Exclusive: Governor Markell Letter To General Assembly, DOE Freaking Out Over Opt Out

Exceptional Delaware 2018

Parents are opting out.  Teachers are crying foul.  Legislators are demanding accountability from the Delaware DOE.  Schools are overwhelmed.  Students are walking out of schools across the country.  We are in test overload as a country.  So what is the DOE, members of the 148th General Assembly, and Governor Markell’s response?  Ease the problems by taking away what is surrounding the Smarter Balanced Assessment but by all means keep the test intact.

So who is this “small group” of legislators who have had closed-door meetings with the Delaware DOE?  Why is there no transparency with these discussions with parents or other stakeholders aside from DSEA or the Delaware PTA?

This is what you are going to see: more “extensions” for teacher accountability, a push to decrease the other tests students get during the school year, downplaying the parent opt out movement by making the Smarter Balanced Assessment less than what it is…

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12 responses to “Exclusive: Governor Markell Letter To General Assembly, DOE Freaking Out Over Opt Out

  1. john kowalko

    john kowalko | March 4, 2015 at 9:07 pm | Reply

    The letter is not about opt-out but it and the discussions with the House Chair, Governor, DOE and others is an obvious attempt to kick the can of “smarter balanced” worms down the road while keeping it alive and well and credentialing it with. “well we’ve had it now for a number of years so it must be OK”. And by the way “we’ve assuaged the teachers with this cooperative delay but “eff” the children who still must suffer the consequences of being put in this bull-crap pressure cooker” I’ve seen this type of “concession and compromise making” enough times to make that gift horse open its mouth in front of witnesses.

    Representative John Kowalko


  2. lastDEconservative

    Kowalk-Oz rails against the elected, once again. My hero.


  3. lastDEconservative

    And another outsider rails against the government: Miro wrote a letter to Merv! Oh, no! What’s next?

    March 3, 2015
    Dr. Mervin Daugherty Superintendent Red Clay Consolidated School District 1502 Spruce Avenue Wilmington, DE 19805
    RE: Questions regarding procedures and policy during Red Clay School District Referendum
    Dear Dr. Daugherty,
    We write following numerous inquiries from constituents who have concerns regarding perceived activity by the Red Clay School District as it pertains to the recent referendum on February 24, 2015. Putting aside the policy issues associated with the referendum, we believe that the questions raised deserve consideration, and we are asking for your assistance in determining how best to respond.
    1. A number of documents presented to us indicate that school activities may have been specifically planned to coincide with the February 24, 2015 election in an attempt to impact the outcome of the vote. We have attached a link to a video invitation for the “Blizzard Blues Beach Bingo” event at the Linden Hill Elementary School which is one such event that constituents have brought to our attention. Is this true? If so, who covered the cost of these events? (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwMnk3nu1xE)
    We understand that many other schools in the district scheduled and held similar events. We have received complaints about crowded parking lots and other inconveniences for voters trying to reach the polls. Can you please confirm the number of schools that scheduled similar events on February 24? Does the Board provide additional funding for these events or do they come out of each school’s budget? Can you provide an approximate district-wide cost of the events that were held in the district on February 24?
    2. On Monday, February 23, 2015, a Red Clay School District principal utilized the District’s SchoolMessenger notification service to ask parents to support the referendum. Did the Board’s approval of the referendum also provide for the use of school resources such as the SchoolMessenger system and state email platforms to be used by District employees as campaign tools for passage of the referendum? We understand that additional emails were sent out as reminders to vote to support the referendum on the morning of February 24.
    3. We have received numerous questions regarding questioning whether public outreach regarding the election was limited and may not have reached all voters who would be impacted by passage of the referendum. Could you please detail the public outreach, including the number of residents the District contacted during the course of the campaign?
    4. Finally, constituents have expressed concern that campaign signs supporting the referendum were displayed well within the boundaries established by Delaware State Law that prohibits such activity within 50 feet of a polling place. We have also been told that signs supporting the referendum were located inside the polling places. Can you confirm that this did not occur?
    We are sure that you will agree that public confidence in the process of our elections is of paramount importance. We appreciate your assistance in thoroughly investigating and responding to these issues, and others that might be brought to our attention, concerning the February 24 referendum. We look forward to your timely response.
    Thank you.
    Greg Lavelle State Senator 4th District
    Mike Ramone State Representative 21st District
    cc: Members of the Red Clay Consolidated School Board
    Deborah Hudson State Representative 12th District
    Joe Miro State Representative 22nd District


    • These are actually some pretty damning questions by themselves. I’m curious what the answers will be…


    • There was a video (it’s been removed) on youtube of the Baltz elementary school entrance to the polling area. It was of a sign reading ‘If you support the Baltz Bear, Vote Yes’.


    • “We have also been told that signs supporting the referendum were located inside the polling places. Can you confirm that this did not occur?” – yes, that was the video I saw. It was definitely inside the polling place


    • It needs to be pointed out here that if a sign was inside the 50-foot radius of the polling place then it is the Department of Elections at fault, not the school. Once Elections comes into an area that morning at around 6:00-6:30 they “own” it and are responsible for it. The Elections supervisor is responsible for insuring that kind of thing doesn’t happen, and good elections supervisors are pretty constantly out there doing so.

      It is also germane to note that in the supposedly offending video the guy with the camera never actually approaches an elections official (you know because they all have to wear name tags) but just asks questions of a school staff member who is walking up. For the school to have had such a sign up prior to the arrival of the polling place apparatus may have been tacky (depending on your position) but it was most definitely not illegal. And once Elections got there, it’s their problem.

      Here’s the hypocritical irony: all the politicians who signed that letter know exactly what I just said above, because all of them do their dead-level best in their own campaigns to flout those laws. At the last Election Day I watched Elections officials remove offending signs and then as soon as they went back into the building the candidate teams (some of whom signed this letter) replaced them. This little game went on all day. Likewise I watched candidates and their surrogates engage voters (consistently) well inside the 50-foot line that was clearly marked on the sidewalk.

      It was quite amusing in a dark sort of way: at one point I stepped on the chalk line and an elections official appeared magically at my elbow and insisted I move back. Twenty minutes later he was chatting happily with the incumbent, ten feet inside the line, as the incumbent greeted voters

      Moreover, all of these individuals, during Election year, repeatedly besiege the schools and the district to be invited to purely education-related functions so that they can campaign. Several were listed in the Vesey report for questionable contributions. Now, all of a sudden, they’ve discovered a sense of outrage? Give me a break.


    • So because it has been done before and because the wrong group of people are being blamed, that makes it ok and valid?


    • Publius e decere

      LOL Pencadermom, in Steve’s case “yes” if it was to the benefit of the Red Clay board then he clearly says it s OK. Who is his first duty to?


    • OK? No. I think the law should be followed. I’m pointing out, however, that lots of people are barking up the wrong tree, and most of them doing the barking are (a) well aware of it and (b) engage in exactly the behavior they are criticizing.

      As for the electioneering of the district, I can agree philosophically that in a perfect world it shouldn’t happen that way, but–and it’s a pretty big BUT–in Delaware right now it’s legal. Want to change that? Go after Miro, Lavelle, etc., to change the damn law.

      They ALL knew there was a referendum going on. Did they make these criticisms ahead of time, or take any steps to inform their constituents. I get the regular newsletters from Miro and Lavelle. Not a peep during the lead-up period–only whining and bellyaching afterward.


    • lastDEconservative

      ” … all the politicians who signed that letter know exactly what I just said above, because all of them do their dead-level best in their own campaigns to flout those laws.”

      GASP!! “all”

      Oh, never mind. Kowalk-Oz didn’t sign it.


  4. Why do you think they sent this letter?