(from) John Kowalko May 19, 1:00 pm

With all due respect, I didn’t have to be awakened to the horrors of this poorly written and intended piece of legislation. I argued against it in the House Committee to no avail and spoke with some of the supporters, (DSEA), to attempt to alert them of its flaws.

The reality of this is that the administration, through its DOE policy head, was not honest, (on the floor, or in any of discussions leading up to the bills disposition), about the support it had from “higher ed. institutes” in Delaware.

The DSU Provost’s response (on the House floor, during debate) to the question “did your institution participate in crafting this legislation” was an unequivocal “NO” and my investigations lead to evidence that none of the institutions of higher learning participated in crafting this ill-conceived piece intended to reflect positively on the DOE and administrations abdication to RTTT compliance.

If you paid close attention as to how the alleged support was phrased/explained you can see the reality of the situation. DOE implied/suggested that a lack of pronounced objection implied “full” acquiescence to DOE’s contrived policy and this is at the least “intellectually” dishonest. If you ask yourself why none of the higher ed institutions voiced any trepidation in the matter I advise you to look at The calendar and note that starting this week the Joint Finance Committee meets to rule on recommended and suggested budget money increases for these institutions and only a fool would feel confident in challenging anything that might put them at a disadvantage in that arena.

As for the DSEA, I tried to make them understand that this legislation can and will be used as the first (and perhaps only) validation of “component 5″ test score evaluations of teacher effectiveness but I imagine I wasn’t convincing enough.

So I am copying you and your readers some of the talking points raised in support of the Potter/Kowalko amendment and in opposition to the bill.

Feel free to post or send this comment and content anywhere you please.

Rep. Kowalko

SB 51 purports to be a method to set high completion requirements, high-quality teaching experiences and ongoing evaluation of teaching program participants and to prepare prospective elementary school teachers in age-appropriate literacy and mathematics instruction. The bill also requires new educators to pass both an approved content-readiness exam and performance assessment before receiving an initial license.

While these ambitions are laudable, (and when we address the bill we can speak to its ability or lack thereof, to do that), this bill, as written intrudes into the arena of subjectively judging, with no verifiable proof or proven data, the ability of students to succeed in the programs of education studies. It contrives to prematurely eliminate students from entering into their chosen career path by legislating away their choices and options. All schools of higher education have relatively strict requirements and acceptance standards merely to be accepted as students and some have even more rigorous standards for acceptance to education pathway courses. We might presume that a quantifiable measure of success in the matters of teacher preparation and certification and educator evaluation can be achieved by this legislation but the chapters that prejudge and preclude individuals from participation in these programs should not be a matter of the imposition of laws that deny opportunity and access and violates the principles of individual rights. The schools are well positioned and qualified to make those judgments that best serve their own programs and those impositions should be removed from this bill before passage.

The current system works. Between the entrance and exit requirements, UD and DSU already winnow out over two-thirds of the students interested in teaching careers.