I’m usually done with a piece of legislation when it doesn’t go my way.. I always shared a disdain for those who lose and refuse to accept reality for what it is… But I’ve received so many questions over SB51, that I’ll break protocol, to discuss it for one last time…
The main question I’ve received most often, is why did I take on this unattainable cause. Surely one could see the writing on the wall when the Senate voted? Wasn’t it a waste of time?
Oddly, no. And I’m perplexed a little as to why I feel that way. Because it did suck up a lot of time and it had only two people vote against it in the entire General Assembly, and two abstentions (one principled and one physical.) So I’m going to try and work it out here, in type, as to why it was important to lead a fight against it. One that if one was keeping score, turned out to be an unmitigated disaster.
The reason for SB51″s success, was its stealth. It was out of committee, in the Senate, out of the Senate, in the House committee, and on the House floor, each time with very little notice. In fact, it wasn’t until after it had passed the Senate that I began hearing how bad this bill really was. Perhaps in a regular year, that would not have occurred. Someone would have read the bill earlier as it hit the docket and passed that information along. It should be noted this is an extraordinary year. The recomposition of this General Assembly has made many big changes possible. Gay Marriage, Background Checks, Reporting Stolen Firearms, Repeal of Death Penalty, Kinder-Morgan, Assault Bans, Bans of High Capacity Clips, have kind of sucked the wind out of the room when it comes to a bill that says something sensible like we should be hiring smart teachers instead of dumb ones.
One of our most progressive commentators said something like “I can see no one having a problem with that.”
And indeed. This bill seemed to have everyone on board. DSEA, that educational labor union who represents teachers, RODEL who represents the corporate Investors, the Governor who put this prominently in his state of the state address, both parties whom neither wanted to be seen as being against better education, the Chamber of Commerce and those who fund the entities inside the Community Service Building on 10th Street, progressives, conservatives. There was no one who seemed not to want to rubber stamp it…
It took a lot of work to wake up even three people to contest it…. And that is a start….
With overwhelming support, my goodness, in percentage terms…. 93% of the entire General Assembly was in favor. That ironically was the same percentage of Delawareans that wanted Offshore Wind over the objections of 4 well place members of the Executive Committee back in 2007-8…
How can anyone “credible” be against such a good bill with “overwhelming” support?
I would say there is one common thread among those who first voiced opposition and carried the water for trying to educate the public about this bill. And if you agree or disagree, please feel free to chime in. This is an informal piece.
Anyone who has experienced Common Core, who has actually experienced it, would be against this bill. I experienced it by helping a student with their homework assignment. Teachers and administrators experience it in their professional capacity. School Boards experience it by being in the cross fire between the DOE and parents who are as upset as I was with the crap that is being passed off as “learning.”…
Obviously from the results of the vote, very few people in Delaware have experience Common Core. Once you see what it has done to your kids, you are outraged. Outraged. There is no other accurate description….
So the vote in support of SB51, was primarily based, if I could extrapolate, on ignorance. I too would have been right there with them if I had not had the cathartic experience of meeting Common Core face to face. Once one does, one quickly learns to hate it. For many, many years I have been privy to a lot of grumbling from educators over each new “program of the year”, but never, never have I experienced a deterioration in a student’s drive to do well, as I have seen across the board with Common core…. “A” Students just giving up and settling for “C’s”, because of the capriciousness of the teaching and those learning materials that come in “packets.”
Here is what has to happen. These tests and packets need to get leaked to the public. Once seen and ridiculed, the proper perspective and potential damage from Common Core becomes clearer. Further more, every single member of the educational committees of both the Delaware Senate and House, should take this bill. Then the General Assembly would finally be in alignment with where the parents will be next year.
This year was really the first where Common Core was trialed. Next year it will be much more extensive.
So when one says that our teaching colleges and universities will be rated by how well their student teacher’s students do on Common Core tests over the next five years, quite a bit of that sentence totally depends on how good or bad Common Core is… I can tell you… it’s really.. really… bad.
Common Core is no better than “No Child Left Behind.” That too was a landmark piece of legislation to make teachers accountable to teaching, and not sending unprepared students up the ladder. It was hailed as the crowning achievement of American Society. Those very few who looked at the detail, and questioned how it would work, were laughed at as being among those who wanted to “leave children behind.” But guess what? When that was implemented in full across the nation, it didn’t work. Students did worse instead of better. Gee, the educational structure asked? How can this be? Answer was, it didn’t work in Texas under then Governor George W. Bush, either. They just tweaked the test scores.
Common Core is no better. In fact, it is probably worse. And there are many reasons why, which have been discussed on this blog many times, as well as on Transparent Christina, Kilroy’s of Delaware, Delaware Way, and Seventh Type… It “can” be better, but those pieces are being squashed under “bigger” principles, such as busting the teachers union, paying off Wall Street investors, making fistfuls of dough out of charter schools and vouchers… Big money has got its roots into education and is now trying to choke off all competition from good crops..
This bill’s overwhelming victory is not the end…. In fact, I think it may just hasten the end of Common Core, instead of extending it… I think so because I know how bad this program is.. I know there is no way you, once you experience it’s insanity, its inadequacy, and its ineptitude, will be supportive of common core… You can’t be.. No one like being inside a Kafka novel. We have nine months to educate Delaware what Common Core will do to your children. Nine months… If we are wrong, and the public does not by then demonize this program, then perhaps it is good that this bill passed.
But I’ve seen Common Core face to face… so I sincerely doubt that outcome….
Then, come next January, January 2014 an election year no doubt, we again will see these familiar words with a lot of support behind it.
“Section 1. Amend the title of Chapter 12, Title 14 of the Delaware Code, by making insertions as shown by underlining and deletions as shown by strikethrough as follows:”……