Is THIS THE AMERICA You Want For Your Children?

Incredible article by the enigmatic Kavips. Delaware parents, if you are on the fence with opt out, you NEED to read this. NOW!!!!

kavips

South Korea, where more than 70 percent of high school graduates enter university, education is a national obsession that the government worries is actually damaging society.  Education accounted for nearly 12 percent of consumer spending last year, and parents spent the equivalent of 1.5 percent of G.D.P. on cram schools for their children.  There are now more cram school instructors in South Korea than regular schoolteachers, and the exams are so difficult that even college professors admit they could not pass them.

The paradox is these ridiculous tests don’t necessarily lead to demanding college classes. In Japan, where almost all college students graduate, it’s quite common for students to be asked only to parrot back lecture notes. Rigorous thinking, reading and writing too often is simply not expected.

YO BRO CHECK THIS OUT

Courtesy of Creative by Nature

When I asked a class (South Korea) if they were happy in this environment, one girl hesitantly…

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The View from Japan: Common Core is a Disaster in the Making

I had not heard it in a while, but Matthew Albright quoted the DOE as saying kids have to keep up with their peers from other countries. This is an intriguing look at exactly how those “peers” are doing. This is our future America. Keep selling the Kool-Aid Delaware DOE.

Creative by Nature

 “What many supporters of Common Core ignore is that the “rigorous” high-stakes testing approach that they wish to impose on our children has been experimented with in many other nations, and has been a complete failure. Once in place it dominates all instruction, turning schools into test prep factories, and students into test-taking machines.”

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 11.20.15 AM

I’m a full-time University teacher, living and working in Japan since 1994.  We had our entrance exams a few weeks ago, and part of the job for University teachers here is to mark certain sections of the tests by hand. One of the things I notice each year is that most Japanese students get 30 to 50% of the answers wrong.

Sometimes answers are close but test markers are looking for the “exact” right answer. If the student spells a word wrong they may receive half credit or no points. Why are we so strict with spelling? Because these kinds of high-stakes tests are designed to select and sort…

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What’s Going On With $$$ At Academy of Dover?

The Charter School Performance Framework was published by the Delaware Department of Education in September, 2014.  In a couple days it will be March, 2015.  Six months later.  Guess who still doesn’t have their financial information listed on the DOE website concerning this?

http://www.doe.k12.de.us//site/Default.aspx?PageID=1731

Academy of Dover and money seem to be issues this school has been plagued with.  There is the unconfirmed by the school or the DOE that a former head of school who resigned had some purchase card issues.  Earlier this month I presented some board minutes where the school refused to pay paraprofessionals more money when they served as substitute teachers for the entire class.  And now this.  No entry in the DOE’s annual report on ALL the charter schools.  Any response to this DOE or Academy of Dover?

East Side Charter School Rakes In The Bucks In Private Donations

We hear it all the time from the pro-choice charter crowd.  “We don’t get the funding traditional schools get.”  “It’s not fair.”  Wah Wah Wah!  Traditional schools don’t get over a million dollars in contributions through foundations.  They get taxpayer money just like charters do.  And look at all the names on here!  Some of these are very familiar names in the corporate education reform movement here in Delaware!

Compare this to the priority schools in Wilmington.  They have been cash poor for years from tax cuts back in 2009 that were never restored.  It’s easy to have lower proficiency gaps when you rake in the funding which allows for more resources.  And now that you have your hooks in Family Foundations Academy, I’m sure you will be asking for more this year!

 

The New Jersey Standardized Testing Commercials

These are very powerful commercials.  If you haven’t seen them yet, you need to watch them.  If you still want your child to take the Smarter Balanced Assessment here in Delaware after viewing these, you need to do some further research.

 

 

Kilroy’s Delaware Will Have A HUGE Story Coming In The Next Couple Days

I’m hearing snippets of snippets that Kilroy’s Delaware will be posting a VERY BIG story about education in Delaware very soon.  He’s dropped cryptic hints in his usual Kilroy style for a while now, but I would pay very close attention to this blog in the next 24-48 hours.

All I can say is that it involves a test…

Will Delaware Representative Jaques Meet The Challenge? *UPDATE* He did not!

In 40 minutes, I will be on the Rick Jensen show on WDEL/1150 AM for a second time discussing parent opt out of standardized testing in Delaware.  1pm est.  You can listen in on http://www.wdel.com

I have sent the following email to Delaware State Representative Earl Jaques.  Will he make the call?  Stay tuned!

Representative Jaques,
I will be on Rick Jensen’s show on WDEL today at 1pm.  I would love if you could call in and explain your statement at the Christina Educators Association meeting on Wednesday night concerning “The parent opt out bill will never pass.  We will never give up Federal money.”  The phone # for the show is 302-478-9335.  Thank you,
Kevin Ohlandt

A Warning For All Delaware Legislators of the 148th General Assembly

In 11 days, students in Delaware will begin the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  This was voted into law through House Bill 334 last June by both the Delaware House of Representatives and Senate, and then signed by Governor Markell.  I believe some of you thought you were doing the right thing.  Others didn’t want to tick off the Governor who has made education his top priority.  Some of you are actually a part of the corporate education reform movement in Delaware.  A few of you felt manipulated and trapped because Secretary of Education Mark Murphy already bought the assessment for Delaware.  And some of you wisely voted no, in both rounds of voting.

We now face another bill in the 148th General Assembly, closely tied to this assessment.  A Parent Opt Out bill would legally allow parents to opt their child out of the state assessment.  Many parents, including myself, feel this law would not change our Constitutional rights at all.  But we are in agreement this would allow parents who are either too afraid to opt their child out or aren’t even aware of the possibility the ability to do so.

One of you publicly stated two nights ago to a room full of teachers this bill will not pass and you will not allow Delaware to give up Federal money.  What this legislator fails to realize is Federal funds did not put him in his current position.  Governor Markell didn’t put him there either.  It was the people of Delaware, within his own district, who believed this man would rightfully serve their will and their needs.

In the coming months, children will take this test.  Most of them will fail.  This is not to say they won’t try their best, but the actual test is designed for this.  It is intentionally supposed to be hard.  This will continue for the next three years.  Some parents in our state don’t even know what this test is.  These are the parents who will be shouting at the top of their lungs in about four to five months when the scores come in.  When their child’s scores come in and they are no longer proficient when they have been for the past few years.  This is when all of you will be faced with a very large challenge.

Some will say “I never voted for this in the first place.”  Others will say “I voted for it, and I’m sorry, but I realized the danger signs and voted for the parent opt out bill.”  Then there are the rest of you.  You are the ones who will be held accountable.  It will be well-known at this point in time who allowed this to happen.  Even the beloved charter school parents whom you have catered to with your legislative votes will no longer be patient with you.

2016 is not that far away.  Some of you will be content, not facing re-election.  For those of you who are hoping to stay in the General Assembly, or have aspirations for higher office, you need to make some choices now.  The vast majority of your votes will comes from parents.  They will remember the annual suffering their children had inflicted upon them.  They will want to make a change.  Nothing will cause parents to rise up more than watching their children suffer.  They will not sit back and do nothing.

You should really watch what is happening in other states.  Parents are outright refusing this test.  Opt out are two words no longer said, it is REFUSE.  They are angry, and going on TV, and putting up billboards.  They are saying “No more!”  While Delaware’s opt out movement may be seen as small and a temporary annoyance, I can assure you it is not.  It is gaining traction every single day, every hour.  It is spreading from Wilmington to the beaches.  This is not civil disobedience.  This is not parents flaunting the law and becoming activists.  We are parents who care about our children and refuse to let them be guinea pigs.

You all need to remember this when you make blanket statements about parent opt out.  You need to choose your words very carefully.  You need to also realize saying nothing is the same as speaking out against it.  This is not a subject you can sit on the fence about.  If you truly believe this test is good for students, this is fair warning: those who put you in power can assuredly take you out.  If you enjoy serving your constituents and helping to make laws for the citizens of the First State, remember this simple fact.

OMG coup d’etat Red Clay style ;)

If anyone can figure out this little Common Core/Smarter Balanced test of Kilroy’s, I will do you a solid. Name your price, less than $5.00. Or I’ll interview you, or mention you in an article, or opt your kid out, or something. Just figure out this damn cryptic mystery! Either that or this is just a huge prank from Kilroy to all of us.

Save The Date: Tomorrow, Friday 2/27, 1:00PM, WDEL, 1150AM, Rick Jensen, Me, Parent Opt Out Round Two

Rick Jensen with WDEL/1150AM has graciously invited me back to his radio show tomorrow to discuss parent opt out in Delaware.  We will be discussing more of the nitty-gritty on what parents can do and the process on how to go about doing it.  I will certainly put a podcast up if it becomes available.  If you have any questions you want answered, I will do my best to find the answers between now and then.

The  phone number for WDEL is 302-478-9335.  If State Rep. Jaques wants to call to explain his public comment about the Parent Opt Out Bill never passing, and let listeners know why he is against this bill, I would gladly welcome it.

Shock & Awe: This Blog Endorses a DE State Board Event! Please Attend! Free Food!

Yes, I am very critical of the Delaware Department of Education and the State Board of Education over many things.  But I do think they have done an excellent job with literacy efforts in our state.  I still remember the old RIF commercials from when I was a kid: Reading Is Fundamental.  These are key words that will never change, and the DOE and State Board have taken several initiatives and ran with them.  To that end, there is a Professional Development Workshop at Grotto’s Pizza in Dover on March 4th, from 5pm to 8pm.  They need an RSVP by tomorrow, Friday, February 27th.  I did reach out to Donna Johnson, the Executive Director of the Delaware State Board of Education about the possibility of free food, and she replied with this important message:

Yes, our grant funding allows us to supply light refreshments, not a full meal.  There is also water, tea, and soda available.”

This was in the release I received today:

Final reminder — RSVPs due tomorrow.  Please forgive the additional reminder if you have already responded. 

The State Board of Education is hosting a professional development workshop related to its Literacy Campaign.  The focus of the meeting is developing a greater awareness of literacy initiatives and understanding intellectual freedom as it pertains to education and the law.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015 

Location:  Capitol Room, Grottos Pizza, 1159 DuPont Highway, Dover, DE.

The focus of the workshop will be furthering awareness of programs and efforts throughout the state to increase student literacy and our keynote presentation will focus on deepening your understanding of Intellectual Freedom as it pertains to Education and the law. 

The evening will begin with an overview of present literacy initiatives in the state including programs by the United Way, Reading Assist, Read Aloud Delaware, Boys and Girls Club and resources from the Annie Casey Foundation regarding its grade level reading campaign.

Workshop attendees will then hear Deborah Caldwell-Stone, Deputy Director for the American Library Association, Office of Intellectual Freedom provide a review of federal and state laws that have been established in history pertaining to intellectual freedom, how the laws pertain to education and how to safeguard our students and our freedoms.  Discussion will focus on how we balance preparing students for real world situations while also protecting them.  State officials, educators and stakeholder groups have been invited.

There will be an opportunity for questions and answers at the end of the workshop as you discuss how to tackle the local policy decisions on intellectual freedom and explore ways to increase or enhance your existing literacy initiatives. Education is a cornerstone of democracy, and the success of a democracy is an informed and educated citizenry.  We sincerely hope that you will join us for this informative presentation, professional development, and engage in robust discussion of the topics afterward.

More information and specific policy briefs related to the SBE Literacy Campaign can be found at our website: www.destateboarded.k12.de.us

Donna Johnson

Executive Director

State Board of Education

401 Federal Street, Suite 2

Dover, DE 19901-3639

302-735-4010

www.destateboarded.k12.de.us Twitter: @destateboarded

US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Video From Wilmington Rotary Club

On 2/19/15, United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visited Delaware for the 5th time.  He went to Howard High School which was also included in his first visit to Delaware.  He spoke to the Wilmington Rotary Club about the “gains” Howard H.S. has made since that first visit.

Two Delaware State Representatives, Sean Matthews and John Kowalko, wrote Duncan a letter the day before his visit asking him to visit one of the six priority schools. Duncan did not acknowledge the letter at all.

In his introductory speech, Governor Jack Markell spoke about the “vitriol” in education talk.  There would be no vitriol if there was true stakeholder input Mr. Governor.  Instead, Delaware had education “initiatives” forced on school districts with strict and fierce warnings of non-compliance.  In my world, we call that bullying.

Noam Chomsky on the Dangers of Standardized Testing

Creative by Nature

“The assessment itself is completely artificial. It’s not ranking teachers in accordance with their ability to help develop children who will reach their potential, explore their creative interests. Those things you’re not testing.. it’s a rank that’s mostly meaningless. And the very ranking itself is harmful. It’s turning us into individuals who devote our lives to achieving a rank. Not into doing things that are valuable and important.”

noam-chomsky-005

The following is a partial transcript for an interview with Noam Chomsky uploaded to youtube by The Progressive Magazine.

“You take what is happening in education. Right now, in recent years, there’s a strong tendency to require assessment of children and teachers so that you have to teach to tests. And the test determines what happens to the child and what happens to the teacher.

That’s guaranteed to destroy any meaningful educational process. It means the teacher cannot be creative, imaginative, pay attention…

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Delaware School Districts: Read The Law Correctly, Stop With Your Illegal Letters To Parents

Here we go.  Another Delaware school district following the path of least resistance by adhering to a faulty and illegal Delaware Department of Education “template” for parent opt out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  There is nothing in the ESEA that says a parent can’t opt their child out either.  Keep hanging yourselves.  Which district got caught with their hands in the “illegal response to parent opt out letter” jar this time?

Is Rep. Earl Jaques speaking for The People or Markell and DOE saying Parent Opt-Out Bill won’t pass?

At the Christina Educators Association meeting tonight, State Rep. and Chair of the House Education Committee in Delaware Earl Jaques told members that House Bill 50, the parent opt out bill, will not pass.  My question to Jaques is this: how would you know this information when it hasn’t even been discussed in the House Education Committee?  You are one of forty-one members in the Delaware General Assembly House of Representatives.

Here is my public challenge to you Rep. Jaques: If you are against this bill then you need to publicly explain to every single Delaware parent exactly why you are against it.  It sounds to me like you have already made up your mind without any thought put behind it.  This is exactly what we have seen from Governor Markell and the Delaware DOE for the past six years.  Plowing ahead without any parent or educator input whatsoever is not a strategy, it is a problem.  Now that the problems are getting a public face, then you need to defend your side of the argument.  You were elected by the people of Delaware to serve the people of Delaware.  Not Governor Markell or the Delaware DOE.  I look forward to your response.

Attorney General Legal Opinion For Delaware Requested On Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium Court Ruling

I have submitted a request for a formal Attorney General Legal Opinion based on the Missouri Circuit Court ruling yesterday on the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.  I have been told these types of requests by a citizen of Delaware are denied on the basis of standing, so I would welcome any elected official in Delaware to take up the baton in the event my request is denied.

To

  • Denn Matthew (Attorney General)

 

CC
  • Williams Kimberly (LegHall)
  • Siegel Kim (Lt Governor)
  • Lawson Dave
  • Kowalko John (LegHall)
  • Murphy Mark
  • Johnson Donna R.
  • Matthew Albright
  • Avi Wolfman-Arent
  • Paul Baumbach
  • Townsend BryanM
  • Markell Jack
  • John Young
  • Kilroy’s Delaware
  • Kavips World Press Blog
  • Nancy Willing
  • Pandora DeLib
  • rick@wdel.com
  • Terri Hodge
  • Mike Matthews
  • Jackie H. Kook
  • frederika.jenner@dsea.org
  • O’Mara Lindsay (Governor)
  • May Alison

Attachments

  • Sauer v. Nixon – Judgment.pdf

Breaking News: Court Rules Smarter Balanced Assessment Violates The U.S. Constitution

“The Court finds that the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium is an unlawful interstate compact to which the U.S. Congress has never consented, whose existence and operation violate the Compact Clause of the U.S. Constitution”

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium has been ruled to be breaking many laws in our country according to Judge Daniel R. Green of the Circuit Court of Cole County in Missouri.  The most important of which is the fact that it was never passed by Congress.  The Court also found that taxpayer money must not be given to this unlawful compact.

The Missouri Coalition Against Common Core, led by Frank Sauer, filed suit against Missouri Governor Jay Nixon last year.  Judge Green, on November 26th, ordered a two week restraining order against any taxpayer dollars going to the SBAC.  Yesterday, he gave his final ruling against Governor Nixon and essentially invalidated the very premise of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.

For my own state of Delaware, I will be forwarding this case to our Attorney General Matt Denn for an official legal opinion on this type of arrangement within our own state.

Special thanks to the awesome Delaware blog Minding My Matters for bringing this to my attention.

Updated, 11:33am, 2/25/15: Diane Ravitch has written a post on this as well based on an article in the Missouri News Tribune which can be read here and gives more details on the case:

http://m.newstribune.com/news/2015/feb/25/green-blocks-state-common-core-payments-smarter-ba/#.VO3zYbl0zIV

Christina Referendum Does Not Pass

This was just reported by News Journal reporter Matthew Albright…

Christina School District Referendum Results

Some of you have been waiting with bated breath for this…

So hold on…

Because this is what happened….

Here it is…

One Second please….

And this is what has been announced…

Red Clay Consolidated School District Referendum Passes

According to Mike Matthews on Facebook, the Red Clay Referendum passed, 6,355 Yes votes and 5,484 No votes.  Mike actually updated the vote tallies from each school as they were announced.  To many observers, it appeared elementary schools were getting many yes victories, and high schools were the opposite.