You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Matt Denn’ category.

Eli Broad — the CPA-trained-billionaire-businessman-turned-public-education-reformer — informed Diane Ravitch, a distinguished education expert, about what needs to be done to education in America.  . According to Ravitch, “We talked about school reform for an hour or more, and he told me that what was needed to fix the schools was not all that complicated: A tough manager surrounded by smart graduates of business schools and law schools.

According to Slate quoting Vanity Fair, Eli Broad boasted back in 2006 that he  “plans to virtually take over the Delaware school system in 2007, pending approval from that state’s legislature.” He backed the winning slate of candidates for the local board of education in 1999 and helped hire the superintendent.

Eli Broad trains Superintendents.  Christina School District has been the unfortunate beneficiary of his largess.  Joe Wise, followed by Lillian Lowery, followed by  Marcia Lyles, all are from Eli’s School of Superintendencies….Dr. Joe Wise was selected as a Broad Fellow by Eli Broad Institute for School Boards (2005), was appointed to the Eli Broad Urban Superintendents Academy as a Fellow (2003), and serves on the Broad Academy’s adjunct faculty and advisory committee. Although Broad Superintendents come in highly qualified, they often leave disgracefully. Joe Wise, may have been one of the first. Recently, across this nation many Broad Superintendents have been let go. All trained by the Broad Superintendents Academy: Maria Goodloe-Johnson (class of 2003) of the Seattle school district, LaVonne Sheffield (class of 2002) of the Rockford, Illinois school district, and Jean-Claude Brizard (class of 2008) of the Rochester New York school district. Brizard resigned to take the job as CEO of Chicago schools, but his superintendency in Rochester had been mired in controversy. Another Broad-trained Superintendent recently announced his resignation: Tom Brady (class of 2004) of Providence, Rhode Island, as well as these others from before: Arnold “Woody” Carter (class or 2002), formerly of the Capistrano Unified School District; Thandiwee Peebles,( class of 2002), formerly of the Minneapolis Public School District; and John Q. Porter (class of 2006), formerly of the Oklahoma City Public School District.

Ms. Lillian Lowery (class of 2004), Wise's replacement after supposedly cleaning up Joe Wise's disaster, was put in charge of all Delaware's schools, and now, is in charge of Maryland's. Broad's influence has touched every Delaware Student… and is about to touch all those of Maryland.

Our current head of the Department of Education, Mark Murphy, hails from a group NLNS funded by Eli Broad

If this was a good thing, it would be good.

So, what is the Broad influence?

Here is one take. It is one of the three influencers of education. Along with the Gates Foundation and the Walton's, it exerts a powerful influence, good or bad. It calls itself a venture philanthropy, as in venture capitalist. Meaning it invests in philanthropy expecting to yield a return on its investment. As an example, it can fund a study that says computers will help inner city kids learn, then sell those recommended computers to that school district.

Here is how it infiltrates a school district. Christina School District to be exact…

The Broad Foundation plants one of its elements in a school district, it is then highly likely they will plant another one along with it, so their influence is maximized.

For instance, an element might be:
– The presence of a Broad-trained superintendent
– The placement of Broad Residents into important central office positions
– An "invitation" to participate in a program spawned by the Foundation (such as CRSS's Reform Governance in Action program)
– Offering to provide the district with a free "Performance Management Diagnostic and Planning" experience

The Broad Foundation likes to infiltrate its targets on multiple levels so it can manipulate a wider field and cause the greatest amount of disruption. Venture edu-philanthropists like Gates and Broad proudly call this invasive and destabilizing strategy “investing in a disruptive force.” To these billionaires and their henchmen, causing massive disruption in communities across the nation is not a big deal.

The Broad Foundation has spent nearly $400 million on its mission of “transforming urban K-12 public education through better governance, management, labor relations and competition.”

That sounds nice. So let us look closer….

The signature effort of the Broad Foundation is its investment in its training programs…The Broad Superintendents Academy runs a training program held during six weekends over ten months, after which graduates are placed in large districts as superintendents. Those accepted into the program (“Broad Fellows”) are not required to have a background in-education; many come instead from careers in the military, business, or government. Tuition and travel expenses for participants are paid for by the Broad Center, which also sometimes covers a share of the graduates’ salaries when they are appointed into district leadership positions. The foundation’s website boasts that 43 percent of all large urban superintendent openings were filled by Broad Academy graduates in 2009.

The Broad Superintendents Academy’s weekend training course provides an “alternative” certification process which has come to supplant or override the typical regulations in many states that require that individuals have years of experience as a teacher and principal before being installed as a school district superintendents….

The Broad Residency in Urban Education is a two-year program, during which individuals with MBAs, JDs, etc. in the early stages of their careers are placed in high-level managerial positions in school districts, charter management organizations, or state and federal departments of education. The Broad Center subsidizes approximately 33 percent of each Resident’s salary.

The Broad Foundation founded the New York City Leadership Academy, which trains individuals to serve as principals in the city public schools, several of whose graduates have been accused of financial misconduct, as well as arbitrary and dictatorial treatment of teachers, students and parents. This was recently featured by Delaware’s WDDE reporting on Reshid Walker who is training in Cape Henelopen under the Delaware Leadership Project. DLP is an alternate certification program that this year is preparing six candidates to work as principals or assistant principals at public schools serving high-risk students in Delaware. Alternate Certification means it sidesteps requirements that a principal has to have stepped foot inside a school before. Through four days a week of on-the-job training, and no certification from an accredited college or university, he will soon be in command of your child’s education.

The Broad Institute for School Boards provides three training programs for elected school board members and non-Broad-trained superintendents conducted in partnership with the Center for Reform of School Systems (CRSS). The Institute trains new board members at a one-week summer residential setting…The Broad Foundation underwrites 80 percent of all program costs through a grant to CRSS.

The Broad Foundation also supports a broad range of pro-charter school advocacy groups, as well as alternative training programs for non-educators who want to work as teachers and principals (Teach for America, New Leaders for New Schools). In addition, the foundation offers free diagnostic “audits” to school districts, along with recommendations aligned with its policy preferences. It produces a number of guides and toolkits for school districts, including a “School Closure Guide,” based on the experiences of Broad-trained administrators involved in closing schools in Boston, Charleston, Chicago, Dallas, Washington, D.C., Miami-Dade County, Oakland, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Seattle…..

Closing public schools to open opportunities for charters seems to be it’s prime directive. Although not officially enshrined as such, it does seem to be the consistent pattern of each of its graduates.

The foundation provided start-up funding for Parent Revolution (formerly the Los Angeles Parent Union), the group which developed the “Parent Trigger” legislation, designed to encourage the conversion of public schools to charter schools. Broad has also has given large amounts of money to Education Reform Now, a pro-charter school advocacy organization…

Eli Broad has said he “expects to be a major contributor” to Students First, former D.C. Chancellor Michelle Rhee’s organization that advocates for the expansion of charters, vouchers, and an end to seniority protections for teachers. The pro-Rhee biography, The Bee Eater, was subsidized by the Broad Foundation as is mentioned on the book jacket.

Of course, there are campaign contributions (you will need to type in Broad, Eli) to facilitate the corporatizing of education… A quick look certifies that his coverage is a who’s who across party lines in Congress. Obviously there will be support for Charters streaming down from the top lines of government.

Ok, so how does all of this affect Delaware’s public school’s families?….
One of the tenets of his philosophy taught to his graduates, is to produce system change by “investing in a disruptive force.” Continual reorganizations, firings of staff, and experimentation to create chaos or “churn” is believed to be productive and beneficial, as it weakens the ability of communities to resist change.

A hallmark of the Broad-style leadership is closing existing schools rather than attempting to improve them, increasing class size, opening charter schools, imposing high-stakes test-based accountability systems on teachers and students, and implementing of pay for performance schemes. The brusque and often punitive management style of Broad-trained leaders has frequently alienated parents and teachers and sparked protests. A long laundry list of Broad Supertendants run out of town can be found here, near the bottom. But you can get an idea of what to expect, from just this one: Robert Bobb (class of 2005), the Emergency Financial Manager of the Detroit Public Schools, recently sent layoff notices to every one of the district’s 5,466 salaried employees, including all its teachers, and said that nearly a third of the district’s schools would be closed or turned over to private charter operators. At a recent town hall which Bobb had called so he could go over his plan, angry students, parents, and teachers drove him from the meeting. He was escorted out by his six bodyguards….

Disruption and chaos indeed…..

Delaware is fortunate to have a large parenting network of watch dogs who communicate well with legislators. Whereas the Christina District has had a rough go with Broad graduates, the rest of the state has so far been unscathed…..
Without the oversight being provided by parents and teachers watchdog organizations, the fate of Delaware’s students might be that of Philadelphia, Chicago, or Detroit.

if you are a parent or know one, you probably feel this way as well. Parents Across America considers Broad’s influence to be inherently undemocratic, as it disenfranchises parents and other stakeholders in an effort to privatize our public schools and imposes corporate-style policies without our consent. We strongly oppose allowing our nation’s education policy to be driven by billionaires who have no education expertise, who do not send their own children to public schools, and whose particular biases and policy preferences are damaging our children’s ability to receive a quality education.

In fact, this entire philosophy of forcing change upon children, strikes every parent as coming from those types of people we all run across, … who hate children…. “Someone smack that kid who’s crying.”

Amen And Amen.

Advertisements

On the one month anniversary date of the Newtown shootings, Delaware steps up to take down the NRA. Delaware Governor Jack Markell, Delaware Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn, and Attorney General Beau Biden, announced the legislative agenda to take on gun violence.

“The gun safety measures we are proposing will strengthen our ability to keep guns out of the hands of those who should not have them,” said Governor Markell…. “This package of gun safety measures is directed at individuals who might impose violence with a gun.”

Lt. Gov. Denn. then said: “With respect to guns, our proposals focus on two important goals: keeping guns away from dangerous people, and protecting victims from the weapons most likely to be used illegally.”

I know that military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips designed for battle have no place on our streets. These proposals are a reasonable and sensible approach that will improve public safety and respect the Second Amendment.” said Attorney General Beau Biden.

The proposals are as follows:

1. Requiring Background Checks for Private Firearm Sales.
Because 40% of all firearms nationwide are acquired from unlicensed sellers, this is an enormous loophole—one in which convicted felons, minors and other prohibited purchasers can readily avoid background checks and easily acquire guns.

2. Requiring the Reporting of Lost and Stolen Firearms.
A mandatory reporting requirement provides law enforcement notice of suspicious patterns of behavior by persons who repeatedly fail to file reports yet claim that their guns were lost or stolen after the guns were recovered from a crime scene

3. Banning the Sale, Manufacture, Delivery and Unlawful Possession of Large-Capacity Magazines:..
30 mass shootings (with four or more victims killed) occurred in the United States from 1982 through 2012. Although the circumstances of such mass shootings varied, each incident had one thing in common: they all involved one or more large-capacity ammunition magazines. This bill would prohibit the manufacture, sale, purchase, transfer or delivery of large-capacity magazines.

4. Banning the Manufacture, Sale, Delivery and Unlawful Possession of Military Weapons:
The sale of military-style assault weapons – firearms that are made for the battlefield and have no place in our communities – was outlawed in 1994, but the ban expired a decade later. This bill would prohibit the manufacture, sale and delivery of these military weapons

5. Banning Possession of a Firearm Within 1,000 Feet of a School.
By outlawing possession of a firearm in close proximity to school, we will enable law enforcement to interdict those individuals who knowingly possess firearms and do so in near school buildings and school yards. The purpose of this law is to create safe school zones, where children are secure, where parents can have peace of mind that upon leaving them in the morning, they will not be subjected to gun violence, and where teachers can go about their important task of educating our youth without fear of violence.

In a fair and balanced approach, Delaware’s Democrats protect the 2nd Amendment while moving forward to combat gun violence.

The NRA could have pushed forward such legislation 30 years ago. They chose not to. Since they abrogated their duty of keeping is safe from guns, the government of the state of Delaware, now has to do their duty for them.

“We will not bury our heads in the sand and pretend that gun violence has nothing to do with guns” Matt Denn

Accountable For Every Student's Progress

You asked for this. Please cut and paste at will.

Barack Obama
President of the United States.
White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr President:

There is something you need to know. I would be happy to tell you in person or get a group of educators to discuss the problems we are having with pursuing your education policy. It is a situation where communication is key.

I want to be clear. We have the same goals. It is just that the methods being prescribed are steering us away from those mutual goals, instead of towards them.

Honestly. This is a case of middle management gone awry. This is a case I feel, where the top and the bottom are on the same page, but those in the middle, are not to be trusted.

As member of a school board, one that is struggling to do it’s best to bring a district from behind, who has achieved progress in a way sort of like you have on the economy where we both started so late and so far behind, that we are being accosted as failures though if one actually took time to account for our progress, as well as yours, we’ve both done a pretty good job… I think for your legacy, you need to hear from us….

We are in Delaware’s Race to the Top. Those of us here and in Tennessee are having the same problem.

The specific problem, is that you and those in the top echelon are not getting the truth. You may actually think we are making progress. As the person most accountable, I think you would want to hear that perhaps the glowing reports you are getting, are not entirely true. This is something obviously which cannot be passed up through the chains of commands, because it involves them.

Truth in reporting is the issue. The truth is that what we are being fed, is not working at the interface where student meets teacher. In fact, the pressure all are being put under to fulfill these arbitrary deadlines, inane quotas, and poorly thought out trackers, actually is taking away from the time we spend with students. I repeat it is a negative influence on the results expected….

We originally approached this with an open mind. We wanted to reform our schools too. But, somewhere up the ladder, things went bad.

The prime issue is that we are being force to follow a system poorly designed. When we bring concerns to the table, they are dismissed and we are treated as inconsequential, and dismissed, accused of being the source of trouble. Instead, we were simply trying to establish an environment of mutual respect, where problems can be discussed and probed, and workable solutions can be found, and tested before implementation. It’s as if someone designed the cooks line of a restaurant and put all the necessary tools on the other end from where they were needed. It seems to make sense to talk to those who actually will be expected to provide results during the planning stages, instead of wondering to use the example above, why all the food always took so long… It can be prevented if we can be part of the planning process.

Our concern is our students.

We sincerely would like to discuss ideas that can keep the good parts of these programs moving forward, and utilize all the tools that we, as highly trained professionals, can apply to this worthy cause.

As every leader should know, the truth will not stay buried. It always surfaces, even if it is after the implosion has occurred, even if it is found by specialists sifting through the wreckage to find the cause. Simply put, we would like someone to listen to us on the bottom: the teachers, administrators, parents, students, and particularly a school board…..

It could positively affect the entire campaign.

Sincerely:

All of the below……

kavips.


Right click to open full image… Pictograph Courtesy of Viral..

So, can someone tell me again, why we shouldn’t tax the rich, and instead, balance the budget on the backs of everyone else?…….

I seem to be missing that little detail where that all makes sense……

It’s a tradition from years gone by….

Yum! Wish This Pie Would Never End
Courtesy of pieKnits

said Governor Markell. “One point that’s made over and over is how critical parental involvement is to student success.”

This is born out by hard research. For example:

While Asian Americans make up only 4% of the U.S. population, Asian-American students make up a much higher percentage of student bodies in top universities around the country. The percentages are astounding: 24% at Stanford, 18% at Harvard, and 25% at both Columbia and Cornell. More Asian Americans over the age of 25 have bachelor’s degrees and advanced degrees than any other race or ethnic group. And after outperforming their colleagues in school, Asian Americans also bring home higher incomes than their non-Asian counterparts – almost $10,000 more annually than the rest of the population (2002 statistics).

Genetics? NO… The reason that Asian students outperform their peers in the classroom has nothing to do with how they were born and everything to do with how they are raised.

While American children are dividing their time between a thousand different extracurricular activities in addition to household chores, Asian students are concentrating more on their schoolwork. The role of Asian children in the family is clear-cut and two-fold:

Respect your elders and obey your parents.

Study hard and do well in school to secure a bright future.

Sound familiar?

My guess is that you probably grew up in a similar environment yourself, since you are here investigating these pages… lol.. In other words, knowing ones place and expectation is necessary to achieve good academic results..

Today, television, texting, social networking, all have more influence on children then their parents. Only if you have none of these in your house, are you immune to their gravitational pull…

From the words of one Asian student who frames it clearly:

Our role during the day was to obey our teachers and do our best in the classroom; our role at night was to obey our parents and focus on our continued studies at home (which included homework, review of previously learned material and any additional assignments our parents gave us). Of course, we also cleaned our rooms, set the table, did the dishes and played outdoors, but we didn’t have the multitude of distractions that many non-Asian children faced once school ended.

This simple formula gets these results…..

24% at Stanford, 18% at Harvard, and 25% at both Columbia and Cornell.

So there is merit.

Now for reality.

I never asked for my parent’s help to do homework. Well, I did once. it was word problems in algebra, and it did help…

But I was able to do the work myself… Today, with my kids, the work is too difficult for them and requires parental assistance, even in the first grade, second grade, third grade, and it is compounded by the lack of teaching instructions..

Here’s an example: first grade homework. Use the associative property to organize the following numbers. Now I barely remember the associative property from early education, and probably use it’s principals at least once in every minute of my life… But I couldn’t explain to you what it is.. so I Google it.. Oh, so that’s it.. I then proceed to teach it because no mention of that was done in classroom… Meanwhile, three calls come in, and email lights up like Philadelphia’s Chinatown.

I don’t have time to teach my kids. That’s the teachers job…

Cut to the chase to save time. Teachers work hard. They are not to blame… The morons who pick out what gets taught and what doesn’t… are to blame.

Yes, it is nice to have a big play for parental involvement… But until you return to the educational system that gave rise to an America that first produce the Atomic Bomb, you won’t fix education. Only when we return to the three R’s, reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic, and get those three right, will we then get ourselves back into competition with the rest of the developing countries.

For some of us, coming up soon is the anniversary of a memory of getting up in the middle of the night, driving to UD’s campus, and watching the swearing in of our governor on a giant screen. Some of us then headed down to DC to then watch another inauguration.

Implicit in our dreams that night, was the subliminal hope that under competent leadership (on both accounts), learned men would use their brains to achieve results, … instead of promote their parties…

Both have achieved results that future historians will view as non political.

Today Gov. Jack Markell signed an executive order that will make it easier for small and mid-sized companies to bid on state contracts.

The order created a centralized, online publication listing all advertised and awarded state contracts. In addition to helping the economy by increasing opportunities and competition, this will also further increase government transparency.

This allows anyone to bid on a contract; not just those with hands in our government’s pocket… It is our hope that under this new order, that those companies whose sole purpose was to fleece out our money to line their own pockets, will now have to seek work in the black market… They will no longer be able to compete with better, smarter, and more businesslike operations.

Again: Delaware gets a return on its investment. Last year Delawareans beat back the party regulars first in the Democratic Party, and secondly against a non-existent Republican challenger, simply to put in someone in who could govern us with science, and not astrology or some other touchy-feel-y pseudo science.

This common sense application of reason could never be forthcoming from our legislative body. Too many lobbyists have control of those floors. Oh, perhaps some version of this arrangement, watered down to be toothless by Republican opportunists, might get dropped on the desk, but no one would ever expect anyone in legislature to commit political suicide by giving it anything more than vocal support…

But we have a governor who just acted. Da, Da! Here it is.

Now … transparency is in the acquisition of all contracts… Like magic… Quite remarkably it is there without anyone taking off their shirt, and baring their naked chest on a cold January morning, (fortunately it wasn’t that cold as one can see by investigating the pliability of the nipples in each photo).

Delaware finally has a leader who believes in science. Science is simply the application of reason, experimentation, analysis, to order to investigate and achieve a hypothetical result.

Previously it appeared all state government was done on the basis of how “certain” people would feel if we stepped on their toes… That may have been effective when no one needed state government. But today, we have solid proof of the fact that what we needed, we got….

One has to admire our governor Jack Markell for his choice of just holding on to the ball and running it in for a touchdown…

Some may call that play sneaky. They are just simply on the opposing side… Clamoring, searching, hoping some referee, any referee, will pay attention to their non justifiable claim….

Here is an update (very late in coming) on the status of Dick, whose child’s operation was postponed by his insurance company (State employee plan of Delaware through Blue Cross/ Blue Shield) at or about 4:00 the day before his 8:00 operation.

The next morning it was determined that the insurance company did not receive a critical piece of paper from the Doctor. Yet the physician’s office claimed the paper had been sent weeks prior. The paper was re-retrieved by the office staff, and re-resent, and the operation went though at 3:00 causing family members to call off work for the evening.

How could that happen, just one business hour before the operation? Sinister motives?

Perhaps not. Here is the business day of one person who works in the medical insurance field.

“At 9:35 am a fax comes into my office (I work in the medical insurance field), from Hanover Hospital stating the physician had approved this specific procedure to be done. But at the top of the fax had jammed and the information of contacting had all run together. I had no idea of who the patient was, who the physician was, or which employee or private plan this incident concerned. Now we are a big insurance company with multiple offices, multiple floors in each office, and multiple cubicles on each floor. I have no idea where this approval is supposed to go.”

“My only option is to call the hospital, and see if they can find out who sent the fax, and from there find out which patient’s account the fax is for. So I spent most of my day tracing down this account and by 2:35, was finally able to route this information to the person responsible for that account. It was important; I felt I had to do it, even though it put my own accounts behind…”

“But I see how such a situation could happen.”

In such a scenario, both parties could be right. The Doctors office: “We sent the information weeks ago”; ….. Blue Cross/ Blue Shield: “We never received the required authorization from this persons physician“.

I’m thankful for this insight. Quick to bash the insurance company I was. Perhaps, maybe, perhaps not? Questions that could be solved by a national data pool that electronically handles all medical issues. Privacy could be jeopardized, but lives would not.

We can handle privacy issues by making the penalties for violating patient trust (such as an insurer telling a corporate entity about upcoming health issues of a certain employee), so severe, that the corporate entity would back off first, saying “don’t tell me… I don’t want to know”. Headlines like “State of Delaware Lawmaker Tony DeLuca Loses 65 million Lawsuit on Violating Insuree’s Privacy” would insure our privacy remains intact.

That is how you handle privacy issues.

And Dick extends his thanks to all who responded with support, caring, and offers of assistance. (All of which because of my slow response time, came long after the medical crises was averted.)

Pit-bull Lt. Governor Matt Denn and I had our first face to face encounter. Denn has a mean hand shake, like a lobster with hemorrhoids!

“My administration is doing everything it can to make Delaware the best state in the nation for starting a business and to create an economic climate where businesses can thrive across a range of industries.” Gov. Jack Markell March 4, 2009.

I know governors need to project confidence that something will be done. But if you look at that statement as it stands on its own, it really says little.

How does the second smallest state in this nation become the best place for a business to start and thrive?

You can hear a lot of things thrown around out there, in starburst fashion that if this or that were to occur, perhaps it may help one or more companies… Such ideas are often bantered about by those who haven’t a clue…

The answer is obvious…

The cost of doing business in Delaware needs to be more profitable than it is in other states, from start up to bankruptcy (should the need occur)..

That does not mean we need to give tax breaks… We may need to if other factors of doing business in Delaware are more expensive than competitive states… to soften the equation, but tax breaks do little for a corporation… Making money is what is more important…

But an effective plan would be one encompassing the entire realm of business needs from start to finish, and create an entire package that is cheaper than anything in surrounding states…

Ok, so let’s take an accounting of all of our assets….

Our state is run on business law. Our courts give businesses the right to make their own decisions regarding their business and are loathe to interfere. Over time this would cost any company considerable less in employee relations costs, than they would be hit with in either PA or NJ or MD, all of whose laws lean toward protecting labors right to earn a paycheck..

Four out of five of the East Coasts largest cities are withing two hours away by road. High fuel prices means that considerable less shipping costs would be tacked onto a Delawarean product as opposed to one from Iowa or North Dakota…

Delaware has one of the cheapest underutilized ports on the East Coast. A plant in Delaware would receive imported product with only the cost of a local trucking service… In New Castle County our widest point is 12 miles… The cost of importing any material form offshore, would literally be cheaper here than anywhere on both coasts.

Delaware’s land values are cheaper than those inside of Metropolitan Areas.. Constructions costs are lower too. Moving to Delaware would be much cheaper than settling in around New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, or DC.

Energy costs are considerable. Having cheaper energy than any competitor would go a long way to help bring businesses to Delaware… Offshore wind provides local, clean energy at around 2.3 cents per kilowatt/hour. Coal burning plants cost between 6 and 8 cents for the same. Gas fired during peak demands, can cost 40 to 50 cents for the same. Having considerable savings from an offshore wind farm would guarantee lower energy costs for any business setting up in Delaware.

Finally quality of life provides the best incentive for any business to move to Delaware.. We are only two hours away from four major cities. Why be locked down in one city when you can have four? Sporting events, whether it’s the Capitals, Flyers, Red Devils, Redskins, Ravens, Eagles, Giants, Jets, Seventy Sixers, New Jersey Nets,… all have home games within a two hour drive… Try selling that in western Oklahoma. Art, concerts, music, special events, historical figures all play a prominent role in one’s entertainment value while living here. Not to mention we have a beach…. a trait shared by only 20 states…..

Those are our strong selling points. They come with the territory.

Secondly we need to approach those other concerns a businesses might have…

Regulation; This state need a refined bundle of regulations, stated simply and in book form which can easily be handed to a prospect who can then rest assured it won’t be changed… Consistency is the key to planning. A business needs to count not on more than just one administration to remain consistent. We need to do so before other states beat us to that.

Marketable Employees; This state needs to drop its graduation failure rate to zero. We don’t need multiple amenities, we need attention to core values: reading, writing, and arithmetic.
As a state our education department needs to interfere at the ninth grade level… where the failure cycle begins. In the past, we have focused on elementary. It works. But all that we invested gets thrown away when the enter the anarchy of our high schools. That needs to change. Tutoring on the ninth grade level, determines whether or not most of those in danger of failing, will pass or fail… If they don’t make it through the ninth grade, they usually don’t bother entering the eleventh. Fixing our low graduation rate can be impacted with minimal cost by pinpointing the ninth grade, drawing a line, and making sure all students get what it takes to cross over…..

Taxes: Any business will tell you that consistent costs are better than getting used to low costs that suddenly spike on you.. Our tax rate needs to be high enough so it will generate enough revenue over time to fund our state’s essential services… It does not have to be lower than other states in every area, but it has to be high enough to remain consistent… Fluctuations imposed by groveling legislators anxious to benefit a constituent, often creates havoc in planning out a budget… Will that cost rise after the next election? Who knows? Again, it’s stability that is the area of concern… Our budget needs some tax increase and business can not be exempt. But that increase needs to be done in a way so a business can not only plan on the next year, but also for the ten years after….

Open Government: No new business can prosper in an arena where old businesses hold all the cards… No business entrepreneurship can survive if he has to fight unfair competition in the form of government rules and regulations formed in secret alliances behind closed doors. If, there is to be any hope of many new businesses to set up shop in Delaware, it must pass, that the FOIA House Bill 1 move through both houses intact and be signed into to law this year….. Openness and the ability for all to see what government is doing, will elevate Delaware above its neighbors in creating a climate conducive to doing business in Delaware…

So that is the structure supporting what our governor Jack Markell announced on March 4, 2009.

Promises are cheap and without merit unless the underlying structure can be put in place. Some of that was laid down by our geography, our ancestors, and predecessors in the General Assembly… The rest will be up to us….

We need consistency.