each.  For a state that wants change so much, we sure have a funny way of making sure the same people stay in power!

Delaware Election 2016: November 8th

Delaware Primary: September 13th (7am-8pn)

Deadline to Withdraw from Election and get filing fees back: July 15th

Deadline to Register to Vote for Primary Election: August 20th

Deadline to Register to Vote for General Election: October 15th

What’s At Stake:

President: The future of the country.

Delaware Senate: 11 out of 21 seats, Currently 12 Democrats, 9 Republicans. With no one running against some candidates, 8 Democrats and 7 Republicans will retain seats if the opposing party doesn’t select someone to run. Magic number for Democrats: 4, for Republicans: 5

Delaware House: All 41 Seats, Currently 26 Democrats, 15 Republicans. With no one running against some candidates, 16 Democrats and 7 Republicans will retain seats if the opposing party doesn’t select someone to run. Magic number for Democrats: 5, for Republicans: 14.  These numbers don’t assume certain parties will win if a candidate is running against one of the Libertarians.   Assuming the incumbents win in those elections, that would change the magic numbers for Democrats to 4 and the Republicans to 13.

 

President:

Hillary Clinton (D)

Donald Trump (R)

 

Governor:

John Carney (D)

Sean Goward (L)

Colin Bonini (R)

Lacey Lafferty (R)

 

Congress: US Representative

Sean Barney (D)

Lisa Blunt Rochester (D)

Michael Miller (D)

Bryan Townsend (D)

R.E. Walker (D)

Elias Weir (D)

Scott Gesty (L)

Hans Reigle (R)

 

Lieutenant Governor: 

Sherry Dorsey-Walker (D)

Brad Eaby (D)

Greg Fuller (D)

Bethany Hall-Long (D)

Kathleen McGuiness (D)

Ciro Poppiti III (D)

La Mar Gunn (R)

 

Insurance Commissioner:

Paul Gallagher (D)

Trinidad Navarro (D)

Karen Weldin Stewart (D) (Incumbent)

Jeffrey Cragg (R)

George Parrish (R)

 

State Senate:

District 1: 

Joseph McCole (D)

Harris McDowell III (D) (Incumbent)

James Spadola (R)

 

District 5:

Denise Bowers (D)

Catherine Cloutier (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 7:

Patricia Blevins (D) (Incumbent)

Anthony Delcollo (R)

 

District 8:

David Sokola (D) (Incumbent)

Meredith Chapman (R)

 

District 9: 

Caitlin Olsen (D)

John Walsh (D)

 

District 12: Winner 

Nicole Poore (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 13: Winner

David McBride (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 14:

Bruce Ennis (D) (Incumbent)

Carl Pace (R)

 

District 15: Winner

Dave Lawson (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 19: Winner

Brian Pettyjohn (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 20:

Perry Mitchell (D)

Gerald Hocker (R) (Incumbent)

 

State Representative:

District 1: Winner

Charles Potter (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 2: Winner

Stephanie Boulden (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 3: Winner

Helene Keeley (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 4: Winner

Gerald Brady (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 5: Winner

Melanie George Smith (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 6: 

Deb Heffernan (D) (Incumbent)

Lee Murphy (R)

 

District 7:

David Brady (D)

Bryon Short (D) (Incumbent)

Robert Wilson (L)  

 

District 8: Winner

Quinton Johnson (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 9:

Richard Griffiths (D)

Monique Johns (D)

Kevin Hensley (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 10:

Sean Matthews (D) (Incumbent)

Dennis Williams (D)

Judith Travis (R)

 

District 11:

David Neilson (D)

Jeffrey Spiegelman (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 12: Winner

Deb Hudson (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 13: Winner

John Mitchell (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 14:

Don Peterson (D)

Peter Schwartzkopf (D) (Incumbent)

James DeMartino (R)

 

District 15:

James Burton (D)

Valerie Longhurst (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 16: Winner

James Johnson (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 17: Winner

Michael Mulrooney (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 18: Winner

David Bentz (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 19:

Kim Williams (D) (Incumbent)

James Startzman (R)

 

District 20:

Barbara Vaughn (D)

Stephen Smyk (R) Incumbent

 

District 21: Winner

Mike Ramone (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 22:

Lanette Edwards (D)

Joseph Miro (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 23: Winner

Paul Baumbach (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 24:

Edward Osienski (D) (Incumbent)

Timothy Conrad (R)

 

District 25: Winner

John Kowalko (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 26: Winner

John Viola (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 27: Winner

Earl Jaques (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 28: Winner

William Carson (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 29:

Trey Paradee (D) (Incumbent)

Janice Gallagher (R)

 

District 30: Winner

William Outten (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 31: 

Sean Lynn (D) (Incumbent)

Jean Dowding (R)

 

District 32:

Andria Bennett (D) (Incumbent)

Patricia Foltz (R)

 

District 33: 

Karen Williams (D)

Morgan Hudson (R)

Charles Postles (R)

Robert James Scott (R)

 

District 34:

David Henderson (D)

Lyndon Yearick (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 35:

Robert Mitchell (R)

David Wilson (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 36: Winner

Harvey Kenton (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 37: 

Paulette Rappa (D)

Ruth Briggs-King (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 38: Winner 

Ronald Gray (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 39:

James Brittingham (L)

Daniel Short (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 40: Winner

Timothy Dukes (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 41:

Bradley Connor (D)

Richard Collins (R) (Incumbent)

 

The current Senate seats NOT running for re-election are as follows:

District 2: Margaret-Rose Henry (D)

District 3: Robert Marshall (D)

District 4: Greg Lavelle (R)

District 6: Ernie Lopez (R)

District 10: Bethany Hall-Long (D)

District 11: Bryan Townsend (D)

District 16: Colin Bonini (R)

District 17: Brian Bushweller (D)

District 18: Gary Simpson (R)

District 21: Bryant Richardson (R)

Outside Vendor’s Report On “Student Growth” Portion Of Teacher Evaluations In Delaware Sends Mixed Signals

The Delaware Department of Education sent out a bid solicitation on the DPAS-II teacher evaluation system in Delaware.  They wanted to know how teachers and administrators are doing with the student growth portion of the system, part of Component V.  To say the report gives more sides from the pro-testing crowd would be an understatement.  It is very hard for me to take these reports at face value when they ask a limited amount of questions.

What I find even more interesting is the fact that Research For Action, the vendor who created this report, is not listed as a current Delaware vendor, and there is no current contract or one that recently ended calling for such a report.  But the Delaware DOE paid this company $140,000 on 6/17/16, which is well over the threshold that would trigger a mandatory bid solicitation as required by Delaware state law.  In fact, a contract was signed a few months ago with American Institutes for Research (the current Smarter Balanced Assessment vendor in Delaware) to do a review of the DPAS-II system.  Research For Action is also not listed as a Cooperative contract vendor or a set-aside contractor in Delaware.

 

DOERFA

DOERIA

DOERFAFY2015

Now I did find a contract with Research In Action that ended on 6/30/16 which did require an evaluation of DPAS-II.  Are these the same companies?  Since the report below shows them as Research For Action, I would assume they are.  The Delaware DOE did award a contract to Research For Action Inc. that went from 3/19/15 to 8/31/15 for the amount of $225,000.00.  Since the second awarded contract gave a fixed amount of $181,117.62, can someone at the Delaware DOE please tell me why we have already paid this company $450,742.04 for work that is $44,624.42 over the two contractual amounts?  Or is there, once again, some other contract hidden away on the state procurement website under yet another different name for this company?

I wish I could get paid over $450,000 to come out with a seven page “briefing” once every couple of years, interview a few teachers and administrators, and call it a day.  More DOE magic at work!  Or, as some call it, cash in the trash.  And we once again wonder why Delaware schools are underfunded (much more for this topic coming up on this blog).

The “briefing” is below: