The Greater Good

Activism is something that isn’t earned or a promotion.  It isn’t glorious and full of fame and fortune.  It can be ugly at times and downright depressing.  It requires your time and patience.  True activism is voluntary.  It isn’t selfish or part of an agenda.  It just is.  Because you believe in something so strongly you will do what it takes to make sure people listen.  It isn’t violent.

For years now I’ve been pointing out what is wrong in education from my viewpoint.  Sometimes I feel like many have heard.  Other times, like no one heard.  I’ve met people from all walks of life during this journey.  There are times when it can be the loneliest experience in the world.  Other times I am beyond grateful for the support from others.   I do all of this for the greater good.

The greater good is something you feel will benefit humanity as a whole.  If I write about an elected official or a state employee, it is based on what they bring forth in education.  If it is about a face behind a company, I am less merciful most of the time.  If I agree, I praise it to the high heavens.  If I disagree, watch out.  I tend to disagree a lot.  I sincerely hope the people I disagree with know this is a very gray area when it comes to what I write.  I feel I have to question motivations based on what I know.  Because if I don’t, who will?  That may sound arrogant and cocky, but coming forth with something education related is going to make me question where it is coming from.  And half of that search is in the timing.  Timing is everything as they say.  I fully own this and accept it.  I also understand it will make people think twice in communicating with me.  I’ve seen this frequently.  And I’m okay with that.

Some have basically said I’m a grenade launcher and blow up everything in my path.  What they don’t realize is the path is already cloudy and murky.  You can’t see the forest from the trees.  I throw grenades to clear the landscape.  So that after the smoke clears, we see what is really there.  It is frequently ugly.  But I would rather know what I’m facing than not.  I’ve learned that what most people hear isn’t the same thing as the truth.  I don’t see myself as an “education thought partner”.  I don’t do this so I can sit at a table, sing “Kumbaya”, and go along to get along.  If you see me as a partner, it is only because you think you can mold me.  You can’t.  I see myself as an “education truth seeker”.  I’m the one up on the roof shaking the place and letting the dust fall so people start taking off their masks.  I will be brutally frank here: there is some truly nasty shit coming up in education that will leave parents shaking their head as their students are turned into drones for the workforce.  It is happening now, right before your eyes.  And you don’t see it.  This isn’t even about saving what came before in America.  It is about preserving what is left.  I don’t mind change unless it is good change.  But to get there, you have to make calls at times.

I fully understand many people are unwitting pawns in all this.  A slight whisper, a few words, and boom: they got you!  So what do I do?  I call the unwitting pawn out.  I let them know exactly what I think is going on and why they are doing it.  The hope is they realize they are being used and snap out of it.  That doesn’t happen often.  So I keep doing it.

Sometimes you have to do things for the greater good.  Sometimes it isn’t pretty.  Sometimes it hurts people’s feelings.  Get over it.  It IS about the kids.

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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.

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.

Kowalko Openly Challenges Baumbach & Sokola On School Board Member Removal Bill

Delaware State Representative John Kowalko sent a letter to State Rep. Paul Baumbach and State Senator David Sokola about the in-circulation school board member removal bill.  He asked some specific questions regarding the origin of this legislation.  I would love to see a response from both of them on this.  You may have seen part of this in my initial article on this, but Kowalko goes into more detail.  As well, Nancy Willing of The Delaware Way blog pointed out something that didn’t catch my eye until she wrote it:

Note the time Baumbach’s aide floated the bill for co-sponsorship is minutes after reporter Jessica Bies published her story on Christina’s likely rejection this morning of Carney’s most recent MOU draft.

Less than a month until the legislators come back in session…

Dear colleagues,

I sent the following inquiry to Representative Baumbach and Senator Sokola. I received a response from Representative Baumbach that he would not discuss the motives nor intentions of this proposed legislation so I am forwarding the same missive (and attachment) to all members of the Delaware General Assembly. It follows and is attached.

I suspect that this proposed legislation, being circulated for signatures by Representative Baumbach and Senator Sokola, may impose a constitutionally challenged contradiction to decisions made by the voters of Delaware. To suggest that an Executive branch (Governor appointed and unelected) board should have the authority to overturn the decision of the voting public disregards both separation of powers and constitutional rights of those elected. If either of the two sponsors or the promoters of such a piece of legislation have a problem with individual board members (as seems to be the case here) then they should come up with a lawful process attended to by lawful entities. This is the type of overreach that causes the public to doubt the sincerity and legitimacy of the laws we create and pass. I hope the sponsors of this proposed legislation will quickly withdraw this legislation.

I would also ask the sponsors of this legislation to explain to me and my fellow legislators what has provoked them to solicit sponsors to support such draconian action. Perhaps Rep. Baumbach or Senator Sokola can give us examples of purported or actual wrongdoing by former or current board members. I would also suggest that the sponsors divulge who solicited such legislation/authority. That might allay suspicions that this is simply an effort to coerce and silence board members, specifically board members who have criticized some of this Administration’s plans. I respectfully await a reply from the sponsors before I will consider adding my name and suggest that all my colleagues do the same.

Respectfully,

Representative John Kowalko

I guess nobody puts Baumbach in a corner!  Meanwhile it looks like Senator Bryan Townsend is all “I have a six month old baby.  I’m staying out of this one!”

Thirty Years Ago… 1987

 

1987.  The year of Glasnost and Oliver North.  My junior and senior years of high school.

I look back to 1987 as a pivotal year in my existence.  For a teenager, there were some pretty major events in my life that year.

The biggest was my first grandparent passing.  My paternal grandmother died of cancer in the Fall of ’87 and it shook me up.

Another big thing was something called “Emmaus”.  This was a church retreat through my Catholic church in Ridgefield, CT.  For first-time Emmaus attendees, you were a candidate.  Those who had already been on these weekends were the workers who ran the whole thing.  I was a candidate in February of ’87 and got to work on the Liturgy team on a weekend in September of ’87.  This was a life-changing experience for me in a lot of ways.  I had always been somewhat religious, but this cemented it for a long time.  As well, I lived in New York but a part that was very close to the border of Connecticut.  I could walk through the woods behind some neighbor’s house and be in CT.  As a result of Emmaus, I met many wonderful new friends including one of my best friends in high school.  I spent a lot of time in Ridgefield, more than hanging out with people from my own high school.

I had four jobs that year.  The first was working for a comic book price guide in Ridgefield.  The owner of that magazine was also a co-owner of a comic book story in Danbury, CT so I would help out up there at times.  That summer I worked at Smith Ridge Market, the local grocery store.  I was “poached” by the nearby Vista Pharmacy in late summer and worked there the rest of the year.  I always worked throughout high school.

I didn’t get my driver’s license until after high school but I managed to take Driver’s Ed in the fall of 1987.  That made for some interesting rides.  I still remember the instructor having to hit the brake pedal on the passenger side as I was driving.

What I remember the most about 1987 was the music.  I wrote about 1986 last year, but 1987 just added to the list of alternative bands I discovered that year.  Bands like 10,000 Maniacs, Crowded House, Echo & The Bunnymen, Aztec Camera, and Erasure.  Bands I enjoyed before only got bigger, such as The Smiths, New Order, The Cure, Alphaville, INXS, R.E.M., Gene Loves Jezebel, The Housemartins, and Depeche Mode.  U2 had their biggest album to date with “The Joshua Tree”.  Rush had an awesome album that year and I got to see them in New Haven, CT that November.  For me, the best album of the year was New Order’s “Substance”.  That Christmas, a bunch of bands contributed to an album called “A Very Special Christmas” which I still listen to every year around this time.

There was a freak ice storm in early October that year.  It knocked out power in a lot of areas around us.  But the real “white-out” happened in the summer but I’ll hold on to that one!

The Yankees were my team and I saw them a few times that year.  Don Mattingly was my hero! The New York Giants won their first Super Bowl that year, beating the Denver Broncos in a close game.

There weren’t a lot of memorable movies that year.  The #1 grossing movie was “Three Men And A Baby” which tells you something right there.  I would say my favorite movies that year were “The Lost Boys”, “The Untouchables”, “Good Morning Vietnam”, and “Innerspace”.

In my family, the dynamics changed a bit.  Two brothers went to college and a third returned home for a bit after graduating college.  The youngest (me) and the oldest in the house.  That was different, but fun!

I spent a lot of time cycling into Ridgefield that year after school when I wasn’t working.  It kept me in shape but it was usually to go see about a girl.  True story!  The late days of Spring and early Summer were spent at “The Reservoir”, a local spot where a bunch of us would jump off a cliff and rope-swing.  I tried my first cigar that year.  I learned quickly I don’t like cigars.

I started “clubbing” at a place called Kryptons that year.  A friend of mine who bartended there would always help me get in.  Those were crazy times with my friend Pete.  I spent a lot of time “partying” that year.  I was young, crazy, and a bit wild.  I remember after my grandmother passed, one of my cousins got married.  I had a few at the wedding reception and somehow I wound up on stage singing Michael Sembello’s “Maniac”.  Not one of my prouder moments for sure!

I was in a school play called “The Boyfriend” that year.  I was an Assistant Stage Director for the school’s annual “Variety Show”.  My favorite classes were AP American History and Creative Writing.

I got my wisdom teeth out that Spring and a couple of weeks later managed to get a sausage seed stuck in one of the sockets.  Now that was pain!

That fall, the beginning of the end of the Cold War between the U.S. and Russia was starting.  We all tuned in to see if Jessica McClure could get out of that well.  Pope John Paul the II came to New York City. That summer, daytime tv was hijacked by the Iran-Contra hearings with Oliver North famously pleading the 5th Amendment. I was still creating pinball games on our Commodore 64 on snow days.

1987 was the height of my teenage years.  The best of times before the “real world” fully kicked in.

18 Who Will Make An Impact In 2018: Bill Bush

The name is familiar to folks associated with Legislative Hall or Caesar Rodney’s Board of Education.  Bill Bush filed to run for Trey Paradee’s seat in the 29th Representative district.  Bush, who serves as a House of Representatives attorney, also has his own law firm.  As well, he is the Vice-President of the Caesar Rodney School District Board of Education.  Can the Democrat win?

He has no challengers… yet!  I expect that to change in the coming months.  Paradee usually had challengers for this seat so I don’t expect anything different this time.  This is a seat that typically goes blue.  Bush has a lot of clout in Dover and at Legislative Hall as a House Attorney.  But many folks don’t want to see another “insider” at Legislative Hall and Dover Republicans are hungry for change.  The 29th district includes parts of Wyoming, Dover, and Smyrna.

I’ve seen him in action down there.  He knows his stuff and what they can and can’t do.  I don’t always agree with him 100%, such as what happened with the opt out veto override.  The way it all went down could have and should have been handled differently from a legal perspective.  When State Rep. John Kowalko talked to Bush about bringing it up again at the end of the 148th General Assembly, it was found the procedural rules for the override should have been handled differently. But at the end of the day, there was no way in hell Speaker of the House Pete Schwartzkopf was going to let Kowalko do anything with it.

From Caesar Rodney’s website:

William Bush is the vice president for the Caesar Rodney School Board. He and his wife Carrie reside in Wyoming and have three children. Mr. Bush received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Finance from the University of Delaware and a Doctor of Jurisprudence from Widener University School of Law. He currently works as an attorney in private practice.

 

Breaking News: Major Shake-Up At Delaware DOE

And the revolving door keeps swinging.  Two longtime Delaware Department of Education mainstays are leaving and one was kind of sort of switched to a new role. Continue reading “Breaking News: Major Shake-Up At Delaware DOE”

Christina Board Tables MOU Between District & Governor Carney With 5-2 Vote

The Christina School District Board of Education voted 5-2 to table the Memorandum of Understanding between the Christina School District and Delaware Governor John Carney’s office.  In a nutshell, this means it isn’t dead but will most likely come up at a future board meeting.  Carney’s office gave Christina a deadline of February 28th to approve the whole thing, even the portion which would consolidate five schools into two.  The two no votes belonged to board members John Young and Elizabeth Paige.

Carney is going to be one pissed off Governor tonight!  In my opinion, this MOU was a bait and switch to begin with.  Now that the Christina Board has essentially said “screw you and your MOU”, he can REALLY go after the district.  Which means he will bring out the big guns and threats of charter conversion.  These are predictions on my end with nothing to base them on.  Nothing but history.  To see the latest draft, please see below:

More Information On The Atrocious School Board Member Removal Bill

Aside from State Rep. Paul Baumbach, I have yet to hear from one person in support of this legislation.  Zero.  Zilch.  Nada.  But in the 24 hours or so since I posted this story, I have had many sidebar conversations with Baumbach, as well as many other crucial conversations. Continue reading “More Information On The Atrocious School Board Member Removal Bill”

17 Who Made An Impact In 2017: Yolanda Schlabach

The biggest advocate against human sex trafficking in Delaware had a very busy year!  Yolanda Schlabach, the Greenwood, DE native, made sure key legislation on human sex trafficking in The First State passed in 2017. Continue reading “17 Who Made An Impact In 2017: Yolanda Schlabach”

17 Who Made An Impact In 2017: State Rep. Andria Bennett

One Democrat State Representative in Delaware turned the cart upside down in the late days of June when she voted no on tax hike legislation.  She also put forth legislation that mandates cursive be taught to Delaware students in their early elementary years.  Andria Bennett definitely had an impact in 2017. Continue reading “17 Who Made An Impact In 2017: State Rep. Andria Bennett”

18 Who Will Make An Impact In 2018: The Women of Delaware

4 out of 21 Delaware State Senators are women.  9 out of 41 Delaware State Representatives are women.  Which gives women a small 21% portion of the Delaware General Assembly.  I am predicting that number will rise in January of 2019 after many women win seats in the upcoming Delaware General Election.  From Laura Sturgeon to Donyale Hall, from Elizabeth Lockman to Krista Griffith and Rachel Blumenfeld, we are seeing fresh new faces running for office.  We even have Kathleen Davies taking on her former boss for the Delaware State Auditor.  Factoring in the shameful season of men getting blacklisted from Hollywood and the media over sexual harassment of women, the time is ripe for a major shift in politics. Continue reading “18 Who Will Make An Impact In 2018: The Women of Delaware”

18 Who Will Make An Impact In 2018: Donyale Hall

When Delaware State Senator Brian Bushweller decided not to run for reelection in 2018, people started showing interest in the vacancy.  Within a couple of months, Donyale Hall put her hat in the ring for the 17th Senate District.  The Republican hails from south Dover and has made impressive headway with her campaign in a short time.  She could be facing a primary against fellow GOP member Justin King, the mayor of Camden, DE.  Which would bring her to a General Election against the only Democrat who has filed: Trey Paradee, currently the State Rep. for the 29th House District. Continue reading “18 Who Will Make An Impact In 2018: Donyale Hall”

State Rep. Paul Baumbach Asking For Ouster With Pending Legislation Allowing State Board of Education To Remove Local School District Board Members

I’ve seen some insane legislation in my day.  This one takes the cake.  State Rep. Paul Baumbach has put forth legislation which would give the State Board of Education the power to remove a sitting school district board member.  Way to take the local out of local control and hand it over to the state there Paul!  Are you kidding me?  I wish this was some horrible joke, but it isn’t.  How would Baumbach feel if some board could take away HIS power?  This guy is begging to be primaried and removed from office.  You can’t even make this stuff up! Continue reading “State Rep. Paul Baumbach Asking For Ouster With Pending Legislation Allowing State Board of Education To Remove Local School District Board Members”

Dixxie

I lost one of my best friends on Thursday.  My faithful companion of over 15 years, my dog Dixxie.  I miss her but I know she is in a place with no more pain.  She gets to watch over her family all the time.  It would take the same amount of time to tell her story, but these are the highlights.

Dixxie remembered the first time she met them.  She saw this man and woman looking for cat food.  The man said hi to her and she looked up at him, tilting her head.  The man said “We have to get her!”  She wanted that too.  They seemed very nice.  About an hour or so later, Dixxie walked out with her new Mom and Dad. Continue reading “Dixxie”

18 Who Will Make An Impact In 2018: Laura Sturgeon

The 4th Senate District race is on!  A few days ago, Democrat Dan Cruce dropped out of the race clearing the way for Laura Sturgeon to take on Republican Greg Lavelle.  Taking on the guy who has been in office since 2001 won’t be an easy task, but if anyone can do it, it’s Sturgeon!  A teacher, wife, and also a member of the Delaware State Education Association Executive Board, Sturgeon comes with a packed resume.

For Lavelle, who served as a member of the House of Representatives from 2001-2013 and the Senate since then, can he muster the support to continue his Senate seat?  Delaware Liberal reported yesterday that there are now more registered Republicans than Democrats in the district.  Lavelle is a huge supporter of Right To Work laws whereas Sturgeon is not.  In education, Lavelle is known more for flip-flopping on the Smarter Balanced vote than anything else.  This is a guy, when presented with the opt out bill for a second time, actually said “I wish I could opt out of voting on this bill”.

The Delaware General Election is still far away but several new contenders are putting their names forward.  I expect this particular race to get heated very soon!  If I were a betting man, Lavelle will attempt to gain votes by discussing the recent DSEA endorsement of Regulation 225.  Sturgeon, a teacher in Brandywine, will gain votes from those opposed to Right To Work laws.  This will be a very interesting race to watch!

Gregory Coverdale Resigned From The State Board of Education & Other State Board News

The Delaware State Board of Education has a vacancy!  Board member Gregory Coverdale resigned before the November State Board meeting and it was announced by President Dennis Loftus at the meeting.  His term expired prior to that but he decided to continue his seat until a replacement was found.  Coverdale was unable to continue serving due to work commitments.  Chances are good Governor John Carney will wait until the new year to nominate Coverdale’s replacement.  The 149th General Assembly returns in mid-January.

The State Board of Ed has their next meeting on December 14th, at 5pm.  The big news will be the charter school renewal-palooza with five schools awaiting the big decision.  Public comment on those renewals ended today.  Academia Antonia Alonso, Early College High School, First State Montessori Academy, Sussex Academy, and Thomas Edison Charter School are all up for renewal.  Delaware Secretary of Education will announce her recommendation for each school and then the State Board will vote on each school.

Other items on the agenda for the State Board meeting include an update on the State Board’s Literacy Campaign, a presentation on the DPAS Annual Report, a Regulation dealing with matching Delaware state code with Federal Law concerning visually impaired students, a Regulation about Financial Literacy and Computer Science standards, a few Regulations from the Professional Standards Board on teacher licensure, and a couple of information items about appeals between students and the Smyrna School District.

What is NOT on the agenda is Regulation 225.  For those who don’t know, the Regulation received 11,000 comments which will take some time for Secretary Bunting to review.  She did thank all who submitted public comment.  This information appeared on the agenda for the meeting on Thursday concerning Regulation 225:

The public comment period for proposed 225 Prohibition of Discrimination Regulation closed on December 4, 2017. The Department received more than 11,000 comments, which deserve careful review before a decision is made. Secretary Bunting is asking the Development Team to reconvene in January to review the comments and make recommendations for changes to the regulation. If substantive changes are made, the regulation will be published in the Register again with another 30-day public comment period before any decision on a final regulation is made.

Secretary Bunting thanks, those who shared their feedback during the formal comment period. All comments received will be posted online so the public, as well as committee members, can review them prior to the January Development Team meeting.

I expect a full house with the charter renewals so if you plan on attending I would get there early!  Good luck to Greg Coverdale in his future endeavors!