Governor Carney presented three nominations for the State Board of Education on Friday. And another State Board member has been nominated to replace Dr. Dennis Loftus as the President of the board. Who are the nominees? One of them is a former legislator! Continue reading
The State Board of Education still has four members. Which is their quorum amount. Governor Carney, with ten days left in the 149th General Assembly, has not put forth ANY nominations for replacements. Delaware State Code mandates four members on the State Board. If Carney does not put forth nominations until after the General Assembly goes into recess from July 1st until mid-January 2019, he could order the Delaware Senate back into session to confirm nominations. That isn’t unusual but typically doesn’t happen until October when it does occur. Which means our State Board of Education is operating at a bare minimum for the next four months. Which means if just one member doesn’t attend a meeting they can not take action on any item, even approving their minutes.
I have an extreme issue with keeping this body at four members. Any regulation or appeal the State Board hears would only have four members voting. One no-show could shut something down very fast. It is a recipe for disaster. Simply put, they cannot operate the way they are supposed to. As an example, what happens if Secretary of Education Susan Bunting decided to put a charter school on formal review for some reason? The State Board would have to vote on that. Is four members enough to give that conversation the full weight for a matter that serious? There is a reason there are seven members.
I was told by Jon Sheehan, Governor Carney’s Education Policy Advisor, the State Board of Education would be restored by June 30th. So where are the nominations? Since there are none today, that leaves one last Senate Executive Committee meeting to do this, which would be next Wednesday. At that point it is the last week of the General Assembly. I would worry about the quality of the nominations if it is rushed at the last-minute.
Two weeks ago, the Joint Sunset Committee released the State Board of Education from Sunset review. The only unanswered question is who the State Board’s Executive Director will report to- the State Board, the Delaware Department of Education, or a hybrid of both. Meanwhile, the deadline for applicants to replace Donna Johnson expired June 9th. Which means someone will most likely get that job soon. But will there even be a functional State Board of Education for them to direct?
I still feel as though the State Board of Education should be elected by the people. Having a Governor hand-pick who he wants on the State Board of Education all but ensures people will get picked who would follow his agendas. It is something our legislators could change but nobody wants to tick off the Governor. Many of them agree but lack the stones to actually do it. I say have an elected State Board of Education and get rid of “Secretary-only Regulations”. Those are the ones, like Regulation 225, that the State Board of Education does not vote on. Which is preposterous in my opinion.
Updated, 3:37pm: I spoke with Jon Sheehan a short time ago who assured me that three nominations will be introduced next week and he anticipates a full State Board of Education by June 30th.
The Delaware Department of Education will be holding “community conversations” to figure out how to carry out the Every Student Succeeds Act in Delaware. As well, there will be discussion groups stemming out of the Governor’s Advisory Committee on ESSA. You can nominate someone for the discussion groups or even nominate yourself. I nominated myself to get in on this. There are only three days left, including today, to get those nominations in because the deadline is this Friday, September 9th.
I am very skeptical of this, however. I firmly believe the DOE knows exactly what they want from this. The community engagement for implementation of the law is required in each state. I could be wrong. But history has taught me otherwise. ESSA is the most important legislation to come out of the federal government in many years. Folks need to understand this law and read between the lines on a lot of this. As Obi-Wan Kenobi once said, “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.” There are traps all over this law. They look really great on the surface, but there are red herrings portending a great deal of corporate intrusion in education. If you care about education you MUST become involved in this. If you have doubted everything I have ever written on this blog, this is an absolute certainty: If you don’t understand this law now you will be left standing in the wind when it all goes down in the future. More than you realize. But in the meantime, here is the official press release from the Delaware DOE that went out this morning:
For immediate release
Contact Alison May (302) 735-4006
COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS TO HELP SHAPE DELAWARE’S ESSA PLAN
The Delaware Department of Education will host four community conversations this month to collect public input that will inform the first draft of the state’s plan under the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). A second round of conversations is planned for later in the fall to receive feedback on the draft plan.
In December 2015, Congress reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the main federal law governing public education. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) replaces the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). As part of NCLB, Delaware is one of the 43 states operating under ESEA Flexibility.
ESSA gives states more flexibility and provides more state and local control over the accountability process. ESSA implementation will begin during the 2017-18 school year. The 2016-17 school year provides the opportunity to consult with stakeholders, develop Delaware’s plan, and submit the plan to the U.S. Department of Education for approval.
The community conversations will be:
· 6 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, September 20 at the CHEER Center, 20520 Sandhill Road, Georgetown
· 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, September 24 at Christina Cultural Arts Center, 705 North Market Street, Wilmington
· 6 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, September 27 at Bunker Hill Elementary School – 1070 Bunker Hill Road, Middletown
· 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Thursday, September 29 at the Collette Education Resource Center, 35 Commerce Way, Dover
Please register for the session/s you would like to attend at the links above.
In addition to the larger community conversations, department leaders are continuing to collect input through a series of stakeholder consultation meetings. A Governor’s advisory committee and discussion groups on the major aspects of the plan also will be convened in the coming months. The first discussion group will focus discussions on technical topics related to measures of school success and reporting. The second group will focus discussions on provisions for student and school supports. The discussion groups will provide information to the advisory group. Nominate yourself or someone else to join the discussion groups here. The deadline for nominations is Friday, Sept. 9.
The state aims to complete its draft plan by October 31 with the second draft completed by December 31, following the next round of engagement and feedback. Additional comments will be taken through February. The state will submit the plan to the U.S. Department of Education for approval by March 6.
The public also is invited to provide input through online surveys available here.
Feedback also can be submitted to ESSAStatePlan@doe.k12.de.us.
Find more information on the department’s ESSA web site.