Dear Governor Markell,
Any reader of this blog knows there is no shared vision between the two of us on public education except that I choose to believe that each of us deeply respects that passion we both have for the subject. If I were to place myself in the role of personal political adviser on the issue of the Opt Out movement here in Delaware… and could go back 3 months, I would give you one piece of advice your closest advisers failed to give you: support Opt Out.
My advice is not based on you agreeing with the movement, but rather the political capital you will spend opposing it AND the likely effects of opposing it compared to supporting it. A quick pro/con list of opposing Opt-Out
Pros: it’s what you believe, it allows you to oppose John Kowalko which you like to do, it keeps you aligned with the state’s business interests and “non-profits” like Rodel, et. al., demonstrates support for “accountability”, get to enlist bullies like Sokola and Jaques to lift for you against parents
Cons: draws attention to an issue you are concerned about, alienates parents, disrespects parents, draws battle line with your own party’s legislators who are listening to parents, pitches you against the PTA, gives light and space to the discussion in the paper and other news media in such a way that more parents get to exercise this right(one they already have)
If you support Opt-Out here’s the pro/con:
Cons: appear weak to big monied interests, betray your own beliefs, let down Sokola and Jaques
Pros: support parents, make the news cycle go away almost a year before the next testing window (fighting now all but guarantees a vicious, pitched battle next Spring with more awareness…again on a right parents ALREADY have), build bridges with PTA and teachers unlike what your DOE does now.
Remember, if the test is as awesome and necessary as you and your supporters believe it to be, then the parents of this state will follow your lead and NOT Opt-Out, right? Stand up for what you truly believe: believe in the power of SBAC, and let parents have their say without fear, bullying, and intimidation.
It makes the most political sense to just sign the bill. I know me saying it probably pisses you off some, but my advice is to sign it in a closet in Woodburn and post it to the bill tracking website. No press conference, no signing ceremony, no fanfare.
Just do it. Let us find it. We’ll celebrate…
and for the most part, this then just goes away…like you need it to…because if you don’t sign it, the political ramifications in your ultimate lame duck year will be significant and likely twice as unacceptable as now. #SignHB50NOW