And you thought election season was over? HA! Not in Delaware! I know, many are suffering from Trump fatigue and depression. But now that Bethany Hall-Long is the new Delaware Lieutenant Governor, there will be a special election in 2017 for her Senate seat in the 10th District. With ten Republicans and ten Democrats, expect a lot of attention on this race. The winner of this race determines party control of the Delaware Senate. I know of a few possible contenders, although none have “officially” thrown their hat in the ring.
State Rep. Earl Jaques: I see him as a top contender. So much so that I asked him about it yesterday at a meeting at the Delaware Dept. of Education. He didn’t rule it out, but he said it is something he and his wife are currently discussing. Odds: 2-1
State Rep. Quinn Johnson: He and Bethany are very tight. He lives in the district. But he is also well-ensconced in the House. Odds: 4-1
New Castle County Clerk of the Peace Ken Boulden: This could be a viable option if the state wants to save money. If Jaques or Johnson won, there would have to be another special election for their State Rep. Seat should they win. If Boulden won, it would save Delaware taxpayers from shelling out more money in what will be a very tight budget year. And I hear there is interest! Odds: 5-1
Dana Long: Would Bethany’s husband run for the Senate? I don’t think he could steal this election! Odds: Infinity-1
John Marino: He ran for Bethany’s Senate seat in 2014 and lost. But it was a VERY close race, with Hall-Long getting 51% of the vote and Marino getting 49%. I can easily picture him making another run. Odds: 2-1
Matt Brown: He ran against Quinn Johnson in 2012. Would he be willing to run for another race? Odds 20-1
THE TWITTER PARTY
Precious Little: She made a name for herself in Delaware one September day in 2014. Does she live in the district? No, she lives in Estonia. But who cares! This is Delaware where no one keeps track of that kind of silly stuff! Odds: 3,000-1
Today, ten Delaware House Democrats signed a letter to Delaware Governor Jack Markell asking him to remove the Smarter Balanced Assessment for high school juniors. The letter also mentions Senate Joint Resolution #2, the assessment inventory task force.
We recognize that, by your order, the Department of Education is in the midst of creating an inventory of standardized tests administered throughout the state. Pursuant to Senate Joint Resolution 2, signed into law in July, the department will share its findings with legislators and the public, as well as a special work group that will make recommendations regarding possible elimination of redundant tests. While opinions will differ among stakeholders, we believe there is universal support for eliminating the Smarter Balanced test for juniors in lieu of the SAT.
I fully accept that this is Governor Markell’s order. He came up with the “assessment inventory” idea back in March. It is a red herring though. I firmly believe it will get rid of many assessments that give immediate and crucial feedback for teachers in how best to instruct their students. I also predict it will see an increase in “prep” and “interim” Smarter Balanced Assessments. The move towards personalized learning will allow for the eventual elimination of the nine-hour test (or longer depending on the individual student’s needs). But it will not get rid of the basic flaws in SBAC, nor will it eliminate the time taking the test. Instead it will eventually be in shorter doses but will be just as harmful to students.
There should be universal supporting for eliminating SBAC for ALL grades. I would caution parents not to be fooled by this letter. This is not a direction where the Smarter Balanced Assessment will gradually be removed. It does not address the fundamental and core issues of what is wrong with Smarter Balanced. I fear this is another attempt to sway legislators from voting for the House Bill 50 Veto Override. This does not get rid of the issue of parents opting out except for those who have 11th graders. The SAT is on a downward slope in many states, and now that they are “aligning” it with Common Core, that trend may increase.
Do Not Be Fooled by this Delaware parents! The DOE has been planning this for over a year IN RESPONSE to the opt-out movement. They knew 11th graders would have the highest opt-outs. But it is still implemented in 3rd to 8th grade. The assessment inventory task force is also stocked with many who will align with the Governor’s flawed logic about standardized assessments. It wouldn’t shock me if the DOE already wrote the report on it and they are just waiting on the group to tweak it here and there. I will still fight for the House Bill 50 Veto Override and support parents who choose to exercise their choice to opt their child out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment. I have been calling out the “assessment inventory” ruse since the Governor first started talking about it last March.