Two Democrat candidates in the 12th State Rep. District will square off this Thursday in the Delaware Primary. Rachel Blumenfeld will face Krista Griffith. The winner will take on incumbent Deb Hudson in the General Election in November. Blumenfeld, a teacher in the Colonial School District, sent her candidate message to me this evening.
In my first year of teaching, I asked a student what he wanted to do when he grew up. His response was, “It doesn’t matter; I’m not going to make it to 18.” With the rates of teen violence in Wilmington, the odds are that he wasn’t wrong – that he might still be alive, but that he wouldn’t be gainfully employed or have avoided jail.
When I look at the Lexile levels of my students (ages 13-14), who are usually reading somewhere between kindergarten and third grade levels, it’s no surprise to me that so many students feel this way. They are hopeless, and with good reason. What are the chances that they will catch up in the next few years? That math and writing will suddenly become easy for them? Especially when they are in classes where 30 students feels like a relief because it’s so much lower and more manageable for the single teacher in the room than 35 or even 39.
When Delaware’s children are hopeless, it is our job to give them hope, who give them reasons to hope. What Delaware needs, what its children and its economic future needs, is representatives in Dover who not only know the depths of these problems, but also have solid, clear ideas on how to fix them.
We need representatives who know how attendance is taken and how unit funding is determined, and who know that the students in a class in September aren’t the same ones as the ones in May, and that money needs to shift as students shift. Who know that there is a ton of waste in our schools that could be spent more wisely, and what money is being spent wastefully and what money is necessary. Who know the importance of social workers in our schools, who know that we have a shortage of speech language pathologists and psychologists because they don’t want to work for government pay and have a caseload of 90 split between two schools. Who know that a copied and pasted IEP is, by definition, not an IEP, and can see when and where the IDEA is being violated.
I am that representative. I can tell you where I’ve seen problems, and I can understand when you share yours. I have already, and will continue to, present practical solutions that would create immediate change and that wouldn’t require more money, but would call for the elimination of wasteful spending and the careful monitoring of funds. I have spent years advocating for students with disabilities and their families, years advocating for teachers, and years advocating for Delaware, and I will continue to do so in Dover.