Legislation Aims To Have Teacher Of The Year & A Delaware Student On The State Board of Education

How did I miss this one?  It was filed last week!  Not only would this add two new members to the State Board of Education but could also make the State Board of Education a wandering event!

House Bill #455, filed last week by State Rep. Stephanie Bolden and Senator Jack Walsh, comes from the Joint Legislative Oversight and Sunset Committee.  The two new members would be non-voting but it could certainly create lively conversation at these meetings!  It also gives clarity around who the Executive Director reports to and who their employer would be.  The legislation calls for the State Board of Ed to meet in the three different counties which would, by default, cause Delaware Dept. of Education employees to travel with them.  Very interesting bill.

This Act fulfills recommendations made by the Joint Legislative Oversight and Sunset Committee by doing the following: (1) Establishing 2 new, nonvoting members to serve on the State Board of Education (“Board”). The new members are a former Delaware Teacher of the Year and a Delaware 11th or 12th grade student. (2) Defining the duties of the Board’s Executive Director. (3) Clarifying that the Executive Director is selected by the Board; is an employee of the Department of Education, subject to all of the Department’s employment policies and procedures; but serves at the pleasure of the Board. (4) Requiring the Board to rotate its meetings among the 3 counties of this State in such a way to facilitate parents’, teachers’, and other community members’ attendance. (5) Establishing the circumstances under which a Board member may be removed, using language standard to boards and commissions in this State. (6) Requiring the Board to permit public comment on each agenda item prior to voting on the item and in proximity to the time at which the Board discusses the item. An exception is provided if, under Delaware law or Department or Board rules, the item has a formal comment period or a process for making a record in an administrative matter that has closed before the Board’s discussion of the agenda item. Examples of matters that qualify for the exception include charter school applications or formal reviews, amendments to Department of Education and Professional Standards Board regulations, and student appeals. The intent of the exception is to exclude Board actions that are quasi-judicial in nature and therefore not appropriate to open to public comment. This Act also corrects 2 internal references and makes other technical corrections to conform existing law to the standards of the Delaware Legislative Drafting Manual.   

To read the actual legal language of the bill, go here: House Bill 455

As I reported earlier today, Governor Carney will have three nominations for the Delaware Senate to confirm by June 30th which would restore the State Board of Education to their seven members after some unexpected resignations in the past couple of months.  I still think ALL members of the State Board of Education should be publicly elected.

DE PTA Kent and Newcastle County Parent Opt Out Town Halls Scheduled! Register Now!!!

The following is taken from the Delaware PTA website:

Opt Out Town Halls

 Good evening,

As you are aware, Delaware PTA has not taken a position on the parent opt out. We realize that families and community members have very valid concerns regarding the efficacy of the assessment, impact to students and teachers and overall implementation process. As a result, we are dedicated to facilitating open and honest conversations among stakeholders to gain a better understanding of the expected impact and outcome of the assessment, the need for state assessments and parent options within this context.

These sessions will be moderated in an attempt to create an environment that is conducive to an open flow of communication and that will allow sufficient time for Q&A from attendees.

We will post communications and links to resources that the Delaware Department of Education and State Board of Education have provided to us, as well as additional resources from National PTA.

Although attendees will have the option to ask questions during the town hall, you will also have the opportunity to submit questions ahead of time when you register. Both sessions are open to the public, but we do ask that you register for the session so we can prepare accordingly.

The goal of the upcoming town halls is to provide a venue for parents, teachers and community members to come together and voice their concerns/questions and receive clear and accurate responses otherwise not available and/or clear in current printed or online communications from DPTA, DDOE or any other organization.

You may register for one of the following two sessions

February 19th

5:30pm -7:30pm

Delaware PTA State office

925 Bear Corbitt Rd

Bear, DE

 

March 3rd

5:30pm – 7:30pm

Dover Public Library

35 East Lockerman St.

Dover, DE

Delaware PTA Sponsors Parent Opt Out Town Hall Meeting

The Delaware Parent Teacher Association is sponsoring a parent opt out town hall meeting to discuss what opt out means for students and standardized tests, more specifically, the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  As the test will begin in March, the opt out drums are beating louder and louder.

The Newcastle County meeting will be open to parents on 2/19/15, at the Eden Hill Support Center in the Cafetorium.  A time has not been announced for this event at this point in time.  Kent County was scheduled to have a meeting on 2/3/15 at the Kent County Library, but it was canceled.  I reached out to Delaware PTA President Dr. Terri Hodges to inquire why it was canceled and if it would be rescheduled.  She explained the room at the library only holds 25 people and they would most likely need a bigger room.  Maybe the Kent County Municipal Building?  Or maybe one of the schools would be willing to offer a library for the meeting.  The DOE would love that! Not!

I like the fact the Delaware PTA is having these meetings.  At their annual conference in November, the DOE was there and used the same excuses they had in their letters to districts to give to parents if they make that decision.  As I have reported before, their letters are based on a misunderstanding of actual Delaware code and regulations.