What You Need to Know:

The following summary consists of bills we've highlighted that are specific to our focus, expertise, and interests, or made it to our watch list.

Green = We SUPPORT the bill Red = We OPPOSE the bill Blue = We have NO OFFICIAL Stance

 Bill statuses will be listed as follows: 

Education

** NEW **

Bill Status: On READY LIST

In Delaware, public school district employees can donate their days of paid leave to each another, specifically in cases of extreme illness for the receiving employees or their close family member. SB 20 edits that program to change the donation ratio from 2:1 to 1:1 – in other words, 1 day of paid leave received for every 1 donated.

Bill Status: In COMMITTEE

Historically, felons have lost certain rights and privileges as a consequence of their crime. The Student Excellence Equals Degree (SEED) Act, which provides free college tuition to Delaware high school graduates, is one such privilege. HB 290 would allow felons to benefit from the SEED Act.

At first thought, you may not be sure where you stand on this issue. Let’s ask one question first:

  1. Who is included in the list of violent felons?

The list includes, but isn’t limited to,  those who’ve committed, rape, murder, kidnapping, and robbery. 

This means that  HB 290 would use tax dollars to provide free college tuition to rapists, murderers, kidnappers, etc. in Delaware. 

** 2023: January - June**

Bill Status: SIGNED

Pointing towards the great harm that the COVID shutdowns did to children academically, HB 3 makes student absences for mental health reasons “a necessary and an excused absence.” 

The amendment added to the bill requires students be referred to a school-based mental or behavior specialist. 

HB 3 pointing children to a school-based mental health specialist seems a convenient referral after the last few years have been spent requiring those specialists be present in school-based health centers, creating whole new departments for them. 

While there is nothing wrong with obtaining help for mental health issues, it is pertinent for the parent to be plugged in to who their child is referred to and what treatment they may be obtaining. 

Bill Status: SIGNED

Prior to HB 81, charter schools were able to do either request school bus service from the district where they’re located or receive a payment based on 70% of the cost to transport students within that district. There was no clause regarding potential denial of the request.

HB 81 clarifies the school district’s right to deny the charter’s request. In the case of a denial, the financial payout is automatically given. 

Bill Status: In House COMMITTEE

During COVID protocols for school operations, public schools were required to provide both breakfast and lunch for all students.  This past year, schools went back to their pre-COVID protocols regarding breakfast and lunch.

 HB 125 would resume the COVID protocol and make breakfast and lunch free for all students, funded by the US Department of Agriculture. Whatever is not funded by the USDA will be funded by the Delaware Department of Education. 

Bill Status: SIGNED

There are multiple things that HB 181 does. Here are the main focuses of the bill: 

  • Add the Department of Education (DOE) to the group allowed to make the hiring determination, where it was previously the school, school district, or employing contractor. 
  • Information obtain within the background check is now allowed to be disclosed to the Secretary of Education or their designee. 
  • Any decision is now sent to the potential employee by not just the particular school they applied to, but could be sent from the contractor involved in the  hiring process or the DOE. 
  • An appeal of the decision may be sent to the Secretary of Education. 
  • In the case of an employee or contractor, the State Bureau of Identification (SBI) of Education is allowed to release all subsequent criminal history to the DOE. 

A major plus of HB 181 would be allowing the DOE to receive all information obtained from a criminal background check. In determination of those who would work closest with our children, it would seem to be a basic safety precaution to ensure that potential employees and their criminal history thoroughly vetted and understood. 

Bill Status: SIGNED

HB 188 codifies an already existing program, the Equity Ombudsperson Program, into Delaware Code. Much of the program is intended to assist schools to “develop and revise policies and regulations to improve education equity.” 

The education equity they refer to is a term that has strong roots in critical theory. Critical theory, the Marxist ideology that have given us cultural terms and phrases like, ‘heteronormative,’ ‘toxic masculinity,’ ‘white privilege,’ and ‘cisgender.’

This program is to report to individuals such as the Governor and the Chairs of the House and Senate Education committees, but it also reports to a group called the Education Equity Council. Voting members of said Council include 3 from the NAACP and two “community representatives nominated by civil rights organizations actively engaged in education equity issues.” 

Essentially, this program is a way to find the areas within the school system that do not currently align with areas of critical race theory or diversity equity and inclusion so that policies can introduced or rewritten to fit the progressive narrative. 

If our schools weren’t indoctrination camps enough already, the solidification of this program into DelCode will ensure that it happens. 

Bill Status: On Senate READY LIST

When we have discussions about things that need to be changed in the school system, the actual academic proficiency should be at the forefront of the conversation. With all of the critical theory that is being infused into the school system, it seems the academic role of schools is often forgotten. 

HB 192 attempts to get back to the basics of academic proficiency among students. Leaders of schools with single-digit proficiency will have to work with other administration personnel and the Department of Education to create a plan for raising proficiency. 

The plan(s) approved by the School Board must then be posted on the school and DOE website, with an annual report given to the School Board until agreed upon standards have been met. 

If students are doing poorly and no one is held accountable for their learning, nothing is liable to change. HB 192 is a major step in the direction of accountability for public school academics. 

Bill Status: In House APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE

We have seen a number of mental health additions to public schools over the last several years. HB 200 is among that list, adding a unit with a full time counselor, social worker for every 250 high school students and one full time psychologist for every 700 high school students. If passed, HB 200 would begin in the 2024 fiscal year and be phased in over a 3yr period. 

As with any provision of medical care, mental or otherwise, it is important for parents to be involved in the process. Whatever services are available within the school should be known to parents and if any treatment is needed, it should go in hand with parental consent or parental notification–at the very least.

Bill Status: On House READY LIST

A number of Americans find themselves in debt to some degree or have been victim of poor financial decisions to some degree. Many of them may have done so simply for lack of understanding in what they were getting themselves into. HB 203’s goal is to lead more high school students to a place of understanding regarding finances so that they aren’t caught unawares. 

HB 203 would require high school students be taught a course that includes understanding the impact that life decisions and habits have on money management, savings, budgeting, managing cred scores and debt, payroll-related taxes, and several other very pointed topics. 

School districts and charter schools are also encouraged to foster relationships that may help to add value to the course by providing scholarships or other awards for achievements within the course. 

Bill Statuses: PASSED

Similar to HB 203, HCR 24 recognizes the need for children to understand certain financial principles. Rather than actually creating guidelines for a course that would help to provide said principles, however, it simply deems April 25th as “Delaware Teach Children to Save Day.” 

In the past, this day was used by bankers to teach students in over 80 schools throughout Delaware about savings. 

Bill Status: SIGNED

Last year’s session saw the defeat of a bill that would recognize parent’s right to bring peaceable grievances before the school board. It was voted down without a second thought. 

A different legislator has sponsored a similar bill in HB 34, requiring the school board meetings offer time for public comment for items that are subject to a vote. It is also mentioned that the time for public comment must come before the actual vote. 

The only area for potential concern is the standard used when it states the “school board may impose reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions on the length of the public comment period and the amount of time allotted for each public comment.” Who is to determine the standard? When would participants be notified? Could it be changed from person to person and be a subjective test? 

Given the extent of censorship in school boards across the country, and the fact that the collective legislature didn’t find it ‘reasonable’ to acknowledge the right of parents to even bring grievances before the school board last year,  it would be ‘reasonable’ to provide a more clearly stated standard for providing public comment. 

Bill Status: On Senate READY LIST

When a schools’ primary role is to educate children, finding actual data on how well they are or are not doing so should be rather easy for a parent to obtain. HB 66 not only continues the already required reporting of testing, achivement, attendance, and other forms of measurement, but it requires the DOE to collect and release said data through their website. 

This same link must also be on the DOE’s school choice website, allowing for full transparency.

Bill Status: SIGNED

By the definition substituted into HB 167, a student resource officer is defined as anyone who is a sworn law enforcement officer or a constable (a constable by DelCode standards is essentially a civilian that is trained and licensed to act as a police officer within the scope of their employment). 

As much as this bill will help to keep our children safe in the meantime, placing one officer/constable at every public and charter school and additional officers with 1000+ student enrollment, there is something we should think about in the long term. 

When we think of pushes for gun control, what examples are used both for and against everyday civilians having firearms? One side says we have the right to have guns so that we can protect our most vulnerable, our children, ourselves. The other side says we don’t need guns because they’re too dangerous to get in the wrong hands and cause harm to our most vulnerable, our children, ourselves. So what could having a student resource officer, particularly those that are actual government employees do to the argument? Would it insinuate that the “need” for guns is no longer present because our most vulnerable institutions are already protected by the government? Where does this new move play in the game of chess being fought regarding 2nd Amendment rights? 

Bill Status: In COMMITTEE

The current administration’s promise to delete student loan debt was almost just as shocking of a move as it was to have that idea completely struck down by the Supreme Court. The idea of loan forgiveness only sounds good when it isn’t understood that debt never just disappears into thin air. Debt must be paid. If the borrower is not paying the debt, someone else is assuming the cost upon themselves. In the case of student loan debt, America the people, the taxpayers, would be assuming the debt on themselves.  

Unfortunately, many of the students and now graduates that have found themselves in a heap of student loan debt barely understood the process or the actual financial weight it would be. The totals were abstract numbers at the time of signing their master promissory note, debt counseling provided a literal list of boxes checked without reading, and now they feel stuck. 

SB 132 joins Delaware to over a dozen other states that have created similar bills to recognize the need for full transparency and counseling owed to the potential borrower before they sign loan documents and throughout the process of maintaining the loan(s). It also provides an office for student borrowers to complain about potential issues in the process. 

Establishing understanding in this area may help students borrow more responsibly and not expecting the American people to take on their responsibilities for them. 

Bill Status: PASSED Senate

Students and parents deserve academic choices. Public education no longer provides the level of guaranteed academic rigor it once did. An increasing number of students are graduating from high school, entering post-secondary institutions, and being required to take remedial courses.

SCR 10 recognizes the need for there to be choice among schools. It marks January 22th-28th as “School Choice Week” in Delaware. 

Bill Status: PASSED 

As mentioned in SCR 10, school choice is invaluable. Charter schools are just one way to provide school choice. 

SCR 46 does not create new charter schools or enforce any laws surrounding them, but gives a nod of acknowledgement to their value by marking May 8th-12th “Charter Schools Week.” 

Bill Status: In HOUSE Committee

Here’s where the recognition of the value charter schools holds that was given in SCR 46 must be remembered and upheld. 

SB 163 codifies the alternative methods of certification that charter school teachers are able to obtain. Charter schools have the flexibility of hiring teachers that have fully gone through the traditional licensure and certification process so long as they don’t make up more than 35% of the teacher population. 

This codification attempts “to encourage the use different and innovative” methods within their school education process, including whom they employ and why. 

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