You Can’t Make Things Better Until You Fix What’s Broken

In the past week, a light bulb went off in my head.  I’ve been to a lot of education meetings lately.  State Board of Education, ESSA, Special Education Strategic Plan, district board meetings, and so forth.  I’ve seen and met a lot of legislators and candidates.  I’ve seen the old faces and the new.  For the most part, we are all talking about the same thing: problems in education.  Whether it is at a state level or on the ground floor.  At an ESSA meeting, one of the participants at my table was Red Clay Superintendent Dr. Merv Daugherty.

He made a very valid point.  We keep talking about education and how to make it better.  We keep throwing ideas into the mix.  We have meetings and task forces and committees and town halls and strategic plans.  We talk ourselves to death.  We don’t take action and we have gotten away from the basics.  I agree with him.

There have been opportunities to act, but they pass by.  Until the next idea comes along.  I’ve met with parents, teachers, district administrators, board members, the DOE, advocates, disability groups, legislators and regular citizens.  There are deep rifts between everyone.  Hurts.  Things happen.  Perceptions are thrown out of whack.  I have seen two of those groups talk about the exact same topic in separate meetings but the tone and feelings about it are wider than the Pacific Ocean.

As much as I rant about the DOE, I do like that they are having these town halls.  I like that people are coming out to them.  But it’s not enough.  Not nearly enough.  What is confusing me is why different states are taking advantage of different timelines for their draft plans.  For example, Delaware wants to get their plan in by the end of March.  In Florida, they are not submitting their plan until the end of July.  The Delaware DOE wants to have their plan in place by the 2017-2018 school year.  Florida’s wouldn’t fully kick in until 2018-2019.  The Delaware DOE wants to have their first draft done by the end of October.  In 37 days.  While it is a draft and would most likely be amended based on public feedback, I don’t like that short of a time frame.

Is that enough time to heal the rifts between the adults involved in education?  Is that enough time for us to decide, as a state, what is best for students?  No.  I don’t like the idea that we are rushing to get a basic plan done, with public comment to possibly tweak that plan, and then again after the end of the year.  I would much rather see something more solid in the beginning and build from there.  I want a foundation that is grounded in fixing the already existing problems with a definitive action plan and a path forward to fix them.  While some may see ESSA as a grand opportunity to get things right, are we rushing to get certain plans that are representative of the more powerful at the expense of the majority?  I believe we are.  Delaware needs more time.  With the vast amounts of money we spend on education, I would think there could and should be a way to get more voices involved.

When many education bills are submitted in the General Assembly, they are symptomatic of larger things that are broken.  If we don’t fix those bigger things, the small solutions don’t always work.  So, I guess, I’m putting this out there for the Delaware DOE, Secretary Godowsky, and the Governor to think about.  What is the harm in waiting another four months to put forth our ESSA plan?  Yes, it’s another year students may not have something.  And many of those things they need now.  But if we squander a gift of time and having true collaboration, at a state-wide level, to get things right, then all the plans in the world won’t help.  It would also give the General Assembly more of a sense of what this will cost over the five and a half months they are in session.  By submitting the plans by the end of March, it will force the General Assembly to most likely scramble to introduce legislation to make it all fit.  Why not let the General Assembly have until the end of June to do their thing while the rest of us, and I mean ALL of us, do our thing?  I have no doubt the DOE has a very good idea of what they would like to see.  But I don’t think the rest of Delaware feels they have been given enough to do this.  We need more time.

This isn’t a rant against the DOE.  It is a heartfelt plea to all involved in education to use the time we could have.  We need to come together, for the kids.

Delaware, Stop Calling Our Schools Failing!!!! It Is Not A Solution!!!

Every time a Delaware citizen talks about our “failing schools”, it gives the Delaware Department of Education fuel.  They absolutely love it when people say this.  Because what so many of our citizens are forgetting, any label of success or failure is based on standardized testing.  This year, it is the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  Last year, it was DCAS.  A few years ago it was DSTP.  Everyone loves to put an easy Band-Aid on a deep flesh wound.  This is what our DOE has done.  They have allowed and brainwashed the public into believing their own fallacies.

It sickens me what the DOE has done to our communities and schools with their ideology that only puts more of OUR taxpayer money into the hands of companies that aren’t even incorporated in our state and make them rich beyond our wildest dreams.  All in the name of “progress” and erasing the “status quo”.  Failure is the Delaware DOE’s favorite word.  We need to STOP using this word as a measurement of our schools, and by default, our teachers and students.  We can talk about education, especially in the most impoverished and high-crime statistics.  But don’t for one second believe our children are failing based on the DOE’s measurement.  Because then you have fallen into their trap.

The Smarter Balanced Assessment is bad.  It’s very bad.  Refuse this test for your child.  Write a letter today and let the DOE know you will not let your child be their guinea pig for one day longer.

Back To School Message For Students, Parents, Teachers & Schools

In Delaware, all public school students are back in school.  This will be a very interesting year ahead for all of us.  The invasion of corporate education reform will be felt the strongest this year.  The Smarter Balanced Assessment results will be released on a statewide level in a couple days and the results will go to parents in a few weeks.  Priority and focus schools will feel the pain of submitting plans to the Delaware Department of Education.  Opt-out will become bigger and more complicated.  Schools will lose essential funding due to budget issues in our state government that will continue to go unaddressed.  Reports will come out showing how some charters in this state should practice certain application tactics.  Parents and teachers will complain about things.  The DOE will make it look like everything is awesome when they come out with press releases.  Governor Markell will most likely have about 20 weekly messages and 30 public comments about how great education is but how much we need to do to make Delaware the best state in the country for education.  A new Secretary of Education will decide if the DOE should stay on course or course-correct.  The 148th General Assembly will debate education issues for our children and the DOE and their reform buddies will lobby the legislators for their own agendas.  Parents will become increasingly vocal about hotbed education issues in our state.  Common Core will be a common pain for students and parents.  Wilmington schools will be the front page headline for most schools in the state.  Vouchers won’t go anywhere.  Most of the people in the state will still have no clue who Rodel is.  I will keep blogging about all of this.  But at the end of the day, it’s about our children.  We all need to keep them safe and keep them learning.  The rest is just detail.  Best of luck to all involved in any way with education this year!

US DOE Letter To Mark Murphy About Parent Opt-Out, This Is An Empty Threat And Here’s Why…

The Delaware Department of Education provided me with the letter Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy referenced yesterday from the United States Department of Education in regards to potential losses of $90 million.  You can read the letter below.

Nowhere in this letter are any dollar amounts referenced.  Nowhere is an indication this WILL happen to any schools or districts.  But the most important part, and this is crucial, the entire letter is about what the schools and districts have to do.  I don’t know of any school or district not ensuring that the state assessment is provided for every student.  No school in Delaware has said “We aren’t giving this test to students.”  This is the key to the 95% game the US DOE and the Delaware DOE have been playing.  If the SCHOOL or DISTRICT fails to administer the test, or in simple terms, if they don’t give the option to every student, then they are out of compliance.  If a parent opts out after the school has ensured they will give the tests to all students, that is not on the school.  They have already provided their due diligence in allowing all students to take the test.  Nowhere in this letter does it state a parent cannot opt their child out of the state assessment in ANY state.  Nowhere in this letter does it state that due to opt out would a state lose Federal funding.  If the school, district or state DOE tells students, “you don’t have to take the test” and they go below 95%, that is when the law kicks in.  As for a law a state may have in regards to allowing parents to make this decision, this letter states nothing about that.  So all the threats of funding cuts from the Feds have been easily thwarted thanks to a letter from the US DOE!  Thank you!

I would highly recommend every single Delaware State Representative and State Senator receives a copy of this letter along with my information about this letter.  It is obvious far too many have been sucked in by the empty threats thrown their way by the DOE, Mark Murphy and Governor Markell.

Breaking News: DSEA Supports Parent Opt Out & States Over-Emphasis On Standardized Testing

The Delaware State Educators Association has just issued a press release indicating they support parent opt out and want the State of Delaware to take a hard and thorough look  at the over reliance on standardized testing.

WEAC’s Tony Allen Is The Busiest Man in Delaware!

The Wilmington Education Advisory Committee is completely transparent with their meetings with individuals outside the committee.  I applaud this level of transparency!  Tony Allen, the Chair of WEAC, has been extremely busy.  When does this man sleep?

Governor Markell Letter Praises Wilmington Education Advisory Committee Recommendations

On February 11th, Delaware Governor Jack Markell wrote a letter praising the efforts put forth by the members of the Wilmington Education Advisory Committee.

 

The Governor Markell Legacy: Get Rich Education Schemes and The Dying In Wilmington

Six shootings on the same block in Wilmington.  What is up with this block?  If the cops know it is so bad, why don’t they do something?  I don’t get it.  A teenager was killed Friday.  A freshman at A.I. DuPont High School.  What’s it going to take?  How many more young lives have to be destroyed?  Governor Markell, your legacy will be a horrible education system and a city that has no vision except for the fake one at that non-profit building on 100 W. 10th St.  All under your watch.

Were these the dreams you had for Delaware?  You just don’t get it.  If you spent as much time on crime on Wilmington as you utilized the vast amount of resources for education, then I highly doubt you would see what we are all viewing in the news lately.  You have the top job.  It’s your job to oversee this state.  And all I see are tears and anguish.

You have two years.  Spend more time fixing this city than trying to fix the schools.  Stop with your allegiance to Rodel and Arne Duncan and Bill Gates.  Start fixing this city.  It’s not about the corporations you see from 95.  It’s about the people.  They are not human capital, commodities that can be bought and sold.  You are not going to be the next US Secretary of Education.  That ship has sailed.  I’ve heard where your next destination may be, and I’m okay with that.  But you are here now, and you need to set up the future for Delaware, not yourself.

Delaware DOE Citing Non-Existent Law Against Parent Opt Out Of Smarter Balanced! Nice Try!

This is rich! The Delaware DOE, knowing a massive wave of parent opt outs of the Smarter Balanced Assessment is coming, have put out a letter to all Delaware schools for how to handle this situation.  They even cite laws that don’t even mention the words “parent” or “opt out”.  You have to read this to believe it!

Parent Refusal to Student Assessment

Local education agency guidelines

The Smarter Balanced assessments are a key part of implementing the Common Core State Standards and preparing all students for success in college and careers. Delaware’s move to the Smarter Balanced assessment system replaces previous tests, offering significant improvements over assessments of the past. The Smarter assessments provide an academic checkup by measuring real-world skills such as critical thinking and problem solving.  In addition, through optional formative assessments and a digital resource library and interim item bank, Smarter provides information during the year to give teachers and parents a better picture of where students are succeeding and where they need help.

In Delaware, the purpose of state testing is to ensure students get the help they need to graduate with the knowledge and skills they need to make the most of their talents. The Delaware Department of Education recognizes state testing as an important part of understanding how schools, districts and the state are doing in educating and preparing students for college and careers. This is the primary way we can know if we are making appropriate progress toward educating students on the academic standards. 

Student testing also helps districts and schools identify if there are specific populations within their school that are behind and may need extra assistance. And state testing helps parents understand how their child is doing in comparison to students in other schools. 

That said, we cannot spend precious student and teacher time on assessments that do not offer this important information. The Delaware Department of Education over the past two years has eliminated some required tests and its switch this year to the Smarter assessments will reduce the number of times students take the state English language arts and mathematics assessments from up to three times a year to only one.

Background

There are no provisions in state or federal regulation that allow Delaware to have a system for parents to refuse student assessment. In addition, state and federal laws are clear that there is an expectation that all students will participate in the state assessment system. The only instances in which students can be excluded relate to exemption requests. Only two reasons are allowable for requests for exemptions: extreme medical incidents or for reasons of mental health of the child (each requires documentation from a physician).

State Code: http://delcode.delaware.gov/title14/c001/sc04/index.shtml

ESEA, Subpart 1, Subsection 1111(b)(3): http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/esea02/pg2.html

Suggested response

When parents contact their schools or districts to request that their children be removed from testing, the school or district administrators should explain to the parents why assessment is important for their children (see language provided above). The administrators also should explain that the districts/charters have no discretion in the matter because federal and state law requires public school students are to be tested.

Likewise, when a parents call the Delaware Department of Education to ask if they may refuse testing, state officials should explain to the parents why assessment is important for their children. They also should inform parents that there is no refusal allowed under the law: If the student is enrolled in a Delaware public school, the district or charter is required to administer the assessment to the child. Department staff also should send a copy of the statutory references to the parents.

If a parent informs the district or charter that, regardless of the law, the child is not to be tested, the district/charter should get this statement of intent from the parent in writing so that the district/charter can provide a written response, which should cite the regulations and ask the parent to reconsider as it is a violation of the law not to comply (see model letter).

If a parent response in writing that he/she has read and understood the district/charter letter but insists that the child not be tested, the district/charter could choose not to test the student, who thus would be counted as “absent” for purposes of testing. This negatively impacts the district/charter’s participation rate.

So they cite state and federal law over assessments, but nothing is said at all about the constitutional right for parents to opt their child out of these tests!  Do they really think that by telling parents a numbered law or regulation will stop them?  Have they become that desperate?  All the Federal link states is what happens to the state if assessment guidelines aren’t followed.  The Delaware one is directed to the schools and “security violations” of the test.

This is my favorite line in the whole letter:

There are no provisions in state or federal regulation that allow Delaware to have a system for parents to refuse student assessment.

Guess what?  There are no provisions in state or federal regulation that DO NOT allow Delaware to have a system for parents to refuse student assessment.  If the DOE is actually telling schools to tell parents they are violating the law when NO SUCH LAW EXISTS, then they are giving legal advice without any justification or actual bearing.  Yes, the schools are required to administer the assessment, but the students are NOT REQUIRED!  An expectation is not the same as a requirement.  I expect people not to cuss in public around my kid, but I can’t make them not do it.  Same thing here parents!  DOE, get over your big bad self and accept the cold hard reality that in trying to make this “legal” you have shot yourself in the foot!

You all know if enough kids are opted out you won’t have any “legal” justification for closing more schools and making them part of your super charter chain in Delaware.  So the closer it gets to the test, the more you will try to pull the wool over parents eyes.  The jig is up!  Parents: Opt Out Now!  The DOE has just proven there is nothing illegal about opting your child out.  Don’t let them try to bully you.  This is an act of cowardice on their part.  Be brave, don’t let your child take the test!

 

Delaware DOE Embargoed Public Information Yesterday, What Is Their Agenda? @KilroysDelaware @ed_in_de @dwablog @Apl_Jax @ecpaige @nannyfat #netde #eduDE #prioritizethat

Adding fuel to an already huge fire, the Delaware DOE emailed all the legislators about the Town Hall meetings regarding the school accountability waivers yesterday morning.  As of this time, no notice had been received by schools and teachers that I am aware of.  While it is customary for an entity to wait for a press release on matters such as this, why would you notify only certain parties first and not the parties that have the most right to be there?

In observing several different social media sites, I have noticed many teachers and those concerned with the complete and utter disregard the DOE has for its most important stakeholders have become very angry over these issues.  Not only did the DOE not tell these groups, but they also booked these meetings on nights when other very important education issues are going on.  Some have surmised they planned it this way and they do NOT want a large attendance of parents and educators present.  They also feel this is just a big dog and pony show for the DOE to make it look like public outreach.  I am inclined to agree with these individuals.  This is a DOE that has their Board of Education meetings in the middle of the workday, virtually shutting out parents and educators from attending.

The following email had been sent out yesterday morning to all the legislators in Delaware.  But can someone please, for the love of God, let me know why it would be essential to include someone from DelDot and the Office of Management and Budget before educators, administrators, parents and students?

From: Shockley Tina <Tina.Shockley@doe.k12.de.us>
Sent: Tuesday, October 28, 2014 8:51 AM
To: Anderson, Patricia L (LegHall); Atkins, John (LegHall); Barbieri, Michael (LegHall); Baumbach, Paul (LegHall); Bennett, Andria (LegHall); Bentz, David (LegHall); Blakey, Donald (LegHall); Blevins, Patricia (LegHall); Bolden, StephanieT (LegHall); Bonini Colin; Brady, Gerald (LegHall); Brainard, Mark G (LegHall); BriggsKing, Ruth (LegHall); Bushweller, Brian (LegHall); Carson, William (LegHall); Carter, Dick (LegHall); Cloutier, Catherine (LegHall); Contant, Heather (LegHall); Cook, Bill (LegHall); Cutajar-Wynne, Lauren (LegHall); DeStefano, Damian (LegHall); Dukes, Timothy (LegHall); Dwyer, Sean (LegHall); Ennis, Bruce (LegHall); Evinger, Kathryn (LegHall); Finnigan, Sean (LegHall); Flannigan, Beverly (LegHall); Fulgham, Joseph (LegHall); Gordon, Bryan (DHSS); Grant, Jerry (DOI); Graves, Lauren (LegHall); Gray, Ronald (LegHall); Hall-Long, Bethany (LegHall); Harper, Rylene (LegHall); Harrison, Leigh Ann (LegHall); Heffernan, Debra (LegHall); Henry, Margaret Rose (LegHall); Hickman, Nancy (LegHall); Hocker, Gerald (LegHall); Hudson, Deborah (LegHall); Irvin, Alton (LegHall); Jackson, Michael S (LegHall); Jamison, Alexis F (LegHall); Jaques, Jr, Earl (LegHall); Johnson, JJ (LegHall); Johnson, Quinton (LegHall); Kanich, Tammie (LegHall); Keeley, Helene (LegHall); Kenton, Harvey (LegHall); kenton Harvy; Kowalko, John (LegHall); Lavelle, Greg (LegHall); Lawson, Dave (LegHall); Lewis, Elizabeth (OMB); Longhurst, Valerie (LegHall); Lopez, Ernesto B (LegHall); Mantegna, Stephanie (LegHall); Marshall, Robert (LegHall); McBride, David (LegHall); McCartan, Valerie (LegHall); McDowell, Harris (LegHall); Miro, Joseph (LegHall); Mitchell, John L (LegHall); Moore-Dean, Margaret (LegHall); Mulrooney, Michael (LegHall); Osienski, Edward (LegHall); Outten, Bobby (LegHall); Paradee, Trey (LegHall); Park, Evan (DelDOT); Peterman, Jack (LegHall); Peterson, Karen (LegHall); Pettyjohn, Brian (LegHall); Philpotts, Cimone (LegHall); Poore, Nicole (LegHall); Potter, Jr, Charles (LegHall); Price, Pam (LegHall); Puffer, Richard (LegHall); Ramone, Michael (LegHall); Ridout, Ashley (LegHall); Ruberto, Nancy (LegHall); Ryan, Carling (LegHall); Schwartzkopf, Peter (LegHall); Scott, Darryl (LegHall); Seitz, Meredith (LegHall); Shipley, Glenn (LegHall); Short, Bryon (LegHall); Short, Daniel (LegHall); Simpson Gary; Simpson, Gary (LegHall); Smith, Marcia (LegHall); Smith, Melanie G (LegHall); Smyk, Steve (LegHall); Sokola, David (LegHall); Sokola, Megan (LegHall); Spiegelman, Jeff (LegHall); Townsend, Bryan (LegHall); Venables, Robert (LegHall); Viola, John (LegHall); Volturo, Andrew (LegHall); Walker, Rebecca (LegHall); Wallace, Meghan (LegHall); Williams, Dennis E (LegHall); Williams, Jane E (LegHall); Williams, Kimberly (LegHall); Wilson, David L (LegHall); Wilson, Kay (LegHall); Wood, Bonnie (LegHall); Wootten, Sarah (LegHall); Zdeb, Michelle (LegHall)
Cc: May, Alison (K12); Mclaughlin, Mary Kate (K12)
Subject: Embargoed Notice – New State Accountability System

Dear Legislator:

As elected officials, we wanted to give you embargoed notice of several outreach opportunities we will be announcing later today related to a new state accountability system. The Delaware Department of Education will be seeking public input on a new state accountability system through a survey as well as a series of Town Hall meetings. The survey, available here, seeks feedback on what the public would like measured and reported on the state’s public school accountability report card.

In addition to the survey, the Department will host three Town Halls in November to gather public feedback on the state’s new approach to reporting school performance and its submission of a waiver for renewed flexibility from the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Staff from the Department will present the state’s proposed new accountability system and outline the process for renewal of the ESEA flexibility waiver. Time will be devoted to answering questions and seeking public comment on both topics.

The new accountability system will have two parts:

· Part A includes metrics that we know to be critical to measure for public schools, and that align with federal accountability. This includes student proficiency and growth on state tests, college and career readiness benchmarks, chronic absenteeism rates, and on-track to graduate measures.

· Part B will include those measures, as informed by the survey results.

The state recognizes there are additional measures that are critical to Delaware residents.

The survey will be open through December 31, 2014.

The Town Halls are scheduled for:
• 6 to 7:30 p.m., Wednesday November 5 at the Carvel State Office Building at 9th and French streets, Wilmington
• 6 to 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, November 12 at the John Collette Education Resource Center, 35 Commerce Way, Dover
• 6 to 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, November 19 at the Sussex County Council Chamber, 2 The Circle, Georgetown

Please let me know if you have any questions or would like additional information about either of these opportunities. We will be announcing them publicly later today.
Tina Shockley
Education Associate – Policy Advisor
Department of Education
Office: 302-735-4105
Cell: 302-632-2143
Fax: 302-739-4654
SLC: D370B

Delaware DOE Wants Public Input On New Accountability Waivers, Let’s Give It To Them! @KilroysDelaware @ed_in_de @dwablog @ecpaige @Apl_Jax @nannyfat @TNJ_malbright @DelawareBats #netde #eduDE

The Delaware Department of Education wants to hear from the public on new accountability standards in Delaware’s public schools.  In a press release announced today, the DOE’s public information officer Alison May states the following:

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:  Alison May (302) 735-4000

 STATE SEEKS PUBLIC INPUT ON NEW ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEM

  The Delaware Department of Education is seeking public input on a new accountability system. 

A survey, available here, seeks feedback on what the public would like measured and reported on the state’s public school accountability report card. And the department will host three town halls in November to gather public feedback on the state’s new approach to reporting school performance and its submission of a waiver for renewed flexibility from the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

The new accountability system will have two parts. Part A includes metrics that we know to be critical to measure for public schools, and that align with federal accountability. This includes student proficiency and growth on state tests, college and career readiness benchmarks, chronic absenteeism rates, and on-track to graduate measures.   

The state recognizes there are additional measures that are critical to Delaware residents. Part B will include those measures, as informed by the survey results. 

“We need to hear from parents and community members about what information is important to them,” Secretary of Education Mark Murphy said. “This is about providing relevant and transparent information so our families can make the school decisions best for their children.

The survey will be open through December 31, 2014.

 The Town Halls are scheduled for:

  • 6 to 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, November 5 at the Carvel State Office Building at 9th and French streets, Wilmington
  • 6 to 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, November 12 at the John Collette Education Resource Center, 35 Commerce Way, Dover
  • 6 to 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, November 19 at the Sussex County Council Chamber, 2 The Circle, Georgetown

 Staff from the department will present the state’s proposed new accountability system and outline the process for renewal of the ESEA flexibility waiver. Time will be devoted to answering questions and seeking public comment on both topics.

I took the survey and found it to be ludicrous.  They are asking the same questions, and not one damn thing on special education.  It’s all about making the DOE look good and the public schools bad.  What was with that moronic picture chart with the letter grades, a stop sign, the charter school performance framework statements and symbols (check mark, an “x” and a star)?  I can see it already, “What grade did you get in science Johnny?” “I got a check mark Mom!” “Great job Johnny, let’s go to Friendly’s and celebrate!”

The way I see it, this is an attempt to reach out to the public to get their input on things that are already in place.  People will think they are trying to work with parents, but the reality on the ground is all of this has been decided on already.  They just want to wrap the package and put a shiny bow on it.

I think any parent against Common Core, the Smarter Balanced Assessment, other Standardized Testing such as countless SRI and SMI tests, Standards Based IEPs, Teach For America, Priority Schools, Large Classrooms, or Teacher Accountability based on Standardized Testing should go to these town hall meetings and publicly state they are against the way the Federal and State government have invasively intruded on the fundamental rights of local educational agencies.  This is parents’ opportunity to steal the conversation from the DOE and let them know the change parents want, not what the DOE wants.

I already see a scheduling conflict.  The IEP Task Force is scheduled to meet on November 12th from 4:30 to 6:30pm in the conference room at the John Collette Education Resource Center.  The Town Hall is scheduled from 6 to 7:30pm.  I would think Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn scheduled his meeting first, so he would get preference!