The only other Senator at the Senate Education Committee meeting who spoke on House Bill 50, aside from Senator David Sokola, was Bryan Townsend. He left shortly after the beginning of the meeting, but did give a very passionate speech about the whole issue. I am not putting the timestamps on this one he is a member of the committee.
I really wanted to be here today, but I can’t stay, unfortunately. Personally, I’m not sure what the fate of the bill will be, but I want to note that it’s extremely disheartening to see the people who are so passionate for our school kids warring this kind of way. I do think that- although I understand why many of my colleagues are sort of skeptical about the impact of this bill and why it’s become such a flashpoint- I think I understand why parents are as passionate as they are about the issue. Last year, I asked the Markell administration, very politely, to embrace the opportunity afforded to us by the Gates Foundation which had been instrumental in the development of recent education reforms. The Gates Foundation announced support for the position that we should have multiple years of results before we try to introduce these tests live. We try to make responsible decisions, we try to say we’ve got it all figured out, but what’s unfortunate is the approach that has been taken. Part of the problem is that people hear threats in the name of a test which really is not familiar, but part of the problem also is the reaction from others that misses what the parents and educators are saying. And I think the idea now comes down to opponents of HB 50 saying “you don’t care about accountability, you don’t care about improving education for our kids.” But that’s not the case for most parents. I think most of us want to see a test that works, a test that’s proven. Educators I think are the same way. It’s not that they don’t care about accountability. I wish we could all work together, and kind of get to the heart of issues and not throw grenades across a battlefield by a line drawn inaccurately regarding people’s positions on those issues. I wish I could stay much longer and hear the passionate testimony on both sides. I’ll be signing the bill out when its circulated later on. And I just hope that this please can finally be the end to the war that happens in Delaware public education.