Exceptional Delaware Endorses Trey Paradee For Delaware Senate District 17

I’ve known Trey for years.  He helped my family out with some education issues before I began blogging in 2014.  I have continued to go to him about issues that affected the 29th district.  While most of those have been education issues, I see how he has drafted legislation that will help all Delawareans.  I was definitely impressed with the cemetery bill he wrote.  This helped clean up some of the cemeteries in the Dover area that were offending loved ones of the deceased.  I don’t agree with every single vote he casts, but for the most part I feel he has done a good job when he held the District 29 State Representative seat.  He doesn’t play dirty campaign tricks and he is always personable when I see him.

His opponent, Justin King, has been littering my mailbox with very twisted and slanted campaign attacks against Paradee.  I got three of them today.  They take up too much room in my trashcan.  I don’t always vote with the party but more the person.  King’s unjustified attacks against Paradee turned me off in a big way.  Trey was going to get my vote anyway, but King decided to use his campaign funds to attack his opponent more than say what he will do.  King doesn’t have what it takes in the General Assembly.  He claims he will do what he wants when he wants.  I’ve met folks like that.  They either don’t get elected or don’t get anything done cause they can’t work with anyone.  I don’t mind rogue legislators but this guy seems too angry for my tastes.

King claims Paradee (singlehandedly) raised taxes on everyone.  He forgets how many of his fellow Republicans passed those budgets as well.  He forgets that hard choices were made by everyone in the 2017 budget crisis.  He forgets how his fellow Republicans in the House staged a walkout in late June that made themselves look weak.  For someone who claims Paradee didn’t show up for Delaware taxpayers, where was King when he failed to show up at forums?

I’ve endorsed Trey in every race since 2014.  The Senate will be a better place with him there.

Kathy McGuiness: Why The Idea Of Her As State Auditor Is Beyond Frightening

Who is Kathy McGuiness?  Yes, she is running for State Auditor.  But who is she really?  Is she true Blue or is she Red for convenience sake?  Who are her best friends and why would that make it VERY dangerous for her to win this election?  She wants to be a state auditor.  Someone whose job is making sure other state agencies don’t break the rules.  But her alliances and allegiances beg the question and puts her on a very slippery slope.  And I’m not just talking about the slopes in Park City, Utah. Continue reading

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.

 

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

State Rep. Trey Paradee Announces Run For Brian Bushweller’s Senate Seat In 17th District

Today, State Rep. Trey Paradee filed with the Department of Elections to run for State Senator Brian Bushweller’s seat in the 17th District.  The 17th District covers Dover, Camden and Wyoming.  Since Paradee is running for State Senate, he will not be able to run for his State Representative seat in the 29th District in 2018.  Paradee issued the following statement on his Facebook account today:

Paradee was my State Rep. in the 29th District but I recently moved to another area of Dover.  But that doesn’t mean I will rid myself of Paradee!  Should he win, he would become my State Senator.  In all seriousness though, I did endorse Paradee in his last two elections and voted for him.  I don’t agree with him on every single bill or political viewpoint, but we agree more than we disagree.  In education, he votes how I would for most bills.

No other individuals have filed for this race, but the deadline is next year.  In terms of Paradee’s seat, I’ve heard some very interesting names from both sides of the aisle.  I will post those names once I know more as long as I get the okay from those individuals.  Until then, thanks for being my State Rep. Trey Paradee!  It’s been an adventure!

Catching Up On Delaware Education And Politics

It’s been a while.  At least for me.

I haven’t been blogging as much.  Like I’ve said before, sometimes you have to take a break and recharge your batteries.  But it doesn’t mean things aren’t happening offline or in sidebar conversations.  These are just some of the things I’ve seen and heard the past few weeks: Continue reading

Delaware’s Tax Structure 20 Years Ago Was MUCH Higher Than Proposals Coming Out Now

Thank you to State Rep. Trey Paradee for posting this on Facebook.  I didn’t even live in Delaware back in the late 1990s.  Paradee also said Delaware was swimming in money back then.  We are not swimming in money now though.  We are drowning in debt.  We paid the piper and now our legislators are realizing far too much that overspending and not enough oversight has created one hell of a mess in The First State.

Many of us are extremely upset right now.  We see cuts and tax increases.  We hear joking around on the audio of the House.  We see the blame game going back and forth between Republicans and Democrats.  We see a perfectly good bill which would generate $43 million in revenue for the state just dying on the vine.  We see services our elderly and youth get being completely evaporated and diminished.  We are pissed.  We are tired.  We are Delaware.

For legislators who are seeing the back-and-forth on social media right now, they can see our anger.  They need to.  They need to know we the people are not happy on both sides of the aisle.  These are our children and grandparents.  Husbands and wives.  Families.  Schools.  The elderly.  The mentally ill.  The disabled.  The volunteers.  Where is this budget bill?  Let the people see it and weigh in.  Why are you so afraid of transparency?  Maybe, just maybe, one of us common people could propose ideas with a fresh outlook that none of you even thought about.  That is a true democracy.

Cursive Bill Released From Delaware House Education Committee

It seemed to be an even split between advocates and those who oppose the bill, but State Rep. Andria Bennett’s House Bill was released from committee today with 12 votes.  Next stop, the House Ready list.  Many of the folks who opposed the bill were in favor of students learning cursive but felt that was a decision best left to the local school board and not a mandate from the state.  The Delaware Department of Education opposed the bill for the same reasons, along with the Delaware Association of School Administrators and the Delaware School Boards Association.

Both sides cited research or studies weighing the pros and cons of the bill.  I supported it and gave public comment on how my son seemed to like cursive more than regular writing.  Another advocate for students with disabilities, Robert Overmiller with the Governor’s Advisory Council for Exceptional Citizens, also supported the bill because of the beneficial nature for special needs students.  A retired teacher supported the bill.

State Rep. Bennett said her idea for this bill came last Christmas when her own daughter was unable to read her grandmother’s cursive writing in a Christmas card.  Some advocates said it is important children know how to read original historic documents, such as The Declaration of Independence.  One gentleman said he would not hire someone at his company who didn’t know cursive since so many old property deeds and paperwork were written in cursive and they would not be able to understand those documents.  One parent stated they were vehemently against the bill and that it shouldn’t matter if kids can read historic documents in cursive because it is all available online.  She also said grandmothers are texting and using Instagram more and more these days.  State Rep. Joe Miro said with our state budget deficit we should not be mandating curriculum at the state level.

If you are in favor of this bill, please contact your state legislator and let them know!  I know I will call my own State Rep, Trey Paradee and ask him to support this bill!

Exceptional Delaware Endorses Trey Paradee For 29th State Rep. District

I’ve known Trey Paradee for a few years now.  He was the first State Representative I ever met.  It is fitting, because he is my State Rep in the 29th District.  I have approached him about many issues, mostly dealing with education.  Trey comes from a long lineage of Paradees who have served Delaware.  I proudly endorse him for another term in the 29th Rep. District.

I witnessed Paradee getting more involved with education during the course of the 148th General Assembly.  During the infamous House Bill 50 opt out saga, Paradee made it a point to attend the House Education Committee meeting to hear what parents and teachers were saying.  He stayed for the entire meeting (and it was a long one).  He voted in favor of House Bill 50 twice and also voted in favor of suspending the rules to allow for a vote on an override of Governor Markell’s veto of said bill.  While that attempt failed, Trey was one of only 13 House Reps who voted yes on this measure out of 40.  It showed his commitment to parents and their inalienable rights.

I haven’t made it easy on Paradee.  As my district rep, Trey is in the sometimes uncomfortable position of being in “that blogger’s” district.  Let’s face it, I’m not always easy on those I disagree with.  To me, it is always about the kids.  But Trey gets that.  I believe he gets that sometimes a legislator needs to cut across the grain in order to do what is right.  But at the same time, he has talked with me about my approach.  And while I haven’t always heeded those words, I very much appreciate his insight.

trey

This morning, I read the Delaware State News and there was an entire page devoted to Paradee’s views.  His opponents, Republican Jean Gallagher and Green Party candidate Ruth Ann James did not even bother to return the survey.  While it is certainly their right not to participate in a survey, it also speaks volumes to their commitment to informing the citizens of the district about their views on issues.  Given that this article came out a week and a half before the election, I find it odd they would not want to participate in something that would get their positions out there.  Neither of Paradee’s opponents participated in a questionnaire from the Dover Post as well.

I was pleasantly surprised to see Paradee devoted portions of his survey to education.  He cited education funding as a top priority the state needs to change.

However, we have created a system of haves and have-nots, and the referendum process has devolved into a political endeavor with yard signs, call centers and mailers.  Meanwhile, some school districts that deal with a higher number of English second language students and children who face challenges brought upon by poverty do not have adequate resources.  This problem needs to be addressed by the next administration, with the help of parents, educators, and administrators, to find a way to provide adequate resources to our most challenged students while maintaining some of the local control that we have grown to enjoy through the referendum process.

When asked what changes he would like to see in the Delaware Department of Education, he responded with the following:

We need to clean house.  We need to reduce the number of positions and return more control to the local school boards.

Amen Trey!

In looking at Janice Gallagher’s survey responses to the Delaware Voter’s Guide, she fully supports school vouchers which would further cripple an already financially strapped public education system and has proved ineffective in many states.  On her website, Gallagher’s only mention of education is a very broad “create common sense education for your children and grandchildren” which tells me absolutely nothing about what she stands for.  I can easily go back to the past four years and see how Trey Paradee stands on education through his voting record in the House of Representatives.  While I don’t agree with every single vote he has cast, I see a continual increase in his involvement with education issues.

On a personal level, Trey is very approachable and he will look into issues if you go to him.  I have sent a few parents his way over the past couple of years.  During the last legislative session, he made it a point to make sure Delawareans were not unfairly raked over the coals with a proposed Artificial Island project that would have increased energy costs but given the bulk of the benefit of the station to New Jersey residents.  And he succeeded!

Please vote for Trey Paradee if you live in the 29th Rep. District on November 29th.  I know I will!  Besides, who wouldn’t vote for a guy that brings his dogs everywhere!  This is also a state representative who has never missed a vote in the House.  In four years!  Not everyone can say that.  But one thing people can say is that Paradee was a spitting image of Rush singer Geddy Lee in his younger days!

geddytrey

Ask Teachers One Question And…

Alright, I admit it.  Asking Delaware teachers if they would consider taking a cut in their benefits and pensions probably wasn’t the smartest move in the book, but many of you came out in droves to respond.  Granted, no administrators, principals, or superintendents replied.  The article went over like a resounding thud.  But I challenge every single teacher in the state: if not benefits or pension, what do you view as wasted money in our schools?  And please don’t say “nothing”.  We spend a billion dollars on education in Delaware and that’s just from the state.  We also get federal money and local funds from school taxes.  While other states may laugh and say “that’s it?”, we are a small state with less than a million people and about 133,000 kids in public education.  Since this could be a hot topic with certain folks, feel free to post anonymously on this!

Since I just got home from work and grocery shopping and I’m dead to the world now, just a few updates on recent stuff.  They must have a huge cricket crisis going on in the Appoquinimink School District, because that’s all I’ve heard from them since I dropped the special education funding bomb on them last week.  I did have an interesting comment on the “Unsustainable” article that had me wracking my brain all day.  Delaware school districts and charters might be thinking I’ve slowed down on them and my target of the month is Appo.  Wrong!  I have a ton of articles that will be coming out in the next couple of weeks.  One is about an interesting superintendent situation going on in one of our school districts.  That one led to a VERY interesting board meeting last month.  Dr. Mark Holodick is winning the “who will be the next Secretary of Education in Delaware poll”, followed by Susan Bunting.  Every one seems to be playing pin the tail on the auditor in the past week and everyone wants to know when Tom Wagner is actually going to, you know, do some audits.  Kenny Rivera is now the Vice-President of the Red Clay Board of Education and Michael Piccio was voted in as the President.  The State Board is having their monthly snooze fest on Thursday.  Expect to hear some type of hip-hop hooray about the latest Smarter Balanced Assessment results but not the actual final scores cause they aren’t done yet.  Both the Christina and Red Clay Boards of Education passed resolutions to suspend the WEIC timeline which will be echoed by WEIC at a meeting on July 26th.  On Wednesday, WEIC will be honored by the Progressive Democrats of Delaware as their Education Heroes of the Year.  So Elizabeth Lockman gets a two-peat!  Jack Markell hasn’t signed the teacher evaluation bill yet, House Bill 399.  I guess he was too busy not filing to run for Congress (okay, I never said I bat home runs every time)!  Delaware Military Academy wants to build a sports dome, but not with any funding from the state.  They said it will all be from private donations.  Apparently Chief of Instruction Michael Watson at the Delaware DOE has been “chosen” to be on John Carney’s “transition team”.  How very presumptuous of you Mr. Carney.  Today is State Rep. Trey Paradee’s birthday so wish him a Happy Birthday on Facebook.  I did hear back from EFIC about their epic fail, which is the Education Funding Improvement Committee’s final report.  Apparently “their work isn’t done yet” after having a due date of March 31st which was extended until June 30th.  Publius disappeared from Kilroy’s Delaware about a month ago and hasn’t been seen since.  He said something about the sign is in the yard.  It makes me very curious why he would feel he shouldn’t comment “anonymously” on a blog anymore.  Especially in light of a recent vacancy in Dover (totally speculating on this one folks).  Unless…

House Democrats Letter To Governor Markell To Remove Smarter Balanced For 11th Grade

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.

People I Can Text, Email, Or FB Message After 10 PM, And They Will Generally Get Back To Me Immediately List

In response to my article earlier today about those who don’t always respond to me, this was requested by one of the members of this honorary list with this very specific title and another one asked that I do something like this anyways:

Delaware State Rep. Trey Paradee

John Young

Executive Director of the Charter School Office at the Delaware Department of Education Jennifer Nagourney

Updated: And State Rep. Kim Williams!!!!

Updated Four Days Later: And Liz Paige as well!

Who will be next to come out of the woodwork wanting credit on here?