Catching Up On Delaware Education And Politics

Delaware Education

It’s been a while.  At least for me.

I haven’t been blogging as much.  Like I’ve said before, sometimes you have to take a break and recharge your batteries.  But it doesn’t mean things aren’t happening offline or in sidebar conversations.  These are just some of the things I’ve seen and heard the past few weeks:

Last night, the State Board of Education sponsored an ESSA/School Report Card workshop at Grotto’s in Dover.  I stopped in for a little bit.  In attendance were Donna Johnson (Exec. Director of State Board), State Board President Dennis Loftus and Vice-President Nina Lou Bunting, Capital Board member Joan Engel-Lowenstein, Delaware PTA President Teri Hodges and Yvonne Johnson, DE Charter School Network Exec. Director Kendall Massett (it wouldn’t be a State Board function without her there), DSEA’s Deb Stevens, and Delaware CAN Chief Atnre Alleyne.  There were others of course, some I recognized and some I didn’t.   A guest speaker from the Alliance for Excellent Education told the audience some stuff from reports they have done on school report cards across the country.  I would love to know if that speaker was paid and which budget it came out of.  Bottom line: How can we get parents to care about school report cards without throwing out federal requirements for them.

Speaking of the State Board of Education, they will have their monthly meeting tonight.  Normally these are on Thursdays, but Rosh Hashana begins tomorrow night at sundown and lasts until sundown on Thursday.  Worthy reason for the change.

Central Middle School in Capital School District held a breakfast with Dad this morning at the school.  Well over 400 parents or male role models for students showed up (including me as my son attends there this year).  The school did not anticipate such a huge turnout but that is a problem they want to have!

Up north a little ways in Clayton, Providence Creek Academy has been VERY quiet.  Not that I haven’t heard some mumblings lately.  The Delaware Farm Bureau is bringing a 26-foot long agricultural mobile to the school for an at-school field trip.  Of course the school is charging students a $1.00 to walk through the thing.  Is the Delaware Farm Bureau getting the money?  Nope, going to the school.  Anything for a buck I suppose.

Governor Carney spent last week visiting the Christina School District Wilmington schools.  Guess he wants to check them out for himself to find out why those students can’t get a perfect score on Smarter Balanced.  Or maybe he is buttering up the district cause he wants an early childhood education center through the district.

Politics and elections are starting to ramp up.  As many of you heard, Senator Brian Bushweller decided not to run again in 2018.  State Rep. Trey Paradee (who just so happens to reside in Bushweller’s district) announced on Facebook that he will be making an important announcement soon.  Gee Trey, wonder what that is!  I’m hearing rumors Senator Margaret Rose-Henry won’t seek re-election either and State Rep. Charles Potter and former Wilmington Mayor Dennis Williams will seek the seat.

DSEA President Mike Matthews has been making the rounds to all the districts and many schools lately.  I’m not sure if prior DSEA Presidents have done the same, but Mike likes to update his followers on Facebook.  Kudos to Matthews for transparency!

With fall comes a whole new slate of IEP creations and renewals.  Along with district assessments to see where kids are at!  And the usual transportation hiccups that accompany the start of any new school year.  I’m also hearing districts are feeling the pinch from shortages of substitute teachers.  That pinch could become a bleeding cut as teachers traditionally don’t tend to take much time off at the beginning of the year.  So if you need some extra cash and have some coin to do a state background check and you can handle a classroom full of students, you might want to consider it.  Only 97 shopping days until Christmas!

Governor Carney is signing a few education related bills this week regarding educator licensure and computer science.  His signing of the cursive bill and my article on it resulted in the second biggest article I’ve written this year.

Former Family Foundations Academy Head of School Sean Moore’s sentencing for financial fraud and abuse has been postponed AGAIN until early December.  Something doesn’t seem quite right with all that.  Do the crime, do the time!

The School District Consolidation Task Force is churning along.  Last night the main task force convened at Georgetown High School.  A bunch of parents from Delmar School District pleaded with the task force not to touch their district.  Some parents from Laurel showed up as well.  Most of the sub-committees have met by now.  Far too soon to see what is in the final report but if I had to guess everything will stay the same.

More parents are wising up to student privacy at a national level.  Thanks to the hard work of so many parents out there, especially Alison McDowell, Cherie Kiesecker, Emily Talmage, and others for bringing this conversation forward.  I too will begin to delving into that more, especially as it relates to schools growing reliance on ed-tech, the dangers that poses for the teaching profession, personalized learning, and competency-based education.

If you have some education news, let me know.  It is a strange world out there with tons of things going on behind closed doors.  Listen and be vigilant.  For me, it has become somewhat difficult.  When opt out was huge a few years ago, many of us were on the same side regardless of political party.  But now those lines are blurring in bizarre ways.  Where we were once united for a common cause to ban Common Core and standardized testing, political arguments over things like Right To Work and school vouchers seem to have made many Dems forget the Obama administration got a lot of the corporate education reform stuff rolling.  As I’ve always said, it’s about corporate greed not politics.



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