The Delaware State Education Association needs to keep a very close watch on a bill flying through the Delaware General Assembly! Scratch that. They need to be all over Senate Bill #242 like white on rice! They have the political muscle to get some fast changes on this bill and they need to flex it yesterday! This bill has more head-scratching sponsors on it who should know better!
Yesterday, Delaware Senator Jack Walsh and Delaware State Rep. Kim Williams introduced Senate Bill #242 which will unleash Pay For Success contracts in Delaware. I am not opposed to these things when it comes to business and other areas. But an amendment needs to come out keeping this away from education. Investors and student outcomes DO NOT MIX! This bill, introduced late in session, is under the radar. It was released from the Senate Elections & Government Affairs Committee today at 1pm. It is on the Senate Ready list tomorrow.
If it took a year and a half for folks to work on this important bill, why is it flying through in the 11th hour of the 149th General Assembly? Easy. They want it to pass under the radar in the middle of maternity leave and gun bills. Classic legislative smoke and mirrors. There was a working group in Delaware to look at Pay For Success “methodology”. Their report came out in January. Why are they waiting until June to issue the legislation on it? Are you kidding me? While some say this is good for economic development, it is married to social programs in the bill. Hell, Governor Carney’s guy Albert Shields wrote the damn report! No conflict there!
How dangerous are Pay For Success programs in education? When There DuPont calls the Goldman Sachs Salt Lake City program a success, we have some red flags all over the place. That program’s “success” was a red herring with data flaws all over it. I wrote about it and how this was coming to Delaware.
This isn’t one of those bills you go and fix later if there are concerns with it. We need an amendment on it now clarifying why venture fund capitalists should not be touching public education. Yes, any contracts would be approved by the head of that State agency. Which means the Secretary of Education. And their lawyers would look over it with a fine-tooth comb. Sure….! So now we are supposed to blindly trust the Delaware DOE with these things? Race To The Top wasn’t that long ago folks and DSEA swallowed the pill then. This is their chance to not get caught with their pants down. This isn’t just me calling for this to stop. Other national bloggers have as well, including Diane Ravitch. But bloggers like Wrench In The Gears have been screaming from the rooftops for years now. This is what we are looking at with pay for success in education: Making Childhood Pay. Our children are not guinea pigs but Pay For Success ensures that. How many more times are we going to let venture capitalists come into public education and screw it up? These are the same guys who turned charter schools into a profit-making bonanza. Hedge fund, venture fund, non-profits, for-profits. Making money hand over fist but now, instead of bidding contracts, they want to pitch their ideas to state agencies, under the radar, and go into schools with their not so brilliant corporate education reform ideas. I wrote about these things almost two and a half years ago. No one listened then. I hope they do now.
I love Rep. Kim Williams. Pure and simple. But I do NOT like this bill. At all. It is ripe for fraud and abuse if used in public education. She is on the wrong side on this one. Like I said, I’m sure it is great for some sectors of the state. But NOT for public education. This is Governor Carney’s baby and he wants it done now. Sorry, not under my watch! There isn’t even a fiscal note for this bill so where is all this money coming from the state will pay back to these “investors”? We need to stop pushing bills through under the radar just to appease venture fund capitalists and the Governor.
This Act creates Pay for Success contracts. A Pay for Success contract is an agreement between a State agency and either a program intermediary or an investor under which an investor will provide upfront capital to fund a service, program, or economic development initiative. The State agency agrees to repay the program intermediary or investor if the service, program, or economic development initiative meets the performance measures and outcomes agreed to in the contract. An independent evaluator will determine if the performance measures and outcomes are met. If the State agency contracts with a program intermediary, the program intermediary will manage all aspects of the project, including identifying the investor and the entity or entities that will provide the service, program, or economic development initiative. In other situations, a State agency will contract directly with the investor, who will contract directly with the entity or entities that will provide the service, program, or economic development initiative.
You can read the full legislation here: Senate Bill #242
Delaware parents and teachers, email your legislator NOW demanding some changes happen with this bill ASAP! This scenario is bad. How much data will be manipulated to make sure the investors get a return on their investment? When that happens in schools that is VERY VERY VERY dangerous! TAKE ACTION NOW!!!!!!!!! This is how we got saddled with Common Core and the atrocious Smarter Balanced Assessment. This is how we got horrible teacher evaluations based, in large part, on those horrible standardized tests. If you are okay with students, public school AND pre-school, being used as guinea pigs for corporate profit, than say nothing.