The Delaware State Board of Education will be meeting this Thursday, November 15th at Mispillion Elementary School in Milford for their monthly meeting. Regulation 505 will be discussed by the State Board which will implement legislation from the past year of the General Assembly.
I would read through this very carefully because there are a lot of changes being made. It is a meaty document! If it is crossed out, they are doing away with it. If it is underlined, that is new. Many of these changes are a result of House Bill #287 which created the Diploma of Modified Standards and got rid of the dreaded Certificate of Performance. Other changes are a result of legislation mandating credits in computer science, changes to Physical Education requirements, high school student transfers from out of state, and Student Success Plans.
If you wish to give public comment on the changes to Regulation 505, they are due by December 5th. You can email them to the following: DOEregulations.email@example.com
For those who might be wondering why the State Board of Education is meeting in Milford, House Bill #455 changed some things about the State Board. One of those is that the State Board alternates meetings in different counties. This began in September when they met in Appoquinimink. Every other month they will hold a meeting in a different county. During the other months they will meet at the Townsend Building in Dover. Next month’s meeting will have the State Board of Ed deciding on all seven of the charter schools up for renewal.
The 149th General Assembly officially began on January 10th, this past Tuesday. But the first few weeks tend to be slow. Especially when it comes to education. But we already have seven education bills submitted by the Delaware House of Representatives. No Senate education bills have come forth at this point.
The biggest of these is a carryover from the 148th General Assembly, that of funding for basic special education for students in Kindergarten to 3rd grade. State Rep. Kim Williams made a ton of noise about the need for this funding during the last go-around, and she needs to keep making more noise! There should be NO question whatsoever about the need for this bill. NONE! It should not come down to fiscal concerns either. It needs to happen even if they have to cut some slush fund somewhere. House Substitute 1 for House Bill 12 will be a bill I advocate for this year, no doubt about it! I have to say I am disappointed there are NO Delaware Republicans that signed on to the substitute for this bill although Reps. Spiegelman and Briggs-King did sign on for the original House Bill #12. This is on the agenda for the House Education Committee meeting on Wednesday, January 18th at 2:30pm.
State Rep. Earl Jaques’ House Joint Resolution #3 would ensure both the House and Senate Education Committees see the Delaware Every Student Succeeds Act state plan before it is completed and sent to the United States Dept. of Education. That is a step, but I would prefer the General Assembly has authority to accept or reject the plan before it goes to the US DOE! This is also on the agenda for the House Education Committee meeting on Wednesday, January 18th at 2:30pm.
The drop-out age and school attendance came out roaring through the legislative gate! State Rep. Sean Matthews submitted two bills while State Rep. Tim Dukes submitted one. Dukes’ House Bill #17 would increase the drop-out age from 16 to 17. It would also include truancy. Matthews’ House Bill #23 takes it a step further and would require a parent or guardian to agree to a student dropping out if they are over the age of 16. Where this could get a bit sticky is what happens if a student is 18? They are of legal age at that point. Some students with disabilities attend school until the age of 21. Matthews’ House Bill #24 would require a parent conference if a student misses five consecutive days without an excuse. My take on this is if parents don’t know their kids are missing five days of school and just wandering around somewhere, it will be tough to get that parent to come to a conference if they are already so disengaged they don’t know what their kid is doing. All of these bills are meant to discourage dropping out and keeping students in school. I wholeheartedly agree with that. The trick is in the details.
This is another carryover from the 148th. State Rep. Deb Heffernan had this one ready to go on June 30th but I have to believe there simply wasn’t enough time to get to every bill that night/morning. But it is back with House Bill #15 which would make computer science a graduation requirement for high school students. This is also on the agenda for the House Education Committee meeting on Wednesday, January 18th at 2:30pm.
It wouldn’t be a General Assembly in the 2010s without some type of librarian legislation from State Rep. Paul Baumbach! House Bill #34 would increase the participants in a very long-sounding scholarship name.
House Bill 355 would make a computer science class mandatory for all public high schools by the 2020-2021 school year. Sponsored by State Representative Debra Heffernan, this class would also be used as part of the total credit for math and/or science requirements for graduation and directs the State Board of Education to approve this by the 2017-2018 school year. I took a computer class in high school. We have come a long way since the days of elementary computer programming and learning how to make a really bad pinball game on a computer. But have we come too far? As personalized learning looks to take over education in the next few years, our children will lose human instruction to modules on the screen. How long will it be until students are teaching teachers? Don’t laugh… it’s coming!