The end times are nigh. I read an opinion piece by Paul Herdman on delawareonline and found myself agreeing with a lot of what the CEO of the Rodel Foundation of Delaware was saying. No, I don’t have food poisoning. I haven’t been drugged. I didn’t slip on a banana peel and pass out. But Dr. Paul Herdman and I both seem to agree on disagreeing with some of the cuts the Delaware Joint Finance Committee proposed a few weeks ago. I know, I couldn’t believe it myself!
What Doc Herdman is lamenting are cuts to early childhood education and college access. I believe every student, if they have the means and even if they can get help, should go to college. I also think early childhood education is very important. While the Doc and I disagree on the methods, I have to believe we both want kids to get the best education possible. While he may think Common Core, Smarter Balanced, Personalized Learning and Competency-Based Education are the best ways, I think true instruction in the classroom with teacher-created tests and assessments are the way to go. I don’t think kids need all this educational technology in the classroom. I don’t think we need all these leadership training classes. Leaders should come naturally, not some profit-induced seminar brought on by Education Inc. The best education leaders are those with advanced knowledge of education through advanced masters degrees and come up through years of teaching.
But any cuts to education aren’t good. I wish the Doc would go a step further and go after wasteful spending at the Delaware Dept. of Education and all that trickles down to our schools as a result of their continued corporate education reform shenanigans. I wish he would urge our General Assembly to fully fund our state auditor’s office so they can, you know, actually follow Delaware law and properly audit our school districts each year. I was really hoping he would recommend our General Assembly (finally) implements basic special education funding for students in Kindergarten to 3rd grade, especially with his background in special education. But I’ll take what I can get.
The final week of the 149th Delaware General Assembly’s 2017 session is going to be absolutely crazy. I’ve told others. It won’t be over by July 1st. The gap is just too big and I’ve heard several legislators say “I won’t vote for the budget if (insert this cut or this attempted revenue here).” I don’t blame them. But some pain will have to come in this budget. It is my fervent hope students won’t lose out. I do support district consolidation in Delaware and while there are those who think it won’t amount to much saving, we won’t know unless we really study it. It is my contention there would be considerable savings. I do support shared resources, like Herdman. Whether it is a traditional, charter, or vo-tech, why wouldn’t we come together as a state to make sure students have all the resources they need? I don’t think school boards should be given a one-time chance to raise the match tax without a referendum as I truly believe that will hurt school districts when they do need to go out for a referendum. If districts and charters can actually share, all students would win. It takes some pride swallowing on both ends. Get rid of the charter school transportation slush fund or any perks for charters out of the budget. It only aggravates the us vs. them mentality. Truth is, there should be no us vs. them. It should be education for all students. Get rid of old, antiquated laws that create any type of de facto segregation.
The truth is, the Doc and I probably agree on a lot of things but our differences cast us as polar opposites. I’m sure he is a good guy, and yes, I think he should be taxed at a higher tax bracket along with the rest of the $150,000 and over club. This does not mean, by any stretch, I will attempt to get on the Rodel Advisory Council.