Delaware Education

Interview with Paul Baumbach on his School Board Removal Bill

After some controversy last week regarding the Christina School District Consolidation Plan and legislation sponsored by State Representative Paul Baumbach that would allow the removal of elected school board members, Baumbach sat down for an interview to say that the two issues are not connected, and then proceeds to describe his bill.  The following is transcribed from an recorded interview.

Brian So let’s start off with just this: what is the impetus behind this proposal [to remove school board members].

Paul Well I think there was the experience of many Christina parents who tried to get referendums passed in the past few years. When you speak to people at the doors and when I speak people at my coffee’s, there’s sometimes occasionally the reaction of why should we trust this district, their board is nuts and you know when you’ve got the headlines of board members using the N word at school employees within earshot of kids you understand that. Now that’s past board members, so this is not to direct that criticism at the current board.  When you look at it, there is nothing in the Delaware code, I could get elected as a board member in May and skip the next 60 monthly meetings. And there’s nothing anyone can do about that and that’s wrong. So that’s the wrong that I wanted to right.

As the PDF shows, this [the draft legislation] is something we drafted in June. We researched it in April and May. We found a model from Maryland and we picked it up and dropped it into the Delaware code. So that we prepared it in June and we said you know what. This isn’t something that warrants a rollout in June [2017], so let’s bring it out when the next session starts come January. And getting it prefiled in late December seemed to be that the right approach to that. But that was the genesis of the distribution of the bill to legislators this week.

Brian:  Right now as you know the Christina School District and the governor are working on an MOU with plans to address the city of Wilmington’s schools and  consolidation, etc, etc.   So a couple of the comments have suggested the timing of this [legislation] coming out and concern has been expressed about whether or not this may be a warning shot to the Christina school board. Because as I understand it a couple of the board members have asked for additional time to evaluate the MOU. So what else can you tell me about that.

Paul: I think that if I prepared the bill in December 2017 I would understand that.  The fact that we prepared the bill in May and June indicates we had, this has nothing to do with that. This has to do with the problem of having board members that are, by structure, not answerable until the end of their five year term. The legislative schedule was in January to June. We’ve got prefile’s in December. That’s why it was floated. It was not released it’s not filed and the fact that they came out in my eyes is more likely to be used by those who oppose the [consolidation] plan. They looking for more reasons to oppose the plan. This to me is completely irrelevant to the plan. Let’s say that a school board member or more than one school member doesn’t like the process that is going on. They vote against it. There is nothing in this bill that touches them. That’s not … that’s not incompetency. That’s not failing to do their their duties. That’s not misconduct.

There is nothing in the MOU that has any bearing on this bill. To me it strikes me as just a convenient excuse to smokescreen. I don’t see it as being germane to the independent issue of Wilmington schools within the Christina school district.

Brian:  So to follow up to that. What defines, under the bill, or who defines what misconduct in office, incompetency or willful neglect of duty?

Paul: So willful neglected duty I think is well understood in layman’s terms.  If you don’t show up at your meetings that’s willful neglect. If you don’t answer questions from your fellow members, superintendents, their constituents, that’s a neglect of duty. If you just go AWOL, that’s a neglect of duty.  With regards to incompetence, I think that’s not reading anything, or if you’re just not able to do the duties of office. Incompetence is pretty clear. I think misconduct is the is the word that’s of most interest.  And I provided a legislative attorney’s research on that too. In the Delaware Code, Section 12217. This is a Class A misdemeanor which of course is not enough to take someone out of office. But it is the definition of misconduct in the Delaware code.  You’re guilty of official misconduct when intending to obtain a personal benefit or to cause harm to another person, a public servant commits an act constituting an unauthorized exercise of official functions knowing that the act is unauthorized, or the public servant knowingly refrains from performing a duty which is imposed by law or is clearly inherent in the nature of the office.  When a public servant performs official functions in a way intended to benefit the public servants own property or financial interests. There are circumstances in which the public servants’ actions would not have been reasonably justified in consideration of the factors which ought to have been taken into account in performing official functions or the public servant knowingly performs official functions in a way intended to practice discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, age, handicapped status or national origin. None of those have anything to do with a board member disagreeing with a proposed MOU for instance. This has nothing to do with the Wilmington CSC project that’s going on. It has to be with board members not doing their jobs.

Brian: I got a couple of questions just about the language and details in this draft. So my understanding is that the bill will require 60 percent vote from the State Board of Education to remove the sitting board member. But that is only following, for lack of a better term, a trial of sorts. And then again that would have to be all signed off on by the governor as well.

Paul: Right. [The Governor] would have to agree on that, yes. Yes.

Brian:  So my first question would be: would this entire process, from the state board issuing a summons, so to speak, to a board member through the decision or a vote by the board and then the approval or disapproval of the governor. Would all of that be in the public view?

Paul: I think it pretty clearly is.  The bill provides the school board member an opportunity to be heard publicly, so yes, it’s all public.  Now, there is an exemption for public meetings if there is an issue of employment, if the issue is a sexual harassment for instance, then the issue would go to executive session. But that likely would require consent of both parties.  I’m not certain of that, but that’s the only exception we have for the thing being in public.

Brian: That’s similar how it currently works now with boards of education when there’s employment decisions to be made, that’s done out of the public in an executive session.

Paul: Yes.

Brian: If we had a a State Board of Education go rogue, how many board members would they be able to remove at any given time period?

Paul: Well what happens is if one board member is removed then the reduced board would have the opportunity to go into an emergency meeting and appoint a temporary board member for that vacancy, just as we do when somebody moves out of the district. So you know that that can happen pretty pretty easily.  And you know, so all of this has to have cause, and there is an appeal process. So what you’re asking is could the state board can bring a majority of the [local] board up through this process all in one day?

Brian: Correct.

Paul: I don’t see a restriction of that and I’m happy to insert a restriction on that.

Brian: Okay. Very good.

Paul: And we could have a 30 day waiting period, where a hearing can’t be scheduled sooner than thirty days since the last such hearing was held.  I mean, there’s a lot of… I’m the king of amendments, so I’ve got zero problem making bills better.

Brian: Good to know.

Paul: For that matter, since the bill is not being filed this week, I can improve it without even having it officially filed.  I’ve submitted, I’ve shared a draft with my colleagues but it’s not the filed bill until it’s filed and it’s getting filed this week.

Brian: If the state board does vote to remove a board member, what’s to stop that board member, former board member, from running for election again?

PaulNothing.  Nothing.  This doesn’t change the qualifications of office. This just takes them out again. It actually doesn’t stop the board from appointing them temporarily until the next election.

BrianHere’s a bit of an open ended question. So what are your thoughts right now on where the Governor, the District and the city of Wilmington schools are with the MOU process.  Now, I know you said that these are two separate issues and that they’re not entwined at all….

Paul: … but they’re happening at the same time.

Brian: Correct.

Paul:  I am not in the loop on the current version of the MOU. So I saw the first official draft, not the first draft that was leaked but the revised draft that came out 48 hours after that, and I’ve not seen the one that came out Monday. So you know what I understood is that the board and most of the board members and many of the stakeholders were very pleased at the difference in environment with this governor’s administration and how they were being partnered with as opposed to prior governor’s administration. And that there was there was hope that this could be done successfully. There were certainly concerns. And one of the concerns is timing. One of the concerns was funding. I think that anyone who understands the situation, the governor doesn’t have the ability to write checks.  This requires action in the General Assembly which is in recess until January so that that’s the reality of the world we have to live with that. But the governor also has the ability to promote spending priorities. So you know I think that that did not worry me and my sense amongst my colleagues is that we recognize that we’re not doing our job for many of the Wilmington students and we need to do a better job and some of that needs more funding. So I think that a good faith partnership between the administration and Christina school district parties is one that can get the required financial support of the General Assembly.  And on the timing, I understand the predisposition of wanting more time given the scale of the changes that are being proposed.  But I also understand the frustration on year after year of waste going through these schools that are not getting the education they deserve. And every time you push off a year you send another class. You’re not going to get the benefits that this plan is proposing. So I understand the desire for as promised a timetable is as practical.

Brian: You know I’ve spoken to on this a few times that there’s a time for urgency. There’s also a time for analysis to make sure you understand what you’re doing and they compete very often.

Paul: Yes indeed. Brian, you’re a nuance person you get that.

Brian: Thank you. So back to this proposed removal process. Who or what starts this ball rolling?  Who would originate the complaint to the state board?  Would the complaints come from parents, teachers, district administrators, voters, residents?

Paul: Let me start off by saying that several things have been shared with me regarding concerns over the draft bill and one is the body that does the deliberations, currently it’s the state board of education and the other is what is the process to get into the process. And one of the suggestions made was that what should start this debate was a petition of District residents in some number of them. And I liked that idea. So I liked the idea of let’s say 50 District residents needing to sign a petition to bring it to the body to bring the member up for analysis. So that’s not in the bill, but as I say I’m quite happy to improve the bill. And you know if we can get a consensus that that is a good improvement to the bill, I’m completely open to that.  At this point there’s no path and therefore I’d say that anyone can petition the school board, the state board, to add it to their agenda. So there is no real gate on the process which is why I think it is good to get input and figure out what is a good gate mechanism.

BrianOne of the things that jumped out at me when I read this draft was it is essentially providing an avenue for the executive branch to remove, for all intents and purposes, a member of the legislative branch, a duly elected representative that sits on the school board and the State Board of Education being being a function of the executive branch of the state government. You basically have one branch unseating another.

Paul: But you have the judicial branch involved with the appeals, so that’s where the balance, separation of powers is.

Brian: OK, that’s fair enough. My secondary concern to that is, we all know that voter turnout for school board elections is anything but stellar. So, if a majority or a plurality of voters that come out to vote elects a school board member, would it be seen as fair if this petition was circulated by a guy with on the state boards or with a state board agenda that goes against a decision that was rendered by voters

Paul: But let me let me just turn it around and say, let’s use the extreme example. You were elected and you don’t attend a single meeting. What should the remedy be?  Give me an alternative.

Brian: Well, I’m not saying there is an alternative.  [Laughter]  There is no alternative for removal of a sitting board member for any reason at all short of a felony conviction rate and incarceration.

Paul: Right.  

Brian: It’s just it just struck me as peculiar to see. Yes with the judicial branch does have opportunity to weigh in on this. The appeals process. It just struck me as peculiar to see an unelected appointed board render a verdict essentially on an elected representative.

Paul: Well I mean, the whole judicial branch is unelected and rules on executive branch people and legislative branch people.  It’s pretty common in our systems.  And for that matter, school board members, like the judiciary, have to be approved by the Senate, or the legislative branch.

Brian: Well, that is all I had for questions on this topic…

Paul: If you don’t mind, I’m just gonna vent for a minute or two.

Brian: No no. Go ahead.

Paul: I really appreciate, I always appreciate our dialogues. And I had good dialogues with some folks online last night and I really appreciate that. I wasn’t terribly pleased by by folks who take one side of things and run with it without getting any perspective on the other side.  That disappointed me, and I think that’s a disservice for the readers. And I really appreciate you taking the time. And you know I think that that is far better for those who try to stay up on education issues.  And lastly is, I’ve got no problem, not you but more my colleagues, if you don’t like something, give me a good alternative. We have a problem in that we have unanswerable board members who can be not doing their jobs and there is no way to get rid of them. You don’t like this version of it. No problem! Give me an alternative.  I’m completely open to that. But just saying “Hey I hate that,” I think that that’s just half of your job. You got to give them alternatives.  I’m disappointed when people rail against this without saying what they suggest we do when someone’s not doing their jobs on school board.

Brian: Well thank you very much for taking a little bit of time tonight to talk about this.

Paul:  I appreciate that. I appreciate it. Thank you so much. Have a good night.

About Brian Ess

Taking it one day, one hour, one minute, one second at a time. Dad, data dork, recoverer, public education supporter, developing policy wonk. per aspera ad astra

28 comments on “Interview with Paul Baumbach on his School Board Removal Bill

  1. dthompon3662

    One other issue I could foresee, and I’ve shared this with paul, is that the process is used as a means to cast aspersions on a school board member to damage them before re-election. Even if they are proven innocent, opening the process can still be used as a means of discrediting a member. I suggested the petition amendment to help resolve this, by I would like that number to be a percentage of the turnout for the election of that seat, not just a random number. That way it shows that this is a serious issue for the electorate that elected that school board member, and assures that this isn’t a means to simply discredit a member by a political rival. If the number is too low, it will be too easy to corrupt the process.

    I’m not a huge fan of the idea in total, partially because we don’t handle other elected offices like this. If we want to go the route of recall elections maybe we can continue that concept and broaden it to cover other offices as well.

    • Brian Stephan

      So I haven’t rendered a judgement on this draft as written yet, or my take from speaking with Paul. But,

      I’m not a huge fan of the idea in total, partially because we don’t handle other elected offices like this. If we want to go the route of recall elections maybe we can continue that concept and broaden it to cover other offices as well”

      Some states have a recall process for elected officials (See: Wisconsin & Governor Scott Walker). I’m not opposed to Delaware instituting a recall process for all elected officials.

      I agree with a petitioning process, maybe a % of voters that voted, maybe a % of district residents, or some combination.

  2. John Young

    Brian, thanks for posting. I certainly like to see this conversation expanded. For example, Paul uses hypothetical conditions like

    “If you don’t answer questions from your fellow members, superintendents, their constituents, that’s a neglect of duty. If you just go AWOL, that’s a neglect of duty. With regards to incompetence, I think that’s not reading anything, or if you’re just not able to do the duties of office. Incompetence is pretty clear. I think misconduct is the is the word that’s of most interest. And I provided a legislative attorney’s research on that too. In the Delaware Code, Section 12217. This is a Class A misdemeanor which of course is not enough to take someone out of office. But it is the definition of misconduct in the Delaware code. You’re guilty of official misconduct when intending to obtain a personal benefit or to cause harm to another person, a public servant commits an act constituting an unauthorized exercise of official functions knowing that the act is unauthorized, or the public servant knowingly refrains from performing a duty which is imposed by law or is clearly inherent in the nature of the office. When a public servant performs official functions in a way intended to benefit the public servants own property or financial interests. There are circumstances in which the public servants’ actions would not have been reasonably justified in consideration of the factors which ought to have been taken into account in performing official functions or the public servant knowingly performs official functions in a way intended to practice discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, age, handicapped status or national origin”.

    My concern is these just as hypothetically applicable to members of the GA, and all other elected officials including municipal positions, so the bill seems especially targeted in that respect. Additionally, the assertion that the courts are involved is a specious argument because, as written, it would require the “convicted” board member to invoke that review at personal expense for a position that pays nothing. School board members are elected volunteers and are not paid like members of the GA and other elected positions. Also, the conditions listed such as answering questions or doing the reading would sadly see “unexpected” members of many school boards removed summarily.

    Additionally, I am disappointed that Paul engaged in the continued smear of Mrs. Saffer thusly:

    “Well I think there was the experience of many Christina parents who tried to get referendums passed in the past few years. When you speak to people at the doors and when I speak people at my coffee’s, there’s sometimes occasionally the reaction of why should we trust this district, their board is nuts and you know when you’ve got the headlines of board members using the N word at school employees within earshot of kids you understand that. ”

    She was indeed convicted of misdemeanor harassment, but no finding of any misconduct was predicated on, nor was there any declaratory judgment regarding the alleged use of a racial epithet. His participation based on “many parents” without context and the fact that the bus had no kids on it… is equivalent to a continued character assassination. No member of the GA or anyone for that matter should actively participate in the baseless assassination of another person’s character. If you want to hear the audio of the Board censuring her behavior with zero regard to evidence or due process, here it is: http://bit.ly/2AZN7NO

    Lastly, I disagree that this bill is a responsible balance of power between the executive and the electorate. It is heavily weighted towards the executive as written and the judicial aspect is lip service. I have no qualms with Paul’s desire to make school boards better, because students deserve that, but if Paul’s ultimate goal is to make schools better,then the heavy lifting on that is squarely on Leg Hall, Woodburn, and the Senate’s responsibility to consent gubernatorial appointments to the SBE that make good, not destructive regulations.

    I look forward to the evolution of this bill in the coming months and I want to thank Paul for getting the conversation started, and hope it can take a more focused, productive turn that modifies processes more and vilifies people less.

  3. cassandram

    Thanks for doing this, Brian. I don’t know much about Ms. Saffer’s issues, but I do know that the sell of a referendum is hard. If Ms. Saffer was an obstacle to people voting for this, she was just one of the many excuses people have for not wanting to commit to education. I see people who regularly cheerlead for state and county land boondoggles suddenly get really stingy when it comes to kids. Especially the ones who need it. Demagoguing spending of all kinds is a thing and there isn’t much leadership to ask people to come to grips with the kind of government they say they want.

    Still. Were any school board members consulted for ideas on how they think they could best govern themselves if one of them proved to be dysfunctional?

    The thing you can see with the Wilmington CSD situation is that the Governor’s interests can be very different than those of a school board. As money gets tighter and poverty rises, I think this will get worse. Giving the Executive a tool to undo the will of the people is not a thing that looks prudent here. And there is simply no reason to trust the Executive on any aspect of changing school board governance. And I suspect that the very low threshold of 50 signatures to start the process is ripe for all kinds of shenanigans. Calling for someone to be removed should be as hard as getting on the Board.

    Pandora has suggested that perhaps the thing to work on might be school board members being elected by their nominating districts. This is the potential of greatly reducing the need for removals of members, because they are specifically tied to a voting constituency. And it balances some of the current imbalance of representation.

    • John Young

      Cassandra, here’s the problem with only allowing nominating districts: I may be only be beholden to that district which may have 4 of 26 schools in it….which would allow 6 of 7 CSD members and 6 of 7 RCCSD members IGNORE Wilmington kids…

      • It also means that the larger suburban areas can keep out candidates that run on issues that benefit city kids. The way it goes now… no one gets a seat on the school board without suburban approval. So, we still end up with ignoring city kids.

        • John Young

          yes, and it also means that all board members are elected at elections in which Wilmington residents have a vote. Your point is valid, but based on count, Wilmington voters have a controlling voice, too.

          • cassandram

            So John, if you had a voice in this process, how would you propose fixing the unproductive Board Member problem?

          • Cassandra, first I would like to see that there actually is an unproductive board member problem. Which isn’t the same thing as a board member using official misconduct. I have never heard of board members consistently meeting multiple, consecutive meetings unless there was some type of health situation going on with them or a member of their families. At least at the district level. Charter boards? Yes. This happens quite a bit on those. But districts, no.

            • cassandram

              i’d like to see some data on the magnitude of this problem, too. Have not seen it. Still, plenty of boards have rules and processes to manage themselves in the case of a member not being functional. Even if it isn’t an immediate need, it is worth thinking about having a process at the ready.

  4. Paul, has there ever been a board member who didn’t attend meetings for five years? You constantly bring this up with absolutely nothing to show precedence. I agree with John Young on the character assassination of Shirley Saffer. Given the size of our school districts, it could be fairly easy to get 50 signatures if you pimp a story out the right way. I say make it 500 signatures. But even then, you run the risk of bias. As well, an active hunt to remove a school district board member could actually sour education more than help it. No offense Paul, this is a horrible, terrible bill. And nothing against Brian, but he doesn’t tend to jump into the fray unless it is somehow Christina related. Once again, what happens in Christina does not translate to the entire state. WEIC learned this lesson the hard way.

  5. Brian Stephan

    Maybe it’s not that I jump in to Christina-centric issues. Maybe, just maybe, “Christina-Centric” issues aren’t just Christina-centric. Crazy thought.

    • That’s completely fair. But I do believe Christina has become the epicenter for all that is wrong with Delaware education. I don’t find this to be fair at all since comparing Christina to other districts or charters is filled with holes.

      • Brian Stephan

        Christina seems to be the one district that’s in everyone’s crosshairs, and it doesn’t help that our major “media” outlets (I use that term very loosely) are up here in New Castle County. It’s been that way for decades. If another District would like to step up and try to tackle the challenges we face in successfully educating the entirety of the diverse student population we have in Delaware, they are free at any time to share what they’re doing or what they’d like to plan to do. I just happen to have working knowledge of the district because I live there, volunteer there, and have kids that attend its schools and coincidentally have a blogging platform that I sometimes use to talk about it. If I could draw a paycheck (or hit the Powerball) to support my family by doing this for the entire state, maybe I would and I’d be able to produce more info on other Districts. As it is now, that ain’t happening.

        We had priority schools, that was shot down completely (from more than one angle).
        We had WEIC, that was shot down from the same angles as priority schools.
        We have this new MOU in progress with the Governor’s office that’s taking fire from the *same* angles as the above two plans.
        And then there’s the district consolidation task farce. That, I’m telling you now, will produce the same results we’ve seen from every other team/committee/group that’s examined consolidating Delaware’s current traditional districts. It’s not feasible in terms of finances, efficacy, or efficiency.

        Everyone’s all like “Why won’t anyone help these kids?!” And then we have some very brilliant people who step up and create and develop plans that have potential to help our students, and then everyone’s all like “NOT LIKE THAT!!! YOU SELF-SERVING GREEDY ASSHOLES!”

        I’ll wait while someone (anyone) comes up with an alternative to ANY proposal we’ve seen. Unfortunately the school system and our children do not have the luxury of waiting.

        • “NOT LIKE THAT!!! YOU SELF-SERVING GREEDY ASSHOLES!”

          That gets a lot of people behind you and respecting your opinion!

          • Brian Stephan

            You misunderstand Anono, I don’t do any of this to get people “behind me”.

        • I’ve been writing the same alternative for three and a half years: quit having the state assessment be the measuring stick for the success of public education. Find a way to make sure grades are not “social passing”, hold teachers accountable for that if they engage in that practice, and make sure children are able to read and count numbers in Kindergarten. But to confuse those matters with the plight of Wilmington is a huge disservice to the teachers and schools that want to educate children. In all of the above scenarios, the scores of tests like the Smarter Balanced Assessment are the glue. THAT is the heart of the problem here. We assume that since Christina’s Wilmington schools have such bad scores that only 8% of those kids know how to read or write. I don’t know if that is true or not. But that test is so embedded into education policy and the closest I’ve seen to abolish that way of thinking were Kowalko’s attempts at opt-out legislation.

          • Brian Stephan

            I know you have. And perhaps the reason why it’s been 3 years and nothing has happened is because it’s not a well thought out plan. It would be like discovering a leak in one part of your roof and deciding to just take the top level off of the house. There, no more leaky roof and you didn’t have to pay for a new roof or any repairs!

            In principle, I agree with everything you just wrote. But in practice it’s way more complex.

            Quit having the state assessment be the measuring stick. K. Then what? You’ve nuked the “measuring stick” (as atrocious as it is) for proficiency….so what do we do to measure proficiency now? and what about growth? If your response is anything like: “Let the people in the individual schools assess it for their own students!” you would be advocating a Charter school type system and hey, maybe that’s the way to go, and we should discuss that. But that would mean you’d have to stop dumping on Charter schools in general for the way they educate their kids.

            “In all of the above scenarios, the scores of tests like the Smarter Balanced Assessment are the glue. THAT is the heart of the problem here. We assume that since Christina’s Wilmington schools have such bad scores that only 8% of those kids know how to read or write. I don’t know if that is true or not.”

            That’s precisely the point. You don’t know if it’s true. Is 8% the right number? Likely not. Do we think it’s 50-60 points off of the actual mark? Likely not. Who would know that? The teachers and staff in the schools. Duh. So if we enable them to self-report, and you want accountability, who does that, how do they measure it, and at what level of granularity do they measure? Student by student, school by school, district by district, % impoverished children per class/grade/school/district? ALL of those scenarios require some level of standardization of assessment. If not in the evaluation of the scores themselves then in the stratification of the students/classrooms/grades/schools being evaluated.

            In reality I’d wager SBAC for all its specific shortcomings (and the shortcomings of standardized tests in general) does ballpark the proficiency levels of students. It does nothing to address improving those levels short of punitive measures for schools.

            So if the common thread for you is Smarter Balanced, just as DCAS was prior to it, perhaps you should figure out why that is beyond “corporate education reform”. Because if you don’t have some level of a standardized education and assessment plan, then you have Charter style schools. By my reckoning, the ideal scenario is somewhere in the middle.

          • I don’t so much mind the idea of having something “standardized” but the way current tests are used (and abused) is indicative of a much larger problem. SBAC is a flawed assessment. It is designed to make sure “smart” kids do well and children who have problems with the material do bad. It is NOT the same test for all students so it is not truly standardized. It is computer-adaptive so the results are not truly the same. But we continue to use this test to not only measure students but to cast blame on schools where students aren’t “proficient” enough. Not to mention that many of these standardized tests are designed with affluent and white students in mind based on many of the questions of the test. In many of the areas where the media pounces on districts like Christina, it looks at the overall scores but doesn’t factor in so many outlying factors for why a district like Christina and even some charters score among the lowest in the state.
            I am not advocating for a charter-style system. What I am advocating for is some type of mechanism where what a student does in the classroom matters. Their grades, their ability to focus, their ability to participate. That is not exclusive to charter schools at all. They are held accountable the same way districts are.
            This is a very corporate-driven style in education. Schools are not a business despite what some may have you think. They are learning institutions where each student has their own unique needs. If you look at the billions of dollars American schools and state DOEs have sent out to private companies for “research” based on the goal of improving these very same flawed state assessments, that isn’t a leaky roof, that is a house being primed for demolition.

        • John Young

          Brian with “task farce” FTW.

        • >Everyone’s all like “Why won’t anyone help these kids?!” And then we have some very brilliant people who step up and create and develop plans that have potential to help our students, and then everyone’s all like “NOT LIKE THAT!!! YOU SELF-SERVING GREEDY ASSHOLES!”

          ZZZZZZ.

          Been there, Lived through mandatory busing in the ’70s and ’80s.

          Please elaborate on the “brilliant people who step up and create and develop plans that have potential to help our students”.

          I have never seen such people in New Castle County. Plenty of guilty white liberals and self-aggrandizing black “activists”, but no “brilliant people”.

  6. I just take issue with someone even suggesting the State Board of Education make decisions for local school boards when they never go to State Board of Education meetings. Have you ever been to a State Board of Education meeting Paul Baumbach? I’ve been to many. You really should attend more education-based meetings to get a true grasp of what is going on out there. Hint: backdoor meetings with Carney don’t really count.

    • @Kevin, How many “backdoor” meetings has he had??
      Do you know how many SBE meetings, he has been too?

      Just asking

      • In the probably 24 out of 36 State Board meetings I’ve been to over the past three years, I have NEVER seen Paul Baumbach attend one of them. In the audio recordings I listen to every month, where I’ve heard the State Board recognize elected officials in attendance, I have never heard them recognize Paul Baumbach.

        Why don’t we ask Paul Baumbach how many non-public meetings he has had with Governor Carney about Christina in the past six months. How many Paul?

  7. Brian, Thanks for doing what you did. It really gives insight to the issue, for others to get up to speed on this.

  8. Joe Connor

    Selective, and in my view arbitrary targeting of one class of elected officials for removal by non elected bureaucrats is bad policy straight up. If Mr. Baumbach seeks a solution for misfeasance or malfeasance of elected officials then introduce global recall legislation. If the voters are to be trusted to elect they must also be trusted to remove. And Baumbach needs to put his own gig on the same footing. There have been criticisms of Rep.Baumbach’s treatment of his opponents. I have no knowledge in regards to this issue. However I have seen him be condescending, disrespectful and flat out rude to members of the disability community who differ with him on his “Right to die” legislation. He asks for something better. I am not sure recall is the answer for Delaware but it is darn sure more fair than cherry picking a class of office holder in an arbitrary manner.

  9. john kowalko

    I would gladly sit down and have a dialogue about creating a legitimate recall process with a serious due process, contingent on the fact that it would apply to “ALL DELAWARE ELECTED OFFICIALS” and not a limited number of office holders who could be intimidated or coerced by this fanciful offering that appears to seek control over the electorates wishes. It has to involve input from the public (e.g., petition signatures), contain due process guarantees, and apply to all elected offices and all appointed school board members (e.g., charters and State Boards).

    Representative John Kowalko

  10. Joe Connor

    Right on Rep Kowalko!

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