**Updated** Dover Post Publishes My Letter To Editor, Shortened But With New Info Re: Academy of Dover & Priority Schools @KilroysDelaware @ed_in_de @dwablog @nannyfat @DeDeptofEd @notacademyofdover

Parental Opt-Out of Standardized Testing

Update, October 9th: According to Cheri Marshall, acting principal of Academy of Dover, Noel Rodriguez “resigned”.  Marshall would not elaborate on any reasons for the retirement.  Allegations and innuendos are appearing on the internet, but nothing official has come out from the Academy of Dover or the Delaware Department of Education.

In today’s Dover Post, another letter to the editor appeared from myself.  It is very similar to the one presented in the Dover Post, but due to space allocation it was shortened.  However, they did include a part I wrote about the Academy of Dover that did not appear in the Delaware State News article.  So take a look, and hopefully we will get a definitive public release soon on the ex-principal firing thing.  I’m hearing allegations in other social media, but nothing substantiated.

Last week, I had the extreme pleasure of attending the Christina Board of Education meeting.  At issue were six schools in Wilmington that were deemed “failing” by the Delaware Department of Education, based on proficiency scores with the DCAS standardized testing.
To judge any school, much less low-income schools with high populations of minorities and special education students, based on standardized testing is a major fault with the DOE. But what made it even worse was the caveat of hiring new school leaders for each school at a salary of $160,000 a year. The worst part is every single teacher in these schools would have to reapply for their positions.
Meanwhile, a charter school called Academy of Dover was one of three schools in the state to win the Blue Ribbon of Excellence award from the U.S. Department of Education.  This is a school that refuses to update their website public notices of monthly board meetings. Their principal, Noel Rodriguez, was fired a few weeks ago and nobody is saying why. Their own DCAS proficiency scores were appalling at best. So we award charter schools downstate that have a majority of the same issues as the priority schools and worse, but the public school districts are ripe for the plucking?
Next spring, the Smarter Balanced Assessment is coming out.  This replaces DCAS as Delaware’s standardized test for all public schools. Delaware parents, opt your child out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment. All you have to do is write a letter to the school, and let them know you do not want your child taking any high-stakes standardized testing, and when other children are taking the test, you expect your child to be educated as is their right under Free Appropriate Public Education.
Our children are more than test scores. Don’t let the state define what our children are. Let children define what they are based on their individualized and unique talents.
Kevin Ohlandt, Dover

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