Baumbach At It Again Trying To Turn Local Issues Into Statewide Legislation

Enough already Paul Baumbach!  In his second attempt at lowering school board terms, State Representative Paul Baumbach filed House Bill #278 yesterday seeking to lower school district board member terms from five years to four years.

In 2015, Baumbach’s House Bill #333, which sought to lower those terms to three years went nowhere.  It was assigned to the House Education Committee but never came up.  Due to heavy resistance to the bill, Baumbach did state he would probably come back with this bill at a later date.  And he did!

Why is Baumbach so adamant about messing with school boards?  Why does he not include charter school boards in this legislation?  The answer is simple: he does not like certain school board members in the Christina School District.  Which is fine and he is certainly entitled to his opinion, but his judgment is impaired when it comes to translating this to a statewide issue.  I get that State Representatives are supposed to represent the district they were elected to, but they also pass laws for the entire state.  It is not beneficial to make local issues a statewide issue.  And once again, we have the very real question about WHO is asking for this legislation and how much of it is directed towards certain board members who frequently and publicly go against bad education policy in the state.

One thing I can say is State Reps in Delaware are elected every two years.  So this is not a case of legislators being hypocritical.  School board members do this because they want to.  It is unpaid and requires a great deal of time and effort to be on a school board.  I don’t think any school board member takes their responsibilities lightly.  I wish more school board members would question things which Baumbach seems to have a problem with.

Yesterday, the News Journal Editorial Team covered the highly inappropriate school board member removal bill that is currently in circulation for sponsorship.  They just so happened to throw in a part about school board member terms:

Also, lawmakers should consider shortening school board members’ five-year terms. Why should they have to face voters less frequently than governors, legislators and mayors?

Come on!  Who are we trying to kid here?  Is the News Journal Editorial Team now a part of Team Baumbach when it comes to this kind of crap?  They just happen to say this on the SAME day Baumbach filed House Bill #282?  I don’t mind term limits for any elected position, but school boards are NOT the same as governors, legislators, and mayors.  There is a learning curve, but there is also the heart of a volunteer.  There are charter school board members who have sat on their boards for over a decade!  But not one word about that from the would-be demolisher of local board control Baumbach or this Editorial Team.  I don’t always agree with some board members out there, but I do not think lowering the term for this function is a good idea at all.

Baumbach needs to re-examine his priorities and actually support the second largest school district in the state instead of trying to interfere with their governance process.  Attending more of their board meetings would be a start.  He wouldn’t dare interfere with Newark Charter School but it’s open target season on Christina.  Could you be less transparent here Baumbach?  Stop listening to the mouths of the few and start coming out with real and meaningful legislation that benefits the state.  This is not good for your political health.

To read Baumbach School Board Terms 2.0, please see below:

 

 

Field Trip Funding Bill Would Give Relief To Low-Income Schools

Delaware State Representative Sean Matthews submitted House Bill #282 for pre-filing yesterday which would give $25 to each student for field trips in designated low-income schools across the state.

In order to support enrichment activities such as field trips for students at high-poverty schools, this bill would require the State to provide $25 per student to high poverty schools for the purpose of educational and enrichment field trips.
The bill is co-sponsored by State Senator Harris McDowell with additional sponsorship provided by Senators Brian Bushweller and David Sokola and State Reps. Paul Baumbach, Stephanie Bolden, Helene Keeley, and Trey Paradee.
Matthews sent a note to his colleagues in the General Assembly in asking for sponsorship:

Much of what makes a student successful in school is the background knowledge and outside experiences that a student gets from going on trips. Students that go on trips to museums, historical sites and parks are able to acquire knowledge and life experiences that help them do better in school. Field trips are predominately paid for by parents, so students from families of more financial means are typically able to go on more and better field trips. 

This bill will allow schools with a 50% or greater low-income student population to receive financial support to plan and run educational field trips. The identified schools (see list below…schools are in all 3 counties) would get $25/student and could use that money to plan field trip/s. The money could be combined with private funding (parents, PTA, grants, etc.) in any manner the school sees fit to maximize its use.  Please note that most schools already have policies and procedures to ensure that field trips are educational in nature. 

We’ve spent years trying to “fix” struggling schools with programs and money solely within the four walls of a school. Let’s try something new and get students from schools with large low-income populations out of the building on high quality field trips. I believe we will see real and lasting results. Note: The approximate cost to fund this bill Statewide based on the most recent data on low-income students, is $500,000.

Since this bill comes with a fiscal note, I would expect some resistance to it, especially coming from the Republican side.  As I see no sponsorship from either the Senate or House Republicans, it is hard to tell what will happen with this.  With that being said, I strongly support this bill.  It is a definitive and urgent need for high-need students.  And yes, low-income and poverty is very much a high need.  We have a large amount of students this would benefit which could give tangible and immediate results in their education.  Frankly, I’m disappointed no Republicans signed on as some of them represent districts where some of the below schools reside in.  I can think of a lot of wasteful spending in this state and this would NOT be one of them!

This is not limited to traditional school districts but also charter schools that qualify.  Please support this legislation!

The list of schools:

Elementary Schools: East Dover, South Dover, Booker T. Washington, Fairview, Towne Point, Lake Forest, North Laurel, Dunbar, Banneker, Mispillion, Blades, Frederick Douglas, Harlan, Highlands, Lewis Dual Language, Shortlidge, Baltz, Richardson Park, Mote, Warner, Brookside, Oberle, Bancroft, Elbert-Palmer, Pulaski, Stubbs, Eisenberg, Academy of Dover, East Side Charter, Thomas Edison Charter, Charter School of New Castle, Kuumba Academy, and Academia Antonia Alonso.

Middle Schools: Central Middle, Skyline, Stanton, Bayard, and McCullough

High Schools: Pyle Academy & Great Oaks

ILC Schools: Kent Elementary ILC & Kent County Alternative

Special Schools: First State School, Douglass School, & Carver Center

To read the full bill, please see below:

 

Five Delaware Charters Renewed, One With Major Conditions & Another Didn’t Have A Complete Record

 

Last night at the Delaware State Board of Education meeting, five Delaware charter schools received unanimous approval from board members.  Academia Antonia Alonso, Early College High School, First State Montessori Academy, and Sussex Academy were approved with no conditions.  For Thomas Edison Charter School, that was a different story.  And for another, the State Board did not get a complete record. Continue reading Five Delaware Charters Renewed, One With Major Conditions & Another Didn’t Have A Complete Record

Money for what Mr. Kuhn? A Big Data, Future Ready Superintendent Promotes Funding Equity for NPE

If you read one article today, make this the one! I see this going on in some of our own school districts here in Delaware. Parents MUST be aware of what is going on. We talk about all this funding for schools but where IS that money going? I am not a fan of “gamification” and “coding” in our schools. When funding is being cut left and right, we are making sure funding is available for that. It isn’t right. I think our teacher union needs to take a very strong look at this kind of stuff. If they are saying nothing about it, they are a part of the problem. If they are unaware of this and being distracted with other things, there is a reason for that and they need to keep their eye on the big picture here. Folks like myself and this blogger have spent a lot of time looking into this. It is not for own benefit. We care about public education. We care about what is happening to the students of today and future generations. We care about teachers who may or may not realize part of these agendas are to end their careers as they know them. There is a great deal of smoke and mirrors involved with all this. I implore everyone to wake up and see things for how they really are.

Wrench in the Gears

This week the Network for Public Education launched another video in their series on the privatization of public education. The video featured John Kuhn, superintendent of the Mineral Wells Independent School District in Mineral Wells, Texas. Kuhn, an admittedly charismatic speaker, discussed the important issue of funding inequities and how lack of funding hurts students in low-income school districts. I was curious where Mr. Kuhn’s school district was located, because I have been following the work of a number of intrepid parent activists in Texas who have been busy exposing the next wave of privatization in the state including: education savings accounts, social impact bonds for mathematics instruction, and districts of innovation.

When I pulled up the Mineral Wells ISD website, I was surprised to see a link for “Future Ready” in the “Learn More About Us” footer of each page. I had shared my concerns regarding the “Future Ready”…

View original post 1,182 more words

A Kind Moment With The President Of The State Board Of Education

I put this on my Facebook account, but I’ll add more here.

Special shout-out to State Board of Education President Dr. Dennis Loftus. On my way back from their board meeting, my car stalled out at a light at a major Dover intersection. I got out to direct traffic until the Dover Police got there. Dr. Loftus came by and asked me if I needed help. Even though I didn’t, I appreciated the gesture, especially to a guy that is very critical of the Board he is on.

In the end, my transmission fluid dipstick somehow came loose which resulted in a loss of transmission fluid. Since this dipstick is buried behind my engine I’m not sure when or how this happened. My car would not move in the drive position when the light turned green. I didn’t know this when Dr. Loftus drove by. Actually the tow truck driver figured that one out. Luckily, $80 for the tow and $36 in transmission fluid solved the problem. Not something I could really afford now, but it is what it is. It could have been a lot worse. Thank you Dr. Loftus for the offer to help on a very cold night after you had just spent the past three and a half hours at a meeting and probably just wanted to get home to your family.  I suspect that if I had taken you up on the help, it would have meant more time unselfishly given.

As I’ve always said, I won’t write about personal lives on this blog and some of the people I write negative things about on my blog are due to their public stances on education.  But make no mistake, these are some of the nicest people in the world.  With that being said, I have never written anything negative about Dr. Loftus.  But I’m sure he knows what I have written about the State Board of Ed and that I often express a desire to see them as elected officials, not Governor appointed.  It is a bizarre world we live in, but tonight, I greatly appreciated an offer.