LOCAL NEWS & OPINION

 

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LOCAL NEWS

June 14, 2022

41st District Republican Club & PAC member Kimberley Kaan won her bid for election to the Millsboro Town Council on Saturday, June 11, 2022.  Kimberley wishes to thank each and every one of you who voted for her.  She won by a substantial margin 284 to 159!  The previous election there were only 39 votes.  Millsboro will be better served now that Kimberley is in office!

CONGRATULATIONS KIMBERLEY!

May 5, 2022

Bethany Beach Boardwalk “We the People” Celebrates One Year
41st We the People 5.5.22

 

OPINION

2023 Legislative Priorities for Delaware K-12 Education

Educational Spending, Test Performance, and the Need for Greater School Choice

By Dr. Tanya Hettler, Ph.D., Director

Center for Education Excellence

 

 

Newark, DE (January 31, 2023)  — Delaware’s terrible scores on the 2022 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) have been big news since its release last fall. But it’s more important now than ever to revisit how bad they really were because the 2023 Legislative Session has just started. The time is now for Delaware legislators to introduce and vote for bills to help our students become proficient in math and reading.

HOW BAD WERE THE SCORES?

Delaware ranked 47th in the country with the 4th worst overall test scores. But this is not due to a lack of school funding; Delaware is 9th highest in education spending per pupil out of all 50 states.

Nationwide Test Scores: NAEP

The NAEP, or “Nation’s Report Card,” calculates the percentage of students in each state that scored at or above proficiency level in grades 4 and 8 in math and reading.

The 2022 NAEP scores reflect a sharp drop from the 2019 scores (the last uninterrupted school year prior to COVID-19 closures and remote learning). While Table 1 below shows that COVID-19 closures and remote learning had a considerable impact, this decrease in test scores was just an acceleration of a negative trend that began in 2013.

TABLE 1. Delaware’s 2019 and 2022 NAEP Scores

 

(Table Source: https://www.nationsreportcard.gov)

 

A rule of thumb for the NAEP scores is that a 10 point decline in scaled scores is equal to a loss of one year’s worth of learning. Based on this estimate, Delaware students lost approximately one year’s worth of learning in both math and reading.

Statewide Tests Scores: Smarter Balanced Assessment & SAT

Delaware’s Smarter Balanced Assessment evaluates individual students and schools in 3rd through 8th grade, while the SAT evaluates high school students.

Table 2. State Assessment Data: Smarter Balanced Test & SAT

 

 

(Table Source: https://news.delaware.gov/2022/08/09/2022-state-test-results-provide-baseline-for-pandemic-recovery/)

 

The 2022 Smarter Balanced Assessment results are an average of 13 points worse than the 2019 results. The 2022 SAT results are only slightly worse than the 2019 results. These statewide test results seem to indicate that school closures, remote learning, and mask wearing had a larger impact on younger students than on high schoolers.

PARENTS HAVE A CHOICE IN SCHOOLS

In Delaware, parents have the option to choose a different public school for their child if they are unhappy with the school they are assigned to attend based on their address. However, the process can be quite intimidating, especially for busy parents.

If you’ve visited the Delaware Department of Education’s (DDOE) website, you’ll find that you cannot easily compare schools and districts without spending considerable time clicking back and forth between one school and another.

To help, we’ve compiled and calculated the statewide test scores for all schools, districts, and charters, which can be viewed easily by looking at one document. We’ve also included the impact of COVID-19 closures and remote learning on students’ proficiency by comparing 2022 to 2019 results which are not provided by the state’s website. You can easily access this document on our website under the Policy Centers/Education for Excellence.

RECOMMENDATIONS: 2023 Legislative Priorities for Education

Now that Delawareans can clearly see and compare the proficiency levels of each of the public schools, districts, and charters throughout the state, and based on education expenditures and teacher licensure requirements as discussed in previous articles (see below), the following recommendations are called for:

  • Delaware’s legislators should not place a moratorium on any new charter schools in New Castle County. Doing so would have the effect of eliminating any new options for students in poorly performing schools.
  • We need to reallocate the large education expenditures of our state toward teacher salaries instead of non-instructional costs.
  • Finally, we should loosen the requirements necessary to become a teacher in Delaware to allow more teachers to be hired quickly to meet the current teacher shortages.

These are critical initial steps that legislators can act on in the 2023 Legislative Session that will put Delaware on a positive trajectory toward improving K-12 education for students in the First State.

Dr. Tanya Hettler’s Research Articles on Education:

 

 

Federal Agency Failing to Protect the Environment from Offshore Wind

Until a strategy is complete on how to deal with the adverse impacts of operational noise, no offshore wind projects should be approved.

 

By David T. Stevenson, Director

Center for Energy & Environmental Policy

 

 

NEWARK, DE (January 6, 2023) — The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is responsible for completing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for offshore wind and recommending approval or disapproval of projects to the US Secretary of the Interior. Each project needs its own EIS.

 

BOEM is rushing approvals of up to twenty-five projects on the east coast that may include up to about 3,000 skyscraper-sized turbines occupying a total area larger than the state of Connecticut.

 

BOEM rates 25 areas of environmental concern by both adverse and beneficial impacts. Ratings can be “negligible, minor, moderate, or major.” It is notable the first project approved, Vineyard Wind, was approved despite having 10 of 25 areas rated “moderate” and eight “major” concerns in the Draft EIS.

 

BOEM ignored numerous detailed public comments describing why the project should not be approved.

 

The Draft EIS for Empire Wind, the most recently released document, has 14 areas rated “moderate” and only five rated “major,” while the actual number of major adverse impacts should be ten. The ability to build offshore wind rests on the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. That Act requires there be no interference with reasonable historic uses in federal waters, such as fishing, navigation, and the degraded views impact on tourism.

 

The Endangered Species Act requires the protection of species like the North Atlantic Right Whale. Radar interference may impact national security.

 

These are exactly the activities having the adverse impacts of most concern, but BOEM has downgraded their view of these concerns.

 

BOEM admits commercial fishing will likely be abandoned in the project areas because of insurance concerns over potential lost gear and vessel damage. More collisions are expected from congestion and radar interference. Radar interference may include unwanted radar returns (clutter) resulting in a partial loss of primary target detection and a number of false primary targets, a loss of ocean surface current data, and a partial loss of weather detection, including false weather indications.

 

The military has suggested a 30 to 60-mile exclusion zone because of the radar problems.

 

In addition, the presence of the turbines could complicate offshore US Coast Guard Search & Rescue missions and result in increased injuries and fatalities. Surveys supporting commercial fisheries, such as establishing “take” limits and protected-species research programs, cannot proceed with current methods, and no new methods have been developed.

 

BOEM admits, “The visibility of the Projects would introduce a major level of character change to the view; attract, hold, and dominate the viewer’s attention. The cumulative impact of the project in combination with other projects would also have a major adverse impact, especially because of nighttime aircraft and vessel flashing warning lights.”  The east coast tourism industry is worth about $40 billion a year.

 

BOEM made no connection between the finding of a major adverse impact on the view from the beach and from historic cultural sites and the probability of lost tourism by claiming impacts on tourism would be minor.

 

BOEM ignored surveys they quoted in the past that looked at tourism losses of 19% to 54% if turbines were visible from the beach, especially with flashing lights at night.

 

Those surveys used visualizations of turbines 600 feet tall and shorter. The turbines being considered now are as tall as 1,041 feet. BOEM apparently has no plans to conduct new surveys but should do so before approving projects.

 

BOEM minimizes these major impacts stating lost fishing revenue, higher cost, and lost tourism will be compensated by payments from developers, and there will only be a few more vessel collisions ignoring the fact the collisions could lead to deaths.

 

As the US Department of Interior Solicitor stated in 2020, “It is important to observe that any compensation system established by a lease to make users of the lease area whole financially does not negate interference – indeed, the creation of such a system presumes interference. As such, any proposed compensation process should not be viewed as ‘curing’ any interference since the statute does not provide for such a cure.”

 

Clearly, no increase in injuries and deaths is acceptable.

 

BOEM released the DRAFT BOEM and NOAA Fisheries North Atlantic Right Whale and Offshore Wind Strategy in October. In this document, the risk of killing even one North Atlantic right whale (NARW) a year could lead to extinction in violation of the Endangered Species Act. Unfortunately, the document focuses on the strategy to deal with the temporary noise from construction noise.

 

Available studies show a strong likelihood that operational noise is more important in the long run. Building just a few giant turbines would allow studies of these issues, but BOEM wants to go full speed ahead with 3,000 turbines and then determine if there is a problem.

 

Until a strategy is complete on how to deal with the adverse impacts of operational noise, no offshore wind projects should be approved.

 

BOEM copied a benefit analysis from the New York Public Service Commission that showed the direct benefit from the money spent on construction and operations would be $1.6 billion in 2020. BOEM neglected to look at offsetting costs. Two big cost issues are federal tax credits that could total as much as $2.4 billion, and the premium cost of offshore wind power passed onto electric customers could total another $2.8 billion in 2020.

 

Not even counting lost tourism and lost commercial fishing, costs exceed benefits four to one.

 

Increases in intermittent wind and solar generation since 2009 have replaced reliable, zero-emission nuclear power, not fossil fuels. Natural gas replaced higher-emitting coal and petroleum on a one-to-one basis. Onshore wind and solar, plus higher imports from out of New York State replaced falling nuclear generation. So, renewable power has not reduced emissions in New York.

 

Similar trends have been seen in all eight east coast states promoting offshore wind. Offshore wind will replace already closed zero-emitting nuclear plants, and this trend is likely to continue.

 

Offshore wind will not lower emissions, and lowering emissions is the only reason to build it.

 

Such large-scale interference with historic uses of the ocean resources, high project cost, and threats to endangered species with no likely emission reductions should result in denying approval for offshore wind projects. See full public comments with references at this link, https://oceanlegaldefense.org/news-%26-updates.

 

 

December 27, 2022

Letter to Governor Carney from Drew Sunderlin/President, 41st District Republican Club

“Why Electric Vehicles Will be Detrimental to Delaware”

41st letter to Carney (EV)

 

Delaware State News

Sunday February 6, 2022, page 8

 

LETTER TO THE EDITOR 

Mr. President, here’s what Republicans stand for

“What are Republicans for?” President Joe Biden asked.

Mr. President, that is pretty easy to answer A few years ago, we would have enjoyed this debate in person, but today, you are president, and I am just a guy in the community, but I still take the challenge.

Republicans believe the individual should control his or her own destiny, not the state.

We believe the purpose of government is to protect life, liberty and property. The law exists to allow people to live free of arbitrary coercion, theft or fraud. We believe in all 10 amendments of the Bill of Rights and all three of the civil rights amendments as intended, not as we feel like interpreting them at the moment. We believe government policy should be sensible and modest in a way that makes life better for the people it serves.

We support law and order, as well as redemption and rehabilitation. We believe in voter rights and election integrity. We believe the family is the crucible of society and faith is the foundation of morality; therefore, the government must respect the role of family and religious institutions. We believe in free markets, not just when they make us money. One can’t prosper under the weight of central planning in the long run. Innovation comes from the reward of freedom. Free markets have done more for the world than any social program has to reduce poverty and improve the lives of people. We believe life is precious and the most basic of human rights. We believe work, thrift and keeping the rewards of one’s labor are human rights.

We believe that being able to freely walk the streets, be safe in your home and operate your business without being looted are basic foundations to a civilized society. We favor taxes to fund needed government programs,

not to redistribute wealth. We believe in universal human rights and a colorblind society. We are also against some things. We reject crime, inflation, socialism and anti-family policies. We reject border policies that unleash a drug epidemic and a human-trafficking nightmare. We reject fiscal policies that are eroding how far our paychecks go. We are opposed to policies that stop America from being able to feed itself, defend itself, medicate itself and fuel itself. We need to return the supply chain and its jobs to our shores. We need to put America first, not foreign lobbyists.

That is what Republicans are for, Mr. President: free markets, faith, family and freedom. Republicans believe in the values that made America great.

Dover City Councilman David Anderson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

41st District Republican Club & PAC

P.O. Box 998

Millsboro, DE 19966

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