Governor Markell’s State of the State Address

Filed in National by on January 17, 2013

The Governor will give his annual State of the State address today [1.17.13] at 2 pm at the Senate Chamber, Legislative Hall, Dover.

This will be webcast from the State of Delaware’s website here.

Feel free to use this thread to discuss the address if you are listening.

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  1. Jason330 says:

    I would love Markell (and all right thinking people for that matter) to stop using the term “assault weapons” and “military assault style weapons” and simply say “military weapons” or “military guns”

    It would drive the NRA’s nit picking lunatics more insane, while making the case against alowing this kinds of guns on the street even more clear for everyone else.

  2. cassandra_m says:

    Address is getting ready to start.

  3. cassandra_m says:

    Uh oh — Tony DeLuca in the house.

  4. fightingbluehen says:

    Wow, that’s a clear stream.

  5. cassandra_m says:

    I missed portions of this (drat being at work), but what I heard:
    *Raise teacher pay and have some kind of exam or assessment before teachers can practice
    *Common Core Standards
    *Start It Up Delaware
    *Investments in bike and other trails connecting cities and parks (none in Wilmington)
    *Increased safety
    *Better preparation for sea level rise and storms

    More?

  6. kavips says:

    No offense intended towards John Carney, but I think we’re damn lucky to have the governor we got.

  7. John Young says:

    Kavips, I could maybe agree, if he actually used evidence based solutions for schools instead of using oversimplified, intuitive solutions that when real thinking and a research base are applied fail the test of efficacy.

    27 additional counselors for middle schools? Sounds great, right? It isn’t. These children have pervasive and significant problems forming in ELEMENTARY schools. Why do they manifest in middle school? 3-4 elems feeding in, feeling lost/alone, changing classes, 6 teachers instead of one. Take all that and add a dash of testosterone and estrogen and you get mental health fireworks.

    In middle school we see the sickness, the symptoms of mental health problems that get exacerbated in middle are actually presenting in elementary. why not offer extra counselors there? Perhaps it would cost too much money since we have 100+ elems in DE?

    But it sounds so good, so lets do it!

    good idea, bad plan, pretty much like most of his corporate reform agenda for schools.

  8. mm2784 says:

    Until there is the realization that STUDENTS must be held responsible for their learning along with teachers, improvement will never be to the degree that we would hope and teachers will continue to be the victims of bad press and public ignorance.

  9. Pencadermom says:

    “27 additional counselors for middle schools? Sounds great, right? It isn’t. These children have pervasive and significant problems forming in ELEMENTARY schools. Why do they manifest in middle school? 3-4 elems feeding in, feeling lost/alone, changing classes, 6 teachers instead of one. Take all that and add a dash of testosterone and estrogen and you get mental health fireworks”- if a problem doesn’t manifest until middle school, then many kids wouldn’t even be identified in elementary school. Puberty itself makes kids (and parents) need counseling. I know, we had one finish right on top of the next one starting.. and one more to go. ugghh

  10. Steve Newton says:

    Did he really say this?

    have some kind of exam or assessment before teachers can practice

    Uh, we already have that. It’s called Praxis II, and is used nationwide. We also have an 8-12 week mandatory pre-service training called student teaching. Exactly what else does he want?

  11. Dave says:

    Education is a shared responsibility of the community (nation, state, etc), teaching professionals, and parents (who are the proxies for the students). Students really share in that responsibility, but let’s presume that a proxy parent works.

    Think of it as a triangle. Each side of the triangle represent the quality, effort, and performance of either the teaches, the parents, or the community. If all sides were equal it would be an equilateral triangle I suppose, but it’s more likely isosceles, with the educators having the longest side.

    If any side of triangle were shortened the other sides must change by a lessor or greater amount. Some households may be unable to fulfill their responsibility. When that happens, the other sides must be lengthened to compensate. Likewise subpar performance in teaching causes the other sides to lengthen.

    This is the 180 degree education system and until we address the shared responsibilty, actions taken for one side of the triangle do not eliminate the responsibility from the other sides of the triangle and we will continue to get what we’ve always got.

  12. cassandra_m says:

    @ Steve — the entire address is printed here. My attention was split between work and the live stream, so that was what I thought I heard. But this is the text:

    Just as lawyers take a bar exam before they begin practicing law, we also need a rigorous exit assessment for our preparation programs, which includes demonstration of content knowledge as well as teaching skills.

  13. Steve Newton says:

    Thanks cassandra.

    This is sort of weird. We already do have a content knowledge test (Praxis II) that is nationally recognized and gets our teachers reciprocal certification in about 37 other states, and we have an 8-12 week pre-service component in which not just a university supervisor but a master teacher must sign off at the end certifying that the student is prepared to teach. These are not just paper exercises; quite a few students go through either the Praxis or student teaching more than once to meet the standard.

    So I guess my concern is why Governor Markell would be acting like we don’t have those sorts of gateways in existence now.

    A lesser point is this: there is very little, statistically or anecdotally, to suggest that the teachers who have been trained and found jobs in, say, the last five years, are the problem. In fact, if you could disaggregate the data, I will bet that in math and ELA particularly, younger teachers have students that are scoring better on these tests than their more experienced peers.

    Probably not a major issue because we are not realistically setting up more barriers to enter this field when Delaware cannot now recruit sufficient content-qualified teachers to meet the demand. But I did think it was a weird place for him to go.

  14. SussexWatcher says:

    Odd that a charter-happy guv isn’t seeking to lower barriers to teachers getting in the field. It is impossible now to transition from another career into public school teaching. We are denying students the benefit of real-world experience except in the vo-tech areas. I agree that standards should be high, but student teaching is a huge barrier that a FT worker cannot overcome. Be prepared to mooch off a spouse or relative or impoverish yourself if you want to get in the classroom.

  15. Dave says:

    @SW, Good point. Much of the tech world, development, acquisition, etc. have college level programs that are sometimes taught by both tenured faculty and professionals. That model would be difficult to apply at the presecondary level, but many professionals have real world teaching experience that could be brought to bear. The problem is the educational system is fairly insular and has limited ability (or desire) to import and export skill sets and capabilities, except at the post secondary level.

    There have been some public/private partnership experimentation, but it remains fairly restricted to insiders. I would be in favor of more involvement by industries which employ the workers that the educational system produces.

  16. Steve Newton says:

    SW: except in the sciences (and aside from the vo-tech areas you mention) I’m not sure what “real world experience” in English/Language Arts, Social Studies, or even Math that we are depriving our students the benefit of.

    As for student teaching, I will admit there is a significant barrier for “non-traditional” career transition types, but … if I were a principal OR a parent I would want it demonstrated up front that a new teacher had the capability to control a classroom, understood how to construct a teaching unit and an assessment, etc. etc. If not student teaching, what would you suggest as an alternative? (Serious, not snarky question.)

    Right now, at DSU (and this is pretty much the standard throughout Delaware), teacher education majors begin classroom observations in their sophomore fall semester, and begin teaching lessons in real classes with real students that spring. During the next three semester they are required to do 10-20 hours of observation and to deliver 4 real lessons for every single education course they take. So by the time they hit student teaching (after having passed Praxis II for content), they have already wracked up about 150-200 hours observing and have taught 15-20 lessons … and for many of them student teaching is still a massive shock.

    I am not willing to buy the idea that, except for certain very gifted individuals or in the situation of secondary vo-tech or science classes that we should just be sending people into our classrooms without something similarly rigorous. The research does not support the idea that “transition from real life” folks make better teachers.

  17. pandora says:

    Mr. Pandora is one of the smartest people I know, but every time he tried to help our kids with their homework they ran screaming from the room. ;-) He also isn’t the best at managing a group of kids – he has two methods: shrug or complete exasperation. He is not a good teacher – perhaps at the graduate school level he’d do better, but K-12 is right out.

    Teaching is a profession, and it should be treated as such. Diminishing what goes on in the classroom by acting like anyone with subject knowledge can do the job is ridiculous and kinda insulting. There’s a specific skill set required.

  18. Dave says:

    Yes there is a specific skill set required. Any let’s face it, like Mr Pandora, many (most) people do not have either the temperment or skills in managing younger people.

    I must have missed where someone acted like subject matter experts could do the job without learning other skills. The point being made was simply that there are benefits of real-world experience in the vocational/technical areas AND that there should be a way to take advantage of that experience, with the caveat that the standards remain high. I can’t see the diminishment or insult in that thought.

  19. puck says:

    “Odd that a charter-happy guv isn’t seeking to lower barriers to teachers getting in the field. ”

    DSEA isn’t very well going to sign off on the governor’s agenda for free.

  20. SussexWatcher says:

    Let’s see … Editors teaching composition. Anyone with a passion for the past teaching history. A political aide teaching government. A published poet teaching literature. An ex-State Department worker teaching geography. Where does it end?

    Student teaching for non-college students must be done full-time, in a straight stretch. You can’t student teach for mornings and work your real job nights, or teach one day a week while your bill-paying job goes Tuesday to Sunday. There is no flexibility.

    Education is an incredibly insular profession in which you basically have to begin in college. Considering that most of us will switch careers and fields at least once in our lives, as well as the teacher burnout rate, the refusal to consider people without education degrees and student teaching experience is near-suicidal.

    I’m not suggesting that untrained amateurs take over classrooms – although that happens daily with warm-body subs. I’m suggesting that we find a way to take advantage of the expertise and enthusiasm of mid-career professionals and retirees by starting an alternative track to certification that doesn’t require a FT committment during training.

    “The research does not support the idea that “transition from real life” folks make better teachers.”

    And what research is that?

  21. SussexWatcher says:

    Adding: Our community college system is based upon the idea that adjunct subject-matter experts with only a bachelor’s degree can step into a classroom and teach. If they can do it, why not our public schools? Often the adjuncts are teaching remedial coursework because your professional HS teachers failed.

  22. pandora says:

    Because teaching mandatory K-12 public education is very different than teaching non-mandatory college courses where people 18 and older choose to be and can be kicked out/flunk out.

    I would be fine with these experts teaching a public school seminar, but running a classroom without complete training would concern me.

  23. SussexWatcher says:

    No one has said dropping “complete training” is the answer, despite your attempts to cloud the issue. All I have said is we need to loosen the rules and introduce more flexibility or an alternate path.

    Right now, our teachers self-select their careers at age 20 or sooner. All else are blocked and told “tough shit.” What sense does that make?

    PS I also would proffer that a subject expert teaching social studies with no formal teacher training will likely do a much better job than the football or baseball coach who “teaches” in order to hold the coaching gig. Those people bring next to nothing to the classroom.

  24. pandora says:

    There are a LOT of professions that block part time participation. As far as clouding the issue… when you write about teachers I’m not sensing you have much respect for the profession – or even that you consider it a profession. If I’m wrong, and reading you wrong, then I apologize.

    BTW, one of the best math teachers my son had was the baseball coach. My daughter has an amazing English/Language Arts teacher as her track coach. So… be careful with “those” people.

  25. Steve Newton says:

    SW, would you honestly suggest that we offer similar shortcuts for doctors or civil engineers?

    And, if not, why don’t you think teaching is a profession that requires preparation?

    If you think a person “with a passion for history” could become a certified Social Studies teacher, guess again–there really are not any “history teachers” any more. You have to be able to teach history, geography, economics and civics–whatever happens to be your assignment that semester, or all integrated. You have to teach to specific standards. You have to teach in special ed inclusion classrooms.

    “Real life experience” is a good thing, but it does not trump effective training.

  26. liberalgeek says:

    I can’t wait for Evan Q to sign up to be an adjunct Social Studies teacher.

  27. SussexWatcher says:

    So we have the arguments of “this is the way everyone else does it” and “they do it, why shouldn’t we?” Neither of which exactly inspire confidence …

    Pandora, there are obviously exceptions to everything. There are also many, many people teaching who are dumb as bricks and do so only because the school wants a winning football team.

    Steve, I have no beef with extended education, professional training, licensing or certification exams, or any of that. All I want is for someone to get a chance to work in the classroom without spending six months working full time for no pay. What part of flexibility and alternative paths do you not get?

    I have great respect for good teachers. I have also seen some men and women who should never have been allowed near students, and object to a system which places an artificial barrier in the way of their replacements who have simply come to the field later in life.

  28. Dave says:

    I recall much the same argument regarding Physician Assistants, and Paralegals. Not only were standards in place to maintain quality, the same standards and prerequisites were used to exclude otherwise qualified people from the legal and medical fields.

    While managing a classroom certainly is a challenge, perhaps Teaching Assistants could deal more with coursework in which they are expert. Just as Doctors found that they could off load some work to PA and lawyers to paralegals without compromising their profession, perhaps society can take a progressive look at how we deliver learning to our young people.

  29. Dave says:

    @liberalgeek,

    I think teaching requires an IQ. I’m not sure if Evan would qualify since he only has an EQ.

  30. Steve Newton says:

    What part of flexibility and alternative paths do you not get?

    I get them. What part of meeting licensure standards don’t you get?

    There are also many, many people teaching who are dumb as bricks and do so only because the school wants a winning football team.

    That’s one of those wonderful urban legends (at least in DE) that simply doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Let’s see, there are at most about 35 head football coaches in Delaware, let’s say 50 if you include all of the charters. Which makes them less than one-tenth of one per cent of all the teachers. And I would love for you to document somehow (besides your own memory) how you know they are incompetent teachers. The head football coach at CSW is an elementary physical education teacher who has won major awards for his teaching. I know another head football coach upstate who is a national board certified physics teacher; another baseball coach who was the district teacher of the year as an AP Stats teacher. The idea that schools can continue to keep incompetent football (or other coaches) on staff today, beyond a very small number of exceptions, is laughable.

  31. Steve Newton says:

    @Dave–we already have Para professionals in Delaware classrooms. That’s neither a new nor radical idea.

  32. SussexWatcher says:

    No one is advocating relaxing licensure standards – just adjusting them so teaching is less of a holy priesthood and you can pursue student teaching part time, over a longer period of time.

    And thanks to Delaware’s union-centric disclosure laws, we can’t document which public employees are incompetent. Personnel files, unlike in other states, are private. Another thing that ought to be changed…

    Steve, I know from my personal experience, and that of multiple relatives at other schools, that there have been plenty of coaches hired for a teaching slot with no regard for their teaching skills. It may be more prevalent downstate, but it still happens.

    I’m still waiting for that research you cited …

  33. Roland D. LeBay says:

    “Real life experience” is a good thing, but it does not trump effective training.

    I couldn’t agree more. I have 20+ years of “real life” experience and hold a “Master” certification in my field. KNOWING a subject and being able to convey that knowledge are two totally different things.
    I’d be a horrible teacher. I simply don’t have the temperament for the job.

  34. Dave says:

    @Steve,

    I did not realize that. Are they responsible for teaching specific subject areas or do they function more as a assistant?

  35. Steve Newton says:

    @Dave

    There are a wide variety of paras–among whom (this is not an inclusive list and I am not an expert)–are paras provided for inclusion classes [say three special ed kids are mainstreamed into a regular ed math class; the aide comes with them officially to work with them during the class but almost always ends up being a resource for everyone in the class]; or teacher’s aides in certain types of classes (in one district I know of, the strategy to improve 8th Grade English classes was to hire four teacher aides to supplement the regular teachers; they broke kids out for small group instruction, helped manage cooperative activities, etc.]. Then there are paras for kids with specific disabilities on 504s (like for deaf kids). There are also paras in some schools who rotate and generally help out.

    One big advantage of a having a para in the classroom is that if the regular teacher is out, even though there legally has to be a sub in the classroom, you’ve still get a staff person in there who knows exactly who all the kids are, what the classroom rules are, and what’s going on.

    In another elementary school I know of, when the Ruth Ann Minner reading specialists were axed, the school replaced them pretty damn successfully with paras.

    Sorry this is so disorganized, but yes, there are a lot of para professionals in DE classrooms, although there could always be more.