At a League of Women Voter’s candidate forum tonight at Delaware State University, Delaware candidates for Congress and Insurance Commissioner debated about many topics. Delaware State Senator Colin Bonini was unable to make it, so John Carney didn’t come, even though the Green candidate for Governor showed up. La Mar Gunn wasn’t able to make it, to Bethany Hall-Long left shortly after the debate began.
But Lisa Blunt Rochester… she still can’t say the words: “I support a parent’s right to opt out.” A question came up about abolishing Common Core and the Smarter Balanced Assessment (and it, surprisingly, didn’t come from me). I will be (no pun intended) blunt and admit my question was “Yes or No, do you support a parent’s right to opt out of standardized testing.” But the Common Core/SBAC one had Republican candidate Hans Reigle and Libertarian candidate Scott Gesty both openly admit their loathing of Common Core and Smarter Balanced and that they support a parent’s right to opt out. She snuck in towards the end that she supports parental rights, but it’s not the same thing and she knows it.
I have no doubt the Insurance Commissioner candidates, Republican Jeff Cragg and Democrat Trinidad Navarro thought to themselves, “I’m an insurance guy, I’m not answering that political hot potato.” Can’t say I blame them, but Blunt-Rochester knows it is a big topic in Delaware. And she either insults parents who do opt their kids out or just ignores it. But I don’t think she understands what Markell and the Delaware DOE have done to students in this state.
“For me, as I look at the whole issue of testing, I don’t think we should be teaching to a test. We should be looking at measuring growth for that additional child so that teachers are empowered to really help that child…one of the issues in terms of tests and opting out is the fact that what we would hope is our education system would be equal and equitable and high quality so that no one would want to opt out.”
So in the meantime, we keep the crappy test that will lead to stealth tests in a personalized learning/competency-based education arena. And this growth she wants us to measure? What does she think the feds and the Delaware DOE measure that growth by? The standardized test. Hello! And equal and equitable aren’t the same thing. High quality based on what? Common Core and SBAC? Or do you have a better idea that we haven’t heard. The other candidates recommended bringing this back to the local level. I didn’t hear that from you tonight.
They did ask one of my questions about restoring FERPA to pre-2008 levels. In 2008 and 2011, the US DOE had FERPA changed which allowed student data to go out to third-party companies, sometimes without any parental consent for the data collecting procedures to begin with. Once again, Gesty and Reigle nailed it and said they would support those changes. Blunt-Rochester (if she even knows what FERPA is), talked about HIPAA and cell phone tracking apps. Her response to changing FERPA?
“I would want to know more about why that exchange happens.”
Uhm, it happens so private student information can go out to companies and massive troves of data are collected on our kids. That was the whole point of the question. Gesty and Reigle got it. Not sure why you can’t. Blunt-Rochester talked about her time as the Delaware Secretary of Labor and constituents complained about filling out multiple forms to different state agencies. She did say privacy is a concern, but she missed the point of the question. There is a BIG difference.
She is well aware I blasted her in August for calling opt out a “leisure for some parents” at a Congressional debate in Wilmington. Afterwards, I asked her point blank on her Facebook page if she supports a parent’s right to opt their child out of the state assessment. She said nothing. Didn’t respond. And I’ve seen her a few times since (along with John Carney), and they treat me as if I were a ghost. You can think it is okay to be completely rude and not respond if I smile at you or say hi, but don’t think for one minute that I’m not hip to the Rodel influence on both of you. I have no doubt I will be writing more about both of them the next four years, and it won’t be pleasant at this rate. My take when this happens: you are drinking someone else’s Kool-Aid and really don’t know enough about the issue. You are told what to say and what not to say. And I’m sure one of the cardinal rules is don’t engage with the blogger. Which just makes me jump all over you. Funny how that works out. Some may say I attack first and ask questions later. I will own that. But as most who bother to take the time to actually talk to me know, I am willing to listen. I may not agree, but if you treat me like a leper, you reap what you sow. I’m not in it this for politicians or administrators or for whatever state association you have. I’m in this for the kids. For my own son. And for this entire generation of students who have been subjected to pure and utter crap from adults who should REALLY know better than to think it is okay to profit off kids.
I will say I endorsed Scott Gesty for Congress last month. Ideologically, we agree on many issues. With that being said, if he wasn’t in the race, I would support Hans Reigle. Blunt-Rochester is just spend, spend, spend, and economy this and economy that with the same script we’ve read for the past eight years under Governor Rodel, er, uhm, Markell. And Carney is the same thing. Enough. I can say Blunt-Rochester will not be getting a vote from my household as my wife supports Hans. We are a divided household, what can I say. I am a firm believer you get what you vote for. And the way this state votes “blue or die”, we will get the same. And all those who preach doom and gloom every single political season, those of the same party who can’t stand each other but will support their peer because of a political label, they will be the first ones complaining over the next four years and public education will continue to go down a dark path as we try to spend our way to prosperity. Many see me as a Democrat, while others see me as a Republican or Libertarian. I’m just a dad. Concerned about my son’s future as a citizen of Delaware and America. I see between the lines of all the crap being slung at us. The lies, the manipulation, the fraud. It is not red or blue or any other party. It’s greed, pure and simple. People who are so used to hanging out with people who are, at heart, glorified salespeople, who promise great things as they spin their shit into gold.
I can’t support Hillary or Donald either for those same reasons. Hillary is the godmother of corporate education reform. Trump is just Trump, all bark and no bite. But when he gets impeached (which I can easily see happening), we will be left with Mike Pence who is a big corporate education reform kind of guy. So either way we are screwed. I think Hillary’s plans are exactly what we see happening in education. Don’t be fooled by her. She will stab all students, teachers, and parents in the back. And her minions in each state, including Delaware, will make damn sure it happens at the state level. The wheels are already in motion. We call this the Every Student Succeeds Act. Don’t think for one minute she isn’t banking on winning and has been planning accordingly. And just in case, we have Mike Pence waiting in the wings. And Delaware will automatically cave if we keep the current power structure and say “Yes, we have to do this.” And the cycle goes on and on and on…
As for Lisa Blunt-Rochester and her need to have us find “common ground” as she put it tonight, we will never find that common ground until some candidates and existing legislators don’t return to the ground. I don’t vote on smiles. I vote on words. And the words I was looking for tonight did come out. Just not from you.