The Senate Education Committee just ended their 2:30 meeting about half an hour ago. House Bill 399 was discussed with many proponents and a few opponents. The opponents were Secretary Godowsky, Donna Johnson, and Atnre Alleyne (former DOE employee who has become very active in trying to stop meaningful teacher evaluation reform). Senator David Sokola expressed more than once his feelings of “heartburn” with the bill. I recorded the whole thing. Excellent comments were provided by Mike Matthews, Kristen Dwyer with DSEA, Jackie Kook, a teacher from Caesar Rodney (I will have to get his name later), and others. Hopefully the other members of the Senate Education Committee will see through the obvious smoke and mirrors. But a few thoughts here. Godowsky and Johnson were not this vocal during the House Education Committee. Judging by the fact Godowsky just left from meeting with Governor Markell’s office in conjunction with Godowsky’s adamant opposition of the bill, I think we can all safely assume who is calling the shots here.
As the lead Senate Sponsor, I felt Senator Bryan Townsend could have supported the bill more than he did. I have found he tends to play to both sides on education issues. During his second “round” so to speak on the bill, he did defend Delaware teachers and appeared to be more on their side. As usual, Sokola played it up for the audience. At one point he made a comment about how there is good news in education and something to the effect of not being able to see that on the blogs. So I made a point in my public comment, as well as supporting the bill, to point out the DOE can get the “good” news out and I’ll do my thing. Perhaps he didn’t like that but I truly don’t care. He can stare daggers into me until the general election if he wants.
I don’t know if it will be released from the committee. I hope it will. New York is already getting out of the kind of teacher evaluations Delaware’s DPAS-II is similar to. In regards to my comment about the Native Americans waiting to meet the Governor, Governor Markell literally just walked past me and we greeted each other. I am assuming the Governor was out of the building. I don’t see the Native Americans now, but the Delaware House did pass House Concurrent Resolution #97 recognizing November, 2016 as “Native American Heritage Month” in Delaware. Yes, it is going to be one of those days! Or possibly one of those lifetimes!