My Letter To The Senate Education Committee

Short and sweet:

House Bill 50

To
  • Sokola David (LegHall)
  • Hall-Long Bethany (LegHall)
  • Henry Margaret Rose (LegHall)
  • Lopez Ernesto B.
  • Marshall Robert (LegHall)
  • Pettyjohn Brian (LegHall)
  • Poore Nicole
  • Townsend Bryan (LegHall)
Please vote YES for House Bill 50 today.  It’s the morally correct thing to do!

Showdown Tomorrow on Opt-Out Legislation vs. “Staying In” Resolution

On Wednesday, June 3rd, the parent opt-out bill, House Bill 50, will face off against Senate Joint Resolution #2, the assessment inventory resolution.  The supporters of standardized testing have been out in full force in opinion pieces in the News Journal and the Dover Post, but so have the supporters of opt-out.  Backed by a 36-3 vote in the House of Representatives, House Bill 50 has a great deal of momentum coming into the Senate Education Committee meeting tomorrow at 3pm.

The monkey wrench in the House Bill 50 path is SJR #2.  Whether this “assessment inventory” legislation was created by the sponsors, Senator Sokola & House Rep. Jaques, or Governor Markell’s office, or the DOE is immaterial.  It was created to distract from parent opt-out.  The opponents are realizing this bill could clear the Senate very easily, and are attempting to put up ever possible roadblock they can think of.  The civil rights groups in Wilmington are out in full force arguing the merits of the Smarter Balanced Assessment with very little facts, even bringing up Brown v. The Board of Education from 50 years ago.  The argument simply shows further segregation of low-income and minority students as evidenced by standardized testing scores since No Child Left Behind began.

Meanwhile, the Delaware PTA, the Delaware State Educators Association, many teachers and a legion of parents are supporting House Bill 50.  For one simple reason: they do not want their children taking the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  The flaws are out there for every one to see.

SJR #2 is now referred to as the “Staying In” resolution because of Dr. Teri Quinn Gray’s editorial in today’s News Journal where she states she wants parents to have the courage to “stay in” with the Smarter Balanced Assessment instead of opting out.  She even brought up her own child in the editorial who is a sophomore in college and not subject to the SBAC.

This Week At Legislative Hall: IEP Task Force Bill, Parent Opt-Out, Assessment Inventory & More!!!!

This will be one busy education week at Legislative Hall in Dover, DE.  Many education bills are moving to their next phase in the legislative process.  Here is what’s on the docket:

Senate Bill 33 w/Senate Amendment #3: This is the legislation that came out of the IEP Task Force.  It is up for a House vote, and if it passes, it goes to Governor Markell’s desk.  I like this bill with one exception: they took out a part about parent groups at schools.  Originally, it was supposed to be parents who first ask for an IEP will have an opportunity to meet with newly constructed parent groups at each charter school or district.  Now it is only for “existing” groups.  Even if Jack signs it, it won’t go into effect right away, so I would suggest parents get these “existing” groups going now.  No one knows what to look for in IEPs more than parents who have been through the process.

At the House Education Committee meeting on Wednesday, June 3rd, at 2:30, the following bills will be discussed: Senate Bill 62: regarding transportation of students, House Bill 144: another transportation bill dealing with appropriations, House Bill 146: Kim Williams bill dealing w/waiving of teacher licensure fees, and House Bill 148: Helene Keeley’s bill creating the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission.

And last, but certainly not least, we have the Senate Education Committee meeting at Wednesday at 3pm.  House Bill 50!!! Parent Opt-Out!  Also Senate Joint Resolution #2: the evil assessment inventory resolution the DOE thinks will stop House Bill 50.  Also Senate Bills #92 and 93, dealing with Autism, and Senate Bill #94, dealing with military identification for students w/military ties in their family.

If you plan on coming Wednesday, GET THERE EARLY and wait for the doors to open up if you want a halfway decent seat!

House Bill 50 & Senate Joint Resol. #2 To Collide At Senate Education Committee on 6/3

Here we go.  The agenda for the Senate Education Committee meeting on 6/3 at 3pm has been officially announced.  Here’s where it’s going to get real crazy, very fast.  Both House Bill 50, the parent opt-out bill, and Senate Joint Resolution #2, what the DOE feels is an alternative to opt-out with the assessment inventory, will go head-to-head in this committee.  Start emailing them now, cause this one is going to be a doozy!  Further complicating this is Senate Bills #92 and #93.  They are great bills dealing with Autism, but they will demand a lot of conversation.  Or, the committee will say these are awesome bills and pass them fast.  You never know.  Either way, this is going to be a packed chamber.  Opt-out parents, DOE, State Board of Education, lobbyists, parents of children with Autism, school officials, other government agencies, and so forth.  Get there early!

Chamber: Senate

Chairman: Sokola

Location/Room: Senate Hearing Room

Date/Time: 06/03/2015 03:00:00 PM

Revision Num: 1

Agenda

SB 92 AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 14 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO EDUCATION AND AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER.
Sponsor : Henry

SB 93 AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 16 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATED TO CREATING AN INTERAGENCY COMMITTEE ON AUTISM AND THE DELAWARE NETWORK FOR EXCELLENCE IN AUTISM.
Sponsor : Henry

SB 94 AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 14 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO A MILITARY CONNECTED IDENTIFIER IN DELAWARE PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Sponsor : Bushweller

SJR 2 DIRECTING THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION TO STUDY STUDENT ASSESSMENT TESTING.
Sponsor : Sokola

HB 50 w/HA 1 AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 14 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO EDUCATION ASSESSMENT.
Sponsor : Kowalko


House Bill 50 & Senate Joint Resolution 2 Are In The Senate Education Committee’s Hands…Which Will Be Heard First?

Senator David Sokola controls the agenda for the Senate Education Committee.  The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved the parent opt-out bill, House Bill 50, on May 7th.  All that momentum and fervor to pass this bill, and it now rests with one man to move it forward.  In the meantime, Sokola and State Rep. Earl Jaques introduced Senate Joint Resolution #2, which would “direct the Department of Education to study student assessment testing”.

The Senate Education Committee next meets on Wednesday June 3rd, most likely at 3pm.  Sources are saying Sokola will have HB50 on the agenda, but there are several education bills already scheduled so it could be delayed a week.  But HB50 was introduced in February while SJR#2 hasn’t even been around a week.  Yes, the testing season is almost over, but parents don’t want to wait around another year to have their schools stop acting like manipulative jerks when it comes to opt-out.

I’m going to say this now.  If Sokola allows SJR #2 to be heard before HB50, several parents will voice strong objection to this.  As I’m sure several legislators, organizations and teachers will as well.  The Delaware Department of Education seems to think SJR #2 is the opt-out destroyer.  For months, Governor Markell has been praising this “assessment study” to be the heart of the opt-out movement.  He foolishly thinks parents are opting out because students are being tested too much.  You don’t know Jack, Jack!  We are opting out because of the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  Not to lift the unions up like so many others are saying across the nation.

To let HB50 whither on the vine in the Senate would be a tremendous insult to the House.  36-3 on a controversial bill opposed by the Governor is not a “small but vocal minority”.  The jig is up.  The question is how many members of the Delaware Senate have been injected with the Markell kool-aid iv drip.  THE biggest education bill of this legislative session demands to be heard.  It’s your move Senator Sokola.  But don’t think for one minute we will be fooled.

Delaware House Education Committee: Wilmington Education Advisory Committee Presentation, Read Before You Go To Imagine Delaware

From the 1/28/15 House Education Committee meeting.  Tony Allen, the chair of the Wilmington Education Advisory Committee, gave a presentation to the Senate and the House on the recommendations from WEAC.  This has some really good information, and consider it a primer before the big event tomorrow night at the Chase Waterfront Center.  That’s right, tomorrow is the huge Imagine Delaware forum.  You should really go, it will affect education in all of Delaware!