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Kevin reports that Sokola and Jacques put up a bill that postpones the Education Funding Improvement till effectively legislature is over. (Senate CCR 56)

Why?

Here is what the old bill said…

“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Commission shall report its findings and recommendations to the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Governor, and, for public distribution, the Director of the Division of Research of Legislative Council and the Director of the Delaware Public Archives by March 31, 2016.”

This was one of the major sticking points last year if you will remember, because several people would not originally vote for the original bill’s date of June 30th 2016 because that was “bad” government… So it was changed to get passage votes… and now it has been changed back.

This original bill was forced on an runaway Educational lobby that really did not want it. It’s purpose was to propose legislation to change how schools were to be funded. it was also a foil being used to blunt the passage of Opt Out and opponents to the charter takeover of city schools.

The charter proponents are very scared that exposing the reality of how the funding of charters does immense detriment to the rest of public education, might wake up some legislators and the Delawarean public. They want this hidden.

Hence, the two legislators who are completely owned by corporate educational big money, Earl Jacques and Dave Sokola, wind up being the only sponsors of these two bills:

The first bill requiring the report by the end of March, and the second pushing it to June 30th.

Legislature ends on 6/30/2016.  This report is due on 6/30/2016.  There will be no time to debate or even look at what was proposed.

That is the bill’s intent.

Whenever anything comes up due on the last day of legislature, we can be assured that someone is trying to sneak something in, the majority of Delawareans don’t want…

What the original bill was intended to accomplish was a way to shift more funding to poorer state school districts.   it sounds good in principle.

But if one takes the actual record of deals stuck in the middle of the night by this administration, deals such as Fisker, Bloom Energy, TDC, Kinder Morgan, and Race To The Top, with 5 straight losses it does not look good for the sixth.

Anything other than a late night end-run-sneak, was no reason to pass this bill…

It is past time to hold accountable, those who are accountable for Delaware’s Educational fiasco. 

Our legislators at least for now, seem to be failing miserably at doing so.

 

 

 

 

 

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A Cure for Carlotta
by Bart King

A boy stood on deck and sniffed the salty sea air as the ship pitched back and forth. The smell of the sea was familiar and comforting. The boy’s earliest memories were of being at sea with his father. They would fish for hours, just the two of them, surrounded by the blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea.

Now Enzio and his family were on a giant ship crossing the Atlantic. Also on board were hundreds of other people, mostly Italians like Enzio’s family. There were more people on board than lived in his entire village back home in Trevilla.

Enzio clattered down the iron steps to the steerage deck and dove into his bunk. He rested his head against his pillow. Trevilla wasn’t his home anymore. Gone was the fishing boat. Gone was the Mediterranean blue that he’d always taken for granted. Who knew what kind of home America would be?

One of the passengers was a girl named Carlotta. Her family was from Rome. Carlotta had been quick to tell him this on the first day of the voyage. “New York will not be so different from Rome,” Carlotta had said. “They are both great cities, but of course Rome is better. My father has already been to America twice. He is going to open a big department store downtown. My father had a successful business in Rome; all the wealthy ladies would buy from him.”

Carlotta loved to talk about herself, her family, and the rich and powerful people they knew. With so many hours to fill, Enzio did not mind. He noticed—but didn’t really mind—that she never asked about him or his family. Enzio was especially hungry for any details about America. He loved hearing Carlotta’s tales about life in a big city. It sounded exciting and a little scary.

Today, Carlotta was unusually quiet. Her face was pale, and she clutched her stomach with one hand and the ship’s rail with the other. “Up and down, up and down, will it never stop?” she groaned.

Enzio took Carlotta’s hand from the rail. He pressed his fingers on the inside of her wrist, an inch or so from the palm of her hand. “Press this place here, on your wrist,” Enzio said.

Carlotta looked at him miserably. Enzio could tell that only her illness kept her from arguing with him. How well he knew that look on her face. He’d seen it on the faces of many fishermen. He smiled encouragingly. “That’s right. Keep pressing.”

An hour later, Carlotta found Enzio. She was still holding her fingers to her wrist. “I do feel better,” she admitted. “How did you know it would work? Is your father a doctor?” she asked.

Enzio explained that his father had come from a long line of fishermen who had passed down the remedy for seasickness. One of Enzio’s uncles always wore a braided wristband with a bead that pressed into his wrist.

Interested, Carlotta asked to hear more about Enzio’s family. He explained that they were sailing to meet his mother’s brothers. One was a successful stonemason in upstate New York. Another had helped construct the Brooklyn Bridge. Still another worked as a welder, joining the steel frames of the city’s rising skyscrapers.
Carlotta looked at Enzio with new respect. “Why didn’t you tell me any of this?” Enzio shrugged. “You didn’t ask.”

Suddenly the blast of the ship’s horn startled them. Looking out the porthole, Carlotta shouted, “Look! The Statue of Liberty!”

They could hear the commotion of all the passengers talking at once. Soon the ship would dock at Ellis Island. Gazing out at the mighty but silent statue, Enzio wondered what marvelous things the statue might teach if only someone asked the right question.

=====

question 1question 2

 

To receive the full-credit score of 1 point, the student must correctly select both paragraphs. The correct paragraphs are paragraph 1 and paragraph 3.

question 3

question 4

question 5

And that concludes your Smarter Balanced test for your child…

He would need to answer all of these correctly to deemed proficient.  How proficient were you?

The idiocy of using this one single event to rate teachers’ performance, to rate schools’ performance, to rate district [performance, by now should be apparent….

The questions are aimed not to determine what each child knows, but how well they can guess what the test takers were thinking….

Remember, none of these questions came from anyone who actually spends time teaching kids… or has children of their own…

Every parent who does know children, needs to opt out today…. It would be different if the test was a good test…. by good, we mean objective… “What is the capital of Delaware?”..  this test does not test knowledge. It tests whether you choose the same things I would choose… nothing more…

I was particularly struck by the last question asking the main idea….  Only B and D could be opted out…..

For picking A, C, E all of which have very good grounds… you child will be deemed a failure who is not college or career ready by the 5th Grade…..

First:  it is an executive’s prerogative to hire or fire anyone he wants…

Second:  Usually such firings are done to intimidate others not to challenge authority… Like putting thieves on crosses, it says, here is what happens to those who don’t lick my ass.

Third:   It means some real shit is coming down the pipe and anything clogging the upcoming flow will create a huge stinky mess.

My first reaction was that my, this was a blow to parents to have one of the few people who is not a slave to the corporate entities,” removed from looking over these bills in detail.

My second reaction a moment later, was that my, now we can really get things done…

Let me explain.  Committees are the black hole of government.  Bills go in there and very few people report on what happens while there but we cheer if they come out and boo if they don’t.  John was on the committee that sent SB 51 to the House floor; he was on the committee that sent HB 165 to the House floor.  He was on that committee that sent  HB 334 to the House Floor.  He voted against every single one.  Point is: what good did it do? They are all laws now.

But while out of legislature this year John has been instrumental in helping parents of Christina bring their concerns before the general public… Even the News Journal has turned against Jack Markell. John has been everywhere he needs to be, even on WDEL.   Last spring, John was the prime legislator mover getting Newark citizens involved in TDC’s annulment.  One can, just by making the simple comparison between his advocacy for Newark’s citizens compared to that of Baumbach’s, who seemed to pull back as the threats began to mount, is enough to convey the idea of how fearless john is, when he takes the concerns of his constituents to heart.

We need John’s voice now more than ever.  Having it bottled up in a committee where he is the lone dissenting vote, thereby silencing him for months from the public’s eye, would bode ill for all Delaware’s children… He is now free, (with no strings to hold him back) to plaster the Markell administration with tons of truth sticky-notes  Truths which will tie Markell up as he is forced to defend; something that has not happened yet in his six years.

This removal is probably the best thing that could have happened.  What will happen in the committee will still get relayed to John, he will continue to be on top of it, who can then relay it to Allan at noon and night… A much smarter move for Schwartzkoph would have been to have kept him on that committee, Tied down, bedazzled, and worn thin….

As far as its intimidative effect, that depends on what John accomplishes now as Delaware’s children’s advocate.  If he (and we), can make it so unacceptable to be viewed Schwartzkoph’s butt- clone, very few legislators will fall in line for fear of being voted out of office next election, This can easily happen  (No legislator votes for something he knows will get him fired in the next election)  now that children in Delaware finally have a advocate.

I’m looking forward to this legislative session.  it won’t be the first where the Delaware Way (not Nancy) gets its way on stacking committees in its favor. It could, however, be the last….