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Mike's Notebook

  • National Education Summit
    Sep 29, 2010  - Yesterday, I had the opportunity to participate in NBC's National Education Summit with Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, and other elected officials to hear from teachers, parents, and principals about the current status of education in America and to discuss ideas for reforming our nation's education system.  I took part in the panel discussion, entitled, "Taking Our Ideas to the Policymakers," which sought to understand how policymakers, from the local school districts up to the Secretary of Education, are making decisions, and how those decisions are affecting our children, communities, and country.  There is no greater mission in our nation that providing children with diverse opportunities, which is only made accessible by a quality and affordable education.

    I am optimistic that the discussion we had will both improve understanding of the local and national hurdles to improving education and more importantly, lead us to craft new education policies that draw on common sense ideas and proven techniques so the children of this country can see a positive impact as quickly as possible.  Delaware remains a leader in education reform and I was pleased that yesterday at the University of Delaware, hundreds of teachers, education leaders, policy groups, legislators and administrators gathered for workshops and converse about reforming Delaware's education system. On Capitol Hill, I am hopeful Congress will work together to revise and update the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and that yesterday's discussion will bring fresh ideas and understanding as we move forward.

    To learn more about this initiative, please visit, and to view a brief clip from the summit, please visit MSNBC. Also, as always, please feel free to contact me with your concerns and comments on this or any other issue.
  • Hurricane Earl and National Preparedness Month
    Sep 1, 2010  - Today, the National Weather Service issued a Hurricane Watch for southern Delaware as Hurricane Earl is currently working its way up the Eastern Seaboard of the United States.  The Atlantic hurricane season is well underway as evidenced by Hurricane Danielle's impact this past week on Delaware's beaches, which included heavier than normal rip tides.  In light of the Hurricane Watch in effect for Earl, local authorities are currently preparing for its arrival on Delaware's shores as it makes its way up the coast.  I encourage all Delawareans to take the necessary steps to remain safe, and prepare for Hurricane Earl and any other storms that may occur this hurricane season by preparing an emergency kit, emergency plan, and continuing to follow weather reports.

    Today also marks the first day of National Preparedness Month, which runs for the duration of September.  National Preparedness Month, sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Ready Campaign in partnership with Citizen Corps and the Ad Council, serves as a reminder for Americans to bring together the resources necessary to protect their families, homes, and places of business.

    For the latest storm information, including advisories, tracking maps, and satellite and radar images, go to: or

    For your local forecast, direct your browser to:

    For information on National Preparedness Month
    , and how to prepare a disaster kit for your home, create an emergency plan, and stay informed about flood risk, please visit,, and
  • Financial Education for College Access and Success Grant Program
    Aug 4, 2010  - Currently, far too many students graduate from high school without the knowledge necessary to navigate their financial future and make critical financial decisions. This is deeply concerning, particularly in the midst of a tough economic climate, and at a time when the United States is slipping in global competitiveness. As you are aware, it is for these reasons I authored the Financial Education in the Classroom Act (FECA), to promote financial literacy and prepare students for financial responsibilities.

    Additionally, you may be interested in knowing that the U.S. Department of Education recently announced a new grant program also aimed at improving financial literacy and financial education in our nation's high schools. The grant is part of the Financial Education for College Access and Success program to support state-led efforts to develop, implement, and evaluate the effectiveness of personal finance instructional materials and corresponding teacher training, with the express purpose of providing high school students with knowledge and skills to make sound financial aid and other personal finance decisions, particularly in relation to obtaining access to, succeeding during, and completing postsecondary education.

    For more information on this Grant, and the application, please visit the official announcement here.

    Additionally, for more information about my work on financial literacy education, please visit my website.
  • "Casual for the Cause" Financial Education Student Essay Contest
    Jul 28, 2010  - The Delaware Office of the State Treasurer recently announced a student essay contest to promote financial education throughout the state.  As a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives Education and Labor and Financial Services Committees, who has advocated for and introduced legislation to improve financial education in our nation's classrooms, I applaud this initiative.

    So many Delawareans are taking steps to reduce their debt and start saving money.  Each of us can improve our level of financial literacy and best practices can be learned at any age. Unfortunately, many people are unable to read bank statements, balance a checkbook, or pay bills.  Studies have shown that only 1 in 3 teens understand these simple financial tasks and fewer than 30 percent of America's youth are given an opportunity to take as much as a week's worth of coursework in money or personal finance.

    In Congress, I introduced the Financial Education in the Classroom Act (FECA), to promote financial literacy and prepare students for financial responsibilities.  Specifically, the legislation seeks to improve financial literacy for all students in grades K-12 by strengthening the existing financial and economic education section of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) through the establishment of a competitive grant program for states who demonstrate a commitment to bringing financial literacy education to their schools.  Subgrants would then be awarded by States to school districts who partner with groups in the community to achieve student financial literacy through the teaching of personal financial management skills and the basic principles involved with earning, spending, saving, investing, credit, and insurance.  To learn more about my work to promote financial literacy in our schools, please visit my website.

    In Delaware, the Office of the State Treasurer's essay contest is a great opportunity for students to both showcase their ability as a writer and their knowledge of personal financial issues.  For details about this contest, please visit the Office of the State Treasurer, or the Contest Homepage.  I encourage all students to take part in this contest and wish you the best of luck.
  • Keeping Children and Pets Safe in the Summer
    Jul 9, 2010  -

    This afternoon, I had the opportunity to join with representatives from A.I. DuPont Hospital for Children, Safe Kids Delaware, and the Child Death, Near Death, and Stillbirth Commission for a press conference to demonstrate and raise awareness of the dangers of heat stroke and hyperthermia.   As the East coast begins to experience the hottest temperatures of the year, it is imperative that all Delawareans know how to prevent heat-related illness. 

    I urge all Delawareans to take precautions to avoid a heat stroke by drinking lots of fluids, remaining in air conditioned buildings and rooms whenever possible, wearing light weight, light-colored clothing, and resting if necessary.

    During the hot summer months, it is important that children and pets are never left in a car unattended.  A child's body heat rises 3 to 5 times faster than an adult's, taking minutes for a child to become dangerously overheated.  In just 10 minutes a car's temperature can increase by as much as 19 degrees and there is no evidence to suggest that cracking a window actually lowers temperatures inside the vehicle.  Animals face these same threats and are just as susceptible to suffering from dehydration and other symptoms associated with heat-related illnesses.   

    The summer is an enjoyable, carefree time but certain precautions must be taken when the temperatures start to rise.  By taking the proper measures and being aware of the warning signs of heat-related illness, you can prevent yourself, and loved ones, from suffering a heat stroke.  For more information about heat waves, visit  Thank you, have a safe and fun summer, and stay cool.