Final Delaware General Election Candidates

The Delaware Primary reduced the number of candidates.  We now have a clear understanding of who will face who in the General Election.  Some seats in the General Assembly have been determined by the results of yesterday’s primary.  The election is November 6th.  Start your engines! Continue reading

You Have Two Choices Next Tuesday: Vote For Sean Goward Or Pray For Delaware

goward

John Carney…no.  Colin Bonini…no.  Sean Goward…YES!  Next Tuesday, do the right thing and vote for Sean Goward for Delaware Governor.  There isn’t another choice.  It is essential.  If you want to hear another four years of useless sound bites coming from a Governor that is just following the script and Delaware students losing out even more, then I suggest you begin praying for the future of Delaware.  I think Bonini and Carney are nice guys.  But Governor material?  No.  Politicians?  Yes.  But we desperately need something different in Delaware.  We need someone who will take the bull by the horns and really shake things up.  Someone who will clear the rot in the foundation of this state.

I’ve met Goward a couple of times.  I’ve had long conversations with him.  Back in September, I posted an article where I asked 32 really tough questions on education to the Governor candidates.  All but Carney responded.  He wanted to wait to come out with his “education platform”.  I read that document.  It was a love song for the Delaware Dept. of Education and Rodel and their big plans for the Every Student Succeeds Act.  Bonini’s responses to my questions were okay in some areas, but his schtick about failing schools based on standardized test schools is unacceptable given everything he should know by now about Delaware education.

But Goward?  He gets it.  He understands the absolute crap being foisted on Delaware students and teachers.  He knows about all the corporate education reform going on.  He accepts that Delaware has a lot of issues as a whole and we need to clear out the rot.  When I hear people complaining about things in this state, and not the usual political/corporate jargon thrown around, but the real issues and problems, I see Sean Goward as being the best person to lead this state.  We need radical change.  Our two-party system just plain doesn’t work anymore.  I would love to see a come from behind third-party candidate like Sean Goward actually win next Tuesday.  He is Libertarian.  Who cares?  In the end, does the label matter more than the person behind the label?  What that person stands for?  Their inner integrity?  Labels aren’t getting Delaware anywhere.  Party loyalty is crippling this state, as well as our country, more than anything else.

I’m asking you to take a chance on Sean Goward.  I’m asking you to take a chance on a better Delaware.  A more transparent state that people can actually be proud of.  We need someone who won’t bend to lobbyists and corporate interests.  Someone who will lead this state based on the will of the people, not those who throw pies in the sky with ten year visions.  Our children deserve better than the other two guys.  Our families do.  Our state does.  Vote for Sean Goward on November 8th.  Vote for a leader of the people.

After the Primary: Delaware Candidates for General Election on November 8th

Delaware Primary season is over!  Now that the playing field has been seriously trimmed, this is the final list of Delaware candidates for the General Election on November 8th.  Some candidates who I previously called winners after the deadline in July now face an opponent from party-nominated candidates who were put on the ballot by September 1st or members of the Green party who are in the game now.  I will be coming out with my own endorsements in the weeks ahead.

 

Deadline to Register to Vote for General Election: October 15th

Delaware Election 2016: November 8th

 

What’s At Stake:

President: The future of the country.

Delaware Senate: 11 out of 21 seats up for re-election, 11 seats needed for party control.  As of the 148th General Assembly, there were 12 Democrats and 9 Republicans in the Delaware Senate. With no one running against some candidates, 8 Democrats and 7 Republicans will retain seats. Magic number for party control in the Senate- Democrats: 3, Republicans: 4

*the only thing that could change this scenario is if Senator Bethany Hall-Long wins the Lieutenant Governor race and then a special election would take place after the General Election for her seat.  The same would apply if Senator Colin Bonini wins the Governor race.

Delaware House: All 41 seats up for reelection, 21 seats for party control.  As of the end of the 148th General Assembly, there were 26 Democrats and 15 Republicans in the House. With no one running against some candidates, 16 Democrats and 4 Republicans will retain seats.  Magic number for Democrats: 5, for Republicans: 17.  These numbers don’t assume certain parties will win if a candidate is running against one of the Libertarians, Greens, or Independents.   Assuming the incumbents win in those elections, that would change the magic numbers for Democrats to 4 and the Republicans to 15.

As of tonight, we have a brand new Delaware Senator from the 9th Senate District: Jack Walsh.  Congratulations Senator Walsh!  As well, Wilmington will have a new Mayor.  Congratulations to Mayor Michael Purzycki.

 

President:

Hillary Clinton (D)

Jill Stein (G)

Gary Johnson (L)

Donald Trump (R)

 

Governor:

John Carney (D)

Andrew Groff (G)

Sean Goward (L)

Colin Bonini (R)

 

Congress: US Representative

Lisa Blunt Rochester (D)

Mark Perri (G)

Scott Gesty (L)

Hans Reigle (R)

 

Lieutenant Governor: 

Bethany Hall-Long (D)

La Mar Gunn (R)

 

Insurance Commissioner:

Trinidad Navarro (D)

Jeffrey Cragg (R)

 

State Senate:

District 1: 

Harris McDowell III (D) (Incumbent)

James Spadola (R)

 

District 5:

Denise Bowers (D)

Catherine Cloutier (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 7:

Patricia Blevins (D) (Incumbent)

Anthony Delcollo (R)

 

District 8:

David Sokola (D) (Incumbent)

David Chandler (G)

Meredith Chapman (R)

 

District 9: Winner

John Walsh (D)

 

District 12: Winner 

Nicole Poore (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 13: Winner

David McBride (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 14:

Bruce Ennis (D) (Incumbent)

Carl Pace (R)

 

District 15: Winner

Dave Lawson (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 19: Winner

Brian Pettyjohn (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 20:

Perry Mitchell (D)

Gerald Hocker (R) (Incumbent)

 

State Representative:

District 1: Winner

Charles Potter (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 2: Winner

Stephanie Bolden (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 3: Winner

Helene Keeley (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 4: Winner

Gerald Brady (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 5: Winner

Melanie George Smith (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 6: Winner

Deb Heffernan (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 7:

Bryon Short (D) (Incumbent)

Robert Wilson (L)  

 

District 8: Winner

Quinton Johnson (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 9:

Monique Johns (D)

Kevin Hensley (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 10:

Sean Matthews (D) (Incumbent)

Judith Travis (R)

 

District 11:

David Neilson (D)

Jeffrey Spiegelman (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 12: Winner

Deb Hudson (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 13: Winner

John Mitchell (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 14:

Peter Schwartzkopf (D) (Incumbent)

James DeMartino (R)

 

District 15: Winner

Valerie Longhurst (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 16: Winner

James Johnson (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 17: Winner

Michael Mulrooney (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 18: Winner

David Bentz (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 19:

Kim Williams (D) (Incumbent)

James Startzman (R)

 

District 20:

Barbara Vaughn (D)

Don Ayotte (I)

Stephen Smyk (R) Incumbent

 

District 21:

David McCorquodale (G)

Mike Ramone (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 22:

Lanette Edwards (D)

Bernard August (G)

Joseph Miro (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 23: Winner

Paul Baumbach (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 24:

Edward Osienski (D) (Incumbent)

Timothy Conrad (R)

 

District 25:

John Kowalko (D) (Incumbent)

Mike Nagorski (R)

 

District 26: Winner

John Viola (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 27: Winner

Earl Jaques (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 28: Winner

William Carson (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 29:

Trey Paradee (D) (Incumbent)

Ruth James (G)

Janice Gallagher (R)

 

District 30:

Charles Groce (D)

William Outten (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 31: 

Sean Lynn (D) (Incumbent)

Jean Dowding (R)

 

District 32:

Andria Bennett (D) (Incumbent)

Patricia Foltz (R)

 

District 33: 

Karen Williams (D)

Charles Postles (R)

 

District 34:

David Henderson (D)

Lyndon Yearick (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 35:

Gary Wolfe (D)

David Wilson (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 36: Winner

Harvey Kenton (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 37: 

Paulette Rappa (D)

Ruth Briggs-King (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 38: Winner 

Ronald Gray (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 39:

James Brittingham (L)

Daniel Short (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 40: Winner

Timothy Dukes (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 41:

Bradley Connor (D)

Richard Collins (R) (Incumbent)

 

New Castle County Executive

Matt Meyer (D)

Matt Blake (R)

 

Mayor of Wilmington: Winner

Michael Purzycki (D)

 

The following Delaware Senate seats are not up for re-election this year:

District 2: Margaret-Rose Henry (D)

District 3: Robert Marshall (D)

District 4: Greg Lavelle (R)

District 6: Ernie Lopez (R)

District 10: Bethany Hall-Long (D)

District 11: Bryan Townsend (D)

District 16: Colin Bonini (R)

District 17: Brian Bushweller (D)

District 18: F. Gary Simpson (R)

District 21: Bryant Richardson (R)

 

 

 

Exceptional Delaware Endorses Scott Gesty For Congress

There comes a time when you have to decide, and for Delaware’s Representative in Congress, there is only one choice: Scott Gesty!

I’ve gone back and forth on this one for weeks now.  But the only candidate I can endorse for Congress is Scott Gesty.  Scott is a Libertarian.  But don’t let the party fool you.  To me, the political party is just a cover for any candidate.  It’s who they are and what they believe that truly matters.  Folks will say I’m a one-issue voter.  To some extent, that is true.  But my answer to that is if you can’t get education right for kids, how can you really get the rest right?  I could list the reasons why I’m not endorsing the other candidates, but I’ve covered those reasons to one extent or another in various posts.  But this is what I like about Scott Gesty.

He is against the corporate education reform movement in not only Delaware, but America as well.  He does not support high-stakes standardized tests and Common Core.  He supports a parent’s right to opt their child out of those tests and he was not happy Governor Markell “thumbed his nose at parents”.  He said these words succinctly and clearly at the education debate in Wilmington a couple of weeks ago.  Gesty thinks the federal Department of Education needs to disappear and education decisions are best left at the local level.  He doesn’t like the fact that districts and states have to “jump through hoops” to get grant money.

In the economy, he is deeply troubled that we are trillions of dollars in debt as a nation.  He does not see free tuition as truly free, and he knows this would only put us in debt more as a country if we pursued this.  He sees education as a money-making enterprise and doesn’t see this as a good thing.  He understands that when companies start jumping into education, the prices go up but the quality goes down.

On the one issue brought up in the forum that I did not agree with Gesty on was the topic of giving teachers training with guns to protect a school until law enforcement arrives in the event of a crisis.  But that wasn’t a deal-breaker for me.  Even if Gesty supports this, there is no way it would happen.  But I agree with him on all his other education stances.  He believes in our local teachers to make the best decisions for Delaware kids.  He has seen how federal intervention at alarming levels in the past decade has taken away the ability for teachers to do what they are supposed to do: teach.

A growing concern with a number of parents in Delaware revolve around issues with student data privacy.  I believe Gesty would be the best representative in Washington D.C. to tackle this issue on behalf of Delaware.  And with what is coming down the pike, we will definitely need a voice of reason not beholden to special interests.

He recognizes the role charter schools play with discrimination in our state and feels that is a federal topic he could address in Congress.  But with other matters with charters, those should be dealt with at the state and local level.

But the biggest issue I have with all government is the two-party system.  Obviously, running as a 3rd party candidate, Gesty does as well.  But he sees how much damage this has done to our country.  How the system has brainwashed the masses into thinking you can only vote for one or the other.  It is manipulation at the highest levels, and I don’t trust the vested interests of many in both parties.  I do support some, but the majority appear to have their face in the public but their hands are always in their wallet.  I believe it is very dangerous for any American to swear absolute fealty to any one party.  I support issues, not the party.

As Gesty says on his campaign website:

In a decade or even less, the United States could suffer a very serious financial crisis. What happens when people’s individual incomes lose the ability to purchase basic goods and services? What happens when the government can no longer print money with any value and the people refuse to accept more tax increases? History suggests that not only does the government move in and take over large segments of the economy, but also that the Republic as we know it becomes a hollow shell. Real examples of this process abound, from the ancient Roman Republic to Weimar Germany.

If we intend to avoid that calamity, we need real change now. We cannot keep re-electing the career politicians who promise us that we can have lower taxes, more spending, and larger wars without consequence. We have to put American citizens into office who will tackle these problems if we want our children to avoid growing up in a Republic lost to the will of special interests and an ever expanding government.

Please vote Scott Gesty for Congress on November 8th!  We need to get out of the status quo that is destroying our state.  When I heard all the candidates at that forum, Gesty was the only one who talked at levels that didn’t sound like his answers were rehearsed.  He spoke from the heart.  I’m not saying the other candidates didn’t, but there was never any doubt in my mind about any of the answers Gesty gave.  I couldn’t say the same for the other candidates.  Even if I disagree with him on that one issue, it was how he truly felt.  We need more honesty like that in government.  I know Delaware is a very blue state, but I believe that has been to our detriment in many areas.   If we truly want any chance of getting out of the corruption and fraud our country is buried in, we have to start thinking outside of the box.

Many folks may be surprised at my choice, but I encourage all of you to find out why I made my choice and look into Scott.

Final Delaware Candidate List For Statewide Offices, State Reps, & State Senate

Today was the filing deadline for Delaware elections.  These are all the filed candidates for statewide office, State Senator, or State Representative.  Some candidates who were not facing contestants for the General Election will now have opponents.  As of this time, candidates running unopposed are 2 Democrats and 2 Republicans in the Delaware Senate, and 16 Democrats and 6 Republicans in the Delaware House of Representatives.  That means we will have 14 of the same Delaware Senators and 22 of the same Delaware State Representatives in January of 2017, well over half the seats in each.  For a state that wants change so much, we sure have a funny way of making sure the same people stay in power!

Delaware Election 2016: November 8th

Delaware Primary: September 13th (7am-8pn)

Deadline to Withdraw from Election and get filing fees back: July 15th

Deadline to Register to Vote for Primary Election: August 20th

Deadline to Register to Vote for General Election: October 15th

What’s At Stake:

President: The future of the country.

Delaware Senate: 11 out of 21 seats, Currently 12 Democrats, 9 Republicans. With no one running against some candidates, 8 Democrats and 7 Republicans will retain seats if the opposing party doesn’t select someone to run. Magic number for Democrats: 4, for Republicans: 5

Delaware House: All 41 Seats, Currently 26 Democrats, 15 Republicans. With no one running against some candidates, 16 Democrats and 7 Republicans will retain seats if the opposing party doesn’t select someone to run. Magic number for Democrats: 5, for Republicans: 14.  These numbers don’t assume certain parties will win if a candidate is running against one of the Libertarians.   Assuming the incumbents win in those elections, that would change the magic numbers for Democrats to 4 and the Republicans to 13.

 

President:

Hillary Clinton (D)

Donald Trump (R)

 

Governor:

John Carney (D)

Sean Goward (L)

Colin Bonini (R)

Lacey Lafferty (R)

 

Congress: US Representative

Sean Barney (D)

Lisa Blunt Rochester (D)

Michael Miller (D)

Bryan Townsend (D)

R.E. Walker (D)

Elias Weir (D)

Scott Gesty (L)

Hans Reigle (R)

 

Lieutenant Governor: 

Sherry Dorsey-Walker (D)

Brad Eaby (D)

Greg Fuller (D)

Bethany Hall-Long (D)

Kathleen McGuiness (D)

Ciro Poppiti III (D)

La Mar Gunn (R)

 

Insurance Commissioner:

Paul Gallagher (D)

Trinidad Navarro (D)

Karen Weldin Stewart (D) (Incumbent)

Jeffrey Cragg (R)

George Parrish (R)

 

State Senate:

District 1: 

Joseph McCole (D)

Harris McDowell III (D) (Incumbent)

James Spadola (R)

 

District 5:

Denise Bowers (D)

Catherine Cloutier (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 7:

Patricia Blevins (D) (Incumbent)

Anthony Delcollo (R)

 

District 8:

David Sokola (D) (Incumbent)

Meredith Chapman (R)

 

District 9: 

Caitlin Olsen (D)

John Walsh (D)

 

District 12: Winner 

Nicole Poore (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 13: Winner

David McBride (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 14:

Bruce Ennis (D) (Incumbent)

Carl Pace (R)

 

District 15: Winner

Dave Lawson (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 19: Winner

Brian Pettyjohn (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 20:

Perry Mitchell (D)

Gerald Hocker (R) (Incumbent)

 

State Representative:

District 1: Winner

Charles Potter (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 2: Winner

Stephanie Boulden (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 3: Winner

Helene Keeley (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 4: Winner

Gerald Brady (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 5: Winner

Melanie George Smith (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 6: 

Deb Heffernan (D) (Incumbent)

Lee Murphy (R)

 

District 7:

David Brady (D)

Bryon Short (D) (Incumbent)

Robert Wilson (L)  

 

District 8: Winner

Quinton Johnson (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 9:

Richard Griffiths (D)

Monique Johns (D)

Kevin Hensley (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 10:

Sean Matthews (D) (Incumbent)

Dennis Williams (D)

Judith Travis (R)

 

District 11:

David Neilson (D)

Jeffrey Spiegelman (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 12: Winner

Deb Hudson (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 13: Winner

John Mitchell (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 14:

Don Peterson (D)

Peter Schwartzkopf (D) (Incumbent)

James DeMartino (R)

 

District 15:

James Burton (D)

Valerie Longhurst (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 16: Winner

James Johnson (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 17: Winner

Michael Mulrooney (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 18: Winner

David Bentz (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 19:

Kim Williams (D) (Incumbent)

James Startzman (R)

 

District 20:

Barbara Vaughn (D)

Stephen Smyk (R) Incumbent

 

District 21: Winner

Mike Ramone (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 22:

Lanette Edwards (D)

Joseph Miro (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 23: Winner

Paul Baumbach (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 24:

Edward Osienski (D) (Incumbent)

Timothy Conrad (R)

 

District 25: Winner

John Kowalko (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 26: Winner

John Viola (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 27: Winner

Earl Jaques (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 28: Winner

William Carson (D) (Incumbent)

 

District 29:

Trey Paradee (D) (Incumbent)

Janice Gallagher (R)

 

District 30: Winner

William Outten (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 31: 

Sean Lynn (D) (Incumbent)

Jean Dowding (R)

 

District 32:

Andria Bennett (D) (Incumbent)

Patricia Foltz (R)

 

District 33: 

Karen Williams (D)

Morgan Hudson (R)

Charles Postles (R)

Robert James Scott (R)

 

District 34:

David Henderson (D)

Lyndon Yearick (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 35:

Robert Mitchell (R)

David Wilson (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 36: Winner

Harvey Kenton (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 37: 

Paulette Rappa (D)

Ruth Briggs-King (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 38: Winner 

Ronald Gray (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 39:

James Brittingham (L)

Daniel Short (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 40: Winner

Timothy Dukes (R) (Incumbent)

 

District 41:

Bradley Connor (D)

Richard Collins (R) (Incumbent)

 

The current Senate seats NOT running for re-election are as follows:

District 2: Margaret-Rose Henry (D)

District 3: Robert Marshall (D)

District 4: Greg Lavelle (R)

District 6: Ernie Lopez (R)

District 10: Bethany Hall-Long (D)

District 11: Bryan Townsend (D)

District 16: Colin Bonini (R)

District 17: Brian Bushweller (D)

District 18: Gary Simpson (R)

District 21: Bryant Richardson (R)

DE Election 2014: House Rep Candidates Views on Common Core, Smarter Balanced and Special Education #netde #eduDE @TheStateNews @DelawareOnline @KilroysDelaware

Election season in Delaware is underway. Everywhere I go, I see signs littering the landscape! I reached out to all the candidates for the House of Representatives in Delaware. I was really hoping to get more, but you work with what you can. I completely understand how busy many of these people are, as being a candidate is most likely not their only job. My question was simple: What are your veiws on Common Core, Smarter Balanced Assessment and Special Education in Delaware. Nothing too fancy. Some emailed back asking how long it had to be, some said they never got a survey, and some responded right away. I sent the original emails out over a month ago, and a reminder email a few days ago.

If any candidate wants to add anything or send me their views, I will certainly update this as primaries are just the next part. We still have a ways to go!

Pete Kramer (29th District, Republican): I don’t support Common Core for a long list of reasons. Chief among those reasons is that I do not think standardized tests are a good was to evaluate teachers or students. Teachers too often have to teach to the test, and many subjects that I think are important are marginalized. Special needs kids also often struggle with standardized tests and get demoralized. I’m not opposed to a tough curriculum for most children, but centralized control of education and standardized tests is just not something I agree with.

We need a thorough review of Special Education in Delaware. The Federal government rated Delaware as “Needs Intervention.” A review board made up of legislators, teachers, and parents is the first step to solving the problem. Per capita Delaware is one of the highest spenders on education in the nation. Our results just aren’t there. We need to work to change that.

Paul Baumbach (23rd District, Democrat): I like the goal of Common Core, but I am disappointed with the process behind its creation, and with the implications of yet another curricula change (these changes require years of retooling lesson plans). While it is good that Smarter Balanced tests are designed to measure mastery of Common Core elements, I am disappointed that, since we are tying teacher evaluations and school evaluations to its results, that it fails to measure student growth during the school year. It’s once-a-year design makes it 100% inappropriate to tie to teacher and school assessments. I am not well-versed in the needs of students with special needs, and I therefore reach out to colleagues and others who understand issues better than I. I do believe that our school/student funding system is unworkable, and a funding mechanism which considers all students’ needs, and allocates financial resources more appropriately is sorely needed in Delaware, and that there are systems in place in the US which are superior to ours, and which we should work ASAP to adopt.

John Mackenzie (22nd District, Democrat): When DE won $120 million of Federal money in the first round of Race to the Top, over half of that money stayed in Dover: it was wasted on more admin salaries, consultants, another statewide student testing program (first DSTP, then DCAS, and now “Smarter Balanced”), a teacher appraisal system (DPAS) that still doesn’t work, etc. Our public schools are burdened with a lot of micromanagement from Dover. DOE keeps chasing one costly education fad after another. Common core is just the latest fad, taking a reasonable-sounding premise to create yet another testing mandate. This too shall pass.

David Alan McCorquodale (21st District, Green Party): My wife recently retired as a kindergarten teacher with special ed. certification in part because of frustration with all the layers of requirements being put in place. The day-to-day dealing with children became less and less about having them excited about learning and more focused on making sure they would meet certain standards when they were tested. I believe in local control of school districts and, in fact, I believe those who teach should have more control over what is done in their classrooms than the layers of high paid specialists and administrative people. I agree with your position that Common Core Standards and Smarter Balanced Assessments violate local control. My position in general on Charter Schools is that they take much needed funds from public school while they do not have to perform all of the same services. Charter schools are leading to the resegregation of our schools on the basis of economic status, rather than race.

Michael Ramone (21st District, Republican): As you can see by my record since elected I am a advocate for special needs children and have been my entire life. Meadowood school is in my district and I do everything possible to support their needs and the special needs of all the schools in the 21st. I have some issue with Common Core but am hopeful this session we will be able to focus on the students above all else. Especially those in the special needs community. If you have any specific questions please do not hesitate to send them to me and I will answer them as quickly as possible. Thanks Michael

Robert Keesler (4th District, Republican): As you know education is a complex topic that I have been passionate about and working on since 2011. Therefore I find it difficult to concisely give my opinion since there are so many moving parts to our system.

Common Core

I am not a supporter of common core. It has its issues, however the main reason I do not support it is because it neglects the individual needs of the child. Supporters argue we need a curriculum that is the same no matter where the child goes to school. I disagree and would rather see a more decentralized school system that allows more choice for parents and students so we can account for every child’s unique situation and needs. What’s worse is those with the financial means are able to pull their children out of the system while others are not able to. Unlike the typical argument, I don’t think we should force those in private and charter schools back into the current system. Instead, we should offer choices to every student and do away with the concept of schools being funded by geographic region. What is public about education is the funding. The money should follow the student.

Smarter Balanced Assessments

Again, every child has unique abilities and interests. No standard test can account for that and will inherently neglect a minority of students.

Special Education

If we make the education system in Delaware less centralized by allowing the dollars to follow the student, then most schools will have an incentive to accommodate special needs children. Like any other time competition is introduced, we will see better results for special education students.

My perspective is that so many legislators bring their personal bias on education without studying how things got to this point. Like raising a child, one needs to follow the system from its inception up to today so you can intimately know the issue. Listening to some of the legislators in office it is clear they are focused on what they know instead of looking at the big picture. I am confident our education system will become more personalized whether it is through legislative measures or a result of technology. It is a matter of time, but I would rather see it happen now instead of later.

Marie Mayor (20th District, Democrat): I believe it is important to include students with disabilities in statewide assessment programs. The progress students with disabilities make in meeting the goals of their education program should be used to determine in part how well the school or school system is serving children with disabilities. The challenge is to design the assessment such that the assessment is a meaningful measure of the individual student’s achievement. It is this challenge that causes the most discussion and disagreement among education stakeholders (administrators, teachers, parents, school board members, etc). If elected, I would like be a part of a legislative effort to ensure the State (a) addresses this challenge head-on and (b) works in a collaborative manner with the US Department of Education to demonstrate the State’s commitment to assessing the progress and achievement of students with disabilities.

Donald Ayotte (20th District, Independent): I believe that common core will dumb down America’s educational system because the program fails to adequately allow development of human potential. Furthermore it assaults individuality in a sea of conformity. We need a thorough rebirth of our educational system, especially in Delaware, toward a new age of creativity and reason, unfortunately this is not possible with the constraints of the current special interest two-party political system. People need a greater voice in shaping educational policy.

James Brittingham (39th District, Libertarian): I’m against Common Core and High Stakes Testing. Parents, Teachers, and Local School Boards need to be controlling schools, not the Department of Education.