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I’m usually done with a piece of legislation when it doesn’t go my way.. I always shared a disdain for those who lose and refuse to accept reality for what it is… But I’ve received so many questions over SB51, that I’ll break protocol, to discuss it for one last time…

The main question I’ve received most often, is why did I take on this unattainable cause. Surely one could see the writing on the wall when the Senate voted? Wasn’t it a waste of time?

Oddly, no. And I’m perplexed a little as to why I feel that way. Because it did suck up a lot of time and it had only two people vote against it in the entire General Assembly, and two abstentions (one principled and one physical.) So I’m going to try and work it out here, in type, as to why it was important to lead a fight against it. One that if one was keeping score, turned out to be an unmitigated disaster.

The reason for SB51″s success, was its stealth. It was out of committee, in the Senate, out of the Senate, in the House committee, and on the House floor, each time with very little notice. In fact, it wasn’t until after it had passed the Senate that I began hearing how bad this bill really was. Perhaps in a regular year, that would not have occurred. Someone would have read the bill earlier as it hit the docket and passed that information along. It should be noted this is an extraordinary year. The recomposition of this General Assembly has made many big changes possible. Gay Marriage, Background Checks, Reporting Stolen Firearms, Repeal of Death Penalty, Kinder-Morgan, Assault Bans, Bans of High Capacity Clips, have kind of sucked the wind out of the room when it comes to a bill that says something sensible like we should be hiring smart teachers instead of dumb ones.

One of our most progressive commentators said something like “I can see no one having a problem with that.”

And indeed. This bill seemed to have everyone on board. DSEA, that educational labor union who represents teachers, RODEL who represents the corporate Investors, the Governor who put this prominently in his state of the state address, both parties whom neither wanted to be seen as being against better education, the Chamber of Commerce and those who fund the entities inside the Community Service Building on 10th Street, progressives, conservatives. There was no one who seemed not to want to rubber stamp it…

It took a lot of work to wake up even three people to contest it…. And that is a start….

With overwhelming support, my goodness, in percentage terms…. 93% of the entire General Assembly was in favor. That ironically was the same percentage of Delawareans that wanted Offshore Wind over the objections of 4 well place members of the Executive Committee back in 2007-8…

How can anyone “credible” be against such a good bill with “overwhelming” support?

I would say there is one common thread among those who first voiced opposition and carried the water for trying to educate the public about this bill. And if you agree or disagree, please feel free to chime in. This is an informal piece.

Anyone who has experienced Common Core, who has actually experienced it, would be against this bill. I experienced it by helping a student with their homework assignment. Teachers and administrators experience it in their professional capacity. School Boards experience it by being in the cross fire between the DOE and parents who are as upset as I was with the crap that is being passed off as “learning.”…

Obviously from the results of the vote, very few people in Delaware have experience Common Core. Once you see what it has done to your kids, you are outraged. Outraged. There is no other accurate description….

So the vote in support of SB51, was primarily based, if I could extrapolate, on ignorance. I too would have been right there with them if I had not had the cathartic experience of meeting Common Core face to face. Once one does, one quickly learns to hate it. For many, many years I have been privy to a lot of grumbling from educators over each new “program of the year”, but never, never have I experienced a deterioration in a student’s drive to do well, as I have seen across the board with Common core…. “A” Students just giving up and settling for “C’s”, because of the capriciousness of the teaching and those learning materials that come in “packets.”

Here is what has to happen. These tests and packets need to get leaked to the public. Once seen and ridiculed, the proper perspective and potential damage from Common Core becomes clearer. Further more, every single member of the educational committees of both the Delaware Senate and House, should take this bill. Then the General Assembly would finally be in alignment with where the parents will be next year.

This year was really the first where Common Core was trialed. Next year it will be much more extensive.

So when one says that our teaching colleges and universities will be rated by how well their student teacher’s students do on Common Core tests over the next five years, quite a bit of that sentence totally depends on how good or bad Common Core is… I can tell you… it’s really.. really… bad.

Common Core is no better than “No Child Left Behind.” That too was a landmark piece of legislation to make teachers accountable to teaching, and not sending unprepared students up the ladder. It was hailed as the crowning achievement of American Society. Those very few who looked at the detail, and questioned how it would work, were laughed at as being among those who wanted to “leave children behind.” But guess what? When that was implemented in full across the nation, it didn’t work. Students did worse instead of better. Gee, the educational structure asked? How can this be? Answer was, it didn’t work in Texas under then Governor George W. Bush, either. They just tweaked the test scores.

Common Core is no better. In fact, it is probably worse. And there are many reasons why, which have been discussed on this blog many times, as well as on Transparent Christina, Kilroy’s of Delaware, Delaware Way, and Seventh Type… It “can” be better, but those pieces are being squashed under “bigger” principles, such as busting the teachers union, paying off Wall Street investors, making fistfuls of dough out of charter schools and vouchers… Big money has got its roots into education and is now trying to choke off all competition from good crops..

This bill’s overwhelming victory is not the end…. In fact, I think it may just hasten the end of Common Core, instead of extending it… I think so because I know how bad this program is.. I know there is no way you, once you experience it’s insanity, its inadequacy, and its ineptitude, will be supportive of common core… You can’t be.. No one like being inside a Kafka novel. We have nine months to educate Delaware what Common Core will do to your children. Nine months… If we are wrong, and the public does not by then demonize this program, then perhaps it is good that this bill passed.

But I’ve seen Common Core face to face… so I sincerely doubt that outcome….

Then, come next January, January 2014 an election year no doubt, we again will see these familiar words with a lot of support behind it.

“Section 1. Amend the title of Chapter 12, Title 14 of the Delaware Code, by making insertions as shown by underlining and deletions as shown by strikethrough as follows:”……

Do you think this is odd?

Exhibit A:

“We are conducting a national search for an exceptional leader capable of transforming Delaware into one of the leading charter school systems in the nation….

Exhibit B:

“The federal tax exemption of each organization listed below was automatically revoked for its failure to file a Form 990-series return or notice for three consecutive years.:  PENCADER EDUCATIONAL ASSOCIATION”

Exhibit C:

“The standoff between the state Department of Education and Pencader Charter is over after the state agreed Thursday evening to pitch in $350,000 to brace the troubled school’s budget through the end of the year,  “Make no mistake, this is a burden to the State,”

Exhibit D:

The Colonial School District will lay off 72 people, including 58 teachers, if voters don’t approve a tax increase, according to a plan approved by the school board Tuesday night.. Even if voters approve the increase, the district would still have to cut as many as 25 jobs, 8 to 12 of which would be teachers.”

Exhibit E:

Vision – A firm belief in the value of charter schools in public education,.  As the Executive Director of the Charter School Office, the core of your work will be to ensure that we create an environment in Delaware that is conducive to a high-performing charter system. You will lead an effort at the state-level to ensure that our laws, regulations, practices and policies reflect best practice nationally, and create an environment that attracts, supports and sustains high performing charters while holding them accountable for results.

Right:  Just Like Pencader.

But the argument for increasing Charter Schools is that they increase student performance.

Do they?

No. the performance by Charters in the state of Delaware is at best equal and at worst lower than that of public schools.  Sending a child to a charter is demeaning his potential.  A child performs better in a public school. whose funding is being stripped as in the Christina School District, than he does in a charter who is sucking away $350,000 of Department of Education money away from schools doing their jobs.

With High Republican Turnout I'm Sure to Be Wellfed Nov. 6th
Photo Courtesy of Soggy Log

They thought he was nuts.

They are shills.   They may be nice people too, to be honest I don’t know,  but they are shills….  It’s like voting for a candidate endorsed by Dick Cheney.   Ewwwwww.

You know there has to be an ulterior motive, somewhere.

Johanne Johanson — Red Clay

Patricia Oliphant  —  Indian River

Val Harris  —  Christiana

Andrew Cherry —  Appoquinimink 

There is a rumor being circulated among high circles, that a certain local developer wanted a zoning variance in Newark, that was shot down by that city’s Council….. Apparently it would create havoc for citizens living around it and they protested its development.

He sold the property to the University of Delaware, which turned around immediately and leased it back to him, and because the University is immune to Newark’s zoning under a grandfather clause, he is now able to build his project over the objections of all involved…. with no oversight, mind you.

When the University was questioned as to why they acquiesced to backhandedly helping a private developer bypass legal restrictions, their public answer reportedly was: “because we can.”

Does anyone know of more information? Or is this just a rumor circulated in “high places…”

I think you already know the answer. 🙂

Kilroy Nails it Good   This is exactly what it is all about….

So How Do We Step It Up for the Third Bush Term?

Support the Rich!  Yeah!   Screw the Poor!  Boo!

Hello to my fellow Delawareans:

Hi, my name is Pamela Thornburg and I am from Dover and I am a Republican who voted to keep a vote for Bluewater Wind locked up in committee.

As a Republican I think your concerns do not matter. I am bought and paid for by corporate interests and this Bluewater Wind deal will prevent my lobbyist friends from making tons of money. You citizens have no understanding on how tough it is to be a lobbyist. The need someone to look after them too.

I am confident that after this hoopla is all over no one will remember that I voted to kill this bill. But had I voted on your side, to give you cheap energy with clean air, my lobbyist friends would stop calling on me and not invite me to any parties…..and I love parties……

Knowing that you all have tons of extra money and will not miss a couple of hundred dollars going to Delmarva, I hereby support those corporate interests who need to take billions, not just millions of your excess cash.

I refuse to vote for cheap power for anyone.

Sincerely,

Pam Thornburg.

McCain won Florida. Despite the Romney campaign spitting out this.

I have chastised several Mitt supporters by telling them that this ad does a lot to elevate McCain to “hero” status. A man so beloved by both parties hasn’t happened since George Washington left office.

What the hell were they thinking by showing it?

Apparently Florida thought the same way I did, and went for McCain by 4.9%. (Only Zogby came close with a 4.0 prediction. All the other pollsters, well…. to be polite let us just say that from now on they’ve got credibility problems.)

Listening to conservative talk shows was actually fun today. first Rush Limbaugh!

“Here is the bottom line, ladies and gentlemen,” Limbaugh said. “I think this is it. There was a lot of anxiety among a lot of conservatives about Senator McCain. It’s simply indisputable. But there was no figure in our roster of candidates who rose up to challenge him or galvanize conservative support. All the candidates on our side, for various reasons, are uninspiring or worse.”

Take that Mitt Romney, Giuliani, Ron Paul, Thompson, and Huckabee? According to the self appointed king of conservatism, YOU ARE UNINSPIRING OR WORSE! Take that supporters of these candidates: “E“, David Anderson, Dave Burris, Frank Knotts, Priscilla Rakestraw! Your judgment and intellect itself has been called into question. What’s wrong with you fake conservative supporters, …..too hyped up on your painkillers to make accurate assessments anymore?

Ladies and gentlemen,……….now do you see why we say Rush Limbaugh has no idea what he is talking about? Now do you understand how we have taken him as a grain of salt since 1992?……. He just dissed 100% of the Republican Party!………Unless of course you too subscribe to the feelings he espouses……..which I doubt very highly.

But he wasn’t the only one:

Hannity’s forums are full of despondent Conservatives crying for their mother’s milk. Guess what….with Conservatives currently receiving only an 8% approval rating, they aren’t getting it. (Use Cheney’s approval rating as a base).

Even Laura Ingraham was perplexed on where to take tonights show, now that it was apparent that McCain was on his way to the White House, and the Conservative talk radio, which had done everything in it power to put McCain back to where we was just two months ago, ie. on the very bottom gasping for air from the media’s waterboarding, was on the outside looking in.

Duh.

Get this. When Bush ran in South Carolina he touted his win as the consummate proof that Conservatives were behind his candidacy. And today, as we saw ten days ago, they are behind McCain. Florida Republicans, too conservative for Giuliani, by a winning plurality of 4.9%, are also behind John McCain! Only in Michigan and Nevada, certainly centers of liberalism, has Romney carried the day.

So one can assume, that those long-time spokesmen of Conservatism, have gone the way of the Whigs and Federalist. Extinct.

And why is that? Because the Conservative policies they have put in place over the last 7 years DO NOT WORK! One can trumpet an untried philosophy and win the argument. But one cannot go against 7 years of irrefutable evidence emphatically showing that the philosophy in question, is an abject failure.

So after today, Conservatism has a new face, one that Republicans and many Democrats endorse. If Republicans wish to have any chance of winning the White House, and despite most consensus, they still have as good as chance as any if they encyst those who hijacked their party in 2000, and blaze new ground.

Conservatism is alive and well. Its only problem is that it has the wrong people espousing it. Someone who has survived sitting in a four by four cage in honor of America probably has a better grasp on what America stands for, than someone digesting up to 25 painkillers a day sitting in front of a microphone.

No….. Conservative is not the new “dirty” word. But then again, neither is “Liberal”.

Stupid” is the new dirty word. If one wants to find it on the airwaves try looking on any one of the Clear Channel stations scattered across this country.

Republicans have spoken. And they aren’t stupid.

I disagree with some of those who put down Petraeus as a liar, simply because they fail to agree with his assessment. It may come across to some as funny that I have thought, if not said, some to the same things against which I am now taking issue, and if so, so be it……

What changed?

What happened was this. I became more familiar with what was going on within Iraq. Of course, being of skeptic I tended to look at things hard. Very hard. To my surprise, I found out that I was seeing real signs of hope. This hope was not in the eyes of the politicos; it was the eyes of Iraqis. Since desperate souls grasp any rope tossed to them, I have waited quietly to make sure that these Iraqis were not suffering any type of delusion. I listened to all three reports expecting to see something in them dash my half submerged optimism, upon the reality of Iraqi shores.

I think my conversion may have come about when I was studying the conversion of Al Anbar province. Those Sunnis chose to back us because they like us. Of course it wasn’t much of a contest, considering who their alternative was…..But it may have also come while studying the criticism leveled at us by the British, as they packed up and split. They criticized our arrogance , heavy handedness, and unwillingness to trust: all valid complaints Each of these were addressed under the Petraeus doctrine. After reading the Petraeus Book on the suppression of Insurrections, I realized his tactics were not part of the problem. They were in direct opposition to the problem. I understood what he was trying to accomplish.

What happened under Petraeus, happened not because of the amount of troops we had at our disposal, but because of the way we used them, that made a difference.

The surge may have helped. For before the surge, we, due to our insufficient numbers, acted like Soviets, if I may be blunt. We were there to suppress and pacify. We, with our own patriotic roots, should have been more aware that by taking that stance, we directly increased our own opposition.

Once we added just a few more troops on the ground, we were able to interact with the local population, while still having enough force surrounding us to protect us. Prior to the surge, the problem was that whenever a few shots were fired, we would have to shut down our clinic, and head out across the desert. However with additional troops able to chase the insurgents, the military medical corp could continue to cure the local citizen’s ills. That was the difference. We could finish what we started.

Of course the original problem was created by republicans, Rumsfeld in particular. Had we ramped up enough ground forces from day 1, we never would have needed the surge in the first place. Yes, we know their insurrection began because they believed we wanted their oil. (That republican Cheney messed everything up). But if I understand correctly, we dropped that privatized oil plank as a “no go” and are now supporting the nationalization of oil assets. We are pursuing more of a Biden local strategy, tribal leader by tribal leader, and doing so because of the surge. Paul Bremmer’s national unification strategy was not working.

What I found, in essence, was that everything I said eight months ago that we needed to do in Iraq to win, we were now doing.

Can this late development be twisted to mean I justify this war that was fought on false pretenses? Hell no. It will always stand as a stupid war, instigated by stupid ass republicans. Nothing can ever change that. We could have achieved much better results at far less cost, had we chosen to use other means.

But we didn’t. We went in against all common dignity, history and sense. So since we did, does the resulting mess lie at our doorstep? Does we broke it, mean we own it?

Perhaps. But instead of a “oops, I broke it” moment, it is more of an “Honey, I’m pregnant” moment. Whatever happened way back then, has now changed things permanently.

Of course we can put up our hands and say, “Whoa, that’s your problem bitch…” and walk out the door. Many people do and feel no remorse about doing so. But that is not how I want my America to be perceived. I want My America to be responsible. I want My America to do the right thing. My America will be no punk. My America will be a Dad……….

So emotionally, that is how I have come around about to see how we could win in that barren land. It is nothing new. Biden has pushed it for years.

To win, these things must happen. They are in our control.

Congress must finally stand up to the President. If Iraq can finally realize that America does not equal Bush, that we too think he’s a moron, that we too can admit and correct our mistakes, our relations will improve. If the American Congress ever gets some backbone, and forces upon the president a withdrawal timetable, the Iraqis too will get some backbone and begin controlling their own affairs.

Congress must stand up to the president, and eliminate the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy 2%, and invest that money into Iraq’s infrastructure, hiring Iraqis to build their own sewers, roads, and buried electrical conduits. If Congress could do that, then the Iraqis might get some back bone and start controlling their own affairs.

Congress must stand up to the President, and force impeachment if he fails to comply with Congress’s orders. Only then will Iraq realize that America is not over there to conquer, but sincerely is over there to help. If we are decisive over here, they will be decisive over there,……. instead killing time and each other until our next inauguration day.

WTF?photo by SUCHAT PEDERSON, News Journal