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Why does every bill with Scott’s and Sokola’s name at the top, mean no good for the people of Delaware?  Intriguing, however, also are the names of Kowalko, Baumbach, and Townsend as additional sponsors for this same bill… ( Longhurst is there as well, but that doesn’t matter)…..  One must assume for these three to endorse such a bill,  that perhaps they are unaware of who is signed up as a lobbyist, and who, if a fee is required, will be shut out from personally making their case to Delaware legislators..

Contrary to I guess, public opinion, not all lobbyists are fat cats.  Many of them are thin cats….

Nancy Willing is one.  Darlene Battle is another.  John Flaherty is a third. For you see, if anyone approaches a legislator about a certain bill, they need to be signed in as a lobbyist….

All a lobbyist is, is an expert on piece of legislation who attempts to explain it to a legislator.  Of course, an expert on sneaking a poisonous chemical through the labyrinth of law, requires one kind of lobbyist.  But removing the” box” from employment applications, requires another…..  Whereas our legislature doesn’t need the first type of lobbyists, it absolutely really does need the second.

What this bill does, is shut accessibility to legislators to all who cannot pay.  The indigent, the middle class, the workers, don’t have  a voice, unless they can find a paid lobbyist who will do it pro-bono.  The ducks, geese, and even the gray fox who currently have school children as advocates,  get shut out allowing sportsman to dominate the conversation.  In gun control, the dead children have no voice; the paying NRA has a monopoly on legislative personal relationships….

That is why as it stands, this is a bad bill.

To those on the inside, the reason for it’s proposal is obvious in light of the education fight over Common Core.  Educational issues are not going as those responsible (Jack Markell) for pushing them through legislature think they should.  Somehow, legislators are getting other opinions beside those carefully screened for their indulgence… This bill will stop that.

I can understand how progressives could get behind a bill to make lobbyists report who pays them, and make lobbyists pay a fee…. But a close reading of the bill does not legislate how much the fee shall be, nor does it exempt anyone working pro-bono…  Yes, of course without it being specified specifically, that could still happen after this bill is passed.  … But so could the opposite!… It will be solely at the discretion of those on the Integrity Commission to determine who can play, and who cannot….

“Set that fee for Nancy at a $1000, will you” said the joker to the thief……

Below are organizations currently listed as lobbyists who probably won’t be, if the fee is enacted……

  1. Delaware Estuary
  2. Stand Up For What’s Right And Just
  3. National Popular Vote
  4. Girl Scouts of Chesapeake Bay
  5. Associated Community Talents
  6. Delaware Association of Non Profit Agencies
  7. 9-12 Delaware Patriots
  8. Kent County Progressives
  9. Center for Inland Bays
  10. Delawareans for Social and Economic Justice
  11. Delawind
  12. Delaware Repeal Project
  13. Delaware Jobs Now
  14. American Lung Association
  15. Common Cause/ Delaware
  16. Pilot’s Association for the Delaware River
  17. Burris Firm
  18. NAACP
  19. Concerned Black Men, Inc.
  20. Wilmington Tug
  21. Blue Hen, Inc.
  22. Delaware Business Roundtable Education Committee
  23. Delaware ACLU
  24. Center for Popular Democracy
  25. Council on State Taxation
  26. Marijuana Policy Project
  27. Delaware Audubon Society
  28. Delaware Sleep Society
  29. American Traffic Solutions
  30. League of Women Voters
  31. Chimes Delaware
  32. PTA Delaware Congress
  33. Delaware Rural Water Association
  34. Brandywine Sprouts, Roots, and Shoots
  35. Delaware Council on Gambling Problems
  36. Autism Delaware
  37. Delaware Auctioneer Association
  38. Delaware Police Chief’s Council
  39. Save our Society From Drugs
  40. Greenwatch Institute
  41. Sierra Club
  42. Delaware Defensive Driving
  43. March of Dimes
  44. Consortium of Non-medical Privately Owned Healthcare
  45. City of Wilmington
  46. Volunteer Hose Company of Middletown
  47. Delaware Volunteer Fireman’s Association
  48. Delaware Coalition For Open Government
  49. Delaware School Boards Association
  50. Consumer’s Union of US Inc.
  51. AIDS Delaware
  52. Delaware Nature Society
  53. Delaware River Stevedores, Inc
  54. Council on State Taxation
  55. Bridgeville Rifle and Pistol Club
  56. Delaware Ecumenical Council on Children and Families
  57. American Lung Association of the Mid Atlantic
  58. Delaware Society for Respiratory Care
  59. Humane Society of the United States
  60. Horizon House
  61. American Cancer Society Action Network and It’s Affiliates
  62. Consumer Health Products Association
  63. Best Friends
  64. Wilmington Fire Foundation
  65. Film Delaware
  66. Delaware Compensation Rating Bureau
  67. Easter Seals
  68. Rodel
  69. Mid Atlantic Education Alliance
  70. Christina River, LLC
  71. Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition
  72. Recycling Reinvented
  73. Delaware State Lodge  FOP
  74. Police Athletic League of Delaware
  75. Kind to Kids Foundation
  76. Delaware State Funeral Directors Association
  77. Delaware Tourism Alliance
  78. Commercial Industrial Reality Council
  79. Cigar Association of America
  80. Scientific Games Corporation
  81. Delaware Auctioneer Association
  82. Save our Delaware Byways
  83. Delaware Solar Energy Coalition
  84. Fort Miles Historical Association
  85. Atlantic Pawn
  86. Delaware Asian American Business Association
  87. City of Newark
  88. Alternative Energy Researching and Consultation
  89. Gift of Life Donor Program
  90. Delaware Cemetaries for Consumer Choice
  91. Gun Rights Across America
  92. White Clay Creek Watershed Management Association
  93. Rehoboth Art League
  94. WHYY Inc
  95. Delaware Association of Surveyors
  96. National Campaign to Reform State Juvenile Judicial System
  97. Sussex Technical School District
  98. National Guard Association of Delaware
  99. OSG Ship Management Inc.
  100. St. Francis Hospital/Catholic Health East
  101. Westown Movie Theater
  102. Red Frog, Events LLC
  103. Woodlawn Trustees
  104. Prestige Academy
  105. Communities in Schools of Delaware
  106. Punkin’ Chunkin’
  107. CRI
  108. Arcadia Wind Power
  109. National Association of  Professional Surplus Lines Offices LLC
  110. Teach For America
  111. Civic League for New Castle County

Just to name a few…  You see, lobbyists are the oil inside the engine.  They reduce friction, and are what keep legislators capable of staying ahead of multiple issues at any given time….  So, yes, some may be paid very well. But quite a few of the above will not be back if this law is passed and signed….

I have included lobbyists for both sides, to show that they are indispensible to the operation of government as we know it… This bill will affect the postions held dear by both Republicans and Democrats.  Essentially those hurt will be all those who cannot afford to pay for representation … Those helped will be all those who can easily pay for the privilege of meeting with a legislator….

That is why I am not surprised to see Sokola and Scott at the top of this bill.  I am surprised to see Townsend, Kowalko, and Baumbach as additional sponsors….   Someone should tell them…..

 

And here is the meat of the bill…..

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Section 1.  Amend § 5832, Title 29 of the Delaware Code by making insertions as shown by underline as follows:

§ 5832. Registration of lobbyists with the State Public Integrity Commission.

                (b) The information recorded in the Commission’s lobbyist docket shall include for each separate employer:

(6) Whether the employer pays or promises to pay compensation, as defined in § 5831(a) of this title, to the lobbyist.  The amount or value of compensation is not required.

                (e) Upon registration, and between January 1st and January 15th of each subsequent year, each lobbyist shall pay an annual registration fee per employer paying or promising compensation to the lobbyist.  The fee is not prorated for compensated lobbyists or their employers who are registered for only a portion of the year.  At the beginning of each calendar year, the Commission shall establish an annual registration fee which shall approximate and reasonably reflect all costs necessary to defray the expenses of administering § 5832, § 5833, § 5834, § 5835, § 5836, § 5837, § 5838 of this title.  The Commission may not impose a fee on lobbyists who are not paid, or who are not promised, compensation from the employer of the lobbyist.  The fee is payable through the Public Integrity Reporting System database maintained by the Commission.  All revenue generated by registration fees shall be deposited in an appropriated special fund account for the Commission.  These funds shall be used to fund all costs necessary to defray the expenses of administration of § 5832, § 5833, § 5834, § 5835, § 5836, § 5837, § 5838 of this title. Nothing in this section shall relieve a lobbyist from the registration requirement in subsection (a) of this title, whether required to pay the annual fee or not.

                Section 2.  Amend § 5838, Title 29 of the Delaware Code by making insertions as shown by underline as follows and by redesignating accordingly:

                § 5838. Violations and penalties.

                (d) Any person who fails to pay a registration fee required by this subchapter shall be deemed to have voluntarily cancelled registration as a lobbyist and shall be prohibited from reregistering or acting as a lobbyist until all delinquent registration fees are paid.

                Section 3.  This Act shall become effective on January 1, 2015.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Delaware Liberal has a silly controversy over John Kowalko’s performance.  The reason it is silly is because they are arguing over John’s alleged ability without determining the position that he plays.  For example, in football, a defensive player is rated differently than an offensive player.  In basketball, a center is rated different than a point guard.  A catcher is rated differently than pitcher in baseball.  To the casual reader it is pretty obvious that the argument is over which standards ought to be used, and not over whether John is an outstanding person or not.  (He is btw;  I’ve even heard Rick Jensen say so.)

In the current legislature, there are many moving parts.  The only true criteria one can hold legislators accountable towards…, is did they vote.   Everything else is superfluous. The only part of their job outlined  in legalese… is to vote.  Everything else they choose to do is extra; its over and beyond the call…

But politics is a personal business.  If challenges are made towards John’s effectiveness, even if baseless, they need a well honed defense.  Simply because if not, future readers may see only one side and base their votes upon what they read,   Therefore there is a lot of give and take, and bashing and smashing of egos, but it is all basically over whether John should play defensive, or go offensive.

We cannot have all of one and none of the other.  A team with only an offensive line, does pretty badly when the other team has the ball.  To the casual observer reading comments over there, it is obvious that we need both kinds of players.  Both are necessary. and since one person can’t be opposite of himself, it is necessary to have another person take up that position …

John is John.  Just like El Som is El Som.  Just like Deldem is Deldem.  Each has a unique set of genes, each has a unique set of life experiences.  Obviously none of those match, and therefore, their viewpoints will differ.  What happened is that it got personal, and the line; “others say it is so” got trundled out.

Of course others will say different things.  They are different too.  Instead of arguing over what this person said, and what that person didn’t say, we should be recognizing just how diversified our party is. Yay!  We should accept that we have John in the offensive line. Yay!  We should be grateful we have defensive players working behind the scenes. Yay!  Commentator Geezer actually pointed all that out before I do here.

The point I’m making is we have a team of people. They are individuals. They are not all carbon copies of each other.  Thank Goodness.  Just like any corporate development team, just like any legal defense team, just like any sports team, just like any managerial project team, all have a goal; all should work towards that goal.

Calling people out in public does not help all reach that goal.  It hinders it; is s-l-o-w-s the march toward that goal, considerably.  Talking to those people directly, one on one, what we like to call having a “frank” conversation, IS conducive.  It provides communication, and even if you disagree in the end, you trust the opponent’s judgment because you know exactly why he is adamant in his beliefs.  You know why.

I think everyone here has a part to play.  Just as in a car, if one part goes bad, the rest of the car doesn’t function at its full potential.  Everyone here, (or over there commenting I mean) has an important role to play in how our state will be functioning one, four, eight, or ten years into the future….

We have a job to do. Work is not done.  If we don’t finish it, others who oppose us will come behind us and tear it down.  This is serious stuff.  If we don’t work together as a team,  we leave no lasting legacy.  And what’s the whole point of even living, if your life here doesn’t make a difference?

So recognize our differences then use them.  Those in planning can say, John we need some public outrage on this at this time.  Let’s get it done.  Vice versa, now coming from John, he can say “hey we in the public eye are getting pinged badly on this item;  we need to develop a fix right now”.  Those are just two examples how each can use the other to achieve aims, instead of create friction….

‘Nuff said.

……It was supposed to be unanimous.  Why, everyone wants education to be better.  Holding Charter Schools to higher standards was like, wait, holding the 37th best teacher school in the nation (yes, University of Delaware) to higher standards… (It’a make dem kids smarter.)  After all, didn’t the Teaching School Accountability Act just sail through the Senate unanimously, and with only two “naysayers” (see Jacques) votes on record in the House?

This time there were nine.

Nine people who put their kids before Charlie Copeland’s millions.

For those not paying attention, you may not see why they did?  “Oh, they’re just pollywogs” …you might mutter; “some people just like to make waves; the path was too smooth for them and they had to make it look harder than it was.”  But that is far from the truth.

The truth is that Bank Of America has donated part of their giant complex downtown (the 9 year old MBNA built complex) towards a charter school.  Charlie Copeland has a charter school that wants to move in.  However, “minor renovations” must be done to turn a former bank, into a Charter School.  “Minor renovations”  the investors don’t want to pay for. (see El Som, Al Mascitti, caller Ed).  So if the state passes a $5 million slush fund, one appropriated for “minor renovations”, it gets applied to the former MBNA building and the charter school can open.

A big charter school!  One handling close to 2440 students…. At well over $10,000 per student that this new Charter School will get, as it pulls from Colonial, Brandywine, Red Clay, and Christina,  it’s yearly income will be well over $24.400,000 dollars every year….  which means that the same $24,400,000  will not be going to Colonial,  to Brandywine,  to Red Clay, or to Christina.  Charter schools run a 60% profit return.  They really have few expenses.  Teachers, tests, and capital expenses.  If the state pays up the capital expenses, the remaining costs average around 34% putting the profit level at 56% or almost 60…. (60 should be achievable once settled in)…  The profit  on the new charter school will be 56% of  $24,400,000 or… $13,664,000 EVERY SINGLE YEAR!

Let’s say, over a 5 year contract, one should pull in $68,320,000 .. not top line… this is the bottom… This is what goes into Charlie Copeland’s and fellow investor’s bank accounts. over $68 million dollars in 5 years…

Now if you went to a bank to borrow $5 million for start up, and were going to get $13,664,000 back that same year every year, do you think a bank would loan you the money?  HELL,  F”N’ YEAH!  They’d literally be crazy not to.  Every bank would be fighting for a place in line just to serve you.

But why pay interest on something you can get for free?

Charlie Copeland, unless there is a revolt among those Republicans still wanting to win elections,  will be the head of the Delaware Republican Party. That means he  currently holds in his hands, the future of  8 Senators,  and 14 House of Delegates.

He needs only 3 Democrat Senators (easily bought) and 8 House of Delegates (here’s a donation for you)….  and he can write legislation which lets you the taxpayer fund his enterprise, which will make him and fellow investors richer by $68,800,000 in just 5 years….

But there is more.  Charter schools underperform in test scores compared to Public schools.  I mean how could they really match up?  They don’t have  the structure; they have to pay everything on a service basis.  They don’t have experienced good teachers; they can only get the bad ones not employed, or new ones with headlamps in their eyes.  They don’t have union support; just as a teacher finally gets decent, she gets fired for being “too expensive”.

So, for Charter Schools to work they have at the same time they go into business, start the process of tearing down public schools that have been adequate for a 100 years…  The public schools here will start losing $24 million a year.  They cut back.  As they no longer meet their performance guidelines; they get cut back even more.  More Charters move in, forcing even more public school cut backs.  The public schools barely have the money to pay for structure, much less lavish upon education.  More charters move in, and the district is forced to close schools…. Having charter schools and public schools duke it out over scarce resources, not unlike the recent movie Hunger Games, cuts our actual passing students down by almost half….

This is how Philly and Chicago and 3 years ago, Kansas City happened.  They let in large Charter Schools.  The numbers show that when Charter Schools move in, the test scores of an entire geographic area get lowered significantly. The charter schools don’t know HOW to keep them up; the public schools are too cash strapped to keep them up… True, some schools  who are allowed to attract the best and brightest, may go up, but for every one that does, far many more go down pulling the average across the city down with it…  Obviously those getting the worst treatment are Blacks, flat out they have no hope,  with Hispanics getting  the second worst deal of the century.

Delaware has been lucky so far. But as we can see from studies done on Newark Charter School,  segregation is back in full force..

We can turn this state into the educational waste land that is Chicago, that is Philadelphia, that is Kansas City…. and with the passage yesterday, under the auspices of “holding Charter schools accountable” while fixing their buildings “for free”, we appear headed down that direction.  Remember every other state who has tried doing what we proposed to do, has met abysmal failure.  Fact:  there are no successful charter stories out there. All are negative.

The good news, is that there were people in Delaware tuned in on the problem who stood up for every single Delaware child; yes they will face millions against them throughout their career, but for our children it was worth it…  Most people out of tune with politics may never realize the fear that going against the strong hands in Delaware can create. Its like looking into your open grave…   Nine people conquered that fear yesterday, and stood up for children, real children, like yours and mine, and did not kowtow to investors who will thank them campaign-time for netting them a cool, easy $68 million…..

They are:

Paul Baumbach (D)

Andria Bennet (D)

Stephanie Boulden (D)

J. Johnson (D)

Helene Keeley (D)

John Kowalko (D)

Edward Osienski (D)

Charles Potter (D)

Kim Williams (D)

Every parent needs to thank these very strong people for putting kids over Copeland.

This is John Kowalko commenting on Kilroy’s of Delaware

I will try to answer your questions. I have earned the right to be engaged in any attempts to reform charter school law. I was the only legislator who stood in front of over 250, somewhat hostile, citizens at the public comment session to discuss the NCS expansion. My comments are a matter of record and I never attacked NCS but I did enumerate and specifically call for a comprehensive reformulation of Charter Law. Since that time I have worked with my good friend Rep. Jaques to craft and write legislation to address the many flaws in the Charter Law. The many flaws included but were not limited to, impact on existing schools, failure of charters to offer innovations and ideas that could be replicated in traditional schools, lack of socio-economic diversity in charters comparable to their geographically located sister schools. Geographical and ability restrictions that seem to exclude members of the reflective public school community. It became apparent that we would not be able to move this legislation through last year so we focused on a rejuvenation of efforts this year. In between last year and this a mysteriously secretive task force was formed to study, and by their own account “NOT” offer legislation to reform charter law. I asked formally to be allowed to serve on the committee??, which was heavily weighted with pro-charter and business interests to the real exclusion of supporters of the needs and negative effects on traditional schools, and my request was denied. That brings us full cycle to the current legislation that has taken on a complexion of giving a peanut butter sandwich to traditional schools needs while offering filet mignon to charters. The efforts of Rep. Jaques in this matter have been responsible and well-intended and he has managed to get a few good and necessary items into this variation. The reality, however, is that our original bill was only a few pages and this construction is 20 pages long filled with many obscure, nuanced and ambiguous passages that have caused me concern. Not to mention one very clear stipulation that creates a fund accessible only to charters that will be doled out by DOE and funded with money we should be returning to traditional public schools that we have imposed draconian cuts on.
Specifically, I know I’ve proved my legitimacy and right to prime co-sponsorship on this reform legislation and that does not preclude any considerations or questions I may have about this variation of the original intentions of legislation. If you are responsible for decorating your home and you want to be able to move the furniture and pictures and paint the walls you will find in the political world that you better stay in the house and not outside on the porch looking in the window and trying to have your suggestions heard through the shutters.

 

The question asked, was how could Kowalko and Jacques have their names listed as  sponsors to a bill that was so bizarre.  Is it possible to request one’s name be removed a sponsor to a piece of legislation?  There is precedence for that.

So can everyone ask this question.  Why is something that is supposed to be this good, being whisked through without being vetted first?  I remember a lot of people criticizing Obama for letting the Affordable Health Care have its innards displayed and a compromised, sown back up bill move forward.  After seeing the debacle of  educational reform in this state being sneaked through the House and Senate, Obama’s wisdom becomes prevalent.  If there are faults, they get exposed before it becomes law.  The controversial law has a better chance of standing if it is vetted first….

(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.

Respectfully,
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.

Remember Sweeney?  That character who was lampooned across the nation for his nonfactual support of Kinder-Morgan’s taking over our port?   Instead of being objective, his editorial board pieces are that of a pinch hitter for an administration again caught on the wrong side of an issue!  Remember the jokes? The aside comments that he has lost his touch?  Remember all the snide references that he must be on crack?

It is to those references (sincerely I doubt he does crack) and the acknowledgement that in popular culture today that phrase is often applied to everyone who tries to reform facts into a fairy tales, that I attached his name to it in the title…

In Sweeney’s defense through the manipulation of language, one can say anything.  Granted.  Romney certainly tried that tact. And the truth came out to hurt him.  “Jeeps in China”, my ass. “Benghazi was all Obama’s fault”, my ass.

So as old as Sweeney is, (he seems to mean well ), the facts he uses are simply not true…  If you put bad in, you get bad out.  Now if I were an aged,old authority figure, and if you were deemed childlikely to accept what I say is true, … I can tell you about a jovial man living at the North Pole, who has nine reindeer that fly and travels the world in one night delivering presents to every boy and girl in the world,… and of course you are going to look up at me with wide big eyes and go “wow, so that is how its done…”.

Alas, poor Sweeney, he doesn’t have the same beguiling audience.  Instead we have facts that show the opposite….

One of the facts WE the People have, is that the tests results coming from districts using this plan that show great results, were all obtained through cheating by high officials changing the answers over to correct ones after the students had taken them.

Two:  teachers under this system are spending too much time explaining to their superiors everything they do in order to be evaluated,  instead of teaching.  More time is spent in evaluation, than on lesson plans.  This hurts teacher. This hurts student.

Three: the curriculum being forced upon these classrooms is far inferior to what teachers themselves are able to dole out.  Education only works when a student’s interest is held.   These corporate templates are as interesting as your corporate financial  meetings.  Teachers do a much better job.

Four: low income students don’t have technology the rest of us take for granted.  Broadband costs money. Computer power costs money. Software costs money. Laptops cost money. Notebooks cost money.  The best way to raise low income students scores is to put them on par with students who have technology.  You can’t just tell someone how to log in and expect them to remember it whenever they next  see a computer.  They have to do so to learn how.

Five.  Testing at the beginning, the middle, and the end, is a great tool.  It evaluates a student’s progress over time.  BUT!  Holding a teachers job accountable to results over which they have absolutely no control, means…  a) all teaching by that teacher is geared to only what will be on that test… and b) since poor scores demand the loss of one’s livelihood,  rampant cheating is bound to occur…. We saw this in Atlanta, Texas, and DC.

Six.  The only proven and effective way to improve teaching, is to increase the number of teachers so there are 11 students per teacher.  Teaching is a personal science, like counseling, psychology, and doctor’s visits.  Without a personal relationship between teacher and student, there is no incentive to learn.  Studies as well as our personal experience, show that if we aren’t psyched to learn, we don’t….

Seven.  The students who do the poorest are the ones who have the largest social dishevel in their lives.  A person from this background can learn from a teacher just as easily as anyone else, if he believes the teacher is pulling for them, and they don’t want to let that teacher or their peers down.  That can and does  happen with a 11-1 ratio…

Eight.  Teachers DO NOT GO  into teaching to get rich.  They go to help children learn.  If you don’t know this, you have no human right to ever write another editorial on education.  That is just plain stupid not to know.  If you want to motivate teachers, the best way is to give them MORE resources with which to teach….  More maps, more books, more software, anything to provide more excitement to their classrooms.

Nine.  We all incorporate what we learn, into the categories we already have inside our heads.  Being an inner city child with no mother (on crack), no father (never knew him), living with grandma (forgets who I am sometimes), dodging getting beaten up by the drug lords every time you walk home from the bus to porch (its safe in the morning; they’re still asleep), disappearing when the molesting uncles happen to drop by, … reading about Sally having to choose between buying a candy bar or putting  all her cents into a piggy bank, doesn’t cut it.  You’d think Goldman-Sachs created the curriculum (they paid for it)…

Enough background…..  At least you know Sweeney is on metaphorical crack  just like he was with Kinder Morgan. (Panama Canal ships sailing up the Delaware, Sheesh)….

The heart of the matter lies in the News Journal’s phrase….Teachers that have earned highly-qualified credentials..

One would think that having a master’s degree or a doctor’s degree in education would qualify…  But no. Mr. Sweeney, it does not.  Mind if  WE, the People interrupt for a second to ask  if you happen to have a masters degree?  A doctor’s degree?  Is it in education?  No?  So, tell us again,  what makes you such an expert can we ask?  We, the People are dying to know.

Now get this.  To be one of these  “teachers that have earned highly-qualified credentials”  you have to first have attended a corporate seminar, one from a pandering company to which the state paid $180 dollars a person; you have to sit through 6 hours of power-point presentations; your  know-it-all instructor was just hired out of college by this corporation, and they proceed to tell you everything ever known about teaching without ever having been in a classroom. After this, you then take a test, having been given the answers ahead of time by clues of where the instructor casually says “this will be on the test”, and then, if you passed, you get a certificate saying you are a teacher with highly-qualified credentials.  Just like that.   You are now a highly qualified credential teacher; so who needs a masters, who needs a doctorate, who needs to read a stinkin’ Gannett publication? You got all the knowledge anyone ever needs to know.  You got a certificate that cost the state $180 dollars!….  You are now, eligible for a bonus… (if we (the DOE)  like you enough we choose to give it to you…

So if there are 8640 public school teachers in Delaware, at a cost of $180 per teacher, over time this company that originated out of nowhere, helps itself to $1.5 million dollars of our annual budget…   Now, not counting for the printing I can buy 8,000 sheets of  8 X 11  pieces of  24 lb. paper for around $71 dollars at Wal*Mart.  It would only take 20 sheafs of printer paper.   So to dole out $71-80 worth of pieces of paper printed with the words “Congratulations, You Are Certified“, our state is investing $1.5 million of your dollars… Why?  Can you say umm … kickback?  Personal favor?  Thanks for all you did back then?

In case one hasn’t been paying attention to the educational field, one would know that in the Christina district primarily due to our economy there are very few vacancies open from year to year.  One would also know, that in the  Christina district we have really good teachers practically in every classroom, who do better than the job that is expected except when they have to pull themselves away to do RTTT paperwork and explain to their evaluators how they are reinventing the wheel of teaching, or are on a pilot program teaching the Common Core agenda and cannot deviate.

So the Christina Board says this is ridiculous.  The Christina Board recognizes that teachers with a lifetime of experience, with masters and doctors degrees, know more about education then some punk out of college who passes the corporate litmus test.  After all, one would think, right?

The DSEA representing ALL THE TEACHERS IN DELAWARE,  and the Christina Education Association are fully backing the Christina Board on this.  As stated, teachers primarily want to teach.  This state program is very, very bad for teaching….  Although Mr. Sweeney might think otherwise, what teachers think, matters.  Especially if they are the ones teaching our kids.

Teachers are our most valuable resource as a society.  They are more important than our President.  They are more important than our Governor.  They are more important than any Mark Murphy or Lillian Lowery.  They are more important than the head of Goldman Sachs.  What?  You scoff?

Tell me, Mr. Sweeney?  When you look in the mirror in the morning… what president do you thank for making you who you are?   “Aww… Richard Nixon… Thank you so much for your leadership which was soooo inspiring, it made want to be like you…. I’m eternally grateful for all you did to inspire me, coach me, teach me, and give the the building blocks to make me as I am”   But sincerely, like all of us, I would damn well bet that somewhere in your growing up, there was one teacher or two, who is responsible for everything you’ve become.

In the book of We, the People … that teacher out ranks any governmental official…. any day…

I’ll close with an analogy to a story told long ago…  A woman was brought before Jesus accused of adultery.  They asked what should be done to her.  Jesus asked who was condemning her… knowing they too would be guilty of adultery if they admitted.  They left.  Jesus asked her, “who has condemned you?”  She looks around, and says ” no one Sir.”   “Then neither will I condemn you.  Arise, Go, and sin no more…”

It would be wise for Mr. Sweeney to remember this, before he goes writing his next editorial condemning the wrong people………..

…. said Rick Jensen as Liz Allen finished and hung up the phone before Rick could answer….

I usually drive in silence but I laughed out loud when I heard that. Seriously glad I was not drinking coffee that very second…

To set the background, Rick was trying to pin the blame on unions like would a normal corporate shill and Liz called in and was objecting…

Basically her argument was that there were a lot of things wrong with this Kinder Morgan Deal.  Most of you know, I’ve outlined many.  Al Mascitti has outlined some. Nancy Willing outlined some. Norinda outlined some.  Bobby Marshall has outlined some.  John Kowalko has outlined some. The News Journal writers  and editorialists  have outlined some.  Even Alan Levin truthfully  outlined some…. And of course, Liz Allen was Delaware’s voice.  She outlined many…. And don’t even  mention that the entire House of the General Assembly, both Democrats and Republicans unanimously voted for General Assembly oversight on this strange thing happening, despite the Governor and Alan Lavin saying…”shouldn’t do that!!!”

THE  ENTIRE  HOUSE  OF  THE  GENERAL  ASSEMBLY  VOTED  FOR  SENATE  BILL  3  YET  KINDER  MORGAN  IS  SINGLING  OUT  A  LABOR LEADER,  JULIUS  CEPHAS? ? ?

All of these people are more to blame for swaying public opinion than Julius Cephas.  However, truth be told, without Julius, none of these people would be swaying public opinion….  He didn’t harangue, he didn’t bash, he’d didn’t twist arms…

All Julius did to persuade this wave against Kinder Morgan, was speak the “truth”.  The letter paints Julius as a feisty uncooperative fiery personality…  Anyone who’s sat on a panel with Julius finds that hard to believe.  That is not how Julius handles adversity.  He digs down and works.

Of course as we all age we come to realize that anything is possible.  But if we are going to allow ourselves to consider even the most outrageous items,  what I find far more possible, and far more probable, was that Kinder Morgan was seriously planning on cutting jobs.  Furthermore, it probably had it’s eye on the DRBA portion of the state pension fund… Speaking strictly as a vulture capitalist here… who wouldn’t?

Apparently Julius Cephas was in the way…  We all owe him a thank you.

I know Texas gas firms.  This deal is not off.  What we have here is a lighter being held up  to Delaware’s foot.  To scare us a little, try to get us to move things up, to get us to concede… They sharply deduced that to have a successful operation here, they need to do away with the union.  Hence, instead of excoriating Bob Marshall’s leadership, which they would have done if they truly were to pick up and go, …knowing they might need him later instead they chose to focus on Julius Cephas…

Can they turn the state into an out-roar against Julius and the Longshoreman’s union, so much so that we offer them a counter-offer with “the union”  completely eclipsed out of it?

In their minds they think they can.   They’re Texans…  Look at Governor Perry.  (Hope you weren’t drinking hot coffee right there… )

What they don’t realize is that to convince Delaware to come aboard, they have to accomplish all these four things…

A.  Convince us first  on the concept of privatization; Trust us, our state is completely against it.

B.  Give us $5 billion for 50 years.

C.  Promise us the Longshoreman’s Union will be around forever .

D.  Expand business so the outside businesses will grow….. 

I think this is more money than they want to bear right now….  But if they are willing to agree to these propositions,   send us an offer….

Us Delawareans are a little stronger negotiators, with a little more backbone,  than is Alan Levin….  I’m sorry from a honesty point of view, if his actions sort of misled you.

There are two ways to do business.  One is do what is best for the business by being selfish..  The second is to do what is best for the customer and community, which in our view, turns out to be what is best for the business.

Delawareans (minus Rich Heffron)  subscribe to the latter…..

 

Although the year is barely out, we do have our first nomination for the spot to be announced in December 2013.  With the Kinder Morgan Deal now on hold semi-permanently, even they are pointing to our hero of the year as the man most responsible for allowing the port to remain state owned….

I can say it was Julius Cephas who was behind almost every move to combat the loss of good jobs at our port.  He is being pointed out as the villain by the capitalists at Kinder Morgan.  In Delaware’s eyes, that elevates his hero’s stature even more…

In truth, he is no villain and knowing him, he will probably shun the acclimations being made by us common folk as being our hero.  In his eyes, he was just doing what needed to be done because no one else was there at that very moment to do it, and as that task swelled, it took a lot out of him….

Capitalists always need a villian.  But it was the “truth” which actually is what killed this deal.  Kinder Morgan WAS going to cut back on jobs, and their change of heart and blaming Julius instead of others, points exactly to the core of their problem with our port… …

People in Texas, do not understand unions.  They simply can’t fathom or understand how there can be an actual law that lets people strike and shut you down, whenever you try to pay them less..  In their eyes, you work for what they want to give you and if it is too little, ..humph.  go elsewhere….

The second culprit (after the “truth”),  was our office of economic development.  We gave Kinder Morgan too many “eager” signals that set us up as being seen as an easy pick.  They truly thought they could waltz in, pick up a top notch East Coast Port for a song, and we would eagerly give it up…  Again, that was because everything was done in secret.  Had a meeting been forthcoming in the very beginning,  Kinder Morgan might have moved on earlier when it became readily apparent, that southern Texas practices do not bode well in the Northeast…

Of course, being a corporation, they will blame the whistle blower.  (Ironic since the whistle blower of Enron works for them)..   Of course.  It is not like they find anything immoral in taking a state asset for a song, in firing those skilled dock workers, and replace them with some Spanish speaking Texans who never even heard of a union….

And Julius did blow that whistle. .  Like Rose on the Titanic, he took the whistle off of Jack (pun intended), and blew softly at first, then harder, and harder.   Gradually the sound registered on others ears….

Without Julius, Bob Marshall would not have pushed through Senate Bill 3.  Without Julius, most of the links showing up in everyone’s blog, would have not been found.  Without Julius, the case for protecting workers would not have even made the rounds of the Norman Oliver show….

There were many helpers. Bob Marshall, Nancy Willing, Norman Oliver, Norinda, Helene Keeley, Al Mascitti, Liz Allen, John Kowalko, and (an other blogger too shy to be mentioned here). When one looks back through all of them one sees from everywhere, there in the center of the universe,  stands a normal human being just like us, known to most … as Julius.

There will come a time when a better deal will arrive.  Could even be this year. There will come a time when a suitor who does care about Delaware, who does care about unions, about human beings, about those businesses on the outside, and who will want to upgrade the port for everyone’s interest, not just their own… And that suitor in this day and age, could even come from abroad.  Germany is very committed to union labor, to the environment, to being a good neighbor…. There are a great many possibilities out there that are immeasurable…. We definitely dodged a Texas bullet with this one….

When that suitor arrives… Julius’s stature will be set in cement….  For he did nothing really Herculean, except argue the truth…  He didn’t lie.  He didn’t connive,  He didn’t threaten….

That was done by our office of economic development.  Instead and unlike them, Julius told the truth.  He told the truth to anyone who would listen.  He told the truth enough, so many “did” listen….

And that is why, he  deserves this nomination as Delaware’s Man of the Year.  I know it is early into 2013, but great things just do not wait!!….

You will hear smears that Julius tubed the deal… I saw the letter and it is already out on WDEL and the Delawareonline’s News Journal… But as an impartial blogger, I can tell you exactly what killed this deal.

It was “the truth”.  The truth of what this deal would cost us Delawareans….. is what turned the tide and caused the outcry that rose up against it….

If Kinder Morgan really wanted this deal, they could have easily said… “we are expanding and putting 5 new berths out into the river.  We are buying the port for the bargain price of $5 billion.   We need those businesses outside the fence because the jobs we get, will soon be too big, we can’t do it ourselves.  We will keep the union just as it is;  Wilmington needs good jobs and we are going to do our part….  We are also going to contribute into an emergency fund to be used for any spill or environmental accident that takes place under our tenure….

Kinder Morgan could have done any of those things, … and didn’t…. The blame doesn’t lie with Julius after all…. Especially when you consider the following…

This Economic Council erred on Fisker Automotive.  Then it erred on Bloom Energy.  Then it tried to Kinder Morgan us out of our port…..   Someone rushed in  with a save to make sure that last one didn’t happen.

That person is now hereby nominated for Delaware’s Person of the Year…….

DCAS is rotten to the (Common) Core.

“I called over another adult in the room. That adult who specializes in math thought the question was just as inappropriate. Sharing the question details would be a violation of the rules, so you won’t be seeing the question here. All I will say is this test is bad. Very bad. And our students and teachers are being judged on it.”

=======

This folks is too close to home…  these our our kids.  Delawareans….

We have see reports across our country of how bad this test is.  Now we have our first example on the home front.  Here I believe is what is now required.

The test needs to be vetted by General Assembly.  We are being asked to spend one third of our state budget on education.  If we are getting bunk for our $1.3 billion of money given to the state by residents and businesses,  we all have a stake in this too.  A very big stake…

Dave Sokola and  Catherine Cloutier, Bethany A. Hall-Long, Margaret Rose Henry, Ernesto B. Lopez,  Nicole Poore and Bryan Townsend, members of  Delaware’s senate education committee, need to vet the test.

Of course, tests need to be kept secret to cut out cheating. We know that.  However this secrecy appears to be such that no one, except I believe Pearson, the educational company that is in charge of producing, distributing and grading these tests, knows both the questions and the answers…..

What if Pearson is wrong?  Someone has to vet the test.

It would be a good piece of publicity as well as serve parent’s peace of mind, if the entire Senate Educational Committee in a public session, were given the 5th grade test as if they too were in elementary school, and then, and only then, would we be able to discuss whether or not it is more appropriate  for a New York firm trying to manage its bottom line, or a teacher who knows every student personally, to make up the questions and grade the test…..

Perhaps we could raise the stakes at little by putting some accountability into this exercise and say… oh btw,… if the legislators didn’t pass the 5th Grade test, and weren’t deemed “smarter than a 5th Grader”,  they’d be tossed off the committee…… and publicly embarrassed….

If the House wishes to compete with the Senate on this issue,  here are their names as well ….

Chairman:  Darryl M. Scott
Vice-Chairman: Kimberly Williams
Members: Michael A. Barbieri
Donald A. Blakey
Stephanie T. Bolden
Timothy D. Dukes
Debra J. Heffernan
Earl G. Jaques Jr
Harvey R. Kenton
John A. Kowalko Jr.
Joseph E. Miro
Edward S. Osienski
Charles Potter Jr.
Jeffrey N. Spiegelman

Tom Gordan has a chance to show what he is made of.  If he comes down against Abbot’s developer, Frank Acierno, we will know he is the real thing back in action supporting the wills of residents over the wills of  Pam Scott’s friends   Briefly here is the deal. On one hand you have:

  • Developed floodplains.
  • Horrendous traffic intersections.
  • Change in the actual character of the Community
  • Shopping Center across from church and school

On the other hand:

  • More money for Frank Aceirno and Rich Abbot.

You know who is for it; here is a list of those who are against it….

  • City of Newark; City Government
  • Holy Angels  School and Church
  • McDonalds Main Street Newark
  • State Rep. Mike Ramone
  • State Rep. Paul Baumbach
  • State Rep. John Kowalko
  • State Rep. Edward S. Osienski
  • State Rep. Joe Miro
  • State Sen. David Sokola
  • Windy Hills Community Association
  • Every single human being whose commute takes them through Possum Park intersection.

This is a healthy reminder as to why we have democratic government.   The tract  includes some nice forests – a 60 acred piece that is
almost totally wooded and has WCC frontage and 2 blue line streams with
forested buffers. All in all some great habitat.

The perpetrators are attempting to sneak through a rezoning of  a piece of property considered green, consisting of  protected resources – eg. Critical Natural Area, Creek, Stream, Floodplain, Wetlands, Steep Slopes, and Mature Forest and have it rezoned into Regional Commercial. Once that rezoning is complete, anything can be done to that property at any point into the future, no matter what the current assurances by the developers are.  With this month’s rezoning if it takes place, in 10 years, with a more favorable administration,  a hot, drippy sex club could be built on that property. Who knows!

However, a wall of bipartisanship  has swelled up against this project. Every one, Democrat,  Republican, Independent thinks it is a bad idea….. This again is the classic tale of people versus  big money.

We know who should win; but we don’t yet know who will win….

Call Tom Gordan and let him know.  We had an election.  Developers don’t run New Castle County any more.