Delaware Joint Finance Committee To Hold Special Sessions To Discuss Education Funding

The Joint Finance Committee of the Delaware 148th General Assembly will be meeting in special session to discuss education funding in Delaware.  The meetings will occur on November 30th and December 2nd from 10am to 4:30pm in the JFC Hearing Room at Legislative Hall in Dover, DE.

As the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission moves ever closer to final plans for the redistricting of Wilmington public schools, funding is coming up as the number one priority in this initiative.  The legislators on this committee will assuredly discuss this crucial component of the legislative approved measure.  House Bill 148 created WEIC and Senate Bill 122 gives the State Board of Education the authority to change the boundaries after WEIC gives a concrete plan to do so.  Following any decision the State Board makes, the 148th General Assembly must approve the redistricting by a joint resolution.

As Delaware media and the blogosphere ignites over this issue, many questions raised about funding are valid.  This will impact everything concerning education in Delaware at a time when projected deficits will blow up next year.  I find it ironic the JFC can meet in special session to discuss education funding, but not take measures against the DOE over their test, label and punish tactics which could easily be prevented by overriding Governor Markell’s veto of House Bill 50.

The members of the Joint Finance Committee consist of the following:

Rep. Melanie Smith (Chair)

Senator Harris McDowell (Co-Chair)

Rep. William Carson

*Rep. Debra Heffernan

Rep. JJ Johnson

*Rep. Harvey Kenton

*Rep. Joseph Miro

Senator Brian Bushweller

Senator Bruce Ennis

Senator Karen Peterson

Senator Katherine Cloutier

Senator Dave Lawson

*means these members serve on the House Education committee, JFC has NO members from the Senate Education Committee within its membership.

Delaware PTA Statement On House Bill 50 Parent Opt-Out Veto & Link To Petition For Legislators To Override Veto

Thanks to Dr. Terri Hodges, President of the Delaware PTA for letting me post this in it’s entirety from the Delaware PTA website.

A message from the State PTA President, Dr. Terri Hodges

On Thursday June 16, 2015, Governor Markell vetoed HB 50 on the parent opt out. You can read Governor Markell Statement to House of Representatives Vetoing House Bill 50

We are deeply disappointed in the Governor’s decision to veto HB 50. Even more so, we are disappointed with the reasoning outlined in his letter to the General Assembly. His statements clearly demonstrate a lack of understanding of not only HB 50, but also of the motivations behind parent support of this Bill. We are deeply saddened that the Governor has chosen to defend his right to exercise his veto power on the backs of our minority and at risk student populations. Many national civil rights organizations have clearly shown that these types of high stakes tests only serve to widen the achievement gap. As such, Delaware PTA denounces the Governor’s arguments. Furthermore, the argument that this assessment is the “only objective” tool we have to measure student growth and school performance is categorically false.

As we have stated before, this Bill is very straight forward, in that it codifies a parent’s right to opt their child out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment. However, opponents of the bill and subsequent amendments took the argument down a very convoluted and confusing path. Even those that are well versed on the subject and familiar with the bill were confused at times. To help alleviate any confusion or misconceptions with regard to parent motivation and interest in HB 50, Delaware PTA attempted to meet with the Governor on numerous occasions, but he did not acknowledge our requests or attempt to meet with us. In fairness, his Education Policy Advisor did agree to speak with me for about 10 minutes via phone towards the end of the legislative session. Out of fairness to the thousands of members we represent and given the enormity of what was at stake, we felt a more genuine conversation was warranted.

HB 50 passed both the chambers with more than a 3/5 majority. Your legislators worked very hard and fought for your rights as parents. They listened to you. For that they should be commended.

Although the Governor has vetoed this bill, it is not dead. Our legislators still have the right to override his veto when the general assembly resumes in January 2016.  This is an election year and we know the legislators will continue to work hard to represent their constituents.

During the last 24 hours, we have heard from many of you asking “what’s next?”, and many more have taken to social media to express their discontent with the Governor’s decision.
We came together before to get the bill this far, and we are asking for your support once again.

 

  1. We need each and every one of you to contact the legislators and thank them for their support on HB 50. Ask them to stand firm in their convictions, support their constituents and honor their first vote by overriding the Governor’s veto of HB 50. 

 

  1. Sign this petition to override the Governor’s veto of HB 50

 Here you will find the  HB 50 Roll Call listing all the legislators and how they voted. In addition, here is the contact information for the Delaware Legislators 2015 

Dr. Terri L Hodges,

State PTA President

I have to admit, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the Delaware PTA before this whole opt-out movement.  But even before that, when they wrote a letter against the priority schools initiative, they started to turn me to their side.  And then the opt-out movement hit, and the Delaware PTA went right up to bat and hit a grand slam home run with their Town Hall meetings on opt-out.  They haven’t looked back since.  They have been at the forefront of every single meeting, decision, and supporting it front and center.  My most sincere thanks to the Delaware PTA on this!  While I may not agree completely with their stance on the Common Core state standards, I know they will listen.  But for now, go PTA!

Please sign the petition Dr. Hodges provided a link for, and lets get these legislators to override Governor Markell!!!!!!!

And once again, if this is your first time seeing the message, opt-out is dead, we are now REFUSE THE TEST DELAWARE!