When you have 24 charter schools in a state, 22 of which are authorized by the state Department of Education, there are going to be years where the amount of charter renewals are going to go up. This fall, the Delaware DOE Charter School Office and the Charter School Accountability Committee are going to have their hands full as seven charter schools go through their renewal process. Continue reading
The Delaware Joint Finance Committee did the unthinkable. Every year since 2010, the Charter School Transportation Slush Fund has been a part of the epilogue language in the budget bill. This is where Delaware charter schools get to keep whatever they don’t spend in their budgeted transportation amount. As an example, if M. Smith Charter School budgets $200,000 for transportation and they only spend $150,000, they get to keep the rest of that money the state gave them. School districts aren’t allowed to do this.
But now the JFC actually wrote a bill into the Epilogue Language of the FY2019 budget bill, Senate Bill 235. In past years, it was just part of the budget bill but now they are inserting what should be a separate bill into the budget bill. In other words, if you don’t vote yes for the budget bill, you are a traitor to all Delawareans. So pass our charter school boon or risk being lambasted by the Democrat leadership. This is what they are actually seeking to amend in the budget bill:
- b) Notwithstanding subsection a), a charter school may negotiate a contract (multi-year, if desired) for contractor payment for school transportation up to the maximum rate of 70% or the charter school may publicly bid the transportation routes. If the actual negotiated or bid costs are lower than the maximum rate, the charter school may keep the difference to provide services to low-income and/or English-Language Learners. If the charter school includes a fuel adjustment contract provision, the charter school shall be responsible for increased payments to the contractor or it may keep funds taken back from the contractor.
Anyone who follows end of June politics in Delaware knows that State Rep. John Kowalko fights this every single year. This year is no exception but he is even more offended about them actually putting a bill in a bill. He has his amendment ready to go:
AMEND Senate Bill No. 235 on page 233 by deleting “If the actual negotiated or bid costs are lower than the maximum rate, the charter school may keep the difference to provide services to low-income and/or English-Language Learners.”
This amendment to the budget bill removes a proposed addition to the Delaware Code contained in the epilogue language that would permanently allow charter schools to “keep the difference” for transportation funding that is not used to fund transportation costs.
The proposed addition to the Delaware Code would contradict the requirement in 14 Del. C. § 508(a) that the State reimburse charter schools only for actual transportation costs, which is also required for all other public schools pursuant to the Delaware Administrative Code.
Will the Delaware General Assembly finally stop this nonsense? Who is pushing this besides the Delaware Charter Schools Network? Could it be a departing co-chair of the Delaware JFC who pretty much had to resign so she could get her kid into Newark Charter School despite the improbability of getting in through their lottery and the HUGE waiting list?
Every year, the Delaware State Board of Education gets to vote on charter school renewals. This year, there are seven charter schools up for renewal. I believe this is a record and will keep the Charter School Office busy from now until then. But this year could be different for these renewals because of events going on the Delaware Department of Education and the State Board of Education that are beyond their control. Continue reading
These five charter schools are very distinctive in one area: they all have low populations of special education students compared to their surrounding districts. But those aren’t the only comparisons among them. Two of them have school leaders that received salary bumps over $50,000 and then resigned or are set to retire. Pension law in Delaware sets your pension based on your three highest years of salary. Intentional? You be the judge.
These five charters range from near the top of Delaware in New Castle County all the way to the heart of Sussex County with one right near the middle in Kent. All of these charters have significant student enrollment and have taken many students from their surrounding school districts. They are also in very populous, and in some cases, fast growing areas of the state.
A few days ago I put up a post about an alleged lack of intruder drills at Newark Charter School. A few parents approached me and were very concerned. Many denied the school never conducted these drills. As such, I will be checking with schools in the future when parents come to me about these type of things.
Greg Meece from NCS issued a letter to parents about what both locations of Newark Charter have done to promote school safety:
- Have a Comprehensive School Safety Plan (CCSP) that aligns with the Delaware Department of Homeland Security requirements;
- The school’s CCSP, including rally points, building plans and other campus-specific information is maintained on a secured server (Emergency Response Information Portal) that can be accessed by first responders;
- We conduct monthly drills including but not limited to: fire dills/heightened security drills/bus evacuation drills, etc.;
- We conduct at least two intruder/lockdown drills each school year;
- We conduct at least two table top exercises (walk-through of Emergency Action Plans) each School Year).
Thank you Greg Meece for getting this information out. When it comes to school safety, there should be NO restrictions on keeping children safe. I’m glad your schools are doing all they can.
House Bill 340, signed by Governor Markell in 2014, demands public schools do at least two intruder/lockdown drills a school year. But Newark Charter School hasn’t had one this school year or last school year according to sources. Most schools that have these type of drills tell parents ahead of time. My own son’s school has. I’m not sure why Newark Charter thinks they don’t have to conduct these drills.
In the wake of the shooting in Florida last week that caused a former student to go on a rampage and slaughter 17 innocent lives, it is more imperative than ever that our schools are prepared for these type of scenarios. Delaware’s law concerning these drills is part of the Omnibus School Safety Act. Schools are required to report these drills to the Delaware Department of Homeland Security. Do we now need a section of their website with a checklist of each school that complied with the law? Sounds like it. What are the ramifications for not reporting or conducting these drills? Like most in Delaware, probably a phone call. Sorry, NCS doesn’t get a pass on this no matter how “great” their test scores are!
If you thought the arrow Delaware Governor John Carney shot through Christina School District’s heart was bad, you haven’t seen anything yet! Plans are afoot. And what will be left standing after Carney does his coup d’état will shock everyone! Continue reading
Enough already Paul Baumbach! In his second attempt at lowering school board terms, State Representative Paul Baumbach filed House Bill #278 yesterday seeking to lower school district board member terms from five years to four years.
In 2015, Baumbach’s House Bill #333, which sought to lower those terms to three years went nowhere. It was assigned to the House Education Committee but never came up. Due to heavy resistance to the bill, Baumbach did state he would probably come back with this bill at a later date. And he did!
Why is Baumbach so adamant about messing with school boards? Why does he not include charter school boards in this legislation? The answer is simple: he does not like certain school board members in the Christina School District. Which is fine and he is certainly entitled to his opinion, but his judgment is impaired when it comes to translating this to a statewide issue. I get that State Representatives are supposed to represent the district they were elected to, but they also pass laws for the entire state. It is not beneficial to make local issues a statewide issue. And once again, we have the very real question about WHO is asking for this legislation and how much of it is directed towards certain board members who frequently and publicly go against bad education policy in the state.
One thing I can say is State Reps in Delaware are elected every two years. So this is not a case of legislators being hypocritical. School board members do this because they want to. It is unpaid and requires a great deal of time and effort to be on a school board. I don’t think any school board member takes their responsibilities lightly. I wish more school board members would question things which Baumbach seems to have a problem with.
Yesterday, the News Journal Editorial Team covered the highly inappropriate school board member removal bill that is currently in circulation for sponsorship. They just so happened to throw in a part about school board member terms:
Also, lawmakers should consider shortening school board members’ five-year terms. Why should they have to face voters less frequently than governors, legislators and mayors?
Come on! Who are we trying to kid here? Is the News Journal Editorial Team now a part of Team Baumbach when it comes to this kind of crap? They just happen to say this on the SAME day Baumbach filed House Bill #282? I don’t mind term limits for any elected position, but school boards are NOT the same as governors, legislators, and mayors. There is a learning curve, but there is also the heart of a volunteer. There are charter school board members who have sat on their boards for over a decade! But not one word about that from the would-be demolisher of local board control Baumbach or this Editorial Team. I don’t always agree with some board members out there, but I do not think lowering the term for this function is a good idea at all.
Baumbach needs to re-examine his priorities and actually support the second largest school district in the state instead of trying to interfere with their governance process. Attending more of their board meetings would be a start. He wouldn’t dare interfere with Newark Charter School but it’s open target season on Christina. Could you be less transparent here Baumbach? Stop listening to the mouths of the few and start coming out with real and meaningful legislation that benefits the state. This is not good for your political health.
To read Baumbach School Board Terms 2.0, please see below:
The Greek-themed Delaware charter school, Odyssey, sent out a letter to parents in their area advising them they are still accepting students. As most involved in Delaware education know, schools get their funding based on the September 30th student count. Odyssey is trying to beef up those numbers to get more money.
This is a bad idea in very bad taste. The window for school choice in Delaware closes in mid-January. As in eight months ago. While charters are certainly free to accept students after those dates if they have room, actively
soliciting students after the school year has already started is lousy judgment. It is poaching, pure and simple. It is money driven, not student driven. But what many forget is that some charters tend to kick out high-risk students after September 30th. And guess what? Some keep the funding they received.
On DSEA President Mike Matthews Facebook page, he brought this up yesterday. While he didn’t name the school, State Rep. Kim Williams said she is aware of it and did notify the Delaware Dept. of Education. Will the charter-friendly DOE actually address the situation or just play along to go along?
As I’ve said before, I don’t have a problem with actual charter schools and the reason for their existence. But I do take issue with situations like this, when profit and money result in grown-ups making poor decisions. There are good charters out there but unfortunately when certain charters keep coming up in events like this it is hard to not view the charter problem as a whole. Whether it is discrimination, poor special education, cherry-picking students, or using lobbying power to get more money at the expense of districts, the Delaware tends to side with the charters. Even worse, they tend to turn a blind eye to recurring issues such as the ongoing financial cesspool that is Providence Creek Academy, the enrollment preferences at Charter School of Wilmington, or the discrimination factory we call Newark Charter School. Odyssey should not be attempting to get students from districts this far into the school year.
Will Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting put the hammer down on Odyssey or will she allow this poaching journey to continue? And what is your take on this bad education practice?
Last Thursday, Delaware Governor John Carney held yet another secret meeting. This one was with Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting and several legislators whose districts are a part of the Christina School District. Those legislators were Senators David Sokola and Bryan Townsend and Reps Earl Jaques, Ed Osienski, Joe Miro, Mike Ramone, Melanie Smith, and John Kowalko. The subject: those damn test scores for Christina!
Carney was pulling the usual “why are Christina’s reading and math scores so low?” If I were a déjà vu kind of guy, I would say it is the same record spun by Governor Markell and former Secretary of Education Mark Murphy. Sokola talked about capacity and too much of it in Christina. Ramone talked about how the state has closed failing charter schools and why not public schools. Jaques talked about how we need to fill schools with psychiatrists and psychologists while not realizing budget cuts have affected the ability to properly staff schools with educators and resources before we even need to get to that point. Miro talked about… who knows! But Kowalko talked about the funding cuts that have already happened that is causing the suffering of poverty students in Christina. He suggested Christina consolidates two of their high schools and actually build a Wilmington high school for Wilmington students so they aren’t bussed all over Christina School District.
Governor Carney is proving to be more of a Jack Markell wannabe than I ever thought he could be. I agree with Kowalko. When Markell cut the reading specialists Governor Ruth Ann Minner created years ago, the problems in Christina got bigger. When Markell began his dance with corporations to “fix” education it got worse. Now we’ve had three years of Smarter Balanced and, as predicted, the scores suck. They suck bad. No one in power ever stops to think the test is the problem. No, we must get new leaders in our schools. We have to fix poverty in the schools. How about creating real jobs, for real people? Not these new start-up tech companies Carney gets excited about. Cause they aren’t going to fix poverty. They are only going to further the divide between the haves and the have nots.
Kowalko told me the only legislator who made any sense was Senator Townsend. The rest, he felt, were playing the same skipped record on Delaware education particularly in Christina. And Secretary Bunting… I don’t know where your head is at these days. You’ve been drinking far too much of the Rodel Kool-Aid lately. Taking money away from districts (see recent articles about match tax) and just giving it away to the charters is not a solution. For someone who came from a large district with financial issues, you sure do seem to be forgetting what is truly needed in education. Who is advising these people? How many other secret meetings are going on? Thank God we have legislators like Kowalko who value transparency above all else.
Rep. Melanie Smith is one of the true catalysts, along with other charter-loving legislators, who don’t care about Christina. They care about the charters they want their kids and grandchildren to go to. And a few of them who have relatives that teach at charter schools. The jig is up. You aren’t fooling any of us with your grand posturing and false bravado. Smith, Jaques, Sokola, Ramone, Miro… enough already. The charter lobbyists don’t need to shove anything up your ass. You do it gladly all on your own.
We have a Secretary and Governor who allow situations like the train wreck that is Providence Creek Academy’s administration and the continuing de facto segregation factory called Newark Charter School. You want to put your money where your mouths are? Don’t let the charters bitch for one iota of a second about match tax and all their other funding whining when they get to keep their damn transportation slush fund. It is a disgrace. Democrat or Republican, it doesn’t matter. Most of you support it as evidenced by your budget vote every single damn year. The ones that say no to that… those are the ones I respect down at Legislative Hall. The rest of you are phoneys pretending to be lawmakers. Allowing charters to suck at the public teat while cutting funds from districts. And Bunting… perhaps the biggest traitor of them all allowing this to continue. I thought coming from a district you were going to be the watcher on the wall against this crap. But you have proven to be just like the other Governor mouthpieces for education.
A year ago today, I broke the Delaware education internet in half. I revealed that the charters wanted more money from districts. In reality, it came down to Christina vs. the 15 charters. But I didn’t know that at the time. But what I did do was break it and cause immense pressure to be put on then Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Steven Godowsky. So much he stopped the charter money grab. As a result, both the Delaware DOE and Christina were victims of, what I believe, a frivolous lawsuit. Of course it was all led by Newark Charter School’s Greg Meece. I knew that the second I sniffed it. Now they are doing it again with the Match Tax. And Delaware is so stupid they will let them do it again. I shouldn’t say Delaware, but the DOE. It isn’t Bunting lighting the match, it is the same cast and crew from last year. When are they going to stop this insipid love affair with charters? Don’t they realize all they are doing is riding the wrong horse? It has been a crazy year since then. But I would be remiss if I didn’t look back on this and wonder how much I contributed to the eventual outcome. Almost as if I was played the entire time…
Suckers! Governor Carney vetoed the 5 mile radius bill. Big deal. We all knew he didn’t really have a choice. But don’t think for one second Senator David Sokola and Newark Charter School Head of School Greg Meece didn’t plan all of this the second the bill went into circulation. Did any of you think for one second Meece would give up his beloved 5-mile radius for NCS? Come on! This is Delaware Politics 101 folks!
This was never about Wilmington students. This was ALWAYS about Newark Charter School. They do NOT want anyone outside of their 5-mile radius crossing that line. Sokola knew the bill had legs so he found the perfect amendment to kill it: exclude the Wilmington portion of Christina. It would get all the civil rights activists going off and it worked like a charm. Lest we forget, this is the same State Senator who messed around with the opt out bill every single chance he could. How many of us were there when he scheduled many bills during a Senate Education Committee meeting and the opt out bill, House Bill 50, was delayed for a week? Remember the whole “Assessment Inventory Task Force” crap? That was him. Remember the charter school audit bill which was fantastic under State Rep. Kim Williams’ original incarnation until he got his charter-dirty hands on it. And what about House Bill 399, the bill that would have given teachers a choice of using the Smarter Balanced Assessment or other tests for their evaluations? He put so much crap in his amendment and watered it down to nothing. This is classic Sokola.
Don’t believe for one second that NCS had issues with transportation logistics. They didn’t want the 5-mile radius to go away. Period. That’s all this was ever about. I have no doubt Sokola was cheering me on when I wrote about how his version of House Bill 85 would result in a massive lawsuit against the state. This is what he does. He turns gold into poison ivy. But all the clowns up in Newark keep voting him back in over and over again.
As for Meece, he is never going to change. He loves the fact that HIS school is the “best” in the state. He loves the fact it’s the biggest as well. And he has stacked the deck with the sibling enrollment preference. That way all his favorite families can keep bringing their kids there. He might throw a prize our way by taking in some special education kids. Make it look like he is trying. But he isn’t. He’s just playing the game. And with Sokola by his side, he always wins.
Everyone on social media is talking about Carney and Wilmington. How Carney did or didn’t help Wilmington kids with his veto. Do you really believe Carney didn’t know what Sokola and Meece were up to the entire time? See the game for what it is folks. It isn’t about change. It’s about the status quo.
Lucky for Sokola, he got to go on a cross-country bike ride with former Governor and good buddy Jack Markell. They are somewhere in middle America right now, sweating their hineys off in spandex. I have no doubt Meece is thinking “Yes, we win again!” while wondering if he should go for a threepeat on Blue Ribbon status so he can brag that they are 1 in 5 trillion schools who ever got the hat trick. They played all of us for suckers, again. And they will do it again. As long as Sokola has his little amendment followers and enough whine to go with his charter cheese, this scene will play out again. And again. And again. I don’t have a doubt in my mind that Meece and Sokola ever worried about this bill at all. Gravy!
It appears de facto segregation is just as okay with the majority of the Delaware Senate as it was with the Delaware House of Representatives.
The Delaware Senate just passed House Substitute 1 for House Bill 85 with 12 yes, 4 no, 2 not voting, and 3 absent. The no votes belonged to State Senators DelCollo, Henry, Marshall, and McDowell. Those voting yes were Bonini, Bushweller, Cloutier, Hansen, Hocker, Lawson, Lopez, McBride, Poore, Richardson, Sokola, and Walsh. Lavelle, who originally voted yes, switched to “not voting” and Senator Simpson stuck with his original not voting.
An attempted amendment, similar to the failed amendment in the House, would have removed the very controversial part of the bill that would disallow Christina Wilmington students to be given the same preference as the Greater Newark Christina students for Newark Charter School. Sokola argued it was an unfriendly amendment. The amendment failed with 6 yes, 8 no, 5 not voting, and 2 absent.
Senator Robert Marshall said he believed the amendment would open the preference to everyone in the Christina School District and if parents really wanted their child to get an NCS education, they would find a way to make sure their child gets there.
A representative from the Delaware State Education Association testified they would be in support of the amendment which echoed their stance at the Senate Education Committee meeting two weeks ago.
The bill will go to Governor John Carney for signature. I call on ALL to contact Carney’s office in deep opposition to this bill that I fear will set up the State of Delaware for a massive lawsuit for furthering de facto segregation. He needs to veto this discrimination factory of a bill!
To see how your legislators voted on this horrible bill, please go here: http://legis.delaware.gov/BillDetail?LegislationId=26068
The very controversial HS1 for House Bill 85 gets a full Senate vote today. This is one of the thorniest education bills in the Delaware General Assembly this session. It would remove the 5 mile radius enrollment preference for charter schools but there is a loophole. For the Christina School District, which has a non-continguous section in Wilmington, those students would not get a preference to get into Newark Charter School. That is Delaware’s largest charter school.
It was released from the Senate Education Committee two weeks ago but not without controversy. In the House, it prompted a long debate over the issue last month. Those who opposed the bill alleged it would cause even more de facto segregation of Wilmington students.
The Delaware Senate Education Committee tackled the 5 mile radius bill today with some explosive comments from Senator David Sokola, mostly in response to a public comment. Warning: some of the comments conveyed today will get people very angry. Continue reading
House Substitute 1 for House Bill 85 is on the agenda for the
Sokola Senate Education Committee on Wednesday, June 7th at 3:30pm. State Senator David Sokola has stuffed the agenda with six bills, but in a half-hour time span. Most of the other bills shouldn’t raise too many eyebrows though. The House Education Committee canceled their meeting on Wednesday. Even though most people have their eye on the budget, it is always a good idea to see what else is going on. Between this bill, the Coastal Zone Act reorganization, legal marijuana, death penalty, and Lord knows what else will come up, we need eyes and ears more than ever down at Legislative Hall!
I will say upfront I oppose this bill because of the House Substitute that removes the Christina School District Wilmington students from this. This added language (which was insisted on by Senator Sokola) only serves to benefit one school: Newark Charter School.
To see what is on tap for ALL the committee meetings, this week, please go here: http://legis.delaware.gov/CommitteeMeetings
2017 has been an odd year for Exceptional Delaware. There has been a ton of transition, between a new Governor, a new Delaware Secretary of Education, and very peculiar budget issues plaguing Delaware schools. But the biggest post by far has been a recent one about a particular charter school in Newark and their 5 mile radius.
Top 17 Posts of 2017 So Far:
- Newark Charter School Doesn’t Want Wilmington Black Kids Or Wilmington Special Needs Kids Going To Their Private School
- Thom Labarbera, Brandywine Social Studies Teacher, Passes Away
- Delaware Racism: It Is Real And It Is Not Going Away
- Racial Slurs Appear To Go Unpunished For DE Military Academy While A.I. DuPont Basketball Team Suspended For Rest Of Season
- What To Make Of Bad News Betsy’s Letter About ESSA To Chief State School Officers
- Silence Is Complicity: Human Sex Trafficking In Delaware and How I-95, Craiglist, Backpage, & Kik Make It Thrive
- Delaware Joint Finance Committee Cuts State Board of Education From State Budget, DONE!!!
- Wahl v. Brandywine Case Settles! Justice For Joseph & An End To Zero Tolerance In Brandywine!
- Jack Markell Under Investigation By Ed Authorities ***DEBUNKED***APRIL FOOL’S DAY***
- 77 Teachers On The Chopping Block For Christina School District, Increased Classroom Sizes As Well!
- Not A Good Day For Christina
- **UPDATED**Christina Public Comment By Board Member Alleges Involvement Of Other Board Members In Hate Emails
- Final Delaware 2017 School Board Filings
- Exceptional Delaware Endorsements For 2017 School Board Elections
- Don’t let your special needs child fall victim to “new” Federal and State voucher/choice policies
- Cut The Admins In Districts & Schools? How Many Are There? TONS!
- Exceptional Delaware Endorses John Marino For The 10th Senate District
Like I said, this has been an odd year. Because of so many changes, I’ve found that some folks I allied with on just about everything have shifted somewhat in their line of thinking. We still agree on a lot of the old stuff (Common Core, Opt Out) but the lines have gotten very blurry in some areas. I endorsed John Marino in the 10 Senate District Special Election and caught holy hell for it. Issues involving racism filled up three of the top four articles. My first foray into Human Sex Trafficking yielded a lot of reads. The month of May has been the biggest month so far this year. Between the school board elections, budget cuts, and the infamous HS1 for House Bill 85, over 50,000 people visited the blog this month. 7 out of 17 articles are from May. An April Fool’s Day joke apparently fooled many people judging by Jack Markell’s place on this list.
Expect the unexpected in the month of June. I can tell you now a lot of articles will be about the state budget, the effects it will have on Delaware schools, and the shenanigans down at Legislative Hall. It will culminate on June 30th/July 1st as the legislators try to get it all done so they can have their long 4th of July weekend.
I’ve had more than my usual requests lately for writing about certain things. I’m actually going to hold off on some of those until July. The main reason for that is due to the state budget sucking up all the oxygen in the room. I have a couple articles where people want to talk about new ideas for education but all any school district or charter really cares about now is the budget and what impact it is going to have on them. If the State Board of Education is truly done, there are going to be a ton of legislation dealing with that. The most controversial two words between now and the end of June: Epilogue Language.
If you want to help this blog, please go here and if you have the means and are able to help out, I would be forever grateful! And a huge thank you to those who have chipped in. I was talking to someone last night about how I am the last of the education bloggers in Delaware (without an agenda). We were discussing if someone else is going to enter the rat race. Who will be the next Delaware education blogger that churns stuff out? Can’t wait to meet you!
Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn responded yesterday to State Reps. Potter, Bolden and Kowalko’s request for a legal opinion on the constitutionality of HS1 for House Bill 85. Denn offered valid legal reasons why he was unable to offer a legal opinion, but that he also agrees with the Enrollment Preferences Task Force recommendations for not having the 5 mile radius to begin with and believes all students within a district should be given preference to choicing into a charter school in the same district.
Delaware’s budget deficit hit a new stage last night when Christina School District students took over State Rep. Paul Baumbach’s Education Forum at Newark High School. As well, Senator David Sokola said the issue with the 5 mile radius bill was about transportation. It was an evening full of dodged questions and skirting around the issues. It was a night when things were as confusing as Twin Peaks and the Mighty Thor put her hammer down! Continue reading
Yesterday, three Delaware State Representatives sent a letter to Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn. They are asking him for an Attorney General Opinion on HS1 for House Bill 85. Things just got very real with this legislation. If Reps. Potter, Bolden, and Kowalko didn’t do it, I would have suggested it. The five mile radius was bad enough. But then to purposefully select certain students from not being allowed to apply to a charter school in their own school district, that puts a very clear mark on this. It isn’t too late though. Delaware Senator David Sokola can choose to get on the right side of history and change the bill so Newark Charter School does take the Christina Wilmington students. Because anything else, under his prime directive, is outright discrimination and segregation. We all know it.
I will not bend to any political request on this legislation. I will not back away from what I originally published. To me, I could really care less about the politics. I don’t care if you are blue or red or purple. If folks want to put their name on this legislation, go right ahead. But I will not change my stance on this. Even if I admire and respect the hell out of some of you for various reasons and would fight like hell for bills that we do agree on, on this bill I will not budge. It is about doing what is right, for ALL students. Yes, the bill is progress, but not enough. We can agree to disagree on that. But I will not be party to political games and not publishing what I know in my heart to be true. It isn’t personal. It wouldn’t matter who sponsored this bill, I would feel the same way and I would have published the exact same article. Yes, I am aware some of the legislators flipped their vote because of how it would make them look. I am aware there was political fighting going on with this legislation. I was there for the whole thing. I opposed the bill when the House Substitute came in, and I made that very clear at the House Education Committee meeting when the bill was released. It isn’t a Democrat thing and it isn’t a Republican thing. It is a student thing. It is an equity thing. It is the right thing.