The Delaware Joint Legislative Oversight and Sunset Committee voted today not to Sunset the Delaware State Board of Education. Sunset would have shut down the board. I will write more details later since I arrived late for the meeting due to a prior commitment. As for the State Board’s Executive Director, Donna Johnson, the board voted for option one in regards to her role: The Board will present to the Committee a revised Executive Director job description to better align with the Board’s duties.
Issues surrounding public comment got a bit of discussion. The JLOSC voted unanimously that the State Board of Education shall allow public comment before each action item but with an amendment. Public comment may not be allowed during action items that have a pre-established and finite public comment period, such as regulations and charter school issues. The reason for this is because state code allows for this. Newly christened Senator Stephanie Hansen said during county council meetings in Sussex and New Castle Counties they allow for this because sometimes the public comment could affect a decision by the Council. State Board member Pat Heffernan said they are bound by the Delaware State Code. In my eyes, that is legislation begging for change as soon as humanly possible. The Committee agreed that information shall be sent to public libraries and schools with meeting information about the State Board of Education. A matter surrounding charter school approval and local impact was tabled so the State Board of Ed can give more clarifying information about their role on this matter.
I did not anticipate the JLOSC would shut down the State Board of Education. I surmised some items would pass and some wouldn’t. Without an apparatus in place to replace them it would be tough to figure out who should pass regulations. Once again, legislation could take care of a lot of the issues surrounding them. In a poll I put up the other day, over 70% of readers felt the State Board should shut down permanently. I write this with the caveat that my readership tends to align with what I believe more and the poll only had over a 100 voters.
The House Education Committee in Delaware is having a meeting going over some of the education bills introduced in the 148th General Assembly this year. First up is Senate Bill #10:
This Act makes technical changes to the Delaware Performance Appraisal System (DPAS) II Advisory Committee membership and meeting dates. Additionally, this Act clarifies language regarding the Committee’s duties in order to better provide advice to the Secretary of the Department of Education and the State Board of Education in the promulgation of regulations relating to DPAS II.
Senator David Sokola introduced the bill to the Education Committee. The purpose of the bill is not to change the program but to add an additional five years due to the sunset period ending this year. State Rep. Miro asked about pay scales. Executive Director of TFA Delaware Laurissa Schutt took the podium and said teachers are relatively paid the same. State Rep. Edward Osienski asked about oversight. It was revealed TFA will be writing their own report on this. State Rep. Kim Williams is asking about retention rates for TFA employees in Delaware schools. She asked Schutt about changing the timeframe for teachers to stay from the 2 year program to a 4 year program. Schutt could not commit to that. State Rep. John Kowalko said he wants the bill extended to 2016 and not 2020. He feels the TEMBO report commissioned by the Delaware DOE is very biased. He doesn’t feel TFA should be writing their own reports for the state.
Howard High School Principal said they started with nine TFAers, and still have four that have stayed on. Heath Chasanov, Superintendent of Woodbridge, spoke in support of the bill and TFA. He is also speaking for Susan Bunting, Superintendent of Idnian River in support of the bill. Donald Blakey, Super for Colonial, is also praising TFA and the bill. Donna Johnson, State Board of Education, said she is happy with the collaboration between TFA and Professional Development of all teachers. They look forward to working with the Professional Standards Board on Regulation 1507.
Kim Williams asked for more clarity on the reporting from the DOE on where the members are. There needs to be more accuracy with reporting. State Rep. Mike Ramone said one great employee from TFA can bring the whole quality of teachers up at a school. Schutt said Brandywine and Newcastle County Vo-Tech want to work with them on teacher-mentoring program. She said “We are never going to take over anything. We have 22 teachers, and we will never reach that unless we have that deep collaborative level.”
Watching the crowd, State Rep. Deb Heffernan is very interested in the comments and questions during this topic. Rep. Miro just said he doesn’t trust any report that comes from the Delaware DOE.
Senate Bill #10 passed the House Education Committee with 1 no vote.