Citizens of the 22nd District in DE, Vote For Steve Newton For State Rep Today! #netde #eduDE #Delaware

If you care about your child’s education, Steve needs your vote.

If you care about having someone who is an expert on special education in Legislative Hall, Steve needs your vote.

If you care about the toxicity of high-stakes standardized testing, Steve needs your vote.

If you care about teachers getting shafted by the Delaware DOE and Governor Markell, Steve needs your vote.

If you care about the damage Common Core is doing to schools and students, Steve needs your vote.

If you care about your district, Steve needs your vote.

If you care about Delaware, Steve needs your vote.

It’s Election Day! Go Out And Vote, It’s Your Constitutional Right #netde #eduDe #Delaware #edchat

Whatever plans you have today, make sure it includes driving to your local polling place and casting your votes.  This is the time where YOU can make a difference.  Vote with your heart, not a political party.

Why Trey Paradee Is Getting My Vote For Delaware State Representative in District 29 @KilroysDelaware @ed_in_de @DoverPost @TheStateNews #netde #eduDE #Delaware

I have actually been going back and forth on who to vote for in my district for a few months now, Democrat Trey Paradee (the existing State Rep for my district) and Republican Pete Kramer.  I’m going to be completely honest.  Up until 14 months ago, I had absolutely zero interest in state politics.  This is my fault as a human being, but I was ignorant of many things going on in Delaware, and I really didn’t care.  And then things happened….

As any long time reader of this blog is well aware, my son had some (okay, numerous) problems at a “charter school in the County of Kent”.  When things blew up and became unsalvageable with the school, my wife and I were weighing our options to see what avenue to take next.   She reached out to Trey Paradee, and we did get a call back from one of his staff members and explained what was going on.

Flash forward as few weeks later, and I read a post on this blog called Kilroy’s Delaware about how some charter school meeting was held in secret and not open to the public.  People were pissed, and this was my intro to Kilroy’s blog.  Going ahead six months to last Spring, my situation with the charter school was resolved, but I had still had a lot of questions.  I told the story about what happened to my son on Kilroy’s blog after a few weeks of “vetting” him.  I really didn’t trust anyone at the time, but Kilroy and I had several chats about the state of education in Delaware.  By the time I finished telling my son’s story, I had decided to start my own blog, but I wanted to pay Kilroy back for letting me tell my very long story for a month.

In my last post on Kilroy’s, I promised to go to Legislative Hall to drum up support for House Bill 23, which would make all school boards digitally record their meetings and put them up on their website.  I invited any  who wanted to attend, and I made a couple posters and went down.  I doubted anyone would show up, but I was determined.  So I made the drive downtown, and started walking around the front of Legislative Hall with my posters.  Several people asked me what House Bill 23, and some of these were legislators.  It was a solo act I was doing, but I didn’t care.  I started memorizing faces and made a decision to find out who these people are.  It started to rain a bit, so I put the posters in my car and decided to actually go into the hall and see what they did there.

My first visit was to meet my House Rep, Trey Paradee.  His secretary called him and he agreed to meet with me on the spot.  I was impressed right away.  I went into his office and there was this rather large dog sitting there.  Trey introduced me to Belle, and he explained there was a dog group there and he was going to be in a picture with Belle.  I explained why I was there, and that I was very concerned with special education in Delaware. He agreed, and explained some of his own personal journey in the world of special education with a member of his family.   We agreed to talk more.

I met a few other politicians that day, most noticeably Debra Hudson to find out why the bill she sponsored wasn’t going up for a vote.  She explained it needed more public support, but she would ask about it.  Never heard back from her at all!  I got home and reached out to his opponent in the election, Pete Kramer.  He explained he was against Common Core and standardized testing.  My decision was made right then and there, as Kramer was against the same things I was.  The next day I started this blog.

Within weeks, I became involved in the political landscape in Delaware when the US Department of Education declared Delaware was one of three states and Washington D.C. to need federal intervention with special education.  I read about it in the Delaware News Journal, but it was missing a lot of facts, so I did some quick research on it and posted an article on my blog.  This was my first huge article on Exceptional Delaware.  Within days, the Senate in Delaware created a concurring resolution to create an IEP Task Force, but there were no parent reps on the task force.  I emailed every single house rep and senator in the General Assembly advising them not having a parent on this task force would be a slap in the face to special needs parents across the state.  When the Senate voted on it, they passed it without a parent rep.  I put out a call on Twitter and Facebook to have a re-vote to allow parent reps.  A couple days later an amendment was added allowing a parent from each county which was my suggestion in my email to them.

But life has a funny way of throwing curve balls when you least expect them.  Paradee and I became friends on Facebook, and we would chat here and there, nothing too significant.  On the morning of 4th of July, he was looking for volunteers to support him in the 4th of July parade.  I knew my son would be very excited marching with a real politician and giving out candy to kids.  We got there, and unfortunately my son had a very bad reaction to everything going on.  Part of his disability is sensory processing, and parades can be very stressful, especially without comfortable shoes (which was my fault for not getting them from the car for him)!  He broke down, and Trey Paradee didn’t say a single negative word about it.  Usually when this happens, my son will get weird looks, but Paradee sensed he was having a hard time, and he asked me if he was okay.  I advised him about his sensory processing and he understood.

My son joined back up with the parade about 10 minutes later and had a blast.  Afterwards, I was talking with Paradee for a while about politics and education.  We talked about House Bill 334, which would replace DCAS with the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  A few weeks before, the Delaware House of Representatives had passed it, and then a couple weeks after that the Senate voted no, a few of them flip-flopped, and then they voted yes.  Markell would have used executive power to make it happen either way, so the whole thing was an exercise in futility.  Paradee explained to me that he genuinely felt kids were getting tested too much with DCAS and since Smarter Balanced was once a year it would be better for students.  He explained that he heard from many parents in our district that were upset about the multiple tests.

A week or so later, Pete Kramer was going to houses and he came to ours.  I was at work, but my wife spoke with him and she advised him of our son’s Tourette Syndrome.  He emailed her back advising my son is lucky cause he will grow out of it in a few years.  This occurs sometimes with TS, but for most afflicted with this disability, it stays.  It may become more manageable but it is not normal for it to just go away.

To draw to a conclusion, this is why Paradee is getting my vote.  He listened when I talked about my son.  Kramer listened, did some quick research which I’ve seen on Wikipedia, and responded to my wife with something I felt was highly inappropriate in trying to help a potential constituent.  I truly believe Paradee loves connecting with people.  I have yet to meet Kramer even though I’ve reached out to him a few times.

Yes, Paradee voted for the Smarter Balanced Assessment, but I’ve since learned Secretary of Education Mark Murphy had already bought the test for the state and it put the legislature in a very difficult position.  I’ve also questioned how much information members of the General Assembly who aren’t on the education committee received prior to the vote.

I’ve seen the signs all over my area, and Paradee’s are simple, vote for him.  Kramer put up a few that say “Paradee raised taxes” and so forth.  I’ve received mailers from both, and Kramer’s are all about why Paradee shouldn’t be elected.  Paradee talks about what he’s done and what he wants to do.  If his worst act as a House Rep was raising taxes when he said he wouldn’t, who cares.  Sometimes taxes need to be raised or you don’t get the services you need to survive as a community.  It’s unfortunate, but there you go.

While Kramer is against the same education things I am, he doesn’t have the connection with people that Paradee does.  I am also certain that some day soon, parents are going to revolt against Rodel and Markell and their whacko education reforms.  I have faith that Paradee will vote with his conscience when this happens and support what families want and not what Markell wants.

In conclusion, I endorse Trey Paradee for House Representative of the 29th District in Delaware!  Vote for Trey!

 

Support Steve Newton at the Newcastle County Candidate Forum, 9/16 #netde #eduDE @DelawareBats @delawareonline @DoverPost @TheStateNews

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God I wish I lived in the 22nd district in Delaware!  This is the home of Steve Newton, and he is running for House Representative for his district as an Independent.  I could care less what party he is with, because he is a great guy!  If there is one voice in this election cycle that represents the best views on education, Steve Newton is the one!  And he also has a great handle on many of the other ailments Delaware is facing.  Transportation, financial matters, he’s got it covered!

I’ve known Steve for about four months, but I didn’t officially meet him until a couple weeks ago.  We met for lunch, and talked about special education in Delaware.  That night I attended the primary candidate forum up in Pike’s Creek, and watched as the three other candidates kept saying “I agree with Steve”.  The  first time I heard of Steve was on Kilroy’s Delaware.  He commented on a story I was writing on there, and what impressed me the most was how much he helped a friend of mine, who was also commenting.  Nobody knew the connection at the time, but her response was “We need more Steve Newton’s in the world.”  The fact that Steve could touch someone who doesn’t even live in Delaware is just one example of how his knowledge and experience can truly help the people of the 1st state!

Delaware needs a fresh new voice in Legislative Hall.  One that isn’t tainted by all the Markell years.  One that believes education needs to be returned to the school districts and special education needs to be massively revamped in this state.  What makes Steve even more awesome is he is also an advocate for parents who are having difficulty at IEP meetings.  He has helped children in many states across our country.

So to my readers in the 22nd District, vote for a person who will help to make education better.  Don’t vote for the same old guy you always have.  Vote for Steve Newton!

To find out more about Steve’s views, check out his Facebook page, Steve Newton for 22nd District State Representative: https://www.facebook.com/Newtonfor22ndStateRep

Senator Townsend Deserves Another Term! Do The Right Thing Voters of the 11th! #netde #eduDE @delawareonline

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Senator Bryan Townsend is running again for Senator of the 11th District in Delaware.  Primary day is tomorrow, and Senator Townsend deserves your vote.  What I am most impressed about him is that he took the Smarter Balanced Assessment and hated it!  As well, he voted no twice on House Bill 334, which was voted down, and then voted on again when Jack sent the team in to say too bad, so sad, it’s gonna happen anyways.  Townsend stuck to his guns, and voted no again!

When chartermania occurred in Delaware last April, Townsend, along with Kim Williams and others, stood up for public schools and wrote the DOE about what kind of impact this could have on public school districts.  Not that the DOE cared, but we need more Townsend’s willing to challenge the DOE and their love affair with all things charter and testing.  Townsend cares about students, and is willing to fight for what he believes in.  Because of redistricting, Townsend has to run again for his Senate seat, after only two years in office.  Give Senator Townsend four more years District 11!

Being a citizen of Dover, why should I care what goes on in the 11th District?  Because every vote in Legislative Hall counts, and I will support anyone who wants to be the voice of reason in an administration that is turning education into the laughing stock of the world.

From Kavips: Bryan Townsend is Delaware parent’s best defender in the Senate. He is the only Senator to have enough concern over this test to take the Smarter Balanced Assessment, was appalled (as were we). and who became one of only two Democrats to go against the threats of their Governor and his whips in the Senate and vote no on HB 334, both times…..  Against this giant, Dave Tackett is just another politician.  Bryan is the centerpiece of reason in Delaware right now.

From Alan Fox on Delawareway.BlogSpot.com: I am writing to express my enthusiastic support for Bryan Townsend, a former student of mine at the University of Delaware, and a terrific young man who is seeking re-election to the 11th District State Senate seat. Though he has been an incredibly effec­tive and active legislator, who has quickly earned the respect and credibility of his peers, he faces a chal­lenger in the upcoming Democratic primary, and I urge all eligible voters to support this conscientious and hard-working senator at the polls in September.

It Needs To Be Taylor Time In Dover! Vote for Ralph Taylor in the 31st District for House Rep! #netde #eduDE @KilroysDelaware @delawareonline

Ralph Taylor needs your vote tomorrow citizens of the 31st District in Dover!  He’s up against city councilman Sean Lynn.  I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Taylor at the 4th of July Parade & Fireworks.  He had his own booth set up, and he was busy the whole night meeting and talking with the citizens of Dover.  When I got a chance to talk to him, I asked him what his views were on Common Core and Smarter Balanced Assessment.  He opposes both, which always makes someone a fan in my book.  But I asked him why, and he informed me it doesn’t make sense, the test makes no sense, it’s not good for students, and it’s not good for teachers and their evaluations.

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Sean Lynn, his opponent for the Democrat nomination, is a strong supporter of Common Core and standardized testing.  He was endorsed by Darryl Scott, the departing House Rep.  Scott can be blamed for much of the current situations with education in Delaware, including Common Core and Smarter Balanced Assessment.  He allowed legislation to go through that allows charter schools to get “performance” funds while our public schools have to wait five years for capital improvements.  And now he is endorsing Councilman Lynn, to be his little clone.  We don’t need another Darryl Scott, we need something new in Dover!

In a debate with Lynn last month at Wesley College, Taylor said “Education is the new currency, and students shouldn’t be held back from their potential because their teachers have to adhere to the Common Core.”  His opponent Lynn, stated he is all for it, so kids “don’t have to take remedial course in college”, and had some shocking new information with his statement that “We owe it to our children to make sure they have what they need to be successful, 84 percent of teachers support it and so do I.”  I haven’t seen that poll Mr. Lynn.  Care to share where you received those facts?

If you look at Taylor and Lynn’s Facebook pages, you will see Taylor showing many endorsements from citizens.  On Lynn’s page, you see Scott’s endorsement, and Lynn bashing Taylor.  I know elections can be cutthroat, but I tend to prefer the person who talks about what he wants to do and has great conversations with people.  Taylor is a retired policeman, so I could care less what his stance on gun control is.  He’s earned the right, through years of service to the people, to have his opinions on the issue.  Nor do I care that he is conflicted on the death penalty.  This is a man who has seen horrific crimes in his 20 years as a Dover policeman.

So tomorrow, if you are on the fence, vote for someone who can and will make change happen.  Vote for someone who actually cares about what our children are and will go through.  Vote for someone who knows the high stakes this puts on teachers who deserve better.  Vote for Ralph Taylor!

Kim Williams gets Exceptional Endorsement! Vote for Kim! #netde #eduDE @KilroysDelaware @delawareonline

There are those who run for office that truly want to change things. And there is going to be a great deal of change needed by the time the 148th General Assembly gets rolling. The Red Clay Consolidated School District needs a powerful voice as their representative, someone who will work to get the job done in a fair and consistent way. Kim is the voice for education in the House of Representatives!

Kim’s sponsorship of bills and her voting record is why she needs to be elected again to the 19th District’s House of Representatives. Kim is a champion for education, and she has opposed bills that probably didn’t make her popular in Legislative Hall, but made her a hero in many people’s eyes. House Rep Paul Baumbach wrote that he reaches out to colleagues on special education matters, and Kim Williams is one of them.

On her flyers that went out to prospective voters, she wrote:

“It is a priviledge to be your State Representative and I love serving the people of the 19th District. Over the last two years we have worked together to improve educational opportunities, make government more transparent, create jobs and strengthen our economy. We’ve accomplished a lot but there is still more to do. I ask for your support and vote in the Democratic Primary on Sept. 9 2014”

Kim is very approachable, because she is one of those politicians that’s in it to serve her constituents. It’s not about the power and the politics, it’s about doing what’s best for the people that elect her. And that’s why she get’s Exceptional Delaware’s Exceptional Endorsement!

 

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(above picture from dehousedems.com, Kim with Senator Townsend, another candidate in Tuesday’s primaries who needs your vote for DE Senate!)

The following are the reasons why Kim needs to stay:

She voted no on House Bill 334, which allowed Smarter Balanced Assessment to replace DCAS.

She was one of the sponsors on Senate Concurring Resolution 63, which created the IEP Task Force. She was also one of the instrumental forces in my quest to have parents added to the task force membership. It was her idea for parents to “email bomb” their House Reps and Senators, which they did, and allowed for a re-vote adding the parents!

She sponsored and voted yes for Senate Bill 209, which allows local school districts to review a charter school application to see if it has an impact on the surrounding district.

Voted yes for HB 13, which prevents lawmakers from becoming lobbyists for one year after they leave office.

Voted no for HB 165, which allowed, among other things, for charter schools to get a performance fund. Funds are going to be sent to a brand new charter school, but public schools are falling apart in Wilmington. See my point!

Voted no for SB 220, which appropriated money for the ailing casinos in Delaware. It passed and they received $9.9 million dollars, while once again, schools…falling…apart…

Voted yes for SB 6, to increase the minimum wage.

The following are endorsements for Kim:

From a News Journal article, where former 19th District Rep Bob Gilligan endorsed Kim: “As the former state representative for the residents of the 19th District, I could not be more pleased with the work that Kim Williams has done during the past two years. Kim has been a very good state representative for the 19th District, and she should continue to serve the residents. She is a hard worker who has put in the effort in all aspects of being a legislator.

Kim has done an outstanding job with constituent services, responding to all requests and following up with everyone. Kim is very conscientious, gives individual attention to each person who calls and also regularly attends community meetings. That is the hallmark of an effective legislator.

On the legislative side, Kim had one of the most productive freshman terms that I can remember. She supported efforts to help grow our economy and create jobs for Delawareans, such as voting for a minimum-wage increase and reforming our workers’ compensation laws. As a former Red Clay School Board member, she has been focused on education. In her first two years, she passed major updates to our school choice laws. She also championed a FOIA law to increase government transparency and improve Delawareans’ access to public records.

The residents of the 19th District deserve a state representative who is selfless, works hard and has their best interests at heart. Kim Williams is that person. She has proven herself during the past two years, and she should continue to serve. I hope you will join with me in voting for Kim Williams in the Sept. 9 Democratic primary.

Bob Gilligan, Former Speaker of the House and 19th District State Representative”

From Kilroy’s Delaware: “The parents and community of Red Clay School District with “participation” of Delaware State Representative Kim Williams questioned, challenged and beat back pending changes that “did” impose on the civil rights of special need students and the protection promised by IDEA. We are thankful for Kim’s beyond the call of duty.”

From Kavips: “When Kim Williams heard a hearing was going to be held without the parent’s side of Common Core being told, she risked all and stormed into it, and the chair had her thrown out lest her side of the story get told… Kim is true champion for children, parents, and teachers. With Kim, the ugly side of Common Core gets exposure. Kim stood up and voted no on HB 334, the Smarter Balanced Assessment bill. This is another no-brainer choice. Kim all the way.”

I agree Kavips! Kim all the way! So get out and make the right choice denizens of the 19th on Tuesday and vote for Kim Williams again!

 

2014 Delaware’s Sept 9th Primary Guide

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We encourage all to read up on their candidates and make up their opinion. For that reason we have given all a shortcut to reading material, (links) and to our recommendation….

About that recommendation.  As when judging cookies by their taste, one must recognize that all cookies taste good. For a judge to discern one over the other, one has to have fine lines and high standards which need to be met or crossed.  Some decisions are easy.  Some are obtuse.  But a decision has to be made, and here it was…

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Republican:  Delaware Senate:

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 Kevin Wade —————-Carl Smink (for more info click each candidate’s name)

Carl Smink is firmly against Common Core.  Keven Wade is too busy in Israel to offer any opinion worthy of mention. Republican parents need to pull for Carl.

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Republican:  State Treasurer

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 Ken Simpler————-Sher Valenzuela

Other than being the most…

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Interesting Debate Tonight in Hockessin: Miro, Newton, MacKenzie & Smith, Will Education Come Up? #netde #eduDE @KilroysDelaware @ed_in_de

Tonight in Hockessin, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm, candidates running for the House of Representatives in the 22nd District will meet in a debate at the Hockessin Memorial Hall. What will make this very interesting for me will be Joe Miro and Steve Newton. Miro is serving on the IEP Task Force starting this Thursday. Newton is a long-time special education advocate and has helped many children not only in Delaware, but across the country.

Common Core, testing and special education are all hot topics in Delaware right now, so I am very interested in those responses from all the candidates. Without being biased (I am), I think there needs to be a lot more Steve Newtons in this state. Advocates need to know what they are talking about when dealing with school administrations, and Newton, along with Kathy Willis and Diane Eastburn definitely know how to tackle schools when problems come up.

Miro voted yes for House Bill 334, which allowed the Smarter Balanced Assessment to replace DCAS as Delaware’s state standardized test. The bill almost died in the Delaware Senate, but Governor Markell sent his team in to let the Senate know it would be implemented anyways, no matter how they voted. The Senate took a revote and four Republicans flip-flopped on the vote, allowing it to pass. Many special education advocates and parents are against the test due to the lack of accommodations for special needs students, which are less than DCAS.