Tops GA Agenda
NOTE: Sussex Beat is a mix of news, analysis and commentary by Eric Magill, publisher of Sussex County Online.
As the 140th General Assembly prepares to reconvene for its second session on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2000, education reform continues to take center stage.
The issue flamed white-hot toward the end of the first session as Gov. Thomas R. Carper tried to pass a comprehensive Educator Accountability act to go with the Student Accountability act that had already passed.
But as test results for the final practice run before the Student Accountability act were released, the entire reform process came under attack and jettisoned the governor's plans to pass the Educator Accountability act last session.
Senate President Pro-Tempore Tom Sharp (D-Pinecrest) promises to introduce an educator and student accountability bill to be voted on immediately upon the legislature's return.
But given the contentiousness of the debate last November, it seems unlikely such a bill could pass immediately. The last time the GA met in November, the Educator Accountability bill had been given so many amendments that legislators said they needed more time to digest them all.
And after threatening to enact any measures he could on his own, Gov. Carper not only backed off the Educator Accountability bill, he also said he would be willing to delay enforcement of Student Accountability for another year after receiving numerous complaints from legislators, parents and educators.
Most of the complaints centered on the act's dependency on a single test to determine if a student should be promoted to the next grade or graduate. Carper instructed the state's Department of Education to develop additional criteria so that promotions wouldn't rely on a single test.
Whether all of that work could have been accomplished in time to persuade legislators to vote for Sen. Sharp's bill on Tuesday seems unlikely.
You'll find a complete list of local representatives and senators on our Government page (scroll down to "State Government") for links to your representative's or senator's contact information.
You can also discuss the Education Reform issue on the Sussex County Online Forum.
House Speaker Terry Spence has been making his intentions to run for the Republican nomination for governor very clear for some time now, but only today has he made his announcement official.
Spence made a "whistle-stop" tour through the state today, stopping in Seaford and Georgetown this morning and Dover and Wilmington later today.
The representative from the 18th District (Stratford) has already appeared at numerous local functions trumpeting his upcoming campaign.
Lieutenant Gov. Ruth Ann Minner is so far running unopposed for the Democratic nomination.
You can voice your opinion on Sussex County issues in the Sussex County Online Forum or cast your vote on various Sussex County issues on our online poll. Just follow the links below to make your voice heard and your vote count:
For more information on the General Assembly, such as House and Senate agendas and the status of current bills, visit the GA web site.
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