Category Archives: Education

Making room for both the forgotten man and the rugged invidvidual

The last 90 years of American politics and economic philosophy has been a conflict between two philosophies. The philosophy that made America, that of rugged individualism, equality of opportunity and free markets. The other is the philosophy of Franklin Roosevelt, that policy needs to focus first on the forgotten man. An interesting question is there room for both at the policy table? The left would tell us that income inequality is the issue of our time. Income inequality is a not a problem, any more than inequality of talents, ambition, goals, or activities is a problem. Not everyone should earn the same because not everyone wants to earn the same, not everyone does the same thing, not everyone wants to live in the same type house or drive the same car. If we do different things, want different things, and contribute different things then why would we want to earn the same thing? America Read more

DE Governor’s Weekly Address 1/15/2016

Investing in Our Students by Building on Dual Enrollment Progress By: Delaware Governor, Jack Markell We know that good-paying jobs increasingly require education or training beyond high school, and evidence shows that students who take a college course in high school are more likely to complete their post-secondary education. That’s why we have worked with our school districts and colleges to make dual-enrollment courses a priority, to ensure that students have the opportunity to take college-level courses and earn college credit. This past week, at POLYTECH High School, I announced that by the end of this academic year, we expect to have 2,700 students enrolled in 170 different dual enrollment courses. POLYTECH has doubled participation, to just about 150 just this past year and their partnerships with Delaware Tech and Wilmington University is enabling students to get a head Read more

DE Governor’s Weekly Message 12/18/ 2015 :”Preparing Our Youngest Learners by Investing in Our Workforce”

Preparing Our Youngest Learners by Investing in Our Workforce By: Delaware Governor, Jack Markell Ensuring Delaware children start school ready to learn is vital to their lifelong prosperity. It’s why we’ve invested heavily in strengthening our early learning programs, as well as supports for new mothers. But those investments will only pay off if we train a high quality workforce to meet these needs. So, this past week, I recognized more than 200 early childhood professionals who this year participated in the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood program to improve upon their own education. They’ve earned advanced degrees and credentials at our colleges and universities, while gaining more knowledge and skills to use in the classroom. The T.E.A.C.H. program shows the incredible dedication of so many members of our early learning workforce – Delawareans like Krysta Thomas, a teacher Read more

Smarter Balanced is a Useless Test

Smarter is dumber, but it is sold as better, smarter and a balanced approach to learning. We are supposed to be panicked that half of our students are not proficient to the new standard. Do a bunch of new things and make changes. I think that they are disappointed that more students did not fail. The problem is that the test does not allow changes in real time. If we take the test in March and don't get the results until the new school year has started, it is useless. That means two school years before you can adjust. DCAST at least let you adjust in real time. The results also show us that DCAST could have been tweaked to the new standards. We have a useless test that enriches some corporation but impoverishes our ability to improve education. Why? Read more

Is Clinton Student Loan Program Meritorious?

How long should people be paying student loans? Why did the government ban refinancing at today's lower interest rates? Why ban student loans from being discharged in bankruptcy? The student loan program was rigged by government to benefit the lenders, the colleges, bankers, and the bureaucrats. It became such a disgrace that President Obama got away with nationalizing the 1.3 Trillion Dollar boondoggle. Sadly, except for some common sense reforms to help people who cannot pay their loans, it just changed who took the money. Students and families did not benefit greatly. How is that a surprise? Senator Elizabeth Warren stumbled upon something that is just plain common sense. People are being forced to pay loans at 8% interest. Just let them refinance like every other borrower at today's lower interest rates. This idea would be beneficial to taxpayers who guarantee the loans Read more

Iran to Build a Nationwide Nuclear Science and Technology School System

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer

The Director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Ali Akbar Salehi, announced last Tuesday that the agency plans to build special nuclear science and technology training schools across Iran.

Speaking at a groundbreaking ceremony of the new Nuclear High School in Mashad, he said, “The country’s second nuclear energy school will be constructed in Mashhad and a memorandum of understanding has also been signed among the AEOI, Khorassan Governor General Razavi ‘s Office and the Khorassan Education Department in this regard.”

The AEOI also has plans to construct a hospital with advanced nuclear medicine diagnostic and treatment facilities in Tehran, according to Salehi.

Controversial Education Secretary Mark Murphy Resigns

Many legislators, the teachers, administrators, and parents had lost confidence in Secretary Murphy, but he had the confidence of the man who mattered, Jack Markell. The DSEA voted no confidence in his leadership. Legislators complained about the strong arm tactics to force through Common Core. Parents rallied and protested the Smarter Balanced Assessment. He had been called out of touch, but he claimed his efforts led to significant achievements. Some of those achievements like halving the dropout rate seem to be an achievement of better accounting (nothing to dismiss but not an educational miracle). When the new method is applied to old numbers, there is at best no change and some contend a small increase in drop outs. He did encourage college ready students to apply to college. Despite criticism, the administration sings his praises to the end. The release is printed unedited Read more

Markell Issues Tone Deaf Veto of Parental Opt Out Bill

Governor Markell issued a veto message with his veto of HB 50 in spite of the fact it passed with veto proof majorities. Part of which is below. “HB 50 would undermine the only objective tool we have to understand whether our children are learning and our schools are improving. It has the potential to marginalize our highest need students, threaten tens of millions of dollars of federal funding, and undermine our state’s economic competitiveness – all without adequately addressing the issues that motivated many to support the legislation. That is why educators and school leaders have joined the civil rights community and business leaders in opposing the legislation, and why I am returning the bill unsigned,” wrote the Governor in a statement delivered to the House of Representatives. “I have heard the concerns of some parents and teachers that our students are experiencing Read more

Delaware Senate Passes Opt-out Bill With Amendments

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer The Delaware State Senate, yesterday, has passed HB 50, legislation that legally codifies the existing rights of parents to have their children opt out of standardized state educational testing, by a margin of 14 to 7 with two amendments. SA 1 to HB 50 (passed 11 to 9 with 1 absent) would also allow parents to opt out of district-wide assessments was sponsored by Senate Education Committee Chairman, David Sokola (D-Dist.8, Newark). Additionally, SA 2 to HB 50 (passed 13 to 3 with 5 not voting) that would enable high school juniors to opt out of state testing, was sponsored by Senator Bryan Townsend (D-Dist.11, Newark). The amendments drew criticisms from HB 50’s primary sponsor, State Representative, John A. Kowalko (D-Dist. 25, Newark South) who stated that the amendments, in his opinion, were designed to kill the bill. For the record, Senator Read more

Former Delaware Politics Author, Shaun Fink resigns from Indian River School Board

I expect to update this article after I converse with Pastor Fink. UPDATE: Shaun Fink said that he would pray about returning. He gives his best to our readers and reminds them that to "GOD be the glory". Shaun Fink has resigned from the Indian River School Board. He resigned in disgust with the acquiescence to "the homosexual agenda". Fink had just won reelection to a 5 year term in the May school board elections. Fink fought a strong battle to block pro gay curriculum from being adopted. He ultimately lost. Fink was harassed, vilified and painted as some bigoted zealot, but he never backed down. Instead he took his case to the public and received a lot of support. He contented that 2% of the population should not be allowed to control the conversation. Fink left DP because of time constraints. Now that he is no longer with the school board and The Caesar Rodney Institute, Read more

Appoquinimink-Delaware’s Top High School?

U.S. News and World report did a massive ranking of America's public high schools. Congratulations to the State Winner, Appoquinimink High School in Middletown which ranked 1300th nationally which is easily in the top 10%. Delmar High School ranked second at 2135 nationally and was the only other Silver ranked school in the state. The Bronze ranked high schools are Cape Henlopen High School, Lewes; Delcastle Technical High School, Wilmington; Lake Forest High School, Felton; Mount Pleasant High School , WILMINGTON; Smyrna High School , SMYRNA; and Sussex Central High School , GEORGETOWN. Neighboring Maryland had two schools make the top 100 and the highest percentage of schools to score at least a silver medal with 30% of the schools receiving that distinction. Neighboring New Jersey had two schools in the top 20. Our highest school Read more

9-12 Delaware Patriots to host Candidate Nights for Kent and Sussex County School Board Elections

The 9-12 Delaware Patriots will be hosting two school board candidate nights, one for all of the Kent County Candidates and another for the Sussex County Candidates.   Each event will be conducted as a forum for the candidates, not a debate.  Former U.S. Senatorial Candidate, Kevin Wade will be the moderator for both forums.  The candidates will be given an equal amount of time to share their platforms, and an opportunity to answer questions directly from the audience.  They will also have table space to share campaign materials and interact with potential voters.  These forums are both free and open to the public. The 9-12 Delaware Patriots is a non-partisan organization and will not be endorsing any candidates.  These forums provide citizens with an opportunity to gather information on the candidates so that they can make an informed decision of who to offer their support and Read more

HB 50, Parental Right to Opt Out of Smarter Balanced Squeaks out of Committee

HB 50 received the 8 votes necessary to release it from committee over the objections of the chairman. 1 in favor, 7 on its merits, 1 opposed and 5 no votes. The committee report is as follows: This bill allows a parent or guardian of a Delaware public school student to opt that student out of the annual assessment (Smarter Balanced Assessment System). Committee Findings: The committee found that while the legislation brings about certain questions surrounding educational quality, it warranted debate by the full House of Representatives. The committee found the bill acceptable for release. Parents, Conservatives, the Delaware PTA, and the DSEA joined to support the legislation. The broad coalition is reflected in the sponsors of the legislation. Previous discussion of the bill can be found in an earlier post. Read more

Delaware Legislators Consider Solutions to Sussex Tech Crisis

School Tax Increase Looms on the Horizon By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer In the face of the Sussex Technical High School District’s growing financial and enrollment complications, state legislators are sponsoring remedial measures. House Bill 100, filed last Thursday, will grant the STHS District the power to impose a 5.5 cent tax increase beginning July 1st for the 2016 fiscal year. In FY 2017, the district will be allowed an additional one cent increase. This will inflate the overall rate to 30 cents per $100 of assessed value, costing the average Sussex County homeowner $8.86 in the first year and $10.47 in the following year. The impending school tax increase is the result of various factors: ● A 19.3% increase in student enrollment from 1295 in FY 2011 to 1545 at present. ● Disparity of the rate of growth of the Sussex County property tax base with Read more

Delaware PTA Disheartened by Smarter Balanced Assessment Announcement by 4 Colleges and Markell Administration

In a statement made today by Governor Markell, Delaware PTA learned that the four colleges; Wilmington University, University of Delaware, Delaware Technical and Community College and Delaware State University have all agreed that the outcomes of the 11th grade Smarter Balanced Assessments is a good indicator of college readiness. In addition, these institutions have all agreed to accept the assessment in lieu of other placement exams. At a time when there is so much turbulence in our public education system, we are disheartened to learn that the conversations that proceeded this major conclusion did not include input from any of our major stakeholders. The Delaware Department of Education and the Governor's office have publicly committed to greater transparency and collaboration with the broader community, yet Delaware PTA, the Delaware State Education Association, state legislators Read more

Citizens Rally At Leg Hall In Support Of HB 50

HB50, It's All About The Right To Choose To Opt Out Of Testing Co-written By Don Ayotte and Wolf von Baumgart An Education Rally at Delaware’s Legislation Hall, drew an eager crowd of parents and children, wanting their voices heard in support of HB50. The short version of HB 50 states in the synopsis, “This bill creates the right for the parent or guardian of a child to opt out of the annual assessment, currently the “Smarter Balanced Assessment System.” This is a requirement of the new Common Core education system being implemented in Delaware Schools. The primary sponsor of the bill, Rep. John Kowalko (D-25) and Senate sponsor, Sen. David Lawson (R-15), along with House co-Sponsors, Reps. Baumbach (D-23), Keely (D-3),Matthews (D-10), Spiegelman,(R-11), K. Williams (D-19), Yearick (R-34) and Sen. Henry (D-2). Kowalko stated to the crowd outside of Legislative Hall Read more

Sussex Tech Property Tax Increase?

By Staff Writer: Wolf von Baumgart General Assembly Considers Options The Delaware General Assembly met twice earlier this week to consider funding options for Sussex Technical High School District. The Sussex County Delegation (consisting of nine state representatives and five state senators) continues to study Sussex Tech’s impending financial crisis. Five budgetary proposals were originally included in a study attendant to House Concurrent Resolution 2, previously passed in January. Subsequently, other options have emerged for consideration. Sussex Tech administrators have been steadily seeking legislative approval to more than double the STHSD’s current property taxes over the last two years above the current limit as currently permitted by statute. Delaware's three state-created countywide vocational school districts are legally empowered to raise school taxes (with the Read more

News Release About Education Rally on April 1

Media Release PARENTS EXPRESS CONCERNS WITH DELAWARE EDUCATION INITIATIVES AND LEADERSHIP Delaware parents call for representation and transparency regarding educational changes impacting their children – Press conference scheduled for April 1 at 5:00pm, outside Legislative Hall in Dover, DE Dover, DE, March 25, 2015 – Delaware parents are increasingly frustrated with the management of the educational system in the state, especially given the conflicting messages being issued by legislators and education officials. There is an apparent disconnect between what parents want and what those making decisions are offering, and the children are caught in the crosshairs. Most parents are not interested in having their children used as guinea pigs, political pawns, or leverage in the fight over accountability. “Our children are more than test scores. I got involved because of the Read more

Delaware PTA Endorse Parental Opt Out of Smarter Balanced

Updated to include official statement State PTA Board of Managers 26 to 1 Vote in favor of Opt Out and Support House Bill 50. On March 24th the Delaware Parent Teacher Association voted to support parental rights to opt out of Smarter Balanced Assessment amid criticism of the Smarter Balanced Assessment for the fact that it punishes right answers not arrived the preferred method with no credit but gives credit for wrong answers with the work shown, is not statistically valid, has no growth model, is not designed with appropriate accommodations for handicapped or special needs students and is not timely in producing results. The DE PTA did not recommend which choice a parent took, but strongly backed the right to choose. Many members plan to support the rally for HB 50 on April 1 around 5:00 pm at Legislative Hall. Note the author is a regional VP for the Delaware PTA. update--official Read more

Delaware Republicans Go On Record Calling for the Repeal of Common Core

The following Resolution passed overwhelmingly at the 2014 state GOP Convention. WHEREAS...America is a society which values rugged individualism, family, excellence, and diversity; WHEREAS...The Common Core Approach to education is a one-size-fits-all standard, regardless of personal and professional goals or individual talents, thereby conflicting with the aforementioned American values; WHEREAS...Common Core is based upon a high stakes test which is contrary to the best research which supports local regular quizzing and classroom testing; WHEREAS...America has long valued local control, and the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution leaves Education in the hands of the States and the People; WHEREAS...Common Core is a national standard masquerading as local standards and has bypassed the process of legislative approval, public development, and has had limited local control; WHEREAS...Common Read more

Education: It’s All About the Children

A tip of the hat to Shirley Min of WHYY for bringing to our attention this reminder from Governor Markell that education in Delaware is all about the children. I am not sure what happened here, but someone was clearly a little distracted.  I'd hazard a guess that the Governor's staff might be getting a little bit smaller soon and if it saves taxpayers a few pennies then at least something good came out of this. If you follow the link to the Blaze article it is clear that this was not the Governor's intended picture, but it is hard not to take notice when the slip-up is this spectacular.  The Markell administration has since corrected the picture and has issued a number of tweets in reference to it. When you consider the chronology of how things played out on his twitter feed it paints an amusing picture.  The misspelling of inadvertently in a thread about education becomes Read more

The Loyal Opposition says stop HB 334–The Heart of Common Core

We finally took a sensible approach to testing. Test at the beginning of the year, middle of the year, and end of the year. Delaware's HB 334 eliminates that and makes your entire "matriculation and academic promotion requirements imposed by § 153 of this title shall be based upon the student's assessment results received on 1 assessment". No true assessment can take place without at least two tests. One gives a benchmark and the other shows the progress. I have seen where a student actually loses ground. If a student could make the grade before the school year starts, why should he or she be penalized for not being able to connect with the teacher or being sick or stressed by some outside event on test day. If the student can have the best test, you have a truer read on the student. Everyone has an off day. You just hope it is not during a high stakes test. I took a test once not long Read more

Senator Sokola Harming Delaware Education

Sadly, David Sokola is not alone.  Delaware seems determined to go backwards in education by imposing crazy requirements that judge teachers not by their college grades, but high school grades and imposing common core on the University education departments despite the fact that our colleges and universities rank well with the University of Delaware ranking around the top tenth of one percent.  No, we need to tamper with that and not look at our own state department of education. Teachers are being disrespected as no other profession would tolerate, yet despite concerns by teachers, the DSEA supported the bill.  I think a revolution needs to happen in the teacher's union.  Senate bill 51 became law on the fast track because the very people who should look out for education and teachers had their favorite item attached to the bill.  It was Betrayal with a capital B. Once again, Read more